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The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Dark Highlander
Highlander #5

Karen Marie Moning
Medieval Romance/Time Travel/Contemporary/Fantasy/Paranormal
Published in 2002

H/h - Dageus MacKelter/Chloe Zanders
Setting: The Highlands, Scotland/Manhattan, 1522/present day.

Read in Aug, 2011.
My rating:

                                                         [spoiler alert]

This book is Drustans twin Dageuss. Hes also a Kelter Druid who turned dark...

Holy hell. I’m kinda scared to do a review. Dageus you beast! I’ve been having troubles forming my review since I’ve had such mixed feelings about him for the better part of the book, most of it was doubt, even knowing why he did what he did. Yet, in the end, he made me (I mean made me) take him in me, so typical of him! And, no pun intended, seriously. I didn’t think he’d be the type of hero I can’t just open my arms and heart to and go nuts about. Oh, but and it’s all about ‘but’... So please bear with my blabbering. This book has time travel from present day, also the story takes place almost after where Kiss of the Highlander ends. Tuatha Dé Danaan play a vital role (queen Aoibheal and Adam mostly) in the book.

We know that Dageus turned ‘dark’ in the Kiss of the Highlander while saving his ‘slumbering’ brother Drustan from death and meeting his mate, Gwen in the 21st century. The standing stones, Ban Drochaid or ‘the white bridge’ should NEVER be used unless there is an emergency of magnanimous proportions. MacKelters are descendents of mortal Kelter Druids, who had been given the responsibility to look after the standing stones and make sure the time traveling is not done through it for paltry reasons. Anyway, I can’t possibly go into so much details. Only that, the 13 dark Druids who turned against the ever powerful Tuatha Dé Dannan, were punished by Aoibheal. They were scattered in a dimension not seen or heard by mortals. But, if anyone uses the standing stones for personal reasons, those 13 souls would possess that person and that would do some really bad thing to that person. And, Dageus was suffering from what 13 very powerful dark, lost and hungry (for EVERYTHING; food, power, sex) souls asked of him. Through his body they try to have their sustenance. So, his appetite for certain things was massive, one of it was definitely sex. The book starts with one of those and I immediately hated it. I NEVER like reading about such incidents, detailed or not and this book gave me some good visuals as to how he likes to f*ck, even when it wasn’t detailed. The point was to show Dageus’s prowess as a lover and what he can do to a woman. It was pretty scary, so  I kinda agreed with the woman who came to his penthouse in Manhattan to have sex. No love was lost between them, she wasn’t looking for a relationship. She wanted him ‘out of her system’ because of the kind of hold he has over her yet she can’t resist him. Anyway, I could’ve forgotten it (if not swallow as a whole) but it wasn’t supposed to be. It kept coming back for half of the book (as long as they were in Manhattan), since Dagues has sex like no other and God, even when I disliked him, I felt the hotness, that is Dagues. He needs that because when he’s having sex, he feels connected to a human being again; the demons are at bay for a time. He didn’t like feeling the cold detachment that creeps over him when he uses magic (and he’s been using magic, dark ones, for reasons I’ll talk about later on). So Dageus, did those women make you feel closer to God, too? I was seriously confused because it seemed (from the way you thought you could just go to one of them and f*ck until your body and mind eases) that they gave you some peace. So what was Chloe to you? Just because your ‘Druidic mate-detector’ said she’s ‘yours’ that I have to believe she’s special? I don’t know; I couldn’t quite believe it because when you started wooing (right!) her, I wasn’t even sure it was you or your darker side controlling you and in turn you manipulating her (talk about creeping into dreams; erotic ones at that). Also, did Chloe have a choice, ever? Manipulative jerks, not something I’d ever want in my hero!

Dageus fled the 16th century Scotland just after ‘the incident’, to make sure his sacrifice was (he didn’t believe it can really happen but it did) worth it, that Drustan was reunited with Gwen. Also, he couldn’t stand facing his people, knowing that he’d failed them. Now he’s been searching for a solution, so he’s been prowling about what the media termed as ‘The Gaulish Ghost’; whom no one sees, no alert system can detect but ancient books keep disappearing from the collectors. This is how he’s been using his unwanted powers. He even uses that, sometimes unknowingly but knows if this goes on, he’ll fall into their clutches. So, he’d ask for a book from the museum which is where our heroine, Chloe comes in. She’s a Kansas girl and sophisticated NY is still out of her reach. She herself is bookish, loves all things ancient. So when her boss asked her to deliver a very priceless book to a millionaire, who lives in a very posh life; she wasn’t happy at all. The guy donated a few authentic antiques in exchange for the book so there was no way her boss is backing off. Chloe was a bit angry, who knows how the man would handle the book! She heads off but from the front desk of the building, she also gets to know the man has ‘deliveries’ with great frequency. Oh great, a womanizer too! And, she gets more than she bargained for in a very short while.

At the precise moment, Dageus was leaving for the museum to fetch the book when he first glimpsed of this blonde woman and there was only one word in his mind, ‘mine’. But, he knew this girl with aquamarine eyes oozes ‘innocence and artless’, someone he can never have so he proceeds to the museum. Chloe goes steps into his house to find it’s unlocked (nothing new, easy for his lovers to go in and out). Then when she sees all the artifacts in his apartment, she’s pretty incensed that he left the door unlocked. As the lover of all things ancient, she can’t keep her hands off those things so she starts exploring, which lead her to his bedroom. And, that was some scene. Something was different about this man, she felt it. She knew she should leave but she spies on some books under his bed and boy, not only she learns that she’s in the house of the notorious Gaulish Ghost but also... ermm, the said man is Mr. Extra Large! Don’t even ask. It was pretty ewww and I’m amazed that she could still keep a straight face in front of him! Dageus, meanwhile comes back to find a fetching arse sticking out from under his bed and he knew immediately who it was. And, off it starts. He keeps Chloe locked into his house since she knew what he’s been upto. Oh, it was some relief to know he never used his bed for sex (as he binds Chloe on it) because from whatever I read in the beginning, it seemed like every other place was used. Yuk! Sorry, couldn’t help the gag from forming. I have no problem with the animal in him, I actually prefer it most of the times but hell, I DON’T wanna know such information about other women. And, of course, Chloe didn’t know the most of it as well.

Anyhoo! There were some hot scenes involved as Dagues took it unto himself that he’d HAVE to have her and soon. The other woman kept calling and he ignored it like some used towel thrown into the trash. He’s more into his new acquisition. No, he actually thought about going to that woman (which he did whenever he was in such a mood) when his sexual frustration was on its edge and he can’t just have Chloe now (13 dark druids, hungry for 4 thousand years, I could almost sympathize babe... Almost) but thank god, he didn’t. Instead, he kept creeping in Chloe’s dreams and showing her things he’d like to do to her. God, I know I can never say ‘no’ to a man like him but hell, I’d like to fight! Chloe tried but who can resist when the shameless man gets out of the shower in a tiny little towel and then, while climbing steps, throws it down to give you a glimpse of his, ermm, manly parts *cough cough*. SHOW OFF! GRR! But, Dageus is so blatantly sexual... which is why I kept questioning, is this really him or those dark druids controlling him?

Anyway, I’ll just jump a bit. Dagues talks a little of himself to Chloe, who can’t help but be fascinated by the man. The more she learns about him the more she is, I mean who can resist a man when he comes out and say he’s not a good man lolz! And after some bargains with artifacts, she agrees to translate texts for him and accompany him to Scotland. She, of course doesn’t know a thing about his ordeal. Also, that he’s given her his Selver, sgian dubh and a few other things because he knew she’s his mate and he’s be bound to her soon, doesn’t matter what she wants. He made it very clear what he wants from her and Chloe, even knowing she might be ‘one of many’ can’t help his kisses. This is one of the reasons why:
He kissed like no man she'd ever known. There was something about him, a rawness, an earthy sensuality that bordered on barbaric, something she'd never be able to explain to someone else. A woman had to be kissed by Dageus MacKeltar to fully understand how devastating it was. How it could bring a woman to her knees.

In Scotland, they met a very pregnant (with twins) Gwen and Drustan. It’s also from this part the book begin to get more interesting. I liked seeing these two and reuniting brothers. Dagues wasn’t sure how he’d be welcomed but he didn’t expect his brother to go all emotional. And, they talk and decide Dageus have to travel back to the 16th century to get the last few books that seem unavailable here. He doesn’t tell anything to Chloe but he won’t leave her here either. Chloe gets to know some more things about Dageus from Gwen; things about the prowess of MacKelter men in bed (lucky b*tch) and that Kelter men, when love, love completely. It seems Dagues is the crazier in the bunch, since his weakness is to ‘love too much’. She also puts in stuffs like why Dageus never looks for relationships and the way women see him etc etc. Chloe is more into him now. But soon, they Gwen accompanies Chloe in the standing stones, where Drustan and Dageus were already waiting. Dagues asks her if she’d like to accompany him. Chloe gives in, not knowing what’s happening. And, then they start their journey to 16th century. Chloe gets a bit scared but then, she sees Dagues. The place they were in it seems is dark and volatile in nature; one moment it’s hail storming, the next it’s hot. And oh my, Dagues was so... intense in that scene since the 13 were moving into him at that moment and he needed sex.
He even moved like an animal, fluid strength and surety. And all the devil ever wants in exchange, a small voice said warningly, is a soul.
Oh, puh-lease, Chloe rebuked herself sternly. He's a man, nothing more. A big, beautiful, sometimes scary man, but that's all.
Graceful as a stalking tiger, the big, beautiful, scary man dropped into a crouch on the ground before her, his dark eyes glinting in the shadowy night. They knelt mere inches apart. When he spoke, his words were painstakingly articulated, as if speaking was an immense effort. His words were carefully spaced, tight, coming in rushes, with pauses between.
"I will give you. Every. Artifact I own. If you kiss. Me and ask no. Questions."
"Huh?" Chloe gaped.
"No questions," he hissed. He shook his head violently, as if trying to scatter something from it.

That was one hot scene *fans herself*! But, they were interrupted by Silvan. And, from then on, they get onto the business of finding a way. Silvan tells Dageus that the book he’s been looking for isn’t here. Anyway, Dagues had to have Chloe. The first love scene was devastatingly hot and a wee bit scary for my choice. I didn’t blame Chloe for running from Dagues. He was so unabashedly sexy and male and just telling her in EVERY way, how much he needs to have her. Boy, I think from that moment on I begin to resign myself, as Chloe, that in no way I can ignore him. Also, he did show Chloe around and making love to her brought out some of his goodness, the real Dageus. He spoke the Druidic marriage vow that first day, to bind himself to her. I loved one particular scene where they talk about his eyes, which used to be pure gold in color. I loved it. Anyway, Silvan finds out from Nellie, whom he’d married a few years ago and have twin boys with (magical Druid sperms, great! ;) ), that there is a secret chamber under his study. An exploration of that showed them that the Compact with the Tuatha Dé Danaan and many other priceless ancient scrolls are there. As they work hard to find a solution, Chloe and Dageus can’t keep their hands off each-other (Lord, Silvan even tells them to ‘take a stroll’ or something seeing their heated glances). They exchange ILU too. Soon they think the man who tried to kill Chloe in his penthouse, was a part of an old prophecy. Oh, didn’t I mention it before? Well, anyhoo! There are men trying to find Dageus to make the prophecy come true and rule the world with it and some such thing. But there is no permanent solution written. Chloe is having the time of her life (even though it started with much disbelieve) with all things ancient. Something about Dagues I found funny but didn’t surprise me. When I read that she loved artifacts, I knew it’d come down to this at some point. And it did entertain Silvan, Nelly, not to mention Dageus immensely since she was so lost in her thoughts, Chloe didn’t know she said it out loud! :p
Oh, for heaven's sake, she thought with droll exasperation, this certainly explains a lot. It's no wonder I haven't been able to keep my hands off the blasted man since the day I met him. He's an artifact! A Celtic one at that!

But then, one announcement from Silvan and Nell, I didn’t really care for was telling Dagues that he’s their favorite! Huh? I mean, hello, WTF was that? What did Drustan do wrong? Silvan, you’re their father! Grr!

In the beginning, we saw in Morar Adam bear the news to the queen that the Compact has been broken. In between the story, it’s seen that they’re trying to find an alternative solution. Otherwise they have to kill the dark druid. Adam, it seems, has gone soft. He tries to argue that since it’s been a long time; maybe they should take care of those 13 in a more permanent manner and relieve the mortals of the responsibility of guarding the standing stones. Also, as Adam tells the queen, that Dageus did it out of love, to which the Fey snorts. But, Adam is adamant in his argument, would even pay a price for it, as the queen very tactfully threats him.

So, Chloe and Dageus return to 21st century to face the people who want Dageus and make love after the use of the standing stones (lucky b*tch!). They soon come back to Drustan and Gwen’s place. He tells Drustan about it all and carefully plans to tackle it, with the help of another man of that group that Drustan caught while snooping around. The women decide to butt in too! They can’t help but feel left behind, pregnant and all. *rolls eyes* But, Dagues who loves his family too much, can’t let them be in danger so he heads on alone and he was caught! Ugh, it was so silly, that they didn’t consider those people would keep an eye on him. Even Chloe, who dashes out alone after him, is caught too. Oh boy, Dagues goes insane thinking if the evil of the Draghar is unleashed, what he himself might do to her or the world in a whole. So he decides to embrace the evil, kill these men and then... ah, kill himself. *sniffs* He makes Chloe blind and deaf so that she doesn’t hear a thing. When she regains them back, there is blook everywhere but not a body in it. And, no Dageus around. This last part of the book was really good. Chloe just can’t believe that Dageus, most possibly, is dead. But, he’s just too honorable to be otherwise. She can’t stay in Scotland with all the memories, can’t look at Drustan without thinking of him and knowing for sure that she doesn’t even have a baby to hold onto. So, she goes back to USA. Weeks passed by, a desolate and detached-from-the-world Chloe had this urge to look into the artifacts Dageus gave her and goes to the bank. As she opens the safety deposit box, she finds a letter from Dageus telling her that he always knew she belonged to him. Oh sadness! Then the manager of the bank gives her keys to his penthouse and Chloe without even realizing what she’s doing, walks into the direction...

In the 16th century, Silvan knows he’d never see his son again. He also knows he should bind Nelly to him, since she’s his true mate which his first wife wasn’t. While contemplating all these, something happenes... Yes, the fey queen graces him with a visit to tell him about the recent update about the Compact and what she plans for Dageus and the future MacKelters...

Well, I tried covering all the things that I wanted to talk about. In the end, as I’ve already mentioned many times, Dageus was a lick-worthy, totally edible piece of... Really, I don’t know how to put it but I know he made me all shaky and w...erm, hell! *mutters under her breath* I appreciated him because all in all, he did it all for love and family, which is why I’ve decided on 4.5 stars. Also I liked the ending, which was pretty logical and tidied it all up pretty neatly... well, maybe not for Adam since something’s coming up for him soon!

PS: I still think they should sell the penthouse, just saying! :/

Favorite Quote, Dageus in a letter to Chloe:
If I'm not here with you now, I'm beyond this life, for 'tis the only way I'll ever let you go.
I hoped I loved you well, sweet, for I know even now that you are my brightest shining star. I knew it the moment I saw you. Ah, lass, you so adore your artifacts. This thief covets but one priceless treasure: You.

I wasn’t sure what picture to post (unless I could find a picture that depicts Dageus just as I saw him) so just the beautiful Scotland. I’d really love to visit oneday. *sigh*


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