The Virgin of Clan Sinclair
Avon / May 27, 2014 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
Ellice Traylor has a secret. Beneath her innocent exterior beats an incredibly passionate and imaginative heart. She has been pouring all of her frustrated virginal fantasies into a scandalous manuscript. But when her plans for her future are about to be derailed by her mother's matrimonial designs, she takes matters into her own hands.
Ross Forster, the Earl of Gladsden, has spent his life creating order out of chaos. He expects discipline and calm from those around him. What he does not expect is a beautiful, thoroughly maddening stowaway in his carriage.
But when Ross discovers Ellice's secret book, he finds he can't stop thinking about what other fantasies the disarming virgin can dream up. He has the chance to learn when a compromising position forces them to wed. But can the uptight Earl survive a life with his surprising new wife? And how will the hero of Ellice's fantasies compare to the husband of her reality?
The Virgin of Clan Sinclair is the third book in Karen Ranney’s Clan Sinclair series but is structured as a standalone, an amusing heartfelt story that brings together an unconventional young woman determined to get out from underneath her mother’s thumb and a staid Earl who's trying to live down the reputation left by his father. Ranney crafts a delightful romance around two extremely personable characters whose actions hide the hurt buried deep within them.
I love romances that make me laugh and this one certainly did that. Ellice is a breath of fresh air—a delightful heroine whose prim and proper facade hides a wonderful personality and dry wit. She is very intelligent, astute, and quite stubborn when she puts her mind to something. She drives Ross to madness and forces him to abandon his rigid control.
“You’re a very annoying female. I trust you will not continue to be so after our marriage.”
She put the pen down. “I’m very certain to be exactly the same way as I am now,” she said.
He glanced at her.
“Are you always so honest?”
She thought about it then ruefully shook her head. “No, but I feel compelled to tell you the truth. Why shouldn’t I? You’ll discover it yourself soon enough.”
Ross is a stickler for protocol.When his wife died, he reinvented himself and vowed nothing would stop him from cleansing the taint from the family name. Watching Ross fight his attraction for Ellice was both sad and frustrating; he judges her guilty for crimes others have committed and his actions leave her confused and hurt. His past has left him unable to completely trust anyone.
I warn you, I will not tolerate any deflecting maneuvers.” When she didn’t speak, he added, “If you’re involved in something illegal, it’s best to tell me now.”
She smiled at him, such a blazingly happy expression that he almost reared back. “You think I’m doing something illegal,” she said.
He slowly nodded.
“No one has ever thought I was doing anything illegal. I have conformed to the letter of every rule and regulation for the extent of my life.”
“You really shouldn’t look so pleased to be thought of as a law breaker. There are rules and regulations to limit human behavior for a reason.”
“What reason? So that someone can say, ‘Oh, you broke a rule, miss. Back to the schoolroom you go. Or, sir, you are in violation of that regulation. How very vulgar of you.”
Their physical attraction is apparent from the beginning with a potent mixture of heat and lust that sharpens their wit. Ellice often takes certain matters into her own hands, leaving Ross frustrated, yet intrigued. Though she originally looked to Ross to be her knight in shining armor, she eventually learns that only she can ensure her own happiness.
“If I do not want your attentions, I have the right to refuse them,” she said, holding her pen over the document.
Did he notice her hands were trembling? If he did, did he care?
“No?” she asked, surprised.
“You have no right to refuse me. I am your husband.”
“Perhaps not ever,” he said.
She placed the pen on the desk, sat back in Macrath’s chair and looked at him.
“Your lordship, I would be just as happy unmarried as I would be married. I have no reason to want to marry you. You, on the other hand, have some reason to want to marry me.”
While the romance is the main theme of the book, there are multiple subplots that expand the book’s scope. Plenty of dry humor intertwines within the story, balancing nicely with the emotional journey of our couple. I especially liked that the hero isn’t a complete jerk. Not to say he isn’t an arse at times, because he is. And he jumps to conclusions. A lot. But he soon learns his lesson when dealing with his bride and repents in a proper manner that leaves the readers no doubts to his feelings for her.
The Virgin of Clan Sinclair is a delightful read that is sure to appeal to all readers who love a humorous battle of the wills historical romance filled with love, laughter, and forgiveness.
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