Sinful Scottish Laird (The Highland Grooms #2)
HQN Books / February 28, 2017 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
Sinful Scottish Laird is the second installment in Julia London’s historical Highland Grooms series but is structured to be comfortably read as a standalone. This sensual, heartfelt, and amusing story brings together a young widow who is determined to live her life on her own terms and a conflicted Scotsman whose former dealings with the English has left a bad taste in his mouth.
Lady Chatwick (Daisy Bristol) dutifully married the man her parents choose for her despite loving another. Though her husband was much older, she grew to care deeply for him, staying faithful and by his side when he contracted an illness that confined him to bed. Having developed an affectionate relationship with him, she was shocked when he told her that she would have to remarry within three years of his death or their son would forfeit his inheritance.
Besieged by fortune hunters, Daisy is at her wits end, taking to hiding in her townhouse, until she receives a letter from her first love, Captain Robert Spivey.He declares his love for her has never died and has decided to resign his commission and come home. Unable to remain in London to wait for him, Daisy packs up her household and travels to Scotland to her husband’s hunting lodge, Auchenard, for some peace and quiet until Robert arrives. On the way there, a broken wheel forces her party to stop and there she meets a bold, gorgeous highlander who sets her heart pounding and her fantasies racing.
“Had she been any other place, Daisy might have fanned herself. As it was, she was on the verge of swooning [...] in that moment of lust and fear, she could not think of a single other time she has ever been so completely enthralled by one man.”
Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale, is the future Laird of the Clan MacKenzie. Fans of this series will note that his parents were the hero and heroine of book one-Wild Wicked Scott. A serious, brooding man, he has sworn off marriage after a woman played with his affections only to turn down his proposal of marriage due to his heritage. He is not pleased to see a Sassenach entering his glen and living so close to his family, his home, and his secrets.
“You should is no’ safe for Sassenach women and children. Repair your wheel, turn about, and head for the sea.”
Cailean goes out of his way to avoid Daisy and her entourage, but he soon finds himself unwillingly drawn to her, seeking her out time and time again. He has no need for women, especially not an English one, but Daisy’s beauty, wit, and her young son easily worms their way into his heart. Delightful scenes brimming with wit and charm only serves to further fuel the burning chemistry that exists between this couple.
“You bewitch me, Daisy.” He said gruffly. “From the first moment I laid eyes on you, you have bewitched me.”
While Cailean is interesting enough in his characterization, Daisy is the most compelling of the two. She is a contradiction with her vivacious and seemingly flighty personality that is at odds with her intelligence, stubbornness and sheer willpower. She is still reeling from the betrayal of her husband and the discovery that she was nothing more than a womb for his child and a pretty bauble for his arm. Meeting Cailean and indulging in her attraction to him is a balm to her vanity as she struggles to maneuver around her lack of agency. Though she holds a faint bit of hope that Cailean will be her knight in shining armor, giving her the life she wants without her having to risk anything for it. But she knows deep down that there is only one choice she can make to ensure her son's future.
“She was losing him, losing herself. She was losing everything. Her freedom. Her garden. Her heart. Everything was lost.”
Sinful Scottish Laird is an emotional addition to London’s Mackenzie family saga and is sure to appeal to all those who love romances that champion the indomitable will of true love.
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