Jun 27 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Gayle Callen’s Love with a Scottish Outlaw (June 27, 2017)

Love with a Scottish Outlaw by Gayle Callen,

Gayle Callen
Love with a Scottish Outlaw (Highland Weddings #3)
Avon / June 27, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Gayle Callen’s Love with a Scottish Outlaw is a story replete with many tried and true romance novel tropes. There’s the Scottish Clan Feud.

Catriona Duff was the daughter of Aberfoyle, the chief of the Clan Duff and Duncan’s bitter enemy. Aberfoyle was one of the main reasons that Duncan was an outlaw who had to protect and feed his people while on the run.

Catriona’s father is part of a network of men who take orphan children off the streets and sell them as indentured servants to the colonies and West Indies plantations. When orphans weren’t readily available, they began taking children from Duncan’s clan. He and his men have been doing what they could to recover them.

“Laird Carlyle,” she said, “have you been rescuing children for long?”

He shrugged. “Several year now. ‘Tis why we’re living in these caves. I spoke out, tried to bring the case to the Court of Session, and they had me imprisoned.”

Then there’s amnesia. Catriona and her guards had an accident on their way to Glasgow and Duncan finds her alone alive, but with a head injury and no memory of who she is. Duncan recognizes her as his enemy’s daughter and decides to keep her so that the Earl of Aberfoyle will have a taste of what it feels like to have a child missing. While Catriona is worried about her memory loss, she’s trying to come to terms with it.

“I am trying to be at peace. I will admit I’m surprised I don’t feel hysterical. To know nothing about myself, I should feel panicked. But … in some ways, it’s a challenge, like figuring out a child’s puzzle. I know things I might have learned or heard as a young girl, history for instance.” She gestured toward her plate. “But every time Maeve has given me something to eat, I’ve had no idea if I’ll like it or not, whether if might be a favorite I have memory of.”

And then there’s the Romeo and Juliet aspect of falling for your enemy’s daughter. Made worse for Duncan by the accompanying guilt that he is keeping the knowledge of her identity from Catriona.

He had to face the fact that he didn’t want her to remember her life before he’d found her, that he thought they could somehow be together. It was a ridiculous fantasy, and he should have known better, but apparently his body did not. She made him feel alive, beyond duty and anger and vengeance. Being with her reminded him of families, of children, of a wife who might wait only for him.

He was a fool. He could never have her, for if he did, he’d spend the rest of his life waiting for her to remember the truth of how he’d tricked her, how he’d used her in vengeance against her own father.

…He’d actually felt a chill when she excitedly told him about having a brother. Every day was one day closer to her memory returning, one day closer to her eventual departure. His plan to teach the earl the lesson of a child’s absence was backfiring on Duncan – someday he himself would know the loss of her bright spirit in his life.

All of these romance clichés would induce eyerolling in many a seasoned romance reader, but in the deft hands of Gayle Callen, they instead bring enjoyment and happy sighs at Duncan and Catriona’s Happily Ever After.


Learn more about or order a copy of Love with a Scottish Outlaw by Gayle Callen, available now:

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Cheryl Sneed reviews for Rakehell.com

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