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The first in New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney's brand new Clan Sinclair series. It's true love in the Scottish highlands.
Virginia Traylor, Countess of Barrett, is in dire straights... Lawrence Traylor's death left his family in a desperate situation. He'd spent his wife's fortune on property that became entailed, passing to his cousin. If Virginia could have an heir before the allotted time was up, the title would remain in the family, but more important they'd have the income from the farms belonging to the estate. Only one problem: Lawrence had never wanted to bed his wife. Who would play surrogate husband?
Enter Macrath Sinclair, the self-made Scottish millionaire and the man with whom Virginia had fallen in love before her father chose Lawrence as her husband. Virginia travels to Scotland, becomes pregnant, and gives birth to a boy - who is promptly stolen by Macrath when he realizes he's become a father.
Virginia travels to Scotland in a desperate attempt to get Macrath to see reason. He must relinquish his son. The world sees the child as the 11th Earl of Barrett.
Another problem: Macrath isn't going to give up his son, and he wasn't all that happy about letting Virginia go, either.
Can they put aside their differences and make their new family work?
“Do you want this, Virginia?”
She pulled back and gazed up at him. “Yes. For the last year, I haven’t been able to forget you. Yours is the face I saw before I slept. I prayed for you when I should have been praying for my own husband. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn’t be here now.”
“Then we’ll go to perdition together,” he said, “because I can’t be sorry for your husband’s death.”
He pulled her inside his suite, closing the door firmly behind him, striding through the sitting room and into the bedroom to stand beside his bed.
He’d left the lamp on in the sitting room and considered lighting the one on the table beside the bed, dismissing the thought instantly. That would take too long, and he was impatient enough as it was.
He removed her garments one by one, gently set them aside, revealing her like she was a present lovingly wrapped for his delectation. The bow was, perhaps, her bodice with its jet buttons and full sleeves. The paper was her corset cover and the corset he unlaced with deft fingers.
The package was her skirt, shift, and pantaloons, until she stood in front of him naked with only her shoes and black garters holding up her silk stockings.
The contrast of her black stockings against her white skin was yet another present.
He held out his hand and she placed hers on it for balance. Bending, he removed her shoes then her stockings with such speed he was amazed at his own dexterity.
He stood studying her like she was one of his ice machines. He expected her to cover her breasts with her arms. Or shield the curls at the juncture of her thighs. She did neither, merely stood with her hands at her sides, letting him look his fill.
Now he wished he’d lit another lamp.
“You’re as beautiful as I always thought you’d be,” he said.
“You imagined me naked?” Her voice sounded surprised.
He smiled. “Endlessly.”
He had never touched her breasts, never stroked her skin with fingertips that were rough and tender at once. Yet it felt like he had, as if he knew her like he knew himself.
Still, some innate caution whispered at him to pay attention; there was more here than he could see. She trembled, but was it from fear or eagerness?
I've always been a big fan of historical fiction, enjoy Victorian era plots, and adore Highlanders. I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is well written, with an easy turn of phrase and understandable description with appropriate settings. However, I also like a Scottish burr to keep me firmly planted near a Celtic cross, and passion that resembles a sweep-you-away down draft on the Devil's Staircase of the West Highland Way. There was too much flashback and back again and again to develop the kind of whirlwind that whips the bangs of a Highland heifer or the cod piece of a tenacious shepherd. That disappointed me.
The plot, or to be specific the heroine's moral choice in the plot, was daring. Not even a part II Scarlet O'Hara would lie about something as important as paternity. That said, the author managed to retrieve the heroine's dignity by visiting upon her the trials and anguish of Job. (For those of you unfamiliar with Biblical references, think plague instead.) The subplots were ambitious and added flavor if not substance to the story.
Overall this was a well written if not always smoothly transitioned work. I do recommend it to historical, Victorian, and Highland loving readers. You will enjoy it and devour it in an afternoon.
Book Bling gives this work 3 Stars!
Meet the Author!
Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved that she wasn't that shy after all. Yet she prefers to keep her current adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas, and loves to hear from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org
I blog there the 18th of each month!
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