Mystery and desire cloak the Scottish Highlands
Unruly. Unmarried. Unapologetic. Catriona Mackenzie’s reputation precedes her everywhere she goes. Her beloved late aunt Zelda taught Cat to live out loud and speak her mind, and that’s exactly what she does when Zelda’s legacy—a refuge for women in need—comes under fire. When her quest puts her in the path of the disturbingly mysterious Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose, Cat is soon caught up in the provocative rumors surrounding the dark duke. Never one to retreat, Cat boldly goes where no one else has dared for answers.
Shrouded in secrets, a hostage of lies, Hamlin must endure the fear and suspicion of those who believe he is a murderer. The sudden disappearance of his wife and the truth he keeps silent are a risk to his chances at earning a coveted parliamentary seat. But he’s kept his affairs tightly held until a woman with sparkling eyes and brazen determination appears unexpectedly in his life. Deadly allegations might be his downfall, but his unleashed passion could be the duke’s ultimate undoing.
Oh, my word! This is incredibly good! I have been a fan of Julia London’s work for ages now and I have been avidly reading this ‘Highland Grooms’ series with relish but this, I have to say is the best of the series, so far. I will admit that the last book; Aulay’s story didn’t live up to the previous book’s, after reading Rabbie’s and Cailean’s stories I didn’t think that this series could get any better and along come Catriona and Hamlin.
After her auntie Zelda’s death, Catriona is left to run Kishorn Abbey on her own, for it is in fact a refuge for women who for whatever reason need a safe place to turn to. Catriona has had a lot to deal with, she was by her auntie Zelda’s side through her illness and slowly she withdrew from society and public life and now she is practically a shell of what she used to be. To an extent that her family are worried, she is drinking heavily, unsociable and severely unhappy. She maybe proud of her spinsterhood and the fact that she doesn’t want or need a man in her life, deep down she is lonely.
Which is why they plot against her and send her to recuperate at her uncle Knox’s, Catriona doesn’t intend to spend her days lounging about she fully intends to get her wealthy English uncle’s support to help save Kishorn Abbey from being taken by the crown. But her well laid out plan’s soon take a turn when she meets the mysterious and devilishly handsome Duke of Montrose. As soon as she sees him across the Inn for the first time in years she feels alive and intrigued by something.
From the onset of meeting Catriona, you see straight way that there is a darkness hanging over her head, London has wonderful job with Catriona’s depression in the first part she hasn’t gone over done it but in those few moment’s you can get a glimpse of Catriona’s state of mind and she isn’t a happy woman. She tries to show to the world she is content but deep down she is a crying wreck.
Hamlin Graham is living under a dark and heavy cloud, of secrets, lies and scandal after the disappearance of his wife all of society think’s that Hamlin murdered her. He has lived with that hanging over his head, it has tarnished his reputation blackened his good name and now driven him to live a lonely and isolated life. It would all be well and good if he didn’t have his hopes set on gaining his seat in Parliament, after all Scotland were only allowed a handful of seats and he wanted one. He had plans to help and he could only do that once he gained that seat. But the scandal in his past and the secret he holds close to his heart are standing in his way.
That is until he meets feisty, determined kindred spirit; Catriona. Who brings the sunshine back into his dark life and makes his once dead heart begin to beat again. Catriona is the only one that knows Hamlin wouldn’t have killed his wife, he may be a huge, brawny and monosyllabic man but he she sees the goodness, she knows beneath that rude persona there lies a gentle, sensitive man.
Oh, my goodness, what a stud! Hamlin is soooo swoon-worthy, he ruggedly handsome. Kind, generous, dark and brooding. Plus, he is very good with his hands in more ways than just welding a hammer to fix his own roof, he isn’t your stereotypical duke. Part man part devil and when he looks at Catriona with those dark/black soulful eyes you melt. He is dark uncivilised and equally as sad as Catriona, they are a match made in heaven!
I love that first chapter where all the Mackenzie clan are all together after Zelda’s death, their closeness and protectiveness to one and other is so heart-warming. This is why I love this family so much, they maybe brutish men in kilts and fierce women with great mind, but they are also hugely supportive of each other and a wonderful family.
Just want to say that I am so intrigued by Nichol Bain who is Hamlin’s secretary. He is a mysterious young man, he has many secrets hidden behind those green eyes and I do hope that he will get a story of his own. He is quite a man I would love to know more about him.
This really is so good, wonderful storyline that keeps you hooked, and keeps you turning those pages to find out what happens’. Character’s that are engaging, intriguing and it’s a joy to watch as their relationship blossoms and their personal characters develop.
As I said in the beginning of the review, this is the best of the series, it’s thrilling, romantic, sexy with two of the best character’s. London has outdone herself with this, it is perfection!
This was an ARC copy via the Author’s PA in exchange for an honest review.
Tempting The Laird is to be released 26th June and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
I have a wonderful and exclusive to Chicks Rogues and Scandals Giveaway, to be in for a chance to win some exclusive Julia London swag then just answer the question below.
As the Highland Grooms is set in Scotland, what is your favourite thing about Scotland?
It can be anything, from food, clothes, the highlands or something Scottish from TV, mine has got to be Outlander 😉 what’s yours?
This giveaway will be open on here and on the Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Facebook Page which means you have the chance to put your name into the hat twice.
(Eg: Comment on this post -1 entry / Comment & Like Facebook post – 1 entry)
Good luck everyone!
*Unfortunately, giveaway is only opened to US and UK, Giveaway closes on 31st May at midnight GMT. Winner will be announced as soon as possible after closing date.