An indomitable governess…a brooding Highlander…a forbidden affair…
An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Holly her reputation, her unsuitable lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naive wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette’s solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off…while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.
A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It’s even worse when the fiancée in question is a delicate, foolish young miss—unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie’s life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan’s future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?
Rabbie MacKenzie hates the English, he is a self-confessed Jacobite and who was apart of the attempted Jacobite uprising only to have it fall through and making him flee his own country to the safety of Norway. Now he has returned and his clan needs him to do the one thing that he never thought he would have to do, the one thing that any proud Jacobite would never do – Marry an English Sassenach!
Bernadette, is the governess of timid and foolish young girl that has been betrothed to the Scottish brute, Avaline is like Rabbie she is coerced into marrying. Bernadette knows that these two are just no good for each other, he would bull doze his way over little Avalaline,, she isn’t strong enough to take on the brooding giant. So Bernadette comes up with a plan to try to get this betrothal called off and in doing so she begins to see Rabbie in a whole new light, she sees his vulnerability and out of the blue she falls for this fragile man.
Can Bernadette get this betrothal cancelled and what’s more will Rabbie and her be able to have their much need Happily Ever After?
Rabbie caught my attention from the first moment we met him in the previous book and you needed to get to know more about this man, about why he is how he is and he is well worth the wait.
Rabbie is a deeply troubled man he is on the cusp of alcoholism and depression, he is in a very dark and dangerous place. It’s heart-breaking to watch as he starts dropping further and further in to the dark and gloom and you do worry if even Bernadette can bring him back to the light. He is stressed and forced to marry against his will to keep peace, he is still very much in love with his childhood sweetheart that was brutally killed while he had to flee Scotland and it is that what has contributed to turning him into this dark and dangerous man.
London has got Rabbie’s depression spot, on she hasn’t over done it, she hasn’t pushed his suicidal thought’s and alcoholism into your face at every turn. Instead there is an atmospheric undercurrent throughout and it is so skilfully done.
The girl Avaline that Rabbie is supposed to marry is a timed little mouse, she is like a deer in head lights. She is a scared and naive little thing and so not good for Rabbie, she would let him walk all over her he needs a woman who has got some gumption and a brain and wit of her own that can match his strength and who can heal his fragile heart and mind.
Bernadette is a fiery strong woman, she is a woman who knows her own mind but deep down so well hidden she has a secret heartache. She is just like Rabbie, scarred and lonely and in need of love. She at first thinks him a dark large brute but as time passes she begins to see that there is more to that darkness ten mere grumpiness. There is a real beautiful moment when she finally sees his vulnerability and when he finally confesses all to her.
“For God’s sake, you are to be wed, you’re to start a new life. This is absurd!”
“This is what you want,” he said, nearly upon her. “As do I.”
“I don’t want this !” she insisted, but her words sounded false to her own ears. “You don’t understand,” she said, her voice trembling now. “I am standing on the edge of utter destruction, Rabbie . You stand on the edge of ruining a young woman’s life. Is this… this infatuation worth that?” she asked pleadingly. “You need to be with her now! We both must rid ourselves of the madness that has gripped us!” He put his hand on her elbow and drew her into him. He shoved his fingers into her hair, pulled her head back and kissed her hard.
Bernadette splintered. She rose up on her toes and gripped his arms as she returned his kiss with a ferociousness that felt quite unlike her. He was suddenly holding her so tightly that she could feel the thud of his heart against her chest.
“I want you, Bernadette,” he whispered into her ear. He roughly ran his palm over her hair while his gaze searched her face. “Aye, I do, I want you, and you want me. You betray your mistress. I betray a memory. We are both of us traitors, then, we are, but let’s no’ betray each other.” Her heart pulse was racing, her body craving him, her mind screaming its warning to her.
“It’s so wrong.”
“Aye,” he agreed. “But the desire exists between us, and Diah, we’ll neither of us rest until we’ve put an end to it.”
There is darkness in Rabbie that I havn’t come across in a Historical Romance hero before, he is a fearsome, monosyllabic giant of a man who doesn’t care whether he lives or dies, he doesn’t care what people think of him and he doesn’t care if his insults or upsets anyone. He is struck in his dark brooding world.
Bernadette picks up on his darkness right away, she is very wary of this giant Scotsman, she as never met anyone like him and yet she is inexplicably drawn to him; like a moth to a flame. With Rabbie he wasn’t interested in the young lass, it was just a duty that he has to do but yet as soon as he sets eyes on Bernadette he knows that there is something about this lass.
They are both severely scarred and have both lost so much in their lives, they have both got splintered hearts that need fixing. As unlikely a pair as they may be, Rabbie and Bernadette are really good for each other they know what the other needs and how to help them in their darkest hour.
London has out done her self with this and especially with Rabbie, she has created a highly complex and scarred man and I think that he is the best of London’s heroes to date. This story is heart wrenching, you go through so many emotions while reading this there are highs and lows that keep you on the edge of your seat.
This is an absolute masterpiece from Julia London, I don’t have enough good words to say about it. This has to be read, it is definitely a five out of five. Just amazing!
This was an ARC copy from the publisher via Netgalley.