Rose Fleming has been presumed dead for the last decade. It required leaving everything—and everyone—she loved behind, including MacAllister Campbell. But faking her death allowed her to stay safe until the threat posed by a mysterious villain had passed. Believing it’s finally safe again, she returns…and runs smack into the only man she ever loved.
But Rose was wrong and the stalker she escaped years ago still has her in his sights.
Ten years ago, Mac mourned the death of the woman he loved. It’s taken years to heal his heart only to discover that not only is Rose still alive, but still in grave danger. Mac can forgive Rose’s deception, but he’d never be able to forgive himself if he didn’t protect her from the evil still stalking her.
The only thing worse than losing her once would be losing her again… and he won’t let that happen.
It seemed a lifetime since MacAllister had walked out of her life.
But there was no mistaking him. Even after all these years, standing in the shadow of the Larkspear Theater on a gaslit night, she knew the shape of his face, the wave in his chestnut brown hair, and the subtle scent of soap and bergamot indelibly imprinted on her brain.
Questions flashed in his eyes, coupled with a clear sense of recognition. Had he seen through her pitiful attempt at camouflage—a coffee rinse liberally applied over her hair to dull its natural auburn hue and a netted veil on her hat to partially obscure her features?
MacAllister had always taken in the smallest of details. Pity that trait had not changed.
Well, there was nothing to be done about it now. At the moment, MacAllister Campbell’s powers of observation were the least of her worries.
“Are you all right, miss?” His question was bland, ordinary. Perhaps she was mistaken—perhaps he didn’t recognize her.
She gave a nod, then raised up on her tiptoes to peer over his shoulder. In the distance, a tall man with a shock of stringy black hair shoved his way through the crowd. A chill washed over her. So, he was following her. The man’s near-constant presence since she’d left the hotel on the Strand had not been a coincidence. Another minute or so and he’d be upon her.
Dear God. The nod had been a colossal lie.
She wasn’t all right.
Not at all.
If the bull of a man caught up with her, she might well join the ranks of the deceased again.
Only this time, it would not be a charade.
Suddenly, she knew what she had to do. She’d likely regret it. But at least she’d be alive.
Since she’d last seen MacAllister, she’d developed a talent for making good use of every resource. And now, she needed MacAllister—well, she needed a man—if only for a very short while.
“Darling.” She flashed a soft smile, curled a gloved hand over his forearm, and urged him away from the gas lamp’s hazy light. “I’m delighted I found you.”
His eyes narrowed. She thought he’d respond, but he didn’t. Had she actually left him speechless? It wasn’t easy to get the better of MacAllister. This might well be a first. The notion was oddly satisfying. Not that she had time to savor the experience.
Peeking over his shoulder again, she spotted the black-haired man. He’d muscled past a burly gent with a walrus mustache. Oh dear.
“Oh, I’ve missed you so.” Taking hold of MacAllister’s jacket lapels, she stepped close to his body. Ignoring the press of a button against her cheek, she buried her face against the tweed. “Hold me. Please.”
His arms enfolded her. “Do you intend to tell me what in blazes is going on?” His voice was low and husky, so familiar, even after all this time.
Glancing over his shoulder to scan the crowd behind him, she glimpsed a flash of her pursuer’s coal-black hair.
His sharp, indrawn breath betrayed the tension in his body. “Who are you looking for?”
“An old friend,” she whispered against his mouth. “I need you to do something…for me.”
“Tell me what you’re up to. I’ve no patience for games.”
Did you ever, MacAllister?
She clung to him like a drowning woman. “Please, hold me.”
To her relief, he played along.
Leaning closer, she lifted the netting on her hat, just enough to leave her eyes still veiled.
“This is no time for words.”
No time for hesitation.
He framed her face in his large, warm hands. “What is this about?”
“Stop talking and kiss me.”
There is so much going on in When a Lady Kisses a Scot–a heroine in hiding, presumed dead; a hero and associates who are part of “Her Majesty’s Most Secret Service;” a secret society with evil intentions; hidden tattoos; mysterious pictures and jewelry; so many characters with probably nefarious intentions–at times it was all a bit much to keep track of, and not having read earlier books in the series, I wasn’t familiar with those characters either. (They play roles here, but you don’t have to have read their stories to read this one; it just would have been easier to keep track of who was who if I’d read the others first.) The pacing also seemed a bit uneven–at times we were hurtling around at breakneck speed, and at other times I found myself checking how much more of the book was left…
Overall it was a decent story–the ending is satisfying, and the bad guys/gals eventually get their due (though I still don’t 100% understand what exactly they were trying to do–their precise motivations were a bit vague beyond the idea of somehow gaining immortality and power). I do like the idea of men and women working together in “secret service” type organizations, especially in a historical romance, so chances are good that I’d pick up another book by this author even if I didn’t totally love everything about this one.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern-belle-out-of-water in a quaint northern town, she lives her own happily-ever-after with her real-life hero and a pair of deceptively innocent-looking cats. The mother of two sons, Tara’s a former librarian who first fell in love with the romance genre when she discovered her mother’s old-school romance paperbacks. When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys movie nights, traveling, cycling, hiking, DIY projects, and cheering on her favorite football team.a Rafflecopter giveaway