From New York Times bestselling author Julia London, comes TEMPTING THE LAIRD—the fifth standalone novel in her Highland Grooms Series!
TEMPTING THE LAIRD is now available where all fine books are sold. Grab your copy today!
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.
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“Criosd, Cat, no one has spoken ill of you!” Rabbie said. “But for the last few months, you mope about and drink your fill of wine and brandy every night, aye?” Rabbie said. “You donna attempt to have any society about you.”
“What society?” she exclaimed loudly. “Where is it, Rabbie, do point me in that direction, aye? And in the course of it, perhaps you might point to something that I might do.”
He frowned. “Do you no’ see what we all see? You’re letting your life slip between your fingers, you are.”
She felt strangely exposed. Uncomfortable. Not angry, really, but…but she didn’t like this, not at all. What did they expect of her? None of them had ever been a spinster, with nothing to look forward to, without any hope of ever being a mother, or a wife. “What would you have me do? I’ve no occupation, no’ a bloody thing to do with my time but mope about and drink wine and brandy!” She felt on the verge of tears. She felt annoyed, she felt betrayed, she felt as if they’d all left her behind. Every one of them had families and loves and occupations, and purpose, for God’s sake, but she, by virtue of being born female and at a time when suitable men were scarce, could do nothing but float from one gathering to the next, looking for something to do with her time.
The only meaningful thing in her life at present was the abbey. Zelda had given a purpose to Catriona’s life, and they would take it away?
Blast it, but the tears began to slip from her eyes again.
“Diah, I didna say it to make you cry,” Rabbie said gruffly.
Her mother walked to Catriona’s seat and wrapped her arms around her daughter. “Go to your uncle Knox, allow him to help you, and please, darling, take a bit of time to care for yourself.”
“I canna leave them,” she said tearfully, and took the handkerchief Daisy offered her and blew her nose.
“Aye, Miss Catriona, you can.”
Catriona stilled. The mutiny was complete, then. “You, too, Rhona?” she asked in a whimper.
Rhona colored slightly. “We’ll be quite all right for the summer, aye?” she said nervously. “Your lady mother, she…well, she’s right, she is. You deserve happiness, Miss Catriona. You’ve no’ had it at Kishorn.”
Catriona wanted to argue that she was happy, but it was a lie. She was desperately unhappy with her situation, and apparently, in spite of her best efforts to hide it, they all knew it.
Oh goodness. This is definitely my favorite of the series!
I loved Catriona and Hamlin’s story. Ms. London kept me on my toes throughout–this story went in directions I wasn’t expecting (and it took forever to find out what the truth was about Hamlin’s past…geesh), but I loved what she did with it in the end. Hamlin, aka the dark duke, was absolutely delicious, and his relationship with his small ward (his wife’s cousin’s child) made my heart happy. I can’t say enough about how much I loved what he does at the end to bring about their HEA…I’m bummed we don’t get to actually witness it, but it makes sense that Cat (and the reader) are kept in the dark, and really, seeing her learn about it after the fact is almost as good 🙂
Most of the story is Cat and Hamlin’s, so it would work okay as a standalone. If you’ve read any/all of the other books, though, you’re already familiar with Cat and seeing her get to an HEA of her own will be all that much sweeter. Either way, though–read. This. Book! You won’t be sorry, I promise!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About Julia London:
Julia London is the New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical romance series, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch and The Perfect Homecoming. She has over 100,000+ Facebook followers, is the recipient of the RT Book Reviews for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. You can visit her website JuliaLondon.com. She lives in Austin, Texas.
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