Series: Highland Weddings, #5
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Symon Grant needs to marry, he and his cousin Brenda are the last of their line and both childless and widowed. Symon cared for his wife and has mourned her for four long years, but the time to move on has come – he owes his clan an heir.
Athena Trappes is the on the brink of marrying Galwell, the son of Baron Scrope. He has asked for her hand and promises to see to the contracts soon. But when Galwell betrays her, Athena has to flee or see her family destroyed. Her uncle has her dress as a boy and travel with a friend of his to Scotland, he promises to gain support against Galwell so that she might return home.
Athena travels for weeks with Myles and when they stop in a village, she abandons her disguise and joins the May Day revels. She catches the eye of Symon, she is the first woman in years to elicit a response from him and there is no way he is going to let her get away. They share a kiss and she disappears. He looks for her and is more determined than ever to find her. Athena sees him looking for her, but knows nothing can come of it, no matter how attractive he is, or tall, or handsome – no, nothing can come of it. But what she doesn’t know is her impromptu dance didn’t just catch Symon’s attention – it also revealed her true identity to a very unscrupulous man, Will Tinker, who is traveling with Myles. Will takes one look at Athena’s beauty and decides that she will make him rich.
He abducts her and plans to sell her to a brothel – but she outsmarts him and escapes – right into Symon’s waiting arms. Symon learned that Will had nefarious plans for Athena and is going to save her – he isn’t sure if she is the woman he wants to marry, but he knows he can’t leave her to the fate Will has in store for her.
When he finds her outside the brothel, he insists that she go with him – he says it is not safe for her to be alone and promises to notify her uncle. She goes, but has no plans on staying. When they arrive, the clan thinks she is his bride – they both deny it and there are quite a few amusing scenes based on the assumption he will marry Athena.
For their part, they can’t keep their hands off each other and Brenda appoints herself the guardian of Athena’s virtue. They grow closer and Athena decides that she will marry Symon, but before she can let him know, Will Tinker turns up again, with a new plan!
Athena is saved yet again by Symon, but the rescue is not without casualties and their celebration is cut short by the king’s men. They are forced to attend King James and he throws a wrench into their happiness by revealing the truth of Athena’s parentage and threatens to tear them apart.
Another abduction, escape and rescue are thrown into the mix as well as the arrival of Brenda’s annoyingly persistent suitor Bothan Gunn and a decision by the king that sends everyone reeling.
This was a fun story, a bit wordy and repetitive at times, but overall a well written, fast paced, steamy, exciting story with great leads, secondary characters and multiple villains. Ms. Wine does a great job of setting up the next story without detracting from Symon and Athena’s hard earned HEA. This is the 5th book in the Highland Weddings series, but it can definitely be read as a stand alone title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*