Barbara’s Rating – 5 Stars
Series: Wild Wicked Highlanders #2
Publication Date: 1/28/20
Number of Pages: 320
In the first book in the series, It’s Getting Scot in Here, we were introduced to the wild, brawny, devilishly handsome MacTaggert brothers. The brothers, Coll, Aden, and Niall, have lived the last seventeen years without their mother – Aden was only ten when she left and Niall was seven. She got tired of the Highland’s lack of social life and left with their year-old sister, Eloise. They haven’t heard a word from her in all that time and now, she’s demanding that they travel to London and marry English brides. Yes, she can enforce that because she holds the purse strings that provide support to their estate, Aldriss Park. They have to think of the estate and their crofters and villagers. Plus, she also holds a paper signed by their father stating that in return for her support of Aldriss, each son must marry an English bride AND that their mother gets to choose the bride for one of them. To say that the three brothers aren’t happy would be a gross understatement.
Miranda Harris’s brother is betrothed to Eloise MacTaggert and it is that betrothal that has caused the MacTaggert boys to be summoned and told to find brides. They must marry before Eloise does. Miranda is charming, intelligent, witty, always the bell of the ball, and … well … she’s definitely opinionated and outspoken. When she was first introduced to Aden, almost the first words out of her mouth were, “I detest gambling. And gamblers.”
Aden MacTaggert is probably the most handsome of the devilishly handsome MacTaggert boys. He is also good at wagering – his skills are legendary – and he could easily support himself and his family from his winnings. However, he has no interest in being a professional gambler – it is more entertainment for him. He’s highly intelligent and is always several steps ahead of anyone else. He’s the MacTaggert who is very private and doesn’t share his thoughts, feelings – plots – with anyone else.
Matthew Harris, Miranda’s brother, is a sweet, open, gullible young man who has run into a whole heap of trouble. An unscrupulous vulture has lured him into wagering more and more and more – much more than he can afford. The man holds Matthew’s vouchers for fifty-thousand pounds. Now, the man is demanding payment – either payment in full OR Miranda’s hand in marriage. The family couldn’t pay that amount even if they sold all of their belongings – they’d be ruined personally and financially.
Miranda has no intention of marrying Captain Robert Vale, but she can’t bring her family down either. She has to play along with Vale while she is finding a way out. She knows the perfect person from whom to seek advice – another gambler – Aden MacTaggert. He is certainly the lesser of two evils in this case. Will he help her after the way she insulted him?
Not only does Aden agree to help her, but he is also incensed at what has happened – for a number of reasons. He’s incensed that someone would lure a naïve young man into such a situation, but he’s even more incensed that the same young man would just expect his sister to pay the price. Basically, he traded his sister to settle his debt.
Aden and Miranda spend as much time as possible plotting and thwarting the machinations of Robert Vale, but he is a wily, sly, and unscrupulous man and beating him won’t be easy. Somewhere along the way, Aden and Miranda find that they very much admire each other … and … they come to love each other. However, they can only have a life together if they can thoroughly thwart Vale.
I loved how Aden and Miranda came to totally trust each other and rely on each other. That was a hard thing for each of them – Aden because he’d never had a woman in his life that he could rely on, and Miranda because she distrusted gamblers because of past family history. Their love was hard-won and their HEA was sweet.
I’m sure I’m supposed to be softening toward Francesca Oswell-MacTaggert, but my feelings are still the same. I am sure there is supposed to be more to the story than we’ve seen so far – and maybe I’ll soften when I learn it all. However, as a mother, I can’t think of anything that would make me leave my very young sons and not try to contact them for seventeen years. Then – to try to force them to her will in order to get them back into her life. No – I’m just not getting there.
Now, let’s talk about Matthew Harris. I kept reading what a sweet, naïve, nice young man he was – but I didn’t see it. He traded his sister (like a horse, or car, or …) and didn’t seem to have any real problem with having done so. I didn’t really see anything that made me think he was remorseful. Yet – he’s to be forgiven and to still be allowed to marry Eloise. I have trouble picturing these three MacTaggert men allowing that to happen without some serious stuff happening first. Something more than just resigning his club memberships.
So, the bottom line is that I loved the book and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.