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On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shy, pretty, and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.
A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter . . . and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.
Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He's wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters . . . and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.
Dare's marvelous third Castles Ever After Regency romance (after Say Yes to the Marquess) builds a gradual, intense romance between two people who are determined to avoid love and commitment. Maddie Gracechurch, determined to avoid a London season, writes to Capt. Logan MacKenzie, a Highland warrior, pretending that he's her fianc . He conveniently dies in battle, leaving her to pursue an illustration career and savor singlehood. Nine years later, Logan appears at Lannair Castle, where Maddie resides with her aunt Thea. Though Maddie explains that the letters were purely fictional, he intends to make good on his promise to marry her. Logan wants to have a home for his men who have followed him through the trials of battle; the castle is perfect. And he assures Maggie that once they've consummated the marriage, she can continue her work while they both enjoy their freedom. But their mutually acceptable agreement is hampered by their physical desire, as Logan comes to know the woman behind the letters and Maggie learns to break through his practiced emotional detachment. Dare's swiftly moving plot is enhanced by the seamlessly developed romance, and the sensuality is heightened by the slow awakening of the unlikely pair's mutual attraction.