Scottish romance doesn't get much steamier - or more dangerous - than a spy hunting her quarry and losing her heart to him instead. To pay a seemingly impossible debt, Mariel Brandon has become a spy for Aaron, one of England's deadliest minds. Aaron's latest mission for the sharp-witted and daring Mariel is to find two people in a heavily fortified castle on the Isle of Skye, a castle headed by the clan MacDonald and the powerful Kieran. Mariel is to seduce Kieran and get him to take her to Skye. If she succeeds, Aaron promises to let Mariel's young brother go and to free both of them from their debt. If she fails, her brother will die. What she doesn't count on is craving Kieran MacDonald almost immediately upon meeting him. Now Mariel must keep a secret from Kieran - one that could get them both killed - as she tries to form a plan that will save her brother, get her out from under Aaron's thumb once and for all, and keep her in Kieran's strong arms forever.
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If you are looking for a more traditional historical romance – this isn’t the story for you
If you are looking for a more traditional historical romance – this isn’t the story for you… it’s steamy and sexy, and a heroine with a head full of schemes, secrets and agendas. Left without (or so she thought) options, Mariel takes to seducing men for secrets, in her desire to free her brother from the influence of her ‘handler’.
A bit too quick to take up the reins of courtesan for an otherwise ‘gently bred’ young woman of the day, she’s not easy to take to heart. There is, for me, a hesitation in her portrayal of various positions to ingratiate herself, and I can’t see that someone as demanding and deviant as Aaron would allow her, a virtual novice, the freedom to move and operate nearly independently.
There is a connection between Mariel and Kieran, perhaps as he rebuffed her invitations and blatant sexual offers quite neatly, allowing her a few moments where I expected her to stop plotting and just find her own footing. It didn’t happen then, and I didn’t feel it working solidly to explain away all of the questions I had at the end. I don’t have to love her, and felt that her behavior had me almost unwilling to ‘trust’ in her character…. Only time will tell with this one.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.