There’s no matchmaking an unruly heart
When a prominent Scottish family faces a major scandal weeks before their daughter’s wedding, they turn in desperation to the enigmatic fixer for the aristocracy, Nichol Bain. Remarkably skilled at making high-profile problems go away, Nichol understands the issue immediately. The family’s raven-haired ward, Maura Darby, has caught the wandering eye—and rather untoward advances—of the groom.
Nichol assuredly escorts Maura toward his proposed solution: an aging bachelor for her to marry. But rebellious Maura has no interest in marrying a stranger, especially when her handsome traveling companion has captivated her so completely. Thankfully, Nichol loves a challenge, but traveling with the bold and brash Maura has him viewing her as far more than somebody’s problem. Which raises a much bigger issue—how can he possibly elude disaster when the heart of the problem is his own?
London's sixth Highland Grooms historical (after Tempting the Laird) is enticing from the very first page as an 18th-century Scottish expert in crisis management meets his match. Nichol Bain is hired by Calum Garbett to repair the engagement between Calum's daughter, Sorcha, and Adam Cadell, son of Thomas Cadell. The engagement is part of a business deal between Calum and Thomas, but Sorcha and Adam are opposed to it. Winning them over requires finding a husband for Maura Darby, Calum's ward, who had been banished from the Garbetts' home after Adam kissed her. After rescuing Maura from the filthy hovel where she's been staying, Nichol and Maura travel to the estate of Dunnan Cockburn, the man who has agreed to marry her. Maura is unprepared for the sparks that flare between her and Nichol, and she realizes she feels safe with him. Nichol has never met a woman like Maura, who ignites his deepest emotions. London's story highlights the reality of the limited options for unmarried women in 18th-century Scotland as it showcases two magnetic protagonists and their delightful journey toward love.
A pleasant surprise
I was given an ARC via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
I have read the entire series, and I have to say I was not looking forward to Nicol Bain’s story. He was first introduced in the previous book – Tempting the Laird – and I did not find his character likeable in the least. Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to read Seduced by a Scot and find him an absolute delight! There’s a big ole softie hiding under that crusty outer shell, and it took an outspoken heroine like Maura Darby to draw it out of him.
Maura was sassy and witty when needed, but also vulnerable and loving. She’s the perfect counterpoint to Nichol’s prickly demeanor, which turned out to be a front to protect his own vulnerable heart. Their initial animosity gave way to grudging friendship, and eventually a deep love that you could feel from the pages. They faced many obstacles, but they did it together and are the stronger for them.
Overall, I think this ended up being my favorite of the series. It stands on its own, but taken with the others it gives a lovely sense of closure to the story of Clan Mackenzie. A must for anyone who loves historical romance with a heavy dose of Scotland.