(Mackenzies & McBrides, #6.5)
Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)
Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. It’s never her fault–honor bright–but newspapers love to write about the young woman from Scotland, and the much older duke she married, who died on their honeymoon. The duke left her with a large widow’s portion, now contested by his son, who kicks Rose out of the estate’s dower house and uses it to kennel his dogs.
Rose does *not* need to be found with a large, handsome Scot passed out at her feet, fueling gossips and giving her stepson more ammunition. The Scot is Steven McBride – a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time. Steven is happy to open his eyes and find the beautiful woman standing over him, and happy to help spirit her away. He comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists, but Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.
This is a sweet, sexy novella featuring the youngest McBride brother, Steven.
Steven was a very likeable hero with a delicious dash of wickedness. I loved him for championing Rose and doing whatever was required to ensure she received everything she was entitled to. He cares deeply but hides it behind “joking, self-deprecation, and drink.”
Rose is a lovely heroine…so kind, patient and caring. It is something Steven has never experienced before.
No woman in Steven’s history of women —and that history was a full one— had ever told him, concern in her eyes, to wrap up warm. Not one had mentioned the slightest concern for Steven’s well-being.
Despite her diminished situation, she is generous and her natural warmth has gained her the loyalty of her servants. I like how with Steven’s encouragement she regains the vibrancy and willingness to flout convention that her late husband so admired. I was pleased that Rose’s relationship with her older, late husband, Charles, had been a loving one.
I enjoyed the tender, sweet, passionate romance. Steven and Rose are so perfectly matched. Both are lonely and have no real home or roots. Steven has never met any woman he could fall in love with but was also willing to share his tough army life. Rose is just that person.
She imagined herself roving the world with this man, both of them free and laughing, sleeping rough, snuggled together.
The mystery surrounding Rose’s legacy from Charles was entertaining although, at one point, things did become a little too whimsical.
There were welcome cameos from the Mackenzies particularly Ian and Beth. As always, Ian stole every scene he appeared in and, with his unique way at looking at the world, proved invaluable in solving the final piece of the mystery puzzle.
But perhaps love knew no seasons— it simply came when it was time.
This was another satisfying addition to the wonderful world of the Mackenzies & McBrides.
REVIEW RATING 4/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read January 2015
Mackenzies & McBrides series to date (click on cover for more details):