Posts Tagged ‘Men-in-Kilts’


Setting: Scotland, 1884

The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and New Year’s in Scotland. In the chaos of preparations for the celebration–the first of Hart and Eleanor’s married life–one of Ian’s Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day. Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the time Eleanor’s baby will arrive to whether Mac’s former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match to who will be the first of the many guests to be caught under the mistletoe. Ian begins a new obsession, and Beth fears the loss of one of his precious bowls has made him withdraw once more into his private world.



I didn’t know how much I’d missed those sexy Mackenzies and what a treat to have them all gathered together with their wives and offspring.  There’s so much going on in this story but Jennifer Ashley seems to balance all the different threads so perfectly.

At the heart of the book is the power of family and love and it’s wonderful to watch their overwhelming support of each other in times of trouble.

I love all the Mackenzie brothers but Ian stole the show for me. He simply melted my heart with his words to Beth…

“You broke the bowl, and it is gone. But you are here and whole. Nothing else matters.”

and I loved how he supported Hart when Eleanor was in labour.

Daniel is growing up fast and judging by Mac’s words, he’s going to rival any of the older Mackenzies

“He’s quick-witted, resourceful, inventive, and as stubbornly obsessive as any of us. Very dangerous.”

Then there’s the intriguing situation between Inspector Lloyd Fellows (the Mackenzies’ illegimate half-brother) and Lady Louisa Scranton (Isabella’s younger sister) and the heartbroken Sinclair McBride (Ainsley’s brother). I can’t wait for their stories!

If you’re looking for a last minute present, this is the perfect gift for any lover of Historical Romance at it’s best.

VERDICT:  Full of warmth, laughter, fun, sadness, surprises, drama and romance!

RATING: ★★★★★


Read December 2012

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Setting: London, England 1884, Waterbury Grange, Berkshire, England 1884, Castle Kilmorgan, Scotland 1884

Who is Hart Mackenzie’s perfect match? Eleanor Ramsay doesn’t know–she jilted him all those years ago–and now all she wants from the devastating duke is a job. Or so she tells herself. Persuading him to hire her as an assistant to his secretary is tricky, but Eleanor has a trick or two of her own up her sleeve…


I so wanted to give this book 5 stars because there was so much I loved about it but there were a few issues that really bugged me and so I’m rating it 4.5 stars.


Hart and Eleanor

As with everything else, Hart had planned with precision how he intended to win Eleanor back and make her his wife. Poor Hart! Things don’t go completely to plan and it was wonderful to see that famous self-control crack when she unexpectedly walks back into his life. He’s so used to controlling everything and everybody around him but Eleanor is the one person who has never been intimidated by him even at his most imperious.

I love Eleanor. She’s irrepressible, smart and determined but she’s also warm, compassionate and kind. She has a way of putting everyone at their ease, whatever their station in life, and I like that about her. I smiled at how her constant chatter drives Hart crazy but arouses him at the same time.

”Goodness, I haven’t seen her in donkey’s years,” Eleanor said, sitting back as they rolled on. “Her daughters must be, oh, quite young ladies now. Have they made their come-outs yet?”
Her mouth was still kissable, closing in a little pucker while she awaited his answer.
“I haven’t the faintest bloody idea,” Hart said.

I loved seeing that Eleanor has a slightly wicked side; the way she peruses those nude photos of Hart in such detail!

These two are just a perfect match. Even after their break-up, Eleanor was the only one he ever confided in and trusted his darkest secrets to. I think she understands him even better than he understands himself. Eleanor can strip away the protective layers and find the laughing teasing man she fell hopelessly in love a decade ago. Despite the passage of time and the different paths their lives have taken, I feel their love for each other has remained a constant.

Yes, he’s still got that hard edge but I began to see Hart through very different eyes. In the intervening years, he has suffered terrible pain and grief but he has always hidden his emotions behind a cold-hearted mask. There’s such a heart-wrenching scene where Eleanor finds him touching his son’s gravestone and his words are so poignant that I felt tears welling in my eyes.

I enjoyed how the romance developed between Eleanor and Hart. Beneath their teasing, there was always an undercurrent of sexual tension between them and I loved that rather delicious scene in the laundry room.


The deep connection between Ian and Hart plays an important part in this story. Hart had always done everything he could to protect his younger brothers from their cruel and ruthless father.  But Ian has always been different and special in Hart’s eyes and the actions he is prepared to take to keep Ian safe speaks more than anything for his love for his brother. It is obvious how much Hart’s happiness means to Ian.

The Rest of the Mackenzie Family

I loved seeing all the happily married Mackenzie brothers, their wives and adorable children. The family scenes had such warmth and humour and this is one of my favourites.

Screaming erupted from on hig, shrill, desperate, Armagedon-has-come screaming. Mac grinned and jogged back upstairs.

“Papa’s coming, hellions,” he called. “If you’re good, you can have Auntie Eleanor for tea.”


There was constant reference to Hart’s darker sexual side and his fear of telling Eleanor the full truth about his needs. Like many others, I was disappointed that Ms Ashley didn’t explore this aspect in any depth. The only concession was a lack-lustre scene involving light bondage. I remember reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s beautiful and erotic scene in Wicked Intentions between Temperance and Lazarus and wished for something similar in this book.

A further issue I had concerned the dramatic events towards the end of the book which lead to Hart’s realization of what‘s really important in his life. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but this seemed to layer one improbable situation upon another. It’s difficult to explain without resorting to spoilers.

Despite these issues, I still enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the next book about Elliot McBride (Ainsley’s brother).


RATING: ★★★★½


Read April 2012

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Setting: London, England 1882, Scotland 1882, Paris 1882,  Monaco 1882

He is a man of simple tastes – and complex pleasures…

Cameron Mackenzie is a man who loves only horses and women – in that order – or so his mistresses say.

Ainsley Douglas is a woman with a strong sense of justice and the desire to help others – even if that means sneaking around a rakish man’s bedchamber.

Which is exactly where Cam finds her – six years after he caught her the first time. Only then, she convinced Cam she was seeking a liaison, but couldn’t go through with it because of her husband. Now a widow, she’s on a mission to retrieve letters that could prove embarrassing to the queen. Cam has no interest in Ainsley’s subterfuge, but he vows to finish what they started those many years ago. One game, one kiss at a time, he plans to seduce her. And what starts out as a lusty diversion may break Cam’s own rules – and heal the scars of a dark and damaging past…


Who can resist a Scotsman in a kilt? Not me! So I’m thrilled that those deliciously sexy Mackenzie brothers are back! THE MANY SINS OF LORD CAMERON, the third book in Jennifer Ashley’s popular Highland Pleasures series, tells Cameron Mackenzie’s story.

Jennifer Ashley has a gift for creating intriguing and vibrant characters like Cameron and Ainsley who stay in your imagination long after you’ve closed the book.

If anyone is in need of the tender loving care from a special woman, it’s definitely Cameron Mackenzie. Reading how he suffered both mental and physical abuse at the hands of his deranged first wife, Elizabeth, in order to protect his baby son, was so heartrending. Even after her suicide, Elizabeth still haunts Cameron as there is speculation that he murdered her. When Ainsley says – “I do hope it is hot where you are Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, Very, very, hot.” – my sentiments exactly!

Cameron’s physical scars may have healed but his emotional scars have not. He is living a grey existence and only feels alive when he’s with his horses. He certainly isn’t short of female company but never offers any long-term commitment. He has a deep mistrust of women, never wishing to marry again and who can blame him? But Ainsley sees the pain and loneliness he hides and is determined heal his tormented soul with her love, tenderness and compassion:

…her tenderness wrapped him and eased every hurt in his soul.

Ainsley has suffered her own heartbreak in the past and I understand why she is reluctant to give her heart to any man again. At first she does try to resist Cameron but stands no chance against such a skilled seducer:

He was a man who knew how to make women yearn to give him what he wanted. Ainsley, for all her seeming recklessness, had learned to be cautious – everything done for a reason, every risk calculated against its reward. But with Cameron, the old reckless Ainsley reared up, wanting him to undo her bodice down to her waist and take what he pleased.

Jennifer Ashley certainly knows how to seduce her reader, just as Cameron seduces Ainsley. The continuing game Cameron plays with Ainsley of how many buttons will you undo for me? and the erotic scene in the darkened opera box help to create an atmosphere of anticipation. She even achieves it with just a few words:

She jerked Cameron’s handkerchief from his pocket and started dabbing his lips. “You have lip colour on your face.”
Cameron gave her a hot smile. “I want to see it all over my body.”

My mind was working overtime trying to imagine how that scene would play out! Ultimately the love scenes are a wonderful combination of sensual imagery, dialogue and touches of humour.

I like Cameron’s son, Daniel, who seems to have a wise head on such young shoulders. He is astute enough to recognize that Ainsley is just what his father needs and he knows what he wants to do in life and goes after it. I love his reply when Cameron says he’s been a terrible father:

“All you got was a dad who beat his sons and was jealous of them too. I have a dad who tries to do the right thing, even if he mucks it up most of the time.”

Ian and Beth and Mac and Isabella from the two previous books all make welcome reappearances and the scene involving Hart Mackenzie and Lady Eleanor Ramsay provides an intriguing teaser for their book, The Duke’s Perfect Wife, the next in the series.

All you lassies out there who have not yet discovered the seductive world of the Mackenzie brothers, what are you waiting for? This series is a treat not to be missed!

Cameron Mackenzie – a huge man, sculptured in muscle


RATING: ★★★★★


Read August 2011

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