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(Scottish Brides, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

He will expose her as the criminal he seeks, or seduce her as the woman he desires…

An old maid—that’s all Lady Christina McMorlan, daughter to the Duke of Forres, is to society now that she’s past thirty. She hosts her father’s parties and cares for her siblings, knowing she’ll never have her own home and family. She has no time to pine, however. By night, she’s The Lady, head of a notorious whiskey-smuggling gang that supports her impoverished clan. They’re always one step ahead of the revenue man—until Lucas Black shows up.

Rejecting his title and the proper society that disparaged his mother, Lucas earns his living running a successful gambling house. He’s also a spy, charged with bringing down the Forres Gang. He thinks The Lady’s just a bored society spinster. She thinks he’s a lost child playing at rebellion. And when the truth comes out, it’s not just their love on the line…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

The perfect combination of intrigue, passion and romance.

This is the third and final book in Nicola Cornick’s enjoyable Scottish Brides series

Lady Christina is the eldest of the MacMorlan sisters and, at the age of 33, considered to be the ‘old maid’ of the family…the dutiful daughter, keeping house for her father, the Duke of Forres. While he selfishly indulges in his academic studies, Christina also runs the estate and cares for the welfare of her father’s tenants. None of her family suspects that, at night, she becomes The Lady, leader of a successful whisky smuggling gang.

I love Christina’s dual personality…the staid spinster who is easily overlooked and the brave woman who is willing to risk her life to support and protect her people from those who would exploit them. Her family see her as a passionless woman but, in her youth, she had been wild and reckless but sacrificed her own happiness to take care of her father and younger siblings after her mother dies.

When Lucas’s half-brother, Peter, is murdered whilst on a trip to Scotland, Lucas is determined to bring the murderer to justice. The Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, is convinced that the infamous Kilmory smuggling gang are involved and Lucas volunteers to go to Castle Kilmory and, posing as a footman, infiltrate the smuggling gang and discover the identity of his brother’s murderer.

I do love a hero who has had to drag himself up by his bootstraps and Lucas did that and more. The legacy of being the illegitimate son of a Scottish laird and a Russian princess and his anger over his father’s abandonment of himself and his mother has fuelled Lucas’s determination to succeed. The hardships he endured taught him to be hard, strong and ruthless. Now he runs the most prestigious gambling salon in Scotland, rejecting the title and lands inherited from his father. Emotions have no place in his life…they weakened a man.

Lucas is totally unsuited to this role as footman, more used to giving orders rather than taking them. His irreverence results in some amusing exchanges with Christina and this is one of my favourites, when they are discussing plans for her father’s grotto:

“Here you have them, Mr Ross. I hope they will give you an idea of what my father has in mind.” Her gaze fell on the top book and she bit her lip, recoiling slightly. “Oh, my goodness! I assume papa does not intend his statues to be quite so overendowed.”

“I now have a mental image of the garden grotto as a woodland glade in which satyrs ravish innocent maidens,” Lucas said, enjoying her discomfiture. He was sure that for a moment her gaze had flickered to his groin as though comparing him to the preposterously huge men in the book.

“Pray remove that image from your mind, “Christina said sharply. “We do not require you to use your imagination, Mr Ross. Not at all.”

It was easy to sympathise with Christina’s insecurities about herself…a complexion that had lost its youthful sparkle and a chin that was showing signs of sagging (I know the feeling well) and I loved that Lucas saw her as beautiful and desirable.


His hand closed over hers and she froze, catching her breath. Her face was in profile and he could see the curve of her lips and a pulse beating in the delicate hollow of her throat. Beneath his hand her fingers trembled. The awareness shimmered beneath them like a heat haze.

The romance was perfectly paced…an intoxicating mix of heart-warming tenderness and delicious sensuality. I could feel the deep emotional connection between Christina and Lucas which made their love for each other both genuine and believable. I enjoyed seeing how Lucas’s love for Christina enables him to come to terms with his painful past.

There was an interesting cast of secondary characters; the merciless excise man, Mr Eyre, who is a vicious adversary, the selfish Duke of Florres, Christina’s father and Gertrude, Christina’s viper-tongued sister-in-law. Robert and Lucy (The Lady and the Laird) and Jack and Mairi (One Night with the Laird) are on hand to lend their support.

There is plenty of drama and excitement and the identity of Peter’s murderer came as a big surprise. The one thing that I could have wished for was a charming Epilogue with a glimpse of the future. Yes, I’m a real pushover for all those cute children.

A captivating and sensual love story and a satisfying finish to this enjoyable series.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read September 2014

Scottish Brides series (click on the covers for more details):
The Lady and the Laird (Scottish Brides, #1) by Nicola Cornick One Night with the Laird (Scottish Brides, #2) by Nicola Cornick Claimed By The Laird by Nicola Cornick

 

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This is the final book in Nicola Cornick’s delightful Scottish Brides series.

(Scottish Brides, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

He will expose her as the criminal he seeks, or seduce her as the woman he desires…

An old maid—that’s all Lady Christina McMorlan, daughter to the Duke of Forres, is to society now that she’s past thirty. She hosts her father’s parties and cares for her siblings, knowing she’ll never have her own home and family. She has no time to pine, however. By night, she’s The Lady, head of a notorious whiskey-smuggling gang that supports her impoverished clan. They’re always one step ahead of the revenue man—until Lucas Black shows up.

Rejecting his title and the proper society that disparaged his mother, Lucas earns his living running a successful gambling house. He’s also a spy, charged with bringing down the Forres Gang. He thinks The Lady’s just a bored society spinster. She thinks he’s a lost child playing at rebellion. And when the truth comes out, it’s not just their love on the line…

 

Here are the buy links:

Claimed by the Laird

 

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(Scottish Brides #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Official Blurb 

A wicked attraction!

Fashionable society widow Lady Mairi MacLeod cannot understand the dark passion that binds her to Jack Rutherford. He is everything she dislikes in a man, rakish, arrogant and charming, and she would prefer to forget the night of wicked passion that she spent in his arms.

But when Mairi is threatened by a blackmailer, Jack is the only man who can protect her. As they work together to uncover where the danger lies, their passion reignites. Little by little, the masks they wear burn away, and their most private secrets come to light…

Scottish Brides – Where Regency elegance meets Highland passion!

Publication date: 29 October 2013 

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

5 Passionate Stars

Ms Cornick drew me back to the wild Scottish Highlands with her second book in the Scottish Brides series… a compelling blend of passion-filled romance and intriguing mystery.

MY THOUGHTS

Neither of them gave away what really lay beneath

Beneath the arrogant, self-assured, confident and charming manner, Jack struggles with feelings of guilt and failure. However misguided, he believes he failed those he loved and blames himself for the death of his mother and sister. He sought solace in a bottle and only the efforts of his grandmother saved him from shame and humiliation and forced him to make something of his life. But he vows never to become emotionally involved with anyone again…he had the reputation for leaving a woman before the sheets were cold. When Jack reveals the full circumstances surrounding his sister’s death, I had an understanding of why, in his own mind, he carried this survivor’s guilt. He insists that everything he does is for selfish reasons… he has no honour…he is incapable of finer feelings…but his actions constantly prove that he is a worthy hero.

I had so much sympathy for Mairi. Like Jack, she is haunted by the past. Betrayed and hurt by her husband, forced to keep his scandalous secrets and burdened with the responsibility for the estates she inherited, Mairi has always had to be independent and strong. But she is tired of a life lived without color or excitement and I could understand why she longed to experience just one night of passion with a stranger. Events of the past have left her vulnerable and wary of any emotional ties. I love how gradually we begin to see the real Mairi, just as Jack sees her …complex, warm, passionate and sweet. In fact, she is a true heroine.

WOW!! Jack and Mairi’s journey was such an emotional roller-coaster. Ms Cornick captured all the subtle nuances of their heated and intense relationship. The chemistry between them was tangible…the sexual tension sizzling…the love scenes smouldering. But I loved the scenes where they each finally share their secrets. There is such a deep emotional connection that made their love for each other seem genuine and believable.

She stroked his hair and held him close as he fell asleep. She understood now why Jack was afraid to love anyone and why he did not want the responsibility of a wife and child. Her heart ached for him and she drew him closer into her arms. 

~~~~~

He raised a gentle hand and smoothed the hair away from Mairi’s cheek. She stirred in her sleep, making a soft sound and pressing closer to him, turning her face instinctively to his. Something like a fist clenched tight in Jack’s chest, sweet and poignant at the same time.

The mystery aspect of the plot held my interest and I only started to have my suspicions about the identity of the villain towards the end but there was a surprise twist I didn’t see coming and a nail-biting ending.

My only complaint was that the ending felt somewhat abrupt and so I’m hoping that we see more of Jack and Mairi in the final book in this series which features Mairi’s older spinster sister, Christina and Lucas Black, who makes a brief appearance in this book.

A passionate and sensual love story, memorable characters, a compelling plot and great writing make ONE NIGHT WITH THE LAIRD a highly recommended read.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT 

Read October 2013

Scottish Brides series so far (click the cover for more details):

The Lady and the Laird (Scottish Brides, #1) One Night with the Laird (Scottish Brides, #2)

My sincere thanks to Nicola Cornick for providing me with an ARC of her book in return for an honest review.

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(The Scottish Brides #1)

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

An Indecent Proposal!

Lady Lucy MacMorlan may have forsworn men and marriage, but that doesn’t mean she won’t agree to profit from writing love letters for her brother’s friends – letters that become increasingly racy as her fame grows. That is, until she deliberately ruins the betrothal of a notorious laird, Robert, Marquis of Methven.

Past centuries of bloodshed have left the Methven and MacMorlan families bitter enemies and Robert is furious that Lady Lucy’s letters have cost him the bride he needs so urgently to save his ancestral clan lands. Now he makes Lucy a shocking proposal; in return for his silence she must become his wife and provide him with the heir he needs. It is an inconvenient marriage of convenience but can the rugged laird and the bluestocking beauty fight against the power of love?

Scottish Brides – Where Regency elegance meets Highland passion!

★✩★✩★✩★✩★


Golden Isle

I loved this captivating romance!

Set against a backdrop of the wild Scottish highlands, THE LADY AND THE LAIRD is a story of secrets, honour , trust, romance, passion and old enmities.

Who can resist a rugged Scottish Highlander hero? Not me! So I could not help but fall for Robert (he may wear trousers rather than a kilt but he’s still a hottie!). He is proud, honourable, honest, determined, protective and loyal and the safety of his clan and his lands means everything to him. But he is haunted by shadows of the past…his brother’s death; the quarrel and estrangement from his grandfather; his determination to prove himself in the wilds of Canada; his sense of guilt over not returning to claim his inheritance and neglecting his estate; allowing Wilfred Cardross to plunder his lands and people. He bottles all these emotions up and refuses to talk about them which causes some discord between Lucy and himself. I love how patient and understanding he is of Lucy’s fears and how he is willing to take things slowly…to gain her trust and allay her fears. A simply perfect hero!

Lucy is also haunted by the past. The terrible memories of her twin sister Alice’s death have left her emotionally scarred. Like Robert she has kept all these memories locked away but, in doing so, she has developed an overwhelming fear of love and marriage and all it entails. So she has followed more intellectual pursuits, becoming a member of the Highland Ladies Bluestocking Society (these pillars of society were certainly fond of rather risqué activities!)

I like how Ms Cornick sets up a connection between the 19 year old Robert and the 16 year old Lucy in the Prologue when they talk and share a kiss. Although they have both changed when they meet again 8 years later, the memories they share make the renewed attraction believable. I enjoyed how the romance develops slowly allowing for some delightful banter, a deliciously erotic poetry recitation, a memorable massage, some luscious love scenes and a tender but sensual consummation scene.

There is an interesting cast of secondary characters:

Lady Mairi MacLeod– Lucy’s beautiful, widowed sister… an extrovert and a flirt

Lady Christina MacMorlan – the oldest sister…firmly on the shelf…companion to their father, housekeeper and hostess

Jack Rutherford – Robert’s cousin…a ruthless self-made man…an accomplished rake

Wilfred, Earl of Cardross – resembles an over-stuffed turkey…cunning…greedy…all-out-villain

I did like Jack. He provides some funny moments and there is also a hint of some tension between him and Mairi. So I’m looking forward to reading their story in the next book ONE NIGHT WITH A LAIRD coming in November.

The plot had enough intrigue and action to keep my interest…kidnapping, spying, betrayal, a sword-wielding heroine and a thorough routing of the villain and his cohorts. There is one point towards the end where I would gleefully have hung that worm Wilfred Cardross by his b???s from the nearest tree for what he did to Lucy.

I admit I love a good Epilogue and THE LADY AND THE LAIRD has such a charming one.

A captivating love story, great characters with a sigh-worthy Highland hero and brave but vulnerable heroine, beautiful setting, intriguing plot, excellent writing, sensual love scenes, and a superb ending – what more could I ask for!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 stars

SENSUALITY RATING : HOT

Read August 2013

Scottish Brides series so far (click cover for more details):

The Lady and the Laird (Scottish Brides, #1)

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Firstly, a huge thank you to Carol for hosting the official launch of my new Scottish-set Regency historical, The Lady and the Laird , here on Rakes and Rascals. It’s such a pleasure to be here today!

Since this blog has the great title of Rakes and Rascals it seems appropriate to talk about heroes today and in particular Scottish heroes. Robert Methven, the hero of The Lady and the Laird isn’t a rake but he is most definitely a rascal. Robert is a self-made man who has made a fortune in Canada in the timber trade. He comes back to Scotland when he inherits his ancestral estates and is shocked and horrified at the neglect they have suffered. For Robert, restoring his lands and keeping his people safe is of prime importance. He needs a wife and an heir fast, and he is prepared to compromise Lady Lucy MacMorlan into marriage in order to thwart the designs of his enemy and to save his clan.

Of course, one could claim that this is dishonourable, the behaviour of a scoundrel, and Lucy wastes no time in pointing this out:

“Did you come to Durness specifically with the intention of compromising me?” Lucy demanded
He inclined his head. “I came to make you an offer of marriage.”
“Then why not do so in an honourable manner?” Lucy asked. She took a deep breath and tried to steady herself. It was not easy, not under that perceptive blue gaze that seemed to see right into her soul.
He did not hesitate. “You would have refused me,” he said.
He was right; she would have done. She could not in truth deny it.
When she did not immediately speak he spread his hands wide in a gesture of appeal. “Forgive me,” he said, “but I had no other option than to force your hand.”
“I do not forgive you.” Lucy’s voice cracked. She was shocked at the depth of her disappointment in him. “It’s blackmail. You are completely without honour.”
He corrected her, his jaw rigid. “My allegiance, my honour, is to my clan. That has to be my first loyalty.
There was a silence. He made no excuse, no further attempt to justify his actions.”

For me one of the most appealing qualities a hero possesses is his integrity. This may be buried deep, he may think he does not even possess any honour, but at the end of the day his moral code is strong.

Like all good Scottish heroes, Robert is a rugged individualist who has spent his life in wild territories forging his way with strength and determination. One of the reasons that I made Robert an adventurer and explorer is that by the Regency period the wars against the English and the Jacobite rebellions are long gone, but the rugged spirit of the Highlander remains. That isn’t to say that there was not the opportunity for a good old-fashioned swashbuckling sword fight in The Lady and the Laird. There certainly is.

Robert is a protector, the man on whom what is left of his clan depends, a man who will defend his people to the death. His devotion to the woman he loves is equally as strong. For me that sense of honour and kinship, that rugged power and loyalty, is at the heart of the appeal of a Scottish-set romance.

What do you like best about Scottish-set romance and a Scottish hero? 

To celebrate the official launch of the book I am giving away a copy of The Lady and the Laird and also a gorgeous Scottie Dog Brooch from acclaimed Scottish jeweller Heathergems! (International)

**THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED HERE ON RAKES AND RASCALS ON THURSDAY 1 AUGUST.**

An Indecent Proposal!

Lady Lucy MacMorlan may have forsworn men and marriage, but that doesn’t mean she won’t agree to profit from writing love letters for her brother’s friends – letters that become increasingly racy as her fame grows. That is, until she deliberately ruins the betrothal of a notorious laird, Robert, Marquis of Methven.

Past centuries of bloodshed have left the Methven and MacMorlan families bitter enemies and Robert is furious that Lady Lucy’s letters have cost him the bride he needs so urgently to save his ancestral clan lands. Now he makes Lucy a shocking proposal; in return for his silence she must become his wife and provide him with the heir he needs. It is an inconvenient marriage of convenience but can the rugged laird and the bluestocking beauty fight against the power of love?

Scottish Brides – Where Regency elegance meets Highland passion!

★✩★✩★✩★✩★


Places featured in the Scottish Brides series, a map designed by Andrew Cornick


Fair Isle, my inspiration for Golden Isle, the remote island at the centre of the dispute over Robert Methven’s inheritance in The Lady and the Laird. Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the UK. It lies halfway between the Shetland and Orkney Islands off the North Coast of Scotland. It’s wild and windswept, rugged and unconquered, just like the heroes of the Scottish Brides series

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes witty and passionate Regency historicals for HQN Books and MIRA. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House.

Romantic Times has described her writing as emotional and sexually charged and Publishers Weekly have called her a rising star. She is a double nominee for both the RWA RITA Award and the RNA Love Story of the Year.

Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog at www.nicolacornick.co.uk She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter @NicolaCornick

Nicola, thank you so much for being here today on Rakes and Rascals for the launch of The Lady and the Laird and I know you’ll enjoy this small token of my appreciation.

 

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I am so excited to announce that on 30 July, bestselling author Nicola Cornick will be launching her latest release THE LADY AND THE LAIRD here on Rakes and Rascals.

An Indecent Proposal!

Lady Lucy MacMorlan may have forsworn men and marriage, but that doesn’t mean she won’t agree to profit from writing love letters for her brother’s friends – letters that become increasingly racy as her fame grows. That is, until she deliberately ruins the betrothal of a notorious laird, Robert, Marquis of Methven.

Past centuries of bloodshed have left the Methven and MacMorlan families bitter enemies and Robert is furious that Lady Lucy’s letters have cost him the bride he needs so urgently to save his ancestral clan lands. Now he makes Lucy a shocking proposal; in return for his silence she must become his wife and provide him with the heir he needs. It is an inconvenient marriage of convenience but can the rugged laird and the bluestocking beauty fight against the power of love?

Scottish Brides – Where Regency elegance meets Highland passion!

★✩★✩★✩★

This is the first book in her new SCOTTISH BRIDES series and Nicola will be giving away a copy to one lucky commentator.

About Nicola

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes witty and passionate Regency historicals for HQN Books and MIRA. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House.

Romantic Times has described her writing as emotional and sexually charged and Publishers Weekly have called her a rising star. She is a double nominee for both the RWA RITA Award and the RNA Love Story of the Year.

Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog at http://nicolacornick.co.uk/  She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter @NicolaCornick
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

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