Castles Ever After #3
Source: eARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.
A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.
Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.
When a Scot Ties the Knot charmingly reminds us of all the reasons we love a Tessa Dare historical romance, giving us a sweet, self-aware heroine to show our gruff, slightly damaged hero that there’s more to life than duty and loneliness. A fanciful teenage attempt at self-preservation irrevocably alters the course of both their lives, taking all of us on a journey full of laughter and heat without weighing us down with unnecessary drama and conflict.
Maddie is nothing short of adorable, inventing a fantasy suitor in order to keep her family from pushing her to attend all the social events of her first Season out, something that makes her break out in a cold sweat thanks to a traumatic crowd-related incident in her youth. Years later when he suddenly shows up at her door, she meets him head-on with humor and self-deprecation, repeatedly reprimanding herself for bathing him in a romantic light when he’s clearly not there to sweep her off her feet, and begging him to share any number of faults to aid her in her quest to keep her heart from skipping a beat in his presence. What results is a relationship that’s utterly endearing, the two of them fighting their growing affection in a way that manages to be cute rather than frustrating.
Logan has the perfect amount of alpha in him; big, imposing, and completely loyal to the men under his command, but he also undeniably has what Maddie refers to–much to his chagrin–as “squish”. She’s not put off by his attempts at intimidation, instead choosing to see the positive over the negative at every turn regardless of both their efforts to yank her rose-colored glasses from her eyes. Despite a hasty marriage of convenience and necessity, the romance is definitely of the slow burn variety, the sexual tension between them taut as a bowstring for much of the book until Ms. Dare puts all of us out of our delicious misery.
Overall, When a Scot Ties the Knot is as sweet as can be, supporting fluff with plenty of substance and a strong set of secondary characters (here’s hoping we see some Logan’s men get books of their own!) to keep us engaged on every level.
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