A Devil in Scotland
A No Ordinary Hero Novel #3
St. Martin’s Press, Jan 2018
320 pages, ebook, paperback, audiobook, audio CD
Regency Romance, Second Chance Romance, 1800s
I was provided a complementary ARC by St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley. This is my honest review for which I am not being compensated in any way.
Don’t you just love that cover? She’s gorgeous and he’s pretty hot, too! And a guy in a kilt. What’s not to like? Well, the book lives up to the brag here…
Callum MacCreath is a hot-headed, heavy-drinking 20 year-old when his brother, the earl, banishes him. He leaves with not much more than the shirt on his back and takes off to the colonies, Kentucky to be specific. There he establishes a distillery that now, 10 years later, is considered the best whiskey not made in Scotland. In fact, they import it to Scotland! He’s grown into his full manhood and is a large man. He also has a large black wolf that walks by his side. Yes, a wolf, a real wolf. Four paws, large teeth, yellow eyes, black fur, nasty disposition. Yup, that’s it. Her name is Waya and she follows her Alpha, Callum, since he rescued her as a pup. When he left Scotland, he vowed that when, not if, but when the Maxwell chieftain harmed his brother, he’d be back to “do him”. Well, Callum, by chance, has just found out that his brother and his brother’s father-in-law are dead within two weeks of each other about a year ago. Newspapers, travel slowly to the colonies.
So, now he’s back to take care of business. First thing he discovers is that his pack has grown by one. His brother had a daughter. Lady Margaret, Lady Mags as the servants call her, is all of 6 years-old and as feisty as they come with all the charm of a successful debuttante. It takes about 10 seconds for her to wrap him around her little finger, and he realizes it and accepts it. Waya accepts her, too.
He has a little bit harder time accepting his sister-in-law, Rebecca, as innocent of complicity in his brother’s death and as part of his pack. But eventually he figures it out and falls for her again, if he ever had not been in love with her all those ten years away. But she’s promised to the Duke of Dunncraigh’s son. That would be The Maxwell’s son. The Duke and son have been so good to her since her husband and father died. They’ve taken on the burden of the business so that she didn’t have to worry about all that and make all the decisions. She didn’t even have to sign anything. Rebecca wanted real proof that the Duke and his son had done what Callum was accusing them of. Callum was having trouble finding hard evidence. The two men had had a year to hide it all.
Rebecca invites the Duchess to tea in town and the Duke joins them. While the mansion is empty, Callum breaks in and steals the evidence, and there’s plenty there. But Rebecca is still hesitant.
Lady Mags liked to have her father read to her at bedtime. So Uncle Callum is filling in since he’s there. He recognizes the old Mother Goose book from when he and Ian had been in the nursery. It’s old and tattered. In fact the cover was coming loose so much on the left corner that he couldn’t help but pick at it. And what did he find, but a letter from his brother addressed to him! He turned storytime over to the nanny and went in search of Rebecca to share his find. She was finally convinced when she read her late husband’s words.
A shot and a high scream warns them that things have gone terribly wrong. Waya is wounded while guarding Lady Mags and Mags has been taken by the Maxwells. Well, you know how these things go in romances. The hero always saves the day, and this story follows the formula. Callum, Rebecca, and Mags end up at home with Waya recovering from her gunshot. They also end up married, especially since it’s such a tradition in the highlands to marry you brother’s widow to keep clan and property in the family.
Well, Callum, in the face-off, had had to kill The Maxwell to save Lady Mags’ life, so the Clan Maxwell is short one chief. His son would have normally stepped into the role, but he was headed to England to face the courts and they didn’t plan on his coming back for many, many years with all the evidence they had against him. Callum wasn’t the only one looking at the evidence; they called in lawyers and other lords as well. Well, all these important people put their heads together and came up with a solution they thought rather neat. If they made Callum The Maxwell, it would solve the problem. One, he didn’t want the position, which made him perfect for it in their eyes. A man who doesn’t want power will handle it very carefully. Much better than a man who wants it. Two, people tended to listen to him already when he spoke and he was used to handling groups of men from his work in his distillery. Three, he was already there in the position he now filled as Earl Geiry. His wife thought he’d make a fine chieftain for all of those reasons. He was finally convinced that it would work for those very reasons and he settled in with his now pregnant wife, Rebecca, his now daughter, Lady Mags, his wolf, Waya, and another child on the way to be the new Clan Maxwell chieftain.
It was a foreseeable solution, but it was done rather well, I thought. This whole book is done rather well. The cover is done in that passionate red with him in his kilt and her in her bright blue gown. Very eye-catching. The story was a nice adaptation to a standard romance formula. The wolf was a fun touch. The characters were written very well. From the beginning we knew just what type of person Callum was with his hot temper. Rebecca wanted peace from the beginning all the way to the end. She dithered around it the whole time. Mags was a full-steam-ahead well-loved six year-old who knew what she wanted and what was really important to her. Even the butler was well-done with his loyalty. The bad guy, The Duke of Dunncraigh, was certainly done thoroughly. He was nasty from the word go. You knew before you even got to the stand-off that he didn’t plan on any of them living through that event and that he would start with Mags. Evil through and through. There was some wheel-spinning here and there in the pace, but for the most part things moved along smoothly and fast. And the tension builds and teases you all the way to the end. All in all, a fun read and certainly worth picking up when it is released on the 30th of this month!
Release date January 30, 2018