Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on January 30th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
The dawning of desire...
1806, Scotland: Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone’s husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it’s too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, he’s only too happy to leave Scotland forever…
...is delicious and dangerous.
1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now, ten years later, Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection, or does he blame her for his brother’s unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction, but will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?
~~Reviewed by Tracy~~
This is the third book in the “No Ordinary Hero” series, but it could easily be read as a stand-alone title. There are some references to past misdeeds by the villain, but more than enough backstory is provided to keep the reading up to speed.
Ten years ago, Callum MacCreath was the younger brother of Ian, the Earl of Geiry and at twenty years old, he only seemed interested in drinking and chasing lasses. When he learns that his brother has decided to become business partners with the Duke of Dunncraigh, he is livid and is even more upset to learn that his childhood friend Rebecca Sanderson aka Becca has agreed to marry Ian and her father is also entering into the partnership. Words are exchanged and Callum leaves. He intends to forget all of them and proceeds to cut ties completely, refusing to read letters from his family or anyone else. It isn’t until he learns of his brother’s death – completely by chance – that he even considers returning to Scotland. He has built a new and very profitable life for himself in Kentucky, distilling whisky. But when he learns his brother died by drowning, he knows something is wrong and will destroy anyone who had a hand in his demise.
Becca, the Countess of Geiry is finally ready to put off mourning and move on with her life. After grieving the death of her husband and then her father, she is ready to accept the marriage proposal of Dunncraigh’s son, Donnach, Marquis of Stapp. But everything is put on hold when Callum returns like the Devil seeking his due – complete with a wolf companion. This Callum is not the drunken boy that left Scotland, he is every inch a man now and angry to boot.
Callum is shocked that he is still attracted to Becca, but until he knows if she was part of the conspiracy to kill Ian, he will resist the pull he feels. He was ready to cast her out of the house until he met his niece, Margaret aka Mags. Callum is instantly smitten and since Mags is completely innocent, nothing will stop him from protecting her or letting her go. Since Becca will not leave without her and Callum will not let her leave, they have to find a way to live together. Becca does not believe Callum’s claim that Ian was murdered but concedes that if he finds proof, she will support him.
Together they form a truce and Callum begins to believe that Becca had no knowledge of Dunncraigh’s plans. But she still doesn’t believe that Ian or her father were murdered.
When it becomes clear to Becca that Callum is right, she begs him to choose a life with her and Mags over his vengeance – and Callum struggles with his decision. His relationship with Becca is growing stronger and he knows he wants her in his life always, but without solid evidence against Dunncraigh, he cannot offer her the life she hopes for.
When evidence is finally found and it seems like all their dreams will come true – a desperate Dunncraigh, does the unthinkable and forces both Callum and Becca to make decisions that could change everything and rob them of the future they had hoped to share.
This book was extremely intense – the writing was great, the story never lagged, Mags and her “pack” were a delightful addition to the story, the villains were especially nasty, the love scenes were steamy and the devil gets his due!
I really enjoyed this book and would be happy to recommend it, the only reason I dropped off a 1/2 star was completely personal – the brothers/sister-in-law love angle was a little bit of an “ick” factor for me. It was well done and the author goes out of her way to justify it – but for me, it just didn’t work.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*