Published by HQN Books on June 26, 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Mystery and desire cloak the Scottish Highlands
Unruly. Unmarried. Unapologetic. Catriona Mackenzie’s reputation precedes her everywhere she goes. Her beloved late aunt Zelda taught Cat to live out loud and speak her mind, and that’s exactly what she does when Zelda’s legacy—a refuge for women in need—comes under fire. When her quest puts her in the path of the disturbingly mysterious Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose, Cat is soon caught up in the provocative rumors surrounding the dark duke. Never one to retreat, Cat boldly goes where no one else has dared for answers.
Shrouded in secrets, a hostage of lies, Hamlin must endure the fear and suspicion of those who believe he is a murderer. The sudden disappearance of his wife and the truth he keeps silent are a risk to his chances at earning a coveted parliamentary seat. But he’s kept his affairs tightly held until a woman with sparkling eyes and brazen determination appears unexpectedly in his life. Deadly allegations might be his downfall, but his unleashed passion could be the duke’s ultimate undoing.
~~Reviewed by Tracy~~
Catriona “Cat” MacKenzie is mourning the loss of her beloved Aunt Zelda when a representative of the crown arrives and informs her father that the abbey Zelda used to house homeless women and children is being seized by the crown. Zelda was accused of treason for sheltering rebels after the battle of Culloden and therefore the abbey is being forfeited to England. Cat is furious, she had planned on continuing her aunt’s work and will not accept the loss of the abbey. Her mother suggests going to visit her uncle Knox, the Earl of Norwood, he knows everyone and might be able to help her.
Hamlin Graham, the Duke of Montrose is a murderer, if gossip is to be believed. Cat is fascinated by the tale of his marriage and the disappearance of his wife and decides to learn the truth. She doesn’t really believe he killed his wife, but the woman is missing, so something happened! She meets Hamlin and his delightful ward Eula when they pay a call to invite him to dine. Hamlin is taken aback by this vivacious woman, she is lovely and very bold, a combination that he is unwillingly drawn to.
Hamlin is basically an outcast, everyone believes he killed his wife Glenna, who was universally adored, but only a couple of people know the truth about her and her disappearance. Hamlin desperately wants to gain a seat in the House of Lords, a feat that seems almost impossible with the rumors of murder floating around. So when he is invited to dinner, his secretary insists that he attend, he needs to convince the voting members of the house, that he should be voted in. He reluctantly goes and is mesmerized by Cat – she is incredible!
They end up spending more and more time together and finally become lovers. Both know that theirs is not a happily ever after love story. He can’t marry someone with her tainted background if he wants to get a seat in the Lords and she has the abbey to manage. But neither can seem to walk away. They are so happy together and they begin to contemplate how they can stay together and what they are willing to give up for their love when the truth of Hamlin’s first marriage comes roaring into his life.
Both Cat and Hamlin are heartbroken, but there is no way they can be together without hurting someone. They part and in a surprising moment of compassion, Cat makes an offer that will ensure they are never together but will guarantee him a seat in the Lords. Hamlin is overwhelmed by Cat’s generosity and vows that she will never regret him – he will spend the rest of his life making sure she doesn’t.
I really enjoyed this book, but it will rip your heart out and stomp on it – it is entertaining, steamy, witty and heartbreaking. The love between Hamlin and Cat is a beautiful soulmate type love and your heart will break right along with theirs, the secondary characters are delightful, especially Hamlin’s ward Eula, the ending is completely breathtaking and sigh-worthy! And if that was not enough, there is a wonderful epilogue as well as very informative Author notes and a glossary! While this is the fifth book in the series, it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone title and I am happy to recommend it.