“You’re nothing like your reputation,” she told him.
He laughed softly and then groaned. “I know what ye’ve heard . . .” He paused, rethinking his defense, and then apparently thinking better of it. “I earned m’ reputation. Besides, I canna’ go back and change m’ past.”
She hadn’t asked him to. The idea of him going back and changing his past had never even crossed her mind. Had it crossed his? And why? Why would he care about what she thought of him? Malcolm Grant didn’t trouble himself with those things.
“Would you?” she asked him now that he brought it to her attention. “Would you go back?”
She waited on bated breath for his answer, letting only one thing distract her from his reply.
His kiss. His passionate mouth taking hers over and over. Oh, if he would only do it again she would welcome his tongue.
Or should she have slapped him?
“I dinna’ know if I would go back.”
His answer came but it offered her no comfort. She tried not to look disappointed.
“Mayhap who I was in the past,” he continued, “has shaped me into who I’m supposed to be.”
“You’re supposed to be a heartless rake?” she asked.
It angered her that he believed it and she didn’t bother to hide her fierce scowl.
“Something more than that, mayhap.”
The stillness of his voice shook her to her bones. He wasn’t smiling or being glib now.
The sudden touch of his fingertips on her face startled her. When he traced the pad of his thumb along the seam of her frown, she battled herself to keep from going soft all over him. What was he doing? Why had he said what he did? Why was he touching her so intimately—the way she would touch him to know how he looked?
“Ye’re a bonny lass, Emmaline Grey.”
Was this what it was like to be enchanted? She felt mesmerized, paralyzed, giddy with delight. This was Malcolm slaying her heart, being the charming rake he was rumored to be. He’d said Harry was correct about him, but she didn’t care. Not in this moment. Whatever spell he was weaving on her, she allowed it. Helpless to do anything else.
But she did do something else. She lifted her hands to his face.
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*
I’ve wanted to get deeper into some of the time periods explored in historical romance, and am interested in highlanders and medievals in particular. So of course I took the opportunity to read an early copy of the latest Paula Quinn book when I got the chance. She’s pretty well-known to highlander romance fans, and I was curious to see what I thought of her writing. Another thing that drew me to this book was the fact that the heroine was blind. I wanted to see how Paula Quinn handled that. And as it turned out, she handled everything pretty well.
Emma, the heroine, was my favorite thing about this story. Despite her disability, she was strong and just wanted to live like everyone else. I loved that Emma was a healer, since this gave her a very important role right away. She was vital when it came to saving lives. Along with all of this, Emma was compassionate, but she wouldn’t back down from a challenge.
I also liked the hero, Malcolm. He was very loyal to his brother and family, and he’d do whatever he had to in order to protect them. He seemed like nothing but a rake who used and left women, but there was a lot more to him than that. Malcolm was strong and outgoing, but he thought he was unworthy of love. Malcolm never thought he was good enough, and he really wanted to be. This caused quite a bit of angst on his part which I never fully bought into. There was all these stories of how his family had found love and changed their ways, and yet he wasn’t good enough? I just thought it drew out the story needlessly.
There were a couple side characters explored in this book. I really liked Malcolm’s brother, Cailean. We didn’t get to know him fully since he has his own book, but he was honest and loyal. Plus, after what happened near the end of the novel, I really want the best for him. Then, there was Sebastian, who started out completely different from how he was at the end. The real villain of the book was Oliver, a violent baron seeking vengeance for his murdered brother. Finally, there was Harry, Emma’s brother. I didn’t really care for him, especially after what he did at the end of the book. Plus, he was always trying to restrict Emma, and I just really wanted her to break free of him, no matter that they were recently united after years of separation. Besides, he left her after the death of their parents, so I never did like him.
The plot of the book mostly followed Malcolm and Emma as they fell in love. They met at Harry’s brothel when Malcolm and Cailean were injured in a fight, and Emma helped them recover. I liked their relationship because he let Emma do whatever she wanted, with no comments about how she was incapable. It was great. There was also some suspense and mystery as there were attempted kidnappings of Emma. In the fight in which Malcolm and Cailean got hurt, a man ended up dead. This man’s family were obviously unhappy about this, and therefore wanted vengeance. So the book kept me interested for pretty much the whole story, aside from the angst from Malcolm.
Overall, I liked this book. The romance was great because Malcolm accepted Emma for who and what she was, and Malcolm of course discovered that he was indeed good enough for her. Plus, I really loved how the author made Emma a very good healer. The mystery and suspense part was interesting, but not my favorite. I saw a lot of the twists coming. Even so, it all made for a good story, and I do think any fan of highlander romances should give it a try.
New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven. She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.
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