The first book in the Mackenzies / Highland Pleasures series, published May 30, 2009.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: My cover is very different, pretty blue and not so sexy as this one.
Read for the second time.
It was whispered all through London Society that Ian Mackenzie was mad, that he'd spent his youth in an asylum, and was not to be trusted-especially with a lady. Any woman caught in his presence was immediately ruined. Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy. Despite his decadence and his intimidating intelligence, she could see that he needed help- her help. Because suddenly the only thing that made sense to her was...the madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.
I have first read this book before I started blogging, so I still had to write the review. I was afraid to re-read it, fearing that I would not love it as much as the first time I read it. I was blown away by it then, perhaps my first book with a seriously flawed hero. Because Lord Ian Mackenzie is not mad, but he does have mental problems. He is autistic and a genius but he can’t function in a crowd and can become lost in the looks of something and he can’t stand to be in little enclosed spaces, like a train.
Ian collects porcelein, but only bowls. And he is in the middle of a purchase, when the seller Sir Lyndon Mather, boasts about going to marry a rich widow for her money. He is a depraved men, and Ian wants to know about the woman, if she is as pure as porcelain, or a fake. And so he sets his valet Curry out to find out what he can about the woman, while he will meet her and Mather at the Covent Garden Opera later that evening.
When Ian meets Beth, he wants to bed her, and to his own surprise, he proposes marriage to her, telling her that Mather is not a fit husband at all, ready to show her the proof of that if necessary. Beth is flattered and shocked, but declines his offer of marriage. Instead, she will go to France and learn how to paint, something she always wanted to. She is a rich widow and she doesn’t really need another husband.
In Paris she becomes acquinted with Lord Mac Mackenzie, Ian’s brother, and his estrange wife Lady Isabella. Isabella takes her under her wing, and shows her Paris, while Mac promises her some lessons in painting. But Ian follows her to Paris, determined to win her and protect her from gossip.
Years ago, there was a scandal. Their brother Hart, the Duke of Kilmorgan, had his own house of ill repute, kept by his long time mistress. One of the girls tried to blackmail him, and she was killed, with both Hart and Ian as suspects. The Inspector in charge has been trying to pin one of them for the crime ever since, and now a second whore has been found murdered. And Ian visited her before he left for Paris. Inspector Fellows is hot on his trail, intend to protect Beth from his clutches, to get her away from those evil rich Mackenzies.
After marrying Ian in a rush, so she can’t be forced to testify against him, she is hurried back to Scotland, where she meets Hart. Beth is determined to find out who the real killer is, as both brothers seem to think the other did it, and are protecting each other. So the real killer has gotten away with it all those years. Ian doesn’t want her involved at all, but Beth is stubborn, and even at risk to herself, she will find the truth.
A great historical romance, and as I wrote before, a very real flawed hero. And I fell for him just as hard as the first time. He was raised by a bully of a father, who put him in the asylum and condoned his son to be tortured and punished as his doctors wanted. As soon as his brother Hart became the Duke, he got Ian out, but he still had no idea how to interact with Ian, except using him in his business deals and such. Because he is amazing with contracts and numbers.
It takes Beth’s’ gentle hands to make his family see the real Ian, and she knows intuitively how to handle him. Even though he tells her doesn’t know what love is, and won’t ever be able to love her, she is confident he will. He might just want her for sex for now, and she is very fine with that as Ian is a great lover, but she knows he loves her as well.
I am glad I re-read this book, and I think the other books in the series will be re-read again soon.
© 2015 Reviews by Aurian