How to Abduct a Highland Lord by Karen Hawkins
Fiona MacLean and Jack Kincaid engaged in a brief yet passionate affair that ended when Fiona discovered Jack had a mistress, breaking her heart and making him swear off love and marriage for all eternity. When the feud between their two clans erupts, Jack's half-brothers accidentally kill Fiona's brother Callum, Fiona is convinced the only way to prevent more bloodshod is to marry Jack and unite their clans. So she marries him- while he is still suffering from a massive bump on the head and minor dillusions of being in heaven. Needless to say he is not happy to wake up and discover himself married to the woman who broke his heart. He is determined that he won't let his marriage to Fiona change his way of life and thinks the best thing to do to protect his heart is to go back to his whoring, drinking, and gambling. But his passion and growing feelings for Fiona are making this very difficult indeed. Fiona is equally determined to convince Jack that the two of them can have a marriage that is more than one in name only and thinks that the two of them spending time together is the perfect way for them to get to know each other and fall in love. So the two spend the first few weeks of marriage in bed, sleeping, eating, shopping, and than some more in bed together.
Unfortunately Jack left behind a scorned lover in Lady Lucinda Featherington and she is furious to learn that Jack is not only married, but that Jack is so enamored of his new wife that he is giving up the comforts of his bed. She teams up with Alan Campbell, a Scottish Lord whose family had long ago sold off their land to the MacLeans and is thus determined to wreak vengeance on them and on Jack for being richer than him. When Jack realizes that Fiona has come to expect him to spend his nights at home worth her he embarks on a mission to prove that he has not been completely domesticated and takes off into the night. Fed up and frustrated with something she doesn't know how to control Fiona heads out too and quickly runs into Alan Campbell who is more than willing to make friends wtih his enemies new and angry wife. On two occassions Fiona comes face to face with Jack's past; one where she confronts Lucinda and another where she and Jack attempt to out perform each other to make the other jealous/ mad. But just as Jack and Fiona are settling in together trouble strikes; someone is trying to hurt, possibly kill Fiona and while Jack is determined to get to the bottom of it Fiona's brothers become convinced that he is the culprit. The villians, and the ending, isn't exactly hard to guess, but it sure is sweet.
This is the first book in Hawkin's MacLean series, the second being To Scotland with Love, and it is heaps better than the next one. I had complained that I disliked not reading the characters' first meeting, but I realized it wasn't necessarily that I didn't read about the first meeting, but that it took them so long to realize how the felt for each other. Jack's character is so depressed after Fiona leaves him that he turns to whoring and drinking, however he certainly manages to turn away from his dissolute ways very quickly. It literally occurs right after their first evening together while he as at a party and discovers himself suddenly not interested whatsoever in a gorgeous woman he had (4 days previously) been in massive lust with. But this is in keeping with the rest of the book as the entire story seems to take place in a week. Although we are informed that nearly a month has passed we are only really privy to the happens and goings on of a few of those days and it makes the time line seem much shorter. I didn't really mine this bizarre lapse of time as at least the author makes the reader aware that more time as elapsed and does not just leave one confused by how Fiona can find herself pregnant less than a week into her marriage.
The two scenes I mentioned above (where Fiona literally confronts Jack's past) were just so much fun. The first involves her confronting Lucinda and does not end with her running away crying and does involve a scandal that is much talked about the next day. Needless to say our little heroine wins and it is wonderful. The next involves Jack and Fiona trying to one-up each other by flirting with either Alan Campbell or Lucinda, drinking and toasting, and gambling. While it certainly has it's juvenile aspects and roaring jealousy/ possessiveness, it served to bring Jack and Fiona's feelings for each other to the forefront so that they have difficulty continuing to deny them any longer. Also as mentioned above the whole "mystery" of who is trying to harm Fiona is far from difficult to solve, but there is something to say for convoluted twists and turns in side plots that don't detract from and take over the romance of the story. Another thing that was far better in this than in her next book is the sex- this book is far hotter and realistic in dealing with these two getting physical. Like all the books in the MacLean series this one also deals with the "MacLean curse" whereby they all control their weather with their emotions and it just seems like such an odd and out of place power; something I could definitely have dealt without.
Rating: This was far better than To Scotland with Love, which I gave two hearts to. But I definitely don't think it was worth 4 hearts at all. There just wasn't enough to the book to warrant giving it that many.