Seduced by a Rogue by Amanda Scott 208
When Robert Maxwell is sent by his brother Alex, the sheriff of a Scottish county, to assess the value of Laird Dunwythie, he knows that convincing the proud man to hand over control of the county's tithes to the king is not going to be easy. He does not intend to find himself so incredibly drawn to the laird's eldest daughter, Mairi. Mairi does not at all like that Rob is trying to take the duty that her father's family has yielded for generations in order to increase power for the Maxwell clan. But Rob Maxwell's eyes are clear blue and his voice calm and assured and long after her father has turned him away Mairi finds herself thinking of him. Alex berates Rob severely when he returns with news that he has been unsuccessful and on his way to his own home, Trailinghall, he comes up with an idea to kidnap the lady Mairi and use her as leverage, not necessarily a hostage, to get her father to agree to the Maxwell demands. Mairi is furious but she has learned through years of experience with her stepmother that giving in to your temper never solves the problem so she tries to make the best of things.
Robert intends to use Mairi as a bargaining chip to get her father to agree to his demands, but he does not expect Mairi's independence, her control over herself, and her self assurance to win him over. Rob becomes Mairi's connection to the outside world and the more time they spend together the more convinced she becomes that Rob is not the evil Maxwell her father had led her to believe. He knows that nothing can become of any relationship between them but neither can really help the feelings that have sprung up between them. Dunwythie is furious when he realizes what has happened and he immediately goes around the country rallying support for his cause; both to get his daughter back and to prevent the new taxation rules from being enforced. Alex is not any happier to hear about what Rob has done and he demands that Rob hand Mairi over to him, but Rob knows that Alex is thinking about the possibility that Mairi is very likely to inherit her father's estates and what he can do to prevent this. Things come to a head between all the characters and Rob and Mairi need to decide if love can flourish even when it seems their families would prevent it.
Mairi was a difficult character to read because she was often portrayed as in control of her emotions, and I really liked that she wasn't pouting, but she did throw things. I did really like that she never became overwhelmed, depressed, or scream about her predicament. Granted it was a crazy situation but it was nice that she wasn't just another "feisty" heroine who wins the hero over by being "sassy." This was because she had been raised to keep things bottled up inside her and it was even more enjoyable because it was only with Rob that she learned to express herself and not have to worry about the consequences. I really liked Rob's character because of how he tried so desperately not to care what his family thinks and believes that he is showing them all up but really he is desperate for them to love and want him as much as he loves them. However he is only 25! I really can't say why I have no problems with younger heroines (Mairi's 19) but really young heroes just don't really add up for me; perhaps because women mature faster than men? Unfortunately there was very little sex in the book- maybe one or two scenes and neither of them were particularly hot.
I really enjoyed the plot involving Mairi's inheritance because it really added an interesting element to the story and because it really played into the development of their relationship. Robert has to "choose" between Mairi and his family and there is the possibility that if Mairi inherits Rob will always be "lower" on the hierarchy than his own wife. Scott does a great job writing her character's emotions and really in depth details of what they are thinking and their motivations and does it equally well from Mairi and Rob's POV. I easily became confused while reading this book.Although there was a map provided it seemed as though many of the places mentioned were not mentioned on it and there were no rivers on it which was a shame as several rivers were mentioned. There was also a glossary but I wish there had been a list of characters as well as some of them had more than one name or very similar names and there were quite a few secondary characters. I also really liked the build up to her next novel featuring Mairi's half- sister Fiona.
Rating: Really enjoyed this book and the side plot but I really wish there had been hotter steamy scenes. Great side plot, great characters, great writing.