Emmaline Marlowe's family is in dire straights after she jilted her fiance because she was in love with another man, only to have him reject her and the ex-fiance sue for breach of contract. To save them from debtors prison she agrees to marry the ancient Earl of Hepburn and move to his seat in Scotland. Although she is not looking forward to married life she isn't pleased when her wedding is interrupted and she is taken away by Jamie Sinclair. The Sinclairs and the Hepburn's have been feuding for generations and recently the Hepburn's have gained the upper hand after forcing the Sinclair's and their followers into hiding in the Highlands. And even worse, Jamie believes that Hepburn had killed Jamie's mother, a Sinclair, and Jamie's father, who was Hepburn's son. The two had stolen away together, had a son, and planned to marry, before being killed and Jamie has carried the belief that Hepburn killed his parents his whole life.
He expects a milk and water English miss and surprised to find the very capable Emma who can stand up to him and tell him what's what, make his heart beat faster, and cook breakfast for him and his men. He finds that he can tell her about his parents and his time spent in England trying to learn how to be a lord and she confides in him her fears about the marriage and her desire for a love match. Jamie wants Hepburn to admit what he had done to his parents and that is part of the ransom demand he posts, but at the same time he does not want to send Emma away. Neither wants to leave the other or admit to their feelings and Jamie thinks he cannot subject Emma to the life of a Highland outlaw. But the Hepburn lord has a couple tricks up his sleeves and very dark secrets must come to light before Emma and Jamie can make a new life for themselves together.
I was really excited about reading this book because the idea of a kidnapped bride is a new one for me in romance land. On the whole the book really did not disappoint as I enjoyed both characters and reading about the development of their relationship. Emma was great as she was willing to sacrifice herself for her family's good even while she still harbored fantasies of a happy marriage. I admit that her handling of kidnapping was unrealistic, she was surprisingly calm about it in my opinion, but as she got used to it Madeiros was spot on about how she slowly came to care for the man who had kidnapped her and fell in love with him. Jamie's twisted emotions about everything were understandable and really he handled them remarkably well and did not let them interfere too much with his relationship with Emma, although sometimes it was a little frustrated that he let so much stand in between them.
I liked that these two spent a lot of time together getting to know each other and learning about the other and were able to trust each other with some big secrets. Their was some sex but I really skipped through some of it as it wasn't that exciting but I did think it was great that it was a conscious decision by her part to give herself to the man she loved even if it meant risking her future. The plot involving solving his parent's death was absolutely brilliant and I loved the twists and turns it took and was utterly shocked by the outcome. I also enjoyed some side relationships (not romantic) like the one between Emma and her family, who seemed so callous selling her off to the rich man but really loved her, Jamie's with the men who followed him, and Jamie withthe Hepburn's heir who had once been his best friend before discovering Jamie was one of the hated Sinclair's.
Rating: A very good book with a lot of extras that really made it a great book. It did seem a little slow moving at times and his willingness to send her away grated a little.