Monday, August 22, 2011
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Lord Cameron Mackenzie caught Ainsley Douglas in his room and assumed she was there to sleep with him, but she left claiming that she could not betray her kind, but elderly husband. When he later discovered that she had stolen a necklace from his room he felt incredibly betrayed and did not listen to her explanation that she thought the necklace belonged to a friend of hers. Neither forgets what almost happened in that room even while Cameron dedicates himself to sleeping with as many ladies of the ton as he can and Ainsley recovers from her husband's death and goes to work for Queen Victoria. Six years later Ainsley is back in his room rummaging through his stuff, this time on a mission to find love letters the Queen had written to her gardner. This time Cameron has no intention of letting her go and during the course of his brother's house party he sets about seducing the beautiful and aloof lady of his dreams. Ainsley does not want to fall into bed with Cameron; she had made a mistake long ago and her brother had helped her sort out the consequences and she does not want to shame him again.
Cameron has his own past scars; his deceased wife was insane and when not cheating on him, she was physically abusing him and threatening their son, Daniel. He volunteers to help Ainsley recover the letters from the woman who is using them to blackmail money out of the queen and keeps her secrets and goes along with her furtive plans while doing his best to protect her from gossip or harm. Cameron runs a successful horse training facility, but on the off season he goes to Paris and invites Ainsley with him and for once she takes a risk and, throwing caution to the wind, she decides to go off with him. He has realized that he never wants to risk losing Ainsley so he wastes no time in marrying her and claiming her as his forever. But the scars from Cameron's past have not completely disappeared and every time Ainsley tries to talk to him she is shut down and worries she will never really know her husband. When the Queen calls Ainsley away Cameron is terrified of losing her and they both must learn to move on from the hardship in their pasts and trust in their love for one another.
Jennifer Ashley really has a winner with the Mackenzie series and this book is no exception. Ainsley is a wonderful heroine because she is well rounded, sympathetic, and caring and I really felt like I could understand her motives for all of her actions. Plus her tendency to sneak into locked bedrooms makes her more exciting than many romance novel heroines. Cameron is just as excellent as the emotionally damaged hero who is burying his hurt and anger in every willing woman he can find. They complimented each other because Ainsley was just stuck in her role as the proper widow at the beck and call of the Queen and he was so obviously tortured inside. He drew her out of her shell and helped her start living her life and she helped him come to grips with his past. While a tortured hero is nothing new, I admired that Ashley was able to put a new spin on it and that it was a genuine reason for him to be troubled, even if it was a little gruesome. These two spent a lot of time together, a lot of quality time together, which made it so obvious that they were falling in love with each other and I love reading that.
The relationship progressed naturally throughout the book, and I admit that I like books where the characters get married before they're in love because it gives them more time to get to know the other and work together and I get to see how they do everyday things together. The sex was fairly frequent and really hot but a big deal was made about how raunchy Cameron was and how excited Ainsley got by his "dirty talk" and yet it was just alluded to and never described which disappointed me. I really like how Ashley merges past characters into this book seemlessly; they are important to the storyline and are real people and not just props to show how prolific the author is and even the protagonists from her future novel are well down. Best of all none of them distract from the true romance happening between Ainsley and Cameron, but compliment it instead. My favorite secondary character is Daniel, Cameron's son because he was just a perfectly done teenager/ almost man who loved his dad and wanted what was best for him. The book was short and yet I definitely didn't feel disappointed.
Rating: Another very good book from a very talented author who writes very compatible characters and strong relationships in a very easy and fun to read style.