Friday, June 20, 2014

The Devil Wears Kilts

The Devil Wears Kilts by Suzanne Enoch

Ranulf MacLawry, Marquis of Glengask, has no love for the English, and he has enough problems with the Highland feuds without worrying about the English aristocracy. His sister, Lady Rowena, however desperately wants a season and she is determined to make it happen even if it will upset her brother. Lady Charlotte Hanover is shocked when her mother's friends' daughter appears on the door step, but since her sister, Winnie is already being sponsored for a season, Rowena is welcomed into the fold. The three women make plans for the London season, even if Charlotte has no intention of finding herself another suitor; her fiance had been killed in a duel he had initiated over a small slight. Since then, Charlotte has maintained her distance from men, and her dislike of male pride, temper, and violence has only solidified. Ranulf races to London to rescue her sister and is shocked when Charlotte insists he rein in his temper and allow his sister to finally enjoy her life. After his initial horror wears off, Ranulf finds himself intrigued by the beautiful and outspoken Englishwoman. However, his mother had been English and had suffered greatly at the hardships of the Scottish life, and he fears that the same would happen to Charlotte.

He decides to attend the same balls as Charlotte and Rowena, but quickly realizes that his Highland ways are not very well received. Members of the ton do their best to tempt him into making mistakes and losing his temper, and the situation does not improved when the leader of the clan he has been feuding with decides to take things to the next level, threatening Ranulf and those he loves. Charlotte finds herself falling for Ranulf, sneaking out to see him, and enjoying a man's company for the first time since her fiance died. But she is worried about his inability to keep a level head, and the violence he displays. He knows her fears, and tries to placate her, but the life of a Highlander is different than that of a city bred English fop, and he knows that he needs to show his enemies his strength or wish losing everything. Together they will have to sort through their intricacies of their situation and find a way to find their happily ever after.

I absolutely loved both Charlotte and Ranulf. Charlotte was well rounded and managed to be independent and assertive, outspoken and friendly, without ever falling into the dreaded "sassy" trap. She had ideas of her own, she cared deeply for those who were important to her, and her life experiences shaped her views. She was scared of love and of the type of man Ranulf was, but she was also open to learning more, to experiencing more that life had to offer. Ranulf was hard headed and could be ruthless, but he too cared deeply for his family, and his motives behind all of the behavior that Charlotte found so objectionable, were truly well explained. He did have a side to him that would frighten Charlotte, but she helped him tame it, and he helped her understand that he could never live the life of an Englishman, just accepting insults to his person, because the safety of his clan depended on him being a man who could intimidate others. I felt like both of them changed for the better because of the other and they truly came to understand and accept each other.

Charlotte and Ranulf spent a great deal of time together in various social situations and alone, so it was quite clear that they were very well suited for each other. There was definite heat between the, and not just when they were arguing although they did argue a bit, but the payoff was really not as good as I had expected. The sex was lukewarm and infrequent, sad considering the attraction these two were supposed to have for each other. I very much enjoyed the side plots involving Rowena and her crush on her brother's friend, the unrequited love that drove her to run away to London in the first place. There was also a story involving Highland feuds, which was it's own subplot in its' own right, but also served to make it clear how precarious Ranulf's position was and why his particular personality was so important in order for him to keep everyone safe.

Rating: Two wonderfully written characters who I could really tell were in love with each other and could see having a meaningful and lasting relationship.

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