Peril and passion on enemy seas…
Lottie Livingstone bears the weight of an island on her shoulders. Under threat of losing their home, she and her clan take to the seas to sell a shipload of illegal whiskey. When an attack leaves them vulnerable, she transforms from a maiden daughter to a clever warrior. For survival, she orchestrates the siege of a rival’s ship and now holds the devilish Scottish captain Aulay Mackenzie under her command.
Tied, captive and forced to watch a stunning siren commandeer the Mackenzie ship, Aulay burns with the desire to seize control—of the ship and Lottie. He has resigned himself to a life of solitude on the open seas, but her beauty tantalizes him like nothing has before. As authorities and enemies close in, he is torn between surrendering her to justice and defending her from assailants. He’ll lose her forever, unless he’s willing to sacrifice the unimaginable…
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Lismore Island, The Highlands, Scotland, 1752
The Campbell men landed on the north shore of the small Scottish island of Lismore in the light of the setting sun, fanning out along the narrow strip of sand and stepping between the rocks and the rabbits that had infested the island.
They were looking for stills.
They also were looking for a ship, perhaps tucked away in some hidden cove they'd not yet found. The stills and the ship were here, and they would find them.
Duncan Campbell, the new laird of Lismore, knew that his tenants — some two-hundred odd Livingstones — were gathered to celebrate Sankt Hans, or Midsummer's Eve, a custom that harkened back to their Danish ancestors who had settled this small island.
The Livingstones, to the Campbell way of thinking, were laggards and generally far too idle ... until recently, that was, when it had come to Duncan's attention that this hapless clan had begun to distill whisky spirits without license. He'd heard it said in a roundabout way, in Oban, and in Port Appin. Livingstones were boastful, too, it would seem. Rumor had it that an old Danish ship had been outfitted to hold several casks and a few men.
Where the Livingstones lacked godly ambition, the Campbells fancied themselves a clan of superior moral character. They were Leaders of Scotland, Pillars of the Highlands, Ministers of Social Justice and they distilled whisky with a license and sold it for a tidy profit all very legally. They did not take kindly to illicit whisky that undercut their legitimate business. They were downright offended when someone traded cheap spirits against their superior brew. They disliked illegal competition so much that they took great pains to find it and destroy it by all means possible. Fire was a preferred method.
The Campbell men creeping along the beach could hear the Livingstone voices raised in song and laughter, the strains of a fiddle. When night fell, those heathens would be well into their cups and would light a bonfire and dance around it. Bloody drunkards. But alas, the Campbells did not make it more than a few dozen steps into their search when they heard the warning horn. It sounded so shrilly that it scattered rabbits here and there and, frankly, made Duncan's heart leap. He hardly had a moment to collect himself before buckshot whizzed overhead.
Duncan sighed skyward. He looked at his escort, Mr. Edwin MacColl, whose clan inhabited the south end of Lismore, and who was diligent in paying his rents and not distilling whisky. Duncan had pressed the very reluctant Scotsman into service by threatening to raise his rents if he didn't lend a hand. "That's it, then, is it no'?" he asked MacColl as another shot rang out and sent up a spray of sand when it hit the bit of beach. "They've seen us and warned the others."
"Aye," MacColl agreed. "They keep a close eye on what is theirs. As any Scot would," he added meaningfully.
Campbell recognized the subtle needling, but there was no opportunity to remind MacColl that illegal whisky was bad, very bad, because four riders appeared on the hill above them with long guns pointed at their chests. Naturally, Miss Lottie Livingstone, who, as daughter of the chief here, ran wild on this island, led them. If she were his daughter, Campbell would have taken her in hand and ended her feral behavior tout de suite.
"Laird Campbell!" she called cheerfully, and nudged her horse to walk down the grassy slope to the beach. "You've come again!"
Campbell groaned. "Must it be so bloody difficult to root out corruption and illegal deeds?" he muttered to MacColl. "Must the most beautiful lass in all of Scotland be the most unruly and untamed of them all?"
Apparently, Mr. MacColl had no answer to that, and in fact, he turned his head so that Duncan could not see his face. Duncan rolled his eyes and addressed the woman who lived like an undomesticated cat on this island. "Hold your fire, aye, Miss Livingstone? I am your laird after all!" As if that needed explaining.
"How can we help you, laird?" she asked.
"No' you, lass. I'll have a word with your father."
Her eyes sparked, and above another glittering smile she said, "Oh, but he'll be delighted, he will."
The lass had a way of giggling sometimes when she spoke that made Duncan wonder if she was laughing at him or was just a wee bit off her head. He called in his men, and motioned for them to follow along as he and MacColl trudged up the hill toward the Livingstone manor.
If they couldn't find the stills and Livingstone would not own to them, then by God, Campbell would inquire about the past due rents. He'd have something for his trouble.
Two weeks later The North Sea
The wind out of the west was light, but brought with it heavy clouds. Nevertheless, the Reulag Balhaire was sailing along just as she ought to be, the sedative dip and rise of the ship's bow into the rolling waves a steady reminder that all was right.
Captain Aulay Mackenzie listened to the sound of his crew calling out to each other as they manned the sails. He closed his eyes and felt the mist of the sea on his face, the wind ruffling the queue of his hair. It was days like this — well, he preferred those glorious, sun-filled days — days at sea, when he felt most himself. When he was most at home. He was in command of his ship, of his spirit, of his world. It was, perhaps, the only place in his life that was so.
It had been too long since he'd been at sea — a few months, but to him, a lifetime. Aulay chafed at life at his family's home of Balhaire. He had lived his entire adult life at sea, and every day away from his ship was a day something was missing. He was useless at Balhaire. His father was chief of the Mackenzie clan. His older brother, Cailen, was his father's agent, his face to the world. Rabbie, Aulay's younger brother, managed the day-to-day business of the sprawling estate of Balhaire, along with his youngest sister, Catriona. His mother was engaged in the social aspects, as was his sister Vivienne. And Aulay? He had no useful purpose there. Nothing worthwhile to occupy his days. He was merely an observer on land.
His father had begun the Mackenzie sea trade when he was a young man, and it had flourished under his clever eye, and as his sons grew, with them as well. Their trade had suffered in the wake of the Battle of Culloden some seven years ago. After the brutal defeat of the Jacobite uprising, the Highlands had been decimated first by English forces, and then by economics. The new economy was moving the Highlands from small croft farms to wide-ranging sheep herding. Great numbers of Highlanders, having lost their livelihood, were leaving for greener fields in Glasgow and beyond.
The Mackenzies of Balhaire had not been involved in the conflict, but nonetheless, they'd lost half their clan to it, had seen their livestock and a second ship seized by the crown. Still, they'd hung on to this ship and with it, a dwindling trade. With the last round of repairs, his father had wanted to end their trade business altogether. "It's no use," he'd said. "It costs more to sail than we bring, aye? We've lost ground to the MacDonalds, we have."
Aulay had panicked slightly at such talk. He didn't know who he was without a ship. He didn't know what he'd do.
But then a miracle had happened. Aulay, chafing at the loss of some trade, had gone in search of more. He'd struck an agreement with William Tremayne of Port Glasgow. William was an Englishman, but he was an agent with goods to trade and in need of a vessel to carry them. Aulay was a captain with an empty ship. It seemed a perfect match. And yet, his father and brothers had argued against the deal. It was too much risk, they said, to carry another man's cargo. Aulay had assured them there was no risk. Was he not a fine captain? Had he not delivered and brought home countless holds full of goods? He had prevailed in the end, but his father's skepticism was quite evident.
This was his maiden voyage for Tremayne. The ship was loaded with wool and salted beef, en route for Amsterdam, and then on to Cadiz where they would load cotton for the return.
The men aboard were in high spirits, as Mackenzie seafaring was their livelihood, and they needed the work. So was Aulay in a fine mood. He'd not been to Amsterdam in some time, and there was a wench there, a lass who had eyes like two obsidian rocks and a lush mouth upon whom he intended to call.
He was thinking about the way she moved beneath him when a boom startled him. It sounded a bit like thunder, but not quite that.
"Got a light on the starboard side, Captain!" one of the men up on the masts called down.
Aulay turned to the starboard side and was joined by his first mate, Beaty. It wasn't a light, precisely, but a glow. "That's fire, aye?" he asked Beaty, who was peering through a spyglass.
"Aye," Beaty grunted.
"Wind is rising, too," said Iain the Red, who had come to the railing to have a look. "They'll be naugh' they can do to stop the spread if it rises much more."
"Och, she's sailing toward land," said the wizened old swab, Beaty. His looks were deceiving — he was thick and ruddy, but still as nimble as he'd been as a lad some forty years ago. He hiked himself up onto a batten of the main mast, one arm hooked around a thick rope in the shroud as he held the spyglass with the other to have another look. "She's sailing at five, six knots if she's moving one. She'll make landfall ere it's too late if the cap'n keeps his bloody head."
"Is there a flag?" Aulay asked.
"Aye, a royal flag, Cap'n. Ship looks too small for navy, it does, but that's the Union Jack she flies."
Aulay gestured for the spyglass. He hopped upon the mast shroud with a sureness of foot that came from having spent his life at sea, and peered into the thickening gray of sky and ocean. He could make out men trimming sails to better catch the wind while others lowered buckets into the sea and threw water on the flames to douse them. Ships didn't generally catch fire on their own, not without a strike of lightning or some such, and they'd not seen any hint of that. Aulay studied the horizon, casting the spyglass in the opposite direction of the burning ship's course, trying to discern wave from sky —
"Aye, there she is, then," he said. He'd marked another, smaller ship. It appeared that it had lost the top half of its main mast. He pointed and handed the spyglass to Beaty, then hopped down from the shroud.
"My guess is a fly boat," Beaty said, peering at it.
"A fly boat!" Iain exclaimed, snorting at the idea of the small Dutch ship. "Ought no' to be in open sea, no' a fly boat. They're for sailing the coast, they are."
"We're no' so far from the coast," said someone else. "Perhaps she's adrift, aye?"
Aulay glanced around at his men, who had gathered round to have a look. It felt good to be on board with them again. It put him in good spirits, in need of a bit of adventure. "Shall we have a look, then?"
The Reulag BalhaiRe was not in the business of saving other ships. It was generally considered unwise to approach another ship unless one was prepared to have a hull shattered by cannon fire. But their curiosity was aroused. The burning ship was just a spot in the distance now, so they'd set course for the starboard side of the smaller ship, a gun pointed at the forecastle in the event there was trouble.
Aulay watched the smaller ship slowly come into view, its outline muted against the darkening sky, the clouds weighing down on the masts. It wasn't until they were almost on the ship that they could see it was listing.
Iain the Red was studying it as they approached. "No' a fly boat, no," he said. "A bilander."
"A bilander!" Beaty blustered. "What nonsense!"
Whether a fly boat or bilander, neither were particularly well suited for the open seas. "Is there a flag?" he asked.
"No." Iain the Red paused, then laughed. "Look at them now, trying to lower the sail." He laughed again with great amusement. "They look like children romping around a bloody maypole! Look at them trying to untangle those shroud lines, aye? They're twisted up every which way — oof, there went one, down on his arse!"
The men gathered at the railing to watch, and laughed at the blundering of the crew on the other ship as they tried to free a sail from a broken mast with what looked like a lot of pushing and shoving. "Aye, give it over, Iain, lets have a look," one said, and they began to pass the spyglass around, all of them doubling over with mirth.
The spyglass came back around to Iain, but when he held it up, he stopped laughing. "Diah, de an diabhal?" he exclaimed and lowered the instrument, turning a wide-eyed look to Aulay.
"What, then?" Aulay asked, feeling a mild tic of alarm, imagining a gun pointed at them, or a pirate's flag being raised.
"A lady," Iain said, as if he'd never seen one.
A lady? It was not unheard of for one to be on the high seas; wives of captains sometimes sailed with them. If it were anyone else, a lady of importance, she'd not be sailing on a rickety boat like that.
"In a proper gown and everything," Iain said, his voice full of awe.
Aulay didn't know what a proper gown meant to Iain, so he motioned for the spyglass to have a look. He could scarcely make her out, but it was definitely a woman standing at the railing, holding a white flag that almost matched the color of the hair that whipped long and unbound about her face. There were a few men beside her, all of them clinging to the railing, all of them looking rather desperately in the direction of his ship.
Aulay instructed Beaty to maneuver closer, and when there was nothing but a small bit of sea between the two ships, the men's frantic attention to the sail on the other ship was forgotten in favor of lowering a jolly boat down the hull. There was more chaotic shoving among them until four men scrambled down a rope ladder into the boat and began to row with abandon toward the Reulag Balhaire. The woman remained behind on the ship's deck with a few men, including one that was the size of a small mountain, towering a head above all the others.
When the smaller boat reached them, one of the men grabbed on to the rope ladder to steady them, and one rose to standing, bracing his legs apart to keep his balance. "Madainn mhath," he called up, and with an affected swirl of his hand, he bowed low. And very nearly tipped over the side when a swell caught him unawares.
"Scots, then," Beaty said. "That's something, at least."
"We are in need of your help, kind sirs!" the man called up, having managed to right himself. "We've been set upon by pirates, aye?" He spoke with a strange cadence, as if he were a town crier delivering this news to a crowded venue.
The men did not carry swords or guns that Aulay could see. It seemed all they could do to keep the jolly from tipping too far to one side. "That ship flew the colors of the king," he called down.
The spokesman looked startled. He squatted down to consult the other men in his small boat. A flurry of shaking heads and talking over one another ensued, until the man stood up again and said, "She flew no such flag when she fired, on me word, sir! She fired with no provocation from us!" He pressed his hand to his chest quite earnestly.
"No' bloody likely," Iain muttered.
"Why do I feel as if I am watching a theatrical performance?" Aulay asked idly. "What do you think, then, Beaty? Could a freebooter put his hands on a royal flag?"
"More likely a privateer," Beaty said, referring to those private ships holding a royal commission. "They're no' above a bit of pirating, are they? Might have nicked a flag, I suppose."
Perhaps. It was hard to argue who'd advanced on whom when they'd not witnessed it. But it seemed unlikely that a privateer or pirate would have engaged this ship. It was too small to hold anything of quantity or value.
Aulay leaned over the railing. "What have you on board that invited attack?"
"Naugh' but a lady, Captain!" "Who is the lady, then?"
That question prompted more spirited discussion on the jolly boat.
"What, then, they donna know the lady?" Iain snorted.
Once again, the man straightened up, put his fist to his waist and called out, "Our Lady Larsen, sir! We are carrying her home to her ailing grandmamma!" He paused, put a hand to his throat and said, "'Tis a journey of great and intolerable sadness, as the lady's grandmamma is no' expected to live!"
Larson. Aulay did not know the name.
Excerpted from "Devil in Tartan"
Copyright © 2017 Julia London.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Devil in Tartan had it all romance, chemistry, and adventure on the high seas!!! Lottie has found herself in a very precarious situation. Her father has yet again come up with a disastrous scheme. She agreed to sail to Denmark to sell illegal whiskey when they found themselves under attack. Now, she finds herself as a pirate when she takes control of a Scottish captain’s ship. Aulay is finally back doing what he loves best….on the open sea. He and his crew are making a trip to Denmark when they see a boat in distress. Despite his doubts, he decides to help when he sees a beautiful woman aboard a sinking boat. Big mistake…Now, he finds himself captive to this siren, and he is torn. In his heart, he wants to help her, but his mind wants to bring her and her clan to justice. Which will win, his heart or his mind? I loved Lottie! She was definitely not a woman of her time in the 1700’s. Even though her father was the chief of her clan, she really was. After spending his inheritance, he had to resort to schemes to pay his rents, thus landing his clan in trouble. Lottie bears the weight of her family on her shoulders, always putting her family’s needs in front of hers. Before her mother passed away, she warned Lottie to never forget herself. Yet, that is what she has done until Aulay enters her life. He comes to bear some of that weight for her. If she appeared cold and calculating in the beginning, she really did hate what she had to do in in order to survive. Thankfully, Aulay recognized that. As much as I loved Lottie, I loved Aulay just as much. He, like Lottie, is somewhat lost. He never felt like he had a place within his family. They only place he felt at peace was when he was at sea. As he becomes closer to Lottie, he realizes that she makes him feel alive and a part of something. They really to complete one another. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but if they are anything like this book, I can’t wait to read them. If you love wild, passionate heroines and sexy, loyal heroes, I highly suggest joining on this adventure with Lottie and Aulay!
Chemistry, angst, humor...Julia London does it again.
Aulay Mackenzie starts out on his sea voyage but stops his ship to render aid to the crew of a sinking ship. He is stunned to see a beautiful woman leading the crew. He is even more stunned when he awakes after being hit on the head and finds his ship has been taken over by the crew of the other ship. He is chained to a desk in his cabin. Lottie Livingstone assures him they mean no harm. They just have to get their cargo of illegal whiskey to Denmark. Who is this woman? Doesn’t she realize she has cost him the cargo he will have to repay somehow? He wants to hate her yet he admires her courage and is fascinated by her beauty. He assures her that she will face justice and it will probably be at the end of a rope. Although I loved the Mackenzie series, I did not like the characters in this one. Lottie never seemed to show true remorse for stealing Aulay’s ship, ruining the cargo he carried, and ultimately causing the ship to sink. She did not seem to take responsibility for either actions or the irresponsibility of her father’s actions that got them in trouble in the first place. Aulay is supposed to be the big, strong captain but he was brought low by the girl. This made him seem less of a man to me.
Loved the story and the characters in this book
Devil in Tartan, the 4th book in the Highland Grooms series, took a while for me to really get into. Lottie, the heroine, is pretty prickly from the start, and Aulay, the hero, has a massive chip on his shoulder due to what he sees his place in his family as. The romance is slooooooow moving--mostly due to everything else that is going on in the book--and that "everything else" is, at times, pretty complicated and involved. But... I'm not even sure at what point I was in the book--30%? 40%--but I suddenly realized that the story had me in its grip. Lottie and Aulay had drawn me into their world, and by the time we got to the end where everything looked bleak and nothing could possibly be done to make it right again, I think I was possibly more upset even than the characters. For sure I was trying just as hard to figure out how to fix it (I failed. Thankfully, they didn't--phew!) and I finished the book with a great big smile on my face. Devil in Tartan should work fine as a standalone if you haven't read the other books in the series (the only one I have so far is Daisy and Cailean's-- Sinful Scottish Laird --and of course they're the only couple who doesn't show up in person here). You won't know the family dynamics going in, but Aulay gives you all the information you need on that front anyway. More than half of the book has our hero and heroine out on the water, far removed from the rest of the Mackenzie clan, stewing over their problems and gradually falling for each other. Favorite line (with mild spoiler, so skip if you must): "You are mad if you think I'll never mention the two ships you sank"--just before kissing the aformentioned ship sinker. :) Rating: 4 stars / A- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Got to love a women that takes charge
Devil in Tartan by Julia London is book Four in the "Highland Grooms" series. This is the story of Lottie Livingstone and Aulay Mackenzie. I have not yet read the previous book so for me this was a standalone book. Lottie is trying to keep things going and when she takes to the sea to help gather money for the family whiskey she ends up taken over Aulay ship after he comes to help her out when her smaller boats gets into trouble. Aulay knew better than to try to help someone now he is finding that he wants his ship back and he wants Lottie too. Really Great Read...I loved it!
I love all of Julia London’s books. I have read every one that I can get my hands on and have never been disappointed in a book and this one did not disappoint either. Julia’s books are full on action, attraction, powerful, independent characters, and they have a great story line. In Julia London’s 4th book in The Highlands Grooms is a great book. Don’t be fooled by the first couple of chapters, the whole book is a great read. It starts out a little slow in the first couple of chapters but after that it gets a lot better. It has a great story-line about Aulay and Lottie. I love how the story took place mostly at sea and all the action aboard the boat. I loved reading how they fought the attraction and how they came together in the end to make a powerful couple. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.
Aulay Mackenzie is a kindhearted soul who wants to help save his family and clan. Having never fit in with his boisterous family, he’s only ever felt comfortable behind the wheel of his ship. The sea is his mistress. Lottie Livingstone has been mother and mistress to her clan since the age of thirteen. She puts the needs of her family and clan before her own. Having no female figure to guide her, she has run a wee bit wild and refuses to be reined in In an effort to fix the trouble the Livingstones have found themselves in, once again due to the latest scheme her father has concocted, Lottie finds herself, her family, and her clansmen on a sinking ship. Unfortunately for Aulay and his men, theirs is the first ship that finds Lottie and her crew. What ensues after is a fiery battle of wills. Julia London’s fourth book in The Highland Grooms Series is another wonderful story of finding love where you least expect it. I love how Lottie is a spitfire and confounds Aulay at every turn. I’m pleased that Aulay got his story. He intrigued me very much in Hard-Hearted Highlander. Julia is a wonderful storyteller and I enjoy well the verbal sparring and twisting plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. I hear the next book is about Catriona. I can’t wait. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.
Aulay Mackenzie never expects to lose control of his ship, especially not to a woman and her unfit crew. When Aulay comes up on the sinking ship, it is obvious that the crew are not sailors, otherwise they would have know that the ship they were on was not suitable for open waters. Even though he has a voyage of his own to complete he cannot leave them all there to die. Once they have been boarded by the motley crew, he finds himself knock out and tied up in his own cabin. Lottie Livingstone cannot believe the number of things to have gone wrong on this voyage thus far. Now she has taken a honorable man and turned him into her prisoner. How did it ever come to this? As the voyage continues and her father who has been injured grows weaker and weaker, she finds herself bonding with Captain Mackenzie, but can he ever trust or forgive her after what has happened? When her father's foolish plan leads to disaster, she must rely on Aulay and his men to save her and her clan. Aulay cannot deny that he loves the lass, but even he cannot save her from her crime. And when her actions cost him and his clan dearly, he must figure out if he can forgive her or is it to much to ask of his love? Great read. Love to see the Mackenzie clan again.
"Devil in Tartan" by Julia London 2018 (Highland Grooms Series Book #4 I was really excited to see this was Aulay Mackenzie's story. If you have been reading The Highland Groom's Series, this book comes after "The Hard-Hearted Highlander". In that book Aulay, brother of Rabbie, was the love/infatuation object of Rabbie's fiancee, Avaline. Although Aulay was only being kind to her, Avaline thought he was in love with her. After Rabbie was settled in married bliss, Captain Aulay Mackenzie set sail carrying goods to trade for an English agent. He was to sail to Amsterdam and then on to Cadiz. This was the Mackenzie clan's chance to change their future even if his father argued about the risk. It wasn't too long after they had set sail when they spied a ship on fire. The ship flew a royal flag. Then they saw a smaller boat which had damage to it's main mast. Aulay decided to take a closer look. The smaller boat's blundering crew made all the crew of Aulay's ship, the Reulag Balhaire, laugh with glee. Then they saw a beautiful Lady waving a white flag. A smaller boat came over to the Reulag Balhaire and asked for help. Thinking the blundering crew could be no trouble and their ship was taking on water, Aulay decided to let them come over. He would take them to land. Aulay's men were so busy looking at the beautiful Lady they were not even armed when the other crew came over. They brought over the beautiful Lady and every sailor was enamored with her. She asked the Captain to come forward so she could thank him. Aulay was bedeviled. Seeing blood on her dress they were concerned and Beaty, Aulay's first mate, commented that it should be looked at. One of her men shouted it could turn to Gangrene. "Gangrene" she cried and lifted her skirt to see the cut. All Watched. "Can any of you see?" But before Aulay could answer, he was hit from behind and when he tried to get up she said " I am so verry sorry" and kicked her knee squarely into his jaw. The next thing Aulay knew he was gagged, tied and shacked to his desk in his cabin. He was felled not by the sea, but by a woman. How humiliating! He would see them all hang. Lady Larson is really Lottie Livingstone trying to save her clan. Her father injured, a load of whisky to sell and now she has stolen Captain Mackenzie's ship. Will she be up to all of this responsibility. She tries to tell the Captain that she is only borrowing his ship. Read on to see the story unfold. Happy Reading!
Devil in Tartan (Highland Grooms #4) by Julia London.... I've loved this series and this one was great...Aulay..the youngest son...not a warrior like his two older brothers...he loves the sea and to paint... Lottie...the daughter ...and caretaker of her father and brothers since her mothers death. I enjoyed reading about her brother Drustan who was born with disabilities and it was great seeing him come into his own. There is plenty of adventure, laughs, love and some tears...Thank you Julia for letting preview this book. I hoping there is a next book and that it is Catriona's story.
I'm on the fence about this book. Sadly, it isn't one of my favorite books of the series. I guess I expected more for Aulay & Lottie's story or something. The book itself had a decent storyline. I like that the recurring characters keep popping up. However, I spent the better part of the book wondering if Aulay was suffering from Stockholm's Syndrome and that probably hindered my overall opinion of the book. I do look forward to more book in the series but this just wasn't one of my favorites.
I really look forward to Julia London's books. Her books are well written with strong characters and good story lines. But I have to say lately I've been finding her books to be more average. I'm finding the characters not as likable, weak with not much depth or character. Her last book story line was too jumbled but I regress here, let me give my take on this one. Lottie our heroine is in dire straits, crisis time. Her family business of illegal whiskey, monies are gone. Lottie, is portrayed as this strong and determined young woman. She proceeds to come up with the idea of going to sell the whiskey overseas. Off to sea she goes, in a boat not really equipped for the journey (too small/little of a boat). Comes up with a plan to steal another boat and this is where our hero comes in. Aulay MacKenzie, captain of the family's only boat, has set sail to prove he can make some money to help support the clan. As he is off at sea he encounters a distress small boat/ship. Against his better judgement (kinda of feels propelled as well to hep) he assists the crew and rescues them. Low and behold beautiful Lottie is part of the crew and everyone is beguiled. Lottie in my humble opinion uses it to her full advantage. She with her crew overtakes the handsome Aulay and his crew (they are all to dazzled by her beauty, really...) And so the story takes off from there, mostly taking place at sea. The two dance around each other, fighting the attraction the is developing between them. Each has a mission they are determined to fill but are struggling with developing feelings and conflict of interest. I had stated in the beginning my struggle with liking the characters in resent book for this author.I also found way too many characters in this storyline which made it somewhat distracting too. Unfortunately these two just came across as shallow and never really developed into someone likable. The plot was average and didn't really find much romance between the two main characters.
When I was younger, I read historical romances all the time. But now, my tastes are a more contemporary romances. When I saw the opportunity to read Devil in Tartan, I was intrigued by the blurb. So, I read my first Julia London book. I was not disappointed. It's a great story with powerful characters. Aulay and Lottie make an interesting duo, of course it takes a while for them to get there.
Highland Grooms Book Four. Aulay Mackenzie is back at sea when his crew comes across a small, bedraggled ship with a pathetic looking crew. When he offers the men passage onboard his ship, Aulay is surprised by the beauty of a young woman among the group. However, the small ship's inhabitants shock the Mackenzies when they take over the ship. Lottie Livingstone insists that she is only borrowing his ship until she can make it to Denmark and sell her whiskey to save her people. Despite her actions, Aulay begins to feel for Lottie and struggles with his need for justice. If you've been looking for a kidnapping role-reversal romance, this is the one for you!
I'm so happy that we got Aulay's story! The mysterious Sea captain that seems to enjoy coming home for a short stint and heading back out to the ocean where he is "King of the World" (hehe sorry had to throw that out there anytime I think of boats) Anyways we get a better perspective on this Mackenzie sibling and what makes him tick. Aulay prides himself on being one the best captain his age, but is knocked down a peg or two when his ship is stolen by a woman, Lottie and her rag-tag crew. Lottie takes command of the ship and soon command of Aulay's heart. Their story was funny and sexy with a couple of sad moments to round out the book. This book can be read as a stand alone but you really should read the other Highland Groom books because they are just as great as this one.
Lottie has spent most of her life trying to curb her father's wild mis-guided schemes and take care of her brothers when all she wanted to do was see the world. When the latest scheme lands their clan in hot water with the Laird, they hatch a scheme to sell their illegal whiskey far from Scotland. A run in with the authorities, leaves Lottie and her clan in need of rescue and another boat. Luckily for her, Aulay MacKenzie and his crew spotted the ailing ship and rush to their aid. Aulay MacKenzie is the youngest son and has never felt he met his Father's expectations. The only place he has felt at home and in control is at sea, with each voyage giving him the feeling of more respect from his family. The last thing he expects is to have his ship taken (borrowed) by Lottie and her inept crew. Lottie is in over her head and she knows it, so she turns to the captive captain for advice. Aulay has never met anyone like Lottie, but knows that there can be no future for them...or an tere. This was a fun, quick read. It is part of Julia London's Highland Grooms series, but would work well as a stand alone novel. It was fun watching these two find their way in their lives and to each other. The interplay between not only just the main characters, but also between them and the secondary characters caused many giggles. Once I started reading, I didn't want to stop. **I received an advanced copy from the publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own and freely given.
This is the 4th book in this series but it absolutely can be read as a standalone and still be understood. This one is about Lottie Livingstone and Aulay Mackenzie. Aulay is family to people from the previous books (son and brother in them) and a ships captain. Lottie is the daughter of the Laird of an island. Her family is trying not to lose everything and decides to try something illegal thinking it will fix everything. Until everything else goes wrong. Aulay just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and Lottie panics and takes advantage of it. From there is just seems to go downhill on one hand but they manage to fall in love during it all. I really liked this one. Aulay is not what I was expecting at all. He had a lot more sides to him than anyone would think. And once he decides on what he not only wants but needs? Then he can truly feel complete and be happy. I had a few issues with Lottie. She is supposed to be this strong and independent woman but there are many times that fell short with me. On a whole though, I did like her. There were just little things that got on my nerves with her. Together they seemed to work once they worked out all their problems and realized just what they could be to each other. Definitely well worth the read, especially if you like historical's!
I enjoyed this story, as I have all the books in this series. Aulay is captain of his ship and stops his voyage to rescue Lottie and her shipmates from going down with their vessel. She takes over his ship, literally, and from there we have adventure, action and a blossoming romance. Aulay was a favorite of mine from the start. Lottie grew on me as the story progressed as I really didn’t like her character in the beginning. But by the end I was rooting for her. Fun novel.
I used to love reading historical romance, and this book reminded me why. It took me a little while to get into this book, but when it did it grabbed me and didn't let go. I think every character had their high and low points, there were things I loved and hated about all of them, I think that's what made them even more relate-able . I really didn't think these characters were going to get their HEA and I can admit I was losing faith, but sticking with this book to the very end was so worth it. I spent a large part of this book with my heart in my throat and fighting back tears, again it was worth it! I haven't read any of the other books in this series and now I have to!
I struggled with Devil in Tartan by Julia London, book four in her Highland Grooms series. Lottie is a strong, courageous, fearsome woman, who was trying to do her best to save the family business, albeit illegal. I’m not sure she lived up to or did justice to her descriptions. She appeared to be intelligent enough to use her pretty face to fool men, but that didn’t make me like her more, it actually made me like her less. Aulay is a ship captain trying new adventures despite his father’s lack of belief that it would be successful. In addition he was a painter which I thought was great but it wasn’t explored enough. I liked that Julia London mentioned his role in the family and how he felt as that gave me some information so I could connect with him more, but it just felt like it was not enough. Lottie starts off hating Aulay or rather what he represents which turns into distrust of him. Unfortunately Aulay can’t wait to string Lottie up for pirating his ship. I think the scenes where they are bickering are some of the best in the book, I liked how they seem to bounce off each other, how their personalities were conflicting and yet they are quite sensual. Julia London’s writing isn’t being put into question rather this story just didn’t have that renowned London shine that I am so used to in her books. It felt like she tried to put too much in one book and ended up not focusing enough on what was really necessary. I still recommend this ‘Enemies to Lovers’ Historical Romance to other readers who might have better luck. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
I was intrigued by Aulay in the previous books, so it was exciting to read his story! Aulay meets Lottie in the most unlikely place and things just go from there. Lots of action on the open sea and a pretty solid storyline. I have to say I really enjoyed this installment in the series. Good read! I received a ARC in exchange for a honest review.