There’s no matchmaking an unruly heart
When a prominent Scottish family faces a major scandal weeks before their daughter’s wedding, they turn in desperation to the enigmatic fixer for the aristocracy, Nichol Bain. Remarkably skilled at making high-profile problems go away, Nichol understands the issue immediately. The family’s raven-haired ward, Maura Darby, has caught the wandering eye—and rather untoward advances—of the groom.
Nichol assuredly escorts Maura toward his proposed solution: an aging bachelor for her to marry. But rebellious Maura has no interest in marrying a stranger, especially when her handsome traveling companion has captivated her so completely. Thankfully, Nichol loves a challenge, but traveling with the bold and brash Maura has him viewing her as far more than somebody’s problem. Which raises a much bigger issue—how can he possibly elude disaster when the heart of the problem is his own?
About the Author
Julia London is a NYT, USA Today and Publisher's Weekly bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She is a six-time finalist for the RITA Award of excellence in romantic fiction, and the recipient of RT Bookclub's Best Historical Novel.
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Read an Excerpt
Calum Garbett was not allowed to know happiness. No matter how close he came to it, his wife and daughter would swoop in at the last moment to destroy any chance of it.
The scene playing out in the drawing room was the crowning blow. He could feel all his hard work slipping through his fingers. To think of all the money and time he'd spent bringing Carron Iron Works to life. It had been a Herculean feat to forge a relationship with Thomas Cadell, an Englishman with a successful iron works of his own, who could teach the Scots the latest techniques. Techniques that would save time and money, that would enable Calum to employ more Scottish men.
He'd positioned himself to become one of the premier industries in Scotland. If that were not true, would the Duke of Montrose be sitting beside him now, willing to invest his own money and influence into the endeavor?
Yes, Calum had bargained his daughter's hand in marriage as part of the deal, but then again, he'd done her a great service, as her prospects for marriage had not been dazzling. Frankly, his daughter leaned a little to the homely side of things, and when young, randy men of marrying age were presented with the prospect of a potential mate who made them wince when imagining the marriage bed, they tended to shy away altogether.
Well, he'd found someone for his daughter, Sorcha, and now, she would ruin everything with her mother standing firmly beside her, all because the young rooster she was set to marry was enamored with the far fairer, and much more elusive, Maura Darby. Calum's ward.
Calum had taken Maura under his wing twelve years ago when her father, his oldest friend, had died. The lass was quite alone in this world, and Darby had appealed to Calum's generosity and sense of decency. Calum had been happy to do it, particularly as the lass had come with a nice bit of money, and her presence would not affect him in any way.
But he'd severely underestimated how slighted his daughter, Sorcha, would feel about it. Or, perhaps more importantly, his wife. She was quite set against the lass from the moment she arrived.
The resentment only grew over the years. As the girls became women, no matter what Calum's wife did to improve his daughter's looks, poor Sorcha was destined to live her life with a bulbous nose and slightly crooked eyes, while Maura blossomed into a woman with appealing ink-black hair and eyes the same blue as a winter sky. The more alluring Maura became, the more his wife tried to push her aside. As it happened, Sorcha had been the first to receive an offer of marriage — with the help of Mrs. Garbett, who had resorted to all but locking poor Maura away.
The lass had borne it well enough, with little complaint. She'd become accustomed, he supposed, to wearing hand-me-downs, having her things taken and given to Sorcha — a kitten when she was thirteen, a muff a few years later, a fichu that was given to her by a friend on her twentieth birthday. And those were the things Calum knew about.
But what had happened in the last fortnight under this roof had turned Sorcha into an entirely unreasonable wee shrew. This, Calum decided, was a bloody disaster.
As he understood it, a chambermaid witnessed a kiss between Maura and his daughter's fiancé, Mr. Adam Cadell, and knowing this to be an unpardonable affront to her mistress, had run to the housekeeper, who in turn had run to Calum's wife, who had then screeched down the stairs and into the study where Calum and Adam's father, Thomas Cadell, were finalizing their agreement in the presence of the Duke of Montrose.
Mrs. Garbett was followed closely by a wailing Sorcha, whose sobbing had the unfortunate affect of making her nose look even larger. She was followed by the young man's mother, Mrs. Cadell, who vehemently denied her son had done anything wrong. Last, and certainly least, a sheepish Mr. Adam Cadell, who insisted that the older woman, Maura, who had just turned four and twenty to his twenty years, had thrown herself at him and he had not known what to do.
Bloody randy rooster would have them all believe he was a poor wee lad who had been accosted.
A tribunal of three confused men — Calum, Thomas Cadell and the duke — was quickly assembled in the drawing room. Calum insisted the maid be brought forth to give her account. Maura, the accused, was also ushered in, and stood defiantly against the wall, her arms crossed over her body, her fair blue eyes flashing with defiance at the lot of them.
"I seen Miss Darby with her back to the wall, and Mr. Cadell kissing her," the maid said with her eyes firmly affixed to the floor.
"I am certain it was the other way around," Adam said hopefully.
Calum looked at Maura. "Miss Darby?"
"It was precisely as Hannah saw it, sir, aye."
It didn't sound to Calum as if she'd thrown herself at Adam, not with her back to the wall, but she'd confessed to the kiss, and he didn't know precisely what to do. "Well, now," he said uncertainly. "You must promise you'll no' do that again."
"Mr. Garbett!" his wife shrieked with great hysteria. "Will you no' defend your daughter's honor, then?"
Dear God, did she propose that Calum call out the young man? Duel to death in their drive? To think of the scandal, not to mention the mess that would need to be tidied up.
"Pappa!" Sorcha's shriek was identical to her mother's. "I will no' marry him! I hate him! I hate Maura! Why ever did you bring her here?"
Calum felt the weight of this unmitigated disaster bearing down on his chest. Plus, his head itched beneath his peruke, and he longed for a stick or something to shove up in there and scratch so he could bloody well think. If there was no marriage, there would be no deal. His iron works, destined to be the economic jewel of all of Scotland, would circle the drain. He slowly gained his feet. "Let us not act in haste, darling."
"Haste?" Sorcha cried. "It is the second time she has kissed my fiancé!"
Oh right. The first time, Maura had said the lad had caught her outside, in the garden where no one could see them, and had kissed her. The lad, unsurprisingly, had flatly denied it. The two families had sided with him.
"I didna kiss him," Maura said, her voice surprisingly calm given all the female hysteria floating about them like an ether. "He caught me in the hall unawares and kissed me, sir." She looked at the young fool. "Please tell the truth, Mr. Cadell."
"How dare you!" Mrs. Cadell cried. "Know your place!" But then she swung around and hit the back of her son's head with the flat of her hand so hard that he was knocked forward a pair of steps.
"She is a temptress, on my word!" Adam said frantically, looking around him, no doubt hoping to find a sympathetic face. He would find none.
"I donna want her here, aye, Pappa? I donna want her anywhere near me!" Sorcha insisted.
Calum exchanged a look with Thomas, who looked just as befuddled as Calum felt. Calum truly didn't know what he was supposed to do with Maura. It wasn't as if he could tuck her away in a trunk and put her in the attic.
"Mr. Garbett!" his wife said. "You must send her away!"
"Aye, all right, all right, I understand that feelings have been hurt," he snapped, and tried to think. His cousin? He'd not seen David Rumpkin in many years. He lived in what had been his father's manor near Aberuthen. He was an old charlatan, had never made an honest living, but Calum suspected he would take Maura in for a fee until this debacle blew over.
He glanced at Maura, who steadily returned his gaze, almost as if she was silently daring him to believe that wretched lad and send her away. Her icy stare sent a small shiver down his spine. "I'll send her to my cousin for the time being, aye?" he said, his gaze on Maura. "In Aberuthen. A tidy manor house near a loch. Do you no' like the sound of it, then, Maura?"
She did not flinch. She did not say a word. But the injustice radiated off her, heating them all.
"Send her away with all the privileges we have extended to her these many years, then?" his wife said angrily. "She has destroyed my daughter's happiness, and for that, she should be made to repay the kindness we've shown her."
"Indeed," Mrs. Cadell sniffed. "She should be made to pay the consequence of using her wiles on an innocent young man."
Innocent, his arse. "What would you like, madam?" Calum asked his wife. "A pound of her flesh? For she doesna have a farthing to her name." Technically, she did, but he was not prepared to part with the stipend.
"She has a necklace," his wife said.
Maura gasped. "No," she said.
"No?" Calum's wife repeated, her eyes darkening with rage. "When I think of the gowns and the shoes and meals that have been bestowed on you!"
"The gowns and shoes belonged to Sorcha first, did they no'?" Calum tried, but no one was listening to him.
"That necklace has been in my family for years, aye?" Maura pleaded. "It's all that I have of them."
"Thank goodness for it, then, for you may repay your considerable debt."
"Mrs. Garbett," Calum said firmly.
"What, Mr. Garbett?" she snapped.
It was no use. His wife was livid, Sorcha was still tearful and Mrs. Cadell was trying to persuade her husband they should return to England. All of this in full view of the Duke of Montrose, who remained completely stoic and silent.
What he must think of them. A lot of bumpkins, that was what. Calum was so mortified by this display that he would do anything to have this over and done rather than prolong it another moment, and looking at his wife, he knew that if she didn't have her revenge, there would be no end to it. He said to the maid, "Fetch the necklace, aye?"
"No," Maura cried frantically. "You canna have it!"
But Hannah had already scurried from the room to fetch it.
Calum flinched when he looked again at Maura Darby. The pain this caused her was obvious; for the first time since the trouble with Adam Cadell had begun, unshed tears of helplessness filled her blue eyes.
"It pains me to say it, lass, but you must gather your things. 'Tis best you go away until the wedding is done, aye?"
"There willna be a wedding," Sorcha tearfully announced, and pushed past Adam as she flounced from the room, her red nose leading the way.
Maura slowly straightened from the wall. She gave Calum a look he was certain would terrify any man as she took her leave.
"Thank the saints," Mrs. Cadell said when she'd gone. "You shouldn't have that sort of woman in your house, Mr. Garbett, if you'll not mind me saying. She's a temptress."
The coward Adam nodded.
Calum desperately wanted to defend Maura, but the stakes were too high. When the wedding was done, he'd send for her. He'd put it all to rights with her then, and she would understand.
Maura was dispatched that very afternoon.
Unfortunately, the rift between the Cadells and the Garbetts was not so easily dispatched, because Sorcha and her mother refused to listen to reason or apology.
Two days later, Thomas Cadell and Calum Garbett met with the Duke of Montrose again to advise him as to the status of their joint venture. They were both flummoxed as to what to do. "My wife will have my head if I agree to it," Thomas said.
"My wife will have my balls if I do," Calum added glumly.
The Duke of Montrose, who had remained uncomfortably silent through the detailed explanation of their ordeal finally spoke. "There might be a way to salvage it yet, aye?" he said. "I know a man who is very adept at solving problems."
Calum and Thomas eagerly looked up. "A man? What man?" Calum asked.
"Nichol Bain," the duke said. "He is a man of incomparable skill in matters such as this." He picked up a quill, dipped it in ink and jotted down his name and location. He slid that across to Calum. "You may no' care for his methods, but you will be pleased with the results. Send for him straightaway if you want your iron works, sir."
Calum sent a messenger to Nichol Bain at Norwood Park in England that very night.CHAPTER 2
Mr. Nichol Bain was hoping for a bit more of a challenge in his latest engagement. A problem that would require ingenuity and considerate discretion to resolve. A situation with far-ranging consequences, such as the problem he'd solved for the Duke of Montrose a few years ago, when the duke had been rumored to have murdered his wife at a time he was to be named to the House of Lords. Now that was a problem with twists and turns and a bit of meat on the bone.
He'd even settle for the sort of problem he'd solved for the mild-mannered Dunnan Cockburn, the sole heir of a Scottish linen dynasty who had somehow fallen into a gambling ring and had gotten himself on the wrong side of London moneylenders. Dunnan's estate was entailed, which meant it was not his to sell as he would like, but held for future generations. It had taken a monumental feat of cunning to find a solicitor who could navigate the complicated history of the entail and carve out a wee bit of Dunnan's land to sell to pay his last debt, which had been an astronomical sum of three thousand pounds.
And then he'd needed a great deal of finesse to strike a deal with the naïve Dunnan and some rather unsavory characters in London.
But the problem Mr. Garbett and Mr. Cadell presented him was none of those things. He'd been summoned from England to the Garbett mansion near Stirling to resolve a young lover's quarrel. The problem should have been sorted out by the adults in the room, in Nichol's opinion. Unfortunately, rational people sometimes acted from passionate feelings rather than reasoned thought. Mr. Garbett and Mr. Cadell didn't need his help — they needed to step away from the turmoil and their wives, and think.
So, Nichol had taken advantage of their weakness and negotiated a very hefty fee to solve this child's play for the two iron barons. He considered the work a diversion, a bit of a lark. An exercise that would keep the machinery of his mind well oiled before he moved on to his next engagement that involved a wealthy Welsh merchant and a missing ship.
Nichol first met with Miss Sorcha Garbett, who, in his estimation, was as immature as she was plain. He asked her if she would be so kind to explain how her engagement had ended. Hopefully without tears.
Miss Garbett was quite eager to tell him and railed for a half hour about the unfair treatment of her person by one Miss Maura Darby, who had, for all intents and purposes, been banned from the Garbett house, and who, if Miss Garbett was to be believed, had been persecuting her for years. In the entire half hour, Miss Garbett mentioned her fiancé only in passing. She presented him as a rather unsophisticated gentleman who did not understand the wily ways of a woman. But Miss Darby was another matter entirely.
"Your father's ward sounds like a dangerous enchantress," he remarked, more for his own amusement.
"She's no' so enchanting," Miss Garbett sniffed. "She's no' as clever as she thinks, and neither is she a true beauty."
Miss Darby's looks had not been mentioned at all. "I see," Nichol said, and oh, did he see. "Might I inquire, Miss Garbett — do you love Mr. Cadell?"
She put a handkerchief to her considerable nose and shrugged delicately.
Bain clasped his hands behind his back and pretended to examine a porcelain figurine. "Does the notion of being mistress of a grand house appeal to you, then?"
She slanted her eyes in his direction.
"I have seen the Cadell house in England, and I can say without reservation that it is grander than Kensington Palace."
She dropped the handkerchief, and her eyes went wide. "Grander than a palace?"
She bit her lip and glanced at her lap. "But he loves Maura."
"No," Nichol said. This was where he did his best work. He squatted down next to the lass, took her hand in his and said carefully, earnestly, "He does no' love Miss Darby."
"How can you be certain?" she asked tearfully.
"Because I'm a man, aye? I know how a man thinks in moments of raw desire." He watched the twin puffs of red bloom in her cheeks. "He was no' thinking of the rest of his life, you may trust me. When he thinks of you, he thinks of compatibility and the many happy years before him spent in complete conjugal felicity."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Seduced by a Scot"
Copyright © 2018 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
I enjoyed it
I have a soft spot for historical romances and Scots. There's a rogue-like brogue that is always appealing. I don't know exactly what that fascination is, but it's there. When I saw Julia London's next story in the Highland Grooms series, I knew that I had to read it. Her stories are fun, intriguing, and always full of delicious scenes. Maura Darby has been alone for a long time. Taken in by a prominent Scottish family, things turn scandalous right before an advantageous wedding. The groom, Maura, and a disbelieving situation gone wrong leads to Maura removed from the house. Depicted as a maneater, she is relocated to a country house with unsafe lodgings until an arrangement can be made for Maura. Nichol Bain is a fixer for the upper class, and he can be depended on to smooth things over. I loved Maura's personality. She is tenacious, strong-willed, and loyal to herself. What more can you look for in a heroine. I felt for her, her tragic past, and the unfortunate situation that she found herself in. The gall of the men around her, and the travesty of the times towards women! It's the only downfall of reading historical romance - seriously. But I enjoyed her so much. Nichol. It took a bit of time to enjoy Nichol. I felt I was blinded by my anger towards the whole situation completely, that I didn't stop to look at who Nichol was until much later in the book. It's my own fault why I couldn't connect to him until the end, but I'm glad that I was able to eventually enjoy who he was. Overall, I enjoyed this story and these characters. I'm looking forward to more in this series and in this world! *Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.*
This book was a fantastic read. As always, Julia London did not disappoint. It's a book that you don't want to put down until you get to the very end (even though life does tend to get in the way of that pursuit.) Nicol and Maura's story was an awesome novel that I really enjoyed. I'm really sad to know that this will be the last book in the series. When you find a good series, you never really want for it to end. The epilogue at the end of the book was a terrific wrap up to a great series.
All I really have to say is WOW! I love Julia London, and am once again blown away by her writing. I also love the title, because when reading the book you never really know for sure if it is Maura Darby the dark haired, smart mouthed, beauty who is doing the seducing. Or if it is Nichol Bain, handsome problem fixer for the aristocracy. Maura has had a hard life after losing her family at a young age, and becoming the ward of a family that does not appreciate or care for her, as her beauty draws attention away from their daughter. In comes Nichol, who has been hired to remove her from their home and find a different situation for her that will make it so they need never see her again. Along the way love starts to grow, but how could it not with the characters Julia has created, I love Maura's personality and spirit, and Nichol is just dreamy. This book is definitely a buy, and I cant wait for more!
Love Can't Be Planned! Nichol Bain has made a life for himself as a “fixer” but with this latest “job” things don’t go quite as he planned. Maura hates that she has no control over her own life, and, now it seems Nichol has the planned the rest of her life. Determined to have more of a say, she starts making decisions counter to what Nichol wants for her. The more time they spend together, the more they fit together. Maura has her work cut out for her, convincing Nichol that she knows what is best for her future – him. London writes fun stories with entertaining characters, and this was no exception. Both characters had baggage, and I enjoyed watching them discover what made them happy and how much more important that was in life, even if it wasn’t exactly “the plan.” If you haven’t read the rest in the series, you won’t be lost this one works well as a stand-alone novel. It’s an entertaining page turner you will want to keep reading until the last word. #SeducedbyaScot #HighlandGrooms #JuliaLondon
Highland Grooms Book Six Maura Darby has caught the eye of her foster sister's fiance and in doing so, has lost the only family she has. Nichol Bain is a fixer contracted to find a solution for Maura's situation. Maura is furious with the family for betraying her, but mostly she just wants the one possession reminding her of her birth family, a necklace, to be returned to her. The necklace is the only thing she cares for until Nichol shows her that not all men are scoundrels. Nichol is determined to marry Maura to his friend, even though Maura captivates him. If you're looking for a high-spirited lass and a man with no ties to anyone, this is the book for you!
Nichol Bain is a fixer for the influential members of society. He's made his own way ever since his father banished him when he was a child. He doesn't need anyone. No one can touch his heart until he meets Maura Darby. She's mistreated by the family who are her guardians. When she is turned out he arranges a marriage for her. She doesn't want to become the wife of a man that she's never met. Nicol realizes that he can't let her go. It touched me how life has drawn these two together. The connection between these two is very powerful. Julia London has written characters with such heart. They have endured pain and rejection. I loved how they have found the person who completes them. Their journey to happiness touched me. Their strength and ability to keep trying was impressive. The dialogue was sharp and witty, the setting perfect and the story well written. I can't wait to see what's next in The Highland Grooms series.
What a fantastic series! I’m going to miss looking forward to the next book. This last instalment is just as fantastic as the rest of the books. I loved the heroine Maura. She was doing the best of such a bad situation. Nichol is a character that has been present in previous books and I’m very glad that Julia London did write his story. Maura and Nichol are perfect for each other and their HEA earned. I love villains that I love to hate and this villain is at the top of my list of such villains. As usual, this book is expertly written with a compelling fast pace and lovely surprises along the way! This is a stand alone book but it is much more fun if you have read the rest of the series first.
I normally love London's stories, but this one was just kinda meh to me. I really had a hard time finishing it. Nichol is sent to "deal" with Maura. Her family thinks that she tried to seduce her cousin's intended and sent her away. Nichol plans on taking Maura to one of his friends and hopes that they might suit one another and marry. He didn't count on falling for her himself. What will become of these two? I'm really hoping that the next book that London puts out is more on par with her other books.
was given an ARC via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I have read the entire series, and I have to say I was not looking forward to Nicol Bain’s story. He was first introduced in the previous book – Tempting the Laird – and I did not find his character likeable in the least. Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to read Seduced by a Scot and find him an absolute delight! There’s a big ole softie hiding under that crusty outer shell, and it took an outspoken heroine like Maura Darby to draw it out of him. Maura was sassy and witty when needed, but also vulnerable and loving. She’s the perfect counterpoint to Nichol’s prickly demeanor, which turned out to be a front to protect his own vulnerable heart. Their initial animosity gave way to grudging friendship, and eventually a deep love that you could feel from the pages. They faced many obstacles, but they did it together and are the stronger for them. Overall, I think this ended up being my favorite of the series. It stands on its own, but taken with the others it gives a lovely sense of closure to the story of Clan Mackenzie. A must for anyone who loves historical romance with a heavy dose of Scotland.
Nichol and Maura are the most delightful of all the couples. Their story Is filled with twists and turns and plenty of both heat and excitement. This was a true page turner.
Loved this one--another historical road trip romance FTW! I was intrigued by Nichol's career as a "fixer" for the rich and powerful--I mean, I guess they had to have them back then too, right? I just never thought about it :) Either way, it turned out to be an ideal life choice for him--and not just because it put Maura in his path. He's the kind of guy who thinks outside the box and gets things done; unfortunately (fortunately?) for him, so is Maura! ;) The two of them were so much fun on the page together--I loved that she never waited around for a rescue but instead made things happen herself. And of course she's the one who figures out how to fix a dangerous situation for the fixer--absolutely perfect! The epilogue, where Nichol does what he can to repay her sacrifice was spot on, and brought tears to my eyes :) This one worked very much as a standalone--previous series characters get brief mentions/made even briefer appearances in the epilogue, but you definitely don't have to have read their stories to enjoy this one. Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
This is the 6th book in the Highland Grooms series and it can absolutely be read as a stand alone book. This one is about Nichol Bain, who we met in Catriona's book, and Maura Darby. Nichol has been hired to "fix" a deal (and an engagement) for two aristocratic families. He understands that part of the problem revolves around one of the families beautiful ward, Maura. Maura has tried to stay in the background and out of the way but it's not always possible and being blamed for other people's actions seems to be the norm for her. She is sent away to try to make the problem go away. And Nichol comes up with a solution that will hopefully fix any issues in before they can arise in the future. Neither one knows just what they are in store for though once they spend time together, and actually get to know each other. I really liked this book! Maura is a great character who made me laugh and also made me feel bad for her with the way she has been treated and continues to be treated. Nichol has his own issues and he makes you wonder exactly why he is the way he is. And once you find out why? It makes your heart break for him, especially when he see's his "family" again. Throwing them together and forcing them to not only face their own issues but to fight for each other? It's a beautiful thing to read! Especially the things they are willing to do for each other once they face the fact that they truly love the other.
I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Seduced By A Scot is the sixth book in Julia London’s delightful Highland Grooms series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I do recommend reading all the books in the series as I enjoyed reading them. Maura Darby our intrepid heroine’s story is a bit of a twist on Cinderella and Julia pulls no punches in describing how bleak the situation could be for an orphaned young woman at the time. Nigel Bain the hero makes his living solving other peoples problems moving constantly from job to job perhaps in an attempt to escape his own demons. These two meet up when Nigel is charged with the task of solving the problem of Maura (sorry I can never resist a Sound of Music reference) His proposed solution of marrying her off to a Prince doesn’t work out so well when the Prince proves to be not so so charming. I loved how Maura even after years of abuse is strong and resilient and quite able to rescue Nigel when the tables turn. I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review Highly recommend. Medium steam. Publishing Date October 30, 2018.
A heroine with no home or family meets the hero who is hired to fix the situation she is in. Maura needs to leave the home of her benefactor and Nichol is assigned to help find a resolution. He has a friend in need of a wife and Maura will be the perfect answer. But as they travel together they learn about each other, both of them starving for love, trust and loyalty. Are they actually the perfect solution as a couple? This novel was a great read. I devoured it in 2 days and that was only because I had to go to work and couldn’t read straight through. I loved the characters and was happy to see some returning faces in the epilogue. One of my favorite novels in the series.
Made for Each Other Nichol Bain is a fixer — think Ray Donovan in a kilt. Fixing the most recent problem for which he’s been commissioned brings more than Nichol bargained for. We met Nichol as a minor character in earlier titles in Julia London’s Highland Grooms series (this is Boox 6). SEDUCED BY A SCOT, however, can stand alone and is a good place to jump into the series. Both Nichol and his “problem,” Maura Darby are intriguing characters. Maura, especially, is an untraditional woman who will give Nichol a run for his money — think Ray Donovan in drag! I laughed and cried throughout this book — it was probably my favorite of the entire Highland Grooms series. I would love to see more of Nichol and Maura in other books by Julia London.
3.5 stars I’ve read a few of the other books in this series and I was all in for another story. I liked Maura and Nichol. She’s sassy and stands up for herself. He’s a sweet marshmallow underneath his stand off-ish personality. Together they do have chemistry and some sweet banter, yet sometimes it felt like telling, instead of showing. Plot wise, it had a bit more stubbornness than I wanted to see, even if I’ve come to expect it in this genre. I did like the character growth and the last couple of chapters were fantastic. I’m sort of at a loss at this review because I did like the story, but something kept me from loving it. Overall, it was the characters that kept me reading and I look forward to reading the next book. **Huge thanks to HQN for providing the arc free of charge**
Seduced by a Scot (Highland Grooms, #6) by Julia London... I have loved this series and I am sorry it is ending...thanks to Julia London, the publisher and #NetGalley for allowing me to preview this book .. This is Nichol and Maura's story.. they both have had loss and tragedy in their lives from a young age.. he is a fixer and she really needs fixing(so does he). This book grabbed me from the beginning and never let me go... This book has tears, laughs, hardship, happiness, adventure, steamy sex, the Mackenzie's all and of course a very HEA.
3.5*/3.75* I’ve received this eARC at no cost to the author. Seduced by a Scot is the sixth book in the Highland Grooms series. After such a good fifth book, I thought it might be difficult to come back to that excellence. But Maura and Nichol came pretty close to it. Maybe because Maura (after leaving her house, of course) reminded me of Catriona? I don’t know. What I do know is that I really enjoyed this book. Both Maura and Nichol have had a hard time in life and, in this book, both of them find themselves without a place to call home. Even if it might seem that the attraction isn’t immediate, we can feel the sparks growing. We have a strong perspective of how women were seen in the past (I mean, some of us today are still experiencing this - sadly), and how most males thought it was always their fault that they caught someone’s eye. Because, of course, even if she pushes them aside, it’s still her fault because she’s pretty? Thankfully (and as expected), the hero treats her like a real person, even if he tries to lead her to a life she doesn’t want. He believes it’s the best for all involved, but when things between them start to change it’s hard for Maura to keep to the plan, and Nichol showed a huuuuge resolution almost to the end. Sometimes, his prerogative in forcing her to this “good life” that he envisioned for her as a bit too much. It felt like he was doing the same that had been done –no, forced on to her for her whole life. And didn’t really like that. Also, for a very intelligent and resourceful man, Nichol wasn’t the brightest in the bunch when it came to understanding why the Baron MacBain acted the way he did. I knew right from the start, he literally tells him to his face. I can understand that a child might not put the pieces together, but adult Nichol (and Ivan – his brother - to be honest) should have known the truth a loooooong time ago. He even says so himself! Anyway, those are the only reasons why this book has a lower review score than the previous one (which was 4.5*). Maura was so determined and I’m pretty sure she would have made it on her own (which would have been interesting to see). The story contains a bit of a Cinderella and Rapunzel vibe to it, which some readers might appreciate. In the end, it was a sexy book, with determined characters that overcame their struggles and past emotions, even if sometimes behaved unlike themselves.
Another keeper by Julia London. Nichol Bain is known for solving problems. Maura is a poor relation with a problem. Very entertaining to find out if they can solve this one. Highly recommend.