In only six weeks, Isla Ramsey is due to marry Henry Northrup, the sixth Earl of Sydney. But she remains haunted by memories of the dashing Hugh Courtney, the Marquess Pierce. The handsome aristocrat had hinted at forever and then tossed her aside, leaving Isla with few viable options. Now, as she awaits her new fiancé’s arrival from London, she rides her horse past Hugh’s estate at Hazelwood every day, pining for a man who was never truly hers.
Hugh Courtney may have left Isla’s life, but he can’t erase her from his thoughts. When he rescues her from a sudden snowstorm, they are forced to take shelter together at his private estate. In such close quarters there is no escaping each other. Yet no man wants a reckless wife—or a woman promised to another. As fate draws Isla further into his world, Hugh vows to keep her out of his bedchamber. However, some vows are meant to be broken . . .
Read an Excerpt
Huntington Lodge, Buckinghamshire March 1818
A creaky floorboard was the worst thing that could befall a sneak.
Isla Ramsey didn't like to think of herself as the sneaky sort, but when the floorboard under her boot squawked in protest, she instinctively threw a guilty glance over her shoulder. Hyacinth wasn't there, thank goodness. Over the past few weeks her sister-in-law had taken to following her about like a Bow Street Runner after a thief, and for all her sweet, gentle ways, Hyacinth had the instincts of a predator.
Isla crept forward again, wincing as the floorboard shrieked like an outraged mouse. How was it possible every floorboard in this house had suddenly developed an alarming squeak? They'd all been perfectly silent until she tried to creep across them.
Her mouth set into a stubborn line. It was utter nonsense she was forced to sneak about in the first place. It wasn't as if she were going out to pick a pocket, or set a fire, or kick a puppy. She wasn't doing anything wrong. It was a morning ride, for pity's sake, nothing more. Surely there was nothing so shocking in that? Why, people all over England rode every day, and no one asked them to explain themselves.
She cast another nervous glance around, but there was no one about. Perhaps fate had deigned to smile on her at last, because she made it across the entryway to the front door without being taken up by the Huntington Lodge watch. She'd just nip out the door, make her way to the stables, and be gone before anyone even realized she'd —
"Isla Ramsey, don't you dare set foot outside that door!"
"I mean it, Isla. I forbid it!"
Hyacinth's voice was as stern as Isla had ever heard it, but when she turned to face her sister-in-law, she couldn't prevent a grin. "You can't forbid me to do something when you're wearing that gown, Hyacinth. It's not at all forbidding."
Hyacinth frowned and smoothed a hand down her dainty skirts. "What do you mean? What's wrong with my gown?"
"It's pink." Isla moved a step closer and squinted at Hyacinth's bodice. "Blossom pink, with sweet little purple flowers all over it."
Hyacinth crossed her arms over her chest. "What of it? I don't see what my gown has to do with you riding out today."
"You look as if you've just tumbled from a tray of sweets. Really, Hyacinth, you can't play the despot when you look like one of Cook's teacakes."
Isla offered her sister-in-law a winning smile to soothe any ruffled feelings, but Hyacinth was having none of it. "Very well, Isla. I can't force you to listen to me, but you don't need me to tell you it's dangerous to ride during a violent storm."
"Violent storm? Oh, nonsense, Hyacinth. It's not even raining."
"Only because it's too cold for rain, and it's growing colder by the minute. You may trust me when I say that once the skies open, we'll be pummeled with ice and snow."
Isla glanced out the window and bit her lip. A fierce wind was blowing ominous dark gray clouds across the sky, and even her thick wool riding habit was no match for the icy drafts stealing under her skirts. "Oh, very well. I grant you it's not an ideal day for a ride, but I won't be gone long. I only intend to go as far as the main road, and then I'll turn right back."
"Look at the clouds, Isla!" Hyacinth pointed at the patch of leaden sky visible through the window set high above the door. "It will be snowing before you've even reached the stables, never mind the road!"
"Perhaps, but I've ridden in blustery weather before. I am from northern Scotland, if you recall. Come, Hyacinth. It isn't far, and I want to see if I can spot Lord Sydney's carriage on the road."
Dear Lord Sydney. She'd written, asking him to come, and he'd written back, promising to set out from London at once. He was the dearest of men, and the doubts and chaos in her head always calmed when Sydney was about.
What more could a lady ask of her betrothed than that?
"Lachlan and Finn have both said they doubt he'll come today. He's almost certainly delayed his trip from London, or stopped on the way to wait for more favorable weather."
It was a reasonable enough assumption, but Isla wasn't in a mood to be reasonable. "Perhaps he has, and yet I'd feel better seeing for myself, just the same."
Hyacinth regarded Isla in silence for a moment, then asked in a casual tone, "Is that the only reason you insist on riding out?"
Isla had turned back to the door, but now she jerked around. Her gaze snapped to Hyacinth's face, and what she saw in those sympathetic dark blue eyes made her stiffen.
Isla had grown up with only rough, wild brothers. She'd always longed for a sister, and Hyacinth was as lovely a sister as she'd ever dreamed of having, but there were certain things she hadn't understood about sisterhood until after her brother Lachlan had married Hyacinth.
For one, there were no secrets among sisters.
A sister could see past whatever lies you told and scars you hid, right into the center of your heart. There was a reason Isla rode out every day, no matter how indifferent the weather, and a reason why she always went alone.
Hyacinth had seen into Isla's heart, and she knew the truth.
"Isla?" Hyacinth laid a tentative hand on her forearm. "Is Lord Sydney the only reason?"
Isla met Hyacinth's eyes. There was no judgment in that steady blue gaze, and yet as badly as Isla wanted to blurt out the truth and cry herself dry on Hyacinth's shoulder, shame forced a bright, false smile to her lips. "Yes, of course. What other reason could there be?"
Hyacinth, who knew this for the lie it was, let out a deep sigh. "I'm sorry, Isla, but I won't stand quietly by while you march out that door as if you were going to the garden to pick flowers. It's far too cold for a ride, and the weather is too unsettled. I won't let you take such a risk."
Isla sighed. She didn't like to quarrel with Hyacinth, but she'd begun to feel quite desperate. "I'm sorry, Hyacinth." She was sorry, but if she didn't escape Huntington Lodge soon, she was going to burst out of her skin.
She opened the door to slip outside, but before she could move an inch, Hyacinth's quiet voice stopped her. "If you take a single step toward those stables, Isla, I'm going straight to your brothers. What do you suppose Finn will say when he finds out you intend to ride on such a day?"
Isla turned back to Hyacinth, her mouth falling open with shock. She and Hyacinth never told each other's secrets. To do so was a betrayal of sisterly confidence. "You'd tattle on me to Finn, Hyacinth? Truly?"
Hyacinth gave her a pained look. "I don't want to, but if it's the only way to make you listen, I will. Please don't leave me no other choice. It's for your own good, Isla."
They stared at each other for a long, silent moment; then Isla turned, her eyes narrowing against the wind as she scanned the brooding sky. She didn't know how to explain to Hyacinth it wasn't simply a ride to her, but an escape from the demons only a hard gallop could chase from her head.
But surely, she hadn't become so desperate she couldn't endure a single day without it?
She struggled with herself, but at last Isla closed the door with a sigh, removed her gloves and cloak, and propped her riding crop against the wall. "You know I despise being told things are for my own good, Hyacinth."
"Oh, thank you, Isla!" Hyacinth squeezed her hand. "I promise you I'll keep you well entertained. Shall we go to the parlor? I've a sudden yearning for Cook's iced tea cakes. Perhaps we can find Ciaran and coax him into playing a game of cards with us."
Isla dutifully followed Hyacinth to the parlor. They didn't find Ciaran, or any of Isla's other brothers, but Hyacinth was as good as her word. She kept up an engaging stream of bright chatter, plied Isla with sweets, and even read aloud to her from Northanger Abbey. They'd just reached the part where the heroine, Catherine Morland, is about to delve into the mysterious chest in her bedchamber when they were interrupted by Lachlan, who'd come in search of his bride.
"Ah, here you are, sweet." Lachlan plucked the book from Hyacinth's hand, laid it aside, and drew her to her feet. "I expected you to join me in our bedchamber a half hour ago for our ... rest."
Isla smothered her snort. Rest, indeed. Lachlan and Hyacinth had married several weeks ago, and since then, they spent every afternoon alone in their bedchamber. Once they were there, they remained for a good long while, and Isla doubted it was to rest.
No one was that tired.
Still, it was rather sweet, and true passion was rare enough without her standing in its way. "It's all right, Hyacinth. I'll find a way to amuse myself."
Hyacinth met Lachlan's gaze, and when she turned back to Isla, her cheeks were flushed. "If you're sure?"
"Yes, yes." Isla waved them off. "Go on. Have a pleasant rest."
They hurried up the stairs, and for an hour or so Isla did her best to stay occupied. She read for a bit, then made another half-hearted attempt to find her brother Ciaran to see if he fancied a game of chess, but he was nowhere to be found. She set up the board and played both sides of it for a while, but it wasn't long before the quiet of Huntington Lodge began to press in upon her, and she found herself creeping back over the squeaky floorboards to the door.
Perhaps I am the sneaky sort, after all.
But surely a quick ride wouldn't do her any harm? She'd go only as far as the road, then come straight back before Hyacinth had a chance to worry about her.
Moments later, she'd slipped out the door. A tiny prickle of doubt rose in her chest when the howling wind instantly whipped tears into her eyes, but she ignored it. Within minutes she was mounted and riding toward the main road, praying she'd encounter Sydney in his smart green carriage, coming for her.
* * *
There was no green carriage, no Sydney, and by the time the storm had finished venting its rage on Buckinghamshire, Isla thought it likely there'd be no road.
Hyacinth had been right about the rain. Nothing as tame as a late winter downpour would do for this storm. It was as if the sky were an enormous sheet of ice and someone had smashed it with a hammer until thousands of tiny, pointed shards rained down upon Isla's head. They made hollow popping sounds as they hit the top of her riding hat, and the cacophony was growing louder and faster with every minute.
It had been a mistake to venture out at all today. When she arrived home, she would offer Hyacinth her most sincere apologies and promise to listen to her next time, no matter how dainty her gown was.
But then it was a day for mistakes, it seemed. She'd ended up going farther down the road than she'd meant to, as well, and by the time she was forced to admit to herself Sydney wasn't coming today, the storm had grown so severe she'd had no choice but to take the shortest route back to Huntington Lodge.
The one that took her straight past the front entrance of Hazelwood.
Lord Pierce's estate.
It wasn't the first time she'd come this way, of course. No, she'd passed his house every day since she'd come to Huntington Lodge, no matter that she woke every morning promising herself she wouldn't. That today would be the day she'd forget him.
Now here she was again, staring up at the empty windows, lingering even as the skies rained fury down upon her head. The symmetrical rows of blank, glassy eyes stared back at her. If there was any light behind those windows, she couldn't see it.
When she and her brothers had arrived in London, Isla had been so certain her heart would remain forever cold, it hadn't even occurred to her to guard it. As little as three months ago, she would have sworn she hadn't any heart left to break.
She'd been wrong. Hugh Courtney had taught her how wrong with every dance, every smile, until it was too late to save herself.
She tried to despise him, but even as her heart ached and bled, he never left her thoughts for long. But it was her own fault she couldn't forget him, wasn't it? No one made her ride by his house every day. No one forced her to stare up at those windows and wonder if he was behind one of them, gazing down at her.
A bitter laugh rose to Isla's lips. He wasn't. Even if he did happen to catch a glimpse of her, he'd turn away at once. Indeed, he'd already done so, and there was no reason to suppose he regretted his decision. Looking back on it, Isla was surprised she hadn't predicted how it would all unfold after her season came to its abrupt, disastrous end.
What had she expected would happen? Had she truly believed a man of Lord Pierce's rigid respectability would overlook her shocking scandal? The gossips had it she'd lured Lord Sydney into a public indiscretion — some of the more creative among them even claimed she'd been stripped down to her corset and stockings when they'd been caught together in Lady Entwhistle's library. The ton hadn't hesitated to make the most of her disgrace. They hadn't spared her, so why had she imagined he would?
In the end, Lord Pierce couldn't have made his wishes any plainer. She'd written him that night — a hastily scrawled note, asking him to come to her, to let her explain.
He'd responded at once.
Miss Ramsey, please don't ever contact me again.
The note was proper, correct — courteous, even. Just like everything he did.
And despite its brevity, devastating. Devastating, and final.
He never wished to see her again. She could only assume that meant he didn't want her on his property, staring up at his windows like some pathetic schoolgirl.
Perhaps he pities me ...
It was that thought that made Isla jerk her horse around. She'd return to Huntington Lodge, and tomorrow Sydney would come, and everything would fall into its proper place again, just as it always did when he was there. Once Sydney arrived, she wouldn't be tempted to ride past Hazelwood again, and she'd soon forget all about Lord Pierce.
Her mind made up, she turned her horse's head toward Huntington Lodge.
If the storm hadn't chosen that moment to swell, all might still have been well. Maybe then she never would have gone near the woods at all, but given the choice between sheltering trees and the fierce ice pellets striking her face, she'd chosen the trees.
Another mistake, as it turned out, and a dire one.
She'd only intended to pause at the edge of the woods for long enough to catch her breath, and perhaps scoop the ice from her bodice, but she hadn't even had a chance to unbutton her coat before her horse, Sophie took a sudden fright, and without any warning, bolted into the woods.
"Sophie!" Isla just had time to let out a startled yelp and snatch up the reins before Sophie was plunging through the trees. She wobbled in the saddle as the horse cut a haphazard path through the woods, struggling to keep her footing on theuneven ground.
"Sophie, no!" Isla jerked on the reins, but shock made her clumsy, and the awkward tug only added to Sophie's confusion. The horse continued her wild dash through the trees until Isla gathered her wits and brought them to a halt at last.
She remained frozen in the saddle for long, breathless moments and waited for her heart to cease its panicked thrashing. Goodness, her legs were shaking. For pity's sake, what had just happened? Sophie had never bolted on her before. She was as gentle a horse as Isla had ever ridden.
Something had frightened her. There'd been a noise. Now she thought on it, Isla was certain she'd heard a series of cracking sounds, almost like claps of thunder, right before Sophie fledinto the woods.
She went still now, listening, but aside from the wind, she heard nothing.
"It's all right now, Sophie." She rested a comforting hand on Sophie's neck as she squinted into the gloom, trying to get her bearings. The shadows pressed in on her, so thick they felt like cobwebs clinging to her skin. It was so dark she could hardly make out the ground at Sophie's feet.
She'd ridden through these woods dozens of times. She knew the pathways and trees by heart. It had never occurred to her they could pose a danger to her, but between Sophie's mad dash and the gloom ...
Well, there was a chance — just the tiniest possibility, of course — that they were lost.
She peered into the shadows, but the trees looming over her were no longer the old friends she recognized from her daily rides. They were dark, forbidding shapes, their jagged branches eager to tear into her skin.
Sophie let out a nervous whinny, and Isla stroked the horse's neck. "Well, my girl. You got us into this mess. Which way shall we go to get out of it? Straight on, or back the way we came?"
Whichever way that is.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Wayward Bride"
Copyright © 2019 Anna Bradley.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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 finished reading this book with very mixed emotions. While it's well written, I felt there was way too much angst throughout the story, plus I really didn't like that part of the story is about a m/m gay couple. I have no problem with gays, I just don't like reading that genre!! It just surprises me that this author felt the need to do this. Of course, one can skip over all those scenes but with their stories being intertwined, it's kind of hard. Between Isla, Hugh, Sydney, Lucas, and Julianna, your head will be spinning! I did not find this a relaxing book to get lost into and it definitely is not one of my favourite Anna Bradley books. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
This is a great love story, actually two love stories, that involves Hugh and Isla, and Sydney and Lucas. The stories are wonderfully written and intertwine with each other. Sydney offered for Isla after a scandal occurred even though they did not love each other. There comes a time when Hugh and Isla admit to each other the love they feel for one another but because they are both betrothed to someone else they can not marry. Sydney is involved in a carriage accident that badly injures him, he was rescued by Lucas and they find an unexpected love. In the end there is a HEA for these four but not before a lot happens and others come to play a big part in the story.
First time I have read anything by this author!!! It was a wonderful book with two interconnected storylines, that were both equally engrossing and well written! I had s tough time putting this book down.
This was a wonderful read! The characters are delightful and the book is well-written and well-plotted. It could have easily been a 5-star read for me had the blurb mentioned that there was an m/m romance as well as infidelity. The couples aren’t married, but they are formally betrothed and during that period, that is about the same thing. This is the first book of a new series, but this book sort of continues from the Somerset Sisters series in that the heroine in this book is the sister of the hero of the last book of the Somerset series. You don’t have to have read the previous series to love this book, but if you have, you’ll better understand the closeness of the characters – besides – it is just a good series. I had thought that the next book might feature Isla’s brother Ciaran, but that isn’t the case. Maybe #3 will be his. Isla Ramsey was involved in another scandal and it wasn’t her fault, but the only solution was a betrothal. Her very best friend, Henry Northrup, the sixth Earl of Sydney offers for her and is accepted. They have absolutely no secrets from each other, so each knows exactly what they are getting. They don’t love each other romantically, but they do love each other. Each thinks they are doing the best thing for themselves and each other. Isn’t it wonderful that their hearts step in and show them what real love is – if they can claim it? Isla was deeply, irrevocably in love with Hugh Courtney, the Marquess of Pierce. She was totally devastated when he just abandoned her during the scandal and wouldn’t even let her explain what happened. So, she had no choice but to become betrothed to Sydney. Hugh was also deeply, irrevocably in love with Isla and he had thought she felt the same about him. However, she immediately became betrothed to another man just after her scandal. Hugh didn’t care about the scandal, he only cared about Isla. Evidently, she didn’t feel the same. Sydney loves Isla as a friend and she knows all of his secrets and doesn’t judge him. He has to marry to provide an heir for the title and when Isla needs a betrothal, he steps in. He cannot ever openly fall in love, so a marriage of convenience is perfect for him – it just has to be to someone he can totally trust. Isla and her family have left London for a visit with their brother, and his estate is directly adjacent to Hugh’s estate. Each day she takes her horse out for a ride – and cannot resist always riding in front of Hugh’s estate. She’s sure he isn’t there, but she can dream of him behind those walls. Then, during a horrific ice storm, Isla is trapped, lost, frightened and it is Hugh who finds her. He takes her to his home because it is nearest and he’s fearful she won’t survive. During their time together, they find out what happened in London, and realize they are still in love. Sadly, each of them is betrothed to someone else. At the same time, Sydney is on his way to see Isla when he is caught in an ice storm and his carriage wrecks horribly. He’s on the brink of death when he is lifted out of the water-filled ditch. He’s only half conscious, but he’s sure there is a bear – and a man with haunting grey eyes. Later, when Sydney regains consciousness, he learns that the bear is a huge dog and the man who rescued him is Lucas Dean, a local farmer. The attraction is instant and as Sydney convalesces, they get to know one another and love each other. For the rest see: https://www.bookbub.com/reviews/1464801585
I LOVED Hugh and Isla's story!! This was a reunion story and those are always one of my favorites. Having been torn apart by one comment from a friend, Hugh and Isla are both still secretly longing for the other. When they end up trapped together during a snow storm, they can't deny their feelings any longer. But can they overcome that huge obstacle that stands in their way? Loved watching these two find their way back to one another!! They were perfect for each other and I enjoyed their story immensely. Without giving too much away, you actually get 2 for the price of one with this story!! I loved that!! Lady Juliana, whom we met in this story, is up next! I can't wait to see what Bradley comes up with for her!
The Wayward Bride Anna Bradley is book One in the Besotted Scots Series. This is the story of Isla Ramsey and Hugh Courtney, the Marquess Pierce. Although this is the first book in the series this series is a branch off of 'The Somerset Sisters Series'. With that said, this is a standalone book but just wanted to make note in case like me you have read that series. Isla is in love with Hugh and thought he was heading in that direction with her but a scandal hit and Hugh just drifted away. Now left, she has to marry, and her friend Henry Northrup, the sixth Earl of Sydney steps in. Henry has his reason he needs to marry besides a heir, he has his secrets that Isla is aware of, so a deal is struck. But can Isla go through this deal with her heart still with Hugh? Really enjoyed their story and the secondary characters that had their own story.
I really enjoyed this book. I am happy to see Isla finally get her happy ending. I really enjoyed the relationship Sydney ended up with. Everyone is happy and in love. You don't get many relationships like Sydney's back then and I am so happy Anne did his story line like that. Isla and Hugh go through a lot to get to their happy ending but I think it's worth it in the end. I can't wait to see what Anne does for Isla's brother and his story. *I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.*
Huntington Lodge, Buckinghamshire, March 1818. Be still my heart. Hugh Courtney was never far from her mind. After being heartbroken by him during her season, Isla could not deny her feelings even though she was to marry the earl of Sydney in a few weeks. Longing to see him yet knowing he would not speak to her she rides out and gets caught in an ice storm and is rescued by none other than... yes Hugh. Hugh had been trying to get Isla out of his mind and heart, but as he brings her home and they get snowed in, it seems fate cannot be denied. You see Isla had been involved in a scandal and Hugh had abandoned her. The only recourse she had was to become betrothed to her best friend Sydney. But as the two spend time together and get to know each other, what will happen? Can they ever be together with so may outside forces working against them? I adored all of the extra characters in this story including Sydney and local farmer Lucas. This is almost a second story within this one and is really well done. The pages could not turn fast enough so I might see how everything would turn out and I could only sigh as I turned the last page. I highly recommend this book and excited it is the first book in a new series!
The Wayward Bride by Anna Bradley is the first in her new series The Besotted Scotts. I have read seven other novels by Ms. Bradley and thoroughly enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I felt completely blindsided by the M/M romance contained in this story. Not my cup of tea and out of respect for her readers, Ms Bradley should have disclosed this aspect of her book in the information posted. I wouldn’t buy or waste my time had I known that brand of romance was in it. Respect your readers, Ms. Bradley. Disclose.
“The course of true love never did run smooth” ..... I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The Wayward Bride by Anna Bradley is the first book in her new series Besotted Scots. I would suggest reading her series The Somerset Sisters first because events and that feature in this book happen in the previous series. That said you can read this as a stand-alone should you wish. This story reminded me a bit of a Midsumers Night’s Dream …only in this case it is a winter’s storm that causes all the havoc. Isla Ramsey is betrothed to Henry Northrup, Earl of Sydney but is in love with Hugh Cortney Marquess of Pierce who told her he never wanted to see her again because he thought she was already betrothed to Henry and now he is betrothed to Lady Juliana Bernard in what is to be a marriage of convenience in order to protect his young niece and Henry and Isla only became betrothed to protect her from gossip but now Henry has fallen in love with someone else and a Duke wants to marry Lady Juliana. The story is delightful, I enjoyed it immensely and can’t wait to read the next books in the series. Medium Steam Publishing Date February 26, 2019 #NetGalley #AnnaBradley #TheWaywardBride #KensingtonBooks #LyricalPress
I couldn't put this book down, and when I was finished I wanted to read it all over again. This book could have easily been called "broken betrothals" as there are several in this story. How Ms Bradley weaves this story through them all is incredibly entertaining. You feel for the characters, as well as feel what the characters are feeling. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Couples engaged to the wrong people (Isla and Hugh) with a surprise M/M (Lucas and Sydney) love story within this story as well. Great read! I hope the next book covers Lady Julianne’s story and includes some payback towards Lord Cowden.
The Wayward Bride by Anna Bradley Besotted Scots #1 In which everyone seems to be betrothed to the wrong person for the right reasons and in love with someone else BUT eventually all finally end up with the right person – their own and only true love… What I liked: * the complexity of the story * the sweetness of Luke and Sydney together * Brute – the bear/dog * the selflessness of many * the caring * family What I didn’t like: * hmm….thinking about this...perhaps the miscommunication between Hugh and Islsa * the angst...though a little really had to be expected since so many were not happy… * the pressure put on Juliana...really thought she might end up with the still single brother of Isla but see she is to end up with someone else as the blurb for her book is out already Did I enjoy this book? Yes Do I want to read more in this series? Yes NOTE: This does have a M/M romance through half the book so...heads up if that is not your thing Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington-Lyrical Press for the ARC – this is my honest review. 4-5 Stars
Huntington Lodge, Buckinghamshire - 1818 Isla Ramsey’s sister-in-law, Hyacinth, has caught her just as she is planning to take a morning ride. Hyacinth insists that the weather is getting bad and it will likely snow soon. But Isla wants to be outside to see her betrothed, Henry Northrup, the sixth Earl of Sydney, when he arrives. In truth, Isla likes to ride past Hazelwood, the estate of Hugh Courtney, the Marquess Pierce. Some time ago. she had been caught in a library with Lord Sydney and now Lord Pierce wants nothing to do with her. When Hyacinth decides to take a rest, Isla chooses to slip out for a ride. The weather quickly grows bad causing her horse to bolt. Now, she and her horse are lost in the worsening weather. When a frozen branch falls in front of them, the horse throws Isla and she then passes out. Hugh finds her outside and takes her inside his home. She doesn’t have any injuries other than the severe cold temperatures she was subjected to, but the weather has gotten so back she has to stay at his home for several days before she can go back to Huntington Lodge. The time together allows Isla and Hugh to discuss what happened to their relationship and what went wrong. They also simply have time to truly get to know one another. In the meantime, Sydney has had a severe carriage accident and is taken into the home of a farmer named Lucas who treats his injuries and nurses him back to health. Duty calls Isla and Sydney even though their hearts are drawn in different directions. Will they follow duty or their hearts? What a totally delightful love story! I loved every word of it. Isla is such a sensitive person and has a way of getting people to open up. Sydney’s is the first I have read of an M/M love story and I was so touched at how beautifully the author wrote it. Very well done! This is a wonderful novel and I hope lots of people will read it. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
enjoyable story, 2 romances in one, one being homosexual which was a surprise. Isla due to marry but still haunted by memories of another man. twists and turns, interesting storyline, sexual situations, and complex characters will keep you wanting more
I absolutely loved the last book by Anna Bradley, and was thrilled to discover that some of those characters would appear in her latest series, Besotted Scots. Yay! And this new story did NOT disappoint. I started the dang thing this morning and couldn't put it down until I was finished. I got nothing done, except run to get more tissues because I was bawling my eyes out. I have the puffy face to prove it. There were actually two love stories here - one with Isla and Hugh, and the other with Sydney (Isla's betrothed) and Lucas. Yes, there is a m/m romance here. If you skip this book for that reason, you are doing yourself a disservice, as it is a lovely, sweet story. Both storylines are just fantastic, and they are connected. I won't get into a synopsis of the story here; you can read the book description for yourself. What I will tell you is both storylines blew me away. Anna Bradley is brilliant getting across intense feelings of pain, love and desire. Give it a try...you won't be able to put it down, either. Oh, and special props to Brute the dog (bear?). I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley. I received no compensation for my review, and all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
Isla Ramsey hasn't had a great love life. After a bad experience she thought her feelings would not get involved in her next relationship. Then she meets Hugh, Lord PIerce and falls in love. Due to a misunderstanding, she becomes betrothed to Lord Sydney,a dear friend of hers. She rides by Lord Pierce's house everyday in hopes she will fall out of love with him. She rides by one day and is caught in a blizzard and saved by Hugh. While at his house, they admit to their love, but she is betrothed. When guests arrive, there is another shock. Will they be able to resolve their problems and get their happily ever after? I loved this book. This is the start of a new series, but we first meet Isla in More of Less a Temptress. I loved Lord Sydney and hope there's a story about him. I received this book from Net Galley and Kensington Books for a honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Isla Ramsey loves Hugh Courtney, Lord Pierce, but an incident at a ball caused him to leave London. He’s sent a note telling her not to contact him. However, at her brother’s estate she is a short ride from his home and rides by there often. She is engaged to Henry Northrup, Earl of Sydney, a good friend who proposed to save her reputation. Henry has not arrived yet, and her family is worried over the weather. She rides by Hugh’s home every day, but the storm has worsened, and she’s lost in the woods. Hugh finds her and takes her to his home where he tries to ignore her but finds it impossible. Meanwhile, Henry’s coach overturned on the way to her brother’s home and his horses broke free. Luckily, he was rescued by Lucas, a farmer, and taken to his modest home. His coachman, Burke, was thrown but not badly injured. He’s found one horse and is searching for the other. Henry is injured and lucky that Lucas has some experience in healing. Hugh and Isla admit their love, but after he left London, he agreed to marry Lady Julianne, his brother-in-law’s sister. His sister and her husband are both deceased leaving their daughter Grace with her aunt and Grandfather, the Marquess of Graystone. Julianne realizes he loves Isla and tells him she is in love with a Duke, but is she? Either way, Hugh will always be allowed access to Grace. Henry is finally well enough to travel, but does Isla want to marry him? I love this book. I think it’s Anna Bradley’s best! I hope I haven’t written any spoilers and I hope you’ll read it.