The Scot’s Bride by Paula Quinn
Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #6
Released: October 10, 2017
St. Martin’s Press
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “Don’t ye want to know my name?” she asked, tugging at the laces of her stay. “Nae,” he said, giving her a slow half smile while he moved toward her, unbuckling his belt. “‘Tis less to forget.”
Read, Rave and Repeat is the holy trinity of Paula Quin novels and this latest masterpiece is no different. The Scot’s Bride features Patrick (oh, Patrick!) a devil-may-care Highlander who does what he wants, when he wants to whom he wants (blush) and isn’t concerned about a consequence or naysayer. The first thing that struck me as odd is how inclined he was to fight head on vs swinging his broadsword. A boxing, brawling Highlander? Ok, if this is what Quinn is dishing, it’s what I’m taking. And Patrick did not disappoint. He used his fists well and often and hell, like his own father said, why kill a man when you can put him out, no need for swords and daggers if a mighty fist gets the job done. Also unlike Highlanders I’m used to swooning over, Patrick earned his coin by fighting in competitions and tournaments. I enjoyed learning about his unconventional life. Patrick wasn’t the typical laird so often featured in these romances. His characterization gave him dimensions and not all of them were good.
Because. Patrick is BAD. I mean he is rude, ruthless, carefree, bored with his own awesomeness and more interested in getting under skirts than falling in love and I loved every minute! It was brilliant how the author deftly crafted Patrick to be so damn likable despite his devilish ways! I literally couldn’t get enough. The lasses whose hearts he broke…the light skirts he tumbled and never called upon again. Ehhh..Highlanders will be highlanders? (Ducks tomatoes! I know, I knoww, but he was thrilling!)
Life as he knows it careens off course and everything changes when he lays eyes on the raven beauty, Charlie. Too bad she is from a rival clan. So much so that their affair has significant obstacles from the onset.
Charlotte/Charlie was a super solid heroine. She had an ingenuity and quiet fierceness that I am attracted to. She’s had a hard life and carries legitimate grudges against her brothers and father- especially her father. Her truest affections were saved for her ailing sister, Elsie, who suffered almost fatally from asthma. Her main motivations in life- find a cure and treatment for Elsie’s asthma and avoid (at all costs) being pawned off into an arranged and loveless marriage.
She didn’t want any more men in her life. She was tired of her father promising her to barons and other nobles, tired of having to plan ways of making them refuse her as a suitable wife… Love and marriage were two separate things sometimes. A husband would surely think to stop her from her dangerous tasks. And damn it, she wouldn’t be stopped. She wouldn’t be forced into marriage either. Her father’s suggestion this afternoon still mortified her. She was chattel, offered away for protection of the Cunningham holding.
The irresistible playboy meets the immovable force of a woman who appears unaffected, uninterested, almost immune to his roguish ways. Keyword, almost, and this is where the utterly enchanting fun begins. The plot? Busier than I like, but robust in a way that kept things interesting, even if sometimes things moved too swiftly or twisted in ways that made me throw my hands up and wonder, “really, all this time, really!?” The Scot’s Bride is definitely a novel where the character growth and development took center stage. Though he remained cheeky and fiendish to the end, it was a pleasure to watch Patrick evolve and come to truly care for Charlie, beyond the initial lusty connection that was an initial beacon between them. Charlie learned to let her guard down, no small feat for a woman who has had to work hard to extricate herself from one contrived attempt at match making after the other. They both made me laugh and I enjoyed their banter and smoldering romance very much.
She became aware of his weight almost instantly. His muscles trembled against her flesh. She basked in the feel of so much man in her arms. She held him while they breathed into the other’s neck. Oh, how could anything feel so exhilarating? How could she feel so happy she feared she might drift away on a next breeze? … She shook her head and rested in his embrace when he rolled onto his side and gathered her in his arms. Was she truly changing his world? What did it mean? Had he been jesting when he mentioned marriage? Oh, what was she to think? She wouldn’t ask him. She didn’t want to ruin what they had just shared by seeming needy. She had no idea how she should behave.
Oh, Charlie- the voice of the besotted. We’ve all been there, guys and gals alike, falling for someone but not sure where we’ll land. Desperate to take a risk but unsure of the reward (heart eyes). I found Charlie’s relatability refreshing and cheer worthy from start to finish. Patrick and Charlie are one of my favorite couples I’ve read for some time. I wanted to be Charlie’s sidekick, and I wouldn’t have said no to a ravishing or twenty at the very capable hands of Patrick. It is difficult to discuss the plot as things that were no longer are by the end of the story; as various “reveals” and upheavals come together to weave a multilayered plot. What you need to know: Patrick will scandalize you and Charlie will be your gal pal and you will both rage and cheer on both of their behalf. Though the HEA is the goal, it wasn’t the primary focus and I was more than content watching these two navigate what turned out to be a significant and often dangerous journey together- even when they entered an adversarial realm of their relationship.
The Scot’s Wife is book 6, but I believe it can be read on its own. Quinn does enough catch up with a few well placed lines of explanation that will have series novices and vets on one accord. Do I recommend reading the first 5 books at some point (absolutely), do I understand if you simply can’t wait to experience Patrick for yourself because (swoon). YES! :-)