Genre: MF Romance, Explicit
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Release Date: 31 December 2012
Previous Book in Series: The Duke’s Perfect Wife
Juliana St. John was raised to be very proper. After a long engagement, her wedding day dawns—only for Juliana to find herself jilted at the altar.
Fleeing the mocking crowd, she stumbles upon Elliot McBride, the tall, passionate Scot who was her first love. His teasing manner gives her an idea, and she asks Elliot to save her from an uncertain future—by marrying her…
After escaping brutal imprisonment, Elliot has returned to Scotland a vastly wealthy yet tormented man. Now Juliana has her hands full restoring his half-ruined manor in the Scottish Highlands and trying to repair the broken heart of the man some call irredeemably mad. Though beautiful and spirited, Juliana wonders if that will be enough to win a second chance at love.
What I Liked:
I love tortured heroes, so Elliot McBride was a perfect romantic lead for me. A former military man who was captured and tortured in India, Elliot is scarred both inside and out. The author does a really good job handling his PTSD. He has nightmares and blackouts/flashbacks and triggers. I liked the exploration of his ‘madness’ much in the way that I did the explorations of Ian’s in book 1. These men aren’t crazy, but the science and understanding of the human psyche was so much different in Victorian times. With no other way to explain the behaviors of these men, they are cast aside and regarded as damaged.
I liked the relationship between Juliana and Elliot. She truly wants to understand him, and he eventually lets her break down his walls. With lots and lots of scorching hot sex. And talking and emotions and stuff, but mostly sex.
The best parts of the book for me was the interactions between old McGregor and Nandita, one of Elliot’s Indian servants. They may not speak the same language, but their chemistry and their arguments are pretty epic. I would read an entire book just about them.
What I Didn’t:
So, despite the title of this book, there was really no seduction. Elliot and Juliana are secretly in love with each other years before the book even begins. They get married within the first few chapters. So, I was a bit disappointed that there was no real seducing going on.
The whole plot with Elliot’s dead friend/betrayer/husband of his daughter’s mother being not dead was a bit…overdone. I’m always complaining about how over-the-top the climax of romance novels get, but this one might take the cake, because the whole plot was fairly ridiculous. I wish things were just a bit simplified here. Elliot’s daughter was barely in the novel, and Juliana barely had any interaction with her on page. I would have preferred taking some time from the forest stalker plot and given it them.
This book is part of the Highland Pleasures series (also known as MacKenzies & McBrides), and it is the first book to feature one of the McBride brothers. For reference, the McBrides are Ainsley’s family (Ainsley being the wife of Cameron MacKenzie). I was interested in Elliot and seeing him overcome his mental health issues, and he and Juliana did have quite a lot of hot sex, however, the ridiculousness of the plot definitely made me like this book less than others in this series.
My Rating: 3/5