Title: To Marry a Scottish Laird
Series: An English Bride in Scotland
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (June 24, 2014)
Author's Website: http://www.lynsaysands.net/
After losing her mother and being thrown out of her home, Joan attempts to carry out her mother's last wish. Dressed as a boy, for her own safety, she sets out to deliver a scroll to Laird and Lady MacKay when she was robbed and brutally attacked. Luckily, the attack was witnessed by a Scottish man who came to her aid. While he saved her, he did not fare as well. Trained as a healer by her mother she returns the favor he gifted her with and, in return, saves him. She has no idea that the information contained in the scroll she carries will change her life once it reaches its intended destination.
Campbell "Cam" Sinclair is the laird of his clan. After losing his wife and child years ago in childbirth, he has no plans of marrying another as the thought of such a loss happening again haunts him. His mother, on the other hand, is determined to have him remarry and has filled their home with beautiful eligible women in an attempt to make him rethink his stance. After all, he needs an heir and a spare. It's because of his wish to avoid his mother's bold attempts to marry him off that he's been dragging his heels in returning home. If not for his attempts to delay his return, he'd not been in a position to help Joan whom he believes to be a young boy named Jonas. After several days in each other's company, Campbell stumbles across Joan bathing and realizes the boy he's come to respect and like is actually a woman. He decides to keep his knowledge of the secret to himself until one night on their journey to Clan McKay he gives in to his attraction and surprises her with a kiss.
Lynsay Sands has once again created a delightful story full of misunderstandings, drama, and fun situations. While the female protagonist, Joan, disguises herself as a boy, the joke ends up being on her as Cam discovers early on that she's female without letting on. This is quite different from Ms. Sand's other cross dressing heroine novel, The Switch, where the female lead gets away for a good portion of the book with her true gender undiscovered. I enjoyed the contrast between the two. This book takes place approximately twenty years after An English Bride in Scotland, but no prior knowledge of the previous book in the series is necessary. You can jump wholeheartedly into this one and not miss a beat.
This book begins when Joan is being attacked and Cam comes to her rescue. Joan, however, is hardly helpless as she possesses skills which allow her to return the favor by healing him and keeping him safe for the three days he's passed out from the severity of his injuries. When Cam is up for traveling, the two journey together to bring the scroll to its intended destination and get to know one another very well. What should have been a three day trip turns into two weeks.
While Cam showing up at his home with Joan ruins many a potential wife's plans (his mother invited all the eligible bachelorettes to entice him into marriage), someone is determined to not to let Joan get in their way. Cam is young, handsome and considered quite a catch compared to most of the eligible men in the region. At least one of the women sees Joan as just a minor obstacle to be dealt with in their pursuit of a husband. Strange "accidents" begin to happen which put Joan's life in jeopardy. Additionally, the newly established relationship between Cam and Joan is threatened in more ways than one. Doubts about their relationship spring up because, with so many people about, the two have little opportunity to spend time together and discuss their true feelings for one other. Some of which are so new they haven't even acknowledged them to themselves.
I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Joan's potential killer and the way she was accepted into the family fold. Ms. Sands put in enough twists to make it interesting, and I wasn't sure who was causing all the trouble until almost the end. In a way the story reminded me of real life where what you don't say has the potential to do as much harm as what you do. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.