During their annual Christmas pilgrimage to Scotland to visit their aged uncle in his decrepit castle, the Comte de Rocheforte and his cousin, Earl of Oakley, are presented with unique gifts: their uncle has raided an English lord's Christmas party and kidnapped four lovely would-be brides for his heirs to choose from ...as well as one very angry duke, Lord Bretton. As snow isolates the castle, and as hours grow into days, the most honourable intentions give away to temptations as surprising as they are irresistible.
Taran Ferguson has no heirs and is determined to get his two nephews wed. Yes, one is part English and one is part French but they’re still blood so he’s going to do his damndest to make sure that their blood continues on. To that end, one winter night, he gets mightily drunk and he and his men invade a neighbors ball and kidnap 4 women. One is a sister of the one he really wanted and the other was just a mistake by his men. Oh, and when the carriage arrives there’s a Duke inside. Now the women and the Duke are all stuck at Taran’s crumbling castle while they wait out a snow storm and rescue.
The first part of the book shows us Catriona Burns. She is a squire’s daughter and figures she’ll marry a squire herself. She is the one that Taran’s men took accidentally so Taran’s not real worried about her comfort. She’s a local girl and has no wealth or title for his nephews. That doesn’t stop the Duke of Bretton from noticing her and liking what he sees. He is not only taken with her looks but also her sense of humor and her forthrightness. Though he knows that he should marry a title himself one day, as he’s not looking for marriage, he can’t seem to keep away from Catriona.
This was just so adorable. I loved the duke and his inability to stay away from Catriona. Catriona herself was just a wonderful character. Her blunt talk was refreshing and the romance between the two was quick, as it is in all the stories, but well done.
The second part of the book has us following Fiona who is the older sister of Marilla. Marilla is a piece of work. She has a huge dowry and will come into even more money when her father passes. She’s arrogant, full of herself and her “charms” and practically throws herself at each man in turn. Fiona tries to keep Marilla a bit tamed but it just doesn’t work. Fiona kind of fades into the woodwork but Taran’s nephew Byron, the Earl of Oakley sees something more than just her spectacles. The problem is that he was brought up with his father spouting propriety and he follows his father’s views. So when he falls for Fiona what happens when he finds out that she’s famous in almost all of Scotland for her horrible reputation?
I can’t imagine how Fiona must have felt growing up with a sister like Marilla and fading from view when it came to her father and most everyone else. The story of Fiona’s supposed ruination tragic in the fact that no one believed her – not her father or her sister. With Byron so stuck on propriety I loved seeing him realize that it means nothing when it comes to love. Their romance was sweet and quite sexy in the end.
The last portion of the book was the love story of Lady Cecily, an earl’s daughter, and Taran’s other nephew, Robin, a French comte. From the moment they saw each other they were smitten. Cecily wants nothing more than to be in Robin’s arms but Robin’s having an issue with his self worth and is fighting his love for Cecily on every level. Cecily tries everything she knows but he still won’t admit his feelings and Cecily learned that you sit and wait for the man to make the move. Cecily finally realizes that if the future she wants is one with Robin then she’s going to have to take matters into her own hands.
Cecily and Robin were two shy people who just couldn’t state their feelings. Cecily wanted to but Robin was just not playing along. Robin was a comte but it was more of a courtesy title and he had no money or home to offer Cecily. Though he knew he loved her he kind of went a little far. That being said Cecily made up for Robin’s shortcomings in this story and it was well worth the read.
This was such a lovely read. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down and was sad when I finished the last page of the book. The way the stories are woven together with the characters and love stories was quite well done and though I knew that each story was written by a different author they flowed pretty seamlessly together.