Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ARC Review: Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms #1)

Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms #1)

by Julia London

Wicked intrigue unfolds as an unlikely marriage leads to a path of risky desire in the lush, green Scottish Highlands.
Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn't belong in a Scottish chieftain's devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn't looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie's passionate embrace. But as their respective countries' fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it.
Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran's beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there's nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

Themes:  historical
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
 I have always been a fan of a well-written and exciting highland romance and Julia London’s Highland Grooms series is the beginning of a new wonderful world.   London has been a favorite author of mine, especially for her historicals, for several years now, so when I was offered the chance to read an advanced copy of Wild, Wicked Scot there was no way I was going to miss out. I was a tiny bit disappointed initially thinking that we wouldn’t get to know the characters and see their original romance, but London shows us glimpses of the lovers in the beginning of their relationship as well as in the current timeline where the lovers are coming back together after a long separation.  If you are a fan of truly interesting and sometimes trying Scottish hotties, this story is going to bring you immense joy.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.  I was surprised that Julia was able in the end to give the couple their HEA, but it was hard won and earned with blood, sweat and tears to be sure.
Arran and Margot had a tumultuous first few months as husband and wife, with glimpses into the possibilities they would have a wonderful, loving relationship—if only they could both let go of their preconceived notions of what their spouse should be. Margot is much too young when they are first together, leaving her floundering as she is trying to find a way to make her marriage into what she thinks it should be.  Arran is clueless when it comes to young women and has no notion of what he should be doing to aid his young wife in her transition.  Finally fed up with being alone so much, Margot decides to flee her husband and new home, in favor of returning to her childhood home.  But when rumors begin to spread there is no way for her to hide out any longer.  Arran and Margot come back together with all the fiery passion and sweet sensuality that was there in the beginning, but the anger and frustration is new.  Can Arran find a way to make his wife happy enough to stay with him? Or is he destined to see her walk away from him again?
Margot is an interesting character. While she’s not exactly the damsel in distress she is definitely a woman trapped between a rock and a hard place…err person. Margot ran from her husband, mainly due to her inexperience in dealing with men, especially big, alpha Scots. Now that she is faced with returning to her husband in order to keep her family’s honor intact there is no doubt she will have to brazen her way through the entire process. While there were certainly times I wanted to smack her in the head to wake her up to the truth around her, her naiveté was one of the reasons the story was able to move along.  I enjoyed seeing her find her footing with Arran and his people and of course in the end she is the hero, which made me immensely happy.  I can safely say in the end I really liked Margot and was glad to see her and Arran find their happiness and balance. Arran is the quintessential Scotsman of his time.  Rugged and brash, brave and honorable, and of course sexy as all get out. Arran had no idea what he was in for when he fell for the sweet and beautiful Margot, but what man really knows how to handle love at first sight, after all.  When she left him, he assumed she would return to him quickly, but years later the anger and frustration has made him in to a bitter man and there is no way he will allow himself to fall under her spell again. I liked Arran, even though at times he seemed unforgiving and uncompromising, mainly because he stands up for his principles and even though he still loves her he will not allow her to damage their clan any further.  Trust is not something he will ever allow Margot to break again, but when she ultimately earns his love and trust back, he moves on from the past and embraces their love wholeheartedly. 
This return to the wild and sensual Scottish Highlands came at just the right time for me.  I was in a rut to be sure, but with this novel my love of reading was reignited. Arran and Margot’s tumultuous story of deceit, betrayal, honor, and love is one that kept my interest every second the story was in my hands and pulled at me even when I had to put it down. Margot is a young woman that was thrown in the deep end and she lost her footing in the beginning, but when she blossoms and comes in to her own, the woman is a pistol and certainly fits right in with her new crazy highland clan. Arran is the type of man that makes any woman melt for him, even if his gruffness and lack of female experience might have left him stumbling with his new bride on a few occasions.  When they both finally start communicating and trusting one another the relationship between them turns into the type of long-lasting love that can build not only a family or even a mighty clan, but an entire world of love for the future generations. The heat between these two was undeniable from the first moment they set eyes on each other again and only sizzles hotter as they interact.  I was thrilled to see these two finally find the love that would sustain their marriage and find a way to overcome the dangers facing them.  Full of laughs, sparks, and danger Wild Wicked Scot will take you on a thrill ride through the untamed highlands and even into the borders of England where the danger is boiling over as the Scots and English quarrel again over their borders and lands.  I loved this story and am dying to find out who’s story comes next.  Another masterpiece from Julia, but honestly, I would expect nothing less!

*eARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

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