Living a life of luxury and privilege in London, Serena Marsh is appalled when her father, Earlington Marsh, one of the King's ambassadors, is sent on assignment to Scotland to work out a peaceful resolution to the latest Scottish rebellion. Fearing for her father's somewhat frail health, Serena knows she'll have to accompany him on his journey. She didn't know she'd end up assigned a protector - the most rugged, most dangerous and most attractive man she's ever seen, when the rebels threatened her safety.
Hired by her father to protect her, Malcolm Slayter, has no loyalties, no country and no sense of propriety. He's more than willing to protect Serena for a fee, but when she refuses to follow his instructions, questions his authority and engages him in a risky flirtation - all bets are off. When the battle begins, it's anyone's guess as to who's seducing whom..and who will surrender first.
Secrets to Seducing a Scot, the first book in the Highland Knaves series by Michelle Marcos, is an enthralling and adventurous Scottish romance. The characters are entertaining and the dialogue between Serena and Malcolm is razor sharp and occasionally contentious. It's a good beginning for a series which promises to be a treat for fans of romantic tales filled with highlanders and lots of action.
Serena Marsh is a young woman whose column in The Town Crier, one of London's popular newspapers, is all the rage. Her "Rage Page" is full of the latest gossip, the latest society events and even some fashion tips. She's pleased with her life and is even beginning to think about marriage. When her father, Earlington Marsh, is given an opportunity to serve the King, he jumps at the chance- which frightens Serena who's worried about his frail heart. Fearing she has no choice in the matter, Serena reluctantly packs her bags and accompanies her father when she can't talk him into asking to be relieved of his assignment. She never imagined she'd fall in love with a Highland Scot or even grow to like the Scottish countryside.
Malcolm Slayter has had a very hard life; an incident in his childhood left him without parents or siblings. Branded a "slaighteour" by members of his clan, he's been on his own since he was twelve. Working for the British is his only option. Agreeing to become Serena's protector was easy; doing the job is something else. Even though he knows he's not Serena's social equal, Malcolm refuses to let her verbally or physically walk all over him and is determined to keep her safe.
The scenes between Serena and Malcolm are full of very lively conversation; Serena isn't alarmed by the threat made against her life and is adamant about not needing a protector. She fights Malcolm almost every step of the way, at least until she encounters Brandubh McCollough and some of the other rebels at a local fair and realizes these men are nothing like the ones she's encountered in London. When her father is kidnapped, Serena realizes she'll have to depend on Malcolm to rescue him, though she insists on tagging along and helping him out.
The secondary characters in the story are well developed; I especially liked Serena's father, Earlington Marsh, and Lord and Lady Askey, the Marsh's hosts in Scotland. Their teenage daughter, Zoe, was also very likeable. Ms. Marcos also did a good job with the antagonists in this story, Brandubh McCollough in particular. It was very clear he had visions of grandeur and had no qualms about the price his countrymen might have to pay in order for his desires to become reality.
The end of the story is full of action as Serena and Malcolm put their rescue attempt into play. The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows and their emotions get involved. When they locate Earlington Marsh's whereabouts, it becomes a race against time due to his worsening health. Will Serena and Malcolm make it in time and will Serena decide her future lies with Malcolm in Scotland and not back in London? You'll have to read Secrets to Seducing a Scot to find out. I know I'm looking forward to the next book, Secrets to Loving a Laird, which will feature one of Malcolm's missing siblings and should be released in early 2012.
Meet the Highland Knaves, an infamous clan of outcast Scots who live for justice, lust for freedom, and long for lovers bold enough to tame them...
A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
Torn from a pampered life of luxury and thrust into the midst of a Scottish revolution, Serena Marsh is shocked to meet the brutish man who has been assigned to protect her from the rebels trying to kill her—Malcolm Slayter, the most rugged, most dangerous, and most undeniably attractive man she's ever encountered...
THE KNAVE OF HEARTS
Malcolm has no loyalties, no country, and no sense of propriety. Hired by her father, Malcolm agrees to protect the lovely lass for a fee. But when Serena challenges Malcolm's authority—and engages him in a risky flirtation—all bets are off. When the battle heats up, it's anyone's guess as to who's seducing whom...and who'll surrender first.