Hard-Hearted Highlander

HQN: Harlequin. (Highland Grooms, Bk. 3). Apr. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780373789993. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488023187. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Having fled to Norway to escape the Jacobites, Highlander Rabbie Mackenzie, second son to laird Arran (Wild Wicked Scot), returns to Balhaire to find his village ravaged and his intended assumed dead. Wishing for death himself, he agrees to marry Avaline Kent of Bothing, England, to appease her land-hungry father, Baron Kent, and protect what's left of his family's centuries-old property. Enter Bernadette Holly, Avaline's impenetrable governess, who, like Rabbie, is living as a mere shadow of her former self, having been involved in a scandal that banished her from polite society and sent husband Albert to sea, never to return. Forced to interact because of the impending marriage, Bernadette and Rabbie initially clash but soon find they have more in common than not. If Bernadette can convince Avaline to cry off, then perhaps they can all go home and forget about their differences. Yet fate has something very different in store for these two who believe they have nothing to live for.
VERDICT London's enchanting third book (after Sinful Scottish Laird) featuring the Mackenzie men and the women who love them, faults and all, combines a moody, majestic Highlands setting and an appealing couple whose path to healing and renewed purpose is as rocky as the hillside, yet worth every step.

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