Series: Captive Hearts #3
Author: Grace Burrowes
Published: Sept 2/14 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: historical romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ten years later, when Michael finally returns home, he discovers a nest of vicious lies, tales of disloyalty, and most surprising of all, a blossoming love for the woman he left behind.
But his beloved is keeping a dark secret from him. A secret that begins to unfold when Michael’s young sister joins their household, and Uncle Angus’ true nature is revealed.
Sometime after she’d fallen exhausted into her bed, Brenna felt the mattress dip and shift. A pleasant whiff of vetiver, whiskey—and meadow grass?—came to her as her husband arranged himself two feet to her left.
The next sound was harder to decipher, but she managed—the soles of two big male feet rubbing together, the bedtime equivalent of shaking the dust of the day from one’s feet, a small safeguard in the direction of keeping the sheets clean if conducted with those feet hanging over the side of the bed.
Michael punched his pillows next, several stout blows that would have knocked wayward notions from grown men.
“Are you trying to wake me up, Husband?”
The punching stopped, and she felt him flop down onto the mattress—and heard the put-upon male sigh with which he tucked himself in.
“You did not lock the door, Brenna. My things are in this room.”
So was his wife.
“Neither one of us wants talk.” The bed was huge, and they weren’t touching, but Brenna could feel her husband thinking.
“I did not want you to conclude I was sneaking up on you.”
“You’re hard to miss when encountered in a bed, Michael. Go to sleep. Morning comes quickly.” And yet, she was pleased the pillows had taken a few warning shots on her behalf.
“You want time.”
“I want a good night’s sleep.” Though she should have anticipated that, like any man, Michael would want to beat a topic to death once broached. He could not ponder a discussion and undertake it in manageable portions; he must have done with it, regardless of the hour.
“I want time, too, Brenna Maureen.”
Brenna rolled to her side, wishing she’d left a candle burning, despite the extravagance. “Time for what?”
“I was a good soldier, once I saw what was expected of me. It’s part of the reason I went to France. I was to look after my men, the same as a laird looks after his people. When I went to France, it was much the same, though I was in a garrison with soldiers of a different nationality. We looked after one another, most of the time, and when a man lapsed in that duty, he suffered consequences.”
What was he saying, and why must he say it to her in pitch darkness?
“If I were planning to run off, Michael Brodie, I would have scarpered long since. Many and many a family has left the Highlands, including entire branches of clan MacLogan. I could easily have gone with them.” Though her own clansmen had hardly recalled where they’d stashed her, once she’d come to live at Castle Brodie.
A considering pause ensued, and then Brenna felt a single, callused finger trace down the side of her jaw.
“You might have left, but you stayed. I’m glad you stayed.”
My first thought on the cast in this novel? The uncle is so skeazey that you can feel the slime coming off of him, even before you really get to know him. I appreciate the fact that the male lead, although a laird and war hero, still tries to be a better person. He also tries to make things right by his wife. He never expects nor demands from her. He is caring and emotional without giving up the essential toughness of a laird. The female lead’s protective yet secretive nature is quite understandable based on her estrangement from her husband and lack of other family. It becomes even more so when you find out her entire story. Her persistence and resilience is astounding.
This is a fantastic tale that transports readers through time and space to the Scottish Highlands of old. It was a complete story in and of itself. Even though it’s part of a series, I can easily be read as a standalone.