Monday, November 2, 2015

Quote-tastic: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

Quote-tastic is weekly meme Monday meme hosted by the fabulous Anna over @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup. To participate, simply post your favorite quote from a recent read.
I was a bit naughty this week and picked more than one quote but I just couldn’t resist.

Captain Logan MacKenzie only existed in Madeline’s head and the letter’s she wrote her imaginary sweetheart until he showed up at her door ready to claim his bride.
“I’ve learned a thing or two about you. I noticed how you flirted with me downstairs.”
“Flirted? Don’t be absurd.”
“You stare at me. You’re fascinated.”
“It’s just the kilt.”
“It might be partly the kilt. It’s mostly the swagger.”
“The swagger?” She tried to laugh. But he was right, he did have swagger. An abundance of sheer male arrogance and the strength to carry it.
The swagger….let’s all take a moment to swoon over a sexy, kilted Scotsman with loads of swagger. *le sigh*

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shy, pretty, and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.
A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter . . . and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.
Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He's wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters . . . and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.
Series: Castles Ever After #3 | Publisher: Avon Books | Genre: Historical Romance | Source: Purchased | Rating: 4.5
Oh, I loved this book. I did not want to put it down and then I didn’t want it to end. Tessa Dare truly brought When a Scot Ties the Knot alive.
Here’s what’s going on. Rather than go out into society, Madeline Gracechurch invented a sweetheart who was conveniently away at war. She faithfully wrote to her imaginary beau for years, until she decided to kill him off. So, imagine her surprise when the real life Captain Logan MacKenzie shows up at her door.
Logan MacKenzie plans to use the letter’s Maddie wrote to her imaginary lover as blackmail to ensure that she marries him. He’s doesn’t want to fall in love, what he wants is Maddie’s land so that his men (a small group of soldier’s that he led)  have a safe place to call their own.
While Maddie’s agreed to a handfasting, their marriage isn’t officially binding until it’s consummated and she’s willingly to do everything in her power to stop that from happening. Although there’s a chemistry between them that neither was expecting.

Maddie squirmed out from underneath him. “I’m sorry. So sorry. I know this is supposed to be physical. Impersonal. It’s only that I keep thinking of lobsters.”
He flipped onto his back and lay there, blinking up at the ceiling. “Until just now, I would have said there was nothing remaining that could surprise me in bed. I was wrong.”
She sat up, drawing her knees to her chest. “I am the girl who made up a Scottish lover, who wrote him scores of letter, and kept up an elaborate ruse for years. Does it really surprise you that I’m odd?”
Maddie is a very different heroine. She’s definitely a bit quirky but she’s likable. She’s content to spend her days in her studio drawing bugs and waiting for lobsters to mate. When Logan shows up, she’s thrown for a loop, which is understandable considering that she believed him to be imaginary.
Logan had the potential to come off as unlikable because he was blackmailing
Maddie for her land yet, thankfully, he wasn’t unlikable. In fact, I really liked Logan. His reasons for wanting the land were honorable, even if his approach was questionable. He’s been through a lot in his life and when he vows to protect those he considers family, he’ll do anything to make sure they’re safe. Plus, he wears spectacles and he reads.
Logan and Maddie were amazing together. He really pulled Maddie out of her shell and made her feel comfortable. Maddie was like balm to Logan’s wounds although he really didn’t really want to admit it.
While they had amazing chemistry, it took them awhile to find their groove and I liked that. Logan had a lot that he had to work through because he already had all of these preconceived notions about Maddie. Maddie on the other hand had to work to separate the Logan she created from the real-life Logan. It was fun watching them surprise each other. I also liked that, while the validation of their marriage hinged on consummating the marriage, Logan didn’t push Maddie into bed. Even though it was frustrating, he was willing to wait.
The major misunderstanding of the book could have been avoided if only Logan would have shared when Maddie asked. Yet, for this book, it worked and I truly loved what was revealed about Logan when he finally confessed. Although I will say, what caused the misunderstanding drove me made because I already knew what was going on. It wasn’t that it was apparent, it just made since given the topic they were arguing over and the fact that I knew about this particular Scottish custom.
The secondary characters (the group of men Logan brought with him and Maddie’s aunt Thea) added a nice depth to this book and I really enjoyed the way that both Maddie and Logan interacted with them.
My one little problem with this book was the saltwater aquarium where Maddie kept the lobsters. While Romans had glass panel aquariums in 50 AD, it wasn’t until the 1830’s or 1840’s that saltwater aquariums like Maddie used existed and this book takes place in 1817.
Overall, I loved this one. For me, it was the perfect historical romance.  Logan’s dialect was perfect as was the snippets of Gaelic that was thrown in. The feel of the era and the inclusion of Highland customs truly gave this book that extra something that brought it to life. The pacing was great and the characters were endearing.

“What are you doing?”
“Killing that disgusting insect before it jumped on you.”
“Killing a…” Maddie wheeled around. “Oh no.”
There it was, on the carpet. A stag beetle. It must have fallen out of Lord Varleigh’s specimen case.
“Oh, what have you done?” She fell on her knees to the carpet.
“What have I done? Most lasses like it when a man kills the bugs. Along with reaching high places and giving sexual pleasure, it’s one of the few universally qualities we have on offer.”
She scooped up the remnants of the beetle into her hand. “This particular bug was already dead.”

Do you have a favorite Highland hero?

What are a quirky heroine?

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