ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: TOO SCOT TO HANDLE Author: Grace Burrowes Series: Windham Brides, #2 On Sale: July 25, 2017 Publisher: Forever Mass Market: $7.99 USD eBook: $6.99 USD Audio: $22.98 USD
As a captain in the army, Colin MacHugh led men, fixed what was broken, and fought hard. Now that he’s a titled gentleman, he’s still fighting—this time to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage-minded debutantes. Then he meets the intriguing Miss Anwen Windham, whose demure nature masks a bonfire waiting to roar to life. When she asks for his help to raise money for the local orphanage, he’s happy to oblige.
Anwen is amazed at how quickly Lord Colin takes in hand a pack of rambunctious orphan boys. Amazed at how he actually listens to her ideas. Amazed at the thrill she gets from the rumble of his Scottish burr and the heat of his touch. But not everyone enjoys the success of an upstart. And Colin has enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin him and anybody he holds dear.
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He’d taken care that this kiss be private, and thus unhurried.
Anwen liked the unhurried part exceedingly. Lord Colin held her not as if she were frail and fragile, but as if she were too precious to let go. His arms were secure about her, and he’d tucked in close enough that she could revel in his contours—broad chest, flat belly, and hard, hard thighs, such as an accomplished equestrian would have.
Soft lips, though. Gentle, entreating, teasing…
Anwen teased him back, getting a taste of peppermint for her boldness, and then a taste of him.
“Great day in the morning,” he whispered, right at her ear. “I won’t be able to sit my horse if you do that again with your tongue.”
She did it again, and again, until the kiss involved his leg insinuated among the folds and froths of her riding habit, her fingers toying with the hair at his nape, and her heart, beating faster than it had at the conclusion of their race.
“Ye must cease, wee Anwen,” Lord Colin said, resting his cheek against her temple. “We must cease, or I’ll have to cast myself into yonder water for the sake of my sanity.”
“I’m a good swimmer,” Anwen said. “I’d fish you out.” She contemplated dragging a sopping Lord Colin from the Serpentine, his clothes plastered to his body….
“Such a sigh,” he said, kissing her cheek. “If ye’d slap me, I’d take it as a mercy.”
“I’d rather kiss you again.” And again and again and again. Anwen’s enthusiasm for that undertaking roared through her like a wild fire, bringing light, heat, and energy to every corner of her being.
“You are a bonfire in disguise,” he said, smoothing a hand over her hair. “An ambush of a woman, and you have all of polite society thinking you’re the quiet one.” He peered down at her, his hair sticking up on one side. “Am I the only man who knows better, Anwen?”
She smoothed his hair down, delighting in its texture. Red hair had a mind of its own, and by the dawn’s light, his hair was very red.
“No, you are not the only one who knows better,” she said, which had him looking off across the water, his gaze determined.
“I’m no’ the dallyin’ kind,” he said, taking Anwen’s hand and kissing it. “I was a soldier, and I’m fond of the ladies, but this is… you mustn’t toy with me.”
Everlasting celestial trumpets. “You think I could toy with you?”
“When you smile like that, you could break hearts, Miss Anwen Windham. A man wouldn’t see it coming, but then you’d swan off in a cloud of grace and dignity, and too late, he’d realize what he’d missed. He wouldn’t want to admit how foolish he’d been, but in his heart, he’d know: I should ne’er have let her get away. I should have done anything to stay by her side.”
I am a bonfire in disguise. “You are not the only one who knows my secret. I know better now too, Colin.” She went up on her toes and kissed him. “It’s our secret.”
Colin MacHugh is a wealthy, successful Scottish businessman, as well as a former soldier. Due to his brother, Hamish’s, recent acquisition of a dukedom, Colin is now his heir, and has been elevated to “Lord” Colin. While he escorts his two sisters, he attempts to learn the ins and outs of English society. Anwen Windham is niece to the influential Duke of Moreland, more familiarly known as Percival to those of us who love and follow the Windham family. Anwen’s passion is the charitable work she does for an orphanage, which unfortunately is now in precarious financial straits. Anwen is acquainted with Colin, due to the recent marriage of her sister to his brother. During a chance encounter, they converse, and Colin agrees to visit the orphanage and to try to offer some solutions.
As Anwen and Colin become more friends than just casual acquaintances, a slow simmering romance begins to develop. This lovely part of the book flows at a delicious leisurely pace, allowing me to become acquainted with the character of Anwen and Colin and to watch them fall in love and agree to officially court. Anwen suffered some illnesses as a child, and to her dismay, is still cosseted and over-protected by her family. She longs for them to see the strong, healthy person that she’s become. I like Anwen very much, and admire her patience, intelligence, and her ability to say all the right things when the situation calls for throwing punches or banging ones head against the wall. Anwen and Colin are both upfront about their desires and feelings with each other, and I absolutely love that. Colin is an honorable man who has a knack for saying things to Anwen that will melt your ice cream. This wonderful couple is perfect for each other, and they are in love. What could possibly go wrong?
Greed, jealousy, affronted pride, and a desire for revenge cause the villain to threaten not only this couples’ happiness, but Colin’s very freedom. The Windhams, however, are a force to be reckoned with, and with the help of four charming orphans, Anwen and Colin find their way to happy ever after. While I admittedly would have liked to see the villain(s) suffer a far greater consequence than the fate they received, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. TOO SCOT TO HANDLE contains the trademark warmth and family closeness that Grace Burrowes writes so very well. The romance was tender and genuine with hints of passion and characters that I loved and rooted for. Visiting with familiar secondary characters is a bonus for those who have read previous Windham books, though TOO SCOT TO HANDLE can be totally read as a very satisfying standalone.
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