Alec Mackenzie earns a living in exile as an art instructor, a cover for his search of several countries for his missing brother. Lady Celia, an Englishwoman who refuses to marry gentlemen her martinet mother chooses for her, is sent to Alec, the mysterious Scottish recluse, for drawing lessons–her family commands her to learn a skill if she’s put herself off the marriage mart. Alec decides that the courageous Celia needs to expand her talents in painting the human figure, especially that of the male …
Celia is intrigued by the man who pretends his name is Mr. Finn. He’s a Scotsman, she deduces, but he can’t be one of the Highlanders who rose against the king, else she’d be allowed nowhere near him, and he’d be under arrest or already dead.
But as Celia lets her curiosity guide her, she uncovers more about Alec, including his name, his title, and the fact that he was indeed one of the Highlanders at Culloden. She sees the loneliness in Alec, his terrible sense of loss, his tenderness toward his daughter, and realizes he’s a complex man trying to survive now that his home has been destroyed. She also wonders why he’s left the safety of France to come to England, and the learns that he believes she’s the key to finding his missing brother.
But Celia unravels too many secrets, which put not only her life and Alec’s but also her heart in grave danger.
Note: Alec Mackenzie is the brother of Malcolm from The Stolen Mackenzie Bride. He is an ancestor of the Mackenzie family whose story begins with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Alec Mackenzie’s Art of Seduction: Mackenzies (Mackenzies Series Book 9)
Alec Mackenzie, his father, and his two surviving brothers are believed to be dead. Because of their involvement at Culloden, they are considered traitors, and fled to France until such time as they can return to their Scottish home. Alec’s brother, Will, has left the safety of France and returned to England for some purpose unknown to his family. Having lost three brothers already, Alec is determined that he will not lose another, so he follows. In England, he assumes the identity of Ansel Finn, an Irish painting instructor, and resides at the home of Lady Flora, who has her own agenda and reasons for helping. Alec hears rumors of Scottish men being illegally imprisoned, and that the Duke of Crenshaw is in control of that operation. Lady Flora arranges for the duke’s daughter, Celia, to take art lessons in her home with Alec, as Mr. Finn, acting as instructor. The plan is for Alec to get close to Celia, using any means at his disposal, including seduction, to find out whatever information she may know of her father’s actions.
Lady Celia Fotheringhay has been persona non grata with society, and with her own mother, since “The Disaster.” Celia’s cold and class conscious mother arranged for Celia to marry an odious marquess, who is thirty years her senior. When Celia refused, her mother went so far as to arrange for Celia to be caught in a compromising situation with the marquess, with many witnesses. When Celia continued to refuse, her reputation took a beating. Celia is attracted to her very handsome instructor, and he inspires her talent to greater heights. Alec soon is enchanted with his pupil, and is loath to blatantly use her.
There are numerous obstacles that seemingly preclude this couple from pursuing a genuine romance. Yet, their instantaneous rapport, liking, and chemistry makes them take a risk, and they hastily marry. While their physical relationship is steamy and satisfying, they still have to deal with Alec’s status and Celia’s father’s probable involvement in the illegal imprisonment of Will.
Alec is vastly underrated by his family, and he proves them wrong by showing his intelligence, skills, and daring in the rescue of Will. Add to that his charm, honor, and sexiness, and you have a hero to truly admire and love. Celia is a fitting match for him, as she has qualities of kindness, compassion, and honesty. Though she has been beaten down by her awful mother, she finally develops the courage to stand up to her. She also shows great affection for Alec’s young daughter.
ALEC MACKENZIE’S ART OF SEDUCTION is a wonderful, heartfelt romance, which also was very intriguing regarding the mysterious disappearance of Will. Jennifer Ashley wrote a book which held my attention at all levels. I love the characters and the fast moving story, but I confess that I totally melted over the beginning and end, which showed the beloved character of Ian (THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE) finding Alec’s journals, and relating the story of his ancestor to his family. Beautifully done!
Lovely review, Rose. I’m a few books behind in this series and need to catch up.
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Thanks, Carol. It’s been a long time between Mackenzie books, so I was anxious to read this one right away, and it is one of the best of the series.
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Rose, you have convinced me that I need to get up to date with the series in the New Year. 😊