About the Book:
The new stableboy has a secret!
Kit Laing is a genius with Glen Lyon’s horses and a favorite with his employer’s family, but he isn’t all he seems. In fact, the shy stablehand isn’t a he at all. Kit is actually Christobel Urquhart, Countess of Appin, on the run from a greedy, violent stepbrother with designs on her fortune.
And the laird’s handsome nephew has worked out just what it is.
Quentin MacNab, the dashing heir to Cannich, has had his suspicions about the new stable lad from the first. Kit is far too pretty to be a boy—and far too well spoken to be a servant.
Now passion and danger combine to create a Yuletide like no other.
When a snowstorm traps Kit and Quentin overnight in an isolated hut, the discovery of her true identity sparks a rushed marriage to stave off a scandal. But can the Christmas Countess learn to trust her charming new husband’s promises of protection? Or will their fragile alliance fall victim to the evil forces assailing her?
Christobel Urquhart, Scottish Countess Appin, is in a desperate situation. Her stepbrother, Neil, has control of her fortune until she turns twenty-one, which is rapidly approaching. Neil has no desire to give up the lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed, so he plans to force Christobel to marry one of his equally lowlife friends, dividing her fortune between them. When Neil’s actions become more drastic, Christobel know she must escape. She contacts one of her family’s former employees, who is now working for a local laird, and transforms herself into the stableboy, Kit. Everything will work out if she can just stay under the radar until her upcoming birthday.
Quentin MacNab is temporarily working as assistant to his Uncle Hamish, the laird. Almost immediately, he sees through Kit’s disguise, as she’s an exceptionally beautiful young woman. His attempts to befriend Kit are not successful, as she’s extremely leery of being found out, and does her best to avoid him, while keeping her head down.
When it’s time to gather Christmas greenery, Quentin manages to finally get Kit to himself. They have such a good time, that they lose track of their surroundings. A sudden, furious storm forces them to seek shelter in a hut just to survive. The close quarters, and the sense of camaraderie they shared creates a feeling of intimacy, and soon Kit confesses her secret. Quentin is determined to help protect her, and before long, they are sharing a surprisingly intense passionate encounter.
I have to admit that I’m generally not a fan of the girl-dressing-as-a-boy story, as it usually stretches my belief system too far. In this case, however, many of the laird’s household are in on the deception, and part of the plan to protect Kit. This made it much easier to accept. When the laird’s wife tells Quentin of her fears that their having spent the night together will ruin Kit, he does the honorable thing and proposes a quick wedding. Will this new passion pave the way for a happy lifetime together? Though their interlude in the hut seemed so perfect, was it just a stolen moment out of time? And what will happen when Neil learns of Kit’s location, and comes to demand the legal return of his ward?
THE HIGHLANDER’S CHRISTMAS COUNTESS is short, sweet, steamy, and entertaining. Kit and Quentin are both likeable and sympathetic characters, who seem tailor made for each other. I love the way they just seemed perfect together, as well as how almost everyone was in on Kit’s secret, and determined to protect her. It was wonderful to see the whole extended family close ranks to protect Kit when the villainous Neil came looking for his lost ward. This delightful story is guaranteed to bring some warmth and Christmas cheer during the holiday season. ~Rose