It’s the time of year when Harlequin starts churning out the Christmas-themed reads, and Marguerite Kaye’s latest Undone short story is a bit of charming holiday fluff with a Scottish flavor.
After a disastrous campaign on the continent, Captain Fergus Lamont has only one thing on his mind: revenge against the incompetent commanding officer who almost got him killed. To that end he pays a visit to the man’s betrothed, Susanna Hunter, to tell her all about the man she plans to marry. Naturally Susanna does not heed this stranger’s dire warnings, and the marriage happens.
Fast forward several years and Susanna is now a widow. Turns out her husband was a total waste of space, but thanks to Captain Lamont’s warnings she at least wasn’t shocked to discover the truth for herself. Now she has received an invitation to spend the holidays with Captain Lamont, now a Laird, in Scotland. It seems like a lovely chance to get away, and she’s excited by the prospect of showing Fergus how much she has grown-up in the last few years. Of course, what she did not plan on is Fergus proposing they play-act as a betrothed couple for his subjects.
This story is charming, but does feature a healthy dose of Hero Logic. Fergus realizes, in hindsight, that his showing up on Susanna’s doorstep all those years ago was ill-advised. He wants to make amends, in short, to rescue her. So he figures the way to do that is to invite her to Scotland under false pretenses and then drop the bombshell that he’s told everyone they’re betrothed? Huh?
But if you can roll with that set-up, and the fact that the hero does railroad the heroine a teensy bit in the beginning, this is a quick holiday read. I like that widowhood, and surviving her disastrous marriage, has made Susanna stronger and more resilient. She doesn’t need Fergus, but there’s no denying she is attracted and drawn to him. I also like the nice holiday touches and traditions that Kaye includes in the story.
It’s not a life-altering story, but it’s a nice bit of fun and if you’re looking for a short Christmas-time read, this one is quite solid.
December 1818, Scottish Highlands
Susanna Hunter once ignored Captain Fergus Lamont’s warnings not marry a fortune hunter –a decision she lived to regret. Three years later and since widowed, she’s surprised by his unexpected invitation to spend Christmas with him in the Highlands. But even more shocking is Fergus’s new proposition: that she pretend to be his fiancée, with all the accompanying pleasures….