I’ve read this series somewhat out of order, since the blurb for the first one didn’t initially appeal to me. I enjoyed the second book enough to get caught up with the series, however, and when the first proved to be far more than I’d previously expected of it, I quickly went in search of an ARC of the third. This again proved to have a lot more going on in it than its blurb suggested.
Robert Townsend has been left in charge of his older brother’s castle and estate while the earl and his wife attend a houseparty. It’s not a duty he relishes, but he knows his brother is equally unhappy at having to socialise in order to gain support for one of his pet causes. Determined that none of his family should invite scandal, as so nearly happened once before on his watch, Robert is disturbed when his female relatives invite the estate factor to stay with them after his own home is badly damaged by a fire. While Robert acknowledges to himself that he is attracted to men as well as to women, and to the family’s unexpected house guest in particular, he is reluctant to act on his feelings due to the aforementioned fear of scandal.
Highlander Ian Cameron, meanwhile, is most definitely attracted to men, and, inconveniently, to Robert, but has far more to lose should those around him find out. Disowned by his family after they caught him kissing a local lad, Ian has worked hard to gain the respect of his fellow workers, as well as that of his employer, and would much rather live quietly in his cottage than surrounded by those with far more money than he ever expects to have.
Everything runs reasonably smoothly, however, until a group of tourists, one of them a travel writer, arrive in the middle of a storm and are forced to take refuge in the castle. During their stay, the unwelcome visitors apparently fall prey to a petty thief, who can only be one of the household, given the castle’s remoteness. As Robert and Ian investigate the mystery, they find themselves becoming closer, especially as each becomes aware of the other’s hidden depths: Ian has interests beyond farming and land management, while Robert is the author of a popular mystery novel – another secret he fears revealing to his family.
I enjoyed this book, which abounded with misunderstandings, as well as ever more complex attempts by various characters to ensure the happiness of their family and other loved ones. While I guessed the solution to the puzzle early on, it was still a delight to watch the characters trying to figure it out, and I got great pleasure from seeing Robert and Ian find a solution to their entanglement too. Now I’m hoping to see an equally enchanting adventure for the last of the Townsend siblings sooner rather than later.
When his brother leaves him in charge of Llynmore Castle, Robert Townsend is determined to make everything go smoothly. What does it matter if he’s inexplicably drawn to Ian Cameron, the estate’s stoic steward? Robert is sure he can ignore the way the Highlander’s apparent dislike of him gets under his skin. They’ll muddle along just fine so long as they avoid one another. An excellent plan…until a fire forces Ian into the castle—and Robert’s personal space.
Ian Cameron has worked for everything he owns, unlike spoiled Robert Townsend. And he may not have friends, but he has the Highlands and the stars, and what more could he really need? But when a guest’s stolen possession appears in his room, he doesn’t have much choice but to admit to the handsome and aggravatingly charming Townsend brother that he needs help. To solve this mystery, they’ll have to put aside their differences. And as Ian learns more about Robert, he’ll have to guard his heart…or it may be the next thing stolen.
Read an excerpt.