Christmas in Kilts by Bronwen Evans, Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors), Historical Romance
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A HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Terri BrisbinA village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander visitor for the holidays who brings with him an offer and hope!
LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia KentWhat happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas... maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.
A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen EvansShe's ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he's trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family's wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.
SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrickA chance encounter between a ship's captain and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.
A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia CornwallWhen a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.
A Highlander’s Hope by Terri Brisbin
Iain McKillop is a widower who, by my calculations, is in his mid-40’s. He’s ready to marry again and his nephew thinks he can use him for some sort of clan alliance. Iain knows that there’s really only one woman for him, and that’s Robena of the MacKendimen clan.
Robena is the village harlot. While she doesn’t love what she does she has protection from people in the clan and they care about her. The only person who ostracizes her is the Laird of the Clan – who’s not a nice man anyway. Robena is excited when she hears that Iain is coming to visit for Christmas because she loves spending time with him. He puts a genuine smile on her face and of course she loves that he pays for her exclusive services while he’s there.
Robena can tell right away that there’s something different with Iain but is shocked when he asks for her hand in marriage. He wants a wife and a mother to his children. She doesn’t think she’s good enough for him and besides, she can’t have children – how can she be the person that Iain needs in his life?
I have to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of this story when it started but Iain and Robena soon won me over. Iain was such a giving man and he truly loved Robena – despite her profession. He dealt with her past men in his own way but certainly wasn’t willing for her to be with anyone else ever again. It was a sweet story in the end and I liked how Brisbin worked out the details of their future life together.
A Highland Christmas Wager by Lecia Cornwall
Meggie MacLeod is traveling home with her grandmother. She is excited to be going home for Christmas after being gone for three months taking care of her grandmother after she’d broken her leg. Unfortunately the weather is against them and they can’t make their halfway point before the blizzard begins. Their travelling group takes refuge at the closest keep and that happens to be the home of the man who’d taken Meggie’s virginity eight years earlier. She’s definitely not happy about being there.
Magnus McVane is the Laird that had seduced and left Meggie all those years ago. She’d thought herself in love with him after only 3 days but after he finally had sex with her, he left to go get married. She was devastated. Magnus isn’t home alone, however. He has his dead wife’s brother, Charlie McKay – yet another Laird – there with him. Magnus is hoping to get Charlie to marry his sister, Catriona, who they all think is a shrew. Also visiting is Laird Hugh MacAuley who is there under unknown circumstances. When Magnus sees Meggie he’s positive he can seduce her again and then he could probably marry her as she’s an heiress. Charlie’s got his eye on her as well though, and they end up making a wager, dragging Hugh into their game. Whoever gets Meggie to willingly kiss them first – a long kiss, not just a peck – gets a few prized possessions from each man, but also the right to talk to her father about her hand in marriage.
Hugh is at the keep as he’s been instructed by the elders of his clan to ask for Catriona’s hand in marriage – something he really doesn’t want to do. The elders don’t think the man has a brain and though he is laird he truly has no power. When he sees Meggie he is attracted to her immediately and rethinks his possible proposal to Catriona. He’s a shy man, however, and bumbles along with Meggie despite her attention to him.
This was a lovely, romantic story. I loved Hugh and his quiet, calm personality. He was a breath of fresh air compared to the obnoxious Magnus and the over-excitable Charlie. Hugh and Meggie were perfect for each other and the ending of the story put a smile on my face.
A Scot for Christmas by Bronwen Evans
Dougray is thinking about getting married to beget an heir but he plans on a marriage of convenience so that he won’t get attached to a wife. His first wife died and he doesn’t want to have to live through that once again. His plan is to marry a neighbor’s daughter, Fiona Mackenzie, so that he can help her father financially. He made a promise to his dying father that he would help the Mackenzie, but the man would not accept his funds – even as a loan. Marrying Fiona is the only way he can get the funds to him.
Dougray and his cousin, Angus, are having a hunting party around Christmas time. A party that includes his friends and their paramours, with a couple other women of questionable virtue coming along as well. When Dougray’s best friend’s younger sister arrives he’s horrified and tries to get her to leave at once. She refuses, of course, and instead asks him something. She is in her late 20’s and has come to terms with her spinsterhood. She asks Dougray to sleep with her. She’s been in love with him for years and plans on having the memory of their lovemaking to last the rest of her life. Dougray refuses at first but then finally agrees as he can’t resister her. He doesn’t realize until later that Emma is in love with him. Despite his growing feelings for Emma he’s determined to marry Fiona Mackenzie. He refuses to have a wife he cares about.
This was a good story, not one of my least favorites. I guess it was just too predictable in my opinion. I knew that Dougray would sleep with Emma, of course, and he would fall in love with her and live happily ever after. It was written in an entertaining way, and I liked the characters, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of A Scot for Christmas.
Leftover Mistletoe by Lavinia Kent
Emma Spencer is having a bad day – really, a bad life. Her dear father had passed on and her cousin had taken the Earl’s title. Unfortunately her cousin wasn’t a kind man and she was being sent to Scotland to live with her uncle who she didn’t even know. Emma had marriage prospects as she was quite pretty. She believes her cousin is sending her away so she won’t ever marry. Her financial portion would then stay in his hands forever.
She was travelling when her maid disappeared with her bag. Her trunks were coming later and with the maid gone she was left with the clothes on her back, her reticule, and very little money. She buys passage on a coach and the only other passenger is a snoring man who takes up way too much room. At one point during their travels they stop. Emma doesn’t know why and soon all is quiet. When the man finally wakes up and goes to investigate he finds that there’s no coachman and the team of horses have been driven off as well. He’s familiar with the land so he takes Emma to a cabin where they try to brave the storm that has begun.
Emma finds out he’s James Barran and he’s on his way to Edinburgh so that he can stop his sister from marrying his best friend. He loves his best friend, but doesn’t want his sister marrying him. He’s bound and determined to stop the wedding but his friend Robbie kept throwing up roadblocks to stop him. One being the fact that Robbie paid the coachman to take the horses and now he and Emma are stranded. They head to the cabin and while they’re there their attraction to each other grows and they start to fall in love.
Kent always writes such charming romances. This was no different. Yes, the couple fell in love quickly but it fit with their lives and circumstances of their confinement. I thought James and Emma were perfect for each other and complimented each other well. The humor in the story is another thing I liked about this story. The banter between Emma and James was engaging and I found myself smiling a lot while reading.
Sweet Home Highlands by May McGoldrick
Captain Gregory Pennington is on his way home to his family for Christmas but is tasked by his brother with escorting four adults and a child to a neighboring estate near his home. He’s in a pub and is anxious to be on his way when a small child starts up a conversation. She’s a funny little imp and mature beyond her 5 or 6 years. It turns out that this is the child that he is to escort along with her aunt, Freya, and couple of servants. The fourth person was to be Freya’s almost-fiancé but he doesn’t ever show up.
Freya is a young woman who has raised her niece almost from birth. She was only 17 when her sister died a week after giving birth and she loves little Ella like her own. Ella’s father was killed in the war and his family never wanted anything to do with Ella until recently. Now Ella’s grandmother is demanding their appearance at her home so that she can make sure that Ella is financially well taken care of. She also intimated that Freya wasn’t a proper guardian because she wasn’t married. Because of this Freya had an understanding with the cousin that would inherit Freya’s father’s title and lands when he eventually passed. Freya wasn’t looking forward to the marriage but was resigned to her fate in order to keep Ella with her.
Gregory is smitten with Freya the minute he sees her. The minutes they spend together on the journey just make him like her more and more. Freya starts to fall for Gregory as well but she knows that she must marry her cousin in order to appease Ella’s grandmother.
As I read more of McGoldrick’s books the more I become a fan. This story was simply romantic on all levels. It was the kind of story that will make you sigh with wonder at how sweet it is – but not sugary at all. Just downright a lovely story. This is kind of a prequel to a new series that McGoldrick is putting out and I personally can’t wait for it to release.
Gregory and Freya were wonderful in the story and little Ella – that child with a personality beyond her years – was enchanting. I liked everything about this story and highly recommend it.
In the end I thought this was a very good historical anthology. A lovely compliment of authors that brought a little Christmas cheer and romance to my life.
Rating: 4 out of 5