cover image Hard-Hearted Highlander: Highland Grooms, Book 3

Hard-Hearted Highlander: Highland Grooms, Book 3

Julia London. HQN, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-78999-3

London’s third Highland Grooms installment (after Sinful Scottish Laird) takes the reader on a journey to mid-18th-century Scotland, where there is much distrust between Highlanders and the English. Bernadette Holly is a governess and lady’s maid to young Avaline Kent, daughter of Lord Kent, who has agreed to wed Avaline to Rabbie Mackenzie, son of Laird Mackenzie. Rabbie is reluctant to wed, but if he doesn’t agree to the marriage, Lord Kent will buy up all the land that the Mackenzie clan depends on for crops and livestock. Rabbie remains distant from the young Avaline after meeting her, put off by her shy manner. Though he initially spars with Bernadette, he admires the governess’s forthright nature. After Rabbie encounters Bernadette on one of her walks by the sea, the two engage in a passionate interlude, and their initial contentiousness turns into intense sensual attraction. London’s multidimensional characters are not at all who they appear to be at first glance. The fascinating love triangle, set amid the wilds of Scotland, creates a page-turning read that will resonate with fans of Highland romance. Agent: Jenny Bent, Bent Agency. (May)