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Wild Wicked Scot (2016)

by Julia London

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Highland Grooms (1)

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728275,617 (3.82)None
Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn't belong in a Scottish chieftain's devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn't looked back--except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie's passionate embrace. But as their respective countries' fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it. Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran's beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage...and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there's nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.… (more)

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Being a woman in the early 18th Century means being pawn to be used or traded for money or property. Margot Armstrong was a new debutante when her father agreed to marry her off to Arran Mackenzie. Both men stood to gain from this deal - her father would gain lands in Scotland and Arran was to receive a barony and lands in England. Raised to be a perfect English wife, Margot was not trained for life as the wife of a Highland laird. After only 4 miserable months she packed up and went home to England.
Three years later she is back, not because she wanted to come but because her father has sent her. She was to spy on her husband to see if he was part of the upcoming Jacobite rebellion. Though she came back to the Highlands unwillingly, she began to have feelings for her husband.
Julie London, has created a wonderful world of the Scottish Highlands prior to the Jacobite rebellion. Her characters are well written and draw you in to their feelings. While Arran is a strong warrior, he's not afraid to let his feelings for his wife show - even when he doesn't feel like he can trust her - he still loves her. The couple gets the Happily Ever After they so richly deserve. ( )
  ddeluna1 | Mar 19, 2020 |
***Deal Alert*** This is only $.99 for Kindle (deal also on B&N and other sites). The hero is a doggy lover, don't miss out!
Amazon Link

As of 3/18/17

4.5 stars

I read this for the Man in a Kilt square for Romance Bingo.

She was afraid of him, disgusted by him, attracted to him.

Without the sweeping epic saga war components, this reminded me of Pride of Lions by Marsha Canham. As with the heroine in that one, Margot grew up extremely spoiled, sheltered, and is incredibly naïve. I personally am not the biggest fan of reading about perfect people, I love growth and journey. When Margot first meets Arran she is only 16 and after only two more meetings they are married after she turns 18. She is then immediately taken out of her home in England and brought to Arran's home in Scotland. Margot is an extreme fish out of water and her elitist ways and attitude definitely don't jive with the clan structure. She tries to help in her known English ways, but it only works to distance her more from Arran's people. Now, Arran may be completely different from the fops she grew up around and liked but we still she her attracted to him but she doesn't quite know what to do with it because she doesn't know him. I liked the fact that Margot wasn't blinded by insta-lust and just because she found Arran attractive she didn’t instantly trust him and it didn’t solve all their problems. Margot's just too young, too scared, and too bitter about not being able to marry someone remotely of her choosing and she ends up leaving Arran after only a couple months of marriage.

"I remember that your list of complaints was quite long."
She could feel the skin of her chest heating beneath his study of her. She had to look away or be devoured by that penetrating gaze. "Were they complaints? I always rather thought them pleas to help me reconcile to my new surroundings."
"Ah, is that what they were, then?" he mused.


Arran is more instantly likeable but while he has about 9 years on Margot, he was almost as clueless to marriage. He's the one who is struck by first sight and he knows as soon as he sees Margot he wants to marry her. He doesn't think about anything else except having her as wife, and doesn't think about how truly different they are. He's extremely caring to her in the bedroom, the one place they do connect, but baffled by her in every other measure. When he brings her to his home he doesn't help or explain to her how she can connect with his people and disappears for most the day doing work or traveling; he lives his life exactly the same way he did before marrying. Later on in the story there is a great conversation between the two where we learn that his parent's both died when he was young and Margot's mother died young also. We see that these two weren't modeled or taught how marriages work in a basic sense. In the beginning, Arran does do more little things to try and make it work but Margot's youth, fear, loneliness, and other issues I talked about cloud and create misunderstandings with their communication. These two simply married too soon and too young.

I'm usually a linear person but the switching chapters from past to present so worked for me. I loved how it set the tone and gave a clear understanding of how and why Arran and Margot felt the way they did, while also adding some drama. This was mostly a character driven story and our couple had the major chops to carry it; I devoured the first half of this absorbed into their story. I think it was around the 56% mark that the Reason I Read Romance conversation between the two happened. A couple lines, I refuse to spoil by putting them here, are spoken by Arran and let's just say I made sounds that probably only happen at the Cheesecake Factory when they bring me my red velvet cheesecake. They're crosses between gasps, sobs, happiness, and heart palpitations.

The second half and ending involving family and Jacobite drama didn't fully work for me, it wasn't flushed out enough. Especially, the quick and off screen way it was wrapped up, ended up feeling unneeded to me because of its lack of substance. Some secondary characters could have been fleshed out more like Arran's friend Jock and Margot's brother Knox. I guess I'm saying I wanted this book to be 200 pages of more because I loved the story so much.

I also felt the ending bringing together between Arran and Margot felt a little off. Arran had a quick to anger moment over something Margot did and then was just as quick to forgiveness, making it feel angst for angst sake. Then at the end when they have time to really have it out and come together, there was this kind of awkward lingering distrustfulness from Arran and unsure from Margot that felt overdone. At this point in the story and after certain things had been done, they should have had a united front.

Still, I gobbled this story up. Margot's growth was evident and I enjoyed how she went from a spoiled, scared, and naïve girl to a woman finding and testing her own strength and mind. Arran matured into a man who learned to open his clueless eyes and pay attention to his wife, while not trying to mold her into what he thought she should be instead of who she truly was. I'd read about this couple all day.

Bonus:
Arran loves dogs and my crazy dog lady feelings couldn't handle it.

She was suddenly reminded of a young dog here at Balhaire who'd been badly injured by a trap that had been set illegally. When the gamekeeper determined the poor dog could not be saved and, furthermore, would suffer in his last hours, she had watched Arran scoop the dog up in his arms and carry him from this very hall with tears on his face. He'd taken the dog into the woods and mercifully put it out of its misery. She shivered at the painful recollection of how he'd grieved for the dog.

Not going to lie, reading this and then how three gray muzzled dogs sleep on the bed, the only thought running through my head was Shut it Down, Shut it all Down. Any Romanices Hero of 2017 talk is over. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Feb 14, 2019 |
After reading this novel... I need to get book 2 and 3. ( )
  Dotland101 | Mar 31, 2017 |
Definitely some lively parts!

As a young girl, English Margot Armstrong romanticized marriage. She falls in love at a glance with Scottish chieftain, Arran McKenzie and heads off to the highlands for her dream HEA, only to discover that life is far different in the raw highlands to the English society she'd inhabited and grew up in.
Fortunately Margot takes well to her wifely duties in the marriage bed. Outside of that she's like a fish out of water. Misunderstandings lead to Margot leaving her husband--to return three years later after being persuaded by her father that her husband Arran is a traitor and her father will be involved. Only Margot has the power to clear her family's name. Margot's father is a despicable villain of the first water.
I found the beginning slow, and for some reason, the end seemed too hurried.
The Wild Scott, Arran just seemed not quite as I imagined him.
Don't be mistaken, I liked both main characters but Margot was hampered from the start by her tantrums and the character flaws she'd been imbued with. They are both Interesting characters that needed more time to develop. Whilst the survival scenes are important, I found they dragged on a tad.
Still for all this, an enjoyable read.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Jan 5, 2017 |
My first foray into the romance genre was with historical highlands romances. Reading this book brought to mind why I loved them so much. This was a second chance romance, too. I really liked Arren and his home. It was written so well I could visualize walking around it. Margot, at first, I wasn't too sure about her. She went with a hidden agenda against her husband. But, of course, if that didn't happen we wouldn't have a book. Can't wait to see who the next book is about.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. ( )
  amdrane2 | Dec 29, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
London, Juliaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Perkins, DerekReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Audio, HarlequinPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn't belong in a Scottish chieftain's devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn't looked back--except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie's passionate embrace. But as their respective countries' fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it. Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran's beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage...and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there's nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

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