Daisy, Lady Chatwick, is a widow with a young son. Her late husband's will says that Daisy must remarry in three years or forfeit her son's inheritance. Having married for duty once, Daisy is hoping that this time she can marry for love so she packs up her household and heads to the impossibly remote Scottish Highlands, ostensibly to check on Ellis' Scottish hunting lodge but really to escape the fortune hunting men in London clamoring for her large purse as she waits for her first love, Captain Robert Spivey, to return from his latest voyage and rescue her. As Daisy, Ellis, her gloomy, catastrophizing cousin Belinda, and the rest of the household travel north, their carriage runs into trouble and they meet the rugged, imposing Cailean, Laird of Arrandale. He is not best pleased to see a Sassenach in the valley but finds himself intrigued by the beautiful widow. Daisy, for her part, is immediately struck with lustful thoughts for this man who will turn out to be her nearest neighbor.
Daisy, like the flower she's named for, is a pretty hardy and cheery character. She's a hard worker, helping put the neglected hunting lodge and its environs to rights without benefit of a huge staff doing it for her. She's discovered the power of being free to direct her own life in the past two plus years and she's not looking forward to ceding her rights to a husband again. She's never been the stereotypical "merry widow" but she acknowledges and embraces herself as a sexual human being, which allows her to flirt with and tempt Cailean, a man who has good reasons for trying to resist her. He is set to take over as laird of his clan now that his father is slowing down. He and his brother run a smuggling operation to help keep their people afloat and prosperous in a time of crippling taxes. That the delectable Daisy is waiting for her Rob, a captain of the Royal Navy, and the man who has been chasing Cailean and his men forever, does not go down well. Daisy and Cailean waffle between fighting their attraction and giving in to it as they come to know each other better. Young Ellis comes to revere the brawny Scot and Cailean is wonderful in his interactions with the boy. When Rob shows up in the Highlands, the antagonism between he and Cailean is palpable, even if Cailean doesn't think he Cailean is competing for Daisy's hand.
The chemistry between Daisy and Cailean is steamy and development of their love story is quite satisfying. The historical aspects of the novel are well researched and form a nice framework for the story. But the best part of the novel is Daisy's awakening to her own strength and worth. She is intelligent but unfortunately constrained by the times. Her love for Cailean is hampered by practical roadblocks on both sides, a situation that is rather refreshing and one that can be overcome with work and ingenuity. This is the second of the Highland Grooms books but it stands entirely on its own. Readers who like a heroine with a little more agency than usual and a thoughtful, loyal hero in a kilt will enjoy this one quite a bit.
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Thanks to Lisa from TLC Book Tours and the author for sending me a copy of this book to review.