Temptation in a Kilt (Bad Boys of the Highlands, #1)

Temptation in a Kilt  - Victoria  Roberts Admittedly, I have a bias towards a good Highland romance... and a hot, hunky Highland laird! Even if the history in the book is stretched to make the story work.Laird Ciaran MacGregor of Glenorchy meets Lady Rosalia Armstrong at King James' court in England in 1603. MacGregor is there to resolve a long-standing war with the Campbell and 7th Earl of Argyll. Campbell wants the MacGregor land to make him the most landed and wealthiest Scotsman in Scotland. And he proves that he'll do just about anything to get what he wants.Rosalia is at court with her Scotish gentry father and her English scheming mother to try to make a marriage match. Because they're absolutely broke (feeding her mother's vanity and whims for only the best), Rosalia has no dowry. And her chances for marriage are reduced to old, rich men. Dunnehl, the only man to offer for her, is not only repugnant, but he's got a reputation for cruelty. But he seems to offer her a fair chance: Dunnehl only wants an heir; once Rosalia gives him that, she's free to do as she pleases.Now, I'm not saying that Rosalia should be sold into marriage to Dunnehl. But her home life stinks. She's subject to her mother's moods, which often include beating Rosalia for anything and everything. They no longer have more than 2 servants, because they can't afford to pay anyone; so Rosalia is a virtual Cinderella... except that the servants like her. Her best friend, James, is her father's captain of the guard and only defender. James is only there because of Rosalia, but even he can't do much to help her.After a fierce beating, Rosalia cuts her hair and dons boy's clothing to run away to her grandmother in the highlands at Glengarry. But Rosalia is quite naive for her 21 years. She's no idea where she's actually going, except north, and she's ill-prepared. Her injuries cause her to travel more slowly than she'd like, even on her precious horse, Noonie. Ciaran and his brother Aidan and their men discover Rosalia after she falls from her horse. They see how injured she is and chivalry demands that they take her in and protect her from whatever beat her. And she's not talking much.I *like* Rosalia, because she's not our average heroine. She's not drop-dead gorgeous, and she's not got a figure to die for. She's likely a very average looking girl, who's a bit short and a little chubby. Because of the she's lived and been treated, Rosalia has a lot of insecurity and self-worth issues. It's difficult for her to believe that Ciaran or anyone can see anything of worth or beauty in her.But that's also the difficult part of the book. Because getting over those issues isn't easy. And Ciaran has issues of his own: namely, his youngest brother Declan and his former leman Beathag. Ciaran made his father a promise to see Declan back to a clear and straight road, for Declan prefers to wine and wench without conscience; he rarely trains with his brother's men, and he has no real use. Beathag is too clingy, and when she treats Rosalia badly, Ciaran breaks it off with her. Beathag is determined to make Ciaran and Rosalia pay -to the point where she gets herself thrown off Ciaran's lands.The mystery is whether anyone will follow Rosalia and try to force her to marry Dunnehl, since she's been bought and paid for. But other mysteries are in play, too: What is Beathag up to? What is Declan's problem? Can't anyone see that the poor man is feeling unloved? That might be unmanly in his time, but surely someone (even Aisling and especially Rosalia) should understand! Then there's the mystery of whether Ciaran will ever reveal his feelings for Rosalia. And why he believes that he must take care of his promise to his father BEFORE doing anything else, such as marrying and providing an heir. Even his 2nd brother, Aidan, doesn't get it.So, we the readers must plod through a bit of self-recrimination, a few steamy love scenes, and the inevitable LAST STAND, where both Ciaran and Rosalia must settle once and for all on what they want and whether they want one another.