THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER...
The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse--a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.
No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he'll take on any challenge--even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn't the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she's fighting battles of her own. For her, he'll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.
Very good book. Hamish is a former soldier, Scotsman, and a bit rough around the edges. He's not at all happy to discover that he has inherited a dukedom. All he wants is to retreat back to Scotland, but instead, he's stuck in London, dealing with the paperwork and giving his sisters the London season they want. He's also dealing with the aftereffects of the war, the memories, and the rumors.
Megan is the niece of the Duke of Moreland, in London with her sisters and having her own Season. She's quiet, wears glasses, and does her best to melt into the background whenever she can. She's got some problems of her own, mainly a suitor who she doesn't want but who won't take no for an answer.
I loved how Megan and Hamish met. She is at a bookstore where she is subtly bullied by the man who wants to marry her. Megan is unable to fight back without making a scene, and his threats would prevent that anyway. Hamish overhears and intervenes. He and Fletcher know each other from the war, and there is history between them. There follow some scenes involving Hamish and his less than polished behavior, which incredibly gets him and his sisters invited to tea a the Duchess of Moreland's home. His trials continue and end up with Megan offering to teach him to waltz (another fantastic scene). There are sparks between the two from the beginning. Hamish also senses that Megan is having troubles of her own and succeeds in prying the details from her. He discovers a protective streak when it comes to her, and is determined to fix the problem. Megan is surprised by her willingness to confide in Hamish, and grateful for his intervention.
I loved the two of them together. Hamish may be rough around the edges, but Megan sees below the surface to the man who loves his family and does the right thing no matter what others may say. Hamish doesn't care that Megan is blind as a bat without her glasses. He sees her intelligence, kindness and strength. As they spend time together their initial attraction grows into something deeper. They are incredibly comfortable with each other and find it easy to share their deepest fears and troubles. It was sweet to see the big tough Scotsman get all soft in the middle when he was around Megan. And I loved seeing the quiet Megan get bossy when there was something she felt strongly about. Their romance doesn't go entirely smoothly as Sir Fletcher doesn't give up his goal of acquiring Megan's hand in marriage easily. His blackmail of Megan and bad-mouthing of Hamish show his true nature and it was easy to root for his downfall. I loved Hamish's determination to bring about a resolution and thoroughly enjoyed how he did it. Even more satisfying was that Megan doesn't wait meekly for rescue, but takes a hand in her own salvation. The confrontation at the end was fantastic.
Of course, being a Windham means that Megan has an abundance of male relatives to assist and/or interfere. It was only her pride that kept her from enlisting their help. Their love and respect for her is obvious throughout the book, but they are Morelands and therefore prone to the same kind of scheming they decried in their father. There are some really funny scenes of their encounters with Hamish, and I laughed out loud at his purposeful mangling of their names. The Duke himself gets into the act in some pretty amusing ways, such as his late night conversation with Hamish in the gardens. But they all come together in a most satisfying way to provide Sir Fletcher with the justice he deserves. I can't wait to read the next one.