A Scot's Surrender
Series: The Townsends #3
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release date: March 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, LGBTQ, Romance
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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When his brother leaves him in charge of Llynmore Castle, Robert Townsend is determined to make everything go smoothly. What does it matter if he's inexplicably drawn to Ian Cameron, the estate’s stoic steward? Robert is sure he can ignore the way the Highlander's apparent dislike of him gets under his skin. They'll muddle along just fine so long as they avoid one another. An excellent plan…until a fire forces Ian into the castle—and Robert's personal space.
Ian Cameron has worked for everything he owns, unlike spoiled Robert Townsend. And he may not have friends, but he has the Highlands and the stars, and what more could he really need? But when a guest's stolen possession appears in his room, he doesn't have much choice but to admit to the handsome and aggravatingly charming Townsend brother that he needs help. To solve this mystery, they'll have to put aside their differences. And as Ian learns more about Robert, he'll have to guard his heart…or it may be the next thing stolen.
The Faerie Queen’s review
Fan of Scottish Highlanders? British Aristocrats? Hate-to-love tropes? Historical romances? This might just be the book for you!
I really enjoyed this! There was a palpable tension between Ian and Robert, the two heroes, from the very beginning, and once Ian loosened up, some good banter. I particularly liked Robert, a very personable guy on the outside who sought to put everyone at ease, but who hid his insecurities and the fact that he wrote Gothic novels. Alongside the romance between these two was also a slightly humour mystery. For the record, I had an inkling about the mystery from the beginning. Don’t ask me how; I don’t even really read mysteries, but I just knew. High five, me.
Ok, now some more serious stuff.
This week has been a week of firsts for me. Earlier this week, I read my first novel written in verse (The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo). Now I’ve read my first M/M romance. It’s not that I’d actively avoided either; they were just never there right in front of me while I was picking my next book to read. And I am so, so sorry…on both counts. I will do better, dear readers. I guess now is a good time to let you all know that every June will be Pride Month on LiatoF, and I’ll be making an effort to include more diverse romance throughout the year, too.
I want to be honest here rather than trying to write as if I know what I’m on about. I feel a little bit awkward reviewing graphic M/M books because, well, I’m not a man. At least with F/F books, I have knowledge of my own anatomy. But with M/M books, even when I’m enjoying the romance and sexy bits, there’s a part of me wondering about the mechanics. It doesn’t help that this was written by a female writer, so I don’t know if she’s understands the mechanics either? Am I being a bumbling fool right now? (Probably.) But also on top of that, I don’t know if I am qualified to pass any judgement on a gay romance. (Especially when the author isn’t a gay man.) I don’t know if not just the physical experiences, but also the emotional experiences are accurate. I would defer to a gay reader for that.
Which also makes me think of how being gay is depicted in this setting. Not everyone was understanding when orientations were revealed. Also, where some people were understanding, there was also a very clear message that Ian and Robert would need to be very careful not to reveal themselves to the outside world. I know that this is historically accurate, but I suppose a part of me wanted to pretend like that wasn’t the world they lived in. (The world a lot of people still live in.) I don’t know what the right answer would be here. Should an author be historically accurate about having to be extra careful, about the potentially lethal ramifications of being found out, or should they write an idealised world where queer people are allowed to be happy? I’m thinking a discussion post involving lots of interviews with LGBTQ+ people is on the cards…
But back from serious-land, this was a nice little story. As I do with all other romances, I judge based on the emotional pull and how strong I feel the chemistry, and I definitely did some swooning while reading this. (Read the excerpt for a taste!)
Robert felt his heart jolt and his own breath stutter, fail, start again somehow, and oh, he wasn’t immune, either. He was the opposite of immune. Never in his life had he had such a visceral reaction to another person’s lust. It was just one more thing in a long list of things to worry about—death by stolen oxygen. “Please…just…” Words failed him. Those things that had been his companions and his joy and his art flew out the window, simply because he was close enough to feel Ian Cameron’s breath on his cheek. “Just…let me.”
And then he grasped Ian’s coat in his hands, closed the gap between them, and kissed him.
Ian was still, unmoving as a sculpture, and a moment of panic seized him.
He’d misjudged. Ian didn’t really want this. Ian didn’t want him.
All the looks, the brief touches…he’d been searching, hoping for something that wasn’t there.
He started to pull away—
A quiet so complete the world faded.
Ian had taken hold of his waist.
Ian was kissing him back.
Like a wave, everything that had gone away came rushing back to shore. Sensation. Thought, flitting in and out of his mind like sparrows. His heartbeat, a dull roar in his ears.
Their breaths tangled. Their lips tangled. And impressions flooded him—Ian’s chest, hard beneath his hands, rising and falling in great, staggered breaths. His lips, surprisingly soft. His face was covered in a light stubble that scraped at Robert’s chin. The scent Robert had noticed before wasn’t just on Ian’s clothes, it clung to his skin, too—the smell of the moors—peat smoke and brine and cold, rain-drenched wind.
Ian’s hand was fisted at the bottom of Robert’s shirt, as though to hold him in place—as if Robert would even think about pulling back.
He was in this. He was in it too far to even think about stepping away. He couldn’t have stepped away even if he wanted to—Ian’s other hand maintained a steady, inexorable grip on his waist—but he didn’t want to. All he wanted to do was bask in the sensation of Ian’s mouth moving against his with a rough, quiet intensity that made his pulse falter.
Robert wondered if he was in over his head.
Maybe he was, he thought as he gasped against Ian’s lips, trying to draw in enough air to breathe and barely succeeding. Maybe he was drowning on dry land. But if Robert was drowning, Ian was melting. Thawing. Icy stoicism dripping down to something hot and intense, a flame that burned from within, brighter and faster than Robert could have imagined.
All he could do in light of that intensity was kiss him harder.
Open internationally. Two winners will be chosen. One winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, the other will receive a $25 Amazon gift card (winners chosen at random). This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 3/16/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.