Wednesday, September 2, 2015

3.5 stars--The Scandalous Mackenzies by Jennifer Ashley

I adore Ashley's shifters and last year dug into her historicals with the Mackenzies and! Fun, sexy, scandalous. Highlanders, kilts and mystery. Excellent series. The Scandalous Mackenzies is a print release of two of the previous e-book only novellas-- The Untamed Mackenzies and Scandal and the Duchess. And, as always, Ashley left me smitten.

The Untamed Mackenzie (#5.5)

It took me a little while to get into The Untamed Mackenzie. The quick of it is that Louisa has been accused of poisoning a man at a party and Lloyd (who she's rather smitten with) has come in to investigate the murder and try to find the real culprit. Which he's very much hoping is not the lovely Louisa.

The romance took a rather second seat to the investigation for most of the novella. I think that's what kept me from getting wrapped up in it at first. I just didn't have a strong connection to either Louisa, Lloyd or the simmering attraction that had been going on in the months prior. But at about the halfway mark it pulled me in and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Louisa and Lloyd were a nice pairing and brought out the fire in each other for sure. I liked his focus and determination when it came to police work and her strength in holding her head high despite the gossip surrounding her.

My favorite part of the novella, though, was the secondary characters. Ian (from book one) and Daniel both played parts in the story and totally stole the show. They had such presence and I found myself eager for more scenes with them. Ian has Asperger's and is just fascinating and Daniel is a young cocky Scot that is just delightful.

All in all, not a bad novella. The suspense wasn't exactly a surprise but it worked and there were some interesting developments along the way. And the romance. It was nice seeing these two finally get their act together after being mutually smitten for ages. They just needed a little push shove apparently in the form of a scandalous murder. lol

Scandal and the Duchess (#6.5)

Back when it was ebook only this was my first taste of the Mackenzie family and I was totally charmed by Scandal and the Duchess.

So. Steven is home to pay his respects to a soldier's widow and needing some liquid courage gets himself stumbling-out-of-the-pub drunk instead, running smack in a lovely smelling lady and maybe giving her an accidental grope in the process. Oys! Rose and scandal go hand in hand. Her husband died and her stepson has thrown her out and the media is gaga over her. And now. *hangs head* They've gotten quite the show as a drunk Scot slides right on down her and tries to climb back up. ::snort::

These two were fantastic together. They ended up pretending to be engaged to stymie the media and it was so fun watching them quickly fall. They've both been lonely and needed someone just for them. They're very caring people and always giving everything they have to others. They were just nice and damn they were scorching hot too! There's some good loving and some fabulous chemistry between them as they help solve each others problems--keeping Steven offlimits to other women and making sure Rose gets the inheritance her first husband left her and that her stepson is trying to deny her. There's a slight mystery or rather puzzle left by her husband that they have to solve which was rather entertaining.

Scandal and the Duchess was a very quick read but it was so fun and sexy too! And very satisfying as well. Not an easy feat for a novella but Ashley did a fine job as always. I'm definitely hooked and can't wait to go back and read the rest of the series. The cameos from previous couples seriously caught my interest.

Have you read Ashley? Have a favorite?
Any good Highlander romances you'd rec?

The Untamed Mackenzie 
When Lady Louisa Scranton of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family is accused of murder, Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows of Scotland Yard, vows to clear her name. He’s already shared kisses with Lady Louisa, and not only is he convinced of her innocence, he’s falling for her. And while he may be the only hope of restoring her family’s honor, he intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder.

Scandal and the Duchess 
Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. And now she’s been kicked out of her rightful home. But the dashing Scot Steven McBride—a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time—comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists and save Rose’s inheritance. But Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.

Amazon | Book Depository | BAM | Goodreads

*links to the series on Amazon

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