Title: The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl What Happens in Scotland, Book 3
Author: Kate McKinley
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Story Setting: Scotland, 1815
Publication Date: July 18, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
What Happens in Scotland series (ecopy purchase):
A Lady’s Rules of Etiquette When Kidnapping a Gentleman:
1. A lady must obtain a small vial of laudanum and a sturdy length of rope.
2. Once subdued, the gentleman should be bound securely.
3. At no point should the lady leave a sharp implement within the gentleman’s reach.
4. Should rule #3 be neglected, the lady must prepare for things to go dreadfully wrong.
5. In such a case, a lady must keep her countenance and under no circumstances should she submit to his charms and surrender her heart…
Miss Gwendolyn Wrotham is far more skilled at needlework than she is at kidnapping. But when her best friend begs her to distract the new Earl of Hastings, she reluctantly agrees. Regrettably, the earl is just as clever as he is handsome and before long, he is free of his restraints and not at all pleased…
As one of London’s most notorious rogues, Matthias Hart often finds himself in curious situations. Though he has never woken up drugged, bound, and hidden away in a remote Scottish cottage. Normally, he would welcome such a diversion, but his beautiful captor is young, witty and all-too-innocent. When he finally frees himself, all he wants is revenge and her complete surrender…
My Thoughts: This is light, frolicking-type read; I was rolling my eyes and chuckling over the stupidity gullibility of Gwendolyn. But truly she is a delight, in all her clumsy, innocent manner.
This whole story would never had happened if Evelyn, best friend to Gwen and sister of a duke, hadn’t accidentally gotten herself married, to a blacksmith, while betrothed to Stephan. Do I have your attention? You do not know the half of it.
Early morning finds Gwen and Matthias, an earl, at Evelyn’s chamber door at the inn in this small town.
Evelyn’s skirts were cast over her head as she straddled a handsome young gentleman. And what’s more, their legs were manacled together by a long chain. Shoving her skirts aside, Evelyn looked up at them both and smiled “Oh, good morning.” She laughed. “Was that you at the door, Gwen?”
Gwen blinked several times, frozen in disbelief. What in the name of all that was good and holy had they walked in on?
Matthias sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Good God, your brother will run me through with the first blunt object within reach. I’m standing here dead, as we speak.”
More delightful dialog follows from Evelyn.
…”All right, perhaps it’s precisely what it looks like, but I can explain.” She placed her hands on her hips and seemed to struggle with the words. “We were…you see.” She huffed out a breath. “Never mind. Perhaps I can’t explain.”
The story takes off in many directions at this point, making me just shake my head in disbelief, much like Gwen did. All is a tangle, Evelyn’s betrothed, Stephen may have been shot outside the inn, and Gwen’s maid, Emily, is gone missing with Stephen. Matthias insists they all wait for the duke to return from Bath before searching for Stephen and Emily, but Evelyn has something else in mind, even though, she outwardly agrees with him. [exit one angered and frustrated earl]
Turning back around, she smiled at Gwen. “Gwen, darling, I need you to do something for me. I will be forever in your debt.”
“Ach, lass, what are ye planning?” [this is from the blacksmith still manacled to Evelyn]
Gwen narrowed her eyes at her friend. “I knew your cooperation was too good to be true. You are nothing if not stubborn. You acquiesced far too easily.”
“I need you to keep Matthias occupied for a couple of days.”
Gwen blinked several times. Evelyn said the words so casually Gwen though perhaps she had misheard. But somehow, she knew she hadn’t.
“A couple of days? How in God’s name am I to do that” You may as well as me to hand you the moon.”
Gwen is more or less blackmailed into making this happen – she does the unthinkable – kidnaps one extremely virile, handsome earl.
She pretty much reacts to the situation by the seat of her pants! She drugs Matthias and through several lies and luck, she is able to transport him to parts unknown in Scotland. By her reckoning she had everything she needs to stay in this little cottage with a man, tied to the bedposts of the only bed in the place.
Here’s another cute excerpt:
“Welcome,” she said in a heavy Scottish accent. “Is there aught ailing ye?”
“Oh, no, it’s not for me.” Gwen struggled to think of a plausible lie. “My…husband… is having a great deal of trouble sleeping. Do you happen to have laudanum on hand?” [this is a lie—not her husband.]
The woman nodded and if Gwen weren’t mistaken, she saw a knowing glimmer in her eyes. “I donna have laudanum. But I do have precisely what ye need.” The woman turned and rifled through a shelf of glass bottles. Plucking one up, she swung back around to Gwen. “’Tis sure to do the trick.”
Gwen took the small bottle. The label was written in another language—Gaelic, perhaps? “What is it?”
“A brew of my own making. ‘Tis rather potent so ye must use it with care. Just one or two drops, nae more.”
Gwen suddenly grew anxious, thinking of her tendency to bungle things. What if she gave him too much? “
For all Gwen’s foolishness bravery, she is very uncertain about her plan of action. Could she keep the earl tied up so long? She felt sorry for him, but she must remain strong for her friend.
The earl on the other hand, didn’t feel in the least sorry for Gwen. Not even when the cottage got so cold and she is unable to start the fire, not even when she had to join him on the bed at night to stay warm. His body reacted to her closeness, to her plump rounded breasts. He envisioned she being tied to the bed, vulnerable and pleading.
With all these treacherous thoughts whirling through his mind what he’d do when he got himself untied, only made him more uncomfortable. But freedom is nearer than he thinks. And this, dear reader, is what makes this read such a light-heartened, entertaining experience. To be privy to his thoughts and hers, the dance of the wolf and the lamb, and her innocence with no realization what she got herself into.
With Matthias’ thoughts, I leave you dear reader. I hope you don’t miss the read. I plan on reading the complete series! It really is too funny!
She was a damn temptress and he had no diversion, no defense. In Town, when he observed her standing in the corner of a ballroom, looking shy and ethereal, he would divert himself with brandy, whist, or a flock of comely widows. It had worked brilliantly—until he next saw Gwen and the cycle would begin all over again.
Here, there was nothing to divert him.
It was just her, him, and this damn cottage.