Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
Highland Pleasures: Book 2
By Jennifer Ashley
Release Date: July 6, 2010
I have said many times that The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie was one of my top picks (probably THE top one) of 2009. So it's no wonder that I could hardly wait to read Book 2 in Jennifer Ashley's Highland Pleasures series. And, oh, was it ever worth the wait! From the moment Mac and Isabella made an appearance in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie I knew that their story was going to be a good one. Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage finally tells their whole, fascinating story and it's not just good, it's impossible to put down!
When Lady Isabella Scranton was just eighteen years old she scandalized the ton by eloping with Lord Mac Mackenzie, the rakish artist, on the night of her debut. Passions run high, both in and out of the bedroom, and after three tumultuous years of marriage, Isabella leaves Mac, becoming the subject of scandal once again. Despite the fact that she can no longer live with him, Isabella still loves Mac, so when she suspects someone of forging his paintings she goes to tell him what she has learned.
When Isabella first left him, Mac drank himself into a stupor trying to numb the pain, the hole in his heart where Isabella used to be. Realizing that alcohol was not the answer, Mac dries out and has never had a drink since. But to him his life has no color and joy without Isabella. Even his talent as a painter seems to have disappeared, his paintings are now vague imitations of the brilliance he once showed. So when Isabella shows up at his door with stories of a forger, Mac is less than concerned; at least someone---even if it is a forger--- is painting with flair. Mac's main focus is keeping Isabella in his house, his life and eventually his bed. As Isabella and Mac spend more time together, it becomes apparent that the forger has designs on Isabella as well. Mac will sacrifice all that he has to keep Isabella safe and make her his again, once and for all.
Mac is the kind of hero I can't resist: charming, rakish, sexy, often frustrating, but loving and loyal to a fault. Is it any wonder that Isabella still finds him hard to resist? These two have more baggage than Paris Hilton on vacation, but their love for one another has never been in question. In fact, during their three years apart, neither of them has been with another.
Isabella shrugged. "We've lived apart for more than three years. I walked away from you, requested a separation. How can I know whether you sought pleasure elsewhere? Most gentlemen would."
"I am not most gentlemen," Mac said. "I did not think of it---to make myself feel better or to punish you. I'm not certain which. But you'd broken my heart. I was empty. No feeling left. The thought of touching anyone else..."
Mac's friends had viewed his celibacy as a joke, and his brothers had thought he'd been trying to prove himself to Isabella. Proving himself had been part of it, but the truth was that Mac had not wanted another woman. Going to someone else wouldn't have been comfort, or even forgetting. Mac had lost himself when he'd married Isabella, and that was that.
Ms. Ashley has penned another keeper with Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage! Mac and Isabella's journey to reconciliation had me laughing at times, but also had me reaching for the tissue as tears rolled down my face. I love the Mackenzies, and Mac is the latest of those delicious brothers to steal my heart. Fans of this series will be pleased to know that Ian and Beth appear in this latest book, as well as Hart and Cameron. I can't wait to see who tames those two rogues!
Treat yourself to a beautiful, poignant and heartrending story that will leave you sighing with delight and falling just a little in love with the hero, whose "compassion was as large as his heart." Now, how can you resist a man like that?