DEVIL IN TARTAN – Julia London
Lottie Livingstone has taken on the leadership of her clan, in not so subtle ways. Well aware that her happy-go-lucky father has frittered away their inheritance and that the Livingstone clan has nothing left for their survival, she concocts a daring escapade to get them out of debt. The only thing her father has contributed is organizing his men to distill illegal whisky, but they must find a way to sell it or their efforts are all for naught.
Captain Aulay MacKenzie, skipper of the Reulag Balhaire relishes his time at sea. The second son of the chief of Clan MacKenzie, Aulay chafes to prove himself, and is not happy wasting time on land. His life is the sea. Leaving Scotland with a load of wool and salted beef, Aulay and his crew see a ship aflame and heave to in order to aid them. But when the men, and one woman, from the other ship board the Reulag Balhaire , they overcome Aulay's crew and take over the vessel. It seems the young woman is in charge, and she sets the crew to sail for Denmark.
Unfortunately, Lottie's father is badly injured in the original fracas with a royal ship, and Lottie must help him as well as keeping an eye on Captain MacKenzie, trussed up in his cabin. Having some of the original crew help her non-seagoing clan members, they set the sails for Denmark to sell the casks of whisky.
Aulay is furious at himself for falling for the lovely pirate's lies when she boarded the ship. Now he is a captive in his own cabin, most of his crew below in the same straits, and his beloved craft heading the wrong way. He senses immediately, however, that Lottie is not happy about the entire episode, and realizes that her father lives in a fantasy world where everything will be all right. Lottie is the grounded person forced into a situation that she is obviously uncomfortable with.
DEVIL IN TARTAN continues the Highland Grooms series. Aulay is torn between wanting Lottie to pay for her antics and his feelings of awe of her beauty and bravery. Lottie bears the brunt of her clan's pain, while trying to console her father and brothers as they sail. Will everything come to fruition for her and her men? And what will Aulay do about Lottie?
Beautifully written with terrific, well rounded characters, DEVIL IN TARTAN can be read alone, but I recommend reading the entire Highland Grooms series.