Early Book Review: X Marks the Scot by Victoria Roberts

X Marks the Scot by Victoria Roberts is a historical romance currently scheduled for release on February 5 2013. This highland romance is the follow up to Temptation in a Kilt, but is still a solid read to those that might not have read the prior book. In X Marks the Scot we met Declan MacGregor, a classic and not unexpected highland rouge. He has some serious skills with a bow and arrow, as well as with the ladies. Although, he seems to have trouble getting himself out of the connections he forges with the willing ladies. Lady Liadain Campbell is in Declan's care, an responsibility he takes seriously even though she is the sister to his greatest enemy, who just happens to be recently deceased. Liadain is nothing like the lasses Declan knows, she does not want his protection or his company, she just wants to be left alone and to return to her home. She is used to having freedom, and the English court is a place no one is fully free. Plots and whispered rumors arise, binding the pair together in a way neither anticipated. Now they need to either trust each other and become lost in the danger that surrounds them.

X Marks the Scot is a well researched and fun historical romance. There are recognizable names and moments in history tied to the deceptions and plotting that surround Declan and Liadain, which I appreciated. I really enjoyed the characters. While Declan was fairly predictable, a handsome lady's man bound by duty and honor for the most part, he also had a couple really cute moments when Liadain had to extract him from romantic difficulties of his own making. I absolutely loved Liadain, she was raised in a home with very little love, but plenty of time for her to understand herself and her skills. She is confident in her skills and intelligence and is never left doubting her own worth, I found that to be a nice change from the standard fair of women doubting their looks and own minds when facing obstacles on the romantic front.  I also like that the pair had a friendship of sorts, and did not fall into bed without having figured out some of their issues.

Readers that worry about this being the second book in the Bad Boys of the Highlands series will be relieved on several fronts. If you have not read Temptation in a Kilt, do not worry. The only thing you will be missing in this read is a feeling of dread when some secondary characters come into play, and the full story behind how Liadain's bother died and Declan gained a sister in law. Although, the short version is given in the context of X Marks the Scot, so you will understand the undercurrents those moments cause here. Readers that did pick up Temptation in a Kilt and felt it was a little lacking, have no fear! Roberts is growing as a writer, and I found myself caring about and liking the characters more in the second book than in the first. I look forward to seeing if the trend continues with her third book To Wed a Wicked Highlander. If the trend continues, she will soon be on my must read list for fans of heroes in kilts.

I recommend X Marks the Scot to readers that enjoyed Temptation in a Kilt, or liked it but thought it could have been more, because this second novel is even better. I look forward to Roberts' continued story and when this current group of characters will head next. I have high hopes for this author!
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