Title: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid
Series: Scandalous Highlanders #3
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Format: Paperback & eBook, 352 pages
Published: March 3rd 2015 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
The pursued becomes the pursuer. After years of having Rowena MacLawry, the youngest sister of his closest friend, tagging after him, all Lachlan MacTier wants to do is escape. But then Winnie runs off to London, determined to forget Lachlan in the swirl of her debutante Season.
When she returns three months later to prepare for her oldest brother's lavish Highlands wedding, Rowena is a changed woman. She's smothered her Scottish brogue, become an arbiter of the latest Paris and London fashions, and is in the company of several handsome young English aristocrats all vying for her favors.
Lach doesn't quite know what to make of this witty, sophisticated beauty who now has better things to do than follow him to a fishing pond. But the more determined she seems to be to prove that she has no need to fawn after a Scottish, kilt-wearing rogue who couldn't even be bothered to write her a single letter while she was away, the more interested he is in Winnie. Is she pretending to disdain him now, or has he truly lost his chance at a lady who is turning out to be far more lovely and interesting than he ever imagined?
"I don't want you any longer. You're not worth my time."
Rowena has had a childhood crush on Lachlan for as long as anyone can remember but now that she is eighteen, she is starting to see things with a clearer eye. While she has been trailing after Lachlan and seeing him through rose colored glasses as her prince charming, he has indulged her but kept a polite distance. Rowena has only ever been the little sister to Lachlan so when she runs off to London, he doesn't think too much of it but when she comes back, Rowena isn't the only one seeing things differently. Not having Rowena's undivided attention and seeing other men take note of her has Lachlan opening his eyes to something that was there all along.
"Ye've done it now, lass," he muttered. "Dunnae throw down yer wee glove unless ye're ready fer someone to take up the challenge. We'll see who's worth wanting. And having." It wouldn't be her, but she could damned well watch.
If you've read the previous two books in this series you'll be aware of Rowena's crush on Lachlan and how he has been trying to sidestep her; this can be read as a standalone as the author rehashes their relationship. Now that Rowena has been to London and experienced men chasing her, she realizes how one-sided her non-relationship was with Lachlan and has decided to move on. In the beginning Lachlan is thrown off balance by how Rowena treats him like everyone else, no adoring looks or fawning, and is actually relieved when he flat out tells her they will never be married. This lasts for all of a day as Lachlan suddenly sees Rowena in a different light with men courting her and he is awakened to the fact that she is not a little girl anymore.
"Now pretend I'm invisible," he murmured
What follows is a combustible story full of heat and friction. Lachlan wises up to the fact that he wants Rowena pretty quickly, it wasn't quite a smooth transition as he has been blind for eighteen years and refuses to consider a marriage with her only to do a 180 one day later. I would have liked to see a tad more drawn out realization and suffering but when Lachlan decides he is going to make Rowena notice him again, he does not hold back. It starts off with Lachlan trying to make Rowena jealous and he does get some major payback but as I said, he quickly realizes he only wants Rowena. There were some majorly hot scenes with Lachlan cracking the unrealistic prince charming façade Rowena had shrouded him in. Rowena for her part was a tangible character whose growth from belief in fairytales to real life was genuine. Both characters have their eyes opened to who the other truly is.
The first half of this book with Rowena and Lachlan's poking, prodding, and circling of one another was shiver inducing and fantastic. The second half slowed down some for me with some manufactured angst. As Rowena and Lachlan have finally got on the same page, the angst has to come from somewhere and since the usual culprit the English are behaving themselves right now, Rowena's brother Ranulf is the substitute baddie. He arranges a betrothal with someone he thought Rowena wanted and refuses to go back on it. It all was a little forced and the danger Lachlan must save Rowena from felt like just going through the romance genre motions. The strength of this novel definitely lies in the beginning friction between Lachlan and Rowena.
Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid is a story of childhood friends and not appreciating what you have until it's gone. I think it is the best in the series and the heated discord in the beginning between the leads is worth the purchase. Plus, trust me, you don't want to miss the steamy shirtless highlander standing in the rain scene.