When Juliana St. John is stranded at the altar, her first love, Elliot McBride, steps in to save the day; little does she know Elliot has high hopes that Juliana can save him.
At 16, Juliana had dreamed that she’d share her life with Elliot McBride, the boy she’d never quite gotten over. After years in India, first as a young officer, then as a successful businessman, Elliot has amassed a fortune, but he’s also endured brutal imprisonment at the hands of a dangerous tribe who believed he was a British spy. He’s home in Scotland for good now, and when he shows up at her humiliating wedding, Juliana jokingly asks him to marry her instead, then is stunned when he accepts. Elliot has a plan, and Juliana’s flippant proposal plays right into his hands. Once they’re married, he spirits her away to the ramshackle country estate he’s purchased from his uncle. There, surrounded by Juliana and a devoted family of servants from India, Elliot believes he can heal. But shadows from his past continue to haunt him, and when an old adversary comes calling, Juliana and Elliot must face new dangers while they fight to forge a life together based on trust, love and passion. Ashley’s newest addition to her popular Victorian-set Highland Pleasures/Mackenzies series packs a potent emotional punch. Elliot’s struggle to find peace of mind after shocking cruelty is hampered by episodes of “madness” that modern readers will recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder. Juliana’s calm acceptance of and devotion to him as he creates his new normal is touching, and Elliot’s past and present battle for wholeness using Juliana as his beacon adds an especially poignant facet to their journey.
Ashley integrates high-stakes romance, scorching sensuality and moments of taut suspense into a powerful, compelling story that is both breathtaking and sweet.