An agent of Fate sends a lonely teacher back in time, tasked with giving a lusty Highland lord an heir.
Beth Ann Anderson is a solitary 45-year-old history teacher, spurned by her abusive ex-husband and still blaming herself for the deaths of her two children in a tragic car accident. While on vacation in Scotland, Beth saves a child from a falling Callanish Stone, and is crushed—only to be informed by the persnickety Fate that orchestrated these events that she wasn’t the one supposed to die. Incredulously blaming her for the mistake, Fate insists she balance the scales by righting a wrong of his own, and sends her back in time to the 17th century to sire an heir with Laird Quinton MacLeod of Brochel Castle. She awakens staring up the ruggedly handsome Quint’s kilt at his impressive Scottish endowment, surprised to find she now inhabits the pert, virginal 20-year-old body of his beautiful English bride-to-be, Lady Elspeth. In their marriage bed, Beth discovers her Highland husband’s manly veneer conceals the soul of a generous lover, their instant chemistry quickly ensuring an heir. But a snooty viscount plans to assassinate Quint, a plot further complicated when Beth discovers that before taking Elspeth’s place, her pompous predecessor was a principal player in this scheme, leaving her in a difficult yet unique position to protect her new love and their unborn son. The political intrigue of the time between Parliament and the British monarchy heavily informs this conflict, and similar historical flourishes add much to the story. Mansfield’s (Tested by the Night, 2015, etc.) time traveling romance finds a pleasant balance between touching, humorous character moments and steamy sex scenes. The novel’s most erotically charged rendezvous between Quint and Beth are the story’s main attractions, and the book isn’t afraid to occasionally be crass, a nice departure from romance novels terrified to use words like “cock.” The result is an honest and intimately playful experience, raising the voyeuristic thrills the traditional “bodice-ripper” offers. The occasional appearance of the time traveling Fate, and the book’s willingness to broach heavy subjects like spousal abuse and personal loss, assure a surprise or two for those who dare to underestimate it.
A fun, sexy, and self-aware historical romance set in Scotland.