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2017 RONE Award Nominee


The halls of Glen Cairn Manor churned with so much love and wedded bliss of late the sight had become downright sickening. James MacKintosh couldn’t understand how his brothers had managed to fall love-struck one after another. Not when they all knew as well as he how such an emotion could send a man from heaven straight to the bowels of hell. 

But, damned if they didn’t somehow make it all look so bloody appealing.

New York suffragette Primrose Eames had more than enough men trying to control her already. There was no chance she’d relent and marry again, despite her brothers’ dogged “encouragement” on the matter. More than anything, she wanted independence and the freedom to live life on her own terms. A husband would only serve to snatch that dream away from her forever.

What Prim needed was a decoy and James MacKintosh was just the man for the job.

Having failed in his search for the perfect woman to wed, James was happy to help Prim with a false courtship, but only because it served his purposes to avoid the matchmakers as well. However, James soon discovers that even a fictitious courtship with a woman set on never remarrying has its own challenges.

For Prim, the courtship begins to feel all too real. James is too charming, too engaging and so supportive of her cause. It doesn’t take long before she realizes there is a certain freedom to be found in marriage the right sort of man. If the right sort of man were interested in marriage, that is.

It’s only when betrayal and despair leave them both longing for more in their lives that they realize the importance of a love worth having, and a question worth asking.

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Prim Eames is not only a widow laboring under the thumb of her brother and father-in-law; she is also a secret suffragette. James "Jamie" MacKintosh is a Scottish aristocrat in search of a wife. When Primrose and Jamie meet, they are stifled by the dictates of society until Primrose decides that Jamie should court her, much to the chagrin of her brother and father-in-law. What was meant to be a business arrangement to get Primrose away from her overbearing relatives becomes truer and truer until neither can deny the attraction they have for each other. 

The author has a wonderful way with words! Primrose, or Prim, denotes one who is proper and staid when there is fire underneath the facade. Indeed, in the first part of the story, the characters are depicted as being as stiff and unbending as the floorboards where one has to follow the dictates of Knickerbocker society. But this is necessary in order to set the stage for the change of perception and character of Prim and Jamie, as well as developing the arc of the story. The novel soon chances, develops, and blossoms just like the last part of the heroine's name. Jamie is shown as someone interested in bringing out the fire in Prim and the author dies the same in allowing the reader now to be invested in the story. 

Readers of historical romances will find this a cerebral read first, an engaging one next, and will likely be interested in seeing how Ms. Fortin will write her succeeding novels. 

M.P. Ceja ~ InD'Tale Magazine

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