Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage
by Jennifer Ashley
Paperback: 336 pages
Available: July 6, 2010
Genre: Historical Romance
Book received from: Penguin
Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again–this time by leaving him.
Now the reformed Mac has returned, and he wants one thing: Isabella back in his life, his house, his bed. He’ll do anything he has to, play any game, as long as he gets her back. Isabella resists, but when she agrees to pose for erotic paintings he’s been working on, she realizes her body has never stopped craving her husband’s very skilled touch. Mac is determined to show Isabella that he’s a changed man, but three years without her has only increased his hunger for her.
When an ingenious forger with designs on Mac’s paintings, and Isabella herself, comes dangerously near, Mac sets himself up as Isabella’s protector and vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not.
First let me note how much I love the Mackenzie brothers! They are all eccentric and each one has such a rich, bold personality and sensuality that draws you in like a magnet! I mean any woman would be crazy to not like a Scotsman commando in a kilt! While I wanted to perch Ian on my lap and do naughty things to him, I wanted to slam Mac on the chase lounge and well, you know the rest! Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage is the second book in the Highland Pleasures series by Jennifer Ashley and is the turbulent story of Mac Mackenzie and his estranged wife, Isabella.
Mac and Isabella have a great love: young, passionate and witty. Both have strong personalities, like fire and ice, and while initially they were blissfully happy together, a tragic loss brought it all to an end. Mac turned to alcohol and painting in order to cope, while Isabella became withdrawn from both her life and husband which ultimately leads to her leaving Mac. Next to Isabella, painting was the great love of Mac’s life. But when Isabella left, his painting mojo hit the road with her. During their three and a half year separation, Mac has done an incredible amount of soul searching. He is no longer fighting his own inner demons and returns to London on a mission. Mac wants his wife back. In fact, he is desperate for her, not just in his bed, but in every aspect of his life.
Isabella is back in London and in Mac’s face (literally as the book starts) because she has found out that someone is forging Mac’s name on paintings that are practically identical to his work. Isabella is livid that there is an impostor presenting himself as Mac but she uses it to her advantage to open communication again with her husband. She makes it her mission to find who is impersonating Mac which starts the reunion of this passionate couple. Mac in turn enlists Isabella’s help to teach him how to court a lady so that he can relay the information to “his friend.” In essence, she knows he is seeking her advice in order to win her back and while she is extremely cautious with her heart, she plays along. Truth told, there deep love for each other has never burned out but their ways of coping with tragedy and adversity is what drove them apart.
After reading the first ten pages I screamed “fiddle dee dee” they are channeling Rhett and Scarlet from Gone with the Wind with the same fiery, passionate characteristics as the epic couple. So naturally with GWTW being my all time favorite movie, I immediately wanted more! And while I loved the dynamic and fiery passion both Mac and Isabella had for each other, I was a little frustrated with Isabella and her not acknowledging how Mac was now a changed man. It was blatantly in front of her time after time so there were moments when I wanted to shake some serious sense into her! She now had everything she hoped for and needed in Mac but would not completely own it. I literally ached for him in the pages when he would describe his love for her and how it drove his existence. He savored and cherished Isabella knowing that without her, his life was meaningless. Of course Isabella does come around but the fact that she was so open to intimacy but not to permanent reconciliation kind of wore on me after a while. However, it did not stop me from loving both as a couple. Their extreme passion whether it was anger or desire for the other literally sparked the pages and holy hades their love scenes blazed like an inferno! The Mac impostor is finally revealed and was kind of a meh moment after the search and build up to reveal him. Never the less the love of Mac and Isabella is what deeply drove this book along with the selfless ability to change and forgive. Ms. Ashley is a superb author that can bring sensuality and passion to life with her characters and pour the emotion off the pages. She made no exception to Mac and Isabella. Overall, I adored Mac and Isabella’s story, and loved reliving their version of Gone with the Wind only with a much happier ending!
“He’d stopped before her, and without saying a word, Isabella had taken his breath away. Her hair spilled over her shoulder in a river of red, her eyes glinted with cool intelligence, and he’d wanted her. To dance with her, to paint her, to make love to her. Come, sweetheart. Sin with me.”
“His dark gaze had her heart racing. No man could look at a woman like Mac could. He made her feel desired, coveted, wanted. He looked at her as though he imagined her naked and hot on the floor underneath his equally naked and equally hot body. He was a wicked man, and he wanted to do wicked things to her.”
“Mac had the right of it; she had become his muse. When he’d had neither drink nor Isabella, his talent had vanished. Now it had returned. He could paint without having to be drunk. He only needed to be intoxicated by Isabella.”
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Other books in the series:
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
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