This is the first book that I’ve read by Ms. Tarr and I enjoyed every page, the story has an engaging heroine and a fantastic hero. The historical aspects were well incorporated and the plot moved at a very good pace. The romance was tender and spicy and the secondary characters were well written.
The story begins in a small village in Scotland in 1773, where we are introduced to a young Jack Campbell. He is at the scene of an impending hanging and has decided that when he becomes a man, he will be the hangman. The story then picks up twenty years later when Claudia Valemont, a young French woman, is traveling thru Scotland looking for her birth father. Claudia is the bastard daughter of Lord Aberdaire, a Scottish nobleman, and had been living in France with her mother but managed to escape the mob that was killing many of the nobles during the French Revolution. Unfortunately for her the coach that she was riding in had broken a wheel and they were stuck at an inn in a small town, she does not take this delay well. It is while she is at the inn that she first meets Jack, who assists her as best he can to deal with some unwanted attention. Claudia decides that she can’t stay at this lowly inn any longer and in a moment of bad judgment; she attempts to steal a horse and is caught and put on trial. During her trial Jack once again comes to her aid and in the process ends up agreeing to be her jailor for a period of 6 months, he then takes her home.
Jack and Claudia have a hard time becoming accustomed to each other in the beginning as Claudia has been raised as a nobleman’s daughter and courtesan. She has never done any physical work and Jack promptly puts her to work both in the house that they are now sharing and also at the inn. As Claudia spends more time with Jack she is surprised by his kindness, his honesty and his innate sense of right and wrong. Jack is a peaceful man with a job that strikes fear into Claudia’s heart due to her experiences with the mob and the guillotine. For his part, Jack is attracted to Claudia and is slowly falling in love with her, as he falls in love with her he begins to question his choice for a profession. Claudia still has plans to find her father; they are temporarily on hold for the moment. As they spend more time together in the daily activities of life in a small Scottish town, Jack and Claudia continue to fall in love with each other.
Almost all historical romances have to have a villain who stands in the way of true love and in this story there are two; Claudia’s father, Lord Aberdaire, is not an honorable man and wants to marry her off to further his estate and Jack’s half brother Callum is determined to make Jack’s life a living hell and sees Claudia as a possible opportunity to hurt his brother. Since I don’t want to give away any further points of the plot, I will say that the author kept my attention with this story to the end and that I was in doubt of a happy ending for Jack and Claudia. The author did a very good job of resolving all of the plot points at the end and I was very satisfied with how the story ended. I hope to read more of Ms. Tarr’s work in the future.
Former French courtesan Claudia Valemont can't believe her life has come to this: standing in front of a Scottish judge, sentenced to death for stealing a horse. She fled France to find her father and escape the hangman's noose. Now here she is, facing the same fate-alone, desperate and penniless.
"Hold! I will speak for her."
Burly Scottish hangman Jack Campbell takes pride in his work: serving justice and giving the condemned a quick end to their sorry lives. Why he spoke for that pale, hollow-eyed Frenchwoman he'll never know. But now he's stuck with her-assigned to be her keeper for six months' indenture.
Bound together by the rules of her sentence, Jack and Claudia learn to appreciate their differences. But as their wary affection turns to tender desire, secrets from the past appear and threaten to destroy their future...