Monday, September 30, 2013
The Untamed Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures #5.5) by Jennifer Ashley
In The Untamed Mackenzie, Jennifer Ashley finally lets us in on the mystery that is Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows, the Mackenzie bastard brother whose first introduction to readers in the guise of a quisi-villain. Happily, Lloyd is believably portrayed in this novella as a Mackenzie worthy of his name.
Ashley portrays Lloyd as a man on fire. A man in the throes of a passion that leads him to place in jeopardy everything he holds dear for Lady Louisa Scranton, the woman he has secretly loved from a distance without hope of a real future. The magnetic pull Louisa feels when she is anywhere near Lloyd is felt throughout, as Ashley uses more sexual tension and sensuality than graphic sexual scenes to build on the romance. The passion is reciprocated, but is the love? And even if it is, how can they have a future when she's a Lady and he's nothing but a well-respected policeman?
There is a crime, of course, with Louisa as the main suspect and Fellows as the investigator. Lloyd pulls all the stops to save his love with help from the Mackenzie clan and Scotland Yard detective Pierce. This side of the story was satisfying to me. I was somewhat disappointed, however, by the length of this piece.
It's interesting that I abhorred Lloyd Fellows in the first book of this series and at the time thought his was a superfluous character -- I remember just wanting to enjoy the romance between Ian and Beth. Yet, while reading this novella I found myself thinking that Ashley created Lloyd as such a conflicted character that a more in-depth exploration of those conflicts (both past and present) would have been welcomed. However, although I would have loved a longer book with more page time to also develop Louisa's side of the romance, as a novella filled with impulsive, passionate thoughts and actions, The Untamed Mackenzie worked for me. Grade: B