With his brother the earl traveling, Robert Townsend is responsible for taking care of Llynmore Castle and making sure everything runs smoothly. Robert is determined to prove that he is reliable and can be counted upon, but of course things end up complicated almost right away. First, the estate steward, Ian Cameron, loses his home to a fire and has to move into Llynmore while it is repaired. And then torrential rains bring a group of stranded travelers who have to be put up as well.
Things are made even more complicated by Robert’s attraction to Ian, compounded by Ian’s very clear dislike of Robert. Robert has done everything he can to befriend Ian, but the stoic man seems to want nothing to do with him. Considering how attracted Robert is to Ian, the dislike is even harder to handle. But when some items are stolen from their guests and Ian is accused, the men will have to work together to try to unravel who is really behind the theft and clear Ian’s name.
As Robert and Ian spend more time together, the men begin to slowly become friends. Ian comes to realize Robert is not the spoiled aristocrat he has always assumed. And when Ian lets down some of his walls, he realizes he quite likes Robert. In fact, the men are beginning to fall for one another and the idea of a future together tantalizes both of them. But not only does Ian work for Robert’s brother, but keeping their relationship a secret from Robert’s family would be almost impossible in the long term. Add to that the ever increasing complications of their house guests, and things get even worse. But now that they have found each other, Ian and Robert are not quite ready to give up on what they have built together.
A Scot’s Surrender was a really delightful surprise and I just loved it. I say surprise only because Lily Maxton is a new-to-me author, and this book is the third in a series where I haven’t read the other books. So I wasn’t sure quite what to expect from this one, but it is a really engaging historical with two characters I really enjoyed and a lovely romance.
The story is the third in the Townsends series, the first two of which were male/female romances. I had absolutely no trouble jumping in here as we get enough of a backstory on the family to easily pick up with the third book. While Robert’s siblings, Theo and Eleanor, who star in the first two books are mentioned here, they don’t appear in this story and we get enough information about them to carry things here. What I think makes this work particularly well is that in addition to giving us the basics on the previous storylines, Maxton also focuses on the impact of those events on Robert. He considers himself an average guy among stellar siblings and he also feels like he let the family down when Eleanor got into trouble during the last book. So he has this determination to show everyone that he has things under control, that he can lead and make decisions when needed, and that he can be counted upon. This sense of responsibility affects a lot of his behavior here and colors many of his actions, and Maxton does a really great job of showcasing his character.
There is a bit of an enemies to lovers vibe here that I quite enjoyed. Ian starts off the story not really liking Robert, thinking him spoiled and lazy. Not only does he come to realize there is much more to Robert than he thought, but Ian also accepts that his own attraction and feelings toward Robert are coloring his opinion. And poor Robert not only is attracted to Ian, but struggling with the fact that the man doesn’t seem to like him. The plot device with the thefts is a clever way to bring these guys together, and while it isn’t really a mystery story, following along as they try to figure out who is behind it all ends up being quite fun. There is a bit of humor here and a great crackle of chemistry between the characters. I love when authors can create that romantic tension and combine it with a bit of wit. I found myself smiling at their interactions and in the case of the scene where they end up hiding under a bed, outright laughing.
I can also say that I really loved Robert and Ian together and think Maxwell created some really layered and interesting characters here. They each have personal issues to work through, things that are holding them back. For Robert it is his sense of responsibility and need to prove himself and for Ian it is issue with trust after being hurt by his family. I enjoyed seeing their growth over the course of the book as they each worked through things. I also loved this guys together as partners. As I mentioned, there is just a lot of great chemistry between them and their interplay is fun, but they are also sexy and wonderfully romantic together.
So you can see, I really loved this one and am excited to find a new author in Lily Maxton. If you are a fan of historicals, I can definitely recommend A Scot’s Surrender.