Mad About the Marquess, Elizabeth Essex

mad about the marquess

Grade: A

Doing it at: 93%

Catnip: Kilts, Red Hot Banter, Deep Dark Secrets, Wed Before Bed, Hate to Love You, Lords and Ladies, CoHo Exception, Dual Narrative, Strong Female Lead

Shame Scale: Very low, this one is pretty friendly for reading in Dr’s offices, kindergarten classrooms (well, not aloud), and public transport vehicles

Fantasy Cast:  This mystery ginger, Camilla Luddington

Book Description:


Lady Quince Winthrop has been robbing from society’s rich and giving to Edinburgh’s poor for years. But everything changes the day she can’t resist the temptation to steal from the Marquess of Cairn.


Alasdair, Marquess of Cairn, has come back to Scotland to stop a thief, never thinking that the lass he’s trying to woo is about to give a lesson in larceny he won’t be able to forget. From the twisted streets of Auld Reeky, to the hills of the highlands, Quince leads Alasdair on a merry chase, and finds the one man she shouldn’t fall for, is the one man she can’t resist.


I spent most of this spring in a very serious reading slump, maybe the worst slump of my whole reading life (approaching the 30 year mark), and I was starting to think I would never ever break out of it. I wasn’t reading, so I wasn’t blogging, and Mary was getting real tired of my shit. LUCKILY I have since recovered, and been blessed with a streak of exemplary reads. Including Mad About the Marquess, one of the most charming historicals I’ve ever read.

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Kilt Tease, by Melissa Blue

kilt tease

Grade: B

Doing it at: 48%

Catnip: Panty Sniffing; Kilts; Fake it Till You Make It; Rugby; Foreign Affair

Shame Scale: There’s some blush inducing sex in this one, and that cover isn’t family reunion friendly.

Fantasy Cast: Richard Madden; Gugu Mbatha-Raw

What do we taste like: Strawberries and champagne

Book Description:

Kate Campbell promised to have an affair with a Parisian, says yes more than she says no and sin so she can actually have something to repent on Sunday. As a way to honor her grandmother’s wishes, she takes a job as a traveling nurse so that she can see Europe–a trip they had once planned on taking together. She never bargained on meeting a sexy Scot who makes bad look so, so good, and he needs her help.

Quinton Baird, a retired, high-profile rugby player, has spent over a decade surrounded by people who all want something from him. From his former coaches to the groupies. He now has two rules for anyone he deals with: Don’t talk to the press. Don’t talk about him to anyone. Ever. His rules are the only way to protect himself from people wanting him to be their meal ticket. No matter how much he likes the sweet, sassy nurse, he can’t believe she’ll help him while asking for nothing in return.
The deal between them is simple. All Kate has to do is pose as Quinton’s girlfriend in public. In exchange for helping him salvage an important business deal, Kate gets many opportunities to say yes–in bed and out of it.

Then reality, and the press, threaten their fictional romance. Quinton will have to trust that Kate’s feelings for him are genuine or risk losing her for good.

Just look at that cover, how’s a girl not going to snap up Kilt Tease? As per usual, I didn’t care that this was the fourth in a series that I hadn’t read the first three of, I fly by the seat of my pants! The description was also hitting all my sweet spots: Scots, fake relationship, good girl looking to sow some oats. It was pretty much a guarantee that I would like this slim book.

Katherine has come across the pond from America to fulfill her grandma’s dying wish that she live a little, damnit. Since Kate isn’t an heiress she actually has to work in order to take her grand tour of Europe. This was immediately refreshing, nice to have a heroine that isn’t rich or just magically possessed of endless funds. Kate has a budget. In Scotland she has found work as the care worker for a stubborn older man who recently had a heart attack. He doesn’t want to accept her help, but she wears him down with charm and grit. Kate has a backbone and a smart mouth, she’s entirely likable. I rolled my eyes at her zero times the entire book. I can’t say for sure, but that may have never happened before (BINGO!).

Kate meets Quinton her first night on the job, in the pub her now employer owns, he’s suddenly sitting right next to her and Kate didn’t see him coming on several levels. Quinton, a recently retired pro rugby player, is hot. He’s heavily muscled, and has tousled auburn hair, and the Scottish accent and killer charm. Kate knows she’s a goner before they’re even properly introduced.

Quinton is similarly charmed by the lovely kitten with claws, Katherine, but is all “Oh, I better keep my distance, because I’m rich and secretive and trying to repair my image so I can buy this jewelry store and get on with my post-rugby life.” Lets all guess how long that lasted. Did you pick not bloody long? You’re so smart.

For reasons involving his reputation, the aforementioned jewelry store, and a nasty ex girlfriend; Quinton and Kate enter into a fake relationship deal. She’ll pretend to be his girlfriend for a few weeks for the paparazzi. They’ll pretend to ignore their serious chemistry for about two minutes.

Kilt Tease has some great banter, which is generally my favoritest part of romance novels (even trumping the doing it sometimes):

“Ditto, my lass.”….”I like that we have so much in common, since you’re my girlfriend and all.”

She smiled and his heart stuttered at the way it beat back in the shadows in her eyes. “I bet you say that to all the girls.”

“Kate, I can attest that you’re my first and I pray to the Virgin Mary my last, pretend girlfriend.”

Her smile went naughty. “I promise to be your best then.”

Aye, she probably would be. Daft. He was fucking daft.

I loved the dual narrative in Kilt Tease, because Quinton’s came with his Scottish brogue.

“You want to know if I’m the kind of man you think I am. Pushy when I want to be. Charming when I want to be.” His mouth tilted up. “Cocky, always.”

Since this is a relatively short book, the relationship, and inevitable third act break up happened at an accelerated speed. This was fine, no depth was lacking, all the characters felt flushed out and I found myself slowing down around the 85% mark to make the story last a bit longer. Katherine is black and Quinton is white, this is addressed only in physical descriptions of the characters and is in no way an impediment in their relationship. African Americans seem under represented in the romance book world, so it was lovely to get one where there was zero drama attached to our heroine’s color. Kilt Tease is sweet and hot, a charming little book that I can endorse wholeheartedly.

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