First Time with a Highlander: Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands #2 by Gwyn Cready

First Time with a Highlander: Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands #2 by Gwyn Cready

I’ve got a time-traveling historic romance story today in First Time with a Highlander by Gwyn Cready. The second in her Sirens of the Scottish Highlands series, this title does not require you’ve read the first book: the common concept is what ties the series together. Please read on for my review of this new release, and see a short excerpt from the title.

Book Review:

I’m obsessed currently with highlander stories: how can you miss as a lover of historic romance? And when you bring in characters like Serafina and Gerard, and a whole host of secondary characters that aid or thwart the path to love.

Engaged to a rather despicable man, who then left her and stole a valuable shipment, Serafina is penniless, friendless and angry. She can’t believe that she fell so completely for Edward, and lost everything in the process.  Together with her new friends Abby and Undine, and Abby’s new love Duncan, she is determined to use any means to regain the cargo and reclaim her future.

In this story, it is Gerard who is transported back, and his consternation, reluctance to participate in Serafina’s plan and his attitude and approach are well-suited to Serafina’s often stubborn and outspoken approach.  There is endless bickering, these two are very similar in personality and that makes for great fire, and neither is particularly interested in a ‘relationship’ per se, so it works to fuel the moments as the story progresses.  A far deeper and more complex set of circumstances than we initially understand is behind the cargo, and as our couple, aided with the help of several friends, uncover the mystery the story moves forward nicely.

Cready has built this world and the plot with care, what starts as a wild goose chase soon firms up and solidifies into a wonderful tale that feels both of the moment and in the past. There’s a particular modernity that having a time-traveling character adds to a plot, and this story manages to mix the two outlooks and approaches nicely.  With a touch of steam, although not bordering on the erotic, this story keeps readers happy.

First Time with a Highlander: Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands #2 by Gwyn Cready

Title: First Time with a Highlander
Author: Gwyn Cready
Series: Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands #2
Also in this series: Just in Time for a Highlander
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 9781492601968
Published on: 6 October 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 384
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo Downpour Book Depository Google
See this Title on Goodreads

Second in a new Scottish time travel romance series perfect for readers of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander...

Serabeth’s no-good fiancé is dead, and she needs a husband fast, or she’ll be ruined. Her indignant and handsome captive will do just fine, if she can keep her mind focused on the business at hand...

Gerard is a love-'em-and-leave-'em ad exec who opens the door to a wild party in 21st century New York and wakes up in 18th century Edinburgh with a hangover and a beautiful, disinterested new “wife” who says he has “served his purpose.”

What the kilt?

See the Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands Series on GoodReads

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

HEADER - Excerpt IAI

The Hollow Crown Inn, Edinburgh, 1706
“What if one could piece together a perfect man the way Abby’s dressmaker has pieced together the perfect gown?” mused Serafina Fallon, gazing appreciatively on the neatly pinned amethyst silk with soon-to-be-beaded sleeves her friend Abby Kerr modeled before the mirror. Serafina remembered a time when she had not regarded the possibilities of the masculine sex with quite so much cynicism. If her former fiancé, Edward, had been a gown, he would have been a cheap printed cotton, finished to look like Oriental satin—very much like the gowns Serafina’s reduced circumstances forced her wear—but betraying its inferiority within the first few wearings.

Undine appraised the half-completed dress with her knowing fortune-teller’s gaze and took a generous sip of the Kerr whiskey. “If we could, my friends, what sort of man would we piece together?”

Abby, who wore a veneer of solemnity in public to earn the respect of the clansmen she led, could not subdue her natural vivacity in private. “Start with strong arms,” she said, quirking her brow.

Undine smiled. “And a mind nurtured by experience and curiosity.” “Add a sense of humor that makes his eyes twinkle,” Abby said, “and a pair of calves that do the same for mine.”

Undine laughed and filled Serafina’s glass.

“You two are scandalous,” Serafina said, trying without success to stifle her own smile. In truth, she was quite glad to have been invited to share in the wonderful friendship these two women had. She had grown up on a ship, with no sisters or brothers, and as an adult had only a few friends, most of who had cut her from their circle when she’d begun her ill-fated liaison. But even at the best of times, her friends had never drunk whiskey and discussed the relative merits of male attributes. This was eye-opening.

“Ooh, and fields of copper hair!” Abby cried. “’Tis rather like wrapping your arms around a flesh-and-blood bonfire.” Clan Kerr’s steward, Duncan MacHarg, the dashing and devoted man who had recently won Abby’s heart, had hair the color of newly minted pennies, and the women dissolved into peals of laughter.

The owner of the bonfire in question opened the door. A silence so complete crashed down on the room, Serafina could hear the words of the song the brewer sang as he stacked kegs on his wagon in the busy Edinburgh street a block away. Duncan narrowed his eyes. He was as canny as he was handsome, so it did not take much observation of the bitten lips, downcast gazes, and pink faces to deduce the general nature of the conversation he’d interrupted. Patches of bright rose climbed up his neck—the curse of being a redhead, a state for which Serafina had much sympathy, being possessed of similarly colored hair herself. “Mmphf.” He backed out, re-closing the door with a disapproving click.

The women broke out in renewed giggles. Abby said, “There is at least one benefit to falling in love with one’s steward. One never minds the long hours spent reviewing the balance sheet.”

Serafina gazed in admiration at the gleaming fabric that fell from Abby’s waist, held together with pins and tacking thread. “Is that to be your wedding dress?” she asked.

Abby’s face lost a bit of its joviality. “The clansmen have just begun to accept me as their chieftess. ’Twould be unwise to introduce such a change now, I think.”

Serafina knew Abby put the needs of her people above all else, but she also thought it must hurt Duncan’s pride to have to keep the relationship secret.

Undine met Serafina’s eye. “What about you? You’ve contributed nothing to our ideal man. What would you desire?”

“Och,” she said, flushing, “dinna ask me. I’ve proven to be quite unwise in my choices.”

Abby laid her hand on Serafina’s shoulder. “Making mistakes is the only way to learn, ye ken? Look at me. I’m the wisest woman in Scotland.” Serafina smiled. “Come now,” Abby said. “Where would we begin in a man for Serafina? A Scotsman, of course—no proper Scotswoman could want anything else.”

Undine, an Englishwoman, rolled her eyes.

“A Scotsman would be good,” Serafina said, nodding. Edward had been English, and long before she’d begun to feel like she’d betrayed herself by falling in love with him, she’d felt a bit like she’d betrayed her country. “And…?” Serafina thought of Edward’s lean waist, golden hair, and finely cut features. When she’d met him, she’d thought him a perfect Adonis. Had she only remembered then that the Adonis of mythology had two sides to him—the attentive lover for whom the goddesses pined and the narcissistic man whose happiness depended upon capturing the attention of every woman he met. “Shoulders,” Serafina said boldly, naming the feature of Edward’s that had most disappointed her.

“Shoulders, is it?” Abby said. “How do you like them?”

“Large and labyrinthine. All hollows and girders—as if a warm coat of flesh had been laid over the most carefully sculpted bones. Shoulders upon which I could rest my head as easily as be tossed, whole body, like a keg of gunpowder. And with the scent of surf on them.

” Abby ducked her chin in approval. “I’m glad we didn’t ask about eyes.” Undine swirled the whiskey in her glass.


About Gwyn Cready

Gwyn Cready is a RITA Award-winning romance novelist. She's been called "the master of time travel romance." She lives in Pittsburgh.

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