The Taming of Malcolm Grant by Paula Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the only book in the MacGregor series that I’ve read, so I didn’t know much about Malcolm Grant when I started the book. Apparently he’s gorgeous and sexy and has been the life of every drinking event and brothel and fight. Malcolm brings his younger brother, Cailean, to Harry Grey’s brothel, which Malcolm has visited many times before, so Cailean can lose his virginity (what a great big brother, huh?) All the girls are thrilled to see Malcolm, because apparently he’s not just a pretty face, 😉 but once he meets Harry’s sister, Emma, he finds he’s no longer interested in spending time with any of the other girls.
Emma, who’d been living in France, lost her sight as a child because of a fever that also claimed the lives of both of her parents. Her brother, Harry, who was only 15 and afraid of becoming sick himself, left little Emma to fend for herself – selfish, yes, but somewhat understandable. Luckily Emma was taken in by a healing woman and raised in a little cottage in the woods. Not only did she learn how to maneuver and fend for herself, she also learned many nursing and healing skills. Years later when Emma discovered where Harry was living, she was able to move in, though Harry is loath to have any of the patrons of his establishment see and become interested in her.
While the Grants are at the pub/brothel and it starts to storm, Emma rushes to bring her dog, Gascon, inside although her brother strictly forbids it. When Malcolm stands up for Emma during the disagreement, she finds herself enamored of this man that everyone is talking about and decides that he may not be as shallow as she had heard at first.
Rival clan members, the Winthers, arrive that night and start a brawl in the pub over the services of one of the girls. Malcolm and Cailean are both severely injured and Emma later works diligently to save both of them with only her sense of touch and a few of the other girls guiding her, using the herbal potions she had learned. She is truly a remarkable woman, compensating for her lack of sight with her other senses.
Malcolm awakens first and is mesmerized by Emma and what she can do even without her sight. He finds himself attracted to this beautiful, gentle soul, even though he’s always felt that marriage and bairns were not for him. Cailean’s recovery takes much longer and Harry knows that the Winthers will retaliate against him and the Grant brothers for what happened during that latest brawl, where one of the Winthers brothers was killed. He begs Malcolm and Cailean to allow word to spread that they both died in the brawl and pretend to be someone else until they are well enough to leave his establishment.
This is a beautifully written and sexy historic romance of how Emma helps Malcolm change, not only his feelings about love and marriage, but about what is important in life in general. With her he wants to be a different man, to be gentle and kind and learn how she sees things so differently. Emma begins to think that she might have love in her life after all. And Gascon’s role is wonderful, most likely the first seeing eye dog ever!