Title: All Scot and Bothered
Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Page Length: 416
Publication Date: Sep. 29, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: They are a dangerous duke, a fierce lord, and an infamous earl—dark, bold, brave men who know exactly what they want. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…
He is first and foremost—at everything. A man who’s made his own way in the world through ruthless cunning and sheer force of will. A strong and imposing Scot who can turn on the charm but does not suffer fools. His title: Lord Chief Justice of the High Court. His name: Cassius Gerard Ramsay. His mission: To investigate the goings-on at London’s most notorious gaming hell, owned and operated by one of the most intriguing and desirable women he’s ever met.
IN THIS GAME OF LOVE, THE RULES DO NOT APPLY
Cecelia Teague was an orphan facing a rather dire future—until a secret benefactor from her mother’s scandalous past swept into her life. Sent to prestigious boarding school and later to university, Cecelia believed high society was at her fingertips…Then, from out of nowhere, she became the inheritor of a gambling establishment. Now Cecelia must live two lives: one as a proper lady who finds herself undeniably drawn to Lord Ramsay and the other as a savvy gaming hell owner trying to save her business from the very same man. He has no idea she is both women…and Cecelia would like to keep it that way. But what happens when consuming passion and escalating danger threaten to reveal the truth?
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All Scot and Bothered is book 2 in The Devil You Know series, but it can be read as a standalone. A slow-burning, enemies-to-lovers, historical romance, the story focuses on Cecilia Teague and Lord Cassius Ramsey.
Lord Ramsey is determined to find out about the girls in London who are going missing, and he is certain the owner of the gaming hall is involved. He never expects to fall for the mysterious owner, and he is shocked to learn that she is Cecelia, a friend of his brother’s wife, who he’s admired at social gatherings.
Cecelia knows nothing about the missing girls but determines to find out all she can. Her first clue is the coded book her aunt left her. All Cecilia has to do is decode it.
When Cecelia’s life is threatened on more than one occasion, Ramsey can’t explain the need he feels to protect her. He takes her, along with her delightful ward and her injured father-figure, to his childhood home in Scotland until she can figure out her aunt’s coded book. Will Cecelia decode the book before they are found? Will Ramsey and Cecelia give in to their feelings? Can they figure out what is happening to the missing girls?
Cecilia and Ramsey are similar in many ways. They share feelings of loneliness and abandonment, and they live independent lives. They are both well educated, and they both have strong and valid reasons for remaining unattached. They also both suffered abuse and neglect as children. “If we looked deep enough within ourselves, we’d find glimpses of each other. I see a reflection in your eyes, I think. A part of myself. One that might be kinder than the truth.” They share a profound connection and seem inexplicably drawn to each other even though their beliefs, aspirations, and daily lives are so very different.
Ransey, for example, avoids excess – drinking, gambling, smoking, even chocolates are generally off-limits to him. It is almost as if he refuses to give himself pleasure and is punishing himself. Cecelia, on the other hand, likes to indulge. She believes in taking the extra chocolate and having a little fun. She faces adversity with understanding and optimism. Ramsey is much more serious, curt, and aloof than the bubbly, passionate, and vivacious Cecelia. Her philosophy is that “one must be kind in order to be good,” and Ramsey’s is “one must be fair and just.” I think it’s a combination of the two. 😉
Their similarities and differences make for wonderfully dynamic characters. They teach each other about love – romantic love, familial love, and self-love. Their love also forces them to reevaluate what is important in life and what is worth fighting for. I liked watching their relationship and their complex feelings for each other grow. Plus, they had fabulously spicy chemistry!
I also love the excellent depiction of strong, independent, and ambitious women. Men are a welcome addition to Cecelia and her friends’ lives, not a necessity. Cecelia is a quick-witted mathematician whose zest for life is infectious. She follows her dreams and doesn’t let anything (her childhood, her gender, societal expectations, or her weight) stand in her way. If anything, she embraces her obstacles. Her relationship with The Red Rogues, her two best friends, is a lovely sisterhood of strong, independent women who defy societal norms. These women, and the people who support them, are the epitome of female empowerment.
Thanks so much to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Paperbacks for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The romance, of course! Slow-burning, enemies-to-lovers, some swoon-worthy moments – I love it!
- The positive messages about women.
A bruise on yer skin is like an open wound on my soul. It hurts me to look.
Every time she smiled at him, with every kiss or intimacy they shared, a little light had ignited within that dark void inside him. He felt less empty. What would a lifetime of her smiles do?
Yer changing every truth I’ve ever believed in.
Fans of historical romance with a strong and smart protagonist and a broody alpha male will love All Scott and Bothered. Fans of Vanessa Kelly, Lynsay Sands, and Tessa Dare will also enjoy this book.