I am one picky reader. I want humor. I want passion. I want two very strong people who respect themselves and each other. I don’t often find a book where I get all these things. Lucky me – I picked up Daring as a spur-of-the-moment purchase, and found a book that has all of these things and more.
Maggie finds herself committing a crime for the first time in her life (actually the second, if one counts the theft of a sister’s pair of earrings as a child). Although she takes the moral high ground seriously, she needs to break in to the Lord Advocate of Scotland’s house to retrieve some incriminating evidence in order to save an innocent man. Lord Advocate Connor Buchanan’s house is not the easiest to break into, but she nearly succeeds, until she is forced to try to come to the rescue of Connor’s sister, who is in the process of being kidnapped.
When Connor first lays eyes on this mysterious woman, he mistakes her for a friend’s daughter, and tries to seduce her. After finding Maggie has been injured from the attempted rescue of his sister, Connor is disappointed that she deceived him, but is unable to treat her as the criminal he thinks she is due to the way his family rallies around her. The servants treat her like a princess. His family treats her as one of their own. Maggie graciously accepts of all the attention as her due. Maggie has been living as the daughter of the king-of-thieves, but is in reality the orphaned daughter of a French duke.
With Maggie instilled in his household, Connor has no choice but to take her under his wing for her own protection – for no one knows if the kidnappers will want to get rid of the only witness to their crime. For her safety, Connor and Maggie head to his home in the Scottish wilds. Their journey, and subsequent adventures, turn out to be a comedy of errors, and they leave a trail of disasters wherever they go. Despite all the commotion, Connor and Maggie manage to fall in love and resolve the mysteries around them – none of which are as they seem.
There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. I liked Maggie’s personality – she behaved in such a way that left not only Connor, but also me, bemused and surprised. I never knew what she was going to say or do next. She didn’t behave in a ditzy or illogical fashion, but was uniquely kind and matter-of-fact. I liked so many of the secondary characters. The aging French butler, the hyper poodle, the mysterious masked man, Connor’s ex-mistress – wow, could I go on. I liked how Maggie and Connor’s relationship developed – although they shared an intense attraction, they got to know and like each other before any intimacy took place (not by Connor’s choice). I liked how Connor could not get his mind out of the gutter. I liked how the women managed to save the day. I liked the plot twists, the way Connor ended up in embarrassing situations time and time again, and didn’t care because he loved Maggie so much. I also liked how they both had some pretty serious stuff they lived through as children, and yet managed to become such well adjusted people. I could go on and on (obviously).
There are a few things that kept this book from being an A read for me (although I plan to reread it soon). One, that old “hero as womanizer” characterization gives me hives. When Connor tells himself what a lady’s man he is, it is funny. When everyone else does, it is tacky. I didn’t like how a few women came out of the woodwork and, with no explanation, threw themselves at him. I also didn’t like the fact that he wasn’t able to successfully kidnap Maggie (without giving away too much). He is the Lord Advocate of Scotland and the best criminal attorney in the land, after all.
Not too much to complain about, when all is said and done. If you are like me and really enjoy a romance that doesn’t take itself too seriously, read this book. It is far better than Jillian Hunter’s Fairy Tale to me, which was a pretty darn good read. No tormented characters, no sacrificing heroines, no dominating heroes – just two good people going through quite a ride before they can get to happily ever after. For me, that is more than enough.