Real Men Wear Plaid!
I went back and forth on whether to review Real Men Wear Plaid! as an anthology. It does have three complete stories, but they are all pretty similar, with exactly the same flaws and virtues. When it comes down to it, I’d say exactly the same thing about each one. They are all quick, steamy reads, and all of them are on the lighter side. It makes for a pleasant read if light and hot is what you’re looking for, but not if you are looking for anything substantial.
The stories are about the MacKinnon brothers, Ewan, Cam, and Alec, all of whom are about to lose their hearts to visiting Americans. There is a small subplot going on about their family business, MacKinnon Holdings. Their dad is approaching retirement and none of the three brothers want to take his place. However, they have a little sister who is dying to do it if only dad would notice.
The Wanderer is about Ewan MacKinnon. Ewan doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, so he takes a journey on the West Highland Highway, hoping inspiration will strike. Nothing comes to him right away, which is probably because he can’t take his mind off Gemma Wentworth’s gorgeous ass. Gemma is an American who originally set off on the road with her friend Jeffrey, but finds herself deserted partway through the trip. As annoying as Jeffrey’s departure is, it does give her the opportunity to get to know the sexy Ewan MacKinnon. Gemma and Ewan find themselves sharing their lives – and a couple of hotel rooms – along the way. They discover that they’re both searching for purpose in their lives, and just may find that purpose together.
The Warrior is about Cam MacKinnon. Cam owns a castle and earns his living hosting murder mystery weekends. Photographer Summer Davies is attending one with her aunt and mom. The trip was originally intended to be a getaway for her mom and dad, until her dad died suddenly. Summer and her aunt decided to make the trip in his stead, and they are scattering his ashes at important points along the way. Cam is immediately attracted to his guest – so attracted that he can’t help breaking his “no fraternization with the guests” rule. The attraction between Cam and Summer sizzles, but can it be more? Can Summer give up her life back home to stay here with Cam? And can he ask her to do that?
The Wayfarer features Alec MacKinnon, a boat builder who has always lived to sail. He meets Isla Drummond when she comes to Scotland unexpectedly, attempting to surprise her father, who is Alec’s friend and mentor. Isla’s father isn’t there, and he urges Alec to show Isla a good time until he can get back. Alec is initially annoyed at both his attraction to Isla and what he perceives as her desertion of her father. But he soon finds that there’s more to the story than he realized, and then he finds himself showing Isla a really good time.
I liked all three of these stories, for all the same reasons. All feature likable characters and hot love scenes. And of course, you can’t beat the location for the fantasy value. Each story was appealing in its own way, but I especially liked Cam and Summer’s – mostly because the mystery weekend in an old castle sounded very romantic.
All three stories fall short for the same reason as well, and that’s that they are too short to have much real development. Series romances are short to begin with, so dividing a small novel into three makes everything a little hurried, to say the least. Any of the three could easily have been expanded to be a full series romance, and I couldn’t help wanting a bit more. Or a lot more. Maybe the MacKinnon sister, Genevieve, will get a full-length story. If Rhonda Nelson writes it, I’ll read it.
That said, when I picked up this book I was looking for a quick, hot read. I’d just finished a very slow book, so a quick pick-me-up hit the spot in many ways. If you’re looking for a similar experience, I’d recommend this one. Just don’t go into it looking for an in-depth, engrossing read.