A Scot in the Dark
In this entertaining Regency, Sarah MacLean freshens a standard plotline (ward with a problem meets unexpectedly young and handsome guardian) with a particularly strong heroine and an oddly vulnerable alpha male. Lillian Hargrove is the beautiful ward of the Duke of Warnick. Unfortunately, the duke died, as did a series of heirs, until the title fell to a disinterested Scotsman who has no idea Lillian exists. Desperate for companionship, she makes a terrible error, posing for a nude portrait at the request of a con artist. (Nineteenth-century-style sexting.) Now the ton knows she exists. As does her guardian. A curmudgeon of massive proportions, Warnick is appalled by the sudden responsibility, but shoulders it nonetheless. He must see her married before the painting is exhibited. But Lillian, who intends to marry for love or not at all, has other plans to put humiliation behind her. In the process, she rehabilitates the duke. (He tends to wallow in his imagined unworthiness, which leads him to unwittingly treat Lillian poorly “for her own good.”) Fortunately, our heroine is too sensible to indulge his inferiority complex, and readers will root for her happily-ever-after ending.