A Beautiful Widow: Farah Leigh MacKenzie has known love and heartbreak. It was a young, passionate, forbidden love that she doesn't believe any man can replace and it ended tragically when her husband was sent to Newgate and died there. Years later, the beautiful young widow works for the Bow Street Runners and it is there that she encounters The Black Heart of Ben More, Dorian Blackwell, one of the wealthiest, most powerful, most dangerously lethal men in London. She is drawn instantly to this man who should make her want to flee. And for Dorian what he wants, he gets and he wants no needs Farah as he has needed no one else. Kidnapped!: When Dorian kidnaps Farah from her home and whisks her away to his lush sanctuary in wild Highlands of Scotland, Farah believes that her life is over. But in fact Dorian has saved her, for Farah is hiding secrets of her own-secrets that have put her life in danger. But Dorian trades in secrets, especially ones as juicy as hers. He makes a scandalous demand, marry him and he will protect her and he will restore what was stolen from her all those years ago. In return, she will help exact revenge on his enemies.
But what Dorian does not expect is to be caught so sweetly and irrevocably by a woman who threatens everything he holds dear.
The Highwayman feels unlike many historical romance books, especially those set in the Victorian era. Dorian almost belongs in a much earlier time, one where capturing fair maidens and taking them to your faraway castle is not far out of the norm.
Despite Dorian capturing Farah and spiriting her away to his castle, he does it for her protection---seeing as someone wants her dead. Dorian is an interesting character, one who takes a bit of warming up to, at least for me. The danger in incredibly scarred (inside or out, but mostly inside) characters is that it can be hard to believe that love can truly conquer such intense pain. It's nice to pretend that it could, but it's gotta harder for me to suspend belief over the years.
Farah, for her part, finds herself caught in Dorian's spell, and not just because he held her captive. (Heh.) She's lived a quiet life since her escape from an orphanage at age 10, hiding a secret from everyone (including us, for a time). She's a strong character in her convictions, and seeing her attempt to tame Dorian is well worth the read.
The secondary characters in The Highwayman get just enough page time that it's impossible not to wonder what comes in book 2.