4.5! This may be my favorite book in this series so far. I love a romance where the relationship slowly develops from more than just lust, but also from respect, friendship, and admiration. This was that kind of romance.
Both Colin and Lady Gillian had much to hide, and much at stake if their secrets are revealed. I normally don't like when the H/h keeps a lot of secrets from each other, but in this book it made perfect sense. I liked everything about the plot, and enjoyed each time more and more was revealed to each other. As a reader, I knew once they realized they were both trying to thwart her evil cousin the passion would explode between them. Ahhh, loved it.
Overall, a great romance story with some great characters and a fascinating plot that kept me glued. The 'heat' comes a bit late, but I didn't mind at all as the romance was always a big part of the story. It's books like these that make me such a sucker for highlander romances. Sure, they're a bit 'modern' in language and ideals, but toss in a hot, hunky highlander hero like Paula Quinn writes and I'll forgive any of these minor historical inaccuracies.