“More money doesn’t equate to (much) more happiness. But ... committed, long-term love – a pair bond that lasts forever – is about the greatest ticket to happiness known to mankind.” ~ Evan Mark Katz (How Much Is Your Love Worth?)
After a serious injury, Murdo takes David to his estate at Laverock to recuperate. Murdo shows a different side than he has before, turning out to be an excellent, if not a bit overbearing, caregiver. It is an idyllic time for them, being together, living and loving as they should be able to do to begin with. Yet, despite that, both of them know there will come a time when they will have to leave the safety of their cocoon where life is, at the least, uncertain.
As David improves, he becomes bored and restless. Murdo has several legal issues he needs to be resolved so he gives them to David to handle. As time goes on, David tries to bring up the subject of going back to his law practice in Edinburg. Murdo doesn't want to discuss it and avoids the subject when at all possible; he does everything he can to delay David's departure. Murdo has go back to London at some point to take care of some important business that he's not told David about; knowing his black and white reasoning he fears David's reaction. Murdo begs David to remain at the estate until he comes back from London. However, when David's friend and mentor, Mr. Chambers, becomes terminally ill and asks to see David, he knows he has to go. Conveniently, Murdo is going in the same direction so they share a coach. David finally gets to see Chambers who is ecstatic he's there. They have a discussion about his daughter, Elizabeth, whose husband is getting close to finding her. Chambers asks David to go to London and take care of business which will ensure Elizabeth's safety. David can't refuse such a plea and rides to London with Murdo, both with serious matters to attend to; neither man entirely sure what the outcome will be.
Before David can leave to visit Elizabeth, then take care of business matters. Murdo's father comes to his house full of insults and demands. There's potentially damaging information his father wants to be sure David hears before he leaves. When David hears the news, he and Murdo have a bad argument outside; then David leaves to find Elizabeth, to tell her about her father's impending demise and about the business plans to ensure her future. Finding Elizabeth well and happy, he stays overnight, too tired to walk back and needing some space from Murdo to sort out his feelings. Going to Elizabeth's turns out to be a terrible mistake because David is followed, leading her volatile husband straight to her door. David feels awful knowing it's his fault that she is found and turns to Murdo for help. Murdo, adept at knowing how to hit someone where it hurts most formulates a superb plan that will not only free Elizabeth, but will directly affect his and David's future as well.
This is an amazing conclusion to a great series. The character growth in both David and Murdo is exceptionally well written and believable. The secondary characters, i.e., Elizabeth, Murdo's father, and even William, David's first love, are incredibly believable and oh so good, or evil depending upon the part they played. I loved seeing the relationship between David and Murdo begin, simper, and, when they were both ready, bloom into an awesome, strong, nurturing bond. Seeing Murdo's plan at work was like watching a bowling match in which Murdo used his knowledge of his audience and what made them tick, to knock the “pins” down one by one. It was brilliant, not an easy fix like in some books. I highly recommend it to fans and newcomers also, considering the previous stories have been read beforehand. I shall miss David and Murdo a great deal. Thank you, Joanna, for a truly great romance.