Book Review: ‘Best Laid Plaids’ By Ella Stainton

Written on 08/21/2021
Kimmers' Erotic Book Banter

Read this 5-heart book review by Kimmer's Erotic Book Banter

TitleBest Laid Plaids
Series: Kilty Pleasures #1
Author: Ella Stainton
Published: August 31, 2020
PublisherCarina Press 
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Erotic Romance
Length: 282 Pages
Tags: Gay; M/M; Author/Writer; D/s; Family Drama; Folklore; Humor; Hurt/Comfort; Opposites Attract; Paranormal: Ghosts; Professor/Teacher; Wounded Warrior; HEA; CW: Grief, Trauma

Scotland, 1928

Dr. Ainsley Graham is cultivating a reputation as an eccentric.

Two years ago, he catastrophically ended his academic career by publicly claiming to talk to ghosts. When Joachim Cockburn, a WWI veteran studying the power of delusional thinking, arrives at his door, Ainsley quickly catalogues him as yet another tiresome Englishman determined to mock his life’s work.

But Joachim is tenacious and openhearted, and Ainsley’s intrigued despite himself. He agrees to motor his handsome new friend around to Scotland’s most unmistakable hauntings. If he can convince Joachim, Ainsley might be able to win back his good name and then some. He knows he’s not crazy—he just needs someone else to know it, too.

Joachim is one thesis away from realizing his dream of becoming a psychology professor, and he’s not going to let anyone stop him, not even an enchanting ginger with a penchant for tartan and lewd jokes. But as the two travel across Scotland’s lovely—and definitely, definitely haunted—landscape, Joachim’s resolve starts to melt. And he’s beginning to think that an empty teaching post without the charming Dr. Graham would make a very poor consolation prize indeed…


Witty and poignant, and sexy as hell, Ella Stainton’s debut novel Best Laid Plaids is the most fun I’ve had in ages! With a racy courtship, several spectral family members, and a whole lot of Roaring 20s charm, Joachim and Ainsley explore some of Scotland’s haunted places, and find way more than just spooks and spirits along the way.

On a quest for research material for his PhD thesis, Joachim Cockburn heads out to investigate Ainsley Graham’s claim he can speak with ghosts. Widely regarded as eccentric, Ainsley is a respected author and folklorist, but his career as a university professor ended abruptly once he began inviting ghosts into his classroom.

Witty and poignant, and sexy as hell, Ella Stainton’s debut novel ‘Best Laid Plaids’ is the most fun I’ve had in ages! 

The last thing Joachim expects when he arrives at Ainsley’s home is to be propositioned by a luscious hunk of Scottish goodness, fully decked out in a kilt. Joachim rebuffs the forthright come-on (after all, this is illegal in 1928!). But Ainsley is quite persistent and it doesn’t take long for Joachim’s resolve to crumble. Their dance of woo is flirty and sassy, and the fun is just getting started when these two find their way to the bedroom.

Ella Stainton writes a gorgeous love scene, and I adore what happens to these two men as their intimacy grows. Feeling free to explore their inner desires, aspects of their characters emerge to reveal a natural D/s connection. Joachim revels in dominating as thoroughly as Ainsley finds peace in submission, and the result is erotic and truly lovely.

These characters are so likeable and real, and their idiosyncrasies add so much to enhance the story. I couldn’t help but adore them both, but my heart really went out to Joachim. Learning to cope with the physical handicap of his war injury is devastating, and he’s also battling loneliness and depression. A true romantic soul, Joachim has long since dismissed his dream of a lifelong companion. I found the emotions he shows while processing his intimate relationship with Ainsley to be very moving.

A captivating blend of ghost story and erotic romance, I couldn’t put this novel down for a minute. Ella Stainton’s writing style is thoroughly engaging, and the characters are complex and interesting. Ms. Stainton is truly outstanding when she brings out Ainsley’s Scots mannerisms and explores the depths of that sensual man whom Joachim hides under his buttoned-up façade.

A captivating blend of ghost story and erotic romance, I couldn’t put this novel down for a minute.

I love historical romances where the characters find a way to be together, and Ainsley and Joachim do it one better in Best Laid Plaids. With the support of their family and friends, these two special guys can revel in their well-deserved happily ever after. Well, at least until their next adventure, Where There’s a Kilt, There’s a Way, which is anticipated for March, 2021. I can hardly wait for this Kilty Pleasures series to continue!

A copy of Best Laid Plaids was provided to Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, by Carina Press, at no cost and with no expectations in return. We offer our fair and honest opinion on behalf of our readers.

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