Author: Julia London
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
American lass seeks brawny Scot…
As if being newly single isn’t brutal enough, Sloane Chatfield’s friends are getting obnoxious about setting her up. When Sloane insists she’s waiting for a certain sexy fictional Highlander to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland to find her a new boyfriend. She’d rather have a root canal. But if she can find a Highland hunk to “break her heart” before her friends arrive…
In a remote Highland village, Galen Buchanan is struggling to keep the family pub afloat. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there’s an opinionated American lass parked at his best table, driving him mad. But then Sloane asks Galen to be her pretend Highland boyfriend…and offers him enough money to save the pub. It’s only for a few days, he figures. What’s the worst that could happen?
By the time they reached a smooth stretch of road, Sloane had been bounced and jolted every which way, but Galen seemed to think nothing of the jarring ride. He kept his gaze straight ahead. She rubbed her hands on her knees.
“How long will it take to get there?”
“I say we use the time to review some basic information.” She reached for her messenger bag and pulled out two folded papers. “I prepared a page for you, too.”
“A page of what?”
“Information about me.” He looked completely confused.
“You know,” Sloane said. “So you’ll know at least a little about the girlfriend you’d never have.”
“Ah, for the love of Christ,” Galen sighed heavenward. “It’s part of the deal,” she reminded him.
“All right, then,” he said with a nod. “I should know why you donna have a boyfriend, or a husband, or a mate. Are you gay?”
She laughed. “If I were gay, would I need a boyfriend?”
He shrugged. “Maybe you belong to a weird religious order. Are you a nun?”
“What? What is that supposed to mean?” she asked.
“One of my teachers was a nun. Sister Mulhaney. She wore a knot in her hair and sweaters in the summer,” he said, tapping his neck. “Like you.”
“I don’t dress like a nun,” she said defensively.
“No? Seems to me a lass wanting to snare a lad will unbutton her collar.”
“I’m not trying to snare a lad,” Sloane said coolly, and unthinkingly touched the knot of hair at the base of her skull.
“And do you have any idea how incredibly sexist that is? Some women button their shirts and some don’t, and it has nothing to do with their sexuality. I don’t think I needed to be all dolled up to work. I mean, you sure don’t get dolled up to work.”
“Aye, but that’s different,” he said cheerily. “I’m a man. And I’m no’ trying to woo a pretend girlfriend. I’ll say it again, then—a woman who wants a man best unbutton her collar and doll up a wee bit. We’re visual creatures.”
“Please. I don’t want a man. Not every woman is looking for one, you know. Some of us have lives.”
“Ah,” he said, nodding. “I get it.”
“You must be nursing a broken heart.”
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Ah, Scotland.. One of these days I am going to find a way to escape my humble life and come visit you, and maybe, hopefully, snag myself my very own Highlander.. He doesn’t even have to be my own Jamie Fraser as Sloane wished, he could be my own Gerard Butler. I’m totally down with Gerry.
All joking-but really secretly wishing- aside, I’m torn about this book. On the one hand, I loved the idea of a woman going on a trip to Scotland after a heartache and finding herself and a good man after a spur of the moment idea that we all wish we had the courage for, but on the other, I couldn’t help but think it was all too rushed in its effort to wrap things up quickly.
The book started in a good pace, Sloane arriving in Scotland, in this quiet little village of Gairloch, and in a desperate moment to thwart her friends’ relentless efforts to find her a hunky man, she makes up a boyfriend she supposedly met during her trip, hoping to break up with him by the time her friends join her. As crazy as it may sound-but really, nothing is too crazy when it comes to romance- I liked this plot. It can easily be done, I know I’ve had my fair share of shooing potential suitors found by others, so I could relate to her desperation. I could relate to eyeing the big, rough around the edges Highlander managing the bar she visited for the free WiFi, and yes, I did envy her courage to offer the man the deal she did. But I still couldn’t help but think this was too quick and too Hallmark for my taste. It was fun reading about Sloane’s hardship in a remote Scotland village as a city girl, though I wished we read a little more of it. I also could’ve used with more personal dilemmas considering Sloane just got out of a serious relationship, and what felt like to me like Galen was avoiding settling in for a reason more than just the usual. There were the little things that were thrown in to grab my interest, potential plot details, but nothing more to deepen the story. By the end of the book, all I could remember was Sloane arriving, making her proposition, Galen taking her up on her offer, the two of them falling in love while making the most of their deal and sexing things up, and then finally the inevitable ending. Yes, I know, what more could I ask for, but I do. I ask for a wee bit more detail when it came to the characters’ pasts and current issues. I think there was a lot to be dealt with here, but for the sake of Sloane and Galen’s romance, and a bit of Highland humor, it was all forfeited. I did, however, make good use of my imagination, with the help of Julia London, and came up with a very peaceful Gairloch where I could even overlook the lack of WiFi.
A fun read that you could enjoy this summer, I’d recommend this if you like Highlanders and sweet deals that you could easily find yourself fantasizing about. I’m adding three spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge.
Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical series, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and the The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several acclaimed contemporary romances, including The Cedar Springs series, and the recent Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming. Julia has added a short contemporary series to her titles as well, including The Perfect Bargain, writing under the name Jessa McAdams.
Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a four time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.
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