I’m not going to lie, when I read the blurb and this excerpt I KNEW I had to read this book. I’m so glad I am and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with everyone.
Just as Emma Castle’s plane landed in Scotland, she pulled out her phone and viewed the incriminating evidence once again. Bollocks. The damned video had gone viral. Exactly as her boss back in Los Angeles—now her ex-boss—had feared. She still couldn’t believe it. Fired. Egghead Emma had been fired.
The video wasn’t a sex tape, which her parents certainly would’ve preferred over the reality of what was hitting the Internet. She watched the forty-eight second clip for a third time. How superior her British accent sounded, how smug she looked, like she had all the answers. Those forty-eight seconds had irrevocably changed her future. Thirty years old and already a washout. Oh, bloody hell, what would she do now?
Well, that’s why she was here sitting on the tarmac—hoping to figure things out with her best friend, Claire. As the other passengers pulled down their bags and left the plane, she stared out the window to what looked like midnight in the dead of winter. It was early evening, but a huge blizzard was brewing. An accurate metaphor for her life. She slid her phone back into her pocket.
Certainly I’m not the only marriage therapist in the world who doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters.
But she was the only one to get caught on hidden camera telling a couple how it really was. As a Brit working in America, she’d learned a thing or two about this time of year. At the clinic, they’d called them the Thanksgiving crowd. A week before the turkey and the dressing, marriages were either exploding or imploding because of the approaching holidays. Emma had apparently cracked up right along with them, telling one of her couples how it all was going to play out. Unfortunately, she’d been caught on tape. Don’t waste your money. Marriage therapy serves one purpose and one purpose only: getting you through the inevitable divorce. In her defense, she’d only been telling her clients the truth. It was what she’d seen day in and day out.
She closed her eyes and lay her head back on the rest, trying to put the video out of her mind and trying not to imagine what her parents would say when they found out. Mum, the World’s Leading Sex Therapist and Dad, Hollywood’s Marriage Counselor, would insist on having her professionally evaluated when the news reached them. But maybe then they would finally accept the truth. Emma wasn’t cut out to be a couples counselor, and her controlling parents couldn’t guilt her into doing it any longer. They’d have to find someone else to collaborate on their books and TV promotions. At times like these, Emma wished she had a sibling. Someone else to fulfill her parents’ expectations. But having a sibling would require her parents to at least be in the same country at the same time, not to mention the same bed.
When the aisle cleared, she hurried off the plane and searched the waiting crowd. God, she’d missed her best friend. She’d hesitated only a moment when Claire had invited her to come to Gandiegow. Running away couldn’t fix the predicament she’d gotten herself into, but it would give her a respite, and oh, how she needed a best friend booster shot to help make things better. Then she could head to London to face Mum. Hopefully, by then, she’d have a few things worked out, maybe even a plan for what to do next.
Emma’s mobile rang; it was Claire.
“Where are you?” Emma scanned the faces around her. “Are you waiting at baggage reclaim?”
“Nay.” Claire paused. “I sent Gabriel to pick you up.”
“No,” Emma cried. The people around her turned and stared. “For your sake, Claire, I hope you’re speaking of Gabriel the archangel and not the other one.”
Claire gave her attitude right back. “Don’t grumble at me. It’s not my fault your flight was delayed. You know how early I have to get up.”
“Why couldn’t your husband take the morning shift for you?”
Claire tsked. “The scones are my specialty. The restaurant depends upon them.”
Emma sighed heavily. “Yes, I know. But still.”
“Gabriel was a saint to offer,” Claire defended.
Yeah, right, Emma thought.
Her friend went on. “Is he there yet?
“I don’t know.” Gabriel would be the perfect end to her perfectly horrible day.
“Buck up, Emma. You’re a grown woman. You can handle a few hours with him.” With that Claire said goodbye and hung up.
Emma’s temples began to throb. Claire was testing her patience as only Claire could do. Gabriel MacGregor was incorrigible, plain and simple. Claire knew she couldn’t stand being around him. When Claire and Dominic had first coupled up, Emma had spent a fair amount of time in Gabriel’s presence. Dominic and Gabriel were inseparable, closer than most brothers she knew. Not biological brothers, but Gabriel’s father had taken Dominic in when he was orphaned. Emma had visited Claire often back then and had been thrust into Gabriel’s path over and over. He’d made a lasting impression, but not in a good way. He had a way of flustering her that was very uncomfortable.
For years now she’d successfully avoided him, making sure she had plenty of excuses at the ready if Gabriel was to be present. The last time she’d actually seen him was at Claire and Dominic’s wedding, ten years ago. He’d shown up late, roaring in on his motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket, leather pants, and an earring. Undignified and unrefined, especially for the occasion. Even worse, he had stirred something deep inside her she couldn’t name. Gabriel MacGregor with his deep Scottish burr was a scoundrel—a rake.
She sighed heavily. There would be no helping it. She’d be forced to spend the next several hours with him in the car, but thankfully, it would only be that. Surely his visit to Gandiegow would be over soon and she wouldn’t have to endure his presence in the small Scottish town for too long.
Emma stowed her phone and realized she was being stared at by an extraordinarily handsome man. Tall, dark, and devilish. A rake through and through. As a trained psychologist, she recognized within herself all the telltale signs of instant attraction. Her pulse raced, she involuntarily licked her lips, and she brushed her hair off her shoulder.
Then recognition hit. Dr. Gabriel MacGregor.
At twenty he’d been handsome and she’d thought him a man. But now she saw she was wrong. Dead wrong. He made the twenty-year-old Gabriel look young and wiry and inconsequential. This man had muscles filling out his long-sleeved polo, the breadth of an American football player, and the stance of a Scottish warrior. She did it again. Licked her lips.
I’m in deep trouble.
When a video of her calling happily ever after “a foolish fantasy” goes viral, marriage therapist Emma Castle is out of a job—and off to Scotland. The tiny town of Gandiegow is the perfect place to ride out the media storm and to catch up with her childhood friend Claire. But also in Gandiegow is the one man she hoped never to see again.
She’s successfully avoided Gabriel MacGregor since Claire and Dominic’s wedding, only to find he’s now the village doctor—and just as tall, dark, and devilish as ever. Claire and Dominic’s blissful marriage, however, is not what it used to be. Soon Emma and Gabriel find themselves taking sides even as the sparks begin to fly between them. Can Emma help her friends—or regain her career—as she struggles with her own happily ever after?