London (The Scoundrel and the Debutante, 2015, etc.), writing as Jessa McAdams, fashions a light, contemporary romance novel centered on a high-class, stubborn American girl and a down-to-earth, equally stubborn Scottish man.
After her fiancé dumps her less than a month before their planned wedding, Sloane gets into a rut, and her friends are determined to fix her woes. She insists she’s waiting for a man who’s similar to a fictional Scottish rogue from a television program. To that end, she and her friends go on a group trip to Scotland. (Thankfully, her friends only appear for a short time, as all three are overbearing caricatures of rich city girls.) Eager for her friends to stop fixating on her love life, Sloane travels ahead of them, and once in Scotland, she recruits the local bar owner, Galen, to pose as her boyfriend. When Sloane’s friends arrive, she plans for him to publicly break up with her, thus hopefully ending the girls’ busybody interference. In need of the money Sloane promises him, Galen reluctantly agrees to help. Sloane’s character immediately jumps off the page, making it easy for readers to sympathize with her far-fetched scheme. In contrast, Galen’s characterization builds more slowly, which, in combination with his Scottish-accented dialogue, slows the novel’s initial pacing. Despite his original hesitation, Galen finds himself falling for Sloane, and in a predictable twist, Sloane, used to playing it safe, finds herself throwing caution to the wind with Galen. As the narrative progresses, the pacing picks up and the dialogue between the two grows white-hot, charged with relatable wit and humor. Their seemingly perfect relationship takes a turn, though, when Sloane’s friends finally arrive, along with an unsuspected surprise—reminding Sloane and Galen of the contractual, and supposedly artificial, nature of their relationship.
Despite a rocky start and some underdeveloped secondary characters, this is a quick, entertaining beach read packed with delightful dialogue and plenty of laughs.