After her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her, Sloane Chatfield’s well-meaning friends are so determined to put her back in the saddle that they’re borderline obnoxious. When Sloane insists she’s waiting for Jamie Fraser to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland… to find her a new boyfriend. In order not to have her vacation ruined, Sloane is determined to pre-empt them. All she has to do is find the most remote part of the Highlands, get there first, find a Scot who will pretend to be her boyfriend, then break-up before they arrive. She figures no friend will try and match her up while she’s nursing a second broken heart.
Galen Buchanan has his hands full trying to keep the family pub afloat in a remote Highland village. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there’s a buttoned-up American princess that has, for some reason, landed on his doorstep…. and takes his best table and hogs his wifi all day. She may be cute, but she’s also full of free advice and doesn’t like the way they do things in the Highlands. Then she proposes something completely outrageousthat he be her pretend 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?
About the Author
Jessa McAdams (also known as Julia London) is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly best-selling author of more forty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical romance series, including The Trouble With Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante, as well as the Homecoming Ranch contemporary series, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming. 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.
Read an Excerpt
The Perfect Bargain
A How to Marry a Highlander Novel
By Jessa McAdams, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Dinah Dinwiddie
All rights reserved.
Sloane was ready. She knew what she had to do. She'd rehearsed in the tiny bathroom of the self-catering cottage she'd rented, and now all she had to do was walk into the Black Thistle and make the damn call. Simple.
And yet, she didn't move.
She stood outside the whitewashed pub set against the blues and greens of the Scottish Highlands and surveyed its shabby appearance. It was a shame, really, because the pub could be so cute. Not in its current shape, no — the flower boxes beneath the windows were empty. The faded metal sign with The Black Thistle that hung perpendicular to the building creaked with every breeze. Rusted wrought iron chairs sat on an overgrown lawn, with an equally rusted table sitting lopsidedly between them.
Frankly, the pub was the perfect setting for a slasher movie.
Sloane couldn't think about that. She had to make the call. She adjusted the messenger bag with her laptop over her shoulder and hesitated again. For the love of all that is holy, just do it.
What's one big fat fraud between friends anyway?
She strode forward with determination, almost reaching the door before coming to a halt when a cow with shaggy hair moseyed around the corner and onto the flagstone path before her and began to eat the weeds.
What was it with the livestock in this town? It was maddening! For two weeks, every time Sloane tried to enter the Black Thistle there was a cow or sheep or some random dog guarding the door. Was it a Scottish thing? Or was it something peculiar to the little village of Gairloch?
The cow didn't seem to notice her, intent as it was on eating the grass between the flagstones. Why didn't someone just weed whack around here? Wouldn't that be a whole lot easier than relying on livestock?
"Will you shoo?" she asked the cow, waving a hand at it.
The animal swung its head and stared at her with one enormous brown eye for a moment before returning to its grazing.
"Shoo," Sloane said, a little more emphatically, waving with a little more enthusiasm.
The cow casually studied her as it chewed its cud.
Apparently, she'd have to resort to physical violence for the third time this week. "I said, shoo, you piece of leather," she said, and slapped the cow on the rump.
The cow lurched forward a few steps into an overgrown kitchen garden and began to munch on the leaves of a cabbage.
"I'm not going to let anyone blame that one on me," she said, pointing to the cow's destruction, and stepped around the bovine's back end and swishing tail to the door of the pub.
The Black Thistle was the only place in the quaint little sea village of Gairloch with both wifi and decent cell reception. Sloane had tried Padraig's, the Italian restaurant in the local inn. They had wifi, but the cell phone reception was horrible. It was only at the Black Thistle, which sat up on a bit of a hill, that Sloane could get a signal all day long.
That she was even here in this backwater village was her own damn fault. In her eagerness to get away from her meddling, sometimes overbearing, we-know-what's-best-for-you friends, Sloane had picked the most remotely populated place in all of Scotland for their summer trip. She thought the location might put them off, but no. Her friends would be arriving in two weeks.
But that still gave her plenty of time to pull off her plan.
She stepped into the pub and stood a moment, letting her eyes adjust to the dingy light, wrinkling her nose at the pervasive smell of beer. It was two o'clock, and the regulars were already at the bar, hunched over their pints. Three of them turned in unison and, seeing it was just the uptight American, turned back to their ales.
The bartender was here, just as he was every day, polishing an empty spot on the bar and eyeing Sloane warily. She'd figured out that he was also the owner. Maybe because he was the only one whoever seemed to work here. He was tall and broad shouldered, with a head of thick, shaggy auburn hair and icy gray eyes. Today, he sported a shadow of a beard, and she idly wondered if he'd had a rough night. He lifted his chin toward the window and said in his deep Scottish brogue, "I thought we had that chat about beating the coos, did we no'?"
"Why don't you go ahead and turn this place into a barn and be done with it?" Sloane tossed back, exasperated. That was the way it had gone the whole week with him — tit for tat. He seemed annoyed that she would come and sit at his table and use his wifi and order only tea. She was annoyed that he seemed to judge her by her drink of choice.
"I think I'll give the pub business a go first," he said. "What will it be today, your highness? Tea and crumpets?"
"Crumpets? That's a definite improvement over yesterday's offer of crackers."
"No' really. They're still only crackers. I'm fancying them up for you." He smiled. At least, Sloane thought it was a smile. It might have been more of a devilish smirk.
"Thanks, but I'll pass," she said pertly. She walked to her usual table in front of the window and pulled her laptop from her bag, then her notebook and her green pen that had been neatly stored in the built-in leather loops along with four more identical pens. She'd be working after she made The Call. There was so much to do — six-month progress reports, proposal reviews — she had a lot on her plate.
Sloane pulled out her phone and took a deep breath. She scrolled through her contacts. Of all her friends, Dylan was the one who had tried the hardest to fix Sloane's life, going above and beyond the call of friendship ... like way beyond. Frankly, the reason Sloane was forced to resort to any machinations at all was because Dylan would not let up.
Sloane hit the call button.
It took a moment for the connection to make, but when it did, Dylan picked up on the third ring. "Hello?" she said sleepily into the phone.
"Hey, did I wake you?" Sloane asked.
"Huh? Sloane? I can barely hear you."
"I said, did I wake you?" Sloane repeated, loud enough that the three men at the bar turned and looked at her again.
"No. Well, maybe. Hey, I'm glad you called. I was going to call you later —"
"Guess what?" Sloane blurted, needing to get this over with. "I met him."
That was not exactly what she'd rehearsed, but she'd go with it.
"Met who?" Dylan asked through a yawn.
"Are you kidding?" Sloane said. "Have you forgotten the reason you're all following me to Scotland?"
"Speak up, I can't hear you," Dylan said.
"I said, I met him!" Sloane said again, a little louder than she intended. She glanced sidelong at the other patrons. No one was paying attention to her.
"Who?" Dylan asked. And then she suddenly gasped. "Ohmigod, tell me you met Gerard Butler. I love him. He's gorgeous."
"No, not — Listen." Sloane had failed to factor in her friend's tendency to wander off topic. She inched around in her chair so that she was facing the window. "I met my Jamie Fraser." She tried to whisper that part, but it was more of a low shout.
"What? You're kidding. When? Without us? Where? Details! Wait — you don't mean the guy that plays Jamie Fraser on TV, do you? Cuz you'll have to get in line to tap that, according to Us Weekly."
Sloane rolled her eyes heavenward at her friend's enthusiasm for celebrity gossip and the actor who played the hunky seventeenth century Scot on the hit television show, Outlander. "No, silly — someone like him."
"This is so exciting! Where?" Dylan asked.
There was a pause. "Hiking. Hmm. That doesn't seem like you," Dylan said thoughtfully.
"That's what you do here," Sloane insisted. If this lie was going to work, she was clearly going to have to sell it harder. "Seriously, I'm learning to love the outdoors." Which was half true.
Dylan was right. She wasn't the hiking type, but she'd taken some very long and meandering walks along the shoreline since she'd arrived in Gairloch. This wasn't exactly a hotbed of single female activity. Or any activity. She'd been walking a lot and she even liked it sometimes. When it wasn't raining sideways, or a stiff breeze wasn't knocking her over, and she'd not stepped in anything mushy or been attacked by rogue farm stock. Otherwise, it was magical.
"Okay, so tell me everything, and don't leave out a word," Dylan said eagerly.
Sloane did just that. She laid out the imaginary meeting of the guy her friends were so desperate to set her up with, and thereby set into motion the plan she'd been working on for weeks.
Sloane was generally very honest. But broken engagements did funny things to friends, especially when a wedding dress was involved. That Sloane already had hers when Adam broke up with her seemed to make his leaving that much more egregious. And because Sloane had been a wreck, her best friends insisted she be the first one to move on and show Adam what he'd lost.
Turned out, Adam was the first to move on. Within a month. To Cassie Vandermeem, a Chicago socialite and probably a bitch. Not that there was anything wrong with that.
After her friends threw her a cheer-Sloane-up party that degraded into a screw-Adam-drink-a-thon and ended with a sobbing Sloane cutting up Adam's remaining clothes into Barbie ensembles, her best friends of fifteen years were on a mission to help her move on to Mr. Better Man.
At first, Sloane had gone along with it, but the guys they'd fixed her up with were so not her type. So she'd tried to slow things down. She thought she'd found an opportunity when they were all gathered at Paige's apartment for their weekly viewing of Outlander, their do-not-miss time together. Sloane told them what she really wanted was a Jamie Fraser. "You know, a real man."
"Except that he's totally fictional," Paige had pointed out.
"I mean a guy who is all brawn, and fiercely protective of his family ... and great in the sack."
Paige snorted. "In Chicago? Those guys aren't in Chicago."
"No, wait. Maybe they are," Dylan said, looking far too enthused. "I bet we could find one if we put our minds to it."
Sloane had laughed at them. "You'll never find Jamie Fraser in Chicago," she'd scoffed. And that, she realized much later, was her unwitting throw of the gauntlet. Because her friends were on a mission to find a Highland hero through Tinder, Match.com, Twitter, and, God help her, Instagram.
She'd begged them to stop, but the more she'd begged, the more convinced they were that it was exactly what she needed. When Victoria found a Scots ex-pat group and insisted that they all attend a meeting, Sloane had tried to deflect the idea with an airy, "Can't."
"Why not?" Victoria had asked.
"Because I am going to Scotland this summer," she'd blurted. "I'm going right to the source." Of course, she'd had no intention of setting foot on this soil, but she'd hoped a red herring would buy her some time. She should have remembered she'd never really been that lucky.
Victoria had gasped with delight. "O-M-G, why didn't we think of that? We can all go —"
"I don't know when, exactly," a panicky Sloane said.
"We'll make it work," Victoria eagerly agreed. "Yes, let's do it! Let's go to Scotland."
Sloane was horrified. She could picture the old, have-you-met-my-friend-Sloane routine being played out in pubs across Scotland ... Oh hell no.
When it became clear her friends were going to Scotland or bust, Sloane conceived a new plan during one long bubble bath. She would suggest that she fly to Scotland a little early and set up a rental cottage for them. A place in the Highlands, which would sound dreamy to her friends, but where Sloane knew there would be fewer men for them to sort through and catalogue.
Once there, she'd give it a week or two then announce that she'd met the guy, The One, the Jamie Fraser from Outlander they all swooned over. Two weeks later, when her friends arrived, Sloane would have broken up with the phantom Jamie. Naturally, her heart would be broken, and naturally, her friends would let it go. How could they not? Her plan was a little devious and a lot perfect. Game, set, and match.
When Sloane finished spinning that tale, Dylan said, "This is perfect. Does he have any friends? Never mind, we'll find out in a few days."
"That's right, only two more weeks," Sloane said, looking at her watch. Now that this was done, she really had to get to work. She glanced down at the notepad in front of her and saw loopy hearts she hadn't realized she'd doodled all over the page. She started crossing out each and every annoying image.
"No, in a few days," Dylan corrected. "I was going to call and tell you."
Sloane's stomach did a crazy little flip and her pen froze mid-cross. "Tell me what?"
"We changed our flights. Remember that teaching job I applied for? If I get it, it starts in August. So I should get back sooner. And Paige and Tori and I had drinks, and I was telling them about it, and they said, let's go early! So we're flying into Glasgow on Thursday. Surprise!"
Oh no. Oh no, no, no. Sloane didn't like surprises. She hated surprises. Her pulse began to race and there was a strange buzzing in her ears. "Wait, what? You're coming Thursday?"
"Yeah, isn't it great?" Dylan exclaimed. "We can meet him! What's his name? Should we bring something from Chicago for him? Like ...well, I don't know what."
"No." This was a disaster. A complete and utter disaster. Sloane dropped the pen on the offending page and dropped her head on her hand. Her perfect, beautiful lie was unraveling before her eyes. "Are you coming to Gairloch on Thursday? Because, you know, you could hang out and see Glasgow, and then Inverness —"
"Oh no, lets do that together," Dylan said. "We'll be there Thursday afternoon. We're taking the bus, can you believe it?"
Jesus, today was Sunday. Sunday! Sloane needed more time than that. This was a nightmare — she'd just told the biggest lie of her life, and what, now she would have to tell Dylan it was a lie? No way — she needed to find her damn Jamie Fraser. Fast.
"Oh, geez, I almost forgot. There is something I need —"
"That's great, I'm so excited," Sloane said quickly. "So listen, I have to run."
"Why, is Jamie there?"
"Yep. Right here. Text me when you land."
"Okay, but —"
"I'll email you directions to the cottage. This is so great," Sloane said, trying not to sound panicky. "Talk soon." She hung up before her friend could ask more questions, threw her phone into her messenger bag, and stared at the dusty picture of a bagpiper on the wall. She was so screwed.
What about her carefully constructed, bulletproof plan? She felt like a fool for having just told Dylan that extravagant story. If they found out what she'd done, they would redouble their efforts. They would read some psychological trauma into it — which, in all honesty, Sloane hadn't completely ruled out herself, hello — and believe the only cure for her was to find a real man.
Well then, she was just going to have to find a real Jamie Fraser and then stage a break-up just as they got here. She sat back up quickly. That was it. A whirlwind romance, a big let down, and then, of course, they'd need to get out of here and go nurse poor Sloane's wounds. Preferably at the spa resort she'd found and pointed out to them. Turned out, it was just over the hills.
Okay. Sloane took a breath. First things first: find the right guy.
She turned to review the bar patrons for potential Jamies. There was the really big guy, a daily regular, who sat like Jabba the Hut on the same barstool every day, his brogue so thick that Sloane never understood a word he was saying. That could come in handy. Then there was Mr. Andrews, who had stopped by her table the first day to say hello. He was old enough to be her grandfather so he was out. Ned, the lech-y one, leered at her breasts every chance he got and, if she hadn't imagined it, reached for her ass on one occasion. The thought of giving him any license to get grabby made her cringe.
No, no, and definitely not.
Excerpted from The Perfect Bargain by Jessa McAdams, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2015 Dinah Dinwiddie. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have a thing for Scotland and Scottish accents that started with Sean Connery and has continued with Ewan McGregor, Gerard Butler, and James McKidd, just to name a few. (Okay, yes the kilts play into it too!) Combined Scotland with a boyfriend for hire scheme, this looked like a fun read. Sloane Chatfield struck me as the overly responsible good girl, the one who always follows the rules and never does anything crazy that might end in embarrassment. After her fiance dumps her for being to rigid and controlled, her friends try to find her someone new. But Sloane's not really ready to move on. It's while watching Outlander, that she comes up with a plan to find herself a "Jamie". After several months of no luck finding him, not that she was looking, she tells her friends she is heading to Scotland to find one "at the source". She has everything all planned out. Stay a few weeks, "find" her Jamie, then after a brief but intense courtship, be "dumped" by him. Thus diverting her friends from setting her up again. When her friends show up way ahead of schedule, she has to find someone to play "Jamie" quickly or risk being found out. Of course the small town she means limited choices, but the owner of the pub she has been visiting daily for wifi access and cell reception fits the bill nicely. Galen Buchanan is struggling to keep the pub that was his late uncle's going. It's been one repair after another. When the prim and proper American propositions him about being her pretend boyfriend, he first thought is to say no. But with the refrigerator needing to be replaced and another dozen repair projects that needed doing and very little in the way of funds, Galen reluctantly accepts her offer. These two were striking sparks off each other from the beginning and it was fun to watch. From his goads about what a "real" girlfriend would do, to her constant suggestions on how to spruce things up - they kept each other riled up. Another thing that I liked was that they didn't have the "big misunderstanding" completely wreck them. There were some bumps, of course, but you could see the trust was there and they waited for explanations instead of jumping to conclusions... mostly. Overall I did enjoy the book, and gave it 4 sexy accented stars.
Let me help you, help me. Sounds confusing but that's the premise of Jessa McAdams romance. The extremes that Sloane went to kept me in stitches. The Perfect Bargain is a cute story that is funny, sexy and irreplacable. Loved it.
A really nice, sexy story. Will read it again. Hope to have more from this author.
It's such a feel good romance, it leaves a smile on your face as you reach the last page.
I loved the blurb of this story and I could definitely relate to Sloane and what she was going through with the breakup and her interactions with her well-meaning girlfriends. I think that Sloane's girlfriends characters were hysterical because they reminded me of some of my friends when we are together. Galen came across very rough and old school with a "she doesn't fit in" attitude much like how a true Scot would towards some Americans. I can say this since I lived there and experienced what they think about some of us. I would have liked to of seen Galen's character more developed. There are parts of the book that didn't work for me because I wanted more meat to the story. It was a fun fast read but for me I would have liked more depth. AN ARC COPY WAS GIFTED IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST OPINION VIA NETGALLEY.
A cute story with some very funny moments, the first book in the How to Marry a Highlander series is a quick-to-read novel with a real "rom-com" movie feel, perfect for a lazy summer day in the hammock. Though it isn't without its dubious moments (going all the way to Scotland to get away from her annoying but loving matchmaking friends? A tad bit excessive), overall I enjoyed this book. I liked Sloane and Galen together and love the fake relationship troupe--so, throw in a Scot in a kilt and a handful of humorous scenes and I'll be reasonably content. The Perfect Bargain took the better part of an afternoon to read, and it was an enjoyable way to pass the time. I'll definitely be looking for more from this series when I'm looking for a light and easy contemporary romance read. Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B+ I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Funny and sexy, a little predictable, but I loved it! Galen and Sloane get off on the wrong foot, but as they get to know each other and give into their mutual attraction, they get more than they originally bargained for. Galen is super yummy and I loved the gesture he makes towards the end for her. This is a light and fun read that has be wondering who the next one to find her highlander will be. 4.5 stars I received an ARC via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own.
If you've seen or read Outlander you know any woman would be on a mission to find her own Jamie Fraser. Well that's exactly what Sloane decides to do. Taking a vacation to Scotland to "find" a man to put her friends off their matchmaking. She thinks she has the brilliant plan all sorted out, but she doesn't count on Galen. These two are very opposite, but once they're together sparks fly. A bargain is made, but what happens when pretend starts to feel real? Loved this book. The humor elements just made this one just perfect. I really enjoyed the different characters. Being a fan of Outlander I could appreciate the references. I would definitely recommend reading this one you'll really enjoy it.
Going in, I expected this to be a light and fun story, and that is exactly what happened. Julia London has brought the ‘pretend boyfriend’ trope to this story of rebounding girl seeking a new connection based on her dream man. While the premise is a familiar one, the quality of the writing helped to keep me intrigued. Not that there weren’t some issues, but more on that later. Sloane has been dumped by her fiancé and decides that her friends’ sympathies are just too much. For a while she has dreamed of her very own Scotsman, so she hops a flight to Scotland from Chicago to do just that. I found Sloane a bit difficult to embrace: city girl, a bit dismissive of the differences between urban Chicago and rural Scotland, she just didn’t make me want to know her more. Yes, her friends (mostly all well-meaning but more than a touch annoying) do care for her and want to see her happy, so they follow close on her heels to make sure she is ‘making an effort. Galen owns a pub in the rural town: and he’s the closest version of her idea of the ‘perfect James Frasier” of her own. He’s a bit of a flirt, handsome and completely at home, even when he does stick his foot in it. Repeatedly. I’m not certain that I bought into their chemistry, although some of their interactions were cute and clever, and Sloane’s discomfiture at hiring Galen to pose as the boyfriend does lead them into some cleverly set situations. Now, it wasn’t a bad book at all, just not entirely hitting every box for me to love it. Dialectic writing is something I have difficulty with: I can imagine an accent, I don’t need it spelled out for me. Repeated references to Jamie Frasier just became annoying- even if that was the impetus for Sloane’s fantasy man. There was a bit too much cliché overall despite the moments that rose above, for me to love this unconditionally. But as a quick summer read with little angst or conflict, this is a good choice. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
As always her books are great!
Great romantic read. Must have!!
Julia London did it again… writing as Jessa McAdams she gave the readers a wonderful novel about every cliché a person could have come up with when thinking of Scotland. “The Perfect Bargain” is such a sweet love story hidden in between wonderful witty dialogues and the two main characters will capture your heart after only a few pages. At times I was laughing so hard that I actually cried. If the Blurb sounds like something you might like because of its setting – then believe me you will not only “Like” it – you will LOVE it
Sloane was dumped by her fiance and has been submersing herself in work to avoid dealing with her breakup. Her friends, however, have decided that the only way to get over her ex is by finding a new man. They have been setting her up on date after date in an effort to "help" her move on. In desperation, she takes a vacation to the Scottish Highlands to find her very own Jaime Fraser. When her friends decide to visit her in Scotland she offers to pay Galen to be her pretend boyfriend while they are there. Galen wants nothing to do with Sloane's proposal but he desperately needs money for his ailing pub. This was a quick, sweet and fun read. The chemistry between Galen and Sloane was intense and I loved their back and forth banter. I also seriously love the Scottish accent, which I think the author did a great job on! My only complaint is that I think the ending wrapped up too quickly, Galen's change of heart was a little abrupt for my tastes. But other than that I really enjoyed the story. *I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was just alright for me. I felt Sloane came forth as a little snobbish and she didn't seem convincing to be a director of Chatfield Foundation. Her friends seem shallow too although I must say I admire their friendship. Well Galen (I love the name) grew on me. He did started off kinda like a jerk although I don't blame him. It was all due to Sloane's actions. I only started liking Sloane better when she headed off with Galen to his brother's house. It was at that moment, I saw the real Sloane behind those facade. The plot was predictable although I did enjoy moments here and there. I definitely liked the setting and the description of the Highlands. This is my first book by Julia London and meanwhile, I'll hold my reservations on the rest of her books. One gripe though is this phrase which I can't get over "He smelled of freshly mown grass and horses and something that made her think of sex." This phrase certainly did not have me thinking about sex one bit! Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
The Perfect Bargain was a cute, fun and quick read. I mean when you have a somewhat uptight American girl and a rugged Scottish pub owner and a fake relationship all thrown together? It's just brimming with fun possibilities. I enjoyed both of the main characters quite a lot but I did have quite a few annoying moments with Sloane's best friends. They were high-handed and kind of condescending. But even with every time they drove me crazy I still ended up enjoying this book quite a lot. It was fun, it was sweet, it had me wanting to hop on the next plane to Scotland and find a Highlander of my own! I'm actually looking forward to reading the next book in this series when it comes out! Well, unless of course, it happens to be Paige's book (the friend of Sloane's I disliked the most). Though I guess I'd be slightly curious if my feelings toward her could be turned around. I guess I'll have to see what the future holds for this series!
This was a fun read that had bit of sass, a lot of soul-searching, and a smokin’ hot Scot with a kilt! Sloane is a bit…uptight. She’s nursing not only a wounded heart from her recent break-up, but the parting words her ex-fiancé left her with have shattered her confidence and have her feeling a bit, well, let’s say inadequate when it comes to the physical side of a relationship. I found it hard to like Sloane at first, but she certainly grew on me as the story progressed. I did enjoy watching her character grow and rediscover who she really was – and I loved that she wasn’t afraid to confront her emotions once she realized what her true feelings were. Galen was a sexy Scot, but he could be so infuriating at times watching him push Sloane away, only to then not be able to resist her. He was very up front with Sloane about what a bad idea the whole fake boyfriend thing was, but he was a bit harsh with her. I did love how he played his part with Sloane’s friends, and he more than lived up to his part of the bargain in front of everyone, but again, he was a bit harsh when it came to Sloane. The supporting cast of characters was great – what a crazy, diverse group of friends that Sloane has! They made me laugh and it was easy to forgive them for being so overbearing with Sloane because you could truly see how tight this group was. And Galen’s family and the townspeople who made his pub their second home were all very colorful. The story itself was pretty much what you would expect from a fake boyfriend scenario. Things moved fairly quickly between the two, but it was more of a slow burn to a quick combustion scenario as far as these two were concerned. I wasn’t blown away by this one, but it was still entertaining and would be a great read for anyone who likes the fake boyfriend tropes or just can’t get enough of a man in a kilt! I received a copy of this book from the Publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sloane Chatfield arrives in Gairloch, Scotland looking for her own Jamie Fraser, since her ex-fiancé dumped her and she’s tired of her friends trying to set her up. She needs a fake boyfriend and convinces Galen Buchanan he’s the man for the job, in exchange for money. With Galen’s pub bleeding him dry and not making any money, he takes Sloane up on her offer. First of all, let me just put it out here..... I have no idea what Outlander is or who Jamie Fraser is. If those are things you know about and like, this could be the perfect book for you. The Perfect Bargain is only the second book I’ve read that is set in Scotland. If I’m being honest, which I have to be, I struggled with the book early on. I HATED the way the Scottish language was portrayed. Every time I read the word “donna”, I heard Mario or Luigi from Super Mario. It took me a minute to realize the characters were saying “don’t or don’t you”, or something along those lines. I also struggled with the heroine a little. Sloane seemed to be completely out of her element and not how I initially envisioned her. Outwardly, she has the ultra prim and proper vibe, wearing only slacks, cardigans, and pearls. She’s stuffy, definitely someone who seems older than her twenty-six years. But she swears (there’s nothing proper about that) and she’s consistently challenging and insulting Galen. I actually found Galen to be likeable but I wasn’t in love with him. I wanted to like The Perfect Bargain so I pushed myself to read it. I finally got a funny scene about 37% into the book and was happy, only to be let down a little bit. Around 50% I was able to say I started to really enjoy the book and wanted to see how this couple made it. **Received a copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
A romantic comedy set in Scotland. This story will have you laughing out loud. Sloane, type A personality, travels to Scotland to find herself a Highlander so her friends will stop trying to find a guy for her. She meets local struggling pub owner, Galen. She convinces him to play a trick on her friends, and be her pretend boyfriend. The banter between these two is hilarious. I am in love with Galen's Scottish brogue, will make you think you are in Scotland. The sexual chemistry between these two are sizzling off the pages. As Galen says, Aye lass, you started a fire and now it's raging out of control. Yes, Highlanders really wear kilts, oh so sexy! I highly recommend this for a fun summer read, that will leave you smiling when done. I received this book through Netgalley for an honest review.
It's amazing how a harmless little lie can spiral out of control and equally amazing how money can get in the way of a good relationship yet without these two factors it's doubtful that Sloane and Galen would have discovered just how perfect they were for each other. I just loved The Perfect Bargain! This book is written with tongue firmly in cheek. The witty banter between Sloane and Galen is guaranteed to make you at least smile, if not laugh out loud. Then there is drop dead gorgeous Galen, who would apparently give Outlander's Jamie Fraser a run for his money, particularly in a kilt. Sloane is also no slouch in the sex appeal department. Clothes play a big part in this book. There's Sloane in her prim and proper buttoned up to the neck blouses and cardigans at the beginning of the book, her hair neatly secured in a bun. She's built a neat, reliable, hardworking shell around herself that Galen just itches to break through. As she falls in love not just with Galen but also the simple village lifestyle she begins to dress differently, with jeans, runners, open necked shirts and flirty sundresses all making an appearance. Then there is the contrast between Adan in his Ralph Lauren polo shirts and designer jeans sharply contrasting with Galen in his more practical clothing. This story is written with the young adult audience in mind and this is reflected in the dialogue as well as the plot but honestly as a very mature old bird I found plenty to like and I am now eagerly anticipating the next book from Julia London or her alter ego Jessa McAdams.
The Perfect Bargain by Julia London is a fun and entertaining read. Ms. London's way with words is delightful, with her graceful descriptions of Scotland's landscape, comical timing and use of the Scottish brogue and jargon. This is the story of Sloane Chatfield, an American looking for a little peace and quiet while getting over her ex-fiance. Her friends keep setting her up with the wrong men, and she needs some time away from them as well. Sloane comes from wealth and her job as a fundraiser can be done from anywhere, so spending a month in Scotland is easily done. When her friends decide to meet up with her, a little earlier than they originally planned, she must quickly find a fake boyfriend in order to prove to them that she has successfully moved on. Galen Buchanan owns a slightly worn down pub in a small town in the Scottish Highlands. The pub once belonged to his grandfather, and he could not imagine anyone else owning it after his passing. Galen barely makes ends meet and he desperately needs an infusion of cash or an investor in order to keep the pub from going under. So when Sloane offers him a chance to make some quick cash as her fake boyfriend, he very reluctantly accepts her offer. Galen and Sloane are attracted to each other and in a very short time are deeply in love. I enjoyed this book, however I found the pace of the first half to be on the slow-side. Sloane and Galen are likeable and charming characters that kept me engaged throughout the story. Their banter is lively, in addition to being clever and flirty. If you are looking for an amusing romance with a little bit of steam, then spend a little time in the Scottish Highlands. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.