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July 28, 2019

A Highlander Walks Into A Bar by Laura Trentham ~ a Review

by MK French


Isabel Buchanan was at a loss for words when her mother returned from her trip to Scotland with a new boyfriend, Gareth. It gets even worse when Gareth's friend Alasdair Blackmoor arrives to see how he's faring. While the two couples clearly have feelings for each other, the Scotsmen have a few secrets that need revealing.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

July 2019; St. Martin's; 978-1250315014
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); romance
With a title like this, how could I resist? This is part of the Highland, Georgia series, where they hold a yearly festival partaking in all things Scottish. Alasdair thinks that the Buchanan family is after the money and lands that belong to the Blackmoor family, and is willing to use his investment banking job to look into them. At the same time, Isabel is sure that Gareth is after their family land. This, of course, sets up quite a few obstacles and misunderstandings that the men perpetuate over the course of the story. They do intend to reveal the truth after the festival, which Isabel is left planning essentially on her own when her mother is busy with Gareth. Alasdair steps in to help, which gives them even more opportunity to spend time together.

The book was adorable, even with the deliberate misunderstandings and secret-keeping that I normally don't like to read about. Maybe because some of it was simply skirting the truth instead of an outright lie, as well as the fact that they didn't intend to harm anyone. That does make a huge difference for me, and Alasdair does have the best of intentions to help his uncle, who wanted to be loved for himself, as well as Isabel as he got to know her as a friend and romantic interest. The people in Highland add to the backdrop of a small Southern town, and really round out the fun of small-town life.

The epilogue makes it pretty clear who the next book in the Highland, Georgia series is all about, and that should be just as much fun to read about.


Excerpt

From A Highlander Walks into a Bar. Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.


Chapter One

“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the stories she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center of attention.
Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through Atlanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and already dreading their exit from the airport.
Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy. Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those ear-
rings your surprise?”
Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared to heave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta, the sooner she could get back to work planning the High- land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, consider- ing how much she still had to get in order in three scant weeks.
“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been rolling cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an accent Izzy couldn’t place.
She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so inconsequential.
“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edin- burgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something more exciting.”
“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited attention while she watched the man load suitcase after suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle. More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my mom’s stuff.”
For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear-like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expression on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared the fog of confusion.
Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six-foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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