“How good are you at hiking?”
Erin looked down at her shoes, which were comfortable lace ups, but far from hiking boots. “Not much on traction,” she said, “and I’m kind of fond of these.” She glanced at him and smiled in the face of his obvious anticipation. If she didn’t know better, she’d swear he was maybe a little excited. Or nervous. Or something. It was that something that made her smile broaden. Whatever on earth could make the Great Scot nervous was something she had to see. “What the hell. I can always buy another pair if I trash these, right?”
He nodded in approval, then gestured for her to go in front of him.
“I don’t know where I’m going. Why don’t you lead?”
He pointed. “See that trail there, angling off by that split tree trunk? We’re headed that way.” He stepped up behind her, making her quite aware he was in her personal space again.
Just as she was quite aware she did nothing to move herself out of it, either.
“I’d go first,” he added, a teasing note clear in his tone this time, “but you have this alarming habit of stumbling about. Best I stay behind ye, in case you need catching.”
She shifted just enough to look up at him over her shoulder. His eyes were crinkling at the corners. Probably the sun. But maybe not.
“What?” he asked, making her realize she was staring.
“When was the last time you laughed? Really laughed?” The words were out of her mouth before the thought had even completed itself.
“Far too long ago, I’m certain. I’ve been busy.”
She turned to face him. “Since when did busy and laughter become mutually exclusive?”
“Good point. I have no idea.”
“Before, when you lived in the city, were you happier?”
The question seemed to surprise him. “Since when was happiness measured by laughter?”
“How would you measure it?”
She nodded. “Valid. So, were you? Fulfilled and content?”
“At times. Never completely, but then that’s what provides the drive necessary to fight on, does it not? Are you?”
That gave her pause. She’d poked and prodded him almost since the moment they met. This was the first time she could recall him asking something about her. “No, not completely. But I am happy. Maybe I should have used the word joyful. Are you a such a serious man as all that? Or is it life circumstance that has made you so dour.”
“Dour? Dour am I now?”
She merely arched an eyebrow.
He shook his head. “Och, if true, that’s a sad state of affairs then. I’m no’ a dour man, Erin. But perhaps you have a point about me no’ finding much to be joyful about, not in the sense you mean. But my business has been serious of late. My new life is fulfilling in ways my old life never was. And there is peace in that, which is a good start. The rest will come in time.”
“So you’re saying you’re an optimist.”
“You think me the opposite?”
Now she smiled. “Honestly, I don’t know what to think of you. I guess that’s why I keep badgering you with questions. You aren’t easy to figure out, Dylan Chisholm.”
Amusement did shift into his eyes then, and the resulting gleam was no trick of the sun. She swallowed hard. Perhaps it would be wiser not to provoke the playful side of him after all.
And then he was lifting his hands, pushing back the errant strands of hair the car ride had likely blown into a complete rats nest around her face. Suddenly painfully aware of her looks, or lack thereof, and at the same time exquisitely aware of his touch, almost to the point of pain, she wanted to shrink away, pretend this moment wasn’t happening. Because whatever he was thinking behind those dancing gray eyes of his, no way could it be anything she found herself suddenly hoping, praying, it would be. She didn’t attract men like Dylan Chisholm.
Gorgeous, confident, successful men were typically attracted to beauty first, and brains a distant second. Erin was used to falling in the distant second category, okay with it even. When it came to men like the one touching her now, looking at her so intently, well…it simply didn’t happen. So it had hardly been a problem for her. It would be the epitome of foolishness to allow herself, even for a second, to think this was somehow different.
“I canno’ figure you out either, Erin MacGregor,” he said, his voice deeper, somewhat rougher, as if…as if he were perhaps at least a tiny bit affected by her. Then all rational thought fled, because he was lowering his head towards hers, pressing his fingers into the back of her neck, to tip her face upward to his.
“You badger me with yer questions, talk me into abandoning my own home…” He lowered his head further until his mouth was hovering just above her own.
He couldn’t be, wasn’t going to—
“You sneak into my dreams, haunt my waking hours. What’ve ye done to me, lass?”
She haunted his dreams? In a good way? “Dylan—”
He made a guttural noise at the sound of his name that had a little instinctive moan of her own escaping her lips.
“I havena felt a hunger such as this in a very long time. Will ye allow me the pleasure?”
He was asking permission? Did he not realize that a second or two more of his heated whisperings and he could have her naked on the hood of his Jag?
He brushed her lips with his. “Perhaps I havena been the most merry of fellows, but if there has been anything to cause me to want a bit of respite from the endless hours of work, it has been you.”
“I thought I made you crazy.”
And there it was. The smile she’d been waiting for. It was slow to happen, but as it stole across his face, his entire countenance changed, as if he was lit from within. There was fire there, passion. “Aye, that you do. You’re trouble, Erin, with a capital T. Ye plague me.”
“A plague am I,” she said, but the intended dry sarcasm was somewhat offset by the breathy quality of her voice.
Which served to widen his smile further. “You have refreshing candor, and a smart mouth. You don’t seem to care overly much what I think.”
She tipped her head back slightly, to look fully into his eyes. “And that’s attractive to you? Hard to believe I’m still single with those lovely attributes.”
He rubbed his thumbs along the corners of her mouth, making her shiver at the feel of his work-roughened fingers on her skin. “Hard.” Then he slipped his arms around her waist and brought her fully up against him. “Aye, ‘tis that.”
She barely had time to register the stunning truth of it, then he claimed her mouth with his own and any hope of rational thought fled completely.
From: Fallen Angel Reviews
Erin McGregor has it all – a great job that includes travel to exotic and exciting locales and a gift for talking people into doing her bidding. But when she comes to the Scottish Highlands to scout a location for the next season of Your Prince Charming, she comes up against an immoveable object named Dylan Chisholm. Dylan is a delicious example of everything that’s right with Highland heritage all wrapped up in a tempting package, and he’s oddly fascinated with Erin, in spite of their differences. When his villagers get involved, readers will find themselves on a wild ride rife with passion, hilarity and more fun than you can shake a stick at.
The Great Scot is a barrel of laughs! I read the book as I was recovering from surgery and needed to stop several times to regroup as I was laughing so hard it hurt. Dylan’s plight is evident – being a somewhat impoverished Scottish chieftain is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be, but he carries off his role with verve and panache. Then there’s the fact that he’s utterly scrumptious – that doesn’t hurt a bit. Erin is spunky, a bit fiery and completely captivated by Dylan from the first moment she sees him. The interaction between these two was some of the best I’ve ever read and they had chemistry galore. Ms. Kaufmann delivers her signature brand of funny, sexy, and slightly quirky romance and serves it all up piping hot and ready to devour. Five Angels!
Reviewed by: Michelle
Kauffman, Donna. The Great Scot. Mar. 2007. 336p. Kensington/Brava, paper, $14 (0-7582-1201-1).
Erin MacGregor’s latest location-scouting trip for the reality dating show Your Prince Charming leads her to misty Glenshire, Scotland, and its resident laird, Dylan Chisholm. Erin has heard that Dylan is turning the family’s castle into a bed-and-breakfast. Surely he can’t resist her offer to rent out the estate for filming this season’s show. Think of the publicity. Not to mention the big check. But he has other ideas, none of them compatible with turning his castle into a production-crew madhouse. Erin is sure that her salesmanship can overcome Dylan’s objections, but she is a little leery about her growing attraction to the stubborn Scot. Erin is a quirky, fun heroine—thankfully not at all the model-perfect type. Dylan is wonderfully sexy and a modern variation on the Beast: less brooding but still reclusive and burdened. Kauffman’s lively wrap-up to the Chisholm Brothers series (including Bad Boys in Kilts, 2006) is heartwarming.
—Nina C. Davis
THE GREAT SCOT
Erin MacGregor has a fascinating job. She travels the world scouting locations for the American reality TV show, Your Prince Charming; a show that brings twelve gorgeous women and one handsome bachelor together to find romance. She finds the dream date locations necessary to insight romantic notions for the contestants and the viewers. And no other dream location quite compares to the ancient glory of Glenmuir; a clan stronghold nestled in the loving arms of the Scottish Highlands. The atmosphere is undeniable and compelling, almost as compelling as the owner, Dylan Chisholm.
Fighting her attraction to Dylan, and fighting Dylan for the use of his castle, Erin struggles to reconcile her career with the desires of her heart. But can Erin actually hope to live the romance that she normally finds for others?
A fabulous novel, this story has great character depth. The arrogance of Dylan and the quick-wittedness of Erin are wonderfully portrayed. I loved the conflicting choices between career, love and duty to one’s family. A terrific read, I could scarcely put it down!
Reviewed By: Rista Tompkins
THE GREAT SCOT - Donna Kauffman
Present Day Glenbuie, Scotland and Glenshire Manor
Erin MacGregor travels the world scouting locations for Your Prince Charming, a reality TV show in which a bachelor is presented with a dozen beautiful bachelorettes as bride candidates. Following up on a lead, Erin finds the ideal location for the next show in a 400-year-old manor set in a remote, scenic area of Scotland. The local people are all for having the show filmed here; the village could use the boost in their economy that the publicity would bring. The only problem is the clan chief, Dylan Chisholm, who owns the manor...and who also happens to be a gorgeous hunk who turns the usually highly efficient Erin to mush.
As a young man, Dylan left home for university, married a beautiful, glamorous society wife and had a successful career in Edinburgh as a stock trader. Now he's come home a widower ready to take up his duties as head of the Chisholm clan. His first task is to repair the old house enough to open a bed and breakfast; his second task is to discourage the locals from their infernal matchmaking. The last thing he needs is to be pestered by a plain-looking Yank with some daft idea of using his home for a romance show.
THE GREAT SCOT is lots of fun! But if you are already a Donna Kauffman fan you would expect no less. Great dialogue, amusing situations, and strong characterizations are hallmarks of her style. Dylan isn't called "The Great Scot" by his people for nothing; he's a broody alpha who has always known what he wanted out of life and in a woman. Ha! He's not the first man to make that last mistake or to be slow to realize how wrong he could be!
The major conflict in THE GREAT SCOT lies within Erin herself. She was an abandoned baby who grew up in a state home. Everything she has made of herself was made alone. She's learned the hard way not to let herself believe in or to want anyone else for fear of being let down once again.
The interaction between Erin and Dylan carries the main plotline, but the preparations for the show go on all around them, and minor characters act out their parts. These are made up of the townsfolk -- a likable bunch -- and the show's production staff. The premature arrival of a dozen man-hungry "Barbies" gives Erin's boss an idea.
Ms. Kauffman has had novellas in a series of anthologies featuring Bad Boys. The stories in last March's BAD BOYS IN KILTS are all hers and tell the tales of Dylan's three younger brothers, Brodie, Reese, and Tristan. If you missed it, add it to your to-buy list along with THE GREAT SCOT. They can be read in any order, but you'll want to read them soon.
THE GREAT SCOT
Erin MacGregor is location coordinator for reality show, Your Prince Charming, and her life is just exactly the way she wanted it. An orphan, all Erin knows about her past is she was found in a cardboard box with the name Erin marked on it. Erin does not believe in happily ever after, but she does believe in herself. She was told the owner of Glenshire Castle might be interested in letting her shoot the show there.
Dylan MacGregor is clan elder and owner of Glenshire Castle. Dylan is a widower and in the small town below everyone is always trying to fix him up. But Dylan had his marriage and his big time career in the city, and he is here now to turn part of the Glenshire home into a bed and breakfast. He knows it is a lot of responsibility and work but it is exactly what he wants, or so he thinks until Erin MacGregor comes into his life.
When Dylan heard what Erin wanted to do at his castle he firmly refused, knowing it was his brother’s way of also matchmaking. But when the whole town became involved he decided as long as Erin stayed. Sexual tension was so thick between these two they could barely stand it, and it seem everyone wanted this match. But when push came to shove and Erin had a choice to make, Erin went by the rules she has always known, there is no happily ever after.
Stupendous. No one does a Scot quite like Ms. Kauffman. Big tall handsome men with the Scottish burr and a way with the ladies, what is not to like? Exceptionally described, you can almost picture what Glenshire looks like, and hear the Scottish brogue in the dialog. But it is the chemistry between the hero and heroine that will keep you ensnared with the heavy sexual tension and emotion that lies beneath each of them. The last of the four Chishom brothers, and a definite keeper.