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Authors: Patience Griffin

Meet Me in Scotland

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PRAISE FOR THE KILTS AND QUILTS NOVEL

Meet Me in Scotland

“A captivating story of four friends, two madcap romances, an idyllic Scottish town, and its endearingly stubborn but loyal inhabitants. Add scones, quilts, and kilts? Griffin sews this one up. Witty, warmhearted, and totally charming!”

—Shelley Noble,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Breakwater Bay

To Scotland with Love

“A magnificent triple-hankie debut written straight from the heart, by turns tender, funny, heart-wrenching, and wise. Prepare to smile through your tears at this deft, brave, and deeply gratifying love story.”

—Grace Burrowes,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Lonely Lords and the Windham series

“Griffin has quilted together a wonderful, heartwarming story that will convince you of the power of love.”

—Janet Chapman,
New York Times
bestselling author of
The Highlander Next Door

“Griffin's style is as warm and comfortable as a cherished heirloom quilt.”

—Lori Wilde,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Cupid, Texas, Novels

“A life-affirming story of love, loss, and redemption. Patience Griffin seamlessly pieces compelling characters, a spectacular setting, and a poignant romance into a story as warm and beautiful as an heirloom quilt. Both heartrending and heartwarming,
To Scotland with Love
is a must-read romance and so much more. The story will touch your soul with its depth, engage you with its cast of endearing characters, and delight
you with touches of humor.”

—Diane Kelly, author of the Tara Holloway series

Also by Patience Griffin

To Scotland with Love

SIGNET ECLIPSE

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

penguin.com

A Penguin Random House Company

First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Copyright © Patience Jackson, 2015

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

ISBN 978-0-698-14523-8

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Version_1

Contents

Praise

Also by Patience Griffin

Title page

Copyright page

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Pronunciation Guide

Epigraph

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Epilogue

 

Excerpt from
Some Like It Scottish

To the sisters of my heart . . .
you know who you are.

Acknowledgments

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a manuscript is in want of a great editor. How lucky am I to have Tracy Bernstein on my side! Thank you, Tracy, for asking my stories all the right questions.

I'm grateful to Cynthia Stary Drajna of Iowa Star Quilts for designing the quilts for the Kilts and Quilts series, and to Marilyn Kidd of BeyondQuilting.com for quilting the quilts for the books. You, ladies, are incredible artists!

I wish to thank the indispensable Jacksons for standing by me—especially Elton, Kate, Matt, and Lori for their kind words when they were needed most. Also, a big thank-you goes to my brother, Phillip F. Jackson, MD, for being on call for writing help when it comes to all things medical.

Finally, there are those whom I can't do without on a day-to-day basis:

James, for being the Patron of the Arts.

Jamie, for talking writing twenty-four/seven.

And Kathleen Baldwin, for her friendship, phone calls, and plotting over pasta and salad.

PRONUNCIA
TION
GUIDE

Aileen
(AY-leen)

Ailsa
(AIL-sa)

Bethia
(BEA-thee-a)

Buchanan
(byoo-KAN-uhn)

Cait
(KATE)

Caitriona
(kah-TREE-na)

Deydie
(DI-dee)

Lochie
(LAW-kee)

Macleod
(muh-KLOUD)

Moira
(MOY-ra)

DEFINITIONS

céilidh
(KAY-lee)—a party/dance

fash
—trouble

Gandiegow
—squall

Hogmanay
—the Scottish celebration of the New Year

ken
—understanding

kirk
—church

lorry
—truck

postie
—postman

Sassenach
(Sass-un-nak)—an English person

 

 

 

The Quilters of Gandiegow

Lesson #1

Quilting is the best kind of therapy.

Chapter One

J
ust 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 laid 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. At the same time, her mother's voice rang in her ear:
Losing one's temper is not in a proper Englishwoman's repertoire.

Hissing wasn't, either, but Emma did it anyway into the phone. “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. Ten minutes later, decked out in a tux, he'd smiled at her, tucked her arm into his, and walked her down the aisle, best man to her maid of honor. He'd behaved appropriately during the ceremony, but then at the reception he'd flirted with all the bridesmaids and had taken most of them back to his room for a pajama party. Emma sniffed.
Certainly no pajamas had been involved.
And Egghead Emma hadn't been invited, either. 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 shoulders.

Then recognition hit.
Dr. Gabriel MacGregor.

Bugger me.

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.

He made his way through the crowd to her, not smiling, not happy to see her, either. In truth, she couldn't blame him. She had been a pill at Claire's wedding, but she had wanted everything to run smoothly for her friend's big day. Emma might've crossed the line by scolding Gabriel at his tardiness. And she'd definitely given him plenty of attitude during the reception about his
tart-iness.
All those women, indeed. What could one man do with so many at once? From the novels she'd read—for pure research, mind you—she knew. Sex and lots of it.

“Do you have more luggage?” he said in his firm baritone burr.

It ran over her like warm syrup.
No, butter. No . . .
She fanned herself. She was incensed at her own visceral reaction.
And he hasn't given me a proper greeting
. At least she could be civilized.

“Hello, Gabriel.” She felt her nose lift higher in the air. It might be misconstrued as snooty, but seriously, the
man was six-three if he was an inch. She cranked her head back to inspect his face.

He gave her a one-sided frown and seemed to be inspecting her, too. But not her face.

“You filled out,” he said.

Instinctively, she put an arm over her breasts. Her cheeks burned. She started to give him a piece of her mind, but then she got angry with herself for letting him provoke her.

Defiantly, she put her arm down and stuck out her chest. “Look all you want. They expanded all on their own. Without surgical intervention.” Although her mother at one time had offered to pay for C cups if her nearly flat chest remained . . .
flat
.

Emma definitely wouldn't lower herself and explain to Gabriel—a doctor who should know these things—that Egghead Emma had been a late bloomer. In almost every area, except intelligence.

“No reason to get your panties in a twist. I only meant it as a compliment.” He continued to feast his eyes on her.

She put her hands on her hips and glared back. “Are you done yet?”

“For now.” He gave her an unrepentant grin.
Still the rogue.

“Yes, I have more luggage,” she said, answering his earlier question.

“Fine.” Without permission, he reached for her carry-on.

She grabbed his arm, stopping him. In the process, her fingers landed on an anvil-hard biceps. She yanked her hand away and snipped at him, “I have it. Thank you.” She tugged back her bag. “Your hands are filthy.”

As he glanced down at the grease under his fingernails, she took the opportunity to head off to the baggage reclaim, all the while giving herself a stern lecture. Getting
grease off her Louis Vuitton luggage wasn't the issue. He was a dog, and not the harmless type, either.

I can't be attracted to Gabriel MacGregor. Not again. I just can't.
He was way out of her league. Besides, what self-respecting woman would want to get involved with a cad like him?

And those hands.
His hands didn't look like doctors' hands—soft and delicate. He had the hands of an oil-rig mechanic.

She also noticed he didn't wear a wedding band.

Of course, Claire would've told her if Gabriel had married, wouldn't she? She'd told Emma when he'd suddenly gone off to medical school. Emma hadn't believed it at the time, assuring herself that a do-nothing like him would certainly work in a grimy garage for the rest of his life.

Oh, dear.
Her thoughts did sound priggish, didn't they? But Gabriel seemed to bring out the worst in her. She'd treated him abominably back then, and she felt herself heading down the same path now. She would never be as serene and proper as her mother would like—all that etiquette training down the drain. Over the years, Emma had tried to be the person her mother wanted her to be, but she'd fallen short. She'd also fallen short of the person she wanted to be. But blast it, she was still trying to figure out who that person was.

With his long legs, Gabriel caught up to her. She automatically glanced over. He was all hard lines and pheromones.

“Why are you frowning?” he asked.

“I'm having a difficult time seeing you as a physician.” She probably should keep her sentiments to herself, but they'd always spoken their minds to each other, the truth flowing easily between them.
Each of them giving the other more candor than Mum's society friends would
approve of.
“Unless, of course, you use your title primarily as a way to pick up women.”

He frowned at her. “Princess, are we going to get off on the wrong foot again?”

“That depends on you,” she spouted. She did her best to sound assertive and unruffled, even though she felt unraveled and unsure. Seeing him didn't help. And the past thirty-six hours had her more than a little battered and bruised. She'd been fired and displaced. If he could see inside her—see the real Emma Castle—he'd know she wasn't such a snob. She didn't have all the answers. In fact, he'd see how she was questioning every aspect of her life and every choice she'd ever made.

She put the focus back on him to take the focus off herself. It helped her feel less uncomfortable. She raked her eyes over him unabashedly. Doctors were supposed to be old and nerdy. Doctors were supposed to instill a sense of calm and trust. Doctors were not supposed to conjure up all sorts of vivid images of a steamy nature. Yes, she could definitely imagine Dr. Gabriel MacGregor in his lab coat,
playing doctor
. Just the thought sent a warm nervous tingle zipping through her veins, throwing her limbic system into a tizzy.
Gads.

It rankled that he, a former grease monkey, had made something of himself. Her only claim to fame was that she'd succeeded in becoming a huge failure. But she couldn't let him see how vulnerable she felt. No doubt he'd take advantage of it. She had to admit that he had every right to fling back one of her past sermons into her face.
It's time to become an actual adult and contribute something to society.
The amount of bull she'd dished out regularly to him in their younger days was embarrassing. Especially since, by anyone's standards, she was the screwup now. What had she ever done for society? Help people end their relationships?

At the baggage carousel, she intended to corral her own luggage, but she'd packed too heavily. In the end, Gabriel stepped in and hoisted her bag off, acting as if it was nothing more than cotton balls in his surgery. “Saint Gabriel,” she muttered under her breath.

He raised a superior eyebrow at her. “
Thank you
is the
proper
response. Has Ms. Manners forgotten how to comport herself?”

BOOK: Meet Me in Scotland
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