Thursday, October 24, 2013


"Sealed With a Kiss" Meets"In Need of Therapy" in Auchenmor, Scotland
by Rachael Lucas 

Hi Em,

Remember Mel, my incredibly brainy psychologist friend? Her (presumably also super brainy) American friend Pilar is looking for a bed for the night whilst she's visiting Scotland for a lecture tour. She's keen to visit a genuine Scottish island - I can offer her that, and a genuine Scottish castle, complete with grumpy Laird of the Island, into the bargain. Lucky girl (ha ha). Lovely to have a visitor, except the cottage looks like a bomb site and Willow - the bad puppy - ate most of the spare mattress the other day. Reckon I can probably patch it up a bit. Anyway, just wanted to ask if you could send me that recipe for Jambalaya? I need to feed her something other than cheese sandwiches and soup. xxx

PS: look at this! Took it the other day as I walked down to Scalpsie Bay. Gorgeous, isn't it?


Will mail it to you later. You get to host posh American visitors, I get Pampered Chef parties. NO idea how I got talked into this one. Apparently I get a free wooden spoon out of it. There's a joke in there somewhere but I don't have time to find it...children just landed on me - literally - ARGH x


Thanks for recipe! Have got everything ready, and she's coming off the boat at lunchtime. Will take her for a trip round the island, then back for something to eat. She seems really nice...bit terrifying from her photo, she's immaculately dressed and looks VERY glam compared to my scruffy island self. I must brush my hair, and make an effort to wear something respectable. 


Oh, wow. Talk about appearances being deceptive. Y'know I said she looked really glam? Totally not what I expected. She was actually just like us. Only slight problem was she wasn't prepared for the way the weather changes on a Scottish little coat and a pair of pretty little heeled boots! I gave her a spare pair of welly boots and a waterproof coat and she was still freezing cold. I took her straight off the ferry boat from the mainland, and on the same trip Jean took me when I arrived. You should have seen her face when we crested the hill and you could see across the loch towards the sea, and she fell in love with the Highland cows! I took some pics, look:

Then we went into town and had a coffee at Bruno's cafe. You can imagine how that went... a gorgeous American turns up and orders a double espresso and then croons over his mastery at making the perfect coffee? I thought I was going to have to leave her there. He's made her promise to come back for longer next time - and I reckon she would have, too, especially after Finn arrived in the cafe. He was in his KILT for goodness' sake, and his big Aran sweater, and big boots, doing the whole "oh HI, lovely to meet you, I'm so charming and just like a young Ewan McGregor" bit. I have no idea why he was all dressed up like that, mind you, but he certainly made an impression. And you'll never guess who we bumped into when we took a trip over to Scalpsie Bay? Yep, Fiona. She couldn't work out what to do with herself - she was trying to be a bitch to me and be utterly saccharine sweet charming to Pilar at the same time. It was hysterical. It's the only time I've ever been in her company and wanted to stay longer, just because watching her tie herself in knots was SO funny.

And then I parked the car and took her on foot back to the cottage - I wanted to see her face when she saw Duntarvie House (you know how impressive it is when you see it for the first time...funny how I live with a castle on my doorstep now and don't even think about it).

Loved her face when she walked down the lane and saw this:

And then Roderick pulled up in the Land Rover, dogs hanging out the window, sweater on, doing the whole 'Oh hi, lovely to meet you, you're welcome to come up for dinner tonight' thing. Pilar told me afterwards she was trying to work out whether she was supposed to be polite and say no, Kate's making us dinner back at the cottage, or whether it was a bit like being invited to tea with the Queen and you're not supposed to say no. Ha ha. Anyway, it was a bit awkward as you can imagine under the circumstances (more about that later . . . I'll call you) but I gritted my teeth and said oh yes, that would be LOVELY. Just as well we did, because when we got back to the cottage Willow, the fiend dog, had managed to get the fridge door open (no idea how...I swear she's got canine superpowers when it comes to food) and the bloody jambalaya was no more.

Anyway, the evening went really well. Tom and Susan came down, and Finn, and a couple of guests that are thinking of investing money into the island, and - best result ever - no Fiona. Thank god. And Pilar's invited me to South Beach! Eeeek. Anyway, better go, I've got to get some work done. Big kiss, K x


Hi Pilar!

SO glad you came. Hope your flight back went okay, and I can't WAIT to come and visit. Will write more later - got to get this work done -  but just wanted to let you know I spoke to Finn and he wants your email address...! Shall I give it to him? Kate xx

PS: have sent you this pic as a reminder of your trip to the island...come back soon!

Book Blurb:  Kate’s dumped on her best friend’s wedding day by boring boyfriend Ian. She's mostly cross because he got in first - until she remembers she's now homeless as well as jobless. Faced with moving back home to her ultra-bossy mother, she takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor. Her first day starts badly when she falls at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roderick, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she's got something to prove.

Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy's keeping something to himself. When his bitchy ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate's budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning - and can she be stopped before it's too late?

Book Excerpt:

Out of the shadows came the sound of bagpipes. The piper strolled forward, clad in a kilt and a thick, woollen sweater. The low bass drone filled the night air. Kate turned to a delighted Jean, who was flapping her hands in front of her eyes, trying in vain to stem tears.

'Go on then,' said Kate, pushing Jean gently forward. 'Enjoy your moment.'

The piper's tune changed; Kate realised with delight that the Highland melody had been replaced with Happy Birthday. Roderick turned to Murdo, who had reappeared, bearing a birthday cake. The night was clear and still. The flames flickered, lighting up Roderick's face. He looked across at Kate, caught her eye and smiled. He put the loudhailer to his mouth.

'Three cheers,' Roderick roused the crowd, who yelled in response. 'And now, Jean, if you'll do the honours?'

He passed her a wooden stake, topped with a petrol-soaked rag. Murdo struck a match. The crowd roared again as he leapt back, swearing, at the sudden whoosh.

Jean circled the bonfire, methodically lighting her way round, before throwing the lit torch onto the effigy of Guy Fawkes. She beamed at Roderick, who gave her a wink and smiled.

'Get yourself inside and I'll buy you and Hector a drink,' Roderick instructed her.

Kate turned, looking around for Susan now the crowd had thinned. Parents were carrying tired, protesting children away from the field, looking forward to sitting down and going off duty.

'I can't see Susan,' Kate stood on tiptoe, peering through the darkness. 'She said to wait for her outside.'

'Ah,' said Roderick, pointing into the darkness. 'I've seen her already – she's away with the fairies. You'll not get much sense out of her tonight.'

Kate looked at him, puzzled.

'Come a bit closer and I'll show you,' he explained. Torch in hand, he led her away from the bonfire and into the darkness.

As Kate drew closer to the edge of the field, she could see the outline of a twisted hawthorn tree, festooned with torn pieces of rag. She turned to Roderick.

'What on earth is that?'

'It's the clootie well. I won't take you any closer at the moment, in case we disturb the young lovers.'

'So why is the tree covered in bits of cloth?'

'Well, tradition says that if you tie a piece of the cloth to the tree and make a wish, it will be granted before the cloth wears out.' Roderick said. 'People used to do it when their family members were ill, but nowadays it's more likely to be teenagers making wishes about the person they fancy. And of course it's also a place where they can hide and nobody knows what they're up to.'

'Hmm,' said Kate, teasing. 'That's interesting. Maybe I'll be coming back here to make a wish myself one day.'

'Oh yes?' Roderick laughed at her.

'Morag says this island is magical.' Kate was thoughtful. 'It's certainly cast a spell over me. I love it here.'

Roderick stared at her for a long moment, a strange expression on his face. Kate felt a blush rising on her face, hidden by the moonlight.

Purchase Sealed With a Kiss:

Amazon US

Amazon UK


  1. I love the way you guys coordinated these posts so perfectly! Kudos! Looking forward to reading Sealed With a Kiss!

  2. This exchange was brilliant! I loved the emails, and as someone who has read and loved "In Need of Therapy" I could just imagine sweet Pilar being cold in her fashionable clothes or wondering how to respond to an invitation from a stranger. Well done!

  3. What a great post, girls! I can't wait to read SWAK!

  4. What a fantastic post! I have read and LOVED In Need of Therapy and now Sealed With a Kiss is at the top of my list!

  5. You need to dress warmly for the Scottish environment! :) Looking forward to reading 'In Need of Therapy'.

  6. Fabulous post, ladies! The email format was so beautifully done. And I cannot wait to read Sealed with a Kiss. :-)

  7. Fun post. I'd love to visit Scotland too! Love Pilar's email addy!

  8. What a fun post! Looking forward to reading SEALED WITH A KISS :)