Can’t Tie Me Down! (Sinclair Sisters, #1) by Janet Elizabeth Henderson
Publication date: April 22nd 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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There aren’t many jobs available in the tiny village of Arness, Scotland, which is why Mairi Sinclair works online—as a virtual girlfriend. For a weekly fee, she emails, messages and sends photos to desk-bound geeks around the world. Nothing dodgy, mind you, she keeps her clothes on! Mairi loves her job, because the last thing she wants is to be tied down to one man forever. Life is so much simpler when you can keep men at a distance.
And that’s why she’s upset when her virtual boyfriends start turning up in town. Someone has hacked her online presence and given out her real life address. To make matters worse, they’ve told the world that she’s looking for a husband and the first virtual boyfriend to romance her properly will win the role in real life. Mairi needs help to fend off the hordes. She needs help to hide and find out who sold out her details. Fortunately, local mechanic and one time boyfriend, Keir McKenzie, is more than willing to help her—for a price. He too wants a chance to win Mairi’s heart and tie her down forever.
There was no denying that Mairi Sinclair did it for Keir. With her wild, wavy red hair and her blazing green eyes, she exuded passion with every movement she made. He loved her quirky, offbeat way of thinking, her petite height and her generous curves. In fact, the only things he didn’t like about Mairi were that she held a grudge, and she wouldn’t give him a second chance.
“Mairi!” someone shouted from outside the front door. “Are you okay?”
There was a thud, followed by a howl of pain. Mairi rolled her eyes and stomped to the door. She threw it open to reveal yet another guy in costume.
“Amir, I’m fine. Don’t try to break down the door. You’ll only hurt yourself.” She sounded so long-suffering that Keir couldn’t help but laugh. Which earned him frowns from the sisters, before their attention returned to the Star Trek impersonator.
“You screamed.” Amir rubbed his shoulder and frowned over at Keir. “There is a man in your apartment.”
“He’s only my landlord, and right now, I have to go deal with him. I think you should leave.” She shut the door.
“But you have not answered my question,” he called.
Mairi growled and threw the door open again. “The answer is no, Amir. Thank you for asking.” She slammed it shut in the poor guy’s face.
“This is not the last time I will ask,” he shouted. “Never give up, never surrender!”
“You’re a Star Trek officer,” Mairi shouted back. “That’s Galaxy Quest.”
“What are you doing?” Agnes demanded. “Is it really that important that he gets his quotes right? There’s a bigger picture to deal with here.”
“I know. I know. I can’t help it. I’ve been studying up on this stuff for three years.” Mairi tapped her head. “Sometimes, I wonder if there’s room left in my brain for anything else.”
Keir started to laugh again, and that drew more scowls from the sisters. “What? It’s funny.”
“Why are you here?” Mairi strode toward him. “We talked about this. Rental law states that you aren’t allowed to enter your rental property without the permission of the tenants. Which is never going to happen.”
Agnes let out a sigh. “I invite him in all the time.”
“Your permission doesn’t count,” Mairi snapped.
“Dual tenancy, remember?” Agnes said. “Plus, I’m older. I’m the one in charge here. My permission is totally the one that counts.”
Mairi dismissed her sister’s logic with a wave of her hand. “Get out of my flat,” she ordered Keir.
He pointed at his motorcycle-boot-clad feet. “I’m still in the hallway. No laws have been broken here. And to be fair, I’ve only ever come into the flat when Agnes invited me, or when I’ve needed to deal with an emergency situation. Like the time you left the bath running, flooded the flat and brought down the garage ceiling. Or the time you left a pot on the stove, went to Campbeltown and the building nearly burned down. Or the time—”
She held up a hand to stop him. “Yeah, yeah, you’re a selfless superhero. That still doesn’t tell me why you’re here.”
“I thought that’d be obvious.” He couldn’t help but grin at her. Sparring with Mairi was the only way she let him get close to her these days, and a man had to take what he could get. “I’m here to offer a solution to your problem.”
“Unless you know how to un-hack a website and fix the message I supposedly posted—with Rapunzel illustrations—then you’re no use to me.”
She showed more disgust over the Rapunzel image than she did about the men camped outside her door. Keir shook his head in an attempt to get out of Mairi Land and back into reality.
“I’ve been talking to a couple of your boyfriends.” And didn’t that sentence just stick in his throat. “They’re here for the long haul. Nobody’s going home until you’re off the market. This situation isn’t going to disappear when you get rid of the post on your web page.”
As if on cue, a car horn that played the first few bars of the Star Wars theme tune blasted from the street below them.
“And you think you know how to get rid of these guys?” she scoffed at him.
“Aye, I do. All you need to do to make them leave is get married.” He spread his arms wide and gave her a lazy smile. “I’m offering myself up as the sacrificial lamb.”
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Janet is a Scot who moved to New Zealand fifteen years ago. Among other things, she’s been an artist, a teacher, a security guard at a castle, a magazine editor, and a cleaner in a drop in center for drug addicts (NOT the best job!). She now writes full-time and is working on her 19th book. Her books have won several awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense. When she isn’t living in her head, she raises two kids, one husband, and several random animals. She survives on chocolate and caffeine.