A standalone, English Hearts story
A rich playboy who lives for the now, and a Veterinarian who is ruled by his past, both seek a future that allows for love.
Ashby Sterling-Haynes, the youngest son of a titled family, has had a lot of hook ups, but has never found someone worth keeping. When he meets introverted Veterinarian, Connor Lawson, he realizes this could be the man he's been waiting for.
Connor has a painful past and no room for an entitled rich guy in his future. Ashby is everything that Connor dislikes in a man and is way too sexy to be anything but a disruption to Connor’s peaceful life.
Both men refuse to believe in love for different reasons. Until they meet each other and a future together becomes real...
You can't help but want to wrap Connor up in a tight hug to shield him from what we can guess he dealt with in his past. Watching him find his way in the world and specifically in the community that held such wonderful childhood memories is refreshing and uplifting. Then enters Ashby Sterling-Hayes, typical rich kid on the surface but we learn differently page by page. I loved the way the writer created a connection between the two that was pretty obvious and bordering on cliche on the surface but with each moment they spend in the other's company we quickly learn that there is so much more to both the individual characters and as a pair. In The Summer House book one of a new series, English Hearts, RJ Scott has created another batch of characters and setting that I eagerly await further installments.
A Standalone Flight HA1710 story
Co-Pilot Lachlan Donaghue wakes up in hospital, a survivor of the crash of Flight HA1710, with memory loss and the suspicion that he could be at fault for the tragic accident. When everything becomes too much he is taken home to hide, back to the small Irish town he grew up in and to the home he once shared with Rory.
Rory Kendrick watches the news, sees every hour of the disaster unfold and somehow just knows that Lachlan was in the middle of it all. What he doesn’t know is that Lachlan will be forced to come back home to hide and to heal. Lachlan needs a friend, not a lover, but sometimes the lines are just too blurred to make any sense.
In Retrograde, we meet Lachlan and Rory, former lovers that we know should not be so much of the "former" because it's pretty obvious that the love never left. Despite Lachlan's moments of self-doubt, it's pretty easy to just know he wasn't at fault when it came to the plane crash where he was the co-pilot. Retrograde is a beautifully written tale of tragedy bringing together those that let their stubbornness keep them apart. Another great turnout by Miss Scott with characters you want to know, even the airline liaison you want to knock down a few pegs, and a love that you know will be rekindled, and a story you can't wait to see just how it all plays out.
From Chapter 3
Rachel was looking for him?
Rachel came around the corner of the manicured hedge and slumped dramatically next to him on the stone seat. “Bastard,” she said with force and feeling.
Connor felt immediately protective. They’d only been friends a year, but Rachel’s eyes were wet with tears, and tears always broke him in half. What had Landon done to her?
“He offered me champagne, but you know how that gets me, so I said no, and before I could say I preferred vodka, he—” She stopped and inhaled deeply before letting the air out in a big noisy whoosh. “He asked me if I was pregnant and was he the father?”
Connor was on his feet immediately. “He said what?”
Rachel copied him and stopped him stalking away with a hand to his arm. “Don’t, he’s not worth it. I just want to go home.” She handed him her cell. “I can’t get a signal, can you…? I need a taxi… Will you find me one?”
Real tears collected and rolled down her face, and his protective instincts kicked in and he held her close, letting her cry quietly against his suit, the cell crushed between them.
“He’s not worth it,” Connor said.
“But at Christmas, he was so nice to me, then at the art show… He’s fake is all… It was just sex.” She hiccupped her way through the declarations.
“I know, sweetie.”
“I hate feeling like this. I don’t want to feel like this. Why can’t I just find a man like you?”
“But not gay.” Connor attempted to lighten the tone.
“All men are bastards,” she announced.
Some of her gumption slipped into that last statement, and Connor closed his eyes and rested his chin on her head. He only had to think about the ex from hell and he was happy to agree with everything Rachel said. “I know. I’m really sorry, Rach, we can go, use the path from here, we don’t even have to go back to the pub. We can call a cab out on the road.”
Rachel nodded her head against him and Connor resolved to stand here until his friend was calmer. When Rachel pulled away slightly, Connor grasped her hand and began to guide her to the back gate and the pathway exit to the other end of the village. They’d not gone more than a dozen steps when a voice called them back.
“Wait! Please don’t go,” the voice said from beside them, far too close for Connor’s liking. He hadn’t heard anyone coming up behind them. Then he looked at who it was and that protective thing he had going where Rachel was concerned kicked up a notch. It was the youngest son, Ashley or something, Ash for short, the one with the knowing smirk and the fuck-me eyes.
“Your brother is lucky I don’t go and put him down,” Connor snapped.
Ash sighed and held up his hands in surrender. “You don’t know how many times I have thought the same thing. The time I brought home my first boyfriend and Landon decided to have the condom talk with him, or the time Spot died and he accused the cat. Spot being a hamster you see, and the cat having eaten the hamster.”
Ash stopped abruptly and his weary laughing expression hardened, like he’d not meant to be happy smiley at all. Evidently he was here as the household representative, and his job was to get ahead of potential embarrassment to the all-powerful Sterling-Haynes family. Well, at much as Connor didn’t want to face off with Ash, he wouldn’t let Rachel be hurt.
“I just want to go,” Rachel said from next to him.
“Then we’re leaving,” Connor said.
Ash moved quickly, positioning himself between them and the gate. “Please just wait a minute.”
“Get out of our way,” Connor threatened. He even stepped forward, but Ash didn’t back down.
“Just one minute. I’ll say what I need to, then you can go.”
“I could go now,” Connor snapped. He took another step forward, and this time Ash did take a step back.
“Let him say what he wants to say,” Rachel said, soft and low.
“Rachel, you don’t have to do this.”
“It’s okay,” she added.
Connor stepped forward, putting himself between Rachel and Ash. “You have anything to say, you go through me.”
Ash’s eyes widened and the mask of seriousness slipped a little. Connor would have laughed at the look of surprise if this wasn’t such a knife-edge situation.
“I don’t want any trouble,” Ash said.
“If your fucking arsehole of a brother makes one move on Rachel—”
“Shit, look,” Ash interrupted. “I need to be serious for a minute. Landon is a complete idiot when it comes to this.” Ash waved a hand between Connor and himself, obviously including Rachel in this group. “He’s not so hot with the girls, and—”
Rachel gasped. “He was fine when he had my skirts around my waist.”
“Rachel!” Connor warned.
“Jesus!” Ash said at the same time. “I need to bleach my eyes.”
“Well he did,” Rachel defended. “It’s okay to fuck me in a cupboard but talking to me after is what? Unnecessary?”
“Rachel?” Ash moved sideways a little, Connor guessed so he could see Rachel. Connor didn’t move, although if Ash tried anything…
“Landon was in New York,” he stopped Rachel speaking by hurrying on, “and I know there is email and texts and—look, he just has no idea what to say, and he’s been talking about you all morning, and he got so desperate for help to sort this out that he even asked me for my advice.” Ash said that with incredulous shock. He crossed his arms over his chest, then released the hold and dug his hands in his pockets. Connor thought he looked like a big kid playing dress-up in the fancy duds. His spiky dark hair and the stubble on his face made him appear like he’d been forced to wear a suit and hadn’t really wanted to try. Good-looking yes, in that cute smirky rich-kid kind of way, but still, he was the enemy in this situation.
“She doesn’t care,” Connor said. Rachel still hadn’t come fully out from behind him, and he read that as her needing him to tell Ash to get lost.
“Landon does. He cares, I mean. Rachel, he says he fell for you at Christmas, and that he didn’t want to hurt you.” Ash frowned. “And other stuff about sex in a cupboard that a brother shouldn’t know about.”
Rachel stepped out from behind him straightening her shoulders and putting on her game face. She rummaged in her bag, pulled out a small pack of tissues and wiped her eyes, glancing down and shaking her head at the smear of black mascara on them. For someone who had been crushed against his chest crying for a few minutes, Connor thought she looked adorably cute and confused, if a little panda-eyed.
Ash took a step closer. “Landon’s devastated that he upset you. Can you maybe talk to him and see past the stupidity?”
“What does he want from Rachel?” Connor asked when Rachel didn’t answer.
“Honestly, he just wants to… talk.” Ash shrugged. “He’s pacing a few hedge lines down. Will you just talk to him?”
“So he can ask more questions about Rachel being pregnant?” Connor asked.
Ash shook his head. “Are you, Rachel? Pregnant that is? Because if you are—”
Connor walked the few steps right up into Ash’s space. “And what if she was, huh?” Ash’s eyes widened, then his lips parted on a sigh.
“I didn’t mean anything by it—”
“I’m not.” Rachel hit Connor on the arm with her purse, and his anger subsided. Rachel didn’t need him stirring this up out of all proportion. “I’ll talk to Landon. I’m okay to talk to him.”
“I’ll come with you,” Connor said.
“No, I’ll be okay.”
“What if he hurts you?”
Ash interjected, “What are you implying?”
“Just that your brother has already fucked my friend over once and if he touches her—”
“Connor, it will be okay.” Rachel hugged him briefly, then pressed a kiss to his cheek.
“It won't be, he’ll try and talk you around.”
“I’ll let him talk,” she said. “And if I don’t like what he has to say…” she shrugged.
Connor knew it wasn’t that easy. What if Landon was the type who could talk himself out of everything? “I’ll come with you.”
Rachel placed a hand to his chest. “I’ll be okay.” Then shoulders back, she walked around the hedge and disappeared.
Connor was left with Ash, and unexpectedly he didn’t know what to say. Rachel had gone, and even though he wanted to follow her, she had absolved him from being her protector, and now what he really needed was a drink. Connor didn’t know Landon; there was no reason to think he was like the manipulative bastards that Connor had met before. I need a fucking drink. He walked past Ash to head back into The Wychwood.
“I’d love it,” Ash said from behind him.
Politeness had Connor stopping to face Ash, but irritability had him losing his will to be well-mannered when he spoke. “What?” He knew he sounded uptight and probably more than a little rude. He’d never wanted to be at this damn wedding, let alone deal with idiots like the Sterling-Hayes brothers. Even the pretty gay ones.
To his credit Ash didn’t back down. He shrugged. “If Rachel was pregnant, then I’d have another niece or nephew to spoil and I’d love it. We all would.”
The words somewhat took the wind out of Connor’s sails. That wasn’t what he’d expected to hear. He’d been part of the world Ash lived in before and he knew how to play the game.
Icy politeness was a good place to start. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”
“Have we met before?” Ash asked, stopping Connor from leaving. Again.
“Oh,” Ash began, “normally people hate me after they meet me, not before.” It was Ash who left, brushing past Connor and disappearing into the darkness of The Wychwood’s old interior and leaving Connor standing like an idiot.
The day of the crash
Lachlan Donaghue opened his eyes, cracked them just a little. Something had sideswiped him, glass in his hair, his hands gripping… to his left a person, eyes wide and open, facing Lachlan with not a spark of life left.
And red… orange. And silence. Utter and complete silence.
He closed his eyes.
Rory. Help me.
When he opened them again, this time there was no red, only the blur of a night sky, the black all encompassing. This time there was noise in the silence. A shout, crashes and bangs, and a sense of urgency in the people who stared at him now.
“How the hell is he alive?”
It hurt too much to keep his eyes open.
Tell Rory I’m okay. Don’t let him worry.
“Lachlan? Lachlan Donaghue? How old are you? Who is the Prime Minister? What is the Queen’s name? Lachlan? Can you hear me?”
Who cares? I can't even speak, let alone think.
Lachlan answered… or at least in his head he answered, but his throat was tight, there was pain in his head and neck, and he was staring at whiteness and blinking at bright lights.
Where had the red gone? And the black?
“Lachlan. Open your eyes. Look at me!”
I don’t want to.
“Pupils responsive. Someone get him to the Ulster.”
“He’s triaged for Downe.”
“He’s the fucking first officer. Get him to the Ulster Hospital and away from the scene now.”
Rory, I’m sorry. I should have told you I was sorry.
The TV was loud, discordant, and scary with red and orange against black, and they were shouting at him from the screen. People walked around him, all the time talking about the TV—or was that the TV itself? Nothing made sense.
“The Captain is dead.” The words spun in his head, people talking around him; a chaos of noise.
“Not… Andrew.” Lachlan murmured in despair. The staring eyes, the absolute stillness and quiet—Andrew was dead. Is everyone dead? Am I dead? What kind of hell was he in where they pushed him and held him, then took the pain away with needles?
“Lachlan? Can you hear me? My name is Dr.…”
The words faded, and he looked past the man who stared at him, looking instead at the screen, hearing the words all pilots dreaded to hear. Death. Destruction. Crash.
His picture flashed on the screen labeled in yellow: Lachlan Donaghue, First Officer. Then there were safety records… and red … and orange.
“And do you think, taking this into consideration, that the crash was deliberate? An act of terrorism? Or one of the pilots deliberately flying the plane into the ground?” A soft but insistent voice came from the TV.
“There is nothing to indicate that at this moment. Neither of the black boxes have been located at this time—”
“Do you know your pilots? Can the airline categorically say that the crash of Flight HA1710 was not pilot error?”
“It’s too soon to comment—”
“Can you say that?”
“No. No we can’t.”
RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.
As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.
With over sixty titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.
Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.
The Summer House