Jake Delaney did not want to get married, and he didn’t want to be in Scotland. Ever since his younger sister got married to his best friend, his mother had that matrimonial gleam in her eye - and she was looking right at him. To escape his mother’s matchmaking clutches, he heads off to Scotland to pursue a copy of the Republic of Texas’s Declaration of Independence. Texas’s only copy was destroyed in a fire, and determined to see a copy back home where it belongs, Jake heads to Rowanclere Castle - where a copy is rumored to be in the possession of Angus Brodie.
Rowanclere Castle and its inhabitants have their own problems. Angus Brodie, old and frail, has decided to sell the place to ensure his three grandnieces, twins Gillian and Flora plus young Robbie, are provided for. The problem is that the only interested buyer wants a haunted Scottish castle and Rowanclere is unfortunately not. So Gillian decides to play resident ghost, and she plans to test her haunting abilities on the visiting Texan.
Gillian’s initial haunting is a disastrous (and humorous) episode that nearly blows the lid off the whole scheme. But she does accomplish stirring Jake’s curiosity - and a whole lot more. What started out as a cold, boring trek to the Scottish Highlands, soon has Jake chasing after a beautiful “ghost” he’s hoping is all too human.
Sizzle All Day is a playful historical romp full of sexual tension. Not only does Gillian have to play the ghost, but she also has to masquerade as the pregnant Flora to keep Jake in the dark. Jake is immediately confused since he finds himself, at times, attracted to a married pregnant woman and fears the foul Scottish weather has pickled his brain. Add to the mix a handicapped dachshund named Scooter, young mischievous Robbie, plus a cantankerous great uncle with a deep love for Texas and there are plenty of hijinks afoot.
Jake is an adventurous man, anxious to see the Declaration business settled so he can fulfill his dream of traveling the globe. His attraction to Gillian, plus her family’s need to sell their home, put a serious kink in his plans.
Gillian, of course, finds herself equally attracted to the handsome Texan, but past experience has taught her to be wary of charming men. Her ex-fiancé, her first and only lover, ran off and married another woman. Heartbroken and betrayed, she has serious trust issues to overcome, and her opinion on men is anything but rosy. On top of this, she’s a serious homebody, and Jake’s dreams of adventure clash with what she wants out of life.
While an enjoyable and entertaining story, I did have some minor quibbles with the prose. Dawson occasionally uses a thick brogue for the Scottish characters, and I often had no clue what the heck they were saying. Also, with Jake being a Texan, his speech is peppered with lots of American expressions and slang. I had no initial problem with this until his use of “pecker,” “johnson” and “swapping spit” - all of which just didn’t ring true to my ear for 1884.
Aside from that, I really enjoyed this sequel to Dawson’s earlier book Simmer All Night. Dawson provides a nice segue into a possible future story featuring Gillian’s brother, Nicholas, which will no doubt please quite a few romance fans. Readers looking for some laughs, smiles, and pure entertainment will find plenty in this charming installment.