Meet Luke, the hero of Paula's second Irish book, Irish Intrigue.
Charley reached Clifden shortly before five o’clock and pulled into the parking area of the supermarket on the outskirts of the small town. Still familiar with the layout of the store, she didn’t take long to collect some basic supplies.
A tall man in a sheepskin jacket stood near the chilled cabinet of yogurts and desserts, speaking on his phone. “Kate, which yogurts do the kids like? Melissa said something about pink pots.”
She reached past him to pick up some mixed fruit yogurts at the same moment as he turned and bumped against her.
“Oops! Sorry,” he said.
“No problem.” She put her yogurts in her shopping trolley, but couldn’t resist pointing further along the cabinet. “The pink pots are those strawberry ones.”
“Thanks.” He gave her a quick smile before speaking into his phone again. “It’s okay, Kate, I see them.”
She started to push her trolley toward the cash desk, but stopped when the man said, “Thanks again, but don’t I know you from somewhere?”
With a small grimace of resignation, she half-turned back to him. She didn’t recall meeting him when she lived here, but perhaps he’d seen her on television. Or else it was a clichéd chat-up line.
“I don’t think so.” She gave him a perfunctory smile as her glance took in rugged good looks in a square face and dark wavy hair. Not exactly tousled, but certainly untamed.
The man frowned for a moment before his face cleared. “You remind me of my mother-in-law.”
“Really?” She suppressed a grin. Being compared to a mother-in-law was a novel kind of comment.
“Not really, no. Her hair’s short and straight, not long like yours, and her face is rounder.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “So I’m nothing like her?”
“You’re much younger, of course, but your eyes are the same colour. Unusual.”
“Brown eyes are unusual?”
“Kind of coppery. I’m useless with colours, but that’s what she said hers were.”
“Oh, I see.”
It seemed an odd conversation to be having with a stranger in a supermarket, but her heartbeat quickened at the attractive twinkle in his dark eyes as he smiled.
He held out his hand. “Luke Sullivan. Pleased to meet you.”
Charley Hunter returns unwillingly to Ireland to complete the filming of a TV drama series. She still hasn’t come to terms with the tragic loss of her husband there two years previously, and the last thing she expects is an instant attraction to an Irish veterinary surgeon.
Luke Sullivan’s life is full as he tries to balance caring for his two young children with his busy rural veterinary practice. After the break-up of his marriage, he vowed to leave women well alone, but now finds himself drawn to Charley.
While Charley struggles with the re-awakening of her emotions, Luke faces a series of unexplained crises at his clinic, as well as an impending custody battle with his ex-wife.
They grow closer as their initial interest in each other develops into mutual support and then into love. But how can an English actress and an Irish vet reconcile their different worlds? And will their relationship survive when Luke believes Charley has endangered his children’s lives – and then betrayed him?