First meetings. They’re often memorable, but sometimes that happens in a way you rather wish
it hadn’t. That’s definitely the case for how our heroine meets the Scotsman of her dreams!
The water was cold. That was my first thought as I plunged headfirst into Loch Ness. One moment I’d been squatting on a boulder, peering into the peat-stained depths. The next, a squirrel darted out of a crevice and ran over the toe of my sneaker. I shrieked. The squirrel squawked. I lost my balance and pitched forward.
Frantically, I flailed my arms. There was no gentle bank where I had been exploring. Nothing but a steep, sharp drop-off between safety on dry land and potential drowning.
I wasn’t going to die. That was ridiculous. I’d only been in Scotland seventy-two hours. My adventure had barely begun.Still, I was desperately regretting my choice not to take swim lessons in elementary school. My mother had pushed and prodded, but I had resisted. This current misstep on my part was going to prompt a miserable case of I-told-you-so. Assuming I survived.
Gasping for air, I pushed my head above the surface and took a breath. The welcome oxygen was accompanied by a mouthful of water. Choking and spitting, the horrid truth began to dawn on me. This might be the end.
I wanted to cry or scream or even bargain with God, but I was too busy kicking my legs and trying to reach for a bottom that wasn’t there. The only thing my thrashing about had accomplished was to move me even farther from shore.
“Help!” I cried. The water closed over my head. For a moment, eyes wide open, I was part of the shimmery lake itself. My lungs were on fire, and my heart beat loudly inside my head. But I gazed in awe at the way sunlight painted underwater pictures. So beautiful…
My vision started to gray at the edges. Suddenly, a strong arm swept around me, anchoring beneath my breasts and dragging me toward the surface.
“Hang on, lass. I’ve got ye.”
Though it was quite easy to tumble off a boulder, getting back up was no simple feat. I kept my eyes closed as my mysterious rescuer half-lifted, half-thrust me up onto the rocks before joining me.
Nausea filled my belly and hot tears burned my eyes. I had almost died. The notion bounced around inside my head. Never one to be a drama queen, my current situation was embarrassing in the extreme. Without warning, I rolled to my knees and emptied the water from my stomach, retching and crying, as miserable as I had ever been in my life.
“Easy there. You’re okay.” The man gathered me close, both of us dripping wet. He patted my back. “You had a scare. But it’s over.”
Though the sun beamed down on us, I began to shiver and couldn’t stop. My lips felt numb.
“Sorry,” I mumbled. “Thank you.”
Noting my physical distress, he muttered in some odd language that sounded like Gaelic.
Before I could say or do anything else, he stood with me in his arms and began to stride toward the small copse of birch trees to our left. “We need to dry you out,” he said gruffly.
I’m five and a half feet tall…neither thin nor heavy. The stranger carried me as if I weighed no more than a child. My head lolled against his shoulder. I suppose I was in shock. Trying to gather my thoughts was like chasing dandelion seeds dancing in the wind.
He could be a sociopath…a serial killer…an ax murderer. But even with my mental faculties compromised, I was aware enough to know it made no sense for the man to rescue me and then do away with me.
Satisfied by that line of reasoning, I closed my eyes again.
Then it hit me. Could this possibly be the beginning of my romantic Scottish adventure? Was this very moment the romantic encounter about which McKenzie and Willow and I had fantasized?
I decided to relax and let nature—or a brawny Scottish male—take its course.
It was strangely pleasant to be carried. As a teacher of eight-year-olds, I’m called upon to be a caretaker, a surrogate mother, a guardian of the weak and helpless. At this moment, with my head aching and bones trembling, I savored the sensation of being on the other side of the equation.
“What’s your name?” I asked drowsily.
Ah…a Scotsman. Of course. And why wouldn’t he be? If his accent hadn’t given him away, the name surely would have. It was as authentic as the haggis I had barely managed to taste.
My hair was plastered to my head, and though I wasn’t much for make-up, I no doubt had mascara running down my cheeks.
This was not at all how I had envisioned meeting my sexy Scotsman.
In Janice Maynard’s sweet and sexy new series, three childhood friends with a shared passion for the Outlander novels and TV show decide to travel to Scotland looking for adventure—and their very own Highland heroes…
It’s a dream come true for schoolteacher Hayley Smith. No homework to grade, no students to corral, no social media, Internet or cell phone…just a month amid the heather and rolling hills around Inverness. A brawny alpha male in a kilt is probably too much to ask for. But Hayley is in heaven ambling around Loch Ness, gazing and then…falling into the icy water, before being rescued by a strong, chivalrous local hero…
Retired soccer star Angus Munro, aka Angus the Angler, is a little insulted and a whole lot intrigued when Hayley doesn’t recognize him. How long has it been since anyone saw beyond his wealth and fame? And how long before the macho athlete and his modern-day American damsel in distress act on an attraction that could make even the misty Scottish moors sizzle with heat? Long enough, maybe, for both to figure out if this is an affair to remember…or the start of something everlasting…