This extract is from my novel
A contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland.
Here’s the blurb . . .
Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there’s a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family. Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?
Here’s the extract . . .
The action takes place on a remote hill overlooking the Ruairi’s highland estate. He’s taken Fliss there so he can explain how his reluctance to commit to their relationship has its roots in the not too distant past . . .
‘Fliss, it’s no secret I was in a relationship which I thought would go the distance. But it didn’t – and the fault’s entirely mine. My fiancée – Fiona, was used to the diversions of Edinburgh, London and Paris, foolishly I brought her to Kinloch Mara where none of those things exists.’
He drew breath as though it was important that she understood. She knew how much it cost him to admit that he’d failed at something as fundamental as getting his bride to the altar and making a life with her, so she gave his hand an encouraging squeeze.
‘Go on . . .’
‘It can be really bleak here in the winter when the tourists leave and everything shuts down. That particular winter, Mitzi and the girls decamped for Angus’s villa in Barbados in early December as soon as their term ended at boarding school. As a result, Fiona spent a lonely Christmas at Tigh na Locha, waiting for me to return home from Australia. When I came back for the New Year I was so immersed in estate business that I didn’t see how isolated and neglected she was feeling. Now, looking back – I realise that I didn’t court her enough or pay her enough attention. That was the kiss of death on our relationship.’
Fliss knew that in Fiona’s place she would have stayed at his side, reading by the big fire in the library while he and Murdo went over the accounts. Driving out with him to rescue animals caught in the snowdrifts. Organising parties and making Tigh na Locha so welcoming that he would never want to leave. She would have cemented their relationship with nights of passion in the Laird’s old-fashioned bed, making love until the weak sun pushed through the curtains and drove everything else from their minds.
Not because she felt it was her duty as his fiancée, but because it was what she wanted to do, as his woman.
‘But then, I imagine that any woman – cut off by the winter snows, miles from Edinburgh and its allure would find it hard to settle to life as the laird’s wife.’ He excused Fiona’s desertion by putting the blame squarely on himself.
‘Not every woman,’ she demurred. But he was too lost in his own thoughts to register her moue of protest.
‘Eventually, the reality of being the laird’s wife, the social demands of the role and her position in the community hit home. That, coupled with the realisation of the years of hard work necessary to make the estate profitable, proved a bridge too far. The gilt wore off the gingerbread – in this case, me – and she left. One month before we were due to walk down the aisle together.’
‘When – how?’ Now she was hearing the whole story she wanted all the gaps filled in.
‘She packed her cases one morning while I was out on the hills with Murdo, called a taxi and left a note with her engagement ring – a family heirloom – explaining why she couldn’t marry me.’ Pain was etched on his face and Fliss wanted to find the faithless Fiona and shake her, make her realise what she’d thrown away. But she also felt a grudging sympathy for the runaway bride – Kinloch Mara was undoubtedly beautiful, but Ruairi’s love came at a price. That price was sharing the burden of lairdship and helping to preserve his inheritance for the next generation. It was his life’s work and any prospective wife who didn’t understand the importance of his birth right was the wrong candidate for the position.
Fliss realised that she was sizing herself up for the job. She knew she could show Ruairi the happiness he deserved. If only he gave her the chance . . .
Tall, Dark and Kilted – A contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland http://t.co/xj2T54mE6j
Boot Camp Bride – Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes http://t.co/0WkwlH8bgg
Hocus Pocus 14 short story anthology – http://tinyurl.com/Hocus-Pocus14