I was thrilled to see my book, Kilted Lover
, on the list of Cupid and Psyche Award
nominations from The Romance Studio! What a nice Christmas present! To be nominated, among such big name authors, is a major honor.
The nomination must have come as a result of this wonderful review from earlier in the year:
5 Hearts from The Romance Studio "Leslie Livingston plans to enjoy Charleston's Scottish Games when her Celtic amulet draws the attention of two thugs. Now she's being tossed over the shoulder of the kilted, virile man she'd been admiring earlier. Scott MacPherson can't stand back and let thieves attack the hot little red-head. Evading bullets he gets her to the safety and now that the danger has dialed down, the heat between them turns up. But will one night of erotic exploration be enough for them?
I loved this story! I can't say how much I enjoyed everything about this fantastic novella. In fact I've decided to do a little research and head out to some Highland Games this summer to find my own kilted hottie. Swift action made time fly by as I read -- suddenly I was sad to say good-bye to one of the sexiest heroes I've ever met. Scott is the perfect man, he rescues a damsel in distress from two armed bad-guys after effortlessly completing the cabertoss, all while wearing a kilt! Leslie is a refreshing mixture of goddess and good girl. This author is at the top of my must-read list, I hope she provides me with an endless supply of sexy Scottish studs." Overall rating: 5 Hearts.
Sensuality rating: Very sensual.
Reviewer: Theresa Joseph
Kilted Lover: Chapter 1 excerpt (this part is rated PG)
"My amulet isn't for sale," Leslie Livingston said for the second time, wishing this line at the refreshment stand would move forward already. Every minute that the Charleston sun beat down on her was another step toward dehydration. And the jerk harassing her about the amulet made the situation twice as annoying.
"Come now, luv, I'll give you a hundred US for it." The gray-haired Englishman sipped his cola. Too bad she couldn't have gotten in line ahead of him.
"No, thanks." Her grandmother had given her the amulet years ago and she would never part with it. Even if it was worth only ten dollars, the sentimental value was priceless.
"Two hundred, and I'm being very generous." The man beside her inched closer. His black dress pants and white button-up shirt seemed out of place at the Scottish Games.
She took a step back, hating close-talkers. "Nope, sorry. Why are you so interested?"
"I'm a jeweler and it's an unusual piece. Two-fifty?"
Leslie sighed, though she felt like screaming. "No," she said in a firmer tone.
"You've got to be joking. It's only a peridot, for God's sake. It can't be worth any more than that." His pale gray eyes took on a menacing quality.
Leslie was tempted to grab his drink and pour it over his head. "Clearly it is, or you wouldn't want it so badly."
"How much did you pay for it?"
"It was a gift." Move forward, people, she mentally shouted at those in line ahead of her.
"Three hundred, and you'll be robbing me blind."
"Leave me alone," she said through clenched teeth. "Even if you offered me a thousand dollars, the answer would still be no."
The man's hand shot out toward her chest and the amulet. She jumped back and slammed into a body so solid that it didn't budge. Big hands caught her upper arms.
"What the hell are you doing?" The deep voice almost growled the words.
"I'm sorry--" Leslie began. But his eyes were fixed with malicious intent upon the British man.
"The lady said no. So beat it."
With her back pressed against his hard chest, she felt his words resonate.
"Fine." The Brit looked like he wanted to snarl, but he strode away, muttering about ignorant Americans.
Her rescuer released her.
"Thank you." Leslie couldn't help but stare up--way up--into his sexy face. His narrowed, sea-green gaze was pinned on someone far off to her left. The frown and clenched jaw emphasized his rugged, masculine bone structure. She noted his long, sun-streaked sandy hair, the white T-shirt stretched over his enormous chest, and the plaid kilt belted at his waist. A low-slung silver chain held a black leather sporran in place at the front of his kilt. Male earthiness emanated from his skin. But for the t-shirt, he might have been a fearsome warrior transported through time from the Scottish Highlands.
"No problem." He fully focused on her, and the temperature climbed ten degrees. That made it around ninety in the shade, not unusual for September in the Low Country.
Music swirled from bagpipes in the distance. Voices mixed with laughter, and for an instant, she imagined herself far, far away with this luscious hunk. In Scotland? Chills and heat raced over her skin.
"That is an unusual amulet. What makes it light up?"
"What?" The large peridot encased in gold was indeed glowing. She lifted the stone and the heat from it surprised her. "I have no clue."
Though her grandmother had given it to her fifteen years ago, today was the first time she'd worn it. The story of its origins was lost in the mists of time. She'd always considered it gaudy and unfashionable, but she thought it appropriate today, a Celtic amulet worn to Scottish games.
"How old is it?" he asked.
"I don't know." Now was he interested in it, too? Surely not. He didn't look as if he would wrestle her for it.
"It's your turn." His attention lifted to her eyes and held her captive with the power of his stare.
Okay, that was just too sexy. Heat and awareness rushed over her. "My turn?"
He grinned and gestured toward the vendor.
"Oh, sorry." She spun around, feeling a bit lightheaded, not to mention idiotic, and placed her order. Dear God, he was yummy. She had the mad urge to lick him.That's just stupid, Les. You're a mature, responsible, respected veterinarian. You don't have those kinds of thoughts.
"You're still in line?" Her boyfriend Fletcher appeared beside her, back from a quick jaunt to the car to retrieve his travel-size bottle of sunscreen.
"Yes, long line," she barely got out. The startling effects of the man behind her hadn't worn off. What the hell was going on? She was supposed to feel flushed and excited around Fletcher, not some stranger. She paid and picked up the two drink cups.
"Thanks again," she told the kilted man.
"Any time." Why did that murmur sound like an invitation?
Her hand unsteady, she gave Fletcher his cola and a bit of the liquid sloshed over the side. He sighed. "These are my new shoes."
Handmade Italian loafers weren't exactly the thing to wear to Scottish games, but he would wear little else on his precious feet except these or golf shoes. Everything he owned screamed money, from those damned shoes to his designer sunglasses.
"Here." She gave him a napkin.
He bent and wiped the leather while she listened to the Scot ordering. No, not a Scot. His accent was American, but she liked thinking of him as a Scot. And he was no doubt a descendant of legions of Scots. He wore large brown work boots, probably steel-toed. A bit of mud and grass stuck in the thick tread. Now, there was a man who wasn't afraid to get dirty. Something about that appealed to her on a primal level. So different from Fletcher with his pedicures and shiny loafers.
With his drink in hand, the Scot bypassed them. His gaze met hers again, lingering, magnetic. The hint of a charming smile touched his lips. Then he was gone, striding toward the gaming field, his hair brushing his wrestler-like shoulders. She could wrap that mane of sun-streaked hair around her hands twice over and hold his head for--What am I thinking? She guzzled a sip of cola, but that didn't stop her from studying the hunk's trim waist and narrow hips in that red, blue and green plaid kilt. No man in a kilt had ever looked so damned sexy. And she knew if he considered himself a true Scot, he wore nothing underneath the plaid. She closed her eyes and imagined those tanned, muscular legs sliding between hers, the sprinkling of golden hair rasping her skin.
What am I doing? Lusting after another man right in front of Fletcher? She placed the cold, sweaty cup against her face. Well, Fletcher should be sexier.
"What was that about?" He stood and threw the napkin in the trash.
"You thanked him."
"Oh, a pushy British man tried to grab my amulet and that guy told him to leave me alone. He's so big he'd probably beat the man to a bloody pulp."
"And you like that idea?"
"No. I'm just saying...." What was she saying? That maybe she liked the way the guy had protected her and stood up for her. Fletcher could never have done that convincingly. Suddenly his perfect three-hundred-dollar haircut and equally expensive knit golf shirt irritated her. Yes, her parents loved Fletcher, but did she? They'd dated for ten months, but things were not progressing as she would've liked. Every day he seemed more like her cousin or best friend rather than a boyfriend or lover.
"I thought you were dropping me off, then going to play golf," she said.
"I'm not sure I should if someone is harassing you."
"I can take care of myself. We go home tomorrow, so this is your last chance for golf."
The romantic weekend getaway in an elegant beach house was supposed to bring them closer together. She had imagined long, barefoot walks in the edge of the surf. But Fletcher didn't like going barefoot in the sand because he might get parasites.
She couldn't remember their last hot night together--correction--lukewarm night together. They slept in separate rooms at the beach house because he said she kicked him during the night and hogged the bed. She was beginning to think he'd lost his sex drive, while hers had apparently shifted into overdrive today. Her body was still tingly from standing near the hunk.
"You have your phone, right?" Fletcher asked. "Fully charged?"
"Of course. You charged it last night." Thanks to him her phone was always charged, her fridge always stocked with the most expensive bottled water, and her dog groomed weekly to show-dog standards, just as his prize Pomeranians were. What could be better? Was she only being ungrateful?
"All right. If you're sure you'll be okay, I might go hit a few."
Good. "Pick me up at eight, after the Celtic rock concert."
"Call me if you need to leave before then." He gave her a dry peck on the cheek.
Yes, definitely a cousinly kiss. "Bye." She watched him stroll away in his starched khaki pants. Watching him made her feel bored in contrast to the excitement of watching the Scot stride away in his kilt.I've lost my mind.
She should be happy with what she had--a nice-looking, organized, eligible bachelor with an amazing income and everything that came with that. Dejected, she made her way to the bleachers.
When the kilted hottie strode confidently along the other side of the athletic field, her spirits lifted instantly. I shouldn't look. I shouldn't look!
But she couldn't help it. The way he moved did something to her, ensnared her attention and gave her a delicious flutter in her stomach.
He'd confined his long hair into a ponytail which revealed the hard line of his square jaw. He laughed at something one of the other men said, and his granite features transformed into an expression--alive and warm and approachable--which mesmerized her. What a contagious sound his deep laugh was. She caught herself smiling in response.
When his turn came to toss the caber, he leaned forward and hoisted the fifteen-foot log vertically onto his shoulder. That thing would break a normal man's back. All his muscles rippling and flexing, he walked forward a few paces, stopped and heaved the caber. It landed on the top end and flipped to rest with the bottom end pointing directly away from him.
Amazing. Leslie joined in the applause.
When he strode out of sight, her gaze drifted over the crowd and caught on the gray-haired British man who'd harassed her earlier. He darted a glance her way, and started when he noticed her eyes on him. He turned and slipped away through the crowd. What was his deal? A cold prickle needled her.Read the rest of the Chapter One Excerpt.
Also available at Red Sage
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year to all our readers!!!
PS I'm blogging for the first time over at Here Be Magic
, the blog of Carina Press paranormal authors. I'm sharing a yummy holiday recipe for date nut bread. Hope you'll drop in and tell me your fav holiday treat.