I know, I know, I’ve been falling way behind in the blog department lately. But my spring travels are over, and it’s time to get back to work on a regular schedule! And what better way to start than with the release of Scotsman’s Siren, out today (exclusively at Amazon…for now!) Here’s the first chapter to get you started!
Angus MacFarlane owed everything to the Culpepper family. Seriously, everything. They’d given him a job, a home, and more affection than his own family could have drummed up if they had a kindness factory that manufactured respect, with a side of common decency, stacked next to all of the other factories in Glasgow. Angus was the last person anyone would expect to find on a ranch in western Wyoming. He was a Glaswegian, a city boy, definitely not one of those romance-novel-worthy Highlanders that the ladies seemed to love. Glasgow was industrial, not rural like Culpepper, and Angus had fled from the city, the country, and the continent as soon as he received his acceptance letter to study agriculture at the first American university that would give him a scholarship. He’d never looked back.
He didn’t look back now as he strode across the spring-wet ground that separated the stables and the working part of the Culpepper ranch from the houses. Linda’s house in particular. He was on a mission—a mission born out of longing so deep he couldn’t name the place it came from. And there was only one person who could help him.
His heart thumped with determination in his broad chest as he stepped up to Linda’s front door. He took a moment to wipe his boots on the doormat, run his fingers through his thick, ginger hair in an attempt to tame it, and to brush whatever dirt he could off of his lightweight summer work shirt before knocking on the door.
A few seconds later, Linda’s voice murmured something on the other side before she threw open the door. “Angus! You know you don’t have to knock. You’re welcome in my house any time.”
Angus smiled from ear-to-ear. “I wouldnae want to intrude.” He emphasized his accent just for Linda, and had ever since the day she confessed that she liked the way he talked. In reality, he’d been losing his Scottish brogue since the day he set foot on American soil.
Linda cuffed him on his arm and gestured for him to follow her inside. “You’re right on time. I just finished making some sweet tea. You like sweet tea, don’t you?” The spark of mischief that lit Linda’s eyes was unmistakable.
Angus grinned, feeling that same mischief himself. “Aye, I do.”
“Well then, come on in and plop your butt down.”
Angus and Linda rounded the corner into the kitchen, and Linda gestured for Angus to take a seat at the kitchen table.
“Actually, Linda—” It was still a challenge for him to call her by her first name instead of ‘Mrs. Culpepper’ the way his manners dictated. “—I’ve come to talk to you about a matter of some importance.” If Angus had a hat with him, he would have been twirling it nervously in his hands.
“Some importance?” Linda shooed Angus toward the table and went to grab glasses and a pitcher of sweet tea from the counter. “That sounds serious.”
“Well, it is. Probably more serious than I know.” He sat down, feeling, as usual, like he might smash the kitchen chair to kindling. He raked a hand through his hair, wishing it would settle down and lay flat. “I wanted to talk to you about women.”
“Oh?” Linda’s brow flew up. She returned to the table with sweet tea and a wide grin. She set the glass down and squeezed Angus’s shoulder before sitting across from him. “Talk to me, cutie.”
It was a term of endearment that his own mother never had and never would use with him, so Angus glowed. “I’ve been thinking about taking a wife.” He leaned his thick forearms on the table and put on his most serious face.
Linda burst into a smile. “That’s fantastic. You got your eye on a young woman in town?”
Angus winced. “No, no there’s not really time for dating with all the work that needs to be done these days.”
Linda studied him, nodding. “True. Those underwear models really did a number on Culpepper’s female population.”
“They sure did,” he agreed.
“So what’s your plan, then?” Linda leaned closer. “Do you want me to give Dr. Lachele a call for you?”
He scrunched his face and hummed. “I don’t know if it’s come to that yet. I was hoping you might know a fine young lady you could set me up with.”
“Me?” Linda sat straighter, pressing a hand to her chest.
“Aye, you.” Angus laughed. “I figure any girl who meets Linda Culpepper’s standards is good enough for me.”
Linda blushed and waved off his compliment. “Shucks, Angus. I can’t remember the last time anyone said anything that nice to me.”
“But it’s true,” Angus went on. “You’re a fine judge of character. If you say a woman is grand, then I’m sure she’s grand.”
“Thanks for putting so much trust in me.” Linda beamed.
“It’s well-deserved.” Angus nodded, then kept his head lowered, fighting the heat that came to his face. “And the fact is, well, I’m not the best with the ladies.”
“Psht, I find that hard to believe,” Linda said. “A handsome and sweet guy like you?”
The praise settled uneasily on Angus’s shoulders. “Oh, they like me well enough, but…well, I dunno. I’ve never been able to get anything to work out. At this point, I’d rather trust in someone else’s judgment.”
“I see.” Linda settled back in her chair, giving him a once-over. “And watching my boys get hitched through a matchmaker has turned you on to a whole new way to find a bride.”
“If you want to put it that way.”
She hummed and tapped a finger to her lips. “I’ve got an idea.”
“You do?” Angus sat straighter. He knew it’d been a good plan to come to Linda.
“You know that the quads have younger sisters, right?”
“Aye.” He nodded. “I’ve heard your boys talking about them.”
“Well, they’re coming out here in about a month. Joy has this idea that she wants Grace to marry our lawyer friend, Marcus Wells. That leaves Honor on her own.” She narrowed her eyes and studied Angus a bit more. “I think you would like Honor.”
“Honor.” He spoke the name aloud, liking the way it sounded. “What do you know about her?”
Linda shrugged. “Only that she’s a bit of a tomboy. She does woodworking and makes all the cradles for Faith’s doll business. Reading between the lines, I think she took the brunt of their parents’ scolding, but from what I can gather, that’s probably because she’s the most different of the girls.”
“I see.” Angus leaned back in his chair, rubbing the coarse stubble on his chin. “Does Honor have an email account?”
“One her parents don’t know about?” Linda added, guessing perfectly where his thoughts were going. “I’m sure Joy would know.”
“Could you find out for me?” Angus was beginning to feel more excited than he’d felt in years.
“Sure.” Linda grinned and reached across the table to pat his hand. “Hey, if everything works out between you and Honor and the two of you get hitched, you’ll be family for real.”
Something huge and warm exploded in Angus’s chest. He would have given just about anything to be a real part of the Culpepper family.
“I’ll email Honor and start talking to her right away.” He paused in the middle of getting up. “You don’t think she’d find me too forward, talking about marriage right off the bat?”
Linda chuckled. “If the quads can get married at the spur of the moment because of a matchmaker, and if Grace is thinking of marrying Marcus because Joy says she should, then I don’t see why Honor wouldn’t be open to marrying you after a few emails.”
That gave Angus hope. He finished standing. “We’ll see, then. But it sounds like Honor Quinlan and I might be just what the other needs.”
Be sure to pick up Scotsman’s Siren at Amazon today! Also available for Kindle Unlimited!