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by Nicole North
Description: When kilted cabertosser Scott MacPherson tosses Leslie Livingston over his shoulder to rescue her from two armed thieves trying to steal her priceless amulet, they are thrust into a deadly but sexy adventure. Though Leslie already has a lukewarm, uninterested boyfriend, her attraction to Scott is whitehot and undeniable. She wants to lick this tall, muscular alpha male all over and explore the depths of eroticism with him. But will he want anything more than one night once the danger is behind them? To My Readers: I'm a big fan of sexy men in kilts so I write about them at every opportunity. This story starts at one of my favorite events, Scottish Games. What happens when a sexually frustrated woman is rescued by the hottest man she's ever seen? and he's wearing a kilt, no less? While hiding out on a small yacht and protecting her from armed thieves, he shows her how incredible sex is supposed to be. But will she get to keep him once the danger is over? I hope you enjoy Scott and Leslie's fun, hot story.
eBook Publisher: Red Sage Publishing, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [153 KB]
Reading time: 91-128 min.
"NIGHT OWL REVIEWS TOP PICK!Who doesn't love a hot man in a kilt........not me. This book was fabulous and not just because Nicole North manages to keep Scott in a kilt for most of the beginning of the book. I really liked this story and the idea behind it. Scott was really the perfect male hero and Leslie's actions and words sometimes had me laughing out loud as I read. I would for sure purchase some more of Ms. North's books especially if they deal with more good looking Scottish men.--Hearhermh, Night Owl Reviews
Kilted Lover: Chapter 1
"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.
That evening, after the Celtic rock concert jammed into full swing, Scott MacPherson spied the woman with the amulet. Her blue eyes were unforgettable, like the azure skies of Scotland on a rare clear day. And in the sunlight her hair had shimmered red as a flickering flame.
He kept remembering how she'd eaten him up with her eyes during their brief conversation. If not for his sporran, he would've ended up with a kilt tent. He'd been one second away from asking for her phone number when Mr. Meticulous showed up and destroyed his mood. Scott's overactive primal side wanted to devise a scheme to get past the man. Neither of them had been wearing wedding bands.
And yet, he couldn't clear his mind of her. He also couldn't help but notice the boyfriend had disappeared. Scott barely resisted the temptation to join her on the bleachers and find out her story.
Something about those two as a couple didn't fit. Scott sensed a hidden wildness in the woman, something untamed and hungry yearning for release. Perhaps it was the spark of stunned attraction in her eyes when he'd helped her, or maybe it was the way she now clapped and enthusiastically moved in rhythm with the live music.
He wanted to unleash her inhibitions and explore every inch of her creamy, cinnamon-freckled skin. His cock tingled and stirred, beyond willing and able, but he wouldn't invade another man's territory. He'd been on the receiving end of that situation last year when another man swiped his fiancee right from under his nose. Scott wouldn't sink to that level.
More importantly, the Englishman and his crony stood nearby, staring at the redhead as well. Scott moved closer to them, hoping to hear a word or two of their conversation between sets of the loud music. The men's voices rumbled.
"What do you think it's worth?" the tall, skinny American asked.
"Won't know 'til it's appraised, but I'd say a million at least. It's ancient and one of a kind," the British man said. "I'm almost certain it's the legendary Glaminy Amulet, companion to the Ring of Glaminy."
Years ago, Scott had read about the mystical Ring of Glaminy and how it had been stolen from a Scottish museum. But the ring had a blue stone, whereas the woman's amulet had a green one. Still, if what the man said was true, the amulet would indeed be worth a hefty sum.
"Here she comes," the American said.
A bulge at the back of the Brit's waistband caught Scott's attention. When the man moved his arm, his jacket pulled up and exposed the pistol grip.
Hell! Would they actually steal her amulet at gunpoint?
The bastard hadn't been shy about grabbing for it earlier. She'd probably put up a fight and get hurt. Scott couldn't let that happen. Though he didn't know her, he wanted to, and he had to warn her about the danger.
The woman strode away from them and toward the trees. The two men quickly followed, allowing her to walk in front of them with a person or two between on the thoroughfare.
"Shit." Scott trailed them, dodging people in the dwindling crowd. Now what am I going to do? He was a log home contractor, not a cop, and he definitely didn't have a death wish.
The men gained on her as she approached the restrooms. When she disappeared inside, they slipped behind a tall bush.
Scott ignored them and strode on as if he were going to the men's restroom, not far beyond. Once out of sight, he doubled back and waited. Sure, the Brit would recognize him, but he didn't care.
When she emerged, he glided in beside her and tucked her arm through his.
She wrenched herself away from him. "You." Her gaze skittered down his body. The lower light of evening didn't prevent him from seeing her blush.
He forced a smile. "Hello again, lass."
"What do you want?" She wrapped her fingers around the amulet. "How did you know my name?"
"Your name is Lass?"
"Les--never mind. What do you want?"
Likely, her stalkers heard their every word. He didn't want to face two armed men, nor did he want them swinging guns around in this crowd. He had to remove her from the danger and avoid a confrontation altogether.
He inched closer to her and whispered, "Two men are following you."
She took two steps back. "Excuse me?"
"Two men," he murmured through clenched teeth. "The British man and his friend are following you. They want--"
She glanced around. "I don't see anyone following me, except you."
"Dammit, woman." She was wasting time with this bickering.
The men, wearing blue and white masks with Celtic symbols, rushed forward. The short one brandished a pistol.
Scott charged the one with the weapon, shoved his arm up, and squeezed. He howled and dropped the pistol. Scott punched him, once in the stomach and once in the face, and sent him sprawling.
The woman screamed as she scuffled with the tall, skinny man. She dropped her purse and protected her amulet with both hands. The man snatched her purse from the ground and sprinted away.
She chased him and Scott joined her. The man climbed into a big black SUV and leaned over in the seat. He was probably going for a hidden pistol.
"Watch out." Scott grabbed her arm and dragged her away.
"No! He has my purse!" She jerked free from his grasp.
Hearing footsteps behind them, Scott glanced back to see the man he'd knocked down rushing toward them, gun in hand.
"Hell!" Scott picked up the woman, threw her over his shoulder and ran.
Leslie screamed. Her head dangled upside down. The kilted man's hard shoulder had slammed painfully into her stomach, almost knocking the breath from her. What the hell was going on? Did he want her amulet? Was he in league with the other two and only pretending to help her? All three of them had shown up at the same time.
"Ow! Bastard! Put me down!" Tears burned her eyes. Leslie kicked toward his face and elbowed his back.
"He's kidnapping that woman!" a nearby woman yelled. "Call the police!"
Dear God, what if he was kidnapping her? What if he was a rapist or serial killer? They were known to be charming to lure their victims.
The maniac slid to a halt in the gravel, wrenched open the driver's door of an oversized, blue four-by-four pick-up, and pushed her inside. He crawled in after.
Adrenaline infused her with a burst of strength. She scrambled toward the passenger door and freedom. The power locks popped down.
"Dammit." She poked the buttons with her fingers. When the engine roared to life, the window rolled down. She could climb out.
She'd shoved most of her upper body through the window, when he grasped her skirt and hauled her back in. "Are you crazy? Come back here!"
She turned to sit upright, then kicked him. "Let me go!"
Unflinching, he pinned her ankles together with one big hand and steered with the other. Spinning gravel, the truck slid out of the parking area, and then zoomed past a large plantation house and onto the drive that stretched beneath the long avenue of oaks.
"Let me out of here!" She pounded his mountainous shoulder with her fists.
"What the hell's wrong with you?"
She grabbed a handful of his loose hair and yanked.
When he slammed on the brakes, the momentum propelled her forward. She let go and smacked her hands against the dash, catching herself.
"Look, Lass--or whatever the hell your name is--can't you see I'm trying to save your ass? They'll catch us in no time."
"I don't even know your name. How do I know I can trust you?"
"I just rescued you from two armed men and you don't trust me?" He looked incredibly offended at that.
"Um. I don't know." When she scooted backward, he loosened his grip, grabbed the steering wheel and stomped the accelerator. She eyed the door, the power lock in particular. It probably wouldn't open while they were moving anyway.
"How do I know you're not one of them?"
"If I was, why would I knock the guy down?"
"Maybe you want my amulet, too. Or maybe you're a rapist!"
His glare turned sharp. "No. I'm not!"
"You hurt my stomach. I'll probably have a huge bruise across it from your damned hard shoulder."
This time his glance was startled and concerned. "I'm sorry. Does it still hurt?"
"No," she admitted. "I've just never had a man throw me over his shoulder before as if he were a caveman."
"I thought cavemen dragged women by the hair."
"Ha ha." Was he really one of the good guys? She didn't have time to figure it out. "They took my purse. I have to get it back."
"They have guns. I thought maybe your life was a bit more valuable than your purse."
"Well, yes." She watched him warily. Oh, God, had she just made a huge mistake? Going off with a muscle-bound stranger was not a wise thing to do. Where were the cops she'd seen earlier in the day directing traffic? Probably gone home.
She cringed when she realized all the personal information the thieves had now. "Clearly they wanted to steal my purse, not my amulet. It's worth a lot more. They could max out my credit cards, drain my bank account." Her stomach ached when she imagined all her savings gone.
"I heard them talking about your amulet."
"You want it, too," she accused.
"No, I don't, dammit! I'm not a thief."
"You're a kidnapper. That's worse!"
"I told you--"
"I know. I know. You're saving my ass."
He sent her a riled but hot glance. His darkening green eyes raised her temperature. His gaze slid down her body, then darted to the road ahead. Whew! That frown he wore gave him a look of fierce intensity, as though he might want to manhandle her again. Awareness tingled through her.
But she couldn't let the brute touch her.
Turning, she stared through the rear window and noticed the black SUV at the other end of a long stretch of drive. "They're following!"
"I knew they would." He barely slowed at the stop sign and turned onto Long Point Road. They sped down the highway while Leslie tried in vain to collect her thoughts. If those two purse-snatchers actually wanted her amulet, why? Could it be more valuable than anyone in her family realized?
She observed the man beside her, wondering if he was a criminal or a hero. Though she'd seen him in action during the caber toss and the hammer throw, she'd missed his name when they announced the winners because she'd gone to buy a meat bridie. "What's your name?"
"Scott," he said. "Scott MacPherson."
He quirked a brow. "You find that hard to believe, too?"
"No." Only that she'd been thinking of him as a Scot the entire time. "You were aptly named, huh?" She again checked out his kilt and those muscular legs.
"My grandparents emigrated from Scotland. Did you say your name was Lass?"
"Leslie Livingston. My friends call me Les--oh, my God!"
"What?" He glowered into the rearview.
"My boyfriend. He'll be there to pick me up at eight o'clock, and he won't know where I've gone."
"Why did he leave?" Without warning, Scott turned onto another road.
"He wanted to play golf. He'll worry when I'm not there."
"For now. But he'll thank me when this is all over."
For some reason, Leslie didn't think so. "Dammit, my phone was in my purse so I can't call him. Do you have a phone?"
"I left it on the boat. If I carry that damn thing around, one of my employees will be calling every other minute with a building problem."
"Yeah, I'm staying on a small motor yacht. It belongs to a friend."
Her mind turned to more pressing matters. "Are you sure those men were after my amulet? How did you know they were talking about me? Seems like too much a coincidence, unless you were following me, too."
In the twilight, he flicked on the headlights and the glow illuminated his face. "All right, you caught me. I was watching you, but not because of the amulet."
He slid her a potent glance, his eyes darker in the dimness.
"You don't mean--" Her body heated with electrical awareness.
"I was going to ask you for a phone number or see if you wanted to grab a bite, but that was before Fletcher showed up. Don't worry. You're safe. I don't want another man's woman."
"I'm not his woman."
"Oh. Okay." He sounded doubtful.
"Not like a piece of property." And besides that, Fletcher was not possessive enough to call her his woman.
"Anyway, about the two men who stole your purse, they mentioned that your amulet is ancient and worth a hefty sum. I think they could be right."
He looked more like a jock than a scholar. "How do you know?"
"Oh, how would I know anything? I'm just a big, dumb log-tosser, right?"
Prickling heat suffused her face. "I didn't say that."
"I've studied Celtic history and spent a fair amount of time in Scotland." He glared into the rearview mirror. "Hell."
"What?" Behind them, car lights rapidly approached. "Is that them?"
"That would be my guess." The accelerating truck clung to the curves of the winding road, rocking her back and forth.
One deep curve flung her against Scott. She tried to shove herself off him without success.
"Hang on." He jerked the steering wheel, and the truck careened to the right. The motion plastered her so tightly against his hot muscles that she couldn't right herself until they bounced through several potholes. Her teeth jarred together.
Why didn't I put on a seatbelt? The momentum of another hard right turn tumbled her toward him again. Her head thumped against his ribs and her hand landed on his thigh. Oops. She slid down. Locking her hand onto his wide leather belt, she anchored herself so she wouldn't go flying again.
Abruptly, he slammed on the brakes, backed up and turned onto a tiny, overgrown road.
"Where are we?" She peeled her fingers from his belt and sat up.
Once behind a thicket of dense bushes, he cut the engine and the lights. "In a hiding place."
Headlights approached and the SUV flew by with a roar.
"Why do they want the amulet so badly? How valuable is it?" she asked.
"The British man believes it's worth at least a million."
"A million dollars? That's insane! It's been sitting in my jewelry box for fifteen years, since my grandmother gave it to me." She brushed her fingertips over the smooth stone that glowed slightly in the dimness.
Scott cranked the engine, backed up, and tore out of their hiding place, retracing their tracks.
"I shouldn't have worn the amulet. I mean, who would've thought? How old do you think it is?"
"It might be from the medieval period or earlier."
"It would be that old if what the British man said is true. He believes it's a companion piece to the Ring of Glaminy."
"What is that?" she asked.
"A legendary ring with mystical powers and a blue stone. It was stolen from a Scottish museum a few years ago."
"But my amulet isn't blue. And it has never been in a museum."
"I know. Maybe it isn't the Glaminy Amulet, but the men chasing us believe it is. So that's what's important at the moment."
"True." She would have an expert examine it when she went back to Columbia.
Approaching lights from behind lit the truck's interior.
"Shit! They're getting too close. Must be them." Scott sped up.
Heart hammering, Leslie stared back at the two menacing high beams. They were almost ramming the bumper. Facing front again, she slid down.
"Fasten your seatbelt," Scott said.
She yanked it around her and snapped the buckle into place. "We have to call the police."
"I will when I get these bastards off our tail and find a phone. One of the local deputies is a friend of mine."
Something bumped the truck. "Ack! Can you lose them?"
A distant pop drew her attention.
"Damn! They're shooting at us," Scott said. "Get down!"
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