I was super fortunate in 2017 to take a hiking trip in Scotland, and I fell into the trap that snares pretty much every romance writer on the planet—falling in love with Scotland’s beautiful, wild self. I knew I would have to incorporate the misty, beautiful formidable Highlands, the 96-mile West Highland Way hiking trail, and the magical legends into some books.
When Ewan Portman learns he’s in line to inherit a five-hundred acre estate in Scotland, he’s more skeptical and annoyed than impressed. He has a plan for his life and it doesn’t include his late mother’s long-lost aunt Catrione Kerr or a place called Craigwarren.
Ainslie Campbell is a small town veterinarian in Glencoe, Scotland and her life is slowly turning into one for the books. Her pregnant teenage sister is living with her, her Highland clients sometimes pay her in eggs rather than money, and the dream home she’s renting and wants to buy suddenly gets bought out from under her by an old nemesis.
Ewan has no interest in Scotland and certainly not in legends featuring flesh-eating water horses or house elves. Ainslie only wants to find a place where she can love and be loved. Together they discover exactly what it means to find heart, home, loyalty, heritage…and love.
“My father has never told us much about our mother’s background. We grew up knowing next to nothing about her. I was barely five when she died and don’t have more than a brief memory or two. Bridget, though, she’s the odd one. She claims to remember things she really couldn’t, since she was only two when our mother died. But she swears she remembers her voice and even some stories and songs.”
“Then she probably does. She has the magic in her.”
It was the first ridiculous thing Ainslie Campbell had said, and a whiff of solid skepticism cleared a little of Ewan’s brain fog.
Ainslie only laughed. “I’ll make you a wager, Mr. Portman. In five days, you’ll have seen enough to believe a little in magic or I’ll jump into Loch Warren naked as the day I was born and brave our kelpie face-to-face.”
He didn’t know where to start with that. Laughter rose in him like foam in an ale, and he raised his brows in appreciation.
“Naked you say. That’s a pretty bold bet to make with someone you haven’t even known for two hours.”
“I made it because I’m not worried one bit about having to pay the wager.”
“Okay, before I take the bet, what’s a kelpie?”
“A flesh-eating water horse.”
“Catrione has one in her loch.”
He couldn’t contain the snort that echoed through the little car and made Ainslie giggle. “Of course she does. Well I declare this to be not much of a bet. Not because you’re going to win, but because there are no such things as kelpies.”
“Ay, you’re probably right. Although those who’ve seen him will beg to disagree.”
“Like the people who’ve seen the Loch Ness monster?”
“Ah, so ye have heard a few legends.” She winked at him.
“A person would have to be blind, deaf, and live in a coal mine not to have heard about her. That has nothing to do with knowing anything about the real Scotland.”
“You can make that argument I suppose. But people have seen Nessie as well, and they’ll tell you she’s as Scottish as it gets. Tell me. What do you wager if I win the bet?”
He thought a moment and then snapped his fingers.
“I’ll eat actual haggis.”
She shot him a triumphant smile. “That’s completely no bet, man. You’ll be having haggis for breakfast tomorrow.”
“Side bet—you will. Catrione bought it herself just yesterday. She’ll make it for you, and you’ll try it or you’ll offend her.”
Ewan shook his head, giving up the argument. He’d done the barest minimum of research for this trip, but one of the things he’d done his due diligence on was haggis. Sheep heart, liver, and lungs minced with spices and oatmeal. He was not a squeamish man, but that was beyond the call of duty even to avoid insulting a long lost great aunt.
“She’ll just have to be offended and forgive me later. I’m not eating sheep lungs boiled in sheep’s stomach.”
“We don’t use sheep stomach much anymore.” Again her giggle infected him with well-being. “It’s mostly man-made sausage casing. Not enough stomachs to go ’round, you see.”
She was insane. These people were insane.
I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to keep watching for this new series. I’m certainly excited about it and I thank you for indulging me while I shared it. While we wait, I’d love to know—has Scotland, the idea of Scotland, or anything about Scotland ever captured your imagination? What’s your favorite kind of Scottish romance? Here’s Jamie Fraser—stopping by to help you decide!