What a busy three months! Life has been on big rush ever since Vanilla Heart accepted my submission for The House on the Shore. Not only did the cover and synopsis appear on Amazon.com and other online bookstores, but it will also be available in libraries in both the UK and USA. WooHoo!!!
Set in the Highlands of Scotland, this visually magical tale takes the reader on a journey from the remote shores of Loch Hourn to the singular beauty of Cape Cod.
And for those of you who might be considering buying a copy, here’s a short excerpt:
Her concentration was broken by the shriek of frantic barking. She tore her gaze away from the screen and looked out of the kitchen window. A tall, dark-haired man was making his way up the crescent-shaped beach, doing a weird twisting dance, holding his right arm above his head. With his left he pushed off the two boisterous, snapping collies.
“Oh hell,” she groaned. She threw open the door and shouted. “Ensay! Rhona! Heel!”
The dogs instantly stopped snapping at the stranger’s ankles and ran to their mistress. Anna leaned against the door frame and waited while the figure strode confidently across the grass towards her, his well-muscled body covering the rough ground with long, purposeful strides. His jet black hair showed a little grey at the temples, the cut slightly longer than was considered acceptable for a man she judged to be in his forties. But somehow it suited him.
He stopped a foot from her door, close enough for her to smell the lemon spice of his cologne. Now that she could see him more clearly, she noticed the laughter lines around his eyes and mouth, hinting at a softer side to his character. His body was lean, the outline of his muscles visible through the shirt he wore. A faint white scar creased his right cheek, and she thought it gave his face a handsome rugged look. He gazed at her with dark brown eyes and smiled, slow and warm, and for some reason her breathing quickened.
With just one look she knew he was trouble.
“Hi, there. I know I’m trespassing, but do you think you could ask your dogs not to rip off my thigh?”
Anna drew herself up to her full height, which was barely up to his shoulder. “They’re guard dogs and only doing their duty,” she said stiffly. The dogs sat at her silent signal, but their eyes remained fixed on the stranger.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m having engine trouble and I can’t get a signal.” He indicated his mobile phone.
“That’s because there are no transmitters.”
“Oh, then could I borrow your phone? I need to contact the nearest boatyard for some advice.”
“I don’t have a phone.”
He rubbed a hand over the back of his neck. “Look, I haven’t slept for twenty-four hours and I’m beat. Sandpiper, that’s my yacht, developed a problem soon after I left Stornaway.” He paused as her words registered. “Did I hear right? You don’t have a phone?”
“No, I don’t, so I’m afraid I can’t help you. I suggest you weigh anchor, turn your boat around, and head west out of the loch.”
“Perhaps I should’ve introduced myself. I’m Luke Tallantyre, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts.” He offered his hand. She didn’t take it.
“Anna, Anna MacDonald. Yachts are always straying into the loch at this time of year. Their crews seem to think this is some sort of hostel. Well, it’s not, and I still don’t have a phone.”
“Okay, so where do I catch the bus to town?” His eyes lingered on her face. “Oh, no. You’re about to tell me there isn’t a bus either. Aren’t you?”
Anna nodded. The motion sent sunlight gliding through her auburn hair. “That’s right. Welcome to Kinloch Hourn, otherwise known as the Loch of Hell.”
“The name fits,” Luke muttered. “What sort of place doesn’t have a phone or a bus service in this day and age?”
“How about the remotest glen in the Highlands? Up here, one man and his dog constitute a crowd. And before you ask, there are no shops either, unless you count Mrs McCloud in the village, but she only opens on alternate days. The butcher’s van calls every Thursday afternoon, and the library service visits once a month. I think that about covers all the local amenities. Oh yes, there’s a mobile bank too, but that only comes once a fortnight. The school closed last year. But you’re in luck…there’s a hotel and it has a phone.”
“So there is a God after all.”
“However, its twelve miles down the road in that direction,” she replied, pointing vaguely to some distant place.