Psychic medium Quinn Thatcher would never be classified as normal. Just ask her mother. Her people-pleasing skills could use some work, which is why Quinn prefers working with the dead over the living. Ghosts take her as she is, but when people experience Quinn’s sharp tongue and sassy attitude, there is no in between. They either love her or want to throw her off the nearest bridge, with the latter being more typical. Good thing she knows how to swim.
When a Scottish ghost invades her home and insists she resolve his earthly issues, banishing his ghostly presence becomes priority number one, and a battle of wills and wits ensues until she ultimately agrees.
Her task is easy enough. Return a gem to its rightful owner and then return home, minus the aggravating ghost. Quinn should know things are never as easy as they seem.
Scottish laird Collin Menzie has lived through his share of problems and is still currently dealing with the aftermath of a fire that nearly destroyed his ancestral home. When a beautiful American shows up to return his emerald, her presence starts an unavoidable collision course, in which he questions not only his destiny but also hers.
When dealing with an annoying ghost, an emerald worth a small fortune, and a sexy-as-hell Highlander, what could possibly go wrong? Quinn is about to find out just how deadly the combination can be.
Quinn started the climb up the grassy hill. With each step, her perfect white heels sank further into the brown dirt and her calves screamed in protest.
“I could be on the beach working on my tan,” she grumbled as Clarence appeared at her side. “Nice of you to show. I hope you’re happy and decide to stay.”
The damn ghost had the nerve to disappear again. Jerk. If she ever figured out a way to blast ghosts into the light, her job would be easier. She gave up trying to climb the mountain on her tippy-toes to avoid completely ruining her shoes. She slipped them off her feet and dangled them between her fingers as she walked barefoot the rest of the way to the top. Ridge her butt. A baby Mt. Everest was more like it. Okay, so maybe cheeseburgers weren’t her friend either.
She heard shouting that got louder as she neared the stone bridge. She crossed it to find several grown men and women standing in a circle. Their plaid clothes reminded her of a picnic without food. Two kilted men sat tall on horseback, one on a black stallion and the other white, while clanking their swords together, making her ears ring. One of the horses rose on his hind legs, and the rider lifted the shiny silver sword in the air and waved it around, like Quinn had while trying to get a male stripper’s attention by flashing a twenty-dollar bill. His hooves landed with a thud against the ground, and a ghastly smell permeated the air. Did horses fart? Or maybe it had been the rider. Whoever was responsible, the smell reeked of bad eggs. Quinn stood unsure and stunned as she watched. Taking a tentative step toward the crowd, she held her breath from the smell. Using her shoulders and elbows, she slipped into the surrounding crowd for a better view of the barbaric fight.
The burly man standing next to her answered without looking in her direction. “The annual reenactment of the Menzie/McDougall battle over the lost emerald. It’s tradition.”
“I bet.” Her lips twitched in amusement. “Which one is Menzie?”
“Menzie is in the green. McDougall is red.”
Menzie’s arm muscles constricted as he swung his sharp sword, clanging it against his opponent’s. A mischievous smile spread across his lips as his eyes twinkled. He was handsome in a rugged kind of way, and she silently wondered if he was all brawn and no brains. She should be so lucky.
Quinn stepped into the arena and held up her arms to stop the battle. “Excuse me…”
The swords continued to clink, and her presence went ignored, so she did what any southern woman would do. She slipped her fingers into her mouth and let out a loud whistle that would have made her mother cringe and her father think he’d raised a tomboy.
Both men came to an abrupt stop and turned their horses in her direction. Both had that…who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are glare Quinn seemed to get everywhere she went. She rolled her eyes.
People in the crowd gasped with the same greeting as the maid. As long as they kept their pinchers to themselves, no one would get hurt.
Quinn slipped the emerald from around her neck and tossed it toward the man in the green kilt. “Game over. The mighty emerald has been returned. You can each go back to your castles and have a beer or whatever it is you do to celebrate.” She planned to.
Quinn smiled brightly and spun on her bare feet, ready to walk away. Within seconds, the sound of galloping hooves and the bark of a dog had her spinning around just as a huge ball of white fur leaped from the ground and tackled her. Her body hit the grass with a thump as a pink tongue licked the length of her cheek, covering her in drool and ruining her makeup. Of course, a psychotic dog. She should have known.
“Harness, heel,” a deep-timbered voice boomed with authority from above.
The dog gave her one last lick and climbed off. Crazy mutt. Harness sat on his haunches, staring at Quinn through the white hair that covered his face. His tongue lolled out as he panted, as though waiting to lick her like his favorite lollipop flavor while humping her leg. Quinn’s nose twitched while picking the dog hair off her shirt, trying her best to hold in the sneeze that teased for release. A shiver of annoyance traveled down her spine, in a clutching hold, like the flu that had attacked her pilot.
“Good dog,” she mumbled, getting back to her feet. She swiped at the dirt stains covering her ruined white skirt. These people could keep their motherland. Scotland and Quinn would never get along.
“Who are you?” Menzie asked, hopping down off his extremely large, white horse. A shame. The wind kept his kilt down. It would have answered an age-old question and brought a whole new meaning to the word bareback. She shivered. Becca would have loved this place, and the knight in shining armor this guy portrayed. Pity that Quinn couldn’t have manipulated her to deliver the damn gem.
“I’m nobody, and I’m just leaving.” She grabbed her shoes.
“No, wait.” His voice held more of a demand than a request. She ignored him. There was only one man that she’d consider stopping for when he issued a command, and she called him Dad.
“There isn’t enough sinus medicine in all your land to get me to stay,” she called over her shoulder and lifted the heels in her hand as a wave goodbye. “Peace, love, and God save the Queen.” Was that right? Probably not, but it still brought a genuine smile to her lips.
Laughter and voices continued behind her. The quicker she got back to the hotel, the closer she’d be to getting home.
Quinn had just cleared the bridge when the dog appeared by her side. “Go away. Shoo.” She waved her shoes toward him. Her scare tactic bombed, and he rubbed against her leg.
“I’m not here for you,” Quinn yelled out to the ghostly woman watching from her perch in the tower. Sometimes ghosts could be as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and other times just plain mean. No two were ever the same.
“Who are you talking to, luv?”
Quinn refrained from rolling her eyes as Menzie appeared on her right and McDougall on her left.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt your play time. I just wanted to return your prize.” She quickened her step. For every two of hers, they took one.
A beefy hand clenched Quinn’s arm. The thick fingers dug into her poor delicate skin and she stopped on the spot, adjusting a shoe in each hand with the sharp, pointy heels to use as makeshift weapons. “Remove your hand, or I’m going to find out if you are actually wearing underwear under your skirt when I kick your balls.”
“McDougall, release her,” Menzie growled, and McDougall smirked. Wrong move. Men were all the same, no matter what country they were from. They’d test her resolve until she shoved it in their faces.
“No, I willnae until the wee lass tells me how she came to find the stone.”
“Suit yourself.” Quinn slammed both of her heels into his arm and spun, kicking beneath his skirt. Her foot came in contact with sweaty balls. Lucky for him, her newfound anger held her gag reflex at bay. Otherwise, he’d be covered in the same color as his enemy. Green split pea soup.
Mr. McNotSoStudlyNow fell instantly to the ground, cupping his crown jewels. She shrugged.
“Can’t say I didn’t warn you. You should really think about wearing underwear. I’m not sure it’s sanitary for the horses.” Much less her foot. She chuckled and continued walking, leaving the Scottish douche on the ground, moaning like a big baby while she desperately tried to remember if she’d packed a bottle of disinfectant in her bag.
“You’re a feisty one.” Menzie chuckled. “But he deserved it.”
“And more. My momma always told me to act like a lady, unless some schmuck tried to treat me like a piece of meat.”
“Wise advice,” he said as they approached the car, where Angus was waiting with the door open. A smile split his lips, and his eyes twinkled in approval.
“I would say it’s been a pleasure, but it hasn’t. Good day, Laird Menzie. I hope you have a long life with your prize.”
“Who are you?”
She let out a resigned sigh. “Quinn Thatcher. You have your emerald, so my work here is done.” She patted the large muscles on his sweaty, bare, tanned chest. Yes, okay, she copped a feel. It was the least he could put up with to repay her for her hell of Mr. Grabby and the obnoxious ghost. “Have a nice life.”
Kate has lived in Florida for most of her entire life. She enjoys a quiet life with her husband, Michael and two kids.
Kate has pulled all-nighters finishing her favorite books and also writing them. She says she’ll sleep when she’s dead or when her muse stops singing off key.
She loves creating worlds full of suspense, secrets, hunky men, kick ass heroines, steamy sex and oh yeah the love of a lifetime. Not to mention an occasional ghost and other supernatural talents thrown into the mix.