This excerpt from Just Wait For Me has been edited for inclusion here and is a follow up to the excerpt posted last Wednesday...
Stephen held his breath, not moving a muscle. How could he make his presence known without spooking the lass?
After the shock of seeing her in the chamber where he slept, he’d rudely exposed his ugliness. Guilt tearing at him, he hurried as best he could on his crutch to the falls. He’d hobbled deep into the pool, taking a seat in the shadows, allowing the warm water to wash over his stiff shoulders. The muscle aches and ever-gnawing pain in his leg lessened.
Time suspended, though he didn’t sleep. With a warrior’s alertness, he sensed the moment she entered the chamber. Why would he feel such a connection to this woman from the future? Like Lady Laurie, that’s who she must be.
“I know you’re there. Show yourself.” Her voice trembled.
Loath to cause more distress, he slowly leaned forward, out of the shadows, not far from where she sat. “I am here.”
She jerked her gaze to him, eyes wide.
“I did not wish to disturb you.”
“You saw me undress,” she accused, her sweet lips curving into a comely scowl.
He held the urge to smile at bay. He’d enjoyed the show immensely, especially the teasing stretch exposing the curve of her back. The silky garments she wore left little to the imagination. Her shapely hips lovely. Her skin ivory perfection. The need to touch her almost more than he could endure.
He cleared his throat, hoping she wouldn’t hear the lust in his voice. “I am sorry. I should have made my presence known, but I did not want you to run off before the fae waters healed your hands.”
“I’m not afraid of you.”
“You should not be.”
“Well, I’m not.”
The silence became awkward. Stephen groped for something to say. “You said your name is Jillian?”
“Mine is Stephen. Stephen MacEwen.”
She smiled. More silence.
Of a sudden, Jillian jerked her feet up onto the shelf where she sat. Wrapping arms tightly around her legs, she stared into the water with a frown.
“What is wrong?” Stephen asked, sliding closer.
“Something brushed over my feet. Are their snakes in the water?”
Her horrified expression made him chuckle. “Nae. Just wee toothless fish.”
“Oh. Like the garra rufa that nibble away dead skin from your feet when you get a fish pedicure at one of the fancy spas in Asheville.”
“I dinnae ken about that, but the fish in this pool will not hurt you.”
She dropped her feet deeper into the water and smiled. “Tickles.”
“Aye. Does.” He sounded like the village idiot.
“I’m lost. The children told me the Gray Women would help me find my way to a phone or to a town where I could call my brother, but they keep disappearing. Do you know where I can go to make a call?”
“The women come and go. Mysteriously.”
“Why are you here?”
“Ach. ’Tis a long story.”
“You’re Scottish. Right? You sound a lot like my business partner’s husband, Patrick MacLachlan. He’s originally from Scotland.” She shook her head, making her braid bob. “Of course, you wouldn’t know him. Sorry. I tend to ramble when I’m nervous.”
“I dinnae wish to make you uncomfortable.” She kenned Patrick!
She smiled, and Stephen had to rub an achy spot near his heart. He didn’t ken whether it was because she affected him so or because she kenned Patrick. He missed his cousin terribly.
Hope you enjoyed this wee excerpt from Just Wait For Me, a Highland Gardens Novel.