Okay, I decided that I would post the first part of Chapter 1. This would be when Margaret and Patrick meet.
I am still busy with revisions. Working on chapter 7 now. UGH!
“How was I to know the bloody sheep were going to trample Irma’s wee plants?” Margaret mumbled to herself as she crawled through the rich dark mud. The smell of fresh dung clung to her so that she wrinkled her nose as she tried to scratch an itch, leaving yet another dark smear.
A smile slowly spread across Margaret’s face as she recalled the look on Frederick’s face when he realized that part of his flock had disappeared.
“Damn wooly beasties landed me in the middle of this muck.”
“Do you often talk to yourself in this manner, Mistress?”
At the sound of the unfamiliar deep voice, Margaret froze. She closed her eyes, hoping to be swallowed up by the nearest steaming dung heap. On second thought, it might not be such a grand idea, she had enough of the mixture covering her as it was.
Still on all fours, Margaret lifted her eyes enough to see a pair of large riding boots about a yard in front of her. Margaret let out an exasperated breath, blowing a few of the unruly tendrils of her strawberry blond curls off her sweaty forehead.
She forced her eyes to continue their journey up the brown form fitted riding breeches he wore. His fine linen shirt was tapered at the waist, and hung open, exposing a tanned chest with dark hair curling at the opening. Margaret noticed the stranger wore no waistcoat.
Feeling as though her cheeks were on fire, Margaret knew that a blush was creeping slowly across her face. Dropping her chin down, she hoped that whoever this man was, he hadn’t noticed. Heaven help her if he thought she was blushing at the mere sight of a semi-exposed chest. In her seventeen years, she had seen far more than that while the men on the estate labored.
A deep rumble that turned into laughter came from the stranger. Margaret jerked her head up, fully intent on setting this stranger in his place. She inhaled sharply at the strange tingle that shot through her when she stared back into his laughing pale green eyes.
His teeth were a white contrast to his sun tanned face. The humor softened him, but she thought he must certainly look fierce when not being amused by young girls up to their teeth in filth.
The young girl talking to herself was what had drawn Patrick’s attention. He found her amusing, and couldn’t contain his mirth. He thought she must surely be a shy child, seeming to become flustered at having been caught mumbling to herself covered with what he hoped was just mud. Then she had jerked her head up to meet his gaze. He was stunned by the sight.
The emerald eyes that locked onto his widened in surprise and he couldn’t help but notice her lips part as if to speak, but no sound came out. He would definitely have to remember to avoid this one.
That’s all he needed, Laird Angus Sinclair getting angry if he dallied with one of his servants, or worse, a servants daughter.
“I’ll leave you to your work mistress. Good day to you.” Patrick said, bending at the waist in a curt bow and turning his back to leave.
“English? It would make sense that an Englishman wouldn’t offer a lady his assistance to regain her footing.” Margaret quipped, coming to her senses after the unintentional insult by the stranger. How could he possibly know who I am? Margaret wondered. Even still, she hated smug Englishmen. She had seen enough in London a few months back to last her through this year and the next.
“My humble apologies my lady.” Patrick said with more than a touch of sarcasm. He raised an eyebrow and watched as the girl struggled to balance on her knees, raising herself up and stiffening her back. He chuckled softly as she lifted her chin in a haughty manner. Reaching out to help steady her, he was taken unaware when her filthy hand shot out and not only clutched his in a death grip, but jerked with amazingly accurate timing to pull him toward the muck.
Margaret’s temper was getting the better of her. She knew this, but once again, she was unable to stop her impulses. He won’t look so smug once he finds himself knee deep in this mire. She thought, as she put all her weight, slight though it was, into the unexpected tug that sent the man plummeting towards her!
“Oh my!” Was all Margaret managed to gasp, as she saw the error in her rash actions.
The force of her pull not only sent the man forwards, but she fell backwards into the rancid wet dirt. Before she could try and roll out of the way, he came crashing down on top of her, swearing in what certainly didn’t sound like an English accent.
“Och lass, if it was a roll that ye be lookin for, ye should have just said so. I would have been more than happy to accommodate such a fine bonny lass.”
Margaret tensed, her eyes growing wide with the knowledge that this man thought she wanted him on top of her. She could feel his breath on her chin, and froze in place. They had locked eyes and her stomach did that funny flip that it had a few minutes earlier when she had first looked into his eyes. This time it was more than one little twinge. She realized that if anyone saw them, there would be hell to pay, but she couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like to have him kiss her. Her eyes lowered to his lips that were parted in a lop-sided half smile, which made the flips start even faster. She could feel her heart trying to keep pace with whatever contortions that her mid-section was making. Her breathing became faster, and she felt as though she had been running a foot race.
All thoughts had momentarily left Patrick’s head. He was fairly certain that the girl didn’t intend for him to land on her. He wasn’t so sure now, as her eyes darted toward his mouth and he watched as her small pink tongue darted out to moisten her lips. He almost let out a groan at the sight. He was becoming horribly aware of the situation that she had put them in, but he couldn’t get his body to play along with his mind. He knew he should move, and quickly, but suddenly he had no control of himself, not something that happened often to him. He prided himself in his restraint, not that you could tell at that particular moment that he even possessed any.
Lowering his mouth to taste all that the girl had to offer, Patrick closed his eyes and just as he felt the first shock as their lips touched, he was violently pulled away from the awaiting paradise and thrown backwards a few feet, landing on his arse.
Margaret had closed her eyes when she realized that the man was going to kiss her. She held her breath as the first delightful touch of his surprisingly gentle mouth caressed her lips. As quickly as her heart started to race, the weight of him was gone, as were his lips from hers.
Margaret’s eyes flew open and she saw Frederick standing over her. She let out a sigh of relief that it hadn’t been anyone else. That is, until she saw the look of rage on his face.
Through gritted teeth, Frederick, standing over Patrick, growled, “Ye better have one helluva good reason to be molestin wee Maggie, or ye will be minus yer bullocks when I finish with ye.”
Copyright 2008 Terri Rainer