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In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams

Wildest Scottish Dreams

January 27, 2015

 

IN YOUR WILDEST SCOTTISH DREAMS

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams begins another trilogy.

When I finished writing the Clan Sinclair series I realized something was pulsing in the background. I get that feeling when I need to write a book. A premise, a plot, or characters are trying to make their presence known.

I knew what I wanted to write immediately.

I’ve wanted to write a book involving the Civil War for many years. The first book of the new trilogy featuring the descendants of the MacIains, a proud Highlander family, begins in Scotland. We’re off to England for the second book and to America for the third before coming back to Scotland.

The plot of In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams

Glynis MacIain adored Lennox Cameron and had ever since she was a girl. One night she mustered up her courage to tell him only to see Lennox with another woman, a woman gossip said was going to be his wife. Embarrassed and humiliated, she escaped Glasgow to visit London and her cousin. There she met a diplomat who proposed a marriage of convenience, one she accepted in relief.

Marry in haste; repent in leisure

Marry in haste; repent in leisure. Glynis had plenty of time to do that. When she returned to Glasgow, it was with a renewed determination. She wasn’t going to have anything to do with Lennox. She was no longer the love struck girl she’d been. Why, then, couldn’t she ignore the man?

When Glynis MacIain disappeared one night, only to marry a stranger, Lennox Cameron was confused. Glynis had been important in his childhood, the sister of his best friend. When she returned to Glasgow, however, he was stunned. The widow had little in common with the girl who’d bedeviled him when she was a child. This woman was self-possessed, poised, and fascinating. She was also unfortunately pretending he was a stranger. He wasn’t going to tolerate that, especially since it seemed like the American Civil War followed her home.

A strange connection to music

One day I happened on to “In Your Wildest Dreams” by the Moody Blues and was struck by how much the lyrics applied to the characters and plot of the book. Right then and there I knew what the title had to be.

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An excerpt from the audio version on Soundcloud

EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

 

July, 1855

Glasgow, Scotland

 

Glynis had planned this encounter with such precision. Everything must go perfectly. All that was left was for Lennox to come into the anteroom.

A few minutes ago she’d given one of the maids a coin to take a message to him.

“I don’t know, Miss MacIain. He’s with those Russian people.”

“He’ll come,” she said, certain of it.

The girl frowned at her.

“Really, it’s all right. Go and get him, please.”

She could understand the maid’s reluctance. Lennox was an excellent host while his father was away in England. This ball was held in honor of the Cameron’s Russian partner, a way to offer Count Bobrov, his wife and daughter a taste of Scottish hospitality. Hillshead, Lennox’s home, was lit from bottom to top, a beacon for all of Glasgow to witness.

She took a deep breath, pressed her hands against her midriff and tried to calm herself. She wasn’t a child. She was nineteen, her birthday celebrated a week earlier. Lennox had been there, marking the occasion by kissing her on the cheek in front of everyone.

The anteroom was warm or perhaps it was nerves causing her palms to feel damp. Her spine felt coated in ice and her stomach hurt.

When was he going to arrive?

She pressed both palms against the skirt of her gown, a beautiful pale pink confection her mother had given her for her birthday. Pink roses were braided through her hair. A pink and silver necklace of roses was draped around her neck and she fingered it now.

The anteroom wasn’t really a separate room but a small area off the ballroom and accessible to the terrace stretching the width of Hillshead. A curtain hung between the door and the ballroom.

They would have enough privacy here.

He’d be here in a few moments. Lennox was too polite and honorable to ignore her request.

Had she worn too much perfume? She loved Spring Morning, a perfume her mother purchased in London. The scent reminded her of flowers, rain, and the fresh rosebuds in her hair.

Her hands were trembling. She clasped them together, took deep breaths in a futile effort to calm herself. She clamped her eyes shut, rehearsing her speech again.

Her whole life came down to this moment. She woke thinking of Lennox. She went to bed with one last glance up at Hillshead. When he called on Duncan at their house, she made sure to bring him refreshments, amusing Lily and their cook, Mabel, with her eagerness. When they met in the city, she asked about his latest ship, his father, his sister, anything to keep him there for a few more minutes. At balls she sometimes danced with him, trying hard not to reveal how much she adored him when in his arms.

The tips of her ears burned and her cheeks flamed. She would melt before he reached her, she knew it. She pressed the fingers of both hands against her waist, blew out a breath, closed her eyes, and envisioned the scene soon to come.

She should be reticent and demure, but how could she be? It was Lennox. Lennox, who held her heart in his hands. Lennox, who smiled down at her with such charm it stole her breath.

Lennox was tall and strong with broad shoulders and a way of walking that made her want to watch him. There was no more handsome man in all of Glasgow.

Suddenly he was there, stepping into the anteroom. Turning slowly to mitigate her hoop’s swirling, she faced him.

He wore formal black, his snowy white shirt adorned with pin tucks down the front.

His black hair was brushed straight back from his forehead. Intelligence as well as humor shone in gray green eyes the color of the River Clyde. A stranger might think life amused him. Yet from boyhood he’d been intent on his vocation, fascinated with anything to do with ships and the family firm.

His face was slender with high cheekbones and a square jaw. She could look at him for hours and never tire of the sight.

“Glynis? What is it?”

She took a deep breath, summoned all of her courage, and approached him. Standing on tiptoe she placed her hands on his shoulders, reached up and kissed him.

He stiffened but after a second he kissed her back.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, holding on as he deepened the kiss. She hadn’t been wrong. She thought kissing Lennox would be heavenly and it was. If angels started singing she wouldn’t be surprised.

Long moments later Lennox pulled back, ending the kiss. Slowly, he removed her arms from around his neck.

“Glynis,” he said softly. “What are you doing?”

I love you. The words trembled on her lips. Tell him. Tell him now. All the rehearsing she’d done, however, didn’t make it easier to say. He must feel the same. He must.

“Lennox? Where have you gone?”

The curtains parted and Lidia Bobrova entered the anteroom. She glanced at the two of them and immediately went to Lennox’s side, grabbing and hanging onto his arm as if she’d fall if he didn’t support her.

Lidia was as frail as a Clydesdale. Tall and big-boned, she had a long face with a wide mouth and Slavic cheekbones. Did Lennox think she was pretty?

The girl had been introduced to her as the daughter of Mr. Cameron’s Russian partner only an hour earlier. Lidia had barely glanced at her, dismissing her with a quick, disinterested smile, the same treatment she was giving Glynis now.

“What is it, my Lennox?”

My Lennox?

“My father wishes to speak to you.” She fluttered her lashes at him. “He mustn’t be kept waiting. You know there’s something important he wishes to discuss with you.” She patted his sleeve. “The future, perhaps?”

Glynis pressed her hands against her midriff again and forced herself to breathe.

Lidia was clinging to Lennox and all he did was glance down at her.

The Russian woman’s gown of green velvet was too heavy for a Scottish summer. Gold ribbon adorned the split sleeves and overskirt and was threaded through Lidia’s bright blond hair. Her hoop skirt was so large it nearly dwarfed the room but she still managed to stand too close to Lennox.

Surely no unmarried girl should be wearing as many diamonds at her ears and around her neck. Were the Russians so afraid their wealth would be stolen they wore it all at once?

“Come, Lennox.” Lidia’s voice wasn’t seductive as much as plaintive.

The Lennox she’d known all her life wasn’t charmed by whining and wheedling.

“Come and talk to my father and then we’ll dance. Lennox, you promised. Please.”

He glanced down at Lidia and smiled, an expression she’d always thought reserved for her. A particular Lennox smile made up of patience and of humor.

Until this moment he’d never treated her like a nuisance or a bother. Although she was Duncan’s younger sister, he’d always seen her as herself, asking her opinions, talking to her about his future plans. Yet now he was dismissive as Lidia.

She might not be there for the attention either of them paid her.

Embarrassment spread from the pit of her stomach, bathing every limb in ice. She was frozen to the spot, anchored to the floor by shame.

“Please, my Lennox.”

Grabbing her skirt with both hands, Glynis turned toward the curtains. She had to escape now. She didn’t glance back as she raced from the anteroom, tears cooling her cheeks.

The last thing she heard was Lidia’s laugh.

 

*****

 

“Oh, do let the silly girl go, Lennox,” she said. “We’ll go meet with my father and then dance.”

Lennox turned to Lidia Bobrova. He’d known the girl nearly as long as he’d known Glynis, having traveled to Russia since he was a boy.

She smiled back at him, a new and curious calculating expression that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.

“Has the child always been so rude?” she asked.

“I’ve never found her to be so.” Nor would he consider her a child, not the way she’d just kissed him.

Why hadn’t her mother noticed the décolletage of Glynis’s dress was far lower than normal? He wanted to pull it up himself to conceal the swell of her breasts. Wasn’t her corset laced too tight? He’d never noticed her waist was that small.

He glanced toward the door, wondering how to detach himself from Lidia. She’d latched onto him at the beginning of the evening, and from her father’s fond looks, her actions had familial approval.

Cameron and Sons was in the process of selling their Russian shipyards to Count Bobrov. Negotiations were in the final stage and he didn’t want to do anything to mar them. Yet allowing Lidia to signal to everyone there was more to their relationship was going too far.

Lidia leaned toward him and a cloud of heavy French perfume wafted in his direction. Her face was dusted with powder and she’d applied something pink on her lips.

He needed to get out of the anteroom before anyone attached significance to his being alone with Lidia. He needed to find Glynis and explain. Then they’d discuss that kiss.

He hadn’t expected her to kiss him. His thoughts were in turmoil. He was just grateful Lidia – or anyone else – hadn’t entered the anteroom a few minutes earlier.

What would he have said?

She startled me. Hardly a worthwhile explanation although it was the truth.

He should have pushed her away, not enjoyed kissing her. It was Glynis. Glynis of the merry laugh and the sparkling eyes and the pert quip. Glynis, who had managed to muddle his thoughts tonight as well as confuse him thoroughly.

Lidia said something but he wasn’t paying any attention. He began walking back to the ballroom. Since she’d gripped his arm with talon-like fingers she had no choice but to come with him.

With any luck, Duncan would help him out, take the possessive Lidia off his arm and waltz with her, leaving him to find Glynis.

He didn’t know as he left the anteroom that it would be seven years until he saw Glynis again.