KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
HOT FOR THE SCOT
BY JANICE MAYNARD
In Janice Maynard’s sweet and sexy new series, three childhood friends with a shared passion for the Outlander novels and TV show decide to travel to Scotland looking for adventure—and their very own Highland heroes…
It’s a dream come true for schoolteacher Hayley Smith. No homework to grade, no students to corral, no social media, Internet or cell phone…just a month amid the heather and rolling hills around Inverness. A brawny alpha male in a kilt is probably too much to ask for. But Hayley is in heaven ambling around Loch Ness, gazing and then…falling into the icy water, before being rescued by a strong, chivalrous local hero…
Retired soccer star Angus Munro, aka Angus the Angler, is a little insulted and a whole lot intrigued when Hayley doesn’t recognize him. How long has it been since anyone saw beyond his wealth and fame? And how long before the macho athlete and his modern-day American damsel in distress act on an attraction that could make even the misty Scottish moors sizzle with heat? Long enough, maybe, for both to figure out if this is an affair to remember…or the start of something everlasting…
HOT FOR THE SCOT
BY JANICE MAYNARD
We arrived in Inverness just after eight. Fortunately, the gently aging hotel was located only a few steps away from the train station, because I was weaving on my feet. I was so tired, I felt sick.
Our room consisted of two single beds and barely enough room for a rollaway cot. I volunteered for the cot. I planned on sleeping until someone made me get up. The trip adrenaline had faded; all I wanted at this moment was oblivion.
My two roomies were in agreement. With the most cursory of nighttime routines, we readied ourselves for bed and turned out the lights.
I was almost asleep when McKenzie’s drowsy voice broke the silence. “I’m glad you both came with me.”
“Me, too,” I said, yawning and punching the thin pillow into a more comfortable contour.
Willow groaned aloud. “I’m sorry I was in a bad mood earlier. I really am excited. But are we absolutely sure we want to split up?”
It was a question I had asked myself many times. Because I so badly wanted to say no, I did the opposite. “We have to,” I said. “If we’re really going to be on the lookout for our own Scottish heroes, we need to be independent. A cluster of three women isn’t likely to attract the attention of an available Scotsman.”
McKenzie giggled. “Unless he’s into ménage à trois.”
“Your math skills suck,” I said. “And I don’t know the French word for four. Go to sleep. We don’t have to say goodbye yet.”
Over breakfast the next morning we shared a sense of anticipation laced with reluctance. Here in the confines of the hotel, we were safe. And together. What had seemed like a lark back in the States suddenly felt astonishingly real.
A month. An entire month on my own, exploring a country I had read about and dreamed about. I trembled inwardly with a raw mix of panic and exuberance.
A short time later, we stood out on the walk, huddled beneath an overhang. McKenzie had ordered a cab to take her to the car rental place. After that she would be on her way to Skye, where she was renting a small house for the month.
Willow and I clutched bus schedules in our hands. She had made arrangements to stay in the general Inverness area but in a youth hostel. I was headed south for a village on the shores of Loch Ness.
I wondered if my face reflected the same emotions I saw on my two friends’ countenances. “Be safe,” I said.
Willow nodded. “And don’t do anything stupid.”
The cab pulled up at the curb. McKenzie gave the driver a dazzling smile as he loaded her bags into the trunk. “Remember Claire,” she said. “Be brave.”
And then she was gone.
Across the street at the bus stop, the 107 pulled up. “That’s me,” Willow said.
I hugged her awkwardly, feeling my last lifeline slipping away. “Take care of yourself.”
And then I was on my own.
USA Today bestselling author Janice Maynard knew she loved books and writing by the time she was eight years old. But it took multiple rejections and many years of trying before she sold her first three novels. After teaching kindergarten and second grade for a number of years, Janice took a leap of faith and quit her day job. Since then she has written and sold over thirty-five books and novellas.
During a recent trip to Scotland, Janice enjoyed getting to know the “motherland”. Her grandfather’s parents emigrated from the home of bagpipes, heather, and kilts. Janice lives in east Tennessee with her husband, Charles. They love hiking, traveling, and spending time with family.
Hearing from readers is one of the best perks of the job!
Links to Janice’s website, blog, books, etc.