Heart of the Sea
In the world of the Others, affairs of the heart are no less complicated. Jenny Ferguson wants to give her husband-to-be a very special wedding gift, but what does a girl get for the selkie laird who has everything? She thinks she's thought of the perfect thing, but she needs help to put it together. Calling on one of her oldest friends — who also happens to be her first lover — she works a little magic that ends up causing a lot of unforeseen problems. After all, when your fiance catches you and another man… half-naked… at dawn… three days before the wedding… the situation can become more complicated than anyone ever anticipated. And Jenny might discover it will take more than magic to save her wedding day.
Janet Ferguson staggered across the floor of her cozy cottage with the grace and speed of a drunk on the tail end of a week-long bender. As she reached the door, she glanced to the right and caught a glimpse of herself in the oval mirror mounted against the wall and decided she looked about like that drunk, too.
Her always unruly red hair looked as if it had been recently trimmed with the aid of a lawn mower, and drying sweat had glued random strands to her skin with all the artistic sensibilities of a deranged Rhesus monkey. Wincing, she consoled herself with the knowledge that her first order of business for this morning would be a very long shower. Right after she sucked in the world’s most enormous lungful of clean, fresh Scottish air.
Wrenching open the cottage door, Jenny suited actions to words and felt an almost orgasmic shiver course through her. Goddess, but nothing on earth had ever felt or smelled or tasted so good. Not in her entire life. After all the past hours spent locked inside, immersed in incense and candlelight, the touch of salt-tinted air on her skin felt better than a lover’s caress.
Well, almost. After all, she did have a fairly amazing lover. One who in three short days would finally become her husband.
Jenny felt a foolish smile stretch across her face and opened her normally bright green—but momentarily quite bloodshot—eyes and soaked in the glory of the bright morning sunshine. Not even the crisp bite of the October air could dim her mood. Her activities of the night before might have sapped her strength, but they had also left her an extremely satisfied woman.
What a glorious day to be alive, and a witch, and in love.
“Jenny, lass,” a deep, masculine voice called out behind her. “Did you happen to notice where I left my shirt last night? I found my trousers under the settee in the parlor. And one of my socks. But the rest eludes me, and I confess to feeling a slight chill this morning.”
She didn’t even bother to glance back. The front garden and rich landscape beyond held her too captivated. Or maybe it was love that managed that particular feat. “Check behind the armchair, Paddy,” she answered over her shoulder. “You always did have a sorry aim.”
A good-natured grumble was her only answer, and her smile curved into a grin. She hadn’t quite heard his answer, but she didn’t need to. After knowing each other for so many years, she could guess well enough how it had been phrased.
Jenny had met the two most important men of her life the day before her eighth birthday, when she and her parents had relocated from the bustle of Inverness to the small western highland coastal town of Rontraigh. One had been the son of the village tavern-keeper, her best friend, and her first lover. The other had been the scion of an ancient and powerful local family, her closest confidant, and her one true love. Soon he would be her life’s mate and her little world would be complete.
Anticipation sang through her veins. She could hardly wait for Saturday.
A gust of wind sent a dry leaf skittering across the slates of the front path and reminded Jenny that she was standing barefoot and mostly undressed on her stoop during the first of the year’s serious cold snaps. If she wanted to make it to her wedding day with a nose that didn’t drip, she should get back inside before she caught cold.
Laughing at her own idiocy, she took a step back and had the door halfway shut when another gust of wind caught the weight of it and pushed it back open, leaving Jenny face to face with the last man she’d expected to see this morning.
Her fiancé. Richard Maccus.