AIDAN: I’m a tour guide for a company in Edinburgh. We handle day tours in and near the city as well as longer tours in other parts of the UK.
RACHEL: I’m a technical analyst for the International Protective Network. I spend my day behind a desk playing with computers and providing information to our operatives.
Where did you grow up?
AIDAN: I grew up in Sunderland, England.
RACHEL: I’m from outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
Tell us about the first time you met.
AIDAN: (smiles and looks at Rachel) Do you want to tell them or do you want me to?
RACHEL: (crossing her arms and returning his smile) You can.
AIDAN: I was in the office and I saw her flailing about on a row boat. She was heading out to her family’s cottage, a building I’d been trying to buy for quite some time, so I rowed out after her. To be a good neighbor, of course.
RACHEL: Oh yeah, good neighbor. You came over to talk me into selling the cottage. But he’s right about my rowing abilities! When I first saw him, I was totally attracted to him, but of course I didn’t want to be.
What drew you to each other?
RACHEL: We’re good for each other. We support each other, can laugh together. We bring out the best in each other and our differences balance each other out. (She turns to Aidan.) What do you think?
AIDAN: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
What is your favorite part of each other?
RACHEL: Aidan is always honest with me, even when he knows I don’t want to hear it. I’ve had a lot of trouble with people lying to me to get what they wanted.
AIDAN: She’s always positive. Even when bad things happen, Rachel will always focus on the good or focus on getting back to the good.
Favorite vacation spot?
RACHEL: I actually love the Scottish Highlands. It’s so peaceful and calm and relaxing there. Yeah, the weather isn’t always great, but it isn’t great here in Edinburgh either.
AIDAN: Well, it used to be Cornwall until Rachel took me to the states of New England in the fall. I found much to love about those cities and towns.
Care to share future plans?
(They both look at each other.) RACHEL (whispering): Should we tell them?
AIDAN: (Takes her hand and entwines their fingers.) It’s up to you.
RACHEL: (She nips her bottom lip for a few seconds.) They’ll find out soon enough.
AIDAN: Aye, but what’s a few more days?
RACHEL (speaking at normal level): No, we don’t have any plans. We’re just taking things one day at a time, seeing where life takes us, and making the most of what we have.
But with the twinkle in her eye and the smiles they both wore, one has to wonder….
Honor Guard Series
Technical analyst Rachel Grant arrives in Sunderland intent on tidying up her grandmother’s cottage, but the disaster she discovers requires more than a gentle sweep of a dust rag. Determined to please the most important person in her life, she trades her computer keyboard for a hammer and nails to make the repairs. She doesn’t count on the chilly reception from the locals who want to claim Nan’s home as their own.
Tour guide Aidan Camden wants to buy the cottage. He’s determined to acquire the property no matter how attractive he finds the current occupant. However, when tragedy strikes, throwing them both into a tailspin, he discovers he wants more than the house. He longs for the sexy American as well. Can Aidan put his own ghosts to rest in time to save the woman who’s claimed his heart?
~~ Excerpt ~~
“A bit of a disappointment, I expect.” A rich, deep voice with a twinge of an English accent drifted from behind her.
She whirled around. Her hair whipped against her cheeks and made her wish for the hundredth time today she hadn’t packed all her hair clips.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
The stranger paused beside the edge of the clearing, and her heart stuttered. Although no one would mistake him for a Hollywood leading man, this guy could command attention by stepping into a room. Or onto an island.
“That’s okay. You didn’t.” She permitted her gaze to wander over him.
He kept his hands stuffed into the front pockets of faded jeans. The wind tore at his gray long-sleeved shirt, outlining the contours of a well-defined chest. Unruly light brown hair touched his collar. High cheekbones accented his deep-set eyes. Not friendly eyes, but no threat lay behind them either, at least none she could uncover.
He pulled a hand from his pocket and held it out. “Aidan Camden of Dawson Tours, your neighbor from across the water.” He tipped his head toward the way he’d come.
Camden. His name sounded familiar, but why? She shook his hand with a hint of hesitation. “Rachel Grant.”
His fingers warmed her skin, his grip strong and confident. Awareness trailed along her arm. Then again, it could be the accent that made her skin tingle. British accents never failed to stir her emotions.
A trace of a smile danced on his lips. “Aye, the American.”
Huh. “You know of me?”
A low rumble of laughter slipped from his mouth, the sound relaxing her from deep within. “Word travels fast here. I saw you paddling your way out.”
Paddling? No, he’d seen her fighting with the oars. Until today, she’d never set foot on a boat, much less held an oar. But she would consider swimming across the Atlantic Ocean if it would make Nan happy.
“Tell me, Mr. Camden, are you in the habit of following foreigners?”
“No, lass, but you’re all the talk of the Roker area. The mighty Grant descendant, come to see about selling the family cottage.”
~~ About the Author ~~
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She is thrilled to be writing for Decadent Publishing and to have the chance to share her love of Great Britain with readers everywhere.
When she's not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She loves to interact with readers, so visit her web page, hang out at her blog, follow her on Twitter or drop her a note at Alexa@alexabourne.com!