Hello. First I'd like to thank Samantha for hosting me today, which is release day for my new novella. “Highland Beauty” is the fourth book in the Kilrigh Heat series, set on the fictional Scottish island of Kilrigh. For those who have read the other three, you will get to find out how Fiona and Brodie are getting on. Baby George Alexander Louis has nothing on this kid's birth. But you'll also find out what the problem was between Sadie and her boyfriend In Highland Hogmanay.
For those who have not read the books, then don't worry. The books are all stand alone stories. You don't have to have read the others to get all hot and flustered over the sexy hero in his kilt.
Yes, I said kilt!
As I have already allude to, Fiona has her baby in the opening chapters of the story. Sadie, her sister-in-law, is the only midwife on the island. I needed to make it realistic. I don't think I'm being sexist to suggest most readers of this book will be female, many of whom will have been through childbirth and some who may even be midwives.
Now I need to point out that my mother always told me that childbirth is not painful... just uncomfortable. I think she wanted grandchildren and didn't want to put us off. Luckily, not only does my sister have three of her own children but she is a trained midwife. My sister explained it thusly. At some point during labour, most women will yell at their husband, threaten his little baby-making machine and promise never to let him near her again. She explained how all the paraphernalia worked... and having been a student nurse for a short while, I had been in the delivery room to see a few women in labour.
So I made my sister read it when it was finished and the only time she said, “Oh no no no NO! That would never happen,” was when Brodie sat on the bed. For a woman who has never given birth and only seen a baby born by c-section, I think I did not bad. But I'm not going to tell you what gender the baby was or what it was called. Like Catherine and William, I'm keeping that a royal secret until you've bought the book.
Try as she may, Sadie can't convince either Calum or herself that she's over him. She begins to find ways to continue their relationship while keeping her secret—ways that require her to be inventive in the bedroom.
But will the consequences of an irresponsible night on the beach be the thing that pulls them together or destroys their relationship forever?
It was a lovely dream. She and Calum were walking along the beach at the north end of the island. He'd thrown her into the water and she'd pulled him in alongside her. They were kissing slowly and passionately in shallow waters until Calum broke the kiss and stood up, helping her to her feet. As he removed her T-shirt, she felt no shame. There was nothing to be seen. He pressed his hand against her swollen belly, telling her how beautiful their daughter would be.
“Sadie.” Someone was calling her, but it wasn't Calum. He was still rubbing her belly. “Sadie.” The voice was more urgent. Why couldn’t the voice go away and leave them in peace? They were going to make love on the beach—she was sure of it. “Sadie, wake up.”
Oh—dream, no. Wake up.
She dragged herself away from the beautiful image and opened her eyes. It was dark, but she could just make out her sister-in-law.
“Fiona, are you OK?”
“I think it's started.”
“Are the pains regular?”
“Every ten minutes—like clockwork.”
“For how long?”
“About an hour. They were farther apart before.” At that moment, Fiona groaned and clutched her stomach with one hand and leaned over the bed, holding herself up on the other. She breathed through her teeth—a low moan accompanying each exhalation.
“OK. Let's get you to the hospital. I'll go and get Brodie.”
“No. I'll get him and my bag. You meet us down at the front door.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. He's grumpy when he wakes up. He might be horrible to you. Besides, I want to pack a few more things. If the baby falls out between your suite and ours, I'll scream loudly.”
“Okay, it's a deal. Five minutes and I want you downstairs.”
Fiona nodded and left the room.
Sadie's insides did a little flip as the door clicked shut. This was it. Her first delivery on Kilrigh, and it was going to be her own niece or nephew. She had delivered babies before, but always in a hospital or within an easy ambulance ride of the hospital if something went wrong. It was a huge responsibility.
She scrambled out of bed, threw on a clean uniform, grabbed her stethoscope and other nurse’s tools, and picked up her blue cardigan as she left the room. She arrived downstairs to find Fiona scowling at the open door and whatever was happening outside. Her parents were hurrying down the stairs at the other side of the large hallway.
“Is it coming?” Kentigern asked. What little hair he had was sticking up in the air, and he had clearly just thrown on a dressing gown, given the way the collar was half tucked in.
“Not imminently, but soon,” Sadie replied.
“If your bloody stupid son doesn't kill us all in his attempt to get us to the hospital.” Fiona's words were punctuated with the screech of tyres and the revving of the Land Rover engine.
“Can I help?” Finlay MacNeil appeared on the steps of the Big House, pulling on a hooded top over his pyjamas. Erin followed him, pushing her hands through her short blonde bob.
“Maybe you could drive, Finlay. Much though I love you, I have no desire for you to be heir to the lairdship.”
“Message received and understood. I'll get shit-for-brains out of the driving seat,” chuckled Finlay.
“I'll drive my car down to the hospital so I can bring Finlay home again,” suggested Erin.
“Thanks, that's a good idea.” Sadie was relieved that her family was working together. Brodie wasn't normally a prize chump. In fact, he was normally the most rational one out of the three of them.
As they all trooped outside, Sadie's arm around Fiona, the smell of pine trees mingled with the pungent sea smell assailed Sadie's nostrils. The night was clear and thousands of stars twinkled above them. Please God, let this birth go smoothly.
Brodie grumbled as he walked round the front of the Land Rover to the passenger seat. Sadie was about to help Fiona into the Land Rover when her sister-in-law clutched her belly and groaned.
“Fiona, just breathe through it. Exactly like they taught you in prenatal classes.”
Fiona turned her face towards Sadie and grimaced. The interior car light made her look desperately pale and gaunt. She may have seen many women in labour, but the apprehension in her Fiona's eyes reminded her that this was not just any baby—at least, not to her family.
It will be fine._____