Day 6 of the Oghmaniacal Blogathon!!
During the month of February, authors who publish with Oghma Creative Media will be showcasing their work and their blogs. Today, take a look at this snippet from my Gothic adventure/romance novel, Just Like Gravity.
Anna: Chapter 1
All Scotsmen Can Go to Hell
I was in no mood to deal with men of any size, shape, or state of inebriation, but it was definitely a man
who stood in my way. I didn’t like the looks of him.
“What in bloody blue blazes are ye doing out in this weather at this time of night? Are ye daft, woman?”
He leaned close to make himself heard above the rain pattering on my plastic poncho. I smelled whiskey on his breath. Rain-plastered dark hair clung to his neck and forehead. He inspected me with wide-set black eyes above a distinctly crooked nose, his lips pressed together in a thin disapproving line. On flat ground, he would have been at least a foot taller than my puny five feet two inches, but I was standing uphill from him and could look him in the eye. I took heart at that.
“Not particularly your business.” I matched his tone, but my eyes lingered a moment too long on sturdy bare legs below the fringed blue and red plaid kilt. A gust of wet air moved up the hill, puffing my poncho. I felt like a fat, yellow balloon.
“American.” It was not a compliment. “What are ye doing all by yerself?” He narrowed his eyes and leaned closer. “All manner of hooligans roam about—highwaymen and crazy, drunk Highlanders. You could fall in a peat bog or be waylaid by bandits, and no one would ever find your scattered bones. You know you’re in the very worst part of the barbaric Highlands, don’t you?”
I was acutely aware of every inch of the four thousand miles between my little house in Missouri and me. At this point in the rocky trail, dense gorse lined the edges on the right and jagged rocks jutted from the hill on the left. I was alone and far from help. A sensible person would have been alarmed.
“Mother of God! Next you’ll start spouting ‘hoot mons,’ and whipping out your. . . .”
His eyes widened, and he cocked his head to one side quizzically.
“. . . . Claymore,” I finished. “You know you’re in the twenty-first century, don’t you?”
“Well, first, ye don’t just whip out a––claymore. They’re sizeable weapons.” His mouth twisted. Was he smiling, the bastard? “And second, ye’ve put me out of temper. Here, ye’d better be having a drink against the cold.”
With a flourish, he produced a flask from his sporran and handed it to me—but not before he took a healthy swig himself. I hesitated, but he waggled it invitingly, his face guileless.
I’d emptied my own flask some time before and the forgetful haze it produced was fading. The rain was persistent and the air was chilly.
“Dammit.” I yielded to temptation.
He snorted as I wiped the rim. “Ye cannae catch Scottish, ye ken. It isnae a disease.”
Jackass. I tipped the flask a bit too enthusiastically. What entered my mouth and spread throughout my entire pulmonary and digestive systems was in no way similar to the fruity, light Speyside whisky to which I had become accustomed. Smoke, iodine, and pepper exploded in my throat, flushed out my sinuses. I spluttered and gasped for air.
“What in the name of God is that?” My voice came out as a high-pitched squeak. I was relieved my vocal cords were not entirely cauterized. The liquid found its way to my stomach where it made itself comfortable, producing a warm, spinning glow.
“That, ye ignorant wench, is Laphroaig. Distilled by God Himself on Islay, a jewel of the Western Isles where He cooks it over peaty fires and strains it through seaweed.” He put the flask back in his sporran and surveyed me unhappily. “And ye’re not meant to snort it.”