Highland Haven by Krystal Brookes
Kilrigh Heat Book 2
sensual contemporary romance novella
Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs
Release Date 10/18/2012
When Erin Murray decides to escape her past in Glasgow, she picks the small island of Kilrigh as her haven. Arriving at her new home, she's alone and scared, but is welcomed by the overly cheerful laird's son. But the tall, dark and sexy Finlay must earn her trust--something she's not willing to give easily.
Erinbegins to let the walls of her heart come down, only for her past to darken Kilrigh. Can Finlay keep her world from falling apart and can their budding relationship survive this threat?
A couple of hours later, Erin and Finlay walked into the convenience store for a look around. They’d had lunch in the village pub, and he’d introduced her to the pub landlord, the barmaid, and all the customers who had come in for a lunchtime drink. The doctor and the dentist had both told her to pop in any time to register.
Erin’s eye caught a small stand of postcards showing beautiful views of Kilrigh. She stopped to leaf through them, picking a few that she would send to family and friends if she ever felt safe enough to let them know her address. Someone walked down the aisle, causing her to step closer to the shelf behind.
As she moved forward, her elbow caught a glass jar of jam, sending it smashing into pieces on the hard tile floor. Biting her lip, Erin immediately bent down to pick it up. Suddenly, she was hauled by the upper arms back to her feet by Finlay. Instinctively, she moved to shield her face, and she cowered, trying to pull her arm out of his grasp.
“Watch, you’ll cut yourself,” Finlay barked, moving her out of the way. His grip loosened, and he pushed her gently away as if she’d stung him. His dark brows knit together in a frown. He stared at her for a moment then looked away.
“Ailsa, do you have a brush and pan?” he called over the shelf to the woman behind the counter. The woman said yes and hurried away. Erin could not take her eyes off Finlay. She’d known in her head that not all men hit women, but somehow that knowledge disappeared from her heart. She had probably offended him by the way she reacted. He turned to her, his frown deepening.
“Sorry,” she whispered.
“No, no Erin, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just didn’t want you to cut yourself. I didn’t mean to be so rough. You looked as if you thought I was going to…” His voice trailed off as the short, white-haired woman came up behind him and nudged him out of the way, so she could clean up the mess.
She wanted to get out the shop as quickly as possible. Such a nice day had been spoiled by her clumsiness. He’d never want to remain friends with someone as messed up as she was. She grabbed a packet of cold meat, not really caring what it was, a couple of tomatoes, and a loaf of bread. When she got to the cereals, she automatically reached for the bran flakes—then stopped. She didn’t even like bran flakes. But Pete had insisted on her eating the healthy cereal in case she got fat. She looked at the small selection and chose some nutty clusters with chocolate chips. She knew it was a mental middle-finger salute to the man who had terrorised her for years and it was childish in some ways, but she got great satisfaction for something as small as choosing her own breakfast cereal. She looked at Finlay, expecting a raised eyebrow over her unhealthy choice but he didn’t seem to notice. He seemed to be in a world of his own.
It took Ailsa only a minute or so to ring up her purchases on the till.
“That’s six pounds twenty-four, please.”
“What about the jam?”
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” She looked around at Finlay, who was studying the display of car magazines.
“Please let me pay for it. I feel terrible.” Pete’s lazy drawl was in her head. She was stupid and clumsy. He was only with her because he felt sorry for her. She was ugly, fat, ignorant. She shuddered as she tried to push the memories away.
“Oh lass, don’t be silly. We have breakages all the time. I wouldn’t dream of taking the money for it. Besides, any friend of Finlay’s is a friend of mine.” Erin nodded and smiled. She already liked the white-haired, plump older woman. “He’s single, you know,” she whispered conspiratorially.
Heat flooded into Erin’s cheeks and she looked again to see if Finlay had heard. He seemed too engrossed in an article in one of the periodicals he had picked up.
“I do now, I guess.” She giggled and felt the tension ease a bit. Finlay turned and motioned her to go first out of the shop. They both thanked Ailsa, who winked at them and turned to continue cleaning the counter.
When they reached the jeep, Finlay opened the door for her to climb in, then moved around to the driver’s side and settled himself on the driver’s seat. He stared at the steering wheel, biting his lip as if working something out. He inhaled deeply before he addressed her.
“Erin, did you think I was going to hit you when you broke the jam?”
She turned her head from him, staring out the passenger side window—tears burning behind her eyes.
“Has someone hit you before?”
Blinking back the tears, she turned to face him. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she said gruffly.