Margaret could barely hear the words coming out of Esme’s mouth for the roar of blood pounding through her head. Something about how she’d be a shout away if she needed her. Closer if necessary.
Scott Campbell as she lived and breathed.
So many nights she’d lain awake preparing the speeches she’d give to him if they ever crossed paths again, and now that she had her chance? Nothing. Not a single, solitary, useful word was coming to mind.
After Esme bustled Lyle out, saying something about rescue dogs they had in training, Margaret felt Scott’s presence every bit as much as she had that very first time she’d met him at Mountain Rescue Training Camp. Tall, charged with life, sexy as all get out.
‘I didn’t mean you,’ Scott began. ‘With the reject mutt thing. That wasn’t—’
‘I know.’ Margaret cut him off. She wasn’t ready yet. Ready for this moment. Two years to process her rejection and she thought she would’ve been all fire and brimstone. Ready to claw his eyes out, wave her job offer in his face, or whatever it was that made for a triumphantly cathartic moment, but all she could do was stare at him.
He was different.
His dark hair was longer. It was still thick and inky, but unlike the short, regulation crew cut he used to wear, it now hit his collar in soft waves. The stubbly beard was also new. It suited him but spoke to an air of worldliness that now hung about him. Not a fancy big-city worldliness. Those blue eyes of his that used to shine so bright had an unfathomable depth to them now. A wisdom. He looked as though he’d lived. Lived and seen both sides of the coin.
Something bone deep was telling her he’d been through the mill.
The old Scott wouldn’t be standing there all serious and expectant. The old Scott would’ve laughed, pulled her into his arms and danced her around the room to the tune of a Scottish reel only the two of them could hear. He would’ve held her in a bear hug, their two hearts pounding together, their breath joining as one, so close she felt safe and delicate all at the same time. At five foot ten it took a lot to make her feel delicate and Scott had made her feel all woman in all the right ways.
‘So!’ She forced on a bright voice. ‘What brings you to Heatherglen?’ She could’ve tacked on ‘after all these years,’ but something about the way he was looking at her told her he’d done plenty of beating himself up over the way he’d ended things.
‘You,’ he said simply.
The word hit her like cupid’s arrow, then burst into flame. Who did he think he was? Romeo? Don Juan? Both? He couldn’t just waltz in here and win her back in so much as the blink of an eye!
He’s the one you’ve been waiting for.
‘Well—’ she held out her hands ‘—here I am. Was the dog thing a ruse to get to see me or were you actually after a dog?’
‘A bit of both.’ He scrubbed a hand through his hair and that was when she saw it. The scarring that could only come from one thing. Fire.