Authors: Melissa Blue
Tags: #contemporary romance, #interracial romance, #multicultural romance, #african american romance, #romance novella, #sports romance, #medical romance
Kilt Tease by Melissa Blue
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Cover Art by Melissa Blue
Self-Published Edition 2015
Kate Campbell promised to have an affair with a Parisian, says yes more than she says no and sin so she can actually have something to repent on Sunday. As a way to honor her grandmother’s wishes, she takes a job as a traveling nurse so that she can see Europe—a trip they had once planned on taking together. She never bargained on meeting a sexy Scot who makes bad look so, so good, and he needs her help.
Quinton Baird, a retired, high-profile rugby player, has spent over a decade surrounded by people who all want something from him. From his former coaches to the groupies. He now has two rules for anyone he deals with: Don’t talk to the press. Don’t talk about him to anyone. Ever. His rules are the only way to protect himself from people wanting him to be their meal ticket. No matter how much he likes the sweet, sassy nurse, he can’t believe she’ll help him while asking for nothing in return.
The deal between them is simple. All Kate has to do is pose as Quinton’s girlfriend in public. In exchange for helping him salvage an important business deal, Kate gets many opportunities to say yes—in bed and out of it.
Then reality, and the press, threaten their fictional romance. Quinton will have to trust that Kate’s feeling for him are genuine or risk losing her for good.
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Katherine Campbell sipped her Coke as the fate of her employment played out between a pregnant African-American woman and a Scottish curmudgeon. She propped her feet on the booth’s seat across from her, settling in since this argument showed no signs of ending anytime soon.
That was more than fine. Her feet hurt anyway, and the pub was toasty. She’d trekked from St. Jude’s, the hospital sponsoring her nursing work visa, thinking the Baird’s Drunken Barrel was a straight shot from the location. It hadn’t been, and she’d gotten lost twice.
Even then, she couldn’t entirely complain. Kate got to see Glasgow—the brick walkways, the bagpipe musicians playing across the street from a McDonald’s, and the churches that looked more like castles. The past and present intermingled so effortlessly that it left her in a state of awe. The pub was no different—emphasis on pub. The framed plaids along the walls were periodically interrupted with flat-screen TVs. Even though the place was empty this early in the morning, she had no doubt it would be filled to the brim after opening its doors.
“Who is winning?” A deep Scottish baritone caressed her earlobe.
Kate jolted and whipped her head around to get a good look at the man who had somehow crept up behind her and sat down in a booth. Her stomach jittered, and all the air in her lungs seeped out.
He didn’t need to come with a warning. The moment your panties spontaneously combusted let you know you were in over your head.
His shoulder-length dark auburn locks brushed the collar of his white shirt. His tapered nose slanted just a bit to the side as though it had been broken more than once, and he even had the requisite chiseled jawline. He looked… hearty. She clutched her drink. His gaze was so sharp, assessing, that his muddy blue eyes unnerved her.
She’d been in Scotland for three weeks and had not seen his equal. They must have hidden him somewhere, because women would lose their fucking minds if men like him just walked up and asked out-of-the-blue questions.
“Lass?” he said, and the single word was filled with a quiet laugh. “Who is winning?”
Clearly some women were also rendered silent when he asked them out-of-the-blue questions.
Kate put the glass to her lips, took a long pull on the soda, and then muttered so she wouldn’t draw too much attention to herself, “You would think the Scot was winning. Hands down. For an older man, he’s pretty as hell. Could probably talk a nun into the religion of
. And she looks so sweet, helpless. The dimple, the glasses—her appearance screams softie. Right now her stomach is as big as she is. But, nope, she’s dropped the f-bomb four times in the last two minutes. He’s losing and can’t even do it gracefully.”
He let out a silky, seductive laugh. Oh, yeah. They kept this man under lock and key for public safety, but even with the laugh and the looks, he gave off a quiet intensity. It was the eyes. They scanned the surroundings, her, and meted out a silent judgment. This light exchange happened because
wanted it to. Kate had no doubt if she stopped being amusing or serving a purpose the interest would likely die out of his intense gaze.
The man gestured to the fighting pair. “I think she’s about to hit him with the coup de grâce. Look at her stance.”
With curiosity, and concern for her own safety if she kept looking at him, Kate turned her attention back to the pair at the pub’s counter. Behind them, liquor bottles were situated in shiny metal contraptions. In the midmorning light, they gleamed.
“Baird,” the pregnant woman intoned with a hint of exasperation. “I’m tired of your bitching. I’m just plain tired.” With her hands on her hips, the woman gave off the appearance of being formidable even at her five-foot-four height. “Katherine’s going to take care of you for the next few weeks.
listen to her, because I swear on sweet baby Jesus’s manger if I have to deal with you, Callan, this baby,
the wedding, I will find a way to smite you.”
The man behind Kate whistled low and shifted on his booth’s red cushions, placing his thick biceps on the wooden divider. The muscles in his broad shoulders made the white long-sleeved shirt scream for sweet, delicious mercy. “Every time she hits him between the eyes with something like that, he crumbles.”
Her interest shifted back to him. “You know them?”
His gaze held a cautious curiosity as though uncertain he wanted to answer. “Aye,” he finally said.
Slowly, it dawned on her that she hadn’t heard him come in, which was surprising and troubling given the conclusions her mind latched onto. His arms and neck had the thickness of an athlete, but he wasn’t extremely bulky. Still, she hadn’t heard
all of that
come in. Not to mention, the oak doors had squeaked loudly when her potential new boss had opened it.
Outside her future employer and the curmudgeon, no one else sat in the pub. Where in the hell had he come from? And how did he know the pair?
She groaned and slid down into the booth as all the connections interlocked. “You’re related to the Scot.”
He nodded at her correct conclusion. “The Scot’s my uncle, Douglass. So that makes Victoria, the miniature Valkyrie, my soon-to-be sister-in-law. Believe it or not, I’m starting to adore her. My uncle is… a bit untamed, and she keeps him in line.”
Well, at least what she had said about them was kind of complimentary. Shaking her head, Kate finished her drink and decided to keep her mouth shut from here on out.
The older Scot grumbled. “You had all of the United Kingdom to find someone, and you brought me a Yank?”
Victoria pursed her lips for a moment. “With a name like Katherine Campbell, she’s… kind of Scottish.”
The pregnant woman huffed. “It’s her or I get you a full-time maid and nurse. You had a heart attack, Baird.”
“Barely,” he countered.
“She’s just an assistant who’ll take your blood pressure a few times a day.” The woman made a face and put her hand to her stomach. “It’s just a few weeks until Callan and I get back from the honeymoon.”
Concern pulled the Scot’s brows down, and he sighed. “Aye, right. Go put your feet up.”
Victoria patted his cheek, the triumph obvious in her grin. “See. That didn’t hurt.” She hesitated, both hands on her stomach now. “And behave.”
Kate inhaled, and the scent of leather and laundry soap filled her lungs. Her skin tightened, tingled. The handsome stranger had leaned closer.
“He’s not going to behave,” he whispered, so close to her ear his breath brushed over her earlobe. “I feel sorry for this nurse.”
A shiver ran through her. Whoever had let him out needed to be beaten with a wet noodle. Once a day for a week. She stiffened her spine, ignoring the tingles that still raced down it, and stood from the booth, shifting farther away from him.
Maybe he saw the truth on her face, and the dawning of that knowledge darkened his eyes. “Aye. I see. You’re not related to the mini-Valkyrie. My apologies. Her family has been coming and going all day. I assumed…” He offered his hand. A finger or two were just as crooked as his nose, but the digits were thick and strong. “Katherine, nice to meet you.”
With a bit of reluctance, she took his hand—skin touched skin. A shimmer of something she hadn’t felt in a long while spread up from her palm and went straight to her stomach. Attraction curled up and made a home there. She dropped his hand. “Katherine’s my grandmother. Call me Kate. You are?”
“Quinton Baird.” His eyes narrowed on her face as though he expected a certain reaction. When it didn’t happen, he exhaled, and then that intense gaze slid down to her hips and back up in a slow crawl.
Expecting her first day on the job to be introductions and a walk-through of her patient’s routines, she’d worn jeans, a plain black sweater, and tennis shoes. The heat his stare ignited made her feel sexy… desired as though she’d worn something skimpy and tight. Her heart stuttered. How in the hell could he do that with a look?
What could he do with his mouth?
“Well…” Kate stopped speaking because she sounded like a woman more than ready to find out exactly what he could do with his mouth. “It was nice chatting, but I should probably…”
Butter up my curmudgeon
, she’d intended to say. Clearing her throat, she tried again. “I should talk to my new boss.”
The smile he gave her in response was virile, potent, and he knew it. She took back the wet noodle and traded it for a two-by-four, because his jailer had one damn job.
“Boss, right,” he said.
She could almost hear her grandmother tsking at her.
A smart butt makes a soft behind
. When would Kate learn? Probably never.
A pang of grief replaced the attraction, which was more than fine with her. Glasgow was a pit stop on her grand tour of Europe, one she’d taken for work more than anything. Since stable and predictable were her MO after her nomadic upbringing, her countryhopping would practically serve as the adventure she’d promised her grandmother she’d have.
. After their short conversation, Kate knew he would be a wild card to any situation she found herself in while visiting Scotland. A wild card best avoided.
“Lassie,” came from behind her.
Taking that reprieve, she turned on her heel and plastered on a smile. “Mr. Baird.”
“Douglass or the Baird is fine.” He crossed his arms over his chest, acting like she’d planned to shove a thermometer up his butt to take his temp.
Not only was he pretty, he was fit. According to the paperwork St. Jude’s had given her, his lifestyle had bitten him in the ass, causing his mild heart attack a few months ago. She understood, and men were always her worst patients. None of them liked to admit their fragility even if they whined ninety percent of the time.
She said, “You pay the bills, so I’ll call you whatever you like.”
“Technically, Victoria’s paying you.”
“Then you’re my—” Saying patient wouldn’t help things. With someone this stubborn, she had to win him over or the next few weeks would hurt—the both of them.
Kate added with care, “I’m your companion. You want to drink, you can have one. Smoke—light ’em up. Plan to beat the record at the local eat-and-gab and chow down a sixty-nine-ounce steak, I’ll tip the waitress. I won’t provide any lectures.”
His brows rose in disbelief. Kate ignored that. She was only halfway through the speech that won her as many jobs as it lost her. “If you keel over, I will provide CPR. I will stick your nitrogen tablet under your tongue. When you’re fine, I will mutter an I-told-you-so under my breath. CPR takes a lot out of me, and it makes me cranky, so… I’m not perfect. I just wanted you to know that about me up front.”
His lips started to twitch in a smile, and Kate knew she had him. She put out her hand. “Katherine Campbell, but you can call me Kate.”
He growled at her. “I’ll call you Kitten and spray you with water when you get smart.”
Her stomach clenched for a moment at the nickname. “I charge extra for that.”
Douglass lost the battle and laughed, and he laughed with his everything. He was solidly built with beautiful silver hair and a gleam of mischief in his eye. “I see why Victoria hired you. All of the United Kingdom and she had to find someone worse than her.”