Cover & Excerpt Reveal
For several generations, the Anderson family has been a dominant influence – economically and socially - in the idyllic and close-knit community of Fernpoint on the glorious western seaboard of Scotland. Such a picturesque setting provides the perfect backdrop for an engaging romance.
The fearsome rent collector 'Big Mary', is responsible for starting a series of actions which affect the lives of others, including a young couple Morag and Donald, who are living together. When Donald spends some of the rent money in the pub, it is Morag who pays the price by going over the knee of her scary landlady who spanks hard with her shovel-like hands. As the story develops, Morag begins to regard Donald in a different light. And when she meets the handsome and confident Alasdair, her temper gets the better of her, which earns her another spanking – and much more besides!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 13, 2013
Publisher: LSF Publications
Morag was a student when she first came to the village to a summer job at the nearby country house hotel, doing a bit of everything - reception, bar work, waitressing, housekeeping. Initially she lived in one of the hotel's own bunk rooms, for which £3.50 or 50p per day was deducted from her wages each week. This also covered her meagre but adequate meals. An outgoing and attractive 20 year-old, she loved the variety of the job and entered into local life with a vengeance, including a turbulent but exciting relationship with Donald MacLeod, the tearaway son of a local farmer.
Inevitably when autumn and the start of term approached, like many a misguided student before her, she decided that the village was where she wanted to spend the rest of her life! Fortunately for Morag, the local shop would be requiring an assistant starting in the week in which the hotel's season finished. No amount of remonstrating from her parents could make her return for the last year of her college course.
Her mother sounded far from happy, but her concerns were easily ignored from a distance.
Encouraged by Donald, who claimed to earn far more working for his parents than she ever could, Morag took on the lease of one of the Andersons' oldest and most remote croft houses for six months. He insisted that he'd happily fork out a fiver each week as his share of the ten pounds rent - this due to be paid on Thursdays in advance. The young couple scraped together £40 as the required first month's rent in advance and moved in towards the end of October just to coincide with the clocks going back and the dark days getting even darker and stormier, and making the cottage feel even more primitive and isolated.
Neither Morag nor Donald had ever really had to pay their way before, or perhaps they had thought unrealistically that 'rent' covered all costs. But by the time they had bought their food, paid for the gas and electricity, wood and coal - all this before 'luxuries' such as telephone, radio and television - the budget was stretched to its limits. Morag certainly had nothing left at the end of the week.
To make matters worse, or less comfortable, Big Mary had taken to making a regular Thursday evening visit to the cottage, driving her flashy six month old Range Rover up the rocky track. Donald, who of course knew her of old, was often conveniently absent and poor Morag found herself scrubbing and polishing for hours in advance as if for a military inspection. Mary, all sweetness and light, claimed just to be concerned that they were settling in well and checking that they had all they needed. Annoyingly refusing a seat, she tended to stand around, opening and closing doors, straightening furniture and running her finger over surfaces as though she was the resident and they the visitors. But never did she leave without going through the charade of checking the rent book and confirming (as if they needed a reminder) that on the last Thursday in November she'd be collecting their first weekly payment.
These weekly visits, when she felt she was expected to provide tea with home baking, confirmed to Morag that Big Mary was even more fearsome than she had been warned. Mary, at only an inch or so under six feet was heavily built, looked as strong as a horse and had a habit of standing, feet astride, hands on hips and loudly putting the world (and her neighbours)to rights. Her hands were like shovels, if not quite the ditching spades so frequently used locally.
Fortunately Donald, with the promise of some freshly baked pancakes, was at home on the last Thursday in November when Mary called for her first rent payment. It was he who counted out all the loose change and handed it coin by coin to their landlady who then made a great show of marking off the payment in her Book. In her very best 'saccharine' voice Big Mary eventually took her leave, assuring them she'd see them next week.
"Not if I have anything to do with it," muttered Donald, as they listened to her crashing her expensive gears whilst manoeuvring onto the track. "That woman's poison, always has been, and I wish you'd never agreed to rent her rotten croft. It's a hellhole anyway, and I'm not spending the winter here!"
"Hey, that's not fair! We both decided we wanted to rent the place - it was all we could afford - and I've signed up for the full six month's rent!" wailed poor Morag. "I was looking forward to getting it really cosy for the winter. You never warned me just how dreadful she was and you can't let me down now," she added, snivelling, her shoulders starting to heave. Seeing his normally cheerful girl so upset soon had Donald apologising, reassuring her and cuddling her better in the way he did best!
Flora Sharp Amazon author page
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