By: Ramona Fern
Genre: Adult Paranormal Time-Traveling Romance
Expected Publication Date: June 18th 2016 by IndieMosh
Awkward Julianne is clueless when it comes to men, money and life. So what's the best thing to do when you feel like your life is out of control?
By night, Julianne dreams of a sensual hunter in 17th century Scotland but by day he stars in all her day dreams, helping her to escape from dead-end jobs, loser ex-boyfriends and absent parents.
But in her small Scottish town, shadowed by the ruins of Huntly Castle, danger is following her and as her dreams and her reality start converging, how can she make sense of the danger she is in? Who is the hot new man that has suddenly appeared in town and who is trying to harm her?
Set in in modern day and historical Scotland.
I look back across the meadow of gently swaying colour. Every previous glance has hollowed my chest a little more with his absence, but now, finally, there he is at the front of the pack of rugged men, slowly making their triumphant and proud trek through the low fog, with their spoils of the hunt.
My beautiful man, in the correct garb he could look like the Lord of the manor, his birthright but right now after the hunt, stalking his way to me through the haar on this typical Scottish day he is all sweat, plaid, and mine. I know it somehow. The gentle breeze through the forest says it’s so and it’s easy to forget all the anguish we have endured. My happiness for him upon his kill is shadowed by the sight of the enormous majestic body of the defeated stag carried by his men. I wonder of the poor creature’s family and how they will bode now on the unforgiving moors, but such depressing thoughts are quickly forgotten as he takes me around the waist and we are together again. Ignoring his men, I take him in. The smell of gunpowder, his hot damp chest pressed against me just hard enough and his ragged breaths against my neck breathing in my hair. I can just squint my eyes as I look up through dappled sunshine to the sky. I am in heaven. This is my bliss. I am so grateful to have this and I will never forsake the sacrifices he has made for us to be together.
I sit up in bed. I am not in my bed. Disorientation is blurring my perception and confusion is jarring the insides of my skull. Figuring out what the hell is going on is a physical impossibility for the moment whilst I fight hard to make sense with the limited information I have. It takes me more than should be necessary to discern exactly where I am but when I’ve worked it out my disappointment and anger is not only with myself. It’s a good thing I am the queen of turning a blind eye and sweeping under rugs my misgivings, somehow I am not as forgiving with others and I now hate this man-child even more.
Waking up in his bed again was exactly the opposite of how I wanted last night to finish. I started out on water and I swear I intended to not partake of any tipple last night. Oh who am I kidding I knew I’d end up drunk, just not drunk enough to make all of Grant’s wishes come true.
Damn it. Three months of fighting him off gone down the drain and I’m going to have to start all over again convincing him that we are indeed broken up and will never ever, ever get back together.
Looking for last night’s clothes, I spy the open condom pack amongst the filth on the floor - thank fuck at least I’m not a total fool whilst drunk! Just a horny fool. I’m covered but you can never be too careful and I don’t want to catch moron off him.
Sneaking out of his stinking apartment is an old well-rehearsed part of my life and making sure that my underwear is in my handbag I try to readjust my dignity for the well-trodden walk of shame I know I’m going to have endure on the way home. There is no way avoiding it in a town like Huntly. The whole of Huntly is going to know about this in 3, 2, and 1.
“Good morning Mrs. McWilliams”
Grant’s mother is the biggest gossip in town and her little boy lives above her handmade lolly shop a short walk from the pub which is I suppose how my alcohol affected head reasoned my staying here. Grant can do no wrong in his Maw’s eyes, her ignorance of her bairn, rivals my ignorance of my problems. We are all sunshine and lollipops in Huntly.
“Oh Julianne, I told him it wouldn’t be long till you start being reasonable and get back together. How could you resist him, my son is a catch. Such a good boy I know you won’t regret it. He will treat you right. Now, when are you going to settle down and get started on a family? Oh, I’m so happy I'll finally be a Grandmamma, just wait till I tell the girls down at the quilting circle.”
Annnnd I’m outta here…. just keep walking…. There’s no use setting the stupid old biddy straight anyway, “Bye Mrs. McWilliams,” I yell back at her. She doesn’t hear me speaking, I think she's revising bootie patterns in her head.
I only have to make it through the open town square and up the main street to my flat. The escape music is playing in my head.
I don’t even want my best friend Alison to see me from the window of the real estate agent's so I quickly duck behind a white delivery van parked on the street. At least I might be able to deny my shameful whoring for a while anyway. If Alison sees me, the inquisition and the yelling would start immediately, I don’t think my head could withstand that torture this early. Damn her! This is all her fault for dumping me at The Crown last night anyway. I bet she snuck home with Andrew early.
My ass is hurting and I’m on the cold hard wet ground. “Shit, sorry lady.”
I’m too busy picking up my handbag to see the face attached to the hand that shoots out and I gladly take hold but before I can even get up my feet slip on the icy foot path and I launch forward. My awfully hard head collides spectacularly with his crotch at the same time a loud “Oomph” whistles past his lips before he hits the ground.
This time I land on my knees. Faarrk what is wrong with me! I’ve head butted this man’s junk. Instead of a punch to the junk, it was a head butt to his junk.
Said man is still on the ground in the foetal position. “Are you ok?”
He only groans and holds his balls.
Apologize Julianne you daft twit. “I’m so sorry”.
I don’t think it’s anyone I know this time, so I might be safe from more utter mortification for the rest of my life.
“I’m alright. Just give me a sec”.
I debate fleeing but kind of feel an obligation to his crotch. I did after all maim him, but hang on, he ran into me first and then I remember my wet ass and I’m irate. Struggling to right myself with nothing to hold onto, my anger increases.
“Well, if you hadn’t of run me down this wouldn’t be a problem. My dress is ruined and my ass is sore and then you just manhandled me in the street. What’s your problem, you need to watch where you’re going.”
Suddenly, he has recovered and stands up slowly and as he rises it occurs to me how tall and handsome he is and that I touched his naughty bits. I wonder if they're damaged. Maybe he needs me to check, I could totally play nurse-maid. He’s all blond hair and pink lips.
“I’m sorry, yes, my mistake lass. I entirely deserved to be assaulted on the high street at 8 a.m.”
I start to walk off as I just want to get home and have a hot shower and go back to bed and pretend today never happened. I can do without those lips. I think.
“Wait, wait, come in I’ll get you a towel,” he has hobbled into Mr. Craig’s shop not giving me a chance to say ‘no’, so I just follow.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the old man anyway, so I should say hello. He helped me find Maw’s Christmas present last year and I’ve been negligent to come back and say thank you for saving me the trip into Aberdeen.
I love this old shop with its bric a brac and long forgotten curiosities, antiques and boxes of buttons. It smells of delicious old books and dusty treasures. My friend Jackson and I used to sit out the back and play Connect Four of an afternoon after school and eat little shortbreads that his Nan had made us. Sadly, Nanna is long gone now.
I'm smacked with memories of afternoons spent in the stock room which is essentially just a closet sized space dark and dusty and full of things that have never sold or haven’t made it onto the shop floor yet, old stuff no one wants or old stuff no one’s had the opportunity to adopt yet. I’d make up stories about trinket boxes and little soldiers, where they had come from and their travels to end up in Huntly.
“Paaa. There’s a girl here that needs a towel and I need an icepack,” the man yells.
I snicker because he needs an icepack for his damaged goods. ‘God, why am I so immature?’
Wait what, ‘Pa’? I turn around to look at the stranger.
“It’s me, Julianne. Your dad said you were in Rome.”
“I only flew in last week and he already has me working.” He laughs and I notice his huge sunny smile that I loved so much as a child when we were the best of friends and I never dreamed that anything would ever separate us.
We reunite with a slightly awkward hug; actually we haven’t seen each other for about 5 years. His warm heavy arms around me feel like heaven as he gently engulfs me and I’m too selfish too worry about sullying his shirt with my beer, sex and street soaked dress. The affection and human contact reminding me why I probably so desperately ran home with Grant last night. I’m just starved of affection. I nuzzle into his hard chest and inhale his masculine scent deeply.
After his mum died, Jackson fast tracked out of high school and left for Edinburgh Uni. where he graduated with top honors and was then snapped up to be some hotshot art historian’s researcher in Rome, leaving me in my little village to stagnate. Not that I can blame him, there’s nothing here for either of us, I was just not bright enough to try and get out and took the easy option of hanging around Huntly and working in my dad’s small business.
Here I am 24, broke, working a series of shit low paying jobs when I can get them and have never left the county of Aberdeenshire. I'm not going to let go of this hug, I just press my face in harder when he tries to let go.
I was happy for Jackson and his tenacity to leave but I couldn’t help feeling abandoned on the shelf of the stock room, where I’ve been collecting dust ever since. But why should I be his problem? Maybe once when we were friends, but he left.
And now here he is, grown up, all tan skin, white linen shirt and fresh in from Italy, where he has probably sun baked, romanced and night clubbed with svelte models, or day tripped the Aegean on yachts with more models in white bikinis.
Whilst I’m imagining him and said sophisticated women in white bikinis writhing around, sipping champagne on the deck of the yacht I suddenly feel like a grubby little kid.
I’m embarrassed and then remember what happened last night. I must look and smell like small town, beer and shame. I jump back but I can still feel his warm touch. I wonder how long it will stay with me.
“Oh Julianne, you haven’t changed at all. Stuck in your head thinking...the world is still spinning around you Julianne,” he laughs.
I must have just been standing here staring again damn. I just want to get out of here. I try to access the space between me and the exit. I’m not too far in, so I could possibly leg it and be home in no time, to forget this whole sad thing.
“Look, I’ve just got to unload the van and we can go to the coffee house and harass old Lady Duncan.”
I contemplate just leaving again but like the desperate little girl I am, I want to hear all about Rome and Edinburgh...and the models. So, I keep quiet.
“Julianne, lass come give me a hug where have ye been? Ye avoiding me ye have, Jackson she’s wet and shivering, drive the poor girl home ye Numpty, unpack the van later.”
I’m ushered out into the cool cloudy day. Story of my life, just floating along doing as I’m told. No direction except what I’m told. Just rolling along, inevitable like the seasons, an auburn elm leaf forced by the breeze. It’s much easier and then I can’t get the blame for the outcome because I let everyone else make the decisions but lately I’m discontented with the usual arrangement I have with the universe.
I’m sitting in the front seat of a van wearing my sodden wrinkly dress, when Jackson thrusts a huge taxidermied stag head onto my lap. From its antlers are hanging my undies. Fuck my life. I just close my eyes.
Ramona is a shy woman, not yet 40. Who aspires to die alone with no cats maybe just her turtle? Cats are just too much responsibility. She worships at the altar of Our Goddess of Champagne and her favourite colour is sparkly and she believes in everything, mermaids, unicorns and the universe. She’s also a little bit mental.
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