She turned to the bedside. A man stood there dressed in dark green sweats, with both hands clenched around the silver bedside bar. He was handsome, with light eyes, dark hair cropped close to his head, and a firm jaw. It was his hands, though. They drew her attention. Clean skin, defined knuckles, large fingers. Hands rough from a hard day’s physical labor, and yet, she imagined, gentle enough to caress the afternoon’s sufferings away.
“It’s good to see you awake.” He smiled. “You gave us all quite a fright.”
Okay, the Scottish accent drew her attention, too. At once, it both melted away some of her fears and sparked a whirlwind of questions.
“Where am I?” Her throat scratched like sandpaper.
“St. Catherine’s Hospital.”
She swallowed hard. “Where is that?”
“Fort William.” He reached for something on the table by her bed and brought back a plastic cup with a straw. “Here.”
“Thank you.” The warm water coated her sore vocal cords. She handed the cup back to him.
Wait a minute. Fort William? The only Fort William she knew was in Scotland. “I don’t understand. How did I get here?” Ignoring the aches in her body, she pressed both palms to the sheets on each side of her and pushed herself up. The blanket fell away from her chest and a new chill surrounded her. “What’s going on?”
Her arms shook, and she collapsed back to the bed.
“Relax.” The man set his palm on her shoulder, as if to keep her flat against the mattress. The heat of his fingers seeped through her hospital gown and into her skin. “I found you unconscious on the beach in Glenhalish. I called for an ambulance, and they brought you here.”
“I was in Glenhalish?”
“Aye, on a three day tour of the Highlands. Do you not remember being there?”
“No.” She squinted and studied him. No memories surfaced. “Do I know you?”
He shook his head. “Only from the beach. I’m Malcolm Fraser.”
She opened her mouth and then closed it again. Her gaze drifted to her lap as tears burned in the corners of her eyes. Panic swelled in her chest and into her throat.
“What is it, lass?” he asked with such tenderness.
“Can you tell me my name?”
PURCHASE HER HIGHLAND CHAMPION