Love in the Mist (MacKay's) (2 page)

BOOK: Love in the Mist (MacKay's)
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He leaned back
now against a tree… relaxing… as she sang and danced with the children. She was
almost always with the children a look of happy contentment gracing her
beautiful face. Any man with eyes could tell she loved those children… just as
he loved her.

Yes, he knew
how foolish it was. She was just a dream woman, a fantasy that he couldn’t
resist. She had started out as an almost obsession, but now he came to watch
her for the pure enjoyment of it. Even her name seemed to whisper to him…
Natasha. Most of the people around her called her Tasha for short. The kids
called her Aunt Tasha, even though he knew they weren’t related by blood,
somehow they were her family. The love that shown in her eyes when she was with
them told him that. What he wouldn’t give for her to look at him so, or to
share children of their own. He loved children as much as she did, dreamt daily
of a wife and children of his own to share his life with.

The love he
felt swell with each smile or sound of her laughter almost brought him to his
knees. The worst part though was the constant ache. He wanted… no needed to
touch and caress her. To kiss and tempt her with his lips, while he held her
close in his embrace. He woke each morning with his loins on fire... and no way
to put it out.

He had
foolishly thought he could put it out with Maude. What a disaster that morning
had been. The shrill laughter she had let loose after he had made his
flirtatious proposition in her ear had grated on his nerves. Then there were
the red ringlets he had caught blowing in the wind out of the corner of his
eye. For just a second he had sworn he saw his dream woman, his Tasha sitting
in a tree watching him, but that was ridiculous…. impossible, but it had made
him pause.

Shaking his
head at his fanciful imagination he had leaned over her trying to kiss her neck
in the hopes it would help set the mood. Her body odor had been so appalling though,
he had to back up a bit to take a breath. She had obviously not taken a bath in
several weeks at least… maybe longer.

The few times
he had gotten close to Tasha the wind had brought the smell of summer peaches.
He knew that smell well after spending several years at court with the pampered
and spoiled. Fruits from overseas had been a luxury none could do without. He
had considered over the years building a conservatory on the third floor, but
had never gotten around to it. The idea had merit once more now that he found a
deep desire to smell fresh peaches each day.

Trying to
shake Tasha from his mind he had taken a walk with Maude around the back of the
stables. His plan was to lift her skirts quickly, satisfying his bodies needs
while trying not to breathe to deeply. He would then leave her in some corner
with a satisfied smile upon her lips.

Unfortunately,
the problem was his body wasn’t cooperating at all. While he pictured a tiny
woman with curvaceous hips and a round ass he could grab onto that smelled of
peaches, what he got was something quite different. She was tall and scrawny
with stringy black hair, nice breasts, but no hips or ass to speak of. When he
grabbed her waist his hands were able to span the full width of her, fingers
meeting at the base of her backbone just above her none existent ass. He had
never noticed the dirt smudges in the past or the oily residue in her hair, but
while he was standing there it was all he could see.

In desperation
he had decided to try kissing her in the hopes that his body might become
heated with arousal once more, but when he brushed his lips against hers they
felt dried and rough, like kissing a dried up seed husk. When she opened her
mouth giving him permission to slip his tongue inside he nearly gagged from the
stench.

He had ended
up sending her away angry and sullen. She had not taken his rejection well and
had managed to get her revenge by spreading rumors that he was incapable of… performing.
God he winced every time he thought of the whispered comments. His brothers
along with his most trusted knights had even come to him concerned about the
possibility of not having an heir. The whole thing had been humiliating. They
shut up rather quickly after he explained what had really happened, leaving out
of course the part about his dream woman. All of the men had laughingly agreed
with him that her smell at times was enough to make even the stoutest man
shrivel up.

What he
wouldn’t give to be able to touch his Tasha in the way he desired. It seemed
they weren’t meant to interact at all. Any time he had gotten to close… when he
thought for sure someone would see him… nothing had happened. To test his
theory he had even stood in front of a random person and attempted to speak to
them. It was like he wasn’t even there…. people looked through him and no one
could hear him. He did notice one thing… animals could both see and hear him.
He had a particularly uncomfortable altercation with one. Fortunately for him
they didn’t seem to be able to touch him physically. After that he had stayed
hidden once more... only coming close when his Tasha was alone.

Looking up he
noticed her standing alone, the kids must have left while he was musing over
everything that had happened recently. He didn’t need to follow her… he knew
where she would go. It was always the same place, a wooden stump deep in the
woods that had been shaped into a chair. Whatever magic it was that allowed him
to be here also gave him the power just to think in his mind of a place and he
would instantly be brought there.

As he waited
for her to join him he sat on the fallen tree trunk that lay next to the stump.
It was a routine she seemed to always stick to. At the end of her day she came
here to seek peace. Each day she did something a little different at times she
would just sit and read, others she would draw in a sketch book, or sometimes
just writing down the day’s events, but always she would listen to soothing
music.

He heard her
before he saw her figure coming towards hm. It seemed to him the mist always
followed her, surrounding her like a protective veil. Today she seemed sad,
which surprised him after watching her with the children all day. As she sat on
her tree stump she put her head in her hands and began to cry. The heart
wrenching sobs tore at his soul… what he wouldn’t do to be able to hold and
comfort her.

He put his
hand out to brush the back of his fingers across her cheek and felt… soft skin.
A shudder went through his body, but she jumped at his touch.

Looking around
nervously he watched as she licked her lips. “Who’s there?” Her whisper sounded
desperate. Well that answered his next question. She could feel him, but not
see him.

“Och lass… can
ye hear me?” He couldn’t help the excitement that ran through his body. To be
able to finally touch and speak to her. There was no response to his words. The
disappointment he felt slashed through his gut. It seemed that whatever magical
entity that had brought her to him, wanted to tease him with hope… only to then
take it away.

Desperate for
contact of any kind he placed his hand against her cheek once more. At first she
jumped pulling away slightly, but then she relaxed after a few minutes and even
rubbed her cheek against his palm. The soft contented sigh that fell from her
lips caused a shiver to race along his spine. Could she actually feel him?

“I think
whatever magical entity has been causing my dreams is now teasing me in day
light. Either that… or I fell asleep and didn’t realize it. If that’s the case
though… why can’t I see him?” Her words that nearly mirrored his own thoughts
stunned him. Magical entities and dreams?

Her face
turned pink… she seemed to be embarrassed that she was speaking out loud to no
one in particular. He found it endearing distracting him from his thoughts for
a short moment. “Lass… if only we could speak to each other…” He waited hoping
for a response to his words from somewhere.

“I know it’s
you… no other smells of sandalwood, leather and the forest. Too bad you aren’t
real… I could really use an afternoon just wrapped in your arms. Feeling both
your physical and inner strength.” Her words caused his breath to lodge in his
chest. Could it be true? Was she dreaming of him as he had been dreaming of
her?

Tavish couldn’t
help being touched deeply by her words. An idea began to take form in his mind.
She may not be able to hear him, but he could hear her and she could feel him.
Sliding in behind her on the stump he leaned against the back. Slowly he
wrapped his arms around her waist encouraging her to gently lie against his
chest.

With a soft
sigh she leaned into him closing her eyes for just a moment. He couldn’t resist
the temptation and softly kissed each eyelid. The fleeting smile that twitched
across her lips was not quite what he was hoping for, but it was a start. He
spent the next hour just listening as she poured her troubles out to him. He
was appalled at some of what she said. How could a town take advantage of the
children they were supposed to protect?

He had been so
comfortable sitting there holding her he almost missed the tug that signaled it
was time to go. He brushed the hair away from her face and lightly kissed her
cheek… then her ear. “I have tae go now ma sweet lass… be brave.”

He heard the
sigh of contentment that escaped her lips. He had given that to her today, a
sense of peacefulness she had been lacking. Who would’ve guessed just holding a
woman could feel so special. “Tavish… I wish you were really here. I need you
so much.”

Tavish sat up
in bed shocked to his core and very frustrated. She knew him dammit. She had
said she knew him by his smell, but she had known his name. His gut told him
that she dreamt of him as he did her. God the fates were really screwing with
them if that was so. Why had he all of a sudden been able to touch her in his
dream?

He had no new
answers… just many more questions. He had to leave this day to visit his liege
lord and wouldn’t be back for a senight. He never dreamt of her while away from
MacKay land, it was almost as if the land itself drew them together. He would
miss her while he was gone. There was one advantage though… he knew where she
would be in a senight when he returned and he planned on being there to watch
over her.

 

 

Chapter
3

 

She was always
late and today was no exception unfortunately. Tasha was supposed to be at a
costume party slash fund raiser for the town of Opal. Yeah, it may only be
September, but it was still close enough to Halloween to bring out the desire
in others to dress up. They were trying to raise money for the local orphanage.
Though Opal was a small town, it was still within an hours’ drive of San
Antonio. Close enough to the main city still to get things done if need be.

The house used
for the orphanage was almost a century old, donated to the town by her great
grandmother nearly two decades before, after a tragedy struck the surrounding
areas leaving nearly two dozen children orphaned, Tasha herself included. At
the time the house had been sitting empty for several years… since her great
grandmother and her grandmother both had lived in the house her grandfather had
built. A grand house in its time, it was now suffering from neglect. The person
who had been put in charge of the maintenance and care of the old house had
been skimming funds and cutting corners for years. After Tasha’s great
grandmother died and her grandmother became sick there was no one to watch over
things. The duty had fallen solely to the city council, and they had not done
their duty by following through and verifying the repairs and upkeep were being
maintained.

She had been
dealing for months with the possibility of the orphanage being forced to close permanently,
displacing over a dozen children ranging from toddler to young teenager. If
that was allowed to happen they would all be split up permanently and shipped
to several different state run facilities throughout south and west Texas. As it
was they were already dealing with a similar situation on a temporary basis.
They had to shut down the orphanage in June due to unsafe living conditions and
had found temporary housing for the orphans.

That house was
their home, most of those children had been there for years and they deserved a
chance to stay. They shouldn’t be punished because a bunch of greedy adults,
neglected to do their duty. The subject angered her so much. She had spent
almost her entire life dedicating her spare time to the upkeep of that house.
The women of her family had taken pride in the fact that some of their family’s
heritage had gone to such a noble cause. To look at it and see what it had been
reduced to had been appalling.

She had spent
nearly a year now and almost a third of her income trying to wrestle control
away from the city and turn it over to a nonprofit group ran by her best friend
Mika. Mika had spent most of her teenage years homeless with her mother and had
made it her life’s goal to make sure there was more aid available to those in
similar situations. Not a handout for people to lazy to take care of
themselves, but beneficial help for those struggling. Those who worked hard,
but still couldn’t afford to house themselves and their families.

They had both
struggled through college on scholarships and managed, just barely, to scrape
by on a waitress’ salary. Though Tasha’s family had money the older woman
believed in earning what you got out of life. They never gave her a dime that
she hadn’t struggled to earn in some way. All of her money was wrapped up in a
trust found with conditions attached. Tasha hadn’t minded though, she loved her
grandmothers and believed their stubborn ways made her a better person over
all. Certainly better than most woman who came from privilege.

Before Mika
graduated she had paved the way for her nonprofit group and managed to get
investors to donate money, time and supplies to her cause. Now only a few years
later she had managed to expand into other areas. This opened the door for her
to become involved in the orphanage. Mika had known, it was a cause close to
Tasha’s heart and therefore did everything in her power to become involved.

BOOK: Love in the Mist (MacKay's)
7.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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