And then one day I came crashing down. Because my vision of Julian—only now a real, living human being—walked right in front me. (And he was naked from the waist up!)
A little scene setting, if I may.
My family lives pretty close to an amusement park—not one most people would recognize by name, but a big one for our region. The theme of said amusement park is Old Time Hokey Fun. The whole idea is that you walk through the gates and travel back in time. There’s a Main Street of Victorian-inspired shops, a saloon where you can eat overpriced chicken strips to the lively tune of an on-stage pianist, a train ride that results in a hold-up, and Deliverance-style banjo songs on constant repeat from speakers designed to look like rocks. Oh, and a water park and modern neon-colored roller coasters, but you can’t have it all, now can you?
Anyway…we were at said amusement park, and I was admiring the Victorian buildings and wondering if I could move into the second story of Ye Olde Coffeeshop without anyone noticing. All of a sudden, a man walked by. He was tall, shirtless, tattooed, and built to support it all.
He was Julian.
So of course I immediately started stalking tailing him. What follows is a (slightly modified) transcription of actual events:
Husband: Um…why are you following that man and his family to the water park?At that point, my husband corralled me in the direction of Ye Olde Magic Show, where he intended to force feed me pizza and make me forget all about attacking a complete stranger and his family on their day out.
Me: Ohmygod! That man is my hero.
Me: Don’t look at me like that—it’s for my book. He’s exactly how I imagine my male lead. Do you think it would be weird if I went to talk to him?
Husband: Yes. It would be very weird.
Me: I’m going to do it anyway. I know! I’ll tell him he looks just like the hero in my romance novel. Men love hearing that, right? Won’t he be flattered?
Husband: You are not telling him that. It’s creepy. You’re creepy.
Me: I wonder if he can throw a caber.
Husband: I have an idea. Why don’t you go stop in the gift shop first and buy a big red fanny pack to wear while you talk to him? If you’re going to be insane, you might as well go all out.
Me: You have no artistic vision. What if that woman over there (I pointed) came up to you and said you look exactly like how she always pictured Edward Cullen, all pale and wild-haired and grouchy? There’s no way you could resist that kind of compliment.
Husband: …maybe we should get you three or four fanny packs. You could layer them.
It worked, of course. (Pizza always does.) But I walked away from the amusement park that day triumphant. I had seen my hero in real life. He lived and breathed and had an adorable family who (thankfully) was not forced to take out a restraining order against me. I’d seen him set against an incongruous historical backdrop perfect for my incongruous contemporary setting.
Thus Love is a Battlefield as we know it was born.
To this day, every time I hear a Deliverance-style banjo, I think of that man and thank him for walking around the amusement park shirtless that day.
But not in a creepy, red fanny pack sort of way. I swear.
* * *
About Love is a Battlefield (Out now!)
It takes a real man to wear a kilt. And a real woman to charm him out of it.
It might be modern times, but Kate Simmons isn’t willing to live a life without at least the illusion of the perfect English romance. A proud member of the Jane Austen Regency Re-Enactment Society, Kate fulfills her passion for courtliness and high-waisted gowns in the company of a few women who share her love of all things heaving.
Then she encounters Julian Wallace, a professional Highland Games athlete who could have stepped right off the covers of her favorite novels. He’s everything brooding, masculine, and, well, heaving. The perfect example of a man who knows just how to wear his high sense of honor—and his kilt.
Confronted with a beautiful woman with a tongue as sharp as his sgian dubh, Julian and his band of merry men aren’t about to simply step aside and let Kate and her gaggle of tea-sippers use his land for their annual convention. Never mind that “his land” is a state park—Julian was here first, and he never backs down from a challenge.
Unless that challenge is a woman unafraid to fight for what she wants...and whose wants are suddenly the only thing he can think about.
Warning: The historical re-enactments in this story contain very little actual history. Battle chess and ninja stars may apply.
Tamara Morgan is a romance writer and unabashed lover of historical reenactments—the more elaborate and geeky the costume requirements, the better. In her quest for modern-day history and intrigue, she has taken fencing classes, forced her child into Highland dancing, and, of course, journeyed annually to the local Renaissance Fair. These feats are matched by a universal love of men in tights, of both the superhero and codpiece variety.
You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.