Scotsman in the Stacks
by Alana Oxford
Paige wants two things: to land a full time librarian job and find the man of her dreams. On the cusp of thirty, she finds herself suddenly single and working part-time in a Michigan library. A handsome patron with a delicious accent appears at the reference desk, inadvertently sparking an idea that might help her land the promotion she so desperately needs. But that’s not the only thing he sparks.
James is in town from Glasgow, Scotland, on a summer artist residency. Luckily, the trip got him away from the pressure he feels to take over his uncle’s river tour business. He only wanted to clear his head and make his art in peace, but he wasn’t counting on finding an attractive librarian to fill his days.
With only eight weeks before James goes home to Scotland, Paige knows she should protect her heart. After all, she already wasted years with her commitmentphobe ex. But the more she gets to know James, the less she can stick to her plan to just be friends. Is she just wasting her time again, or can they bridge the ocean between them to find a happily ever after of their own?
“Here we are,” James said, nervously rubbing the back of his neck. “This is what I’ve been up to so far.”
Paige stepped into the room and deeply inhaled the scent of lumber. Her eyes were drawn to the workbench in the center of the room and the wood shavings littering it and the floor. A large chunk of wood stood on the table, but part of it had been carved away to reveal the rough shape of a ship emerging from the larger piece.
Paige walked reverently to the table. The air in the room was still and charged with promise, like in a museum or cathedral.
She leaned down to get eye level with the figure James was exhuming from the log. Even though it was still pretty raw, Paige was amazed by what she saw. While all the rest of the log still resembled a log, this little part had been rough-hewn into the very clear image of a ship. She could see the scoring of the chisel against the wood and the rougher strokes he’d taken to get to this point. If you’d put a chuck of wood and a chisel in front of her, she’d have no idea where to begin. The fact that he’d taken the raw material and already transformed it into the ship she saw before her, blew her mind.
“James,” she breathed. “This is incredible.”
“Oh, this is early days. Still a long way to go before it looks like anything much.”
“But look at this!” Paige gestured at the table. “How do you decide what to cut away and what stays? I can’t imagine doing anything like this.”
James joined her at the table and pointed at the emerging ship. “It’s no’ like that for me. When I pick up a piece of wood, I feel the story inside of it. It used to be alive. All living things have a story of some sort. Once I feel that story, it’s like the wood guides me to the image inside. I dinnae feel like I’m really the one making the decisions. I just uncover what was there all along.”
James’s face was so close to hers and his words, combined with the creative atmosphere, made Paige dizzy. All rational thoughts left her mind and she found the full focus of her attention on his lips. They were so close. So enticing. Her eyes began to close.
Alana Oxford is a Michigan author of romcoms, sweet romance, and humorous women’s fiction. She wants her stories to bring sunshine and smiles to her readers. She enjoys improv comedy, moody music, everything book related, and has an ongoing love affair with the United Kingdom.