David J. O'Brien
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy here: Tirgearr Publishing
Kaleb Schwartz isn't interested in the Loch Ness Monster. He'd enough cryptobiological speculation about Bigfoot while studying the Pacific Northwest forests. He's in Scotland's Great Glen to investigate aquatic food webs and nutrients cycles; if he proves there's no food for any creature bigger than a pike, then so much the better.
Jessie McPherson has returned to Loch Ness after finishing university in London, hoping to avoid the obsession with its dark waters she had when younger and first discovered lonesomeness. She knows any relationship with a scientist studying the lake is a bad idea, but something about Kaleb makes her throw caution to the depths.
When Kaleb discovers Jessie's lonesomeness refers not just to the solitude of the loch, he's faced with an ecological problem of monstrous proportions. Can he find a way to satisfy both the man and the scientist inside himself, and do the right thing?
10% of the author's royalties will be donated to WWF,
the World Wildlife Fund.
• • •
Kaleb got out of the Land Cruiser and put his hood up against the rain. It showed little sign of being the short shower he'd hoped it would be; he might have to take a long lunch.
Instead of heading to The Bothy or The Lock Inn when he crossed the canal bridge, he ran to the Canalside Fish and Chip Shop that faced The Clansman Centre: a tourist attraction where some guy dressed in a kilt played with Claymore swords and other Braveheart props.
It was greasy food, and he knew it was far from good to eat every day, but it was tasty, and heated the belly after a few hours out on the lakeshore with the wind whipping across the water. It was also quick and handy compared to sitting for an hour in The Boathouse restaurant next door. Besides, it was an anthropological investigation into the eating habits of the British Isles. Battered Mars Bars—now there was a marvel as confounding to Kaleb as the weather.
Immediately he pushed the glass door open and lifted back his hood, he did a double-take at the girl behind the counter. Instead of the big-bosomed, matronly woman who'd served him his fish and chips before, Kaleb found a new girl behind the counter.
Not only was she young, but she was pretty—very pretty—with glowing cheeks that looked like they dimpled when she smiled, and a heart-shaped face with a cute little pointed chin. Her long, wavy, black hair was tied in a ponytail that had not quite captured all the wisps of wayward ringlets.
A part of him wondered whether she shouldn't be wearing a hair net or something in a food preparation establishment, and another part told that first part—in a Scottish accent, inexplicably—to shut up talking shite and concentrate on the pertinent facts: one, she was a "bonnie lassie" indeed; and two, her hair was wonderful. And that second part of him was right. If Kaleb had seen her in an Inverness pub three weeks ago, he'd have downed a couple of pints in record time for even a seasoned American in Scotland to get up his Dutch courage, and screw the memory of Becky and all the bullshit baggage she'd left him. But this was not a pub, and he had to speak to her right now. He took a breath and smiled broadly, hoping he didn't look like an idiot.
putting lots of just-cooked fries into the little paper bags. Kaleb supposed that she had noticed he was new, too, though he would have assumed that a tourist destination would have strangers coming in and out all the time, and, when he thought about it, she was new, so every customer was new to her. But she was about to talk to him and he concentrated to ensure he understood her with the accent.
"Hello. What can I get you?" she asked.
Kaleb saw that her cheeks did indeed dimple when she smiled.
"Hi," he replied, thinking that her accent was, at last, a beautiful, lilting, musical thing like he'd hoped the Scottish accent would be but had, until then, seemed to him only an amazingly rapid series of guttural grunts that made it hard to understand everyone around him. "I'd like a bag of chips and fish, please."
"Fish and chips? Okay." She nodded, her smile deepening as she heard his own accent, no doubt, and his inability to say the stock British phrase "fish ‘n' chips" properly. "Just be a minute."
She went back to her work, jiggling a fryer full of the thick French fries he was quickly becoming addicted to, and picking up a wet battered fillet of fish: it was supposed to be cod, but he'd have said it was probably whiting.
Kaleb felt a sharp pang in his chest watching her, as if he'd been pierced with a porcupine quill. "You're new," he said.
She looked up with a quizzical expression. "No." She shook her head. "I'm old."
"I don't think so. I mean, I haven't seen you in here before."
"Oh, aye, no. I'm just back."
"Oh. From where?"
"Awesome. I've been there. I'm Kaleb. What's your name?"
"Oh nice. That's cool. Appropriate name."
She frowned. "How's that, then?"
"Well," he said, feeling a little stupid for even thinking it, but also aware he couldn't just say it was nothing, to forget about it, now. A stupid conversation was better than no conversation—wasn't it? Perhaps not, but he was moving forward on this one already, there was no going back. "It's, like, Jess from Loch Ness..
• • •
David J O'Brien was born and raised in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. He studied environmental biology and later studied deer biology for his PhD, at University College Dublin. Instead of pursuing his life-long interest in wolves and predator-prey interactions, after completing his doctorate, he taught English in Madrid, Spain, for four years while his girlfriend finished her doctorate in molecular biology. They married and moved to Boston, USA, so his wife could pursue her career and David decided that teaching was a vocation he was happy to continue. After seven great years teaching Biology at Boston's Cathedral High School and Zoology at Bridgewater State College, he returned to Spain three years ago so his wife could set up her new research group in her hometown of Pamplona shortly before their daughter was born. He currently teaches English and science in Pamplona, while looking after his daughter and writing.
David has loved writing since his teens. He began with poetry and had one of his first poems published in Cadenza, a small Dublin poetry magazine at the age of fourteen. Since then several more have been published in journals and anthologies such as Albatross, The Tennessee State Poetry League, Poems of Nature and various anthologies of Forward Press imprint in Britain. He began writing fiction soon after and wrote the novella that would later become Leaving The Pack at the age of seventeen. Though his academic writing took precedence for a number of years, and he is still involved in deer biology and management, he kept writing other things in his spare time and has always dreamt of one day being able to do it full time. While living in Madrid, he wrote some non-fiction articles for the magazine Hot English and while in Boston for the newspaper Dig.
An avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David's non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science, and he sometimes seeks to describe the science behind the supernatural. He has written a little bit of everything: to date a four-act play, a six-episode sit-com, various short stories and five more novels.
His Young Adult paranormal novel The Soul of Adam Short will be published in 2015 and a novella under the pseudonym JD Martins was published in January.
David is currently working on sequels to Leaving the Pack and an Ecological Fiction novel set in Scotland called The Ecology of Lonesomeness, He is also plugging away at a long novel set in the pre-Columbian Caribbean, and a non-fiction book about the sociology of hunting.
Find David Online:
Website - http://davidjmobrien.wordpress.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DavidJMOBrien
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIIUO91SFG-Kq0tKnWd7RAg
Google+ - https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DavidOBrienauthor
Tirgearr Publishing - http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/OBrien_David