Word of the day: akimbo

An excellent word! Infographic: "akimbo" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

I used it in a scene in Chapter 3 of The Laird Takes a Bride, not long after my hero, Alasdair Penhallow, has met the four candidates for his favor in a Bachelor-esque scenario — one of whom he must choose as his bride, or suffer dire consequences.

Later, much later that evening, Alasdair lay with his head resting on interlaced fingers and his elbows akimbo. He was a big man, but even so his own self took up but little space within the great laird’s bed. Four massive oaken posts, carved long ago, upheld a canopy and looped hangings of rich cream-­colored linen, upon which had been skillfully embroidered figures of falcons, hawks, eagles, does and stags, foxes and wildcats. At this canopy Alasdair gazed unsee­ingly, for he was thinking about the four women.

About Wynda of the extraordinary bosom, so gen­erously displayed, he could only wonder what exactly was the jewel on her pendant necklace, it having disap­peared like a climber descending between two close­-set boulders. He supposed she had talked to him in the drawing-­room, but for better or for worse he retained nothing, as he had primarily exerted himself not to stare at her deeply fascinating balconniere.

Little Mairi had told him, in considerable detail, about her dog: where he slept (on his very own pillow, right next to hers), what he ate, when he evacuated his bowels, his fear of squirrels, his hatred of baths, his love for a nice marrow-­bone.Image: cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Green eyes sparkling, Janet was full of enthusiasm for the morrow’s outing. “An ancient monastery!” she’d cried, clapping her hands. “What fun! I simply adore old ruins, the more ramshackle the better! Oh, I do hope there are ghosts. Or a hermit at the very least!”

He had been obliged to inform her that the keep was entirely free of hermits, and as for ghosts, he had yet to encounter one there.

Janet had been only temporarily daunted, and smil­ingly said: “Still, it sounds wonderfully romantic! So Gothic! How I look forward to exploring every inch of it! Now! I want to hear all about you, laird!”

Now that was the right sort of lass, positive and friendly, excited about visiting a local landmark, a good conversationalist, and all soft and plump and round, like a ripe hothouse peach.

As opposed to the prickly, sharp­-tongued, aloof Miss Fiona Douglass. Her eyes, when they spoke, had been suddenly, strikingly blue against the drabber blue of her gown — and practically crackling with fiery intelligence.

She was not uninteresting.

But God’s blood, she’d be a handful for a man. Some other man. Not him.

He liked his private life to be easy, predictable, as smooth as silk. And nothing about Fiona Douglass suggested smooth, easy predictability.

Besides, she’d made it clear she didn’t want him, either.

He wondered again why she was still unmarried. Was there, perhaps, a swain anxiously waiting for her back in Wick Bay?

Oh well, it wasn’t his problem.

So now there was one lass crossed off his list. Still, there was no point in saying anything to her about it. No use in sending her home early, under a cloud of humiliation.

He thought again about Janet, and Mairi, and Wynda. Good God — Wynda. He spent a few mo­ments imagining himself spending the rest of his life, the rest of his nights, with his face buried between those prodigious, those delicious, yielding breasts.

His last thought, before sleep claimed him, was of Fiona Douglass, and the recollection that her breasts weren’t prodigious at all.

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