I enjoy writing about manly alpha heroes, but always tempered with a sense of humor and a few beta characteristics to increase their appeal. Alistair Kincaid, the smokin’ hot Scottish archaeologist from THE JAGUAR LEGACY is an example. It goes without saying that Kincaid was born to lead—goal-oriented, courageous, strong, decisive, energetic, and brilliant. However, being an expert in the field of archaeology and a scientist to boot, he is also a tad professorial. As I wrote him, I discovered his softer and, in my mind, equally engaging side. Here are some snippets that will give you an idea of why I fell in love with Alistair Kincaid. I hope you do, too.
1. Always Stays Calm, Cool, & Collected
Kincaid rolled his eyes and threw up his hands to address an invisible audience in the canopy above. His brogue thickened with every mouthful of words. “Why don’t we just install flashing neon signs in the jungle to invite thieves, bandits, and jealous archaeologists to swarm all over the site?”
Charley concentrated, trying to understand his accent.
“Signs saying ‘Help yourself’,” he continued, “or, ‘Dig Here for Priceless Treasure’.” By then, he was virtually indecipherable.
She perked up at the thought of priceless treasure.
His voice rose. “Then I won’t need to worry about unwanted visitors.” He broke off with a glare before ending his tirade in a dramatic crescendo, “Why? Because robbers will plunder the site and leave nothing of value for trespassers like you to gawk at.”
2. Snappy Dresser
Charley turned her head and squinted at blue and maroon Argyle socks arising from scuffed hiking boots planted on either side of the path. What kind of person wore Argyle socks in the jungle? Suppressing an insane urge to snicker, she allowed her gaze to travel up long, hairy legs. Powerful thighs, bronzed and looking as if their owner could sprint all the way to California, ended at a pair of frayed khaki shorts encasing lean hips. A fuchsia aloha shirt patterned with large-breasted hula dancers completed the getup. She forced herself to look at the man’s face, and swallowed hard. Tabloid photographs didn’t come close to capturing the utterly masculine appeal of Dr. Alistair Kincaid.
She let out a tiny moan of mortification as the last faint hope of making a businesslike first impression vaporized.
3. Musical Talent
Another piercing yowl rang out. It was followed by a prolonged shriek that faded away in a series of agonized squeals, squeaks, and bleats.
“What is that God-awful racket?” She heard the slight quaver in her voice.
A broad grin split the student’s bearded face. “Chill, babe. You never really get used to the boss’ bagpipes, but the shock fades.”
“Say what?” Her brain whirled as she tried to make sense of the words.
“Kincaid claims bagpipes help him find clarity to solve a problem.”
She felt her lips twitch into a reluctant smile. Ten-to-one, her presence in camp formed a huge portion of the problem. “It sounds like a slaughterhouse.”
Louder and more discordant, the mournful howls and shrill shrieks coalesced into a continuous, wailing drone.
The plaintive racket drilled into Charley’s brain like a jackhammer. Slowly her heart resumed a normal rhythm. “I’ve never heard anything quite like it. His playing is an insult to music lovers everywhere.”
But somehow the dreadful off-key playing made Kincaid more human. Anyone who played that badly in public couldn’t possibly take himself too seriously.
The young man grimaced. “This year he graduated from the practice chanter to the full set of pipes. Much louder. Much more difficult. Much worse for the listeners.”
She privately thought Kincaid should consider it a miracle someone hadn’t destroyed the instrument of torture before now. She concentrated on finding the melody. Sure enough a mournful bass-line moan underlined the distorted strains of Amazing Grace.
She turned her eyes heavenward and muttered a fervent prayer that Kincaid would find the clarity he sought in record time.
4. Kind to Animals
A black-and-tan apparition bolted out of the vegetation. It streaked straight toward him like an arrow, then twined around Kincaid’s legs, purring.
“Horrie.” He scooped his enormous cat into his arms. “Where have you been hiding?” He stroked the scruffy fur between pointed ears.
The cat closed his single yellow eye in feline euphoria.
In his finely-tuned peripheral vision, he caught Charley’s frown before she blurted, “Good Lord, I’ve never seen such an ugly cat.”
It figured. Big city reporters probably preferred sleek, aristocratic cats. “Aye. He’s no beauty,” Kincaid admitted. He scratched the cat’s back, giving Charley a challenging glance. “I rescued poor Horrie four years ago. He’s been with me ever since.”
“Horrie? What kind of name is that?”
“He’s named after Horatio Lord Nelson because he has only one eye. Horrie for short. He’s so mean-tempered, we usually call him Horrid.”
She reached out to scratch the cat’s head.
“Don’t touch him,” warned Kincaid quickly, shifting the animal. “He’ll take your hand off unless tuna’s involved.” He eyed her. “On second thought, perhaps I should let him take a chunk out of your hide.”
Ignoring Kincaid, she rubbed the cat’s head while crooning, “Aren’t you the lovely boy?”
5. Sensitive Conversationalist
Kincaid launched into a sermon on the mysteries of ‘were-jaguars’, offspring of a feline father and human mother, a common theme in Olmec sculpture, when Colin strolled over to the table and caught the last words.
“Och, Kincaid, not those were-jaguars again. You don’t want to put the lass to sleep at the dinner table on her first night in camp. You can continue the lecture some other time.”
Charley hid a quick smile.
Colin addressed Charley. “You can thank me later for the timely rescue. Sometimes it’s easier to stop a runaway train than to stop Kincaid once he’s started discoursing on his favorite topics, particularly if he thinks he has an interested audience. The man can pontificate for hours without pausing for breath. Don’t know how he does it. It’s common for folks to nod off long before he runs out of steam.”
Kincaid chuckled. “Colin always brings me down to earth when I get carried away.”
6. Abundance of Charm & Wit
He leaned in closer. “I hope you were comfortable in your tent last night.”
“Surprisingly comfortable, thank you,” she said in a prim voice she hardly recognized as her own.
His mouth curved in a tiny smile. “Ah, good. I aim to please. We may be only a small establishment, and we may not have all the frills of a Hilton, but there are a few advantages and amenities. Me for example,” he explained, modestly.
She nearly choked on a sip of coffee. “I’d prefer air conditioning.”
He spread his arms wide in an expansive gesture. “Air conditioning? You can’t mean that. Air conditioning is run-of-the-mill. Air conditioning is banal.”
“Air conditioning is essential,” she argued. “How about an ensuite bathroom then?”
“Same thing. Boring, boring, boring. No sense of adventure with an ensuite. You’d never encounter the sights and sounds of the jungle at night. Never enjoy the freedom of the fresh air experience.”
“Treats I could happily live without.”
“Now I, on the contrary, am seldom boring, despite Colin’s unkind claim to the contrary.” He shot a baleful glance toward the open pantry door. “I’m one of the best tour guides in the world. I clean up fairly nicely, I seldom smell, and I play the bagpipes so well the music will bring a tear to your eye.”
Charley found herself enjoying the verbal fencing. “The tear in the eye part is true enough. I heard your rendition of Amazing Grace yesterday.”
7. Never Hesitates to Take Charge (Bossy?)
How could she confess she’d experienced a hallucination? Men in white coats would come and cart her away and there would be medical bills. She wriggled, trying to escape the iron grip. “Let me up, Kincaid. I’m uncomfortable,” she said in a muffled voice. Dammit, he was strong. And persistent.
The grip tightened. “Not yet.”
“I mean it. Let go before I throw up on your boots.”
The pressure relaxed. “Raise your head very slowly.”
He clasped her hand. His grip was warm, firm, and comforting, and she hung on for dear life while inching her head up. “I guess the sun was too strong,” she whispered, waiting for the trees to stop spinning.
He stroked her hair back from her face. “You should wear a hat. We’ll sit here in the shade until you feel better. The excavation and the pyramid can wait.”
That was fine with her. Her legs felt like limp strands of spaghetti. “I’ll be fine in a few minutes.” She’d make sure she was, even if she had to crawl to the pyramid on her hands and knees.
He thrust a water bottle into her hand. “Drink.”
Muttering under her breath about bossy, arrogant Scots, she raised the bottle to her lips. Cool, life-giving liquid slid across her parched tongue and down her tight throat. She lowered the bottle only to find it thrust toward her mouth again.
“More,” he commanded.
She shot him a baleful scowl, but opened her mouth, gulped and swallowed, then gulped again before pushing his hand away. “Enough. If you keep pouring water into me, I’ll drown.”
He let out an exasperated sigh. “Do you always argue like this? Water’s the best cure for heat stroke.” He eyed her closely and frowned. “You’re face isn’t quite the sickly greenish-grey it was, but you still look pale. Drink more water.”
8. Sensitivity to a Woman’s Need for Romance
He settled himself so close beside her, heat penetrated her tank top. His grin stretched from ear to ear. “I’m a reformed man. I swear I’ve led a monastic existence on the dig. I never get involved with any of the women on my team.” His voice deepened and so did his accent. “Fortunately, you’re not a member of my team.”
She stiffened and squirmed away. “In your dreams, Kincaid.”
He heaved an exaggerated sigh. “Can’t blame a man for trying.”
“Try with someone else.”
“It’s not often a beautiful woman drops in on my hidden jungle hideaway,” he continued, heedless of her discomfort. Or deliberately ignoring it. “In fact, there’s been a definite dearth of beautiful women around here until you arrived.”
Sizzling heat shot through her body and ripped the oxygen from her lungs. In spite of his reputation as a playboy, in spite of her most recent romantic fiasco and bruised ego, she couldn’t deny that a tumble with Kincaid would be mind-blowing.
When she refused to answer, he didn’t give up, but tried another approach. “I’m moving too fast, fool that I am. A woman as special as you obviously needs to be wooed.”
“Wooed?” she echoed weakly.
“Oh, aye. I can woo with the best of them. I’m a champion wooer. In fact, I can say with some assurance that I’m probably the most accomplished wooer in the entire state of Oaxaca.”
Charley’s felt her lips twitch, and she bit the inside of her mouth to prevent the bubble of laughter from escaping.
He continued, “I’ll wine you and dine you and shower you with flowers. And if those all fail, I’ll share my stash of chocolate with you. That would be a last resort, though. People don’t know it, but I’m a closet chocoholic,” he confided. “It would be a difficult sacrifice, but for such a worthy cause, the sky’s the limit.”
9. Knows How to Play Doctor
“I have a first aid kit in my tent. I’ll be right back. Drink more water while you wait.” He returned in under five minutes, and hunkered down beside her, holding out his hand. “Give me a foot.”
“More orders,” she muttered. “I hope you don’t have a foot fetish.”
“You should be so lucky. Now, your right foot, please. Infection is always a danger here in the jungle. No one’s allowed to ignore an open wound, even you,” he said sternly as she opened her mouth to protest.
He reached for one of her feet and cradled it in his lap. She sucked in her breath at the intimate contact. Incapable of movement or speech, she sat perfectly still. Thank God she’d had the foresight to get a pedicure and leg waxing before her trip. Intent on his job, Kincaid blotted the water with a soft cloth, then feathered his thumb over the sole of her foot, examining the throbbing extremity from all angles.
It would be easy to get used to this kind of treatment, Charley mused as he knelt in front of her. My, he was good with his hands.
Heat flooded her body and pooled heavily between her legs. She could picture, no she could almost feel, those same long-fingered hands cupping other portions of her anatomy. She restrained herself from grabbing the shaggy head by gripping the rock to give her hands something constructive to do with themselves, something that wouldn’t land her in a huge pile of trouble.
For once, Kincaid appeared unaware of erotic undertones. “Let’s see what we have here,” he muttered under his breath. “Look at this mess. I have to hand it to you, Charley. You have guts. I’m not sure I could have done as well on feet as far gone as these.”
10. Confidence on the Dance Floor
A goofy smile plastered on his face, the student had the nerve to touch Charley’s arm and whisper in her ear. The racket drowned out her reply, but the laughter in her eyes caused Kincaid to tighten his fist around the empty Coke can. Tonight, he, and he alone, would bring that light to her eyes.
He discarded the crushed can and worked his way toward her. It wasn’t easy. He had to elbow the majority of his team out of the way. At last, panting a little, he reached the spot where she stood.
He wiped his hand on his pants before clasping her back lightly, but firmly. “Hullo, gorgeous,” he said in a low voice. “Care to dance?” He hoped he projected smooth and debonair instead of needy and jealous.
She whirled to face him. “There you are,” she said with gratifying pleasure. “I was beginning to wonder if you’d stood me up. I’d love to dance.”
“Oh, hell.” The student grimaced. “You stole my thunder, Kincaid. Any chance of the next dance?”
“Sorry, lad. You’re not my type.” He gave the student a shark-like smile and led her into the sensual and elegant Latin dance.
She followed smoothly, without hesitation, her body swaying to the beat as if they’d danced together a hundred times. “Nice rank pulling,” she said, flashing a grin.
“What’s the point of being the boss if there are no privileges? Did you know the Latinos consider the merengue to be a weapon of seduction a man uses to court a woman?”
“Weapon of seduction, huh?” Her hips undulated beneath his hand. “Does this mean you’re hoping I’ll fling myself into your arms when the dance is over?”
“Aye. Is it working?” Women usually loved the frank approach.
“It’ll take a lot more than one dance, Kincaid.”
“Give me time.”
I could find many more examples of Alistair Kincaid’s softer side, but that’s enough for now. If you are interested in learning more about him, including his macho alpha side where he leads his team in the discovery of untold historical artifacts, protects the camp against prowling jaguars, and saves the heroine’s life, I encourage you to download THE JAGUAR LEGACY at http://amzn.to/13PIvaQ