Widow Lara MacLaren hungers for the hunky architect she hires to restore her derelict Scottish manor, but is she ready for a relationship...and is Ian ready for her twins?
Ian Paterson is eager to awaken Lara's passionate side. Yet, if he reveals his ancestral claim to her estate, he risks losing her and his job. His clan’s history, lost over the years, may be hidden in the walls—along with a ghost waiting for the laird's return.
When they uncover a room full of Jacobite treasure, proof of his ancestry, Ian realizes he’s out of time. If the ghost is real, it could expose his secret and destroy his romance with Lara. Ian must convince her she and her twins are the future he truly wants.
Ian took Lara’s arm and led her to one of the doorways off the great hall’s open space, enjoying her nearness and how the light, fresh scent she wore distracted him from the dust and must of the age-old stone and wood surrounding them. He played the flashlight around the room, but it was empty. Lara shrugged, and they moved to the next. It, too, was empty. The floors continued to be sound, so he suggested, “Let’s go up,” and lit her way back to the stone stairs.
Lara glanced up the stairway and shrugged. “Let’s,” she said and started up the steps ahead of him.
Though he kept the light on the uneven stones at her feet, she suddenly stumbled and softly cried out. Ian grabbed for her and got an arm around her waist before her knees banged into the step above. She sucked in a breath when he pulled her back against his body and held her there. He meant only to give her a moment to get her feet back under her but found he could not let her go. Instead, he wrapped both arms around her, annoyed he could only touch her with one hand. The other held their light source.
“Are ye okay?” Ian felt Lara’s ribs expand under his hand as she breathed.
“I am now,” she murmured. “I could have sprained an ankle, or fallen and hit my head.”
“You needn’t worry,” he answered softly. “I’ve got you.” Pressed against his hard length, right where he needed her. Though he knew holding her was a mistake, he couldn’t let her go.
Her face flushed. “You do at that. I…I…” She glanced at the ceiling, then returned her gaze to his. “Thank you…”
“You’re welcome. I don’t mind a bit,” Ian teased. Her body was firm, yet soft against his. She made no move to escape his embrace. He lowered his gaze to her mouth. Her lips were so close. So tempting.
Lara’s breath warmed his face. Her gaze met his, then dropped quickly to his mouth.
He was certain she meant to allow his kiss…and to kiss him back. He parted his lips, drinking in her scent, eager to taste her.
Something moved in the darkness below them, soundless, but stirring the cool air and whispering across his hands. The back of Ian’s neck prickled.
Lara stiffened and cocked her head, as if listening.
“Just a draft,” he murmured. Ian could have sworn it was only moving air, nothing more. He hoped. He’d grown up hearing tales about Cairn Dubh—and its ghost. If Cairn Dubh did have a ghost, this ancient space would be a fine place for it to haunt.
He felt certain Lara would not enjoy hearing that. “Maybe Rollo went outside,” he offered, hoping to ease her tension and perhaps even get back to the kiss that seemed inevitable only moments ago.
Her expression grew serious and she pulled away. “That did not feel like the breeze from an open door. I want to go see what caused it.”
Reluctantly, he let her go. “Very well. Then you can go on about your day, if you like. We’ll save the upper floors for another time.”
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