Parking my car in the circular driveway, I sit forward and look up at the castle in front of me. Gray stone gargoyle statues, which are hundreds of years old, are perched on the edge, the details so realistic it makes them look like they might come to life and swoop down on uninvited guest. There are two round turrets on either side of the castle, and a huge wooden front door right out of a horror flick.
As thunder sounds and lightning streaks across the sky, I jump in my seat and cover my heart with my hand. “This isn’t a horror flick, Isabel. This is real life, and in real life, you need this account. Otherwise, you’ll have to go home.”
With the thought of tucking my tail between my legs and admitting to my parents I messed up, I grab my purse off the passenger seat and push the door open. As soon as my foot touches the asphalt, I see the front door open and a good-looking man with rusty-red hair and broad shoulders step outside wearing a green-and-blue plaid kilt. Lord, he looks like he just walked out of a painting from hundreds of years ago.
“I’m guessing you’re Isabel. I’m Angus.” His Scottish brogue is so thick it would normally take me a few moments to decipher what he said, but I’ve been here long enough I’m used to it.
“I am. Nice to meet you.” I walk toward him and jump a little when another rumble of thunder fills the air.
“You’re American,” he states, sweeping his gaze over me like he might find an American flag pin attached to my jacket.
“Yes.” I walk up the stone steps toward him.
He shakes his head. “Lass, what are you doing all the way out here?”
I don’t tell him I followed a man I thought I was in love with, because that information is unnecessary and still makes me feel like a fool. Instead, I push my shoulders back and give him a partial truth. “I love this country. I always wanted to live here.” Since I could remember, I’ve always felt an odd connection to Scotland, like I was meant to be right where I am now. If I’m honest, the castle before me seems almost familiar.
“This should be interesting,” he mutters, turning for the open door behind him. Having no idea what he means, I follow him inside and barely hold back a gasp from the beauty I see—stone walls covered in priceless art, and antique furniture that looks just as perfect as the day it was made. It’s like stepping back in time to an era long forgotten. “Cameron is in the study working. I’ll take you to him.”
“That won’t be necessary, Angus,” a deep, dark voice rumbles in a Scottish accent, sending a chill down my spine.
When I lock eyes with the man standing a few feet away, who’s wearing a custom-tailored suit that contours to every inch of him, my knees get weak. He’s tall, probably over a foot taller than me, and so broad he seems to engulf the curved door way behind him. His long hair is so black it’s almost blue in the soft light, and his eyes seem to glow from within as they roam over me.
Standing before him, fear fills me and my blood starts to rush through my veins. There is a darkness surrounding him that seems out of place and almost otherworldly. We stare at each other, and I fight the urge to run, even as everything in me screams to do so. His nostrils flare then I swear I see his eyes flash like the lightning erupting outside.
“You can go. Your services are no longer needed.” He turns away from me and begins to walk off.
Part of me wants to accept his dismissal without a fight, get into my car, and drive as far away from him as I can. Another piece of me knows if I do, my dream of living in Scotland will come to an abrupt end, and that’s unacceptable.
I need to be here.
Something inside me needs to be here.
“Why?” He doesn’t acknowledge my question, so I walk toward his retreating back, pulling in a breath as I state, “You promised me this account over the phone and by email. We had a verbal and written agreement. You cannot just dismiss me without reason.”
I see his big body still, and when he turns to face me, he’s suddenly much closer than he should be. So close I can smell the scent of him. Not cologne—him. So close I can feel his breath against my face and his warm, hard body pressed against mine.
“You want to know why?”
The question is growled, and I swallow as I nod.
“You stay and I’ll fuck you.” The harsh words vibrate with truth and I gasp. “I’ll not just fuck you, little one.” He dips his head and runs his nose up my throat, over my beating pulse and inhaling a sharp breath there before moving his mouth to my ear. His large hands lock onto my hips, holding tight as he continues speaking. “I’ll take everything from you. I’ll drain you dry until there’s nothing left.”