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Prologue

“Do you want to die?” MarcJergen leaned forward in his chair, anxiously watching his best friend and most lucrative client. “Get away from that window.” Angus turned from the glass panes overlooking the barren coast of northernMaine to grin, even white teeth flashing in his rugged face. “Aren’t ye overreacting a wee bit? ‘Tisonly a few letters, Marc.” “Very strange letters.And a picture. Of you. Standing in that very window.” He pointed to the space Angus had just abandoned. “If they got close enough to snap pictures, we have to take this seriously.” Angus paused at the wet bar to pour a glass of the cheap whiskey he kept in stock. Marc couldn’t restrain his shudder of revulsion. He’d tried the stuff. Once. And nearly wound up in the E.R. He likened the experience to drinking battery acid with a lye chaser. And the man drank it like it was weak tea. Marc swirled the wine in his glass. Thank God Angus kept weaker libations on hand for those with lesser constitutions. He’d had eccentric clients before, but none like Angus McLeod. The author was all but a recluse, staying holed up in this drafty old castle want-to-be he called home, only coming out for the occasional book signing. He’d been called the “Howard Hughes” of the literary world by more than one publication, despite the fact that he was only thirty-five. And it was all because he’d had the misfortune to hire a sleazy agent for his first book—a book that had hit the best seller lists like a runaway train. Angus had gone from a small Scottish village where everyone knew their neighbors, straight into aNew York media feeding frenzy that would have done justice to English royalty. The press had come damn close to eating him alive, and his agent not only didn’t protect Angus, he’d encouraged the turmoil. After six months of having every corner of his life probed, not being able to leave his home without the paparazzi hounding his every move, Angus had reacted with a vengeance. He’d fired the agent and bought this isolated castle on the coast

ofMaine , refusing to come out in public unless Marc or his publisher forced him into it. The mystery-man image might help sell books, but Marc feared Angus’s isolation was putting him in real danger. Weeks at a time went by when he had no contact with another living soul. Angus downed half the contents of his glass before glaring at Marc. “‘Twasthe damn poster. I told ye we should no’ have done it. I ne’er would have agreed if I’d known I wasgoin ’ tae wind up half-naked. ‘Tisembarrassing.” With a long suffering sigh, Marc rubbed the bridge of his nose. It might be embarrassing for Angus, but that poster had sold out faster than his best selling action suspense books. Women couldn’t seem to get enough of the man’s dark good looks. “Blame Linda. She had to find a way to get women reading your books. And you have to admit, it worked for a while. Your sales doubled in the six months following the release of that poster.” “Aye, and now I’ve got some lust-crazed lunatic stalking me.” His glare turned into an evil grin. “‘Tisprobably an eighty-year-old woman with an estrogen problem.” “That’s it.” Marc stood abruptly. “You may not take this seriously, but I do. I’m hiring a bodyguard.” “Nay,ye’re not. ‘Tismy moneyye’re playing with, and I’ll not be wasting it on someone who’s only going tae drive me crazy. Look at me,mon .” He spread his arms wide. “Do I look such a wee delicate thing Icanna take care of myself?” Angus dwarfed Marc’s own five foot eleven inches by half a foot, and outweighed him by forty pounds of solid muscle. But—”Size has nothing to do with it. Can you stop a bullet fired from a hundred feet away with your bare hands? Even you aren’t that good, Angus. And the police are useless. They won’t do anything until after you’re dead. You need a bodyguard.” “Nay.” “Damn it, Angus, you could lie here hurt and dying for days before anyone found you. At least let me hire a housekeeper, someone who’ll notice if you’re bleeding and call9-1-1 . You shouldn’t be out here alone.”

“I moved here so Icould be alone.” The glare was back. “I’ll no’ have some twittering femalesettin ’ my hours for me,touchin ’ me papers,tryin ’ tae force me tae eat on schedule. ‘Tiswhy I’m a divorcedmon now.” Marc snorted. “You’re divorced because Luna was a money-grubbing twit.” “True.” Angus was nothing if not complacent about the breakup of his marriage. His expression glazed slightly as he stared toward the window. “But ye have tae admit, Luna has a fine body on her. It might no’ be so bad tae have a woman around if she let ye know up front ‘twas the money she was after. ‘Twouldgive amon the upper hand, so tae speak, keep him from getting his expectations astir. Allow him tae control the situation.” When he turned his attention back to his agent, there was a wicked gleam in his cobalt blue eyes. Marc braced himself. He’d known Angus for ten years. By now, he could spot one of the man’s zingers coming from a mile off. “Ifye’re set onhirin ’ someone tae stay with me, hire me a mistress. Now there’s someone I would find useful.” Marc promptly choked on the swallow of wine he’d taken. Even he hadn’t expected that one. “Do I look like a pimp to you? This isn’t the seventeenth century, you know. A man can’t just go out and…” His mind began to whirl with possibilities. Maybe, just maybe, Angus had offered a way out of this mess. Of course, he didn’t have to tell Angus that. The author gave a whole new meaning to the word stubborn. If he knew what Marc was planning, he’d dig his heels in and nothing would budge him. “Okay.” He applied an innocent smile to his lips, a smile that never failed to charm. One of Angus’s thick black eyebrows vanished under his shaggy hair as he stared suspiciously at his agent. “What do ye have upyer sleeve, Marcus?” “Not a thing.” Marc kept his smile in place. “I don’t want you staying here alone and you want a mistress. Sounds like a perfect solution to me.”

You’ll not be the one bedding her. “Oh.” Marc growled.” “And I get final approval?” Damn. now will ye?” Marc screwed his face into a scowl. He certainly looked normal. her hand automatically .“Yewouldna be planning on foisting a prostitute on me. one I’mwillin ’ tae tolerate. Did you see ‘bordello’ anywhere on our sign? A modest ‘house of ill repute. staring at the man across the desk. But don’t think you can get out of this by turning them all down. you’ll be a miracle worker instead of an agent.’ maybe?” Kate shifted in her chair. You get final approval. his light brown hair neatly cut and styled. You aren’t backing out on me. “But if ye can find a womanwillin ’ tae put up with me. Angus. And she has to obey orders. one that made her very nervous. Someone with a brain as well as a body. Dressed in a conservative.” His expression turned crafty. no. Marc?” Angus refilled his glass and lifted it in a sarcastic.Jergen .” Chapter One “Tell me. Except the job he’d just offered was. “Fine. would I bedoin ’ that tae ye. “That’s not fair. mock-toast. the craziest request she’d ever had.” “Maybe we should get you a dog. When the man leaned forward. charcoal gray suit. he was the epitome of the modern day businessman. Mr.” “Aye. his brown eyes intent. “She has tae be a lady. hands down.” “Now. now would ye? I will no’ have it. ‘Tis. I’ll find someone. He held up a hand as a triumphant smile lifted the corners of Angus’s lips.

MarcJergen slumped back in the chair and ran a hand over his face. Her sympathy only went so far. Mr. she thought. You have to help me. My client could be in serious danger. No. She’d heard him wrong.” He shifted slightly. They think it’s a prank. There was no way this man could read her mind.” Kate’s body tensed. I just keep seeing John Lennon lying on the sidewalk in front of his hotel. He doesn’t even want a mistress. The only reason he suggested it was because he thought I couldn’t find one. a twinge of sympathy running through her at the man’s distress. Angus refuses to hire a bodyguard. what a man. he’s sent away as unsuitable. a fan with a sick sense of humor.edged toward the gun nestled under her staid suit jacket. He received another letter. It was a lot outside their usual procedures. God. . We may not be the biggest agency inNew York. Nothing would make her jeopardize the business by taking a job like this one. Weirdoes came in all shapes and sizes.” Okay. “There isn’t exactly an abundance of female bodyguards. She’d worked her butt off for six years making Safety First the respectable. It was a ploy to get me off his back. Heat flushed her cheeks and she barely restrained herself from squirming in her chair. but we’re good. “You don’t understand. “Miss Carson. The best selling author. but the police won’t do anything about it. prosperous company it was today. it couldn’t be. Or know that the only orgasms she’d achieved in the last few years had been courtesy of the fantasies she’d spun around the Scottish hunk. He thinks having someone in the house will disrupt his writing. agreeing to be this man’s mistress is a little outside our usual procedures. and the few I have managed to convince. However. know about the poster tacked to the inside of her closet door.Steady girl .Jergen . Safety First is my last chance. Safety First has provided bodyguard service for many famous and wealthy people with great success.” “Angus?” “Angus McLeod.” She let her hand slide away from the gun. that was a bit of an understatement. “If you wanted a standard contract I’d consider it.

he straightened.Jergen ?” He crossed one well-shod foot over his knee.” Her mind spun. “Why me. “I don’t know what you mean. it’s you.” Carefully.And now his agent wanted her to be the hunk’s mistress.Jergen . you really are desperate. “Not that I’m even remotely considering . Some of the biggest industrialists in the state swear by your services. We don’t sell sex. That’s what she was thinking about. Angus isn’t just a client. “He affects most women that way. You’re exactly what he needs. we sell protection. If your client changes his mind. “Boy. and again she hesitated. my answer still stands. Mr. aren’t you?” “Desperate?” He sighed. her nerves tingling. he’s my best friend. She gave her head a tiny shake. Miss Carson. she schooled her features and lied through her teeth. Mr. “I checked Safety First out very carefully before I called for an appointment. Regardless. I know your employees are the best trained in the business. She licked her lips before she caughtJergen’s amused expression. I’d be prostrate at your feet right now. If anyone can protect Angus. You’re smart and savvy.” As though sensing a crack in her façade. she eyed the man opposite her. You’ve developed quite a reputation for getting things done. “A bonus?” “Yes. feel free to give us a call. Warily.” Temptation had her heart pounding. “If I thought begging would help. What the hell was she thinking? That damn poster. “I’m prepared to offer you a substantial bonus above your usual fee. her hands going still on the papers she was straightening.” Kate hesitated.” The figure he named made her jaw drop.

It took an effort to stifle her groan of frustration. She nibbled her bottom lip in annoyance. Safety First was lucrative. He looked tired. Standing to indicate the meeting was over.” She watched him walk to the door and vanish down the hall. she smoothed sweat-dampened hands over her skirt. but apparently he wasn’t ready to give up yet.Jergen .this job. handing it across the desk. Would it be such a sacrifice to actually sleep with him? Especially when there was the money to consider. what makes you think he wouldn’t send me packing like he’s done everyone else?” Jergensmiled. Until reality came crashing down with a harsh thump. There was still time for her to get the money another way.” Following her example. defeated. There was none left over to play with. It was hard enough being a woman in the security business as it was. combined with heated images of the man on the poster. No. Miss Carson. give me a call at any of those numbers. She only had to figure out how. acceptance of the job ready to spill out. . he also rose to his feet. “If you change your mind. she couldn’t risk it. Mr. Her hormones went into a wild version of the happy dance every time she thought of Angus McLeod. I have a plan. Money she needed badly if she were going to help her sister save her fledgling clothing boutique.” Without thinking. “I’m really sorry I can’t help you. but it had got that way because every penny not needed for survival was plowed back into the business. taking the chance to make all her fantasies come true with him. “He won’t. He reached into his wallet and extracted a card. Kate licked her lips again. was enough to have her lips trembling eagerly. It was insane to even consider his offer. “I won’t change my mind. What about her reputation? If something like this got out.” Without glancing at the white rectangle. but out of curiosity. she stuck it in her pocket. she’d never get another job. What did she know about being a mistress? She hadn’t even dated in the last two years. The cash offer. This time.

raven hair was blowing in a tangled halo around his head. But in a rough. ***** Kate slid out of her jacket and tossed it on the bed before unfastening her shoulder holster. He stood with his feet braced apart. she turned and came face to face with the man who had caused her so much regret today. male animal kind of way. No matter how deep they were buried. He wouldn’t allow his lover to hold back on her emotions. drinking in his bare upper torso. could she get some mileage out of the images it inspired. couldn’t reach it. Maybe she couldn’t actually do the job. . The only other article of clothing in the pose was a pair of leather moccasins that laced to his knees and defined manly calves. almost barbaric. Holding the top in her hand. Placing it on the top shelf in her closet where Samantha. because his shoulder-length. They must have had a fan going. his expression fierce. No one could stop her from dreaming. tan chest decorated with a line of black curls that vanished into his waistband in a plungingvee . but she’d become so used to it when she worked for the bureau that she felt naked without it. A man like that would know how to make love to a woman. Only in the safety of her own home did she feel comfortable taking it off. reaching for one of the worn athletic tops she wore around the house. he was wearing skintight black pants that hung low on his hips and did nothing to hide the prominent bulge a few inches lower. A shiver of excitement shimmied along her nerves. her three-year-old niece. In the picture. Her mouth watered every time she looked at the poster. she pulled off her silk blouse and stepped out of her skirt.Annoyance faded as she thought about the poster. tanned muscles nearly rippling off the paper. and it never failed to send waves of longing over her. his sleekly muscled arms were crossed over a broad. God. Bare from the waist up. but boy. and a smile curved her lips. he was gorgeous. She probably didn’t need to wear the gun all the time. A man like that would take charge and make his partner like it. A wide silver band circled his left wrist. blue-black highlights glimmering. Her eyes moved slowly over the poster.

Her body clenched hard at the touch. almost able to taste his essence. A sigh lifted her chest. until she’d first lain eyes on Angus McLeod. imagined freeing his cock from its constraints then licking her way down his length. scraping a fingernail over her swollen clitoris. take-charge sister as a gag gift had this effect on said sister. The unemotional one. Right now.” she whispered as her nipples puckered. thank you. Maybe she wouldn’t wait until tonight. Deliciously. “Looks like the old vibrator is going to get a workout tonight. God. she licked her lips. Kate was the steady one. hand pressed tightly over her throbbing mound. smiling as she rose. she had it bad.Crystal would never let her forget it if she found out the poster she’d bought her plain.“Oh. the dependable one. yeah. hearing his moans of desire as she brought him to ecstasy. Ma’am” school of sexual education. while it was still light enough to see him. And it didn’t have to be a fantasy. The few men she’d dated all seemed to be of the old “wham. Her breathing became more rapid as she fixed her gaze on the bulge in Angus’s pants. didn’t regret for an instant all the years she’d taken care ofCrystal after their mother’s death. She’d never done that to a man before. feeling it harden to a painfully tight knot as pleasure streaked downward. The orgasm hit her hard. weakening her legs until she crumpled to her knees. She could really do it. but she had no basis for comparison. and she ran her fingers lower. her hips thrusting forward as she watched in the mirror. She’d do it again in a . Tentatively. Never even wanted to. She’d heard a real orgasm beat the mechanical ones hands down. good old Kate could always be counted on when the going got tough. Yeah. moisture lubricating the touch and increasing the sensations. Maybe she’d just plunk down in front of the full-length mirror right now. Her head dropped. Sucking him into her mouth. bam.” Moisture pooled between her legs at the thought. She loved her sister. She skimmed a finger over one. A few minutes passed before she gathered her strength. chin resting on her chest as she sucked in gulps of air. Now she dreamed about it constantly. her finger moved in a slow circle. She’d bought the vibrator in self-defense. The clenching came faster as she stroked her tiny erection. it didn’t look like she needed it.

B. But when it came to personal interaction with the opposite sex. At least she was more relaxed now. but it was sleekly muscled. there was no way she could bring herself to do the things he would require of her as his mistress. And even if he wasn’t.I. just for a week or two. she was as clueless as a newborn kitten. A man whose chances of getting hurt or killed were high. Twenty years old.The wild half. He was probably a jerk in real life. Most of the men she knew thought of her as either a buddy or a business associate. a mistress. Her sister oozed sensuality with every movement. Not forever.flat second with no hesitation. Now. Part of her longed to try even if the idea was silly. She’d die of embarrassment. Crystalwas built tall and slinky. But fantasies were a whole different ball game than really sleeping with the man. but shewas responsible for introducing her sister to a man who lived with danger on a daily basis. Snagging a pair of spandex shorts from a drawer. And Danny had . the athletic type that intimidated most men. Especially when they found out she’d been an F. she made her way to the shower. agent before opening her own security firm. The thought of her posing as some man’s mistress was ludicrous. and she’d fallen head over heels in lust with her sister’s partner the first time she’d met him. Before Danny had died. Her body wasn’t bad. The only thing they had in common was their brown eyes. She could. Wouldn’t she? Her. after all. unarm complex security systems with one hand tied behind her back. even if she wasn’t laughing. and decode an encrypted message in two seconds flat.She looked the part with her voluptuous figure and “oh-soblonde” hair. It hadn’t botheredCrystal at first. so maybe there was still a tiny bit of regret at refusing the job. while she was lucky to hit five-five. She hadn’t been responsible for his death. per se. See how the other half of the female population lived. Okay. But sometimes she really wished she could step outside her mold. pin and cuff a crazed fan without breaking a sweat. It was a condition she was normally happy to go along with. A frown crossed her face as she scrubbed down under the steaming water. takeCrystal . The idea was laughable.

older neighborhood. Pulling on the spandex shorts and top. That was why Kate had left the agency to open Safety First. and dried rapidly. It wasn’t an upscale area byNew York standards. Their grandmother had tried. And a little over a year ago. a safe place to raise Samantha. stopped her father somehow. Because she hadn’t. “I sentHowie home and locked the doors. Deep down. refused to take Kate’s offer seriously. Kate. she climbed out of the shower. Danny had died in a bad drug bust. She hadn’t minded. but she was too old to handle a lively toddler so the responsibility for her sister had fallen on Kate’s shoulders. But it hadn’t taken long for the worry to appear inCrystal ’s eyes. She should have done something. Her hair did what it wanted regardless of how she tried to style the mess. for the fear to begin. Crystalneeded her again. and Kate had been nine. Smiling.” . after all. Combing never helped anyway. running her fingers through her spiky hair in lieu of combing it. “You’re home early today. with a young daughter to care for. I’m going to lose the boutique right when it’s finally starting to take off. her sister occupied the other half of the duplex their grandmother had left them.returned the sentiments. “I know. Her sister had only been three years old then. the same way she’d needed her when they lost their mother. NowCrystal was a widow at the age of twenty-five.”Crystal collapsed onto a chair as she answered Kate’s unspoken question. It was her fault their mother had died. she made her way to the kitchen. But Danny had loved working for the bureau. She was peering into the refrigerator when the back door opened and Sammy squealed her name. It seems so useless to keep trying. but it was a nice.” Since Danny’s death. get him out of danger forCrystal ’s sake.Crystal had been left with no one to depend on except Kate. she lifted her niece fromCrystal ’s arms and gave her a big smacking kiss on the cheek before her gaze met her sister’s. Pushing the memories away. part of her had hoped to lure Danny into the business.

“That’s just it. Kate had taken out a first mortgage on the house soCrystal would have the start up capital for theCrystalPalace . simmering heat stirred in the pit of Kate’s stomach as she abruptly reached a decision. Kate couldn’t let her lose it. I may as well face it and try to find a job working for someone else.Crystal wouldn’t be in this shape now. Kate cursed her dead brother-in-law.” She pushed away from the counter. He’d been a great agent but a lousy husband. “Would they let you pay half now and half later?” Crystalwiped her eyes. As it was.” She lowered Samantha into the high chair she kept for the little girl and handed her a cracker to occupy her. Her own desires had nothing to do with her decision. “Probably. then propped her chin on her hand. I doubt any bank would loan us more with the boutique in default. She was going to become the hunk’s mistress. We can always take a second mortgage out on the house. trying not to analyze the growing excitement that had her head reeling. The bonusJergen had offered would more than cover her sister’s back rent.”Crystal was looking at her with a combination . There’s no way we can come up with twelve thousand dollars by then.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a letter. If it had ever occurred to him to buy life insurance. but we don’t even have half. “I’ll think of something. I won’t let you do that.” “No. Slowly she folded the letter.”Crystal ran a hand through her wild mane of hair.” Tears filled her sister’s eyes. it had been the only thing that kept her going after Danny died.” Kate’s heart sank as she leaned against the counter to read the letter.Crys . That boutique was not onlyCrystal ’sdream. her fashionable clothing store. “Besides. “A process server showed up at the shop today. “We still have time. She had to do this forCrystal .“You aren’t going to lose it. We don’t. I’ve got one month to come up with the back rent or I’ll be evicted. “Let me worry about it. Even if her heart was pounding like she’d run a marathon. “I will not let you worry about it. She was going to take the job MarcJergen had offered her.” Silently.” A wild.

You’ll be thirty-four on your next birthday. “Because no man is going to do to me what our father did to our mother. her voice was low and hesitant. It’s just the circumstances that are a bit unusual. “I’ll . You were too young.Crys . Kate cleared her throat. isn’t it? Why else would it have a bonus?” “It’s not any more dangerous than the standard bodyguard job. I wish I didn’t remember. you’ve done enough.” She made her voice calm in spite of the images washing over her. her breathing labored.of suspicion and dismay.” “You don’t remember what it was like. voices raised in anger. You should be married and starting a family of your own.” “Explain.” “But why not?” Kate turned her back to the room and rummaged in the cabinet for a boxed casserole. “What excuse would you use?” Kate squeezed her eyes shut and prepared to tell her second lie in one day. “Kate. “A husband is the last thing I want. “A special job I was offered today. “Well. “Okay. Images of violence. “It doesn’t have to be like it was for our parents. Exactly where do you plan on getting six thousand dollars on such short notice?” It had been too much to hopeCrystal would let this slide. but his agent does.” Crystalwas silent for a moment. It’s time you lived your own life. Can we change the subject?” Crystalgave a resigned sighed. You don’t have to take care of me anymore.” Her sister got up and dug out the ingredients for a salad. helpless fear.” “Notgonna happen. So I can’t tell him why I’m really there. thank God. Images of blood. “It’s dangerous. When she spoke again. hands trembling. the client doesn’t think he needs a bodyguard.” Her sister’s face went sheet white.” Crystalran a head of lettuce under the water tap. It comes with a big bonus.

” .” Kate scowled.pose as his research assistant.” ***** Kate eyed the white business card in her hand as she waited for someone to answer the phone. Don’t think for a second I’m not aware that you hid the poster in your closet.” “Oh—my—God!” Her sister collapsed in laughter against the edge of the sink. “The hunk! No wonder you’re willing to lie to him. a tingle of excitement running through her. She still couldn’t believe she was actually doing this. right. Katie Marie Carson.” “One moment. You’ve got a bad case of thehots for this guy!” “Don’t be ridiculous. “Anyone I’d know?” Heat suffused Kate’s cheeks. Please.” her sister commented. “Jergenresidence. Butterflies tap-danced in her stomach as she stared at the poster on her open closet door.” “MarcJergen . She’d decided to tryJergen’s home number first since it had been so late when Crystal and Sammy left. “I’m not the type to get thehots .” “May I tell him who’s calling?” “Kate Carson. And Godzilla was just another lizard. you’re as human as the rest of us and it’s time you found that out. “Angus McLeod. This is simply another job.” “Yeah.” “Must be a writer. The voice that came on the line was feminine but brisk.

Where are you located?” She could hear the scratch of a pen on paper as she spieled off her address. When MarcJergen answered. “Great. A wicked smile tilted up the corners of her lips. and she heard the distant murmur of voices.” “That depends. She was actually going to come face to face with her fantasy man. McLeod. There was no reason for the sudden case of nerves jittering up her spine. Her smile faded. Except she couldn’t make herself believe it. . and a copy of his itinerary. “In that case.Hots ?Crystal had been wrong about that one. it wouldn’t be the first time she’d ‘came’ face to face with him. I need a list of all the people he comes into contact with on a regular basis. “You know the bonus you offered me? Would it be possible to get half of it up front?” “With no problem at all. What she had went way beyond a puny word likehots . It was probably body makeup. I can be there in forty-five minutes.” “You got it. and an excellent photographer. you’ve got yourself a bodyguard.” Kate took a deep breath. trick lighting. And soon she’d be alone with him.There was a light plink as the phone was laid down. he sounded excited. “Miss Carson? Please tell me you’ve changed your mind. How the hell was she going to handle the living breathing man when she nearly climaxed looking at his picture? Just thinking about being in the same room with him had desire rippling through her body. He couldn’t possibly be as good as the poster made him look. but this time it would be in person. with descriptions and relationship to Mr. Of course. her gaze once more on the poster.” Kate wound the phone cord around her fingers.” Kate dropped the receiver back into its cradle. We’ll go over my plan while we’re at it.

she went over the last conversation they’d had. with half the bonus already paid. he’s going to try and scare you into doing just that. Especially when it came to money.” Marc warned her. Maybe McLeod didn’t really want a mistress. CHAPTER TWO Kate took one hand off the steering wheel of her plain blue rental sedan and wiped it nervously on her jeans as she followed the winding road along the coast ofMaine. According to the mapJergen had given her. “You have to be strong.” “Why did he send the others away?” “Well.She did some mental calculations and decided there would be enough of the bonus left over to buy some sexy lingerie. She gushed and cooed and told him how wonderful he was. and she’d be a shoo-in. needing a contract to be a mistress. She didn’t last long enough to get in the door. Frantically. would be enough to keep McLeod from tossing her out on her ear. the only typical thing about Angus McLeod was his Scottish tendency to hate waste. he asked her why she’d taken the job. but he was darn well going to get one. One look at the signed contract. She’d had to restrain the urge to giggle over that contract. He acts tough. Just dangle the mistress contract in front of McLeod’s nose when he tried to send her packing.” . But according toJergen . “When he sees the clause about you forfeiting the money if you leave. You have to understand. she was almost there. Imagine. with the first one. making sure she remembered everything. and that she’d always admired him. She’d need it to keep from blowing her cover. Angus’s bark is a lot worse than his bite. but he only does it to hide how sensitive he really is.

There’s nothing Angus hates more than being lied to. She had noticed several cameras positioned above the stone supports for the gate. I simply won’t think about his body. Be honest with him. I can out-run an Olympic sprinter. If nothing else. he asked which was her favorite. . Kate opened the car door and climbed out.” She yanked her attention back to her driving. How many more women would his friend send before he figured out it wasn’t going to work? Angus couldn’t afford to have anyone in the house. This one was different from the other two. The house was set back a good distance from the front gate. The gates were wide open. it looked like a miniature castle with turrets and towers. Made from native stone. too. When she said she loved them. “With the second one. there was a foreboding air about it. and she didn’t doubt for a second that her client was watching her. Perched high on a cliff with the setting sun as a backdrop. Kate. Angus McLeod is only human. For one thing. slowing as she located the huge iron gates that should be blocking the driveway to McLeod’s home. he asked her if she’d read his books. The hair on her neck prickled as she walked back to the sedan. “I will not babble. though. At least about everything but the bodyguard part. and she frowned. There wasn’t another candidate until now. He had to admit.” Gathering her courage in both hands. Not when it disrupted his writing the way it did. The security Marc had installed would be worthless if McLeod ignored it. ***** Angus crossed his arms as he stood in front of the closed circuit TV monitors.” she muttered. she got out and closed the gates behind her. She couldn’t come up with a single title. making sure they were firmly locked. I can shoot a flea off a fly’s back at a hundred paces.He rubbed his forehead. You can expect him to give you the third degree. and Kate’s eyes widened when she saw it. Marc’s quest to find him a mistress had been entertaining. the anticipation of battle making him edgy and eager. “I can drop kick a two-hundred-fifty pound man across a fifteen foot room. They weren’t. Or maybe that was simply her nerves. Putting the car in park.

she wasn’t beautiful. Cute, maybe, in a gamin sort of way, but certainly not the type who would agree to be any man’s mistress. And definitely not his type, either. He preferred long blonde hair. This woman’s short hair was plain brown and looked like it had been styled with a cement mixer. She also wasn’t dressed like a mistress. The others had worn slinky, revealing outfits designed to make a man’s blood reach the approximate temperature of the sun’s surface. This one was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. It had surprised him when she stopped to close the gates. And when she’d glanced casually at the camera, it felt like she was looking directly at him. There was something a little intimidating about that look, something that made him uneasy. He’d had to fight the urge to step back away from the monitor. Now, he watched as she climbed out of the car then reached back in to grab a briefcase, the denim of her jeans stretching nicely over her rounded bottom. Maybe the woman wasn’t so dumb after all. He’d always been a butt man, and hers was magnificent, tight and compact. It brought out the connoisseur in him, made his palms itch to cup the warm flesh. He shook off the image as she stopped on the steps and stared blankly at the door. So, the little rabbit was nervous. And with good reason. He ate rabbits for breakfast. His smile was feral as he headed for the front of the house. This one wouldn’t even take two seconds to get rid of and then he could get back to work in the peace and quiet he required. Instead of waiting for her to knock, he yanked the door open and glowered at her. The action caught her with her fist raised, and she staggered a step before catching her balance. “Mr. McLeod? I’m Kate—” Her words ended abruptly as she lifted her gaze to his. He waited one beat, then two. What was wrong with the blasted woman? “Well, spit it out, Lass,” he growled. “Idinna have all day.” Her cheeks flushed the same rosy color as a sunrise over theAtlantic , and her

throat moved convulsively. Fascinated in spite of himself, he saw her visibly get a grip on her reluctant tongue. “I—” She shook her head and tried again. “I’m Kate Carson. I believe you’re expecting me?” Leaning against the doorframe, he let his gaze wander leisurely down her body, then make the same trip in reverse. By the time he got back to her eyes, the rosy tint had deepened to scarlet. “Yedinna look like a mistress. Are ye sure ye know whatye’re about?” Her chin lifted. “I assure you, Mr. McLeod, I didn’t take this job blindly. I know exactly what you expect of me.” He stepped onto the wide porch, the rock cool under his bare feet, and walked slowly around her. “Oh? And what, exactly, were ye told tae expect?” She was small but solid, all her curves in the right places. If he really were in the market for a mistress, she might well tempt him despite her odd hair and funny little face. Her head swiveled as she tried to keep him in sight. “That you like your space and don’t want to be disturbed when you’re working. That your hours are irregular.” She swallowed again, hard. “And that when you want me, you’ll let me know.” He halted in front of her. “Why did ye take this job?” This time there was no hesitation when she answered. “I needed the money.” He took a step closer, the bare skin of his arm brushing the material of her sweatshirt. “Ye’veread my novels, then?” “One of them.” “Which?” His eyes narrowed as he watched her face. “Running Scared.” “And?” She shrugged one shoulder. “It was okay.”

“Okay?” Angus blinked. “Okay?” The last word came out a roar. “The damn book stayed on the best seller lists for twenty weeks and ‘twas okay?” Smiling sweetly, she took a step back. “Just my personal opinion.” He followed her, his voice dropping to a purr. “And whatdinna ye like about it, if I may be as bold as tae ask?” “Well, I’ll admit Jack Cannon, your hero, sounds like a real hunk, but he’s also a chauvinist. The only women he ever interacts with arehoochie girls. The man has serious issues.” “Hoochiegirls?” “Yeah.” She waved a hand. “You know, floosies. Hookers. Painted women. He wouldn’t recognize a normal woman if she blew up his car.” He propped his hands on his hips and glared at her. “What about Madeline?” Her head tilted to one side as a smile curved her lips. “I believe you described her as having makeup an inch thick, fishnet stockings and a skirt so short it should be illegal. Sounds like ahoochie to me.” This woman just kept surprising him. It was a scary feeling, one he didn’t like a bit. It was time to get this over with. “I’ve made up my mind. Yewillna do.” He stepped back into the house and shut the door. Or tried to. The blasted woman stuck her foot in it. “Why won’t I do?” He gave her the first answer that popped into his head. “Ye’retoo small. I’m a lustymon . Idinna want to beworryin ’ about breaking a woman when I bed her.” She snorted. “That’s the most egotistical thing I’ve ever heard. I’m not made of glass you know. I can take anything you want to dish out and come up on top. But“ her saccharine smile was back. “If you really don’t want me for the job, just pay me and I’ll be on my way.”

He was so busy trying to repress his body’s reaction to her first statement that he almost missed the second part. “What do ye mean, pay ye? I’ll not be paying for something I’m not getting.” “According to my contract, you will.” She opened the briefcase and extracted several sheets of paper stapled together. “I believe this is your copy.” Kate nearly jumped out of her skin when his fingers brushed hers. At least she’d been right about one thing. He wasn’t the same as his poster. God help her, he was better. Even wearing faded jeans with holes in the knees and a baggy T-shirt. She deemed it nothing short of a miracle that she’d been able to carry on a conversation with him, much less answer his questions coherently. “Since when do mistresses have contracts?” He was frowning so hard his eyebrows made a solid black line across his forehead as he scanned the document. “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been a mistress before. But under the circumstances, it seemed like a good idea.” She knew the exact instant he found the clause stating she would forfeit the money if she backed out of the deal and left. Kate braced herself as he looked up, teeth flashing in a devastating smile. A wicked smile. A smile filled with expectation. “‘Twouldseemye’ve got the job, Miss Carson. Come in.” “Thank you. I’ll get my bags.” He didn’t offer to help, just stood watching her like a wolf about to pounce. It took three trips, and each one required her to brush against his big body. By the time she carried in her laptop, her insides felt like a gooey puddle of warm yogurt. She didn’t appear to be having the same effect on him. Forcing a calm expression, she faced him. “Where should I put them?” He ignored her question, his gaze moving over her body again. “Take off your shirt.” “What?” Abruptly, her heart was lodged in her throat.

That was sweat on his forehead. but never one who looked like Angus McLeod.” A slow smile spread across his face. “Unlessye’re backing out already. she realized. I want tae see what I’m paying for. His blue eyes had darkened to near black. all husky and choked. “Now. she took a quick peek at the front of his jeans and nearly crowed with delight. Thank God her nine-millimeterGlock was safely packed in her bag. Hurriedly. “Well? Is this good enough. On the other hand.” She let sarcasm ooze from her voice.22 caliber automatic was nestled against her ankle. Oh. As soon as the cool air hit her bare skin. Either he liked what he saw.Jergen had told her McLeod didn’t leave his home often due to his prolific writing tendencies. maybe he was simply desperate. and he was staring at her breasts in shocked surprise. Never one she’d fantasized about making love to. Both options worked. She’d had men want her before.” He still hadn’t looked away and his voice sounded like he’d developed a cold. she pulled the shirt back on. bringing with it a return of confidence.Think ofCrystal . Apparently the .” Eyes closed.” A scare tactic. Think of anything but the man in front of you.His eyes lifted to meet hers. of course. she admonished herself. “I said take off your shirt. I’m so pleased you approve. or would you like to check my teeth while you’re at it?” “Twill do. or he’d been expecting a bra. She usually ended up with balding accountant types drooling on her. she reached for the hem of her sweatshirt and pulled it slowly over her head. A small . where should I put my things?” And was that sweat on his forehead? Surreptitiously. And it was amazing how well it was working. yeah. “Great. But she was going to be in trouble if he wanted her to strip completely. “I wouldn’t dream of backing out. her nipples hardened into peaks. A tingle of satisfaction flowed through her.Think of the money. The sudden intake of breath from McLeod made her eyes pop open again. The denim was stretched tightly over a magnificent bulge.

nipples erect and begging to be tasted. At least he didn’t expect her to sleep in his room. “My room is the last on the left. send her running before she had a chance to settle in. She’d been right about one other thing. Carrying one bag and dragging another. And he’d swear he saw a flash of fear in her brown eyes. The man was a jerk. If he did take her to bed. a vulnerability that twisted his stomach and made him feel like a toad. . His hands shook. Whenye’re done. the image of small firm breasts.” “Thanks for the help.man churned out three or four of those thick novels a year. That should be enough to bring her hormones under control and keep her focused on the real job. downing it in one swallow. meet me in the study. He used the bottom of his T-shirt to wipe his forehead before answering. Now it wouldn’t be a problem. She sighed. ***** Angus headed straight for the wet bar and poured a glass of whiskey. She needed to be close enough to protect him if anything happened. We have tae talk. And he’d stopped breathing. He’d probably have the same reaction to anyone remotely female. going to the room next to his.” she growled under her breath as he stalked away. in the process giving her a glimpse of broad muscles lightly coated with a line of dark hair that vanished into the top of jeans. She’d been worried about how she was going to conceal her weapons if he did. Take any of the others ye want. he’d probably be no different than the other men she’d had sex with. she trudged her way up the wide staircase. Until she’d actually done it. tattooed in his brain. Had the blasted woman never heard of a bra before? He’d meant to scare her.

but you do. But that had been a year ago. For now anyway. his editor. and when Marc answered Angus could hear the smile in his voice. How long had it been since he’d had a woman? He vaguely remembered a blonde at that party Linda. Pausing to refill his glass. One guaranteed to send the little rabbit scurrying back to her burrow. but he knew damn well he hadn’t mistaken her uncertainty and nervousness. It was simply a matter of finding out what. Through the open door.” This time the growl came from lower in his chest. all you have to do is pay the woman and send her on her way. There must be something that would send her running. he could hear her clumping up and down the stairs as she carried her bags. he jabbed in Marc’s number.” “Ye thinkye’re smart don’t ye?” he growled. He smiled as an idea slowly took shape in his mind. If he wanted to maintain his privacy. had made him attend inNew York . I should declare the contract null and void. If you don’t like her. Angus? You might find her company enjoyable. trying to think.” “Why not give her a chance. since we agreed I was tae have final approval. Trapped.” “I’ll not. Picking up the phone. I’ll have her running fore the week is out. and she might act like she was in control. hadn’t it? Time tended to slip away from him when he was immersed in writing. She might have a smart mouth on her. There was slight pause. and he had one thing to take care of before they talked. he shifted his erection to a more comfortable position. He’d . “I take it Kate arrived safely?” “Ye’redamn contractisnagoin ’ tae work. he had to get a grip and stop letting this woman affect him the way she had. “MarcJergen . She’d be done soon. “Ye’refired!” The sound of Marc’s laughter followed him as he slammed the phone down.He ran a shaky hand over his eyes.” “Oh.

She merely took a second to hide theGlock under the mattress where it would be handy if she needed it. She finally located Angus in a room that took up the bottom floor of the tower. although on a smaller scale. The house really did mimic a castle. minute cracks giving them the appearance of antiques. The walls were adorned here and there with tapestries and ancient weapons. CHAPTER THREE Kate didn’t bother to unpack. Her gaze scanned each room she came to as she headed in the direction Angus had gone. Books lined every wall not covered by windows.22 in place. Comfortable-looking chairs were angled toward the fireplace.” Kate glanced warily at Angus then made her way to one of the chairs. They were deep burgundy leather. but she suspected the house was a very old one that had been modernized with electricity and plumbing.play on those weaknesses for all he was worth. “Drink?” . She didn’t know much about architecture. she left the . she decided. While it was risky. she caught a glimpse of a desk bearing a computer and stacks of paper. unwilling to be without a weapon. making the interior cool even in the August heat. Through an open door. The study. she would have felt like she’d stepped through a time warp into the past. The inside walls and floors were the same stone as the outside. and a wet bar sat a few feet in front of the center window. “Come in and sit down. and a darkened fireplace graced every room. If not for those.

maybe because in ‘Running Scared’ you had your villain driving a cherryred. He was being way too nice all of a sudden. The ‘56 model was the first yearPlymouth made the Fury and they only came in eggshell white. “I can help you with research. They trust their clients to get the facts right. ‘56 Plymouth Fury. “No.” Heat flooded her cheeks. “I mean for things other than the mistress stuff. They didn’t make red ones until 1959. I mean why you in particular?” “Oh.” “Why?” “Personal reasons. “Because you wanted a mistress and he didn’t want you here alone. “Yerloss. thank you. “If ‘tis true. I suppose he thought I might be of use to you.” “Nay.” Those thick eyebrows of his snapped together.” “What kind of things?” His gaze focused on her like a laser beam. what makes ye qualified tae do research?” .” The chair opposite hers groaned as he lowered his bulk onto it. “Why did Marc hire ye for this job?” Kate folded her hands in her lap.” “So. why would I beneedin ’ help with that?” “Well. whydidna my editor catch it?” “Editors aren’t paid to do research.” He replaced the bottle and ambled toward her.All her instincts went on full alert as she watched him. I don’t drink. then squeaked as he extended his long legs and crossed them at the ankles.” “Now.

Act cool. Mr. she grabbed the arms to keep from sliding off. and then assist me in the . Be in control.Jergen told me you don’t like to be disturbed when you’re working.” “Well. he ran a finger over the spine in a soft caress.” She listed several well-known names. “Plus.” Oh. “I suppose we should go o’eryer duties soye’ll know what I expect from ye. including an author or two. not a research assistant. and teetered on the edge of the slick chair. he rose and moved casually to one of the bookshelves lining the wall. Kate couldn’t look away from his face.” Actually. “I’ll expect ye to run a bath for me every night. Kate’s fingers twisted together until they were numb.” The smile tilting his lips was full of male satisfaction and a gleam of anticipation sparkled in his eyes. Trying to maintain her composure. she’d had a double major. “‘Twastrue what ye told me? You’ve never been a mistress before?” “It’s true. The second one was in criminology. he was all business.A feeling of smugness settled over Kate and she sat up straighter. No whimpering allowed. “Of course. This was it. God. Shehad worked for them. You might know some of my clients. but he didn’t have to know that. “I have a degree in library science from NYSU. but instead of removing it. She wasn’t getting excited... or that she’d gone straight from college into the bureau. he’s wrong.” She tilted her head in regal affirmation.” Depositing his empty glass on the table beside him. she swore silently. then.’disturbed’. I’ve been working as a research assistant for the last few years. When he faced her again. His smile broadened. “As I mentioned. The purpose of having a mistress is so amon can be.” “Nay. but as a bodyguard. Apparently he found what he was looking for. scanning the titles.

but he hid it quickly. and she didn’t know if it was embarrassment or lust. If there’s anything ye need. stimulate him. On a daily basis. Sheer terror held her immobile for a few seconds.” He crossed his arms and rocked gently from his heels to his toes. “‘Tisthe job of a mistress tae satisfy her lover’s needs.” His long legs carried him into the room where she’d seen the computer and he closed the door behind him.” “Andye’re willing to fulfillyer duties?” This time she had to clear her throat. Take tonight tae settle in. teeth flashing against his bronzed skin. She was so dead. day or night. What had possessed her to think she could pull this off? She rose on shaky legs and started out of the room only to make a quick detour. “If she’sgoin ’ tae keep her job.” Kate was dying.“The Functions of a Mistress in Seventeenth CenturyEurope. she covered her face with both hands. She should spend her time thinking of ways tae please him. “Yes.” .Ye’ll also help me dress and undress.” A vague look of surprise flickered across his face. A surge of anger slammed into her when she saw the title. With a groan. I’ll be working. then pulled it out for a better look. then back again. Wave after wave of heat shimmed over her skin.washing. He expected her to seduce him. After all—” He smiled. She should dress provocatively tae lure him tae her bed.ye’ll have tae look for it. What book had he been looking at? Curious. Bathe him? Run her wet soapy hands over every inch of his glorious body? Prance around during the day in one of those skimpyVictoria ’s Secret outfits she’d bought for this job? “Do ye understand what I’mtellin ’ye ?” She licked her dry lips. “Yes. she ran a finger over the row until she found the one he’d touched. she wants tae retain his interest. “Ye can start tomorrow.

he decided. The woman had more guts than he’d given her credit for. So. They’d just see who cracked first. The problem was in the details he’d given her. I promise. did he? She pushed the thick history back onto the shelf and straightened the other books so he wouldn’t know it had been moved. damn ye. he wanted to play Scottish Laird. we’re stuck with her. . he sat down and stared blankly at the outline on his computer screen. ***** Angus listened until all the soft sounds from the other room stopped. she’d give him more than he ever bargained for. The lord of the manor. He had never intended to make love with her. The low-life. Maybe even scared. He’d merely been trying a different tactic to scare her into leaving.” Linda was giving another party next week for an up and coming new author. “Stopyer pointing. Well. Neither he nor Kate had reacted to his mistress job description the way he’d planned. one more suited to his tastes. He picked up a pencil and toyed with it. A groan escaped him when his erection gave an eager twitch. She’d been nervous. But she hadn’t run.” Pulling out the desk chair. dominating. ruthless.The jerk. He could almost feel her hands moving over his body—see her dressed in skimpy bits of lace while she seduced him. Instead he’d wound up sporting a hard-on the size of a Scud missile. then looked down at his crotch. Her eyes narrowed as stared at the book and all her fear drained away. Surely he could find a woman willing to satisfy his needs without endangering his life style. And he-he was supposed to be forbidding. His imagination was way too good. “I’ll do something.” he growled under his breath.The pond scum. One he wouldn’t have to think about again after the night was over. Just not with this one. and ye know Icanna write when anyone is around. The—a few stronger expletives came to mind and she used them all. “If we touch her one time. In control.

She was right. he did a quick Internet search for Plymouth Furies. or even care? I care. They hadn’t made red ones until 1959. my own. He reached across a stack of papers and picked up the last letter he’d gotten. Wearily. Do you know my secrets. Even though he’d memorized its contents. my heart.A librarian. innocently flirted with? It had to be. He’d stake his life on it. if you dare. never show me your love. The notes were too personal. the .If you took it overall. Time is running out. My Darling. Angus rubbed his eyes. No wonder he was getting threatening letters. Will your family be upset when we’re finally together? I’ve missed you. Find me if you can. The scent of roses clung to the page. looking for anything that might tell him who the author was. there was nothing ominous about the letter. He shook his head. You haven’t forgotten me. Maybe there was a clause in that blasted contract that said he could fire her if she didn’t do her job. They were probably from an iratePlymouth fanatic. But I’m near and I’m waiting for you. I keep your picture with me constantly as a reminder of the past. Was it someone he’d met. Whoever was doing this wasn’t crass enough to use letters clipped from a newspaper. The scowl on his face grew. have you? You never visit me. but there was no way she’d go through with it. he read the letter again. They had used handwritten calligraphy on stationery that looked expensive but was probably common enough. He wanted his life back. no overt threat. He hadn’t even told Marc about this one. Except he didn’t think they had anything to do with cars. She may have agreed with his instructions tonight. But the tone bothered him badly. He’d hated the odor for as long as he could remember. turning his stomach. felt like he was smothering each time he smelled it. His agent was worried enough as things stood. Look for me. Shutting down the document on his screen.

There was a huge fireplace at one end with all sorts of weird iron implements attached. something she could only describe as a ballroom. What she hadn’t found yet was the kitchen. The kitchen. Only the appliances looked new. The letters could have been dropped into any mailbox in the city. he put the letter inside. Only the first one had contained a picture. She’d also found the room with the closed circuit TVs. She was examining the contents of the refrigerator when her cell phone vibrated. but it came damn close. In the center of the room sat a butcher-block table. she’d found a library. He might as well give up until tomorrow. ***** Kate moved quietly through the house. So far. and an indoor pool down in the basement. he flipped the computer’s off button. she pushed open a swinging door and breathed a sigh of relief. Making her way through a formal dining room large enough to hold her half of the duplex. But he didn’t fool himself into thinking it would help.feelings expressed too proprietary toward him. as were all the others. Opening a drawer on his desk. It wasn’t as big as the dining room. trying not to inhale the scent. each reflecting light from their shiny. and making sure outside doors were securely locked and the alarms working. checking windows. He folded the letter and put it back in the matching envelope. The postmark on the outside was fromNew York . With a sense of disgust. stainless steel surfaces. but if she got close enough to take any more snapshots they’d have her. They couldn’t record every square inch of the estate. Between the lunatic and the mistress there was no way he could concentrate on writing tonight. Marc had installed a security system and cameras around the house. copper-bottomed pots hanging above it on a rack. and at night. The cameras were set to record on a twenty-four hour loop. inspecting rooms. and she was starving. As soon as they’d realized what was going on. bright lights flooded the area around the entrance. . a well-equipped gym and spa.

Crystal had helped her pick out a dress suitable for the party McLeod was attending next week. “I forgot. her mouth watered.” . I’m going to go get Sammy ready for bed. Immediately. Her own fashion sense was nonexistent.” “Night. That was the sexiest. You wouldn’t believe this guy’s refrigerator. It’s me. Can you talk?” “Sure.” “I won’t.” “Damn it. Did you hang the dress up like I told you too?” Kate paused guiltily in her search through the drawers. Sis.” Crystallaughed.” She carried the bowl to the table and went back to find a fork. “That bad. most expensive dress in my shop. I’ll talk to you when I can. huh?” “Oh. I’ll treat it like it was made of spun glass. I promise I’ll do it as soon as I eat. yeah. opened the lid and sniffed. I haven’t seen this much food since the last time I went grocery shopping. His Lordship is busy at the moment. how did it go with the boutique?” “Great. It looks like he’s expecting a siege. Don’t you dare ruin it.” Triumphantly. “Give her a kiss from me.“Hello?” “Hi. “I just called to make sure you arrived safely. Kate. So what’s he like?” Kate pursed her lips as she pulled out a shrimp and pasta salad. “Let’s just say Sammy has better manners and leave it at that. This assignment is going to be a real laugh fest. Kate pounced on the forks she’d just discovered. So.”Crystal didn’t sound as though she believed her.” “Okay. They were more than willing to give me another month once they got their hands on the six thousand. “You hate shopping.

” “You?” She looked up in surprise. Who made it?” “Me.” She parked herself on a bar stool and dug into the pasta.” She watched his jaw work as he chewed and swallowed a healthy bite. “Maybe I should get plates. Time to change the subject.Crystal is the only one. Anything that doesn’t come in a box with clear instructions. “My niece.” Except how to dodge a swinging fist. Hastily. He might be sexy and distracting. The man must move like a cat for her not to have heard him. . “Do ye have many brothers and sisters?” Their forks clashed together as he twirled the pasta around the tines. and I’m lost.” “Yeah. “Yedidna think amon could cook as well as a woman?” “You’re asking the wrong person.” “My mother made sure I knew how tae feed myself in what she calls a ‘civilized’ manner. she added mentally. mine died before she had much chance to teach me anything. “Kiss who goodnight?” he inquired mildly. trying to ignore the hot flush of desire washing over her as arm brushed hers. the floor was stone and he was barefoot. and sat down next to her. That was my sister on the phone. I can barely manage the basics. answering with her mouth full.” “Why? They’d only need washing then.” He gestured toward the salad. well. got out a fork. One step brought her square up against a hard male chest. no. “How is it?” Kate took another bite. she stepped around him. “Uh. “It’s delicious. He strolled to the silverware drawer. Of course.The phone clicked in her ear and she hung it on her belt before turning toward the table. No fast food for her. but nothing came between her and food when she was this hungry.

I don’t.” She slapped her hands down on the table in front of him. So does the coast here. It’s not as big as the castles inScotland . Until she remembered that damn book. I needed the money and there wasn’t another way to get it. I like it. “Why don’t you just be thankful Marc found someone willing to take the job?” “I’m that bad. one of the oldest professions. I might add. there’s amon inyer life?” “If there were. “It’s only another job.” “What could be that important tae ye?” “Nothing you’d understand. “No.“Why do you live in this huge house out in the middle of nowhere?” He’d finished off half the salad.” “So.” “Fake it?” His roar of indignation followed her to the door. It’s not like I’m walking the streets.” . Kate Carson. I wouldn’t be here. “Don’t worry.” He was watching her closely.” She jumped up and carried her fork to the dishwasher. Mr. but it looks like them. I’m sure. Besides.” “Don’t you get lonely?” “Nay. “No woman has ever faked it with me! Shedoesna have tae. Do you get lonely?” Kate paused with the fork halfway to her mouth and gave him a sharp look. McLeod. “You’ll never be able to tell when I’m faking it. I can write all night if the mood strikes me. “Because it reminds me a bit of home. I’m going to make very sure you get your money’s worth. “The idea of having sex for moneydoesna bother ye?” She put her fork down. am I?” He gave her a lopsided smile that did funny things to her insides. now would I?” “Yeran odd person. There’s none tae tell me what tae do.

. The negligee she finally chose was virginal in its simplicity. Driving the man insane wasn’t going to work if she died of embarrassment first. but she’d been up for over an hour preparing her first assault on His Lordship. McLeod had declared war with his attempts to make her leave. discover what lay under the prim front. The big guns would have to wait until she was a little more confident than she was now. It wasn’t until she turned around that the illusion of purity vanished. Bracing herself mentally. When she heard no noise from inside. Kate smiled at her reflection in the mirror. The gown was backless. and she didn’t like to lose. Made from white silk.” CHAPTER FOUR Kate nibbled her bottom lip as she stared at the lingerie spread over her bed.Kate had to work hard to stifle her laugh when he added in a tone that sounded puzzled and unsure. The sun was barely peeking over the horizon. the empire style bodice rose to circle her neck. She’d lived through worse. “At least. Static electricity made the silk cling to her curves and exposed the sides of her breasts. which hit her mid-thigh. She fingered a wispy bit of lace and shook her head. Idinna think they have. exposing a wide expanse of bare skin all the way to her bottom. Embarrassment be damned. she picked up the tray she’d left on the dresser and tiptoed to his room. she eased the door opened. Every move telegraphed the invitation to touch. Tiny pink flowers spilled in an embroidered cascade down to the skirt. An inch lower and there would have been nothing left to hide. He was going to regret his tricks even if her face stayed red as a lobster for weeks. covering her to her chin.

Her bed was a queen. part of it tangled over his face. then placed them on the foot of the bed. He was sprawled on his stomach. really. the easier it would be to protect him. but there was no other reaction. she ran her nails gently down his back. which had probably been a dressing room before the installation of plumbing. a problem she normally didn’t have with clients. his was a king. The hard muscles under his bronzed skin tightened and chill bumps erupted. And the closer she got to him. . Silently. the spare pillow gripped in his drawn-back hand. But she had it under control now. his back arched like a cat’s. If he broke down and actually made love to her. This time.His room was identical to hers except for the furnishings and the fact that it was reversed. Quietly. She’d been prepared to sleep with him from the moment she’d accepted the job. her imagination going wild. but not safe. doesn’t it?” she breathed. she skimmed his ear with her lips. Kate took a deep breath. The two bedrooms shared a large bath. Even in sleep. “Feels good. it only meant she’d won. he bolted straight up in the bed. she lowered herself to sit on the side of the bed. She took a second to brush the hair away from his face and then used her nails again. the impression enhanced by the thick dark stubble covering his jaw and chin. They were usually more than willing to have her with them every second of the day. Slowly. dangerous. Using one hand. She had lain in bed last night listening to the sounds of him bathing. Her heart picked up a beat at what she was about to do. dreamed about it. eyes wide. That wild mane of black hair was spread across his pillow. he looked fierce. Exciting maybe. Her sitting room was on the left. the blankets pushed down below his waist. Leaning over. she searched the room until she found a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. and there was a faint mumble of words. his was on the right. armed and ready. Baiting a wolf wasn’t exactly a safe hobby. Spinning onto his back. and the battle was about to begin. He reacted as if someone had wired him to a two hundred and twenty volt electric outlet. she placed the tray on the table next to his bed and turned to gaze down at him.

yer naked!” . he was magnificent. “Even I can manage to make coffee and toast bagels. what the heck.” “Breakfast?” He lowered the pillow.” “What the hell are yedoin ’ in my room?” His voice was still raspy with sleep.” She offered the strawberry again and he opened his mouth automatically. she doubted she could have looked away.” Kate smiled sweetly. “My job. Hate the things. woman. except for the underwear. When she lifted her gaze to his face. Personally. He swallowed the berry whole. “I even picked out your clothes. “Too soft. I never wear undergarments. “I thought yecouldna cook?” She reached to the table and picked up a bowl of ripe strawberries. The blankets had slid farther down with his violent movements and she was trying desperately to keep her gaze on his face. nodding toward the pillow. Might as well take a peek. but he was definitely wide-awake now. “Don’t tell me you’re shy? And I was so looking forward to helping you dress after breakfast. thick and perfectly shaped. “I brought your breakfast. Moisture flooded her mouth and her heart slammed into her throat as if it planned on taking up permanent residence there at the sight that greeted her. “See anything interesting?” Darn right she had. Her curiosity was killing her. But she wasn’t about to admit it. Even partially erect. her nipples pebbled. “For God’s sake.” Oh. Now.“Those really don’t make good weapons unless you’re fighting a marshmallow man. a dazed expression in his eyes as his glance slid over her gown. I didn’t know which kind you wanted. his bewildered gaze moving to the tray. he was glaring at her. Well. If he hadn’t yanked the blanket up. open up. Beneath the silk of her gown.” she commented. She dropped her gaze to his lap and immediately wished she hadn’t.” She made a little moue with her lips.

“Of course. giving him time for a good long look. she resumed her seat. one hand sliding under the tented sheet to briefly. letting the juice coat her lips and then deliberately licked it off. “Yerdoin’ this on purpose.” “Help?” It sounded more like a plea for salvation than a question.” Smiling. Curling her legs under her. she delicately bit into it. her breasts brushing his chest as she fed him the last half. aren’t ye?” He was starting to look desperate now. the living embodiment of all her deepest desires. A fine sheen of sweat covered his forehead. outlining her breasts. aroused male.” she purred. wanting. “here. “Your wish is my command.” She rose to her knees and placed her hands on his shoulders to brace herself. “Uh huh.” She teased the corner of his lips with the tip of her tongue. This was the real thing. In more ways than one.” “Go put some clothes on. “I have some that are a little more revealing if you’d rather I changed.” “No!” “Great. she leaned closer. .” she whispered. help. And she was just getting warmed up. Is there something special you’d like me to do?” Her fingers trailed down the warm skin of his chest. arms raised above her head. she stood and turned in a sensuous circle. nipples hardened. Her breath came in short pants as need washed over her. This was no fantasy image on a poster. That certainly wasn’t a problem she was having. He trembled once and went so still she’d swear he had stopped breathing. “Not completely. teasingly. “Or maybe you aren’t ‘disturbed’ enough yet? I can help with that too. Choosing another berry from the bowl. noting with glee that the blanket now formed a tent over his lap. “You’ve got a drop of juice.Kate ran a hand from her neck down to her stomach. with the move. inhaling the taste and scent of warm. and a feeling of power swept over her.” “Don’t you like it?” Putting the bowl down. caress the silky skin of his erection. Her whole body was alive and waiting.

tense and relax. battled for dominance. Shedoesna jump him when he’s unsuspecting.” “Yermissing the point here. He was sure breathing hard now. “And here. Trembling with the need for release that had been so close. she felt his muscles tense and relax. The stubble on his cheeks created a friction against her skin that was painfully pleasant. Only this time. Kate stared back in confusion. Angus staring at her as though she’d grown horns and a tail.” Leaning fully against him. go— . Ye don’t force me into it. “Aye. His tongue commanded. she found herself sprawled at the foot of the bed.“And here. All her senses were in a state of heightened awareness. With a muffled groan. instinctively trying to fuse with his.” He was sounding desperate again. wanted to feel him inside her. She was going to climax just from his kiss. she parted his lips. “I decide when I’m ready. Now. he was drawing in great gulps of air. Moisture dampened the inside of her thighs and she forgot this was a game. Abruptly.” She moved to the other side and repeated her earlier ministrations. in a rhythm that struck an answering chord low in her anatomy. She only knew she wanted him in a way she’d never felt for any man before. He tasted of strawberries and male in a heady combination she couldn’t get enough of. erotically. “You look pretty ready to me. “Did I do something wrong?” He rubbed both hands over his face before looking at her again. She could actually feel the texture of his tongue as she gave in to its power and caressed it eagerly with her own. exploring gently. In fact. ye did. Her body pressed tighter. The tent had grown from pup-sized to a full cabin version. if ye want tae makeyerself useful. A mistress lets her lover take charge whenhe’s ready. Beneath the silk of her gown. ravaging hers with a desperation that sent jagged shards of lightning jolting along every nerve in her body. forced hers into compliance as it stroked. she worked toward the middle. his arms closed around her and his mouth took control.” She raised herself to one elbow and looked pointedly at his lap.

She stopped in front of him and batted her eyelashes. Kate crawled off the bed. “Good thing I brought my vibrator. Pure pain shot in a blue haze from his groin to his stomach. not even trying to be modest. then looked triumphant. You know. something that hadn’t happened to him since he was a teenager. Let him get a good look at what he was refusing.” The man must have moved like greased lightning.” In disgust. It took her all of two seconds to get out his razor and shaving cream. He was going to suffer every bit as much as she was. she was suffering. “Yes. “Go get my shaving gear ready. “Are you sure there’s nothing you’d rather be doing?” A tremor wracked him from head to toe at her touch. it’s a good thing I brought my vibrator. Although he did seem to be having a little difficulty zipping them up. “Your shaving equipment awaits.” she mumbled. She ignored the sharply indrawn breath from behind her and headed for the bathroom. he’d better think again. but by the time she stepped back into the bedroom.” ***** Angus was dying. he had his pants on. If he thought he was going to get off that easily. He collapsed onto .” She drew her nails over the bulge in his jeans. Kate strode to the door. And God. smiling sweetly. “What?” Shock rang in his voice and she glanced over her shoulder.” He paused. “I said.” “A vibrator?” “Yes.” Incensed at his refusal. There’s work I have tae be doing. Go find something tae occupyyerself . I never leave home without it. a mechanical device for personal pleasure. Sir. “I’m sure. It took two tries before he answered her. Your Lordship. and a damp circle appeared on the denim fabric. Right away.

He hadn’t written a word the entire eight months they were married. His career depended on it. she would have won. He had to do something. so he left things as they were. Now. Try to forget that he’d been a hair’s breath away from burying himself inside her and letting go. he checked the coffee urn.” He supposed he could take care of the problem himself. throbbing with the anticipation of finding a target. If he gave in. He might have kept his bearings if not for that. he reached down and unzipped his pants. he was doomed to keep her. Back in the bedroom. It didn’t solve his problem. But at this rate. damn ye to hell. Just thinking about it nearly killed him. any movement. Hell. His privacy and his money would be gone. And if he did. “She’s gone. he locked the door to her side and turned toward the sink. A man had to retain some pride. but at least it eased the pain a bit. but with his luck the blasted woman was listening at the door for signs that he was doing just that. It was still hot so he poured a cup. Moving cautiously. but at least the pain served to shrink the cause of his problems down to manageable size. distracted him to the point where he couldn’t concentrate on his writing. Gingerly. carrying it to the window to drink while he stared out at the waves crashing onto the rocks below. Even when she was in another part of the . she still would have won. That was one of the many reasons his marriage to Luna had failed so miserably. his gaze avoiding the bowl of berries. there was no way to refasten his pants. He’d discovered long ago that any little sound. a moan deep in his throat. When had the little rabbit grown fangs? It was the kiss.the bed before the echoes of the door closing died away. Marc would have won. He had to get his mind off sex. he wouldn’t even make it through the day. sighing when his erection sprang free like a heat seeking warhead. In the bathroom. He had to stop thinking about that vibrator. lost all focus on the story. In his present condition. he rolled to his feet. had to stop remembering what she’d felt like in his arms. His hands were shaking so badly he cut himself three times before he finished shaving. Settleyerself down so I can think.

He’d taken those feelings out on Luna. He shook his head in bemusement. every conversation between them turning into an argument. but how would she react to an audience of one? It would be dangerous. She’d changed into shorts and her athletic top as soon as she left Angus this morning and gone for a brisk run. even at the height of his passion. Suddenly he went still as a thought occurred to him. but to relieve some stress. . he felt stifled. Especially not at the risk of his work. Without it. ***** Kate sat with her feet propped on the desk in front of her. no matter how much his body protested. At the time. If she did it. at least it provided a modicum of relief and he didn’t have to waste precious hours wooing some female to his bed. It hadn’t helped. It wasn’t a mistake he planned on making again. A vibrator. watching the bank of monitors. he’d never wanted Luna the way he wanted Kate this morning. a last ditch effort to save himself. and frustrated. God. he had to be realistic. He didn’t dare let Kate stay. While sex with Luna hadn’t exactly been overwhelming. something soft that made him want to stop playing games and simply accept her. that she was only enthralled with his money and fame. Writing was his life.house. It was a chance he would have to take. He had known Luna didn’t love him. stunted. He’d been miserable. And it was protesting loudly. he’d been aware of her. There was something vulnerable about her. She’d been bold enough this morning. And their relationship had started with his need for sex. He’d cave in sooner or later anyway if things kept going the way they had this morning. it had seemed the perfect solution to his body’s demands. well. could even backfire on him if she surprised him again and complied with his request. Was she so sure no man could satisfy her? It seemed a shame to waste all those hot desires on a machine. Not only to check out the area. His body couldn’t take the strain. get to know her. Find out why the hell she affected him this way.

the “always do what’s right” one. It was too hard to put it along the coast. and she reached for the phone on the desk. maybe a month. and those cliffs are nearly impossible to scale anyway. She relaxed slightly when the movement turned out to be a deer. It wasn’t ideal.Hours later. after all. Why shouldn’t she let herself go? She’d spent her whole life being the good one. A frown furrowed her brow as she watched the graceful animal. A few weeks.” she answered wryly. Why?” “How good were the guys who installed it?” . She wanted the real thing and this morning had only hardened her resolve. “But that’s not why I’m calling. and she was going to get him no matter what it took. at least the fence is everywhere someone could gain entry. She was tired of living through dreams. even if Angus did reap the benefits. ears flicking as it raised its nose and scented the air. she wanted the man. Well. Having a mistress was his idea. the responsible. She wanted to go wild. It stepped into the clearing and paused. With him. A flash of movement on one of the monitors caught her attention and she stared at it intently. “Hello?” “Marc. It wasn’t like she was making a lifelong commitment. punching in a number. but at least she could get to it fast if she needed to. With razor wire on the top. it’s Kate. be the wanton sex goddess she’d always dreamed of being. and she’d be right back to her regular job. This time she wanted to do something that was for her alone.22 in a large pewter vase that was located on a table near the front entrance. the repressed. She had solved the problem of the gun by hiding the . her body still sang with unfulfilled tension. Didn’t you tell me you’d had a six foot high fence put around the estate?” “Sure did. Damn it.” “Hey! How’s it going? I take it you survived your first night in the lion’s den?” “Barely.

She wanted to check the outside of the house one more time before darkness fell. What’s going on Kate?” “I’m sitting here watching a very large deer on the monitors.” There was dead silence from the other end of the line. “They were the best.” His voice was flat. CHAPTER FIVE . you might want to consider installing motion detectors around the perimeter. tell him they were on the agenda from the beginning.” “You got it.” Kate paused outside the study door long enough to hear the desultory sound of keys being struck on the computer and then tiptoed down the hall to her gun. “Let’s just say I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’ll have someone out there first thing in the morning. I suppose it could have been on the property when the fence went up and simply got trapped inside. Can you send someone out to check the fence? And while you’re at it. I’ll call you tomorrow afternoon to see if they found anything. Right now. I’m going to check on Angus.” “What is Angus going to say?” “Don’t tell him about checking the fence. “A deer?” “Yes. As for the motion detectors. He’s been too quiet today.” “But you don’t really believe that. and the workers are only now getting around to them.” “Good.She could hear the frown in his voice when he answered her.

If it succeeded. Maybe it was time. He realized with a growing sense of dismay that he wasn’t sure he wanted her to leave. He was prepared to blame the problem on Kate. he decided abruptly. Even with Luna the missionary position had been standard. And if his writing suffered—well. but had always fantasized about. He could have her any time he wanted her. The decision would be hers. She kept distracting him even though she hadn’t entered his office a single time. Would it really be so bad to give in to his urges for a while? If he found her presence stifled his work. Something felt wrong and he couldn’t put his finger on what it was. but wasn’t happy with it. then shut his computer off. He could change all that with Kate. He’d finished the outline for his newest book. Kate would be gone by tomorrow. And he didn’t know which he wanted more. His breath . There was no experimenting. He ran a hand through his hair. Images of things he’d never had done to him. If she complied with his request tonight. indecision holding him in his seat. she could stay. he could always pay her off and send her on her way. His reaction was immediate and painful as images raced through his mind.Angus held out until ten that night. Any way he wanted her. But that didn’t keep him from thinking about her. At the very least. he wanted his privacy. He’d always tried to be a considerate lover. He hadn’t heard one noise from her. no real excitement. He wanted her. he would have a few nights to satisfy the increasing demands of his body. But he was beginning to realize how staid that part of his life had been. It was his plan for the night that kept him focused on her. he hadn’t had a vacation in years. And thinking about her meant he’d stayed hard and aching all day. doing his best to make sure his partner enjoyed the act as much he did.

With a shake of his head. smiling up at him. It was black lace and the front plunged to below her navel. “I’ve ne’er watched a woman give herself pleasure before. I have other plans.stopped at the thought of hot wet lips closing around him. sliding it over the smooth silk of her bare rounded cheek. Part of him thought the act should be voluntary. Christ. A shudder wracked his body and he nearly came at the thought. expose feelings of need he’d rather keep hidden. He’d never known how to ask for that particular pleasure before. he went to find Kate. and then resumed until he sounded like a bellows. done because the woman cared about pleasing him. He found her in his bed. then on to skim the curls hiding her sensitive flesh. “Why?” His lips curved with satisfaction. He couldn’t take his eyes off her as he walked to the bed and sat on the edge. Through the material he caught exotic glimpses of the pink skin beneath and his fingers itched to explore. Go getyer vibrator. ‘Twouldbe most interesting.” . As if mesmerized. he closed his hand around her ankle and skimmed his fingers up her calf to her thigh. Are you ready for your bath?” “Nay.” Her eyes widened and she went still. one hand toying lazily with an erect nipple. Later maybe. She stretched languidly. his gaze locked on her exposed breast. It was time to see if he would get to keep his funny little mistress. The outfit she had on tonight made the one from this morning look tame by comparison. He moved his hand higher. The position gave him an excellent view of her bare bottom peeking from the lace.” “Oh?” She arched an eyebrow. pleased when the action caused an eruption of chill bumps on her soft skin. “I thought you were going to work all night. Asking would make him vulnerable. “Aye. She was lying on her side. knees partially drawn up.

I’m just a little nervous. “Don’t move. “Problem?” He arched a brow.” Hesitation and indecision warred on her face. “Stand up. She was going to do it. a white plastic vibrator clutched so tightly in her hand that the blood had fled her fingers. but there was something else there too. It felt like he towered over her. Excitement. He was refilling his glass when Kate came back. I’ve never done this with an audience before. “No. She reached for the bottom of his shirt and stood on tiptoe to pull it over his head. He gulped the contents of the glass in one swallow. I’ll be right back.” Her lips curved in a smile. Condoms.” Moving softly to his side. She licked her lips again and his erection surged.” “If ye want to changeyer mind…” “No.” A bottle of wine and one glass sat on the table tonight. “What are yedoin ’?” . his hand shaking so badly he spilled part of the deep red liquid. Silently he prayed the excitement would win out. made her seem even smaller than she really was. she dropped the vibrator onto the bed.” He put his glass on the tray and did as she asked. The thought sent him on a frantic search of the nightstand drawer. and he poured it full. not really. “You want me to—while you watch?” “Aye. But she certainly didn’t act intimidated. he realized.The tip of her tongue appeared as she licked her lips. “I think I’m going to enjoy it. amazed at how much he wanted her to stay. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found a box. Suddenly she sat up and swung her legs over the side of the bed. then took one out and slid it under the pillow where he could reach it in a hurry.

“What does this wild man do to ye inyer fantasies?” “Nothing.” she whispered as her hand closed around his erection.“Undressing you.” Half afraid he’d explode if he moved too fast.” Her hands slid from his shoulders down his chest and his muscles tightened. “Stop. thrusting him forward.” “No.” The scowl he wore deepened and an unexpected tinge of jealousy stabbed him in the chest.” She was easing his zipper down and he sucked in his breath.” His forehead furrow. dark and handsome. gasping for air. “A pretty boy.” He forced her hands away. He’s…” Her hands slowed briefly. and was driving him insane with her explorations. gripped the hem of the lacey nightgown.” “Oh?” He quivered as her fingers undid the snaps on his jeans. freed him. It was obvious she found him satisfactory. jolt after jolt of energy flowing from the contact. and pulled it over her head. she crossed her arms. he slid the jeans carefully down and kicked them across the room. “I’ll take my pants off myself. “Not pretty. “And what is this fantasy man like?” “Tall. . “What do ye use for inspiration whenye’re alone?” She lifted her head. “I do it to him. in size if nothing else.” Sweet heavens. simply let him look his fill. but it was hard not to when she was caressing his cock and making pleased noises.” Without a trace of her previous nervousness. Surely you don’t expect me to do this cold. “Now ‘tisyer turn. She didn’t attempt to cover herself. stroked until his hips jerked. her gaze locking onto his. He tried desperately not to conjure images to go with her words. I need a little inspiration. “My fantasy man. “He’s gloriously wild and a little dangerous looking.

And she was perfect. Her breasts were small but full, symmetrical nipples protruding from the darker area. Her stomach was flat and tight, and her hips curved gently down to long shapely legs. His gaze lingered on the triangle of dark curls, thick and lush, that covered the apex of her sleek thighs, and the intensity of the heat racing through him doubled, scorching everything in its path. “Where do you want me?” Her face reflected only eagerness, now, the bones etched in bold relief under her desire flushed skin. Angus let his gaze move slowly over her tight body, trying to gather his scattered thoughts. He wanted her skewered on his hard, aching shaft, her cries ringing in his ears. But he was willing to be patient when greater pleasure would be the reward. “On the bed?” She nodded, then crawled across the mattress and turned to face him, her knees parted as she rested on her heels. “You might want to stretch out in front of me.” That sexy smile curved her lips again. “You’ll be able to see better, and I’ll be able to see you.” Eagerly, he joined her on the bed, his gaze drinking in the view she offered him. This felt wicked, he realized, a bit naughty and illicit. And he’d never been so hard and horny in his life. “Go ahead.” She picked up the vibrator, her gaze moving over his body as the low buzz of the object filled the room. With her eyes locked on his face, she lifted the cylindrical plastic to her cheek and slowly drew it down her neck. “I think I like knowing you’re watching me, that you want me,” she whispered. “Aye.” He couldn’t look away as the end of the vibrator circled her breasts then teased each nipple to a hard peak. He reached down and closed his hand around his shaft, stroking slowly as he watched her. “I’ve ne’er wanted anyone so much. And I’ll have ye before this night is o’er.” Her scent washed over him, hot and musky with excitement, and his cock throbbed. His hand tightened in reaction, sliding from the thick base to the broad, aching head. Pre-come coated his palm as his hand moved down, increasing his pleasure. Hips arched, a low moan broke from his throat. “Yes,” she breathed. A shudder ran over her body as the plastic moved lower,

parted the curls between legs until it teased her desire-swollen clitoris. “Oh, God.” He had to touch her, participate in her pleasure. Lifting his hand to her breast, he rolled a taunt nipple across his palm, gratified beyond reason when she whimpered. His fascinated gaze stayed fixed on the vibrator for a minute longer as it slid over wet folds, then he rose to his knees facing her. With his hands on her hips, he dipped his head until his mouth covered hers, tongue delving deep. He could taste the heat of desire emanating from her, and it stirred his own need to a near frenzy of lust. She arched backward as his mouth trailed down her neck, across her collarbone, to find her breasts. Kate’s fist buried itself in his hair while his hands moved to cradle the lush mounds, lift them to provide better access. He flicked each distended nipple, one after the other, then took longer suckles before capturing one between his teeth and raking his tongue back and forth across the tip. This was what he’d wanted since the moment she’d yanked off her shirt in his entry that first day, and he took the time to indulge himself, alternating from one breast to the other. Abruptly the vibrator went off, drenching the room in silence. Angus paused. “Why did ye stop?” “I—I had too. I don’t want it to end yet.” He slid a hand down the silken skin of her stomach until he reached the curls nestled at the aperture of her thighs. She was swollen and hot, her clitoris a tight, distended coil under his fingers. He moved his thumb over it and felt a shiver run through her before he penetrated her with two fingers. “Ye’reso wet,” he whispered. Her gaze never wavered from his. “I have been all day.” Angus smiled. “I’ve had some problems of my own after that show this morning.” He settled back on the bed. “Keep going. I want tae watch ye climax. And ye need not worry about itbein ’ o’er. We’re only starting.” Red flushed her breasts and climbed to her neck, but she turned the vibrator back on. Angus covered her hand with his and guided it back to her center. “Why didyer fantasy man ne’er do anything to ye, do ye think?” He touched her

clitoris with the tip of the vibrator, massaged in slow circles. Kate’s hips were moving now, and her eyes were tightly closed. “I don’t know. Maybe—” She gasped as he slid two fingers back inside her body and pressed upward. “Maybe because…I always thought I could do it better myself.” “And maybe we’ll have tae do something about that idea,” he murmured. Her gaze was back on his face, eyes half-lidded and dazed. “Come for me, Katie. Let me see it.” Her hips gave one final lunge and she went still. Delicate ripples gripped his fingers in a wave as she moaned her release. When they stopped, she collapsed onto the bed in a limp puddle of satisfied woman. Angus turned the vibrator off and pulled her into his arms, rubbing his chin over her spiky hair. “Do ye know how beautiful ye are when ye climax, Katie? Ye glow like you’ve captured the sun inside.” She gave a tiny shake of her head. “I can see why you’re a writer. The problem is, I don’t think I can do it again tonight. Once is my limit.” “Nay, ‘tis not. And I’ll prove it tae ye.” He covered her lips in a long slow kiss, then began to work his way down her body. Each breast received his attention until her nipples were once more standing at attention. Kate stayed still, eyes closed, as he moved lower, his tongue tracing a wet path over her flat stomach, pausing to tease her belly button before moving on. His hot breath stirred the curls covering her swollen flesh, and her slender muscles tightened under his hands. Delicately, he parted her folds with his thumbs, the musky scent of her body filling his nostrils. Anticipation of her taste was a dizzying need that urged him to pounce, devour, and swallow her whole. Instead, he studied her construction intently for a second, memorizing her shape and size, noting the fine tracery of veins, and then dropped a light kiss on the desire distended flesh. When his mouth closed over her sensitized clitoris she stiffened. “Angus, what are you…Oh, my God.” As he pulled her clit into his mouth and suckled, licked and nipped, reveling in her flavor, her knees bent, then fell open, offering him greater access. Her hips lifted to

meet his seeking tongue and her hands fisted in his hair, holding him against her. He drove her nearer and nearer the edge, soft moans breaking from her lips, before he drew away. Rising to his knees, he guided himself to her entrance and ran the swollen head of his penis sensuously up and down her slick, wet folds until she was writhing on the bed. Never had he seen a more beautiful body, nor had a woman so responsive to his every touch. Her muscles tensed in rippling waves with every second that passed, each movement highlighted by the light sheen of sweat that seemed to give her an internal glow. Her eyes were half-lidded as she watched his cock, her hands fisted in the sheets with anticipation. When he couldn’t stand another minute, he fumbled out the condom he’d hidden. Just the act of rolling it down his engorged cock nearly undid him. He was swollen to twice his normal size, no mean feat since he wasn’t a small man to begin with. His shaft was nearly as thick as it was long. For an instant anxiety filled him. Kate’s entrance was tiny. What if he hurt her? Impossible. Logically, he knew this would work, and so did she. Her lips were parted as though urging him on, her breath coming in short hard pants. He pushed her legs further apart and closed one hand around the base of his shaft. Guiding it gently to her body’s entrance, he thrust forward, slowly pushing his way inside, watching as his cock stretched her to impossible dimensions. An agony of intense pleasure almost made him come as she closed around him like an iron fist, her delicate inner muscles milking his length. His teeth clenched with the effort to restrain himself, and he drew in deep gulps of air until his control returned. Once he was fully seated, he used his thumb to massage her clitoris as he withdrew, then plunged in again, feeling the slick, hot flood of moisture as hercunt reacted to his presence. Kate’s whimper drew his gaze back to her face. Her eyes were tightly closed now, her back arched to take him even deeper. Her hips rose to meet him each time, giving him an even better view of their joined bodies, a view that exposed her tiny, swollen clit, and pushed him to the breaking point. With a groan, he sank onto her body, his lips finding hers as he pounded into her over and over, unable to slow his movements or regain control. “Fuck me, Angus,” she whispered. “Harder. Oh, God, I’m going to come.”

” “Liked it did ye?” He couldn’t stop his grin. any place. each eruption sending ecstasy ripping through his body until he wasn’t sure he could stand much more and stay conscious. his breath coming in ragged. I told ye. The skin on his face felt feverish. Ye taste like nectar from the Gods.” A sigh shifted her against his chest. With all his considerable strength. Abruptly.” “Aye. I’ll be more than happy to oblige ye. her head moving frantically. When it finally eased. “It was amazing. Even the rosy sheen of her skin bespoke a woman well satisfied. A shiver worked its way down her body at his caress. he let go of his tenuous control. only his grip keeping her under his body. “You may have ruined me for life. Pushing himself up on his arms. Her expression had softened. his shaft still throbbing enthusiastically with aftershocks. When it hit. painful gasps. just let me know. he threw his head back and roared his release to the ceiling. replete with pleasure. “No one has ever done that to me before. fingers outlining the cleft that divided her cheeks.” A feeling of smug satisfaction filled him as he stroked her back. “Ye’vene’er had amon give ye a climax before?” . taking her with him so she sprawled limply on top of his body. Whenever ye feel the need tae try it again. though. “See. her body arched under his. Any time.Her nails dug into the tightly corded muscles of his back as he slid his hands under her ass and tilted her upward. he slammed his cock to the hilt. stretched to the point of breaking with the intensity of his imminent climax. Endlessly he spewed. “The real thingis better than the mechanical one. But I thought men didn’t like to do that. he rammed forward once more.” she murmured. When he felt the first ripples of her second climax begin. he rolled. As soon as he was capable of movement. he collapsed. her lips curved slightly with what he suspected was a little smugness of her own. moving his hand from her nape to her rounded bottom. You seemed to enjoy it almost as much as I did. ye could come more than once.” His hand paused.

Luna was usuallywillin ’. ye nearly did me in this morning. I’ve ne’er had much chance to really enjoy sex before. “There was no’ much fun in it. “But I’ll not be trying to scare you away again. Katie? Will you let me experiment when I want and how I want? ‘Tiswhat I need from ye. I’ve decidedhavin ’ a woman around whose job is to satisfy my every whim has its advantages.” “Nor do I. then brushed his hair back so she could see his face better. the games are what I’m looking forward tae. “But I’ll not be trying anymore.“No.” “Well.” “Aye. “Will ye play the games with me. It always felt like something was missing.” He let his gaze meet hers. “Does that mean no more games?” “Nay. “Nay. I’ve been aching for ye all day long.” “It’s your own fault for trying to scare me into leaving. I much prefer pleasure. Wasn’t the vibrator thing just another attempt?” “Aye.” She wiggled slightly and his hand resumed its motion. ‘Tistime I did. I did. “I don’t like pain.” She hesitated and licked her lips.” “Ye knew what I was about?” “Of course I did. I have a feeling it will take me a while to get my fill of ye. Besides. wench.” he admitted. Angus.” She lifted her head. love.” He grinned up at her. it started out that way.” . no experimenting. “Are you always that loud?” Angus’s lips curved in a smile. But it’s ne’er been that good before. surely you had sex then. Katie. But…” He frowned.” “I thought you were married once?” “I was.

“Let the games begin.” “I think I better order a new supply. cradling her head between his palms.” With a light swat on her bottom. “Then I’ll play with you. “Pleasing ye is half the fun. Her mind. her eyes on the bank of monitors. “In that case.” Her mouth formed a round “O” as understanding dawned. but her smile made her seem radiant to him. All ye need do is tell me what ye want. And besides—” He reached into the nightstand and extracted another condom. Let’s go down and get something tae eat. and my appetite seems to be growing at an alarming rate. “It might be more than food I’mwantin ’. ye know.” she murmured. “Ah.Slowly she nodded. he withdrew from her. “Shouldn’t we get dressed first?” “Nay. couldn’t seem to focus on anything but Angus and last night. Katie. But what about what I want? You see. .” She might have a funny little face. sometimes?” He ran his fingers through her short hair. and a delicate shiver ran over her. Your Lordship. I’ve got a few fantasies of my own. ‘Tisa very big table.” Kate rolled off the bed and stood. Will you play my way too. however. “I’m starved. We’d only have to take them off again. CHAPTER SIX Kate reclined in the desk chair. “I’d hate tae run out. things I’ve never had a chance to do before. you better stash a supply of condoms in every room in the house.” He laughed.” he murmured.

Never in a million years would she have believed herself capable. Before she could move. he’d driven her to two more climaxes.” “Wildlife?” She tilted her head toward one of the monitors. There was only one thing that really disconcerted her. No part of her had been spared—no food had been too messy. The fourth one occurred when he’d pulled her to the edge of the table. draped her legs over his shoulders. Before they’d collapsed back into bed and sleep. “You’ve got a deer. fast and furious. “Watching the wildlife and thinking. of all places? I had tae look all o’er the house tae find ye. Four climaxes. He had forced her to speak in spite of her embarrassment. even if he was the one invoking those feelings. He’d merely taken his time and licked her clean. she’d loved that. and why. how it felt while he was doing it. Angus’s hands slid over her shoulders. It was embarrassing. trying to describe your feelings to someone who was practically a stranger. She’d done her best to ignore him at first.” Kate kept her expression bland. he was a talker. She shook her head in amazement. A sound from behind her was her first indication that she was no longer alone. The third one had been accomplished with his mouth. wanted her to tell him exactly where and how she liked his touch best. or delighted that it had been set free. What she did sexually was no one’s business but hers and her partner’s. And he wanted her to do the same. but he wouldn’t let her. he knew it. And of course. She didn’t know whether to be horrified at her lascivious nature. and then proceeded to use her as a plate.” . then down to cup her breasts. She was leaning toward delighted. He went into great details about what he was doing.He’d had her spread-eagle on that table ten minutes after they reached the kitchen. his thumbs moving unerringly to pluck her nipples. and his physical reaction to the deed. and Angus seemed very willing to indulge her. God. Not only was Angus a very visual person. and buried himself in her hard. “What are yedoin ’ in here. and before the night was over he knew exactly what it took to drive her crazy with desire.

” The bulge in his pants was going to be hard to conceal. no matter what I’mdoin ’. “So I do. “We can’t do this now! She’ll know. one hand sliding lower.” “I promise. Promise that next timeye’ll come to me. “I’ve been doing some thinking of my own. Women can sense these things. “‘Twill take her a minute or so tae reach the house. letting her head rest on his shoulder. He was driving her ever closer to the precipice when he suddenly cursed low under his breath.” She arched her back. Katie.” “For this.” “I’ll survive.” He pressed his full erection against her. “Besides. he hit the switch that unlocked the massive iron gates. you’re in the same fix.His head went up to see the screen better. putyer feet on the desk and spread your legs apart. Kate. “Now. Katie. and felt his lips move to her ear.” “Angus!” Kate was scandalized. I’mwillin ’ tae be disturbed. moving inside her shorts until he reached hercunt . “What’s wrong?” “Luna. Let me take care of you.” He glanced back down.” She gave him a wry grin and straightened her clothes.” “Idinna like leaving ye in this condition. .” His fingers were magic and she had no power to resist.” She could hear the smile in his voice. “Yersoaking wet and hot as a wood fire. A car was pulling to a stop just outside. Might it have been me ye were thinking of?” “Yes. “Whydidna ye come find me whenyer need was so great?” “You were writing. With his free hand. We still have time.” He gestured toward the monitors that covered the gate. I didn’t want to disturb you.” “Good.

“No. silk pantsuit she wore looked expensive and elegant.” His answer was curt. Kate was no expert. She was pretty sure she could take any unarmed female in hand-to-hand combat if the need arose. “I’ve got a date. She couldn’t leave him alone with the woman.” At least she wouldn’t need her gun. Not even family members. Only when she wants something. I’ll bring her there for ye tae meet. She was almost as tall as he was and slender as a reed. this is Kate Carson. The sound of voices drifted closer and she listened unabashedly to the conversation. Kate took the opportunity to study the woman who had been married to Angus. Luna. and especially his ex-wife. “Does she visit you often?” It was his turn to sound wry. “Okay. From his expression as he’d gone to answer the door. thanks. I’ve already sentyer alimony check for this month. I got an invitation to the party Linda is giving Saturday night and I thought we could go together. smiling as he lifted the glass from her hand. Casually. “Do you think I only come to visit when I want money Angus?” “Aye.” He paused. “Butye’ll not begettin ’ any this time.” “That’s not why I’m here. but the powder blue.” She glanced back at the monitor.” Kate was tempted to argue before she remembered the real reason she was there. she figured he’d need it. Angus draped an arm over Kate’s shoulders and tucked her close to his side. She went straight to the wet bar and poured Angus a glass of the liquor he favored. She made a point tae buy a house nearby so she could have access tae my money.” The woman came to an abrupt halt in the study door as she caught sight of Kate. Her hair was a silvery blonde that gave her an ethereal look. It was easy to see why any man would be attracted to her.“I’ll get rid of her as fast a I can. Go tae the study. “My . Angus continued to her side. were above suspicion.

” She glanced back at Kate.” . “Which you provided quite nicely.” “There’s a lot yedinna know. I’m afraid Angus wanted more from me than I was willing or able to give. “I hope you have better luck with him than I did. Kate didn’t need a mirror to know her skin had turned a bright red. please. What was she going to do if he insisted on telling everyone? “Mistress?” Luna was eyeing her up and down. “Can I get you something to drink?” “Wine.” Angus wasn’t hiding the sarcasm.” “I see.” Oh.mistress. Then he’s a regular bear. “Have you met his mother yet?” “No. if something of a surprise.” “She is now. Well. “I still thank you for it. He sounded positively thrilled to tell his ex about their relationship. Whatever is handy. but apparently Angus had other ideas.” Hastily.” “Things like fidelity. He can be a real sweetheart until you interfere with his writing.” Kate was fascinated. Luna.” He was sounding more annoyed by the minute.” The blonde smiled sweetly at Angus. I wasn’t aware that Angus was considering a mistress. looks like I’ll have to find another date.” Luna lifted her glass in a salute. “Is that why the two of you got a divorce?” “No. damn. “Kate. honesty. “She’s not your usual type.” Luna deposited her purse on a chair before accepting her glass and sipping. “We got the divorce because we had radically different ideas about what a marriage should be. it’s a pleasure. She had thought that little fact would remain a secret. Kate intervened. “All ye wanted from me was money.” She glided across the study to join them. I haven’t. and love.

Kate.” “Thank you. Watch your back when she’s around.” She reached for the door then paused. He only smiled innocently when she shot a glare over her shoulder. “The real thing. I’m assuming that’s your doing. “Angus looks more satisfied and relaxed than I’ve seen him in a long time.” A tingle of uneasiness ran over Kate.” She glanced at her watch. Maggie can surprise you sometimes. “Don’t let what I said about his mother worry you. “I’ll see you at the party Saturday night.” Luna’s gaze skimmed over Kate again. I wonder how she’ll take her son bringing his mistress to a public party?” A mischievous smile curved her lips. Darling. Kate. Maggie is a little old fashioned about some things. “What is he looking for?” One elegant shoulder lifted in a shrug. Luna stepped outside. but that doesn’t mean I’m not aware of what a wonderful man Angus is. Maggie really is a dear.” Mentally. It’s his cousin you’ll have to watch out for.“That should be interesting. she filed the information away. A thwarted lover want-to-be could be dangerous to Angus. will you walk me to the door?” “Of course. “I have an engagement I don’t want to be late for. put her drink down. I do. “You may be right.” “Mother will love her.” “Do you really care?” The blonde studied her. Maybe he’ll find what he’s looking for with you. They aren’t related by blood and I’ve always gotten the impression she’d love to get her hooks into Angus. I only know I couldn’t give it to him. I suppose. and picked up her purse. Luna stopped at the door and turned to her.” Kate closed the door behind her and locked it. Bye. When she turned it was to find .” She disengaged herself from Angus but not before he gave her bottom a secretive caress. “I hope you wait until I get there to introduce yourself. I will. Our marriage was a disaster. “Yes.

” “Oh. then throw herself on her sister’s mercy. God.B. but thanks. what if Angus proudly proclaimed she was his mistress?Crystal would kill her for lying about this job.” “I’d love to. she was never going to live this down. “She seems to think your cousin has designs on your virtue.? Worse yet. At least this way he wouldn’t question her presence constantly at his side.Idinna relishbein ’ without ye for all that time. “You’ll go with me?” “Aye. constantly except for one brief time. But ‘tis nothing for ye to worry about.” “Aye.I have a dress.” Kate grinned at him.Angus leaning insolently against the wall. won’t ye? I’ll have tae leave Friday and won’t be back until Sunday. no. Well.I. lord.if ye need a new dress ye can go intoBangor . “Watchyer back?” He arched an eyebrow. “Ye will come toNew York with me for the party. and she could make sure Marc stayed with him during that period. “I said. “That might explain why she always tried tae get me tae play doctor when we were kids.Ye’ll be with me when ye meet her. What ifCrystal let it slip that she’d worked for the F. “Deanna?” He thought about it for a second. I’ll go with ye. see where ye live. There was only one thing to do.” . “Maybe while we’re there I can drop by to see my sister and niece.” Oh.” And she had no intention of telling him she would have gone whether he wanted her there or not. Sometime between now and Friday she’d have to call Crystal and fess up. I’d like tae meetyer family. drink in hand.” He reached out an arm and drew her against him. She was in so much trouble. I’ll giveye the money. “What?” She suddenly realized that Angus was still talking.” Kate swallowed so hard she nearly choked.

‘Tistime to play now. “I’ve the urge tae see what it’s like to make love in the water. Her checking the gate when Luna left. Kate sitting in front of the monitors. A low curse earned him a mouthful of water as he dove into the deep end of the pool. I’d hate to stand in your way. then stripped off his clothes and left them on the tile. Let’s go for a swim. Many more slip-ups like that and he’d be on to her. I’ll bewaitin ’. . Or maybe it was because when she’d pulled off her shirt all the blood had left his head and gone straight to his cock.” “I didn’t bring a suit. The man was no slouch in the brains department. She was a damn bodyguard.” “What about your writing?” “I’m done for the day.“Good. A frown furrowed his brow as things began to click in his mind.” His eyes narrowed as he stared at her. then. ***** Angus flipped on the pool lights. he surfaced and pushed his hair back.” He gave her a mock leer. Give me a second to make sure the gates locked behind Luna. and Kate forced herself to smile. Coughing. in that case. “I want to make sure we aren’t interrupted again.” “Well. The way she’d closed and locked them so carefully the day she’d arrived. Why hadn’t he realized the stunt his agent was pulling? Probably because it was ridiculous to think someone as small as her would be protecting someone his size. She had to be very careful what she said around him.” “Hurry.” His expression had cleared to one of anticipation and Kate said a small prayer of gratitude.” “Yedinna need one.

she was as naked as the day she’d been born. his dick swelling to painful proportions. he couldn’t give her up yet. There was only one option left. there would be no use in keeping it up if he knew the truth. A professional bodyguard had to be in good shape if they wanted to protect their clients. so happy. He tried to picture Kate holding a gun and failed miserably. No. There had to be one. what if she left? The sick feeling turned to a cold knot of dread.With a sigh he began to swim the length of the pool. He couldn’t fool himself. They could continue to make love the way they had last night. She would probably feel obligated to insist on a regular client-based relationship. The sound of Kate descending the stairs drew him to the edge of the pool and he watched as she stripped off her top. His only problem now was deciding what to do with his knowledge. She’d been telling the truth when she said she hated underwear. Not yet. Vaguely. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so alive. He reached down and cradled the head in his palm. he wondered where she’d hidden her weapon. She probably worked hard to keep it that way. his gaze on the ceiling while a sick feeling curled in his stomach. He couldn’t let her leave. Beneath her outer garments. At least she’d been honest about that. Or worse yet. What if he confronted her and she dropped the mistress routine? After all. No wonder her body was so tight and trim. And it had all started the day Kate drove through his gate. and his body reacted with enthusiasm. Should he confront her with it? He stopped swimming and floated on his back. and more than likely there were two. He still needed her too badly. . “Why are you looking at me that way?” She gave a slight wiggle as she pushed her shorts down. Marc must have paid her a small fortune to get her to agree to pose as his mistress. As long as he kept his mouth shut he’d have Kate all to himself. and his need had nothing to do with protection. She’d told him right away she doing it for the money. He hadn’t realized what she was because he didn’t want to know. And he wished to hell he hadn’t figured it out now. He couldn’t let her know he knew.

All ye have to do is feel. Angus had put a pot roast in the crock pot early that morning and by the time they’d gotten out of the pool. Whatever Marc had really wanted. He lifted his hand and curled a finger. A surge of protectiveness swept over him. She was his. He must be losing his mind. But when she knelt on the side of the pool in front of him.” “Oh. “Come here. it was done. he didn’t care. He said he was coming up tomorrow afternoon to check on things. The phone rang as I was heading down here. CHAPTER SEVEN Kate was stuffed.“Justwonderin ’ what took ye so long. And he wanted it to be for him alone. He wanted her smile to be real again. For now.” This time her eyes sparkled. She wasn’t his type at all. “Do I have to guess?” “Nay. Between the two of . and yet even her pointy little chin turned him on.” “Who was it?” “Marc. it hadn’t made her happy.” She smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. I’ve got something for ye. He only knew he couldn’t keep his hands off this woman and wasn’t about to try.” The oddity of the emotions rolling in his chest hit him suddenly.

She had never let a man hang around long enough for it to become one. Deliberately. Even when there was nothing sexual about it. there were times when she found herself liking it. what was this person after if not Angus’s attention? Did they only want to frighten him somehow? And to what purpose? . So. They had adjourned to the den after dinner. It had to have been done before she arrived. A section of the fence in the remotest area of the estate had been severed with wire cutters and rolled back. distracted. Like Marc’s call. A bit too much. Stalking wasn’t that kind of crime. she had rushed them out the door. pulling her back against his chest and wrapping his arms around her. He put on a movie then joined her on the over-sized couch. Marc had been terrified. where Angus uncovered a large screen TV that had been hidden in the wall. After all. Her eyes narrowed as she thought about it. And she had to admit. But she would have to put up with it while she worked for him. “Feel free tae use the gym whenever ye want. all that had been left was a dirty pot. Her sense of unease increased. At the first sign of any emotional involvement. She wasn’t about to let it happen to her. And it really hadn’t been a problem before.” she murmured. “You’re going to make me get fat.them. she forced her mind to other things. She’d seen no other sign of danger since her arrival. She wasn’t used to being in such close contact with a man for a prolonged period of time.” “I have been. The very thought of it sent her teetering on the edge of panic. or this constant invasion of her personal space. every wound inflicted.” she commented. the deer had been there her first day in Angus’s castle. Maybe that was why Angus made her uneasy. holding her. Each new bruise. Not that there was anything she could do about it at this point. He was a naturaltoucher . Angus’s possessive gestures bothered her. had been delivered accompanied by words of love. and she kept telling herself that was all his constant attention meant. and it was unusual for a stalker to stay hidden for long. Love wasn’t something she was interested in. While she certainly wasn’t happy about it. he was having the fence electrified. he was always caressing her. Not only was he having motion detectors installed. She’d seen too clearly what love had done to her mother.

guts and glory. The letters he’d shown her had certainly been a little off. It was something about the wording. disgruntled lovers. blood. “It is sort of a guy movie. “No. Now that you mention it. “Why all the questions?” He sighed. and yet-she paused trying to put her finger on what bothered her about the letters. There needs to be spaces in between that let you breathe.” “Sorry. She twisted to see Angus’s face. “Well. it’s just that we want more mixed in with it.” “Women really hate that kind of thing?” Kate shrugged. the explosions. You know.” She smiled apologetically. The agent was convinced it was a fan who’d gone off the deep end. She gave her head a slight shake and abruptly the TV went off. No scorned. The woman sounded like she was madly in love with Angus.” “That’s all women want?” He looked distinctly puzzled.” He frowned. “What makes it a guy movie?” “All the car chases. yes. They want to see and feel emotions other than fear and excitement.” She studied him for a second.Marc had sworn there was no one with a grudge against Angus who might be out for revenge. but that wasn’t it. “What did you turn it off for?” “I’ve already seen it and ye were no’watchin ’ it.” “Like my books?” He shifted her until she was sitting facing him. of course not. his expression intent. This person obviously thought Angus belonged to her. and it was possible he was right. “I wouldn’t say we hate it. Women focus more on relationships than men do. about the handwritten calligraphy. “Linda keepstellin ’ me that women make up the largest part of . and the fights. Non-stop action grates on your nerves real fast. no one he’d hurt in a business deal.

“Why don’t you try giving him a real woman to interact with. “Exactly. And that’s exactly what will have women flocking to your books in droves. from a waitress to an executive. agent. he’s not.” “An F. She could be anything you wanted her to be. But Idinna know how tae do it.” he stated conclusively. never gets involved with women except for a fast roll in the hay with whoever happens to be handy. You can help me with that. one who won’t lie down and spread her legs the second he walks into a room? One who’s as smart and strong as he is? Then let the sparks fly between them.” Kate smiled at him.B.” “Me?” Kate nearly bit her tongue when she yelped the word. “Sure.” “No.” “But Connorisna the type tae get soft on a woman. .I.” He eyed her. “Not necessarily.” “Sparks.I.” he mused thoughtfully. There’s nothing we like better than seeing a strong man fighting his feelings and acting like an idiot over a woman who’s brought him to his knees.B. agent.” “Do you want my opinion?” “Aye. I suppose.” “Okay. I’m sure you can figure out a way to work her into the plot. your hero. Jack Connor.” “Hoochiegirls.thereadin ’ public and that I need tae get them interested in my books. You could drag out a relationship between them for a whole series of books.” he murmured.” “This woman. “But I’ll need research into the bureau. she could be a cop or an F. Kate shifted nervously on the couch.

‘Twaslike she demanded all my attention. I need tae know what makes her tick. She washopin ’ for grandchildren tae spoil. “Ye did say ye were a research assistant. I liked Luna. If I’mgoin ’ tae write this woman. that made her want tae protect and serve. Most people do like Luna. Maybe even tae the point where she put her job above a social life.” He smiled. and Icouldna write when she was around.” He put his arm around Kate’s shoulder and pulled her back against his side. her name wouldn’t be suitable either. There was little love involved. we were both ready tae call it quits by then. his hand gently stroking the skin on her upper arm. patriotism.“Aye.” “How long were you married?” “Eight months. “A belief in the law and a need to see justice done. “Or Luna?” “Believe it or not.” Kate commented dryly. even when shewasna in the room. They did everything together and ‘twas easy tae see the love they shared.” His smile was full of satisfaction. “I suppose she was.” . We simplydidna mix right. although I have to admit. don’t give her ahoochie name like Bubbles or Taffy. The only one upset about the breakup was my mother. a determination to make sure the vultures in this society stop preying on the weak. “Whatever you do.” “Aye.” He was watching her closely.Goin ’ through the bureau training must be extra hard for a woman. although I’ve no’ taken much time tae analyze it. She had to get him off this line in a hurry. ‘Tisthe way a marriage should be. But ‘twas no’ what I got with Luna. What would make her take it on?” “Lots of things. My parents had a great marriage.” This was hitting too close to home to suit Kate.” Angus laughed. there would need tae be something in her past that drove her. honor—there are hundreds of reasons. “So. “Was she telling the truth about why you got a divorce?” He thought about it for a minute. “Believe me. I believe it.

what with my first book and all. And she was the best thing that ever happened tae my father and me. “Aye.” Kate grinned at him. “What about ye? Tell me aboutyer family. She’s happier here. I think she started missing home. “Why did you move to the States?” “My mother is American. never being able to step foot out of the house without being followed.” An uneasy ripple made its way down Kate’s spine as she remembered the possessive tone of the letters. When he died. It might be a good idea to check on the whereabouts of Angus’s long lost mother. though she’s no’ the one who gave birth tae me.“I take it your mother will be at the party Saturday night. What’s she like?” He didn’t have to think about this answer. blonde and gorgeous.” Kate looked up at him in surprise. It made me feel like I was being smothered tae death. She met my father while she was on vacation inScotland and ended up staying.” “Are you happy here?” He smiled. but I still go home taeScotland from time to time for a visit and a rest.” He tilted her chin up and caressed her jaw with his thumb. ‘Tisbetter since I moved taeMaine . I came with her.” .” “Crystal and Sammy are the only family I have since our grandmother died. ‘Twasa bit rough in the beginning. So when she moved. I hated the publicity. I was tae young tae remember her. Father said she just left one day and ‘twas ne’er heard from again. “She’s sweet and a little naive. A very loving woman who tends tae speak before she thinks. “You’ll likeCrystal . fromNew York . She’s your ‘type’. “She’s not your real mother?” “In my heart she is. Now I am.Tall. and Icouldna let her come here alone.” “What happened to your real mother?” “Idinna know.

He’d been in jail when he died and she wasn’t interested in the details of his death.” “How?” She had told the lie so many times it came easily to her now. After she died. but didn’t question her further. “Angus. She looks like her father.” “Does she look like you?” “No. was true.” “What happened tae him?” How did she keep getting herself into these messes? Maybe a short version of the truth would be best. “They died. at least. The customers spoil her rotten and she acts like it’s her God given right to be spoiled. .” He stripped off her spandex shorts and tossed them aside. We heard my father died a few years later. he lifted her onto his lap in one smooth move and pulled her athletic top over her head. “Sammy is adorable.” Angus arched an eyebrow. feisty brunette with a pointed chin. but I was never told how. elegant fingers explored her body. Now stop changing the subject. “Andyer niece?” Kate smiled. what are you doing?” “Ye’vetoo many clothes on. Instead. “No’ anymore.“Nay. “He was shot during a drug bust that went wrong. My type is a short.” That last part.”His stroking became more intimate.Probably because she’s spent all her time in the boutique whileCrystalworks. What happened taeyer parents?” It took an effort. She’s three years old and she never meets a stranger. but she kept her expression calm in spite of the memories churning their way to the surface. we moved in with my grandmother. “Mom had cancer. Desire slammed into her with the force of a speeding train as his long. Danny was Hispanic and she got his black hair and dark eyes.

she decided. but true nonetheless. Placing the packet between her teeth. “Sweet heavens. With her other hand. . “What about your clothes?” “Icanna wait long enough tae take them off. teased the nipple with his teeth. Strange and erotic.” His voice was raspy and desperate with hunger. Wanting to prolong the moment. And it was her he wanted. Did she dare? Would he allow it? Involuntarily. The ridge where his shaft joined the broad head drew her attention and she stroked it slowly. she grasped his arousal with one hand. But then. and so long that both her fisted hands couldn’t contain it. Yet for all its size. it was in perfect proportion. being stark naked and having sex with a fully clothed man. she paused to roll the latex down his thick. in a way she’d never experienced before. a moan breaking from deep in his throat. his fingers slid up her leg. Her dream man. she leaned forward. By the time she’d straightened. She wanted to taste him so badly her mouth watered.ye’re killing me. When he pulsed in her hand. rounded head until he was thrusting spasmodically in her grip. “There’s a condom in the drawer. her tongue wetting her lips. tightening her grip on his cock again. He was beautiful. the skin hot and silky smooth. At the same time. It was strange. his beautiful blue eyes burning with the fire she’d built in his body.” She turned over and dug it out while he unzipped his pants. parted her. and she straightened.” he rasped. stroking until he groaned. going unerringly to the core of her need.” His expression was beyond desperate now.found an erogenous zone behind her knee that she hadn’t known existed. she slowed her movements and began an extensive examination of his cock. feeling Angus’s muscles go tense beneath her. hard length. An odd word to use for a man’s penis. The man was turning her into an insatiable glutton for sex. squeezing gently as she slid from base to tip. love. “Katie. freeing somehow. his eyes half-lidded with desire. She moaned softly as his mouth covered her breast. His shaft was so thick her fingers didn’t meet around its width. she captured a drop of seminal essence from the tip and used it to tease the broad. It never occurred to her to be embarrassed when he found her wet and ready. his erection was free.

” she choked. Her free hand continued to caress her clitoris. And whenyer aroused.” Kate closed her eyes. I get drunk on ye and I ne’er want to be sober again. ah. or the feel ofbein ’ inside ye. The way ye swell tae my least touch drives me insane.” he whispered into her neck. I’ve been hot for ye since the minute ye walked in my door. slick and hot. Driven with the feral need to mate. stimulating her nipples until she cried out with the exquisite pleasure. Kate fought her compulsion to wiggle. Touch yourself. One hand stimulated a nipple while the other crept lower and spread hercunt open to caress her clitoris. “Moving inside me.” A shudder wracked his big body. He pulled gently until she was leaning back against his solid chest then slid his arms around her. bracing for the detonation that was only seconds away. matching his rhythm with her own. she leaned forward slightly and reached down and around to grasp the base of his penis where it entered her body. He shifted her on his lap. It’s like the most expensive whiskey in the world.she was learning a lot of new things from Angus.” “What does it feel like?” . “Tell me whatyer feeling. when he moved. then lifted her and impaled her with one hard downward thrust on her hips. “I feel…I feel you. things she’d only fantasized about before. and her thigh muscles tightened in response. Angus arched off the couch as she stroked the column on each withdrawal and let its length slide erotically through her fingers. His hands shifted to her breasts. to force him even deeper inside. “ She didn’t hesitate. “Help me.” he gasped. Her fingers joined his between her legs and eagerly stimulated the engorged flesh. his words vibrating against her ear sending new waves of fire through her. too. Katie. “Ah. “For God’s sake. fighting for the air required to speak. She could feel the hard muscles of his thighs tensing under her. and she was burning alive with her need for more. “Ye’relike a damn drug. Icanna stopthinkin ’ about the taste of ye on my tongue. the scent. Katie. love.dinna move. Angus seemed to sense her feelings. His gasp of surprise told her it was a first for him. turned her until her back was to him.

“Good. I need to feel you moving inside me. I can’t wait much longer. pulling back the foreskin and exposing the small erection even more. parted and drank hungrily from each other as their tongues brushed. Like an explosion building inside me. Gently. until she shook with need. And when you touch my breasts. The fingers of her other hand pressed down on the sides of her clit. the feeling goes down to here. “Do ye think anyone has ever died from tae much sex?” he asked softly.“Good. the higher the sensation drove her. angled until their lips met. he slid his hand down her body to caress her tender clit. inside her. sweet Kate. using the leverage to force her down harder onto his shaft. I almost come just thinking about it. It drives me crazy. Beneath her. her hips moved in a circular pattern. When it was over. to my clit. Her thumb stroked the bare sensitive tip in time with his frantic movements. His hands left her breasts to settle on her hips. When she felt the first jerk of his release. Even when you’re still. They tumbled together. eyes closed as she twisted slightly to reach him better.” “Then kiss me. her body shuddering uncontrollably as she sucked his tongue deeper into her mouth. “I need you to fuck me. faster. fought for dominance.” He lifted his head and stared down at her. reveling in the taste of his sweat-dampened skin and the coarse feel of his five o’clock shadow.” She tilted her head back. Because no one has ever made . Oh. so good. Kate forced her attention to his question and smiled. thrusting it into prominence. mouths still fused as tightly as their bodies.” Her fingers increased their pressure on her arousal. she kissed each lid and teased the corner of his lips with her tongue. Angus held her cradled in his arms. sliding sensuously up and down on the swollen nodule in the flood of moisture they had created. You’re so big you fill every inch of me in a way that’s never happened before. “And it makes me ache for you more. God. Angus. one hand lazily caressing her breast. Eyes still closed. her hand seeking access to his thrusting penis. Involuntarily.” she begged. Angus suddenly stiffened and swelled to even greater proportions. His head was back on the couch. a waiting. and she whimpered into his mouth. it was enough to push her over the edge. please. soothe the lingering throb. It seemed the more she explained. I can feel you inside me. I can feel you pulsing and moving. “Not that I know of.

“You were starving to death. there you go. and even then it wasn’t exactly earth shattering. It’s been two years for me. where did ye usually use it before? In your bed?” “Not exactly. Tell me. about a year. “How long had it been since you’d indulged before I got here?” “Best I remember.” “Aye.” She kissed him. “I’m thinking of throwing my vibrator away. “Then where? The bathroom?” “No. I could have gotten more satisfaction from doing my nails. Would ye like to watch me make love tae ye.” Kate blinked in surprise. I haven’t faked it. Besides. either. Kate. keep it. “‘Twouldseem I’m no’ the only one who likes tae watch. This sudden vulnerability was a side of Angus she hadn’t seen before.” That tingle of uneasiness was back but she shrugged it off. Idinna think we’re done with it yet. Kate.” “Well. It touched something deep in her heart. a long slow kiss and smiled. No one has ever made me feel this way. “That sounds interesting. and now you’ve got a banquet.” He lifted a hand to her hair.” “Ah.” She could feel her skin heating up. I could spend the rest of my life inside ye and die a happymon .” “Oh?” She arched an eyebrow. I’m certainly not complaining. “Are ye reallylikin ’ it. “No.” she whispered as her hand closed around him.” She knew him well enough by now to know he wasn’t going to leave this alone until she told him. or is it because I’m paying ye to act as if ye do? Ye did tell me Iwouldna know if ye werefakin ’ it. I haven’t needed to. I’m alreadywantin ’ ye again and ithasna been five minutes.me feel like this before. Kate?” . Angus. There’s a suite in the hotel we’regoin ’ tae stay in this weekend that has mirrored walls. It will never be good enough again.” He smiled. “I have a full length mirror on the inside of my closet door.” “Nay.

I’m getting wet just thinking about it. love. Not . I crave the sound ofyer cries in my ears. with no trace of hesitancy. It had scared thebejeebers out of her last night when she’d woke and found the space beside her in the bed empty. CHAPTER EIGHT Bright sunlight woke Kate the next morning and she opened her eyes with a distinct feeling of disorientation. Almost as much as the thought of falling of love in with him. God. not wanting to disturb him. “Lie back and let me drink from ye once again. By the time he slid to his knees. Boneless. But she couldn’t leave him down here alone either.” And as his mouth closed over her. she did exactly that. and tell me what ye want.” How did he put her in this condition with a few words? she wondered dazedly.” he said softly.“Yes. a ready and willing participant in his feast of the senses. “How long is it until Friday?” she breathed. “Day after tomorrow.” “Wecanna have that. It took a second for her to realize she was curled up in a chair. Katie. God help her when the job was over. Andinna beforgettin ’ tae pack the vibrator. open for me. The man was corrupting her and she loved every minute of it. he really should tell her first. in very vivid detail. Kate. and it terrified her. she lay back on the couch. It hadn’t taken her long to find him. sitting at an angle to Angus’s desk. But at least Angus was still in sight. She’d simply followed the light and the sound of furious typing and stood hesitantly in the door. His laugh of delight rumbled against her sensitized folds.” His breath was hot where it caressed her. “Now. If he felt compelled to write at these odd hours. Her cheek was numb from lying on the arm. yes. and her legs stiff. she was whimpering with anticipation. She’d never feel this way again.

not bothering to be quiet this time. and thick. tightening the belt on her robe. then resumed typing. She stretched and rose. Kate left the room. . so she’d tiptoed behind him and curled up in the chair. fingers churning out words at an amazing rate. His gaze was focused on the screen. and black as a raven’s wing. waiting impatiently for it to finish.” her sister sang after the second ring. There was one thing she had to do today that she was dreading. Looked like he was still going strong. He hadn’t bothered to put on a shirt last night. Still barefoot. Nothing was stirring on the monitors except the deer she was becoming used to. bringing it to his lips for a kiss. she went back downstairs to the kitchen. after all. and small sigh escaped her lips. Angus didn’t as much as twitch when she stopped behind him. he caught her wrist. She put the pot on to brew. Hopefully she could check the house. CallCrystal. She poured the coffee and pulled out her cell phone. But she couldn’t face it without coffee. “Crystal Palace Boutique. She would kill to have hair like that. She couldn’t resist running her fingers through his hair. taking a deep breath as she dialed the number of the boutique.when unknown danger could be lurking outside the nearest window. and a few squirrels. just pulled on his jeans and crept downstairs. it hung to just below his shoulders. A quick round of the house showed her everything was in order. Straight. Smiling. He hadn’t seemed to notice her presence. His hair was so gorgeous. So what ifCrystalteased her unmercifully for the rest of her life? But she didn’t want her sister to feel guilty that she’d taken this job. Satisfied that all was well. she took a fast shower then dressed in jeans and a Tshirt instead of her usual outfit. Marc would arrive sometime today and she wanted to be decently dressed when he did. take a shower and start breakfast before he came back to the here and now. Absently. They were both adults. How wasCrystalgoing to take her revelation? She wasn’t too worried about the sex part.

Sis.Just a little embarrassing. “Crystal. Are you hurt? I swear Kate. “I wanted to let you know that we’re coming toNew Yorktomorrow and Angus wants to meet my family.“Hi. Okay. “I wasn’t exactly honest about what I’d be doing for him.” Kate fudged. God. It’s me. are you telling me you’re having sex with the hunk?” Kate winced.” “Oh—my—God! I can’t believe this! I want details.” There was dead silence from the end of the line for a second. No.” She sucked in another breath and took the plunge. he sort of thinks I’m his mistress.” The silence this time lasted twice as long. “Why? Don’t tell me the guy is so anal he has to meet the relatives of his research assistant? I mean.” “Embarrassing?” There was a real hint of suspicion in her voice now.‘exactly’ . I’m not busy.” “Oh. I guess I am telling you that. and there are no customers at the moment. Wait. “What. shoot. does he think you’re doing there?” “Uh. “About that research assistant thing. What’s up?” “Not much. Sammy is in the playroom. let me sit down. but isn’t that a little extreme?” Kate propped her elbows on the counter top and crossed one ankle over the other. Is he any good?” So much for her sister feeling guilty. I’m all yours. It is dangerous.Howie is in back unloading a shipment. I promise. if anything happens to you I will hunt both of you down and—” “Crystal!” Kate had to yell to get her sister to shut up. Are you busy?” “Kate! I was just thinking about you. It’s not that I wouldn’t to love to meet him or anything. “Yeah. you can’t expect me to talk about something like that. “It’s not dangerous.” . come on. isn’t it? That’s why you lied to me. “Katherine Marie Carson.

God.” Crystalsighed. I think he’s turning me into a raving sex maniac. he could make me climax from twenty feet away without laying a hand on me.I. At least let me live vicariously. This is serious.” Kate could feel her face heating.B. You giggled. he could make me…” she hesitated. So what time are you getting here? I can’t wait to meet this sex god in person. All he has to do is start talking. if I weren’t me. he wants to do it every night.” Kate sighed.” “Want to change jobs with me for awhile?” “Not a chance in hell. There’s nothing he won’t try. I swearCrystal.” “Well. “You’re terrible. Sometime after lunch. “Let’s just say he’s better than good. my lips are sealed. Am I babbling?” “Yes. But I want to make sure you don’t spill the beans about my real job when you meet him. And I am so damn jealous I can’t see straight. probably.” “I would be too. “Oh. And yes.” “Don’t worry. He’s amazing. “As a matter of fact. The man must be a miracle worker. don’t mention the F. You never giggle. And two or three times during the day. Does he want to do it every night?” Kate laughed again. he has the stamina of a sixteen-year-old.” “I’m not sure. Now get back to the good stuff. I haven’t had sex in so long I’ve forgotten what it’s like. “I’ve never met anyone like him. “Well.” “Oh yeah. And whatever you do. I’ll take off atnoon and letHowie handle things here.“Sure I can. I had no idea things like this could really happen. I swear. It’s amazing. “I didn’t figure you would. and he’s insatiable.” .” “Okay.” She laughed.” Her rear end swayed as she thought about Angus.

But your bottom waving like that was hard tae resist. ‘Tisalways nice tae knowyer wanted. “Uh.Crystal . I have to go.” . spread her legs.” Reluctantly. She gasped as he filled her.“That will be great. Angus had leaned her over the counter.Yer phone is very loud. What else did ye tell her?” “Oh. See you tomorrow. not much. She clicked the phone off and deposited it on the counter. “Idinna have a condom on. Only that you could make me climax from across the room.” “I’d rather be up close for the event. “Okay. “You heard that. Her heart gave an unexpected flutter. but before she could move. he withdrew from her and lifted her to sit on the counter in front of him.” “Bye. “Why did you stop?” She arched a brow in question. I’m a sex god. her eyes closing in pleasure at the feelings he created. “Aye. and entered her from behind with one hard thrust. his hips pumping slowly as his cock moved inside her.” Kate said weakly.” “He’s there. eyes shut while she tried to think. ‘Tismuch nicer that way.” Her sister laughed. sure is. huh?” Kate kicked her jeans the rest of the way off and pushed back against him. isn’t he? Is he doing it to you now?” “Yeah. “So.” Something long and hard bumped Kate from behind and two hands slid around her waist to unfasten her jeans and push them down. and it felt so good being inside you bare that Icouldna have held off long. enjoy. am I?” Angus’s voice was muffled as he nuzzled her neck.

“Open yourself for me.” Leaning back.” She shook at the image his words inspired. “What do you think?” she whispered. It was already damp and throbbing with anticipation.” His words created a rush of excitement curling low in her stomach. She reached down and ran a finger slowly around the sensitive ridge that separated the head from the shaft. she reached down with both hands and exposed her clit. “Look at it. you know. Never would she be able to get enough of his gorgeous mouth on her body. “I think you’ve got the prettiest pussy in the world. a little nibble since it’s breakfast time. then pulled her to the edge of the counter and propped her heels up on the rim. “I did stash a few condoms in a drawer. “Yes. making sure her clit was heavily covered in the warm thick honey. he gazed down intently. The one right next to you. engorged and throbbing.” Kate’s voice carried a thoughtful tone. Taking his time. suddenly nervous. “But first.” Taking one out.” he rasped. His thumbs ran over the lips before he lifted one and sucked the sticky fluid from his knuckle. She watched with interest as he opened the cabinet next to her and took down a bottle of honey. “Aye?” He started to smile. If she weren’t careful. I want to suck on it. Just the thought nearly made her climax. and her clit swelled until it protruded . Her heart rate increased again. untilyer taste is all I know. It was huge. she was going to forget what this job was all about and simply lose herself forever in his deep blue eyes and sexy smile. When she was covered. beating a frantic tattoo in her chest. he deposited it within easy reach. Katie. so delicate and sensitive it swells without me eventouchin ’ it. Angus drizzled the golden liquid from the top to the bottom of her sensitive folds. Katie. Suck on it for hours. but her lips curved in anticipation.They both looked down at his cock.Yer clit is so tiny it scares me sometimes.

His ministrations were thorough. and she whimpered. a connoisseur taking the time to enjoy. Oh. Getting his fill at last. He lowered his head and began to lick. He noticed of course. do ye?” “Oh. “Have I ever mentioned how much I love honey?” he asked. his roar of release echoing off the kitchen walls. Don’t stop. Angus. then pulled her clitoris into his mouth. He filled her completely. Feel free to suck any time the urge hits. his teeth replaced his tongue. His skin was flushed under the sharp. yes.even more. Resisting all her efforts to direct his mouth. “Oh. Kate’s hands tangled in his mane of dark hair as her hips pushed her tighter to his mouth. he started at the bottom and worked his way slowly to her clit. sucking ravenously even as his teeth raked and his tongue continued to flick the distended exposed tip. “No. she screamed when she came. his pupils dilated until only a thin rim of blue showed at the edges. each strong pull bringing her off the counter to meet it.” Her breath stalled in her chest at the look on his face. tightening and raking across her clit even as his sucking increased. God.” he whispered. she came again as Angus spewed. I need…I want…” As though he’d read her mind.” His lips curved. his voice husky. ‘Tisone of my favorite things in the world. he ran his tongue higher. “Like that idea. pausing in the middle to dip his tongue repeatedly inside her. of desire and…something she didn’t want to analyze right now. When his hands settled on her thighs. She was still in the final throes when he dragged her off the counter and buried himself inside her. his cock slick with spilled seminal fluid. high cheekbones. For an endless time. It was a mixture of tenderness and anticipation. please. his erection jerking and swelling with every spurt. they stayed were they were as their breathing slowed to . my God. her body convulsing in ecstasy. Like right now. she could feel them tremble. Sucking is good. Her climax was so intense. “Aye. and to her surprise. slow drags of his tongue interspersed with lazy circles that had her pressing her heels onto the counter in desperation.

I forgot the condom.” His hand stilled as he gazed at her.” He moved slightly. but didn’t bother to fasten his jeans. but itdidna bother me. “Katie. Tae be truthful. “I hope my phone call didn’t disturb your writing.” They both subsided into silence. I knew ye were there last night. Among other things. In spite of the hard counter. How do waffles sound?” He withdrew. I think this is the best stuff I’ve ever . He murmured heated words of delight in her ear.” His voice was low and hesitant.” “Ye just felt so good Icouldna help myself. Angus’s weight a comforting presence behind her. “Maybe ye should start the pill. He was so damn gorgeous it made her chest ache just being in the same room with him. “Tisstrange.” He smiled at her as he oiled the waffle pan. We’ll just have to be more careful from now on. his cock sliding to nestle in her depths. and neither of us has been with anyone else in a while. “Ye made coffee?” “Yes. The words kept coming anyway. then relaxed. Because she could. She couldn’t take her eyes off him. It’s the wrong time of the month for me to get pregnant.” “Yersure?” “Yes.” She tensed for a moment. I was going to fix breakfast after I talked toCrystal . she ran a hand over his muscled bicep before returning the coffee pot to its hotplate. “Delicious.” “Nay. Kate was drifting off to sleep when Angus raised his head and sniffed.” Kate tugged her pants on and poured him a cup of coffee. “I’m sorry. head tilted to one side. the scent of sex and completion drifting around them. “I think we’re okay.something approaching normal. Neither seemed in a hurry to part.” “Maybe. and she ran her fingers languidly over his arms. “‘Twasmy stomach that stopped me.” “I’ll cook. That’s never happened before.

please let me know. “Are you trying to get on my good side. determined not to bother him if he was writing. piddling long after the job was done. “I certainly hope not. Kate laughed. Maybeyer my good luck charm. strong. Knowing he’d gone back to his office. “It’s more likely that you’re just excited about this new story. But for the record.” ***** Since Angus had cooked. “I like the name. The long table that had been in front of the windows now sat facing his desk. when you get the urge to write in the middle of the night.” He sighed.written. Kate did the cleanup honors. McLeod?” “Is it working?” “No. You scared me to death. but he couldn’t have been there long. which had been moved back a few feet. When there was nothing left to do. It sounds elegant. she went to check on him.” “Ye weresleepin ’ so sound Ididna want tae wake ye. And it’s not ahoochie name.” “I’d rather lose a little sleep than ten years growth. He’d rearranged the whole room. Did you ever decide on a name for your heroine?” “Aye.” He dumped some mysterious ingredients into a bowl and stirred. “Katherine. and it suits her. Katie. Angus was sitting at his computer. She blinked in surprise as she paused in the office door.” The griddle sizzled as he poured batter onto it. “Okay. .” His glance cut sideways to gage her reaction. I’ll wake ye next time. she took her time. then going upstairs to shower again.” She took a sip from her cup.” He leaned over and gave her a quick kiss.

A well-padded swivel chair had been pushed up to the table.” Kate mumbled. “Sexy underwear will show it.” Kate booted up her laptop. pens.The table contained her laptop. a notebook. paperclips. He was watching her. “I made a list of things I need information on besides the F.” She moved to the table and picked up the list.” She arched an eyebrow at him. “Women’s clothing?” “Aye.” he specified.” He grinned at her. And see if ye can find some sexy under things. I’ll see what I can find. containing everything from cars to women’s clothing. highlighters. a smile lifting the corners of his lips. “Icanna let her go naked. Kate looked up. and I hooked ye up to the printer. “I want her tae have a softer side that she keeps hidden from the world.” he explained. “Angus. now can I? But I know nothing about women’s clothes except how tae take them off.” “With pictures. training program. What does a conservative female agent wear?” “It depends on the job.” “Ye won’t interfere. “Aye. we writers are full of them. and stapler.” She pulled out the chair and sat down.” “Neat trick.” .” Kate hesitated. are you sure? I don’t want to interfere with your writing.” He gestured to a stack of papers sitting in a wire basket.B. “What does she look like? I’ll try to find clothes that go with her coloring. “What?” “Nothing. all in neat order. “I need tae know how tae describe it. “All the connections were under my desk so I set you up a place tae work in here. It was a long one.I.

a hundred-and-twenty pounds.” She rolled her eyes.” She turned to her screen and got busy.” She stood and stretched her tight muscles. but she could still hear the sound of Angus’s computer keys. Make her taller. It’s our instinct tae protect.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Give the woman a break. Hitting the switch to let him in. When the gate buzzer went off Kate glanced at the clock and was surprised to see it was after lunch. so good.” “Why does he need to feel protective?” She propped her chin on her hand and glared at him. “Because men are bigger and stronger than women. “About five-feet-five. She’d even managed to order him a training video the agency used for new recruits. Her voice lowered. “Kate.” “Nay. “Yeah. it helped that she knew where to look for information on the F.” he replied promptly. tanned skin. How’s it going?” “So far.B. Except for the clatter of keys and the hum of the printer. silence descended on the room. well. The monitors showed her a cream-colored car at the gate and she recognized Marc behind the wheel. “Did you get everything set up?” . a lot of men seem to be lacking that instinct these days. His list had been whittled down very quickly. She needs tae be small enough tae make him feel protective and tough enough tae make him frustrated when she won’t let him protect her. but Kate ignored him. “I’ll get it.“Dark brown hair and brown eyes. He unfolded his trim body from behind the wheel then reached back in for an overnight case before smiling at her.” His gaze stayed on her for an inordinately long period of time. she made her way to the front entry and was waiting on the porch when he stopped. Of course. a feeling of satisfaction going through her at the stack of papers she’d printed out.I.

” “Really?” He looked at her in surprise. Iwillna do without ye one night. Or even private ones for that matter. “Maybe I should stay by myself in the other bedroom tonight. She wasn’t used to public demonstrations of affection. Casually. “We’ll only have tae be a bit quieter than usual. The work crew is right behind me. opened the refrigerator and took out a soft drink. his lips still brushing hers. Angus is caught up in writing at the moment.” Angus answered.” Kate locked the front door.” She hesitated.“Yes. I bet he’s churned out sixty pages since last night. checked the gate.” He looked truly delighted as he followed her inside. “Don’t let me interrupt anything.” He put his arms around her and rubbed the top of her head with his chin. He’s going to stay the night and fly back with us tomorrow. He’d changed into jeans and a pullover shirt. “Come on in. Have you had lunch?” “Yes.” “Of course I don’t mind.” Marc commented from the door. “I hope you don’t mind.” “Nay. He hired ye after all.” His grin turned mischievous.” She smiled.” “Good. I’ll run upstairs and stash my things.” “He is now. “He always swore he couldn’t write a sentence when someone else was in the house. “Iwasna planning on it. then went into the kitchen and made a stack of ham and cheese sandwiches. “Where’s Marc?” “Upstairs.InBangor.” He dipped his head and gave her a kiss that melted her bones and left her shaking. Before she finished Angus joined her. “Marc knows whyyer here. At least she . Kate knew her skin had turned bright red.” “That’s wonderful. he went by them. Be right back. but I thought I’d stay tonight and fly back with the two of you tomorrow.

Good thing she’d made extras. Angus got two more soft drinks out and sat next to her. “What for this time?” “Ye found Kate for me.” Marc took a slug straight from the can he held. “I owe ye. or did ye merely want tae disrupt my social life?” “Reason. “I wanted to get the work crews started and go over the arrangements for the party with you. Kate thought ruefully. He handed one of the cans to her. “Is there a reasonyer here.hadn’t been until she’d met Angus. “Since we missed lunch. his leg curling around hers under the table. Grinning he released her. keeping his arm around her waist as he glanced at Marc. And why am I just now hearing about these work crews?” “Because you never listen?” Marc smiled innocently. his gaze lingering on hers before he picked up a sandwich.” .” Kate saw Angus’s brow furrow. Marc. taking her own seat.” “Oh?” The agent smiled.” Marc immediately made himself at home on the far side of the table and grabbed a sandwich in spite of his earlier statement about having eaten. A big one. I haven’t. I made some sandwiches. Angus still looked suspicious so Kate decided to intervene. Have you gotten any more letters?” “Nay. “What work crews?” “The ones who are installing the motion detectors and putting the juice to the fence.

“I told you.CHAPTER NINE Angus contemplated the whiskey in his glass. I didn’t know what else to do.” Marc raised a hand to his eyes and rubbed. Twenty minutes ago she had excused herself and left the den. “Look. ye did me a favor when ye . a beer within easy reach. I know. He just didn’t understand why his caring would scare her when nothing else seemed too. but that could be due to the men coming and going. Her panic had been real. his mind going back to the fleeting expression of panic on Kate’s face at lunch when he’d thanked Marc for finding her.” “Ye can stopyer lying. Whoever is stalking you isn’t playing games.” “Know what?” “About Kate. though. Angus.” “Shit. He glanced at Marc. It wouldn’t surprise him to find her outside walking the fence. installing the alarms for the motion detectors. I told ye. “I know she’s a bodyguard. He couldn’t make himself believe it. I couldn’t leave you out here alone and you refused to let me hire anyone. I’m notgoin ’ tae take your head off. His friend was lying back in a recliner. no doubt to make sure the place was secure after the presence of so many strangers.” “Relax. They couldn’t get to it until now. Or had it been his imagination? She’d acted absentminded the rest of the afternoon.” The agent turned his head and looked at Angus intently. “What about her?” He took a sip from his glass. it was part of the original package. Marc. “Are ye going tae tell me whyyer really having the motion detectors installed and the fence wired?” Marc kept his gaze on the TV.

” Using the remote. “How did you find out? I know Kate didn’t tell you. except she’s not married. shedidna . “Look. “Yes.” he said softly. and keeps one eye glued to the outside monitors. But the only reason I told ye I know is because I need ye tae tell me everything ye know about her. She was with the F. always makes sure the gate is locked. “You’re serious? Why don’t you want her to know?” “Because Idinna want her tae leave.” “Aye. and of course. after she left the Bureau. I know that’s what it was to start with.I.” “She owns her own company?” Marc took a swig of his beer. She has about thirty employees who work as bodyguards and all of them are very highly trained. okay? This is just a job to her. “I suppose you want me to get rid of her now.B.” “Personally. “Nay.” A sigh lifted Marc’s chest. I went by her home the night we made all the arrangements. andye’ll not betellin ’ her I know the truth. not much. It’s a personal security firm called Safety First. I checked out her company and professional background.” The recliner snapped into its upright position as Marc stared at him.” “Angus…” Marc hesitated.” Angus smiled. She opened it about six years ago. A perfect mistress who checks the doors and windows every night and morning. I’mhopin ’ tae change that. “And Idinna want her to go all professional on me. Marc turned the TV off. I was right.” “So. at one time. I know the people she’s worked for have been very happy with her.sent her. I’d rather have her as she is now.” “Nay. I’m surprised she accepted this job even with the extra money. tae my undying gratitude. She’s been the perfect little mistress.” . don’t get too involved here.

ground eating pace. Her face was too angular. “If ye get hungry. But she was the only woman on earth who could make his pulse speed up by doing nothing more than walking into the room. It took a while. I was thrilled she was willing to do it. He leaned against the doorframe. it felt as though his soul had broken free and gone soaring over the clouds.” He finished the rest of his drink and stood. it felt as though a fist had squeezed his heart. She didn’t laugh enough.” He grinned at Marc. he puzzled. not what’s on her resume.” “Idinna doubt she’s good. late that night she called and said she’d changed her mind. She’s good. not really beautiful in the conventional sense. I was about to give up hope. leaving a wet ring on the fabric. and I wasn’t about to ask questions. ye know where the food is. Even with her spiky hair plastered to her head. . You wanted to know about the motion detectors? Well. Not nearly enough. Was she ticklish? Walking across the room. When she smiled at him. but he finally located her in the gym. Kate realized the day after she got here that there was a hole in the fence. I think she’d be good at anything she did.” Angus looked at him speculatively. “Turned me down flat when I approached her.” The agent muttered something under his breath and Angus heard the TV come back on as he headed down the hall. running at a steady. she was beautiful. She saw a deer on the monitor and put two and two together. Sweat slid down her face and dripped onto her shirt. But I want tae know the real Kate. Then. No.” Marc grinned. “Wonder why?” “Hell if I know. Someone had cut a good-sized section open. though. And she was right.“She didn’t at first. taking pleasure from simply watching the way her trim body moved. “Where are you going?” “Tae find her and take her tae bed. She was on the treadmill. he decided tonight would be a good time to find out. And when she laughed. Angus.

she turned the treadmill off. “A big one. “Seems we have a problem here. He’d never had a woman fit in his arms so exactly. scooping her up in his arms. “We’ve got a long day tomorrow.As soon as he came into her line of vision. I didn’t realize I’d been at it this long.” Angus growled.” “How long will it take tae get tae your place?” He brushed his fingers tenderly through her hair. She wiggled to adjust herself to the bulge in his pants.” ***** As soon as the long black limo dropped Marc off at hisManhattan apartment. Do ye have any idea how it drives amon crazy knowingye’ve nothing on under that prissy skirt?” “You wouldn’t know if you hadn’t watched me get dressed. Angus closed the glass between them and the driver and pulled Kate onto his lap. She . “Were you looking for me?” “Aye. What did you want?” “Tae give ye a shower and put ye tae bed.” He wiped a bead of sweat off the tip of her nose. Part of her might be afraid of getting too involved with him emotionally. the pieces finally returned to what they should be. “Sorry.” she murmured.then leaned into him. but on some level she already was.” “Marc…” “Can take his own shower. and she smiled. “Good point. “Are ye in training for the Boston Marathon?” She lifted her wrist and checked the time. It was as though they were two halves of the same mold. smiling when she wiggled closer. Her arms twined around his neck as he headed for the stairs.” he commented.

Instantly. Yedinna like it?” “I love it. she wasn’t going to get away from him. “About forty-five minutes. most men have buzz cuts. “Forty-five minutes would be long enough. butCrystal and Sammy will be there. “Aye. he kept holding her. Deanna will be there tae.” Even though it was painful.” She yanked on a strand of his hair and he yelped. “Think so?” A miserable groan broke from deep inside.” “Gee. loving the way she felt in his arms. Sort of wild and…” “Fierce?” He arched an eyebrow. “Butyer the lucky one who gets it.” He nibbled her neck. “We’re going to your mother’s?” “Aye. “Why do you wear your hair so long? These days. “Ye can decide for yourself if she’s after my body. too. “Every woman who’s seen you is after your body. It’s just too damn perfect.” He looked speculatively at the darkened windows. For lunch. “Mostly because Idinna want tae take the time tae have it cut. But the condoms are in my suitcase. “Too bad.” Angus shrugged. and you’re so modest. .” “Maybe we can find out tomorrow when we go tae my mother’s.” Kate ran her fingers through his hair. We’ll have tae wait. It makes you look like a pirate. Now that he’d found her. McLeod. she soothed the spot with her fingertips.” He grinned at her.” She rubbed her breasts against his chest. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to make love in a limo. She insisted.just didn’t know it yet. a problem he meant to correct soon.” A sigh escaped her lips and she leaned back.

” “Likeyer fantasy man?” She gave him an odd look.” She laughed. and ran the broad head over hercunt . but he held completely still. Katie. Kate undid her blouse and pushed it back from her shoulders. condom or no. Cars zipped by on either side of them as she teased her own opening. Iwillna be responsible for my actions. there may be a way we can do this without a condom.” “So was making love tae ye afterwards.” He kissed her. “That’s what you get for tickling me last night. “Your memory is entirely too good. “Yerwish is my command.” She smiled when he arched a brow in interest. Revenge is sweet.” “Aye. before unbuttoning his shirt. Moving up his body. He toyed with her nipples while she pulled the tails from his pants and shoved them away from his flat stomach. “You know. it was a small matter to open his zipper and free his erection. Love. When it was over they were both breathing harder.“Exactly. grasped his cock in one hand. “And how would that be?” “You just lie back and leave it all to me. one foot still on the floor. plush seat.” “That would do it for me. .” She ran her finger delicately around his ear and he shivered. she pushed her skirt up her hips. After that. their tongues dancing together and away in a waltz as old as time.” He slid down until he was full length on the wide. and she ached for him.” Straddling his legs. letting him enter just enough to drive them both insane. “If yedinna stop. Maybe I should have my ear pierced and wear a gold hoop. Angus’s eyes closed and his breathing picked up with each stroke.

” “And the state I was in. his come shooting in white spurts onto his flat stomach. as she rode his cock. She wiggled downward to force them deeper. which she handed to him. I want to feel you come now. “Oh.” He pulled her back into his arms and turned to glance out the window. she released him. he reached around her thigh an inserted two fingers inside her opening. to continue moving until he was done. “Nay. and laughed. she could feel every ridge. “We did it. his hips surging to meet her. but then Angus opened his eyes a slit. While hundreds of people surrounded them in plain sight. “We don’t have to stay long if you don’t want to.” She fished in her purse and came up with a handful of tissues. With a deep moan. Her own climax hit with soul shattering intensity. Which is why I think I’d better sit over there.When their essences had mingled until they were both slick.” He swabbed off his stomach and adjusted his clothing. I probably would have let you. and it took all her control not to freeze in place.” Kate slid off his lap and moved to the other side of the seat. gliding over her clit. Kate. “Did ye grow up in this area?” . Using one hand to part herself. Icanna take much of this. It was fantastic. Silence fell as they both regained their breaths. “Christ. Do ye have any idea how close ye came tae getting fucked there at the end? Even without a condom. every desire-swollen vein on his cock. Angus grabbed her and pressed downward. All it would take to push her into an orgasm would be to feel his cock jerk when he came.” Her movements became more frantic. “Now. God. I can’t wait. letting her movements push them in and out.” she gasped. Angus. I’ll write one. Angus erupted.” “You won’t have to. Trembling. With a gasp.” she whispered. she settled the folds of hercunt around his cock and began to slide up and down the bottom side of his shaft. And Kate could feel each pulse as it traveled the length his shaft. I want tae see where ye live and meetyer family properly. “Is there a book of etiquette that deals with meeting your mistress’s family?” “If there’s not.

“‘Tisnice. “It looks likeCrystal hasn’t made it home yet. It was an older home. There’s nothing we can’t talk about together. then gave her a wry smile. “Aye. Ye make me proud by saying what ye did. A blue and white flowered sofa with a matching love seat took up most of the room.” “I doubt if that’s something you’ve ever had to worry about.” She glanced at the empty driveway on the other side of the house as she pulled out a set of keys. woman and baby sat on a table. It helped with bills to rent the other side out. “We’re here.” He picked her hand up and kissed it. A picture of a man.“No.” He arched an eyebrow at her. The living room was cozy.” She looked up as the limo pulled into the curb. and glanced around the room curiously. “Right. .” “Surely you aren’t embarrassed. She had it converted into a duplex after my grandfather died.” Angus followed her inside. “I’ve been told sizedoesna matter. it’s white siding gleaming above the bricked foundation. but in good condition. Now. Like I could fight my weight in lions.Crystal isn’t just my sister. We lived inQueens until I was nine. she’s my best friend. Angus surveyed the house with interest. And it would fit in one room of your castle.” Kate gave him a rueful smile.” “It must be nice tae haveyer family that close. Large maple trees shaded the yard and the sounds of birds filled the air.” “Yes. This was my grandmother’s home. I think I found that out yesterday. I live in one end andCrystal lives in the other.” “I only told the truth.” As they climbed out.” “Nay. with a connecting door to her sister’s side of the house. The floors were hardwood. but she’d covered them with large rugs that contained the same colors as the furniture.

his mind whirling. wanted to be able to picture her there. watching her reflection as she pleased herself. Angus. The furniture was sturdily built. “Angus. Hastily. But as he inhaled deeply. He returned the picture to the table. he could hear the sound of water running. The mirror was there.” Slowly. Kate put the bed between them. he glanced at Kate then back at the poster. It had to be Kate’s. help him figure out why she looked so panicked when he started getting too close to her emotionally.” Her sister was exquisitely beautiful. this isn’t what it looks like.Crystal gave it to me for . “Angus? What are you—Oh. a musky. “I’m going to fix some tea. though. the room had no frilly adornments. It was made right before Danny was killed. It was the poster taped to it. he caught her scent. The poster he had hated from day one. It filled the room. God. There was some resemblance to Kate around her eyes. delicious aroma that never failed to arouse him. There was a door opening off the living room. Make yourself at home. he went to the closet and pulled the door open. Even the bedspread was a no-nonsense blue. Like her.” Kate tossed her purse onto a square oak table that sat against the kitchen wall.and he picked it. running from the very top of the panel to the very bottom. but it looked so bare he thought it must be for guests. but he’d lost his taste for women like that lately. and when he took it he found himself in a hallway. From the kitchen. “That’s Crystal.” He turned and started toward her with a measured tread. But it wasn’t the mirror that had him frozen in place. Making his way around the bed. He had a deep desire to see the mirror Kate had mentioned. “I swear. and decided to take the opportunity to look over the rest of the house. solid and dependable. he thought. He hit the jackpot at the second room. And maybe find something that would help him unlock her personality. Danny and Sammy. The first room was a bedroom.

“I like knowing I’ve been the one giving ye pleasure all this time. he flipped her onto her back and pinned her to the bed.” Her cheeks were redder than he’d ever seen them.” . “Am Iyer fantasy man. Feel better now?” He couldn’t stop his triumphant grin. It’s embarrassing. When she took it.” He let the tip of his tongue outline her lips before parting them gently. it was nothing to what he was feeling now.yer going to do all those things you fantasized aboutdoin ’ tae me. I can’t believe this. “Yergoing tae give me the truth if we have tae stay here all day.” She struggled to free her hands. “Yerthe only one I care about. “I’m getting there. please. “Because…because I wanted a chance to really be with you.” She was hemmed in now. If he’d wanted her in the car. then gave up and glared at him. “Yes. And the rest? Why did ye take the job?” With a groan. Yes. Katie.” she moaned. and her body trembled under his. Katie? The one ye do all those wild things tae? Was it truly because you needed the money that ye accepted this job. Pouncing like a lion. “And tonight. God. to do what I wanted to do from the beginning. or was it because of me?” “Oh. “‘Tisthe first time I’ve been happy they made the damn poster.” “Me and another million women. The only way out was across the mattress. His voice was deceptively quiet compared to the heated excitement running through him. His hips moved against hers and she whimpered.” he murmured.my birthday two years ago. he was ready. It was a gag gift. caught between the bed and the wall.” He released her hands but kept his weight on top of her. damn it. his lips tracing her jaw. I needed the money badly. but it only gave me an excuse to accept the job.” “Angus. she closed her eyes. You’re my fantasy man. damn it.

” He rolled his eyes. “It’sCrystal !” Angus rolled off her reluctantly and stood. “Or you could just show off and make her die from envy.” Kate grinned at his obvious distress. Angus couldn’t stop smiling. He was going to die from anticipation before they got to the hotel. ‘Twill be exciting. but I’m dying tae find out. The flush of desire still had her skin glowing. “Aye.” “You don’t know what you’re getting into. Twice if ye like. “Is this some kind of competition between the two of ye? I’ll be out in a bit. rumpled and sexy.” The sound of the back door opening followed by a questioning “Kate?” had her pushing frantically at his shoulders. “I think I’d better hide in the bathroom until I can get things under control.” “Anything?” Heat blazed in her eyes and she licked her lips.“Nay.” “Nay. I’ll try tae be brave and hold up. Ye can do whateveryer heart desires. He was her fantasy man and had been all along. Think about it.Ye’ll have complete power o’er me.” “Try to hurry. CHAPTER TEN . Love.” She rushed from the room looking adorable.

this isCrystal. Sammy I’m not so sure about. Idinna get tae be around kids much. speechless. “I better take her. “Angus. looking down at her with surprised delight.” she declared. I was showing him the house. gazing up at him intently.” Her gaze took in Kate’s appearance and she smiled. One glance at her sister confirmed it. her face a bright red.” “Nay. “Recognized me. So where is he?” Kate lifted Sammy and gave her a big kiss.Kate heardCrystal’s low curse as she entered the kitchen.” Kate gestured to her sister.Crystalwas staring at him wide-eyed.” A sunny grin lifted the baby’s cheeks into a smile before her gaze fixed on something behind Kate. Angus laughed.” “I sure did. She didn’t have to look to know it was Angus. “Never mind. but I came back just to see you. did ye?” Crystalleaped to her feet. now?” Sammy hooked an arm around his neck and patted his cheek with her free hand. “Aren’t ye the pretty lass. “What’s wrong?” “Your water was boiling over. pointing toward the hall. for once in her life. his head brushing the top of the frame. he seemed even sexier than normal taking up all the room in her house. she’s fine.” The little girl was already holding her hands out to him.” . Angus took her from Kate’s arms. “Is it safe tae come in?” She laughed. For some reason she didn’t understand. “Picture. Taking a step into the room. “You went bye-bye. his wide shoulders filling the space. but I don’tthinkCrystalwill attack you. Did you miss me. Kate turned to see him standing in the door. Sweetie?” Sammy wrapped her tiny arms around Kate’s neck and squeezed tightly. “No promises. “He’s in the bathroom.

Kate talks about ye enough that I feel I know ye.” Crystallooked dazedly at Kate.” Kate could feel Angus’s eyes on her back as she finished making the tea and filled glasses with ice.“‘Tisa pleasure.” Kate merely shook her head while Angus grinned.” “But ne’er by three such beautiful ladies asyerselves .then sagged. both of you.” Kate poured the glasses full and handed them across the table.” “Katie tells meye’ve gotyer own store. “Sit down. she moved to the counter. “Marc made arrangements for us to stay at the Plaza Grand. “Whydinna ye come tae this one and see foryerself ?” “Really?”Crystal brightened. He’s got a way with words.” Immediately she clamped a hand over her mouth. watching a little enviously as Sammy wound Angus’s hair around her hand. Crystal. thanks to her. “I can’t believe I said that.” Her sister sighed wistfully.” Angus commented.” “Ignore him. “It sounds wonderful.” “So I’ve heard. “You were right. “Are you staying here tonight?”Crystal had her elbows propped on the table. “I can’t. Someday I hope to have a chain of them. I’ll finish the tea. That’s where the party is going to be.” Her sister gave her a pointed look and this time it was Kate who turned red. I suspect he’s used to being drooled on. It’s called the Crystal Palace Boutique. He’s better than the poster. “No.” . “Don’t worry about it.” “Yes.He freed one hand and used it to pick up and shakeCrystal’s limp one.” “Afterye’ve been tae as many as I have they’re only boring. Hastily. They continued to chat about the store until she joined them.

Their gazes met across the table. We have to leave soon.”Crystal stood and took Sammy from Angus.” he said. and you’ve got a whole store full of dresses.” Angus stated blandly. Fantastic sex was one thing. “Maybe we’ll get a chance to have a little talk. “It’s been so long since I’ve done anything like this I won’t know how to act. “Maybe I can changeyer mind. She’d baby-sit for you. “Be at the Plaza at eight. “Is the job going to take that long?” “Bein’ a mistress is more than a job. “You go ahead and get your things. I know where it is.” She gave Kate another of those looks. and there are a few things I need that I forgot to pack. She cleared her throat.” Crystalknew her too well. “You know Mrs.” “You think it would be okay? I mean. “I’ve heard of men keeping their mistresses until they were old and gray.” “Ye’llhave tae come toMaine and visit.” Kate told her. I’ll see you tomorrow night. A real relationship was something altogether different. I wasn’t invited. She had no intention of ending up the way her mother had. Kate tore her gaze from his only to findCrystal watching them closely.” “I don’t think I signed on for quiet that long. Do ye need a ride?” “No.” “I’minvitin ’ ye. Franklin loves Sammy. Never would she allow love into her life. . Kate thought.” Angus told her. tae.“Sure you can. Her sister knew her views on love and long-term relationships quite well. Knew the incipient panic his statement had caused. I know Kate missesye both.” Kate sawCrystal shoot her a worried glance. “I better get the kitchen cleaned up.” Kate told him wryly.” “I’ll do the kitchen.” Excitement lit her eyes.

But the other part. slim woman with hair the color of ripe chestnuts intercepted them and Angus shot Kate a look of pure anguish.” They almost made it to the elevators. Angus. we have some business to talk over and I thought we might as well get it done today. We can talk while we eat.” At least he didn’t introduce her as his mistress. The man wasn’t going to know what hit him. had rejoiced. no-nonsense grip. She shook the woman’s hand. “Kate.***** Kate stood in the lobby of the Plaza Grand. I ordered dinner sent to your room as soon as you arrived. the part that knew Angus would never let her get away with hiding her feelings from him. He folded his billfold and stuck it in his back pocket before turning to her. “Linda. Let them look. Linda. She’d certainly never taken a client home to meet her sister before. A smile lifted her lips. too. “Angus?” A small. Every female in the vicinity was watching him. Under the circumstances. She could hardly wait to get him upstairs and all to herself. I’m glad I caught the two of you. Part of her had wanted to curl up and die when he’d found the poster. She searched her mind for any trace of lingering embarrassment and found only eager anticipation.” He leaned over and kissed the woman’s cheek. “More than ready.” . it’s a pleasure. my editor. Maybe subconsciously she had wanted him to find it. it was an impossible task. “Ready?” His gaze caressed her face and she knew he was thinking the same thing she was. surprised at her firm. She knew because she’d been trying to keep an eye out for anyone showing undue interest in their arrival. watching Angus sign for their room. Kate thought ruefully. Kate Carson. “Kate. Marc told me Angus wasn’t alone this trip. this is Linda Kennard. She was the one sharing his bed.

“Of course. “Nice mirrors.” “Excellent. I’m still working it out. “And you know how long it takes to get everything ready. her green eyes sparkling. ‘Twill be the first of a five book series. sliding a key card into the lock of number nine-fourteen. “When do I get the synopsis? I’d like to get started on the publicity and marketing as soon as possible. “The lastisna out for another week yet.” She beamed at them. Good grief.” The elevator doors slid open onto the ninth floor and they stepped out onto the carpeted hallway.” “There’s time. she smiled at him.” she commented. “Aye. “Wait until ye see the bedroom and bath. Pushing the door opened. When Kate walked by. All three of them climbed into the car. She paused in the middle of the large sitting room and looked around.” Angus told her complacently.Ye’ll have it in another few weeks. I think ‘twill be more whatyerwantin ’ tae get women reading them.” Angus gave her a wicked grin. With a shrug. “Have you started the next book yet?” Linda asked when the doors closed behind them. the fourth side being a large bank of floor to ceiling windows. Andye’ll be pleased tae know I got a woman’s input on this one. They’d have time to themselves later. Three walls in the room were covered in them. She was still holding her purse. There was a knock at the door and Kate hurried to answer it before Angus could. leaving the bellhop to take the next one with their bags. the weight of herGlock comforting in her hand.” He checked door numbers and stopped. “Who is it?” .” “Aye. his hand caressed her nape and a shiver danced its way down her spine.” He gave Kate an apologetic look while he punched for the elevator. he stood back and let Linda precede him into the room.

I ordered a wide variety. you’re being unreasonable. John Wesley is going to be at the party tomorrow night specifically to talk with you. “I’m not sure I want tae see him again. “Angus. When he’d gone. their conversation was all about the new series Angus had mentioned. He keeps trying to get me . She’d have to call some of her people in from other jobs. It took a few minutes longer for the waiter to set up their table and load it with dishes. then paused as Angus tipped him on his way out.” As soon as their plates were full. Why hadn’t Marc listed this man when he’d given her Angus’s contacts? If there was going to be a tour. and room service. “He’s considering having Angus do a tour of book signings for the release of his new book. Linda turned to Angus.” Linda told her. I want you to make a good impression on him this time. it meant she would have to go along. For the next twenty minutes. “Idinna like him. and possibly blow her cover.“Your luggage. “I hope there’s something here you like. “Who’s John Wesley?” “He owns a chain of bookstores that extend all along the eastern seaboard. They were halfway through the meal when the editor changed the subject. and it would be ten times harder to protect him.” “Idinna like the way he does business or his attitude. This tour could boost sales enormously. “There’s one very important thing I wanted to speak to you about. and Linda seemed very excited about the ideas he had. The bellhop took their things straight to the bedroom. “I’m sure there will be.” Angus’s brow furrowed.” Angus stated positively. I’m not a picky eater. Linda pulled out a chair across from Kate.” It was Kate’s turn to frown.” She opened the door and let them in.” Kate smiled at her. Ma’am.” Kate stopped with a forkful of rice pilaf halfway to her mouth.

But I’ll not promise anything else.” His brow furrowed.” She lifted her head and looked at Angus. This whole mess with the letters could be solved by the time you’d have to start the tour. “Okay. There’s nothing to stop this person from walking up to him with a book. and she’s probably the one responsible for his wanting you to do the tour.” Abruptly Kate didn’t care if she made him suspicious. Ye know Marc handles the business end of writing for me.” Linda looked at her as though she’d lost her mind. She had a bad feeling about this deal.” Linda propped her elbow on the table and rubbed her forehead. then pulling a gun. “But at least talk to him and be civil. away from Marc. It’s one thing to brush them off when he’s safely at home and quite another to ignore them when he’s moving from city to city. I don’t think he should be taking any tours right now.” . I’ll be civil. “By the way.” “I’m sure we can find adequate protection for him. on a publicized schedule. “Out of curiosity.” “That’s good enough for now. She works for John in some capacity or other. feed them? The logistics alone would be a nightmare.” She stared at the woman.That woman who kept showing up at all theNew Yorksignings for your last book. She’s obviously a big fan. find them places to stay. so you’ll need enough to work in shifts. “Who?” “Lois Trent. Iwillna go behind his back and make a deal. And who is going to pay them.” Linda started to push away from the table. Because the person who’s stalking Angus could be anyone. I get your point.alone. “Nothing. “What do you have to do with this?” Kate shrugged. But Marc told me Angus has gotten some threatening letters. then paused. Maybe I need to rethink this. The book will sell well enough without a tour of his stores. “I agree with Angus.” “Aye. he’s bringing Lois Trent with him. what would you consider adequate? Ten men? They can’t stay up around the clock. like any other fan. And a book signing won’t work too well if you have to keep the fans away from him.

“When did Marc tell ye about the letters?” “When he hired me. It was a four-poster. It looked rather flimsy. Unless… Crossing to the window. Angus took Kate’s hand. I’m in charge tonight. She scanned the room again. Angus might have to stretch a bit. The room was designed on the same order as the sitting room. I’ll see you both at the party. I’ve still got a stack of reading to do tonight. Well. eyes narrowed. Katie. The bracket didn’t even wiggle. “I’m not likely tae forget it when it’s the only thing I can think of. A sigh lifted her chest. “I think you’d better take your own advice. She eyed it for a second. “An older lady with gray hair? Kind of quiet? English accent?” She nodded.” As soon as she was out the door. There was also a square of mirrors on the ceiling over the bed.Angus tilted his head. then went to look over the bedroom. she let her full weight dangle.Yer going to need all the energy you can get. He wasn’t going to question her further. McLeod.” His thumb caressed her hand.” A surge of relief ran through her. He didn’t want me going toMaine without knowing what I was getting into. . keeping her gaze just below the ceiling. Standing on tiptoe to grasp one. but it would do. but not what she was looking for. “Finishyer food.” He nodded. then let her gaze drop to the bed. Remember. but the brackets holding it into the wall were solidly bolted with metal screws. now am I?” ***** Kate watched as the room service waiter cleared the table. she checked the distance between two of them. with three mirrored walls and a bank of windows. Taking a step back. I’m out of here. “That’s her. she examined the curtain rod. There was nothing that would suit her purposes.

They would both be able to see every single move she made. . One she could dream about for the rest of her life. she wanted him to be remembering tonight. She didn’t want Angus to figure out what she was up to until it was too late. she went back to the bedroom and stripped off her dress. She wasn’t sure why that was important to her. walls and ceiling. she pulled out the pieces of rope she’d grabbed at home and knotted one on each bracket before pulling the curtains closed. It was made of a thin shimmering material that was. when Angus was making love to another woman. and she contemplated them for a moment before choosing the red one. but she hadn’t thought of it in time to get any. Positioning herself between the two brackets. If she hadn’t taken this job. Shaking her head. She was losing it. see-through. The sounds from the sitting room indicated the waiter was almost finished. As she’d hoped. she turned and faced the room. It would have been nice to line the tub with candles. Angus wasn’t going to forget this night for a long time to come. Wave after wave of excitement coursed through her as she pulled the material over her head then went to check on the tub. Reaching into her pocket. She smiled. While the tub was filling. she wouldn’t even have that much. It was like being enclosed in a reflective glass box.Only one more thing. Her reflection was cast back to her a hundred times over from both sides and the front. but it was. She turned the taps on. She could live with that. she turned the water off. Dreams were all she would have. because she knew there wasn’t another man alive who could make her feel what Angus did. the tub was huge. checking the water temperature before adding the bubble bath the hotel provided. After the job was done and she left. It shouldn’t matter to her what Angus remembered as long as she did her job and kept him safe. remembering her. and she hurried to the bathroom. Absolutely perfect. More than big enough for two people. And it would be even more so before the bath was done. She’d brought several sexy nightgowns with her. There were more mirrors here. for all intents. The fantastic sex was only an unexpected bonus.

Katie?” Smiling she stood and faced him.” Undoing the last button. I’m giving you one. “In case you’ve forgotten. Your Lordship. “No promises. . “Am Igoin ’ tae survive the night?” Kate smiled. she led him to the tub.” She slid the palms of her hands across his shoulders and down his chest. his warm male scent filling her with a joy she’d never experienced before. then moved to the tub. I’m in charge. And put out a ‘do-not-disturb-on-pain-of-death’ sign. Tonight he was hers—completely and totally— and a giddy sense of freedom swirled inside her. “Relax and enjoy.A sound from the entrance made her look up to see his reflection in the mirror. She unzipped his pants and pushed them off his hips.” She unbuttoned his shirt. “Are ye taking a bath. she slid the shirt off his shoulders and touched his neck with her lips. and he groaned as her fingers worked his belt lose. “And tonight. His gaze took in her gown.” She looked up and met eyes that had gone from cobalt blue to nearly black. “No. waiting until he stepped out of them before taking his erection gently in her hands. His hands remained at his side while he looked down at her intently. You’re about to discover how good my imagination is. reveling in the feel of warm skin covering rock hard muscle.” His body tensed as she stroked him.” Taking his hand. Muscle that flexed and quivered under her ministrations. Did you lock the door?” “Aye.” “Good. Her lips trailed down his washboard abdomen. what always turned me on about my fantasy was what I did to you. following her hands. “Why are yegivin ’ me a bath?” “You’re my fantasy man. I also called the desk and told them tae hold all calls.

“No touching. He’d been in a state of arousal for so long today that he was afraid of embarrassing himself. They dug into his muscles with just the right amount of pressure. he throbbed and a drop of seminal fluid appeared on the head of his penis.” He did as she asked. Even as she picked the soap up again.” Her smile was full of the same heat that coursed through his body. Even her belly button was outlined. He could see every curve. Her movements were slow and deliberate. “I know. the lighter tan of her skin contrasting sharply with his deeper bronze. To his surprise. Picking up the soap. his teeth were clenched against the agony of sensation. her eyes glowing with suppressed excitement. Dazedly. By the time she finished. she rolled it slowly between her wet hands until they were covered with lather. watching in the mirror as she ran her hands over his shoulders and back.” God help him. “Stand up and turn around. long-fingered but strong and sure. plaster it to her body like a second skin. “Katie-“ “Ssh.” He tried closing his eyes and thinking of something else as her hands moved over . from the dark circles of her breasts—nipples erect—to the triangle of curls at the apex of her legs.CHAPTER ELEVEN Angus sank into the hot water without taking his eyes off Kate. “Yergown—” The words were choked off as moisture from the bubbles began to soak the thin material. It wouldn’t take much. he wasn’t going to last through similar ministrations to parts of his anatomy that were already on the verge of eruption. Kate stepped into the tub with him.” she whispered. but she swatted it away. he lifted a hand. “Now face me. She had small hands. leaving not a single inch free of lather.

At the same time. This torture was too exquisite to miss a single second. her hands closed around his cock. He had to watch. “Katie. Her skin felt scorching hot on his as she paused to caress the head.” Teeth clenched. to the nipples so tightly peaked. then stared downward in fascinated agony as her palm slid the length of his penis. he nearly begged. she avoided his straining cock.” “Don’t fight it. I want to watch you come. a gasp was torn from his throat. pumping his length enthusiastically as he watched and delighted in . increased the pressure. Do it for me. His gaze fell to her breasts. When her hands parted at his erection and moved down his legs. tracing the tight lines of muscle with near reverence. And yet. his hips rocked—pulling his cock back through her palm—then slammed forward again. This was killing him. But Kate knew what he needed. Body trembling with barely suppressed desire. He craved her hands on him like a starving man craves food. No one had ever reduced him to this state before. to drink from her until her cries filled his ears. He wanted to bury his face in her pussy. tease the opening with a finger. This is only the beginning. Abruptly. he dreaded what would happen if he got his wish. Before he could brace himself. he nodded. but when her thumbs teased his flat nipples into hard pebbles. and stroked him all the way to the base. but she ignored the movement.his chest. Tension held him in an iron grip that made his body shake with its need for release. please. Involuntarily his hips jerked forward. and her hand moved faster.” “Idinna want it tae be over like this. His teeth ground together as he fought for control. Her grip tightened even more. She reached his abdomen. she fisted her right one around the sensitive rim.” “It won’t be over. Cradling his testicles with her left hand. her gaze caught his and clung. and he knew that if he ran his fingers between her legs she would be soaked with her own desire. Angus.

I haven’t.” She gave him a last loving stroke. “Sweet heavens. It was like nothing he’d ever seen before. As much as he wanted to prolong the wonderful.” he rasped. And then she began to wash. combining the action with gently swaying hips that reminded him of a sensual dance.her touch. circled it over her clit as her glance caressed his body. Nipples her hands then stimulated into tight. Idinna think I can move. Streams of soap flowed down her neck to drip from dusky nipples. tossing it with a wet thud to the tile floor. With a muffled shout. . Legs trembling. “You’ve ruined me. She pulled the soiled gown over her head. Katie. In her hands. erect pillars. All slippery and glowing. She was totally uninhibited and amazingly. then stepped out of the tub. When she was all soaped down. He’d watched Kate bathe at home. his hands gripped her jaw line and pulled her mouth to his. jerking and throbbing as the head of his cock deepened to dusky red. she sank into the water.” “No. “Come with me. he rose and took her hand. but he had a suspicion this was going to be different. then you can relax a bit and watch me bathe. His erection swelled. sweet pain she was inflicting.” Grateful he no longer had to support his own weight. The lather on her hands combined with his natural lubrication to drive him crazy as her firm stroking sent him tumbling over the edge. “Sit down and rinse the soap off. His tongue plunged desperately inside as his body erupted. Moving her feet. her lips meeting his for a long slow mating of tongues before she rinsed. he couldn’t hold back anymore. he felt his erection stir alive as she ran the sponge between her legs. he released her mouth. Fire blazed behind his eyelids as she coaxed the last drop from him. spilling his seed in a hot stream against her body. raining rivulets of moisture down her silky skin until he thought he would die of thirst. both of their eyes were glazed with desire. She didn’t pause for a towel. the bath sponge became a living thing. he eased down in the steaming water and leaned his head against the rim.” Unable to speak a word. He was right. she placed them on either side of his hips. was endlessly fascinated by everything she did. giving him an unimpeded view of her body.

trim flesh. and knew he’d never felt so helpless in his life.” “Why? Don’t you trust me?” “Aye. spread-eagle.” He swallowed hard. “Katie. and he watched. watching as Kate crossed the room to her suitcase. At that point. Angus?” Once again he tried to swallow. but she went by it without slowing. his mouth suddenly gone dry as a sponge in the desert as his imagination worked overtime. she stopped. She was everything he’d ever dreamed about. the water glistening on her skin delineating each ripple of tight. the effect it was having on him was distinctly erotic.” His own reflection sprang to life around him as he faced her. what are yedoin ’?” “Living my fantasies. She walked toward him sensuously. “You did say you wanted me to show you.” The vibrator .” She turned with the vibrator clutched in her hand. He licked his lips. “Aye. buck naked and soaking wet. “Turn with your back to the window. The ropes ran across his palms. “Are you nervous. the white plastic sliding back and forth in her palm. longed for without quite realizing what it was that had been missing from his life. as she lifted his hand and rapidly knotted a rope around his wrist. He stood there. ‘Tisonly anticipation. he would have followed her into a raging volcano without batting an eye. When they reached the window.” “Aye. she’d captured his other hand and fastened it securely. I trust ye. “I’m going to make you feel better than you’ve ever felt in your life. Strangely enough. and he gripped them tightly. enthralled.and he didn’t ask. He thought they were going to the bed. Before he gathered his muddled thoughts. A tingle of uneasiness ran though him as he tested the bounds.” His accent became thicker with every word. There was no give in them at all.

if yedinna stop…” Instantly the vibrator was gone and he didn’t know whether to weep or rejoice that he’d been given a reprieve. His breath was coming in short pants and he gripped the ropes desperately as she moved the plastic down his stomach. “Let me touch ye. she slowly sank to her knees and faced the mirror.” It almost seemed she didn’t hear him.” With a smile.” . looking at you while I touch myself. “Good. I can feel it all the way down into my stomach. eyes half-lidded as she ran the plastic over her breasts. her back arched. I make myself so hot I can barely breathe.” he pleaded.” She was using his own techniques against him. I do this. It feels—” The vibrator passed over his nipple and he gasped.” She moved the vibrator to her sensitive clit and circled it slowly.” With her lips following the same path the vibrator had taken. “And when I can’t stand it anymore. he realized. “This is what I do at home.” The white plastic tip touched his neck and began a slow trip down his chest. He licked his lips and tried to concentrate. one arm around his leg. “And this?” She ran the vibrator over his erection. smoothing the whole length of his cock. Angus. seductively. “Katie. “Now it’s your turn to watch. “Katie.came to life in her hands. Between her legs he could see the swollen flesh peeking through her folds. it feels good. I need tae taste ye. its low buzz filling the room. until he was quivering with the touch. He couldn’t rip his gaze away from her reflection. God. “Ye’vealready done that. let me go. she did it again. but she seemed in no hurry to get there. “Odd. Angus. be inside ye. “Tell me what you’re feeling. eyes glazed with passion as she watched in the mirror.” “Not like this time. then moved to the other side and lavished the same attention on that nipple. circled him.

The hand she gripped him with slid up to meet her mouth. Deep down. his muscles tightening and relaxing as his hips thrust. When he felt her tongue move. Stunned. her breath on the tight skin of his shaft sending waves of agonizing pleasure to a place deep inside him. begging silently for more. “You taste so damn good.” Her tongue teased the rim of cock. tightened around the head of his cock as she sucked. oh God. but no one had ever done it for him before. curve around him. had to be because his partner wanted it as much as he did. his whole body went tense as she rained slow kisses up the length of his shaft. then pulled back slowly. A strangled sound came from deep inside his throat as she took more of him in her mouth. “Katie. he felt that this had to be voluntary. Angus McLeod. Her tongue alternately teased and caressed his shaft. I want to feel your come hitting the back of my throat when you climax.Her arm slid from around his leg and her hand gripped the base of his cock. taking time out to delicately lap at his testicles. then back down. his legs weak from the effort of holding still. “Do you know how often I’ve imaged doing this?” she murmured. her tongue flicked the tight ridge of super-sensitive flesh that connected the head of his cock with the shaft.” He’d dreamed of this since he was old enough to know what it was. maintaining a steady pressure. taking lingering licks that had him coated in sweat. was damn near reduced to babbling incoherence. lap delicately at the small opening on the tip of the head to capture every drop of his seminal essence. Angus. “I want you in my mouth. So much so that she had trouble pulling it back into her mouth. heated lips covered him. Just like I always knew you would. and he’d never been able to ask. until he was crazed. what would please him. . creating duel sensations that drove him into a mindless place where only she existed. Angus.” Angus froze as her moist. While he watched in heated ecstasy. And she gave him more. please. causing the head to swell even more. where her touch was the only reality that mattered. wordsmith extraordinaire. No one had cared enough about what he might want.

At the same instant Kate lunged forward. he leaned back against the glass and buried his hands in her hair. He tried to withdraw but she wouldn’t let him. letting in the city behind him. But she didn’t. With a groan. He wasn’t dreaming. Shudders wracked his body as he withdrew then plunged again. Kate stopped. It felt like hours before he could move. watching half his cock vanish into her mouth. thrusting his cock out like an offering to the gods. forcing his cock deeper. Her eyes drifted shut and her movements resumed as he finally freed the rope. She was voracious. feeling the way she sucked and swallowed as though his essence was the purest nectar. He could stand it no longer. With her lips curved protectively over her teeth so she wouldn’t hurt the drum-tight skin. holding her in place as his hips moved. all thought melting into nothing but feelings. she sucked him inside until he filled the hot wet cavity. urging him forward and onward. the orgasm eased and he collapsed to the floor. His mind spun wildly. taking more and more of his rock hard penis. Her fingers dug into the back of his leg. he slid it over her indented cheek until he reached her lips. thick inch of him into her mouth as she swallowed frantically. taking every long. She became more insistent and his erection swelled. For a startled second. and his knees began to buckle. She seemed almost as frantic as he felt. Only his shoulders touched the cool glass of the window as his body arched. It was real. feel her lips on him with his fingers before he believed it was really happening. When he did. until he was gasping.But she managed. The climax hit him like a tidal wave. and her sucking increased. All senses fled as his ejaculation ripped its way through his cock. Another second and it would be all over with. and he’d never been so out of control in his life. wondering if his heart would ever beat normally again. He damn near shot off right then. throbbed. then let his fingers trace the circle her mouth made as it moved up and down his cock. he tore the brackets loose from the window. and he was terrified she would release him. With every ounce of adrenalineenhanced strength in his body. His hands fisted in her hair as he bucked and plunged. He had to touch her. With a last desperate surge. his stunned gaze met Kate’s . Loosing one hand. The curtains came down with a crash.

he could taste himself on her lips. “God. “I’d do it again right now if you wanted me to.Yergoin ’ tae be the death of me. yes. her voice soft.” . “So.and she licked her lips.” He hooked an arm around her and pulled her up to sprawl on top of him. his heart singing. When he kissed her. could still be watching!” “Aye. “Aye. even then.” She ran a finger down his stomach and caressed his cock so tenderly that Angus nearly groaned. “Someday?” She leaned over and rested her head on his stomach. “I suspect we had an audience this time. might it be something you’d want tae try again someday?” His voice was husky with hope and amazement.” He returned her grin. Anyone in the next building could have watched us. they’ll be happy men.” He yawned. I’d say it exceeded them wildly. “Angus.” His eyes drifted shut. “Feel free tae indulgeyerself whenever the mood strikes. “Oh.” she whispered. “I’ve wanted to do that since the first time I laid eyes on your poster. Drawing in a ragged breath.Dinna promise what ye can’t deliver. I loved seeing what it does to you. you sound like no one has ever done that to you before. woman. “And if they got half as much pleasure from it as I did.” “Even when there are other people around?” she teased. “Did it live up taeyer expectations?” “Oh.” “What if it was a woman watching?” “Her tae. my God. I may have ye onyer knees twice a day.” “What?” She lifted her head.” “Only twice?” He groaned and laughed at the same time. he forced his voice to work. her gaze falling on the window.

” He groped with one hand until he found the edge of a curtain and pulled it over them. She was curled up beside him on the floor.Yer the first. He wanted her just as she was for a while longer. He didn’t doubt for a second that if he woke her now. And there never would be again. her legs opening like the petals of a flower. leaving half of her bare. and a smile lifted his lips. Irritated.“They haven’t. Kate shifted. he leaned over and teased her nipple until it hardened. she’d be ready to make love again. he mused. . The curtain had slid away. anyway. His irritation went up in smoke as he thought about what she’d done. and he let his gaze drift over her slowly. and then shut it off. her breathing deep and even. He couldn’t imagine bedding anyone else after he’d been with her. then pulled it between his lips to suckle. he stopped when her breathing increased. ***** He didn’t know if it was the lights or the low buzzing that woke him. and he propped his head on his hand to see her better. Would she be wet for him too? Delicately. Kate. he felt around until he touched the vibrator. From the way it sounded. What he found nearly tore a yell of happiness from him. Kate would never need it again anyway. Not only was she wet. Even in sleep she responded to his touch. With a soft sigh. he could feel the tiny contractions of her muscles. There had never been another woman like her. the batteries were almost dead. Not for him. Angus smiled. Experimentally. Unwilling to wake her yet. It would be like drinking stagnant water after you’d become accustomed to champagne. he parted her folds and slid a finger inside. She was so damn perfect that it took his breath away to think he could have her whenever he wanted. She was still staring at him in surprise when he drifted to sleep. But if he had his way.

letting his eyes adjust to the dim room before moving back to the bed. You’re the only man who can make me feel this way. the night he’d made love to her the first time. and everything he’d found out about her since then had only reinforced his feelings. “I can’t believe you tore the curtains down. But he knew better now. he moved away from her.” Suddenly she laughed. that feels so good. “But how did ye know ‘twas me?” “It had to be. using his teeth to tear open the foil of a condom. then rolled it on. he could. vibrator clutched in her hand. her eyes still closed. Keeping his weight on his arms. When it was ready. nervous but determined. Once she was settled. When she’d walked into that room. “Ye feel good. Carefully.” She still sounded half asleep. She cuddled to him like a sleepy kitten as he carried her to the bed and put her on top of the sheets. he’d been a goner. he flipped off the light. Anything at all.Was it possible to fall in love with someone in a week? Not long ago he would have said no. Could he pinpoint the exact time? His mind wandered over the last week and his smile widened.” “That’s good. he made his strokes slow and even. Her funny little face and her spiky hair hadn’t mattered a damn. He would do anything to keep her with him. easing his way inside her damp heat. had fallen in love with her days ago. he knelt and lifted her into his arms. What will the hotel think?” “I pay them not tae think. He loved her. Yes. To him she was beautiful. taking a moment to simply hold her. It had been the second night she was in his house. Trying not to wake her. He paused at the side. stood and turned the covers back. “Um.” he whispered against her lips.” Her voice was drowsy and low. “Do you really believe anyone was watching us?” “How would it make ye feel if they were?” . then smiled teasingly. he covered her with his body and pushed her legs apart.

She hesitated. “Excited. Does that mean I’m weird?” “Nay, Katie love. It meansyer normal. There’s nothing weird about ye. Knowing ye could be caught adds a bit of spice to the act.” He smiled. “Would ye like me tae turn the lights back on an give them an encore?” “No.” Her breathing was speeding up again. “I don’t want you to stop what you’re doing for that long.”

CHAPTER TWELVE

Kate stretched out on her stomach and propped her chin on her fists, not caring a flip that the windows were totally uncovered and sunlight streamed into the room. From the bathroom came the sound of the shower running. She had never been so sated in her life, or felt so wonderful. She would never have to fantasize again when this job was over. Instead, she’d have real memories to draw on. Even that last time had been fantastic. He’d made love to her for over an hour, been so tender with her, so caring, that he’d touched a part of her that she’d never allowed anyone close to before. It was almost as though a connection had been formed from her soul to his. A frown crossed her face as tiny alarm bells went off in her head. Mentally, she pushed them away. She was only being fanciful. There had been nothing more complicated to what they’d done last night than good sex. That’s all it had ever been, and all it could be. There was no need to panic. Unbidden and unwanted, images rolled over her. A large, callused hand twisted in the elastic of her flowered little-girl panties, holding her captive as she struggled

desperately to break free. Her mother, lying in a crumpled heap on the kitchen floor, blood pooling under her body. The hated voice pleading with her as she silently, desperately, fought to reach her mother. “Kate, it was an accident. I love you. I love all of you, Kate. I didn’t mean it, you have to believe me. Damn it! I love you!” Kate bolted upright in the bed, hands over her eyes. No! She wouldn’t remember. Not again. That was in the far past. It had nothing to do with who she was now. She refused to let it back in. Shakily, she climbed out of bed and slipped on the terry cloth robe provided by the hotel. She had to concentrate on her job, had to keep Angus safe until they found out who was stalking him and took care of the problem. Then she could get back to her usual routine. And if that routine seemed a little more desolate without Angus, she’d live with it. The alternative was unthinkable for her. Her thoughts were interrupted when someone knocked on the suite door. The purse containing her gun was still on the table by the entry, and she slipped her hand inside as she paused. “Who is it?” “Marc. I brought coffee.” Releasing theGlock , she pulled the door opened. “Come on in.” He walked into the room carrying a white bag, then pulled out a Styrofoam cup and handed it to her. “Where’s Angus?” “In the shower.” She took a sip before sitting down. “I’m glad you’re here. I need to talk you.” “About what?” He took his own cup and settled onto the sofa across from her. “Did you know Maggie McLeod is Angus’s stepmother?” “Sure, although they don’t act like it. Why?” “Do you still have the private investigators working on the letters?” “Yes, for all the good it’s doing. They’ve pretty much hit a blank wall.”

“Okay, I want you to have them change course a bit. Angus said his real mother vanished before he was old enough to remember her. Have your detectives see if they can locate her, find out what she’s doing and where she lives. Do you know her name?” “Not off hand, but I’ve got a copy of Angus’s birth certificate on file. It’s bound to be on that.” He was staring at her, a perplexed look on his face. “You think this could have something to do with her?” “I don’t know. But it’s time we started covering all the bases. I also want you to have them check on the movements of his cousin, this Deanna Ashton woman.” “You can forget about her. She’s had thehots for Angus since I’ve known them, but he’s never encouraged her. If she were going to do something like this she’d have done it before now.” It was his turn to frown. “You know, it’s really strange. Those letters were coming right on schedule, one a week. Until last week. Why did they suddenly stop?” Kate shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe all the security you installed on the estate slowed them down.” He ran a hand over his face. “You honestly don’t believe this is just a crazed fan, do you?” “It’s possible, I suppose. Linda mentioned a woman named Lois Trent who’s shown up every time Angus appeared in public, and who works for this John Wesley. You might want to see what your detectives can find out about her, and Wesley, too. But there’s something about those letters I can’t put my finger on. For one thing, they’re too possessive. I’ve seen letters from crazed fans before, Marc, and these simply don’t fit the pattern. There’s no declaration of undying love, no gushing over how wonderful he is, no begging him to return the writers sentiments.” She shook her head. “These letters are very subtle. But then, evenHinkley didn’t threaten Jodi Foster. He only claimed that he was going to kill Reagan for her. And people like Mark David Chapman, the guy who killed John Lennon, don’t usually send letters. They just act without warning. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this has to be a nut. Even the court thought Chapman was sane.” The shower had stopped, but Kate couldn’t quit now. Her mind was whirling. She stood and paced to the window. “Think about it. The only threatening thing that’s

happened is the fence being cut. No one has attempted to get close to him or hurt him. There’s only one conclusion I can draw. The person who wrote those letters doesn’twant him hurt, because they have a different agenda. The question is what? What could they possibly be after?” She turned to face Marc, then sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “Okay, let’s try this. What would happen if Angus stopped writing? Who would be hurt?” Marc looked fascinated. “Only Angus, really, and maybe his fans. Writing is like breathing to him. Maybe Linda, a bit, but she’s got an entire stable of writers. Losing Angus would hurt her for about ten minutes.” Kate’s gaze sharpened. “And you?” Marc held up a hand as though to ward her off, grinning. “Hey, I’m the one who hired you, remember? Sorry to disappoint you, Kate, but I’m not exactly poor. I was a lawyer before Angus convinced me to work for him. And if I merely wanted something to keep me busy, I could always go back to my family’s law firm.” She cursed softly, pacing in front of the window. “What the hell am I missing? Therehas to be a motive. This is so frustrating. Are you sure you can’t think of anyone who has a grudge against him?” He lifted his hands in a gesture of helplessness. “Not a soul. Everyone likes Angus.” “I know.” She glanced around as Angus appeared in the bedroom door. He’d put on a pair of pants, but his chest was bare and his hair still damp. “Hi.” Picking up the last cup of coffee, she handed it to him. “Marc brought coffee.” He leaned down, gave her a slow kiss, then glared at Marc. “What are ye doing here? Idinna expect tae see ye until tonight.” “Maggie called and invited me to join you for lunch. I figured we may as well ride over together.” Kate edged around him. “Well, if you gentlemen will excuse me, I need to shower and change.” She shut the bedroom door behind her. Marc waited a second then his gaze met Angus’s. “Did you hear any of that?”

” He sat down in the chair Kate had recently vacated and propped his feet on the coffee table. he lifted one shoulder.” “Good. “Sooner or later they’ll slip up. “Becauseyer beautiful.” ***** “Why are the two of you staring at me like that?” Kate looked suspiciously from Angus to Marc as the limo pulled smoothly into the parking garage of a large apartment building.” Without waiting for the driver to assist.” Nonchalantly. and in real life. Angus. “She told you that?” “Nay. “Ye won’t. She gave a delicate snort. The villains always do. I don’t want to see you dead. I know it’s not my hair because there’s no help for that. But she will.“Most of it. either. But Icanna think of anyone who might want something from me.” Angus smiled.” Angus smiled. This is real life. It is odd that no one has actually tried to hurt you. This isn’t one of your books. Kate would ne’er let me die. “I think she’s right.” “Maybe. She loves me tae much. She doesn’t know it yet. “I’m also too smart to fall for your bull.” “Lord. Are ye nervous aboutmeetin ’ my mother?” “Not at all.” Marc stared at him. he opened the car door and helped her out. Marc followed them to the elevator and they all faced the front as the doors closed. . Is something wrong with my makeup?” “Ye look fine. sometimes the bad guys win.

When Angus wrapped an arm around her waist.” “Don’t be such a prude. shelooked like a mother. Maggie. this is my mother. I thought they only had affairs. The door opened and Kate watched Maggie McLeod greet her stepson. You must stop by alone soon and tell me all about it. I didn’t think men kept mistresses these days. Since she returned tae the states. “I’ll no’ have ye discussing my love life with Kate. I’ve never met a mistress before. She has her own place not tae far from here. I’ve known the facts of life since before you were in nappies. this is Kate Carson. “Oh.” She waved her hand in the air.” “But I’m curious. “Mother. He was so excited the next day. I suspect it would be rather…freeing.” “Does your cousin live with her?” The doors slid open and he escorted her down the corridor. I’m a grown woman. and her body was pleasantly round. Angus. but her smile never wavered as she extended her hand. she leaned into him. dear.” she confided to Kate. The woman looked nothing like she’d expected. and I’d like tae keep it that way. . “Nay. In short. “My dear. it’s such a pleasure.” “Ye don’t know the facts of mine. Luna told me all about you. She wasn’t as tall as Kate.” The woman turned her flustered gaze on Kate. Kate.” “Mother!” Angus looked pained. Angus returned her embrace. “Has your mother lived here long?” “Aye.” Angus’s voice contained a distinct threat and it was the first time Kate had ever seen him blush. then pulled Kate over. You told me all about it the first time you made love. This may be my only chance to find out what it’s really like. Her red hair was sprinkled liberally with white and her green eyes twinkled with merriment when she hugged Angus.” He leaned heavily on an ornate doorbell. “Mother. watching the floors click off on the red digital counter. bosh.

ignoring everyone else in the room.” The agent got himself under control. “Angus offered to hire a cook and housekeeper for me. Do come in. He wrapped one arm across his stomach as he bent double.“Mother!” Kate was fighting her laughter and losing the battle. She slithered straight to Angus. they tilted exotically. the woman looked liked a walking advertisement for a fashion magazine. “Oh. Kate frowned until she caught Marc grinning at her. You really should try to get to the city more often. Darling. either. She promptly smoothed her face out. This way. Only a few inches shorter than Angus. stop cackling this instant or I’ll feed you broccoli. “Angus.” “You’re in luck. and dozens of plants gave the room a lush warm feel. mysterious air. She was so busy examining the room she almost missed the woman who rose to greet them. “I’d rather have your chocolate cake.” She leaned conspiratorially toward Kate. only on her. The room they entered was a sitting room. I can’t abide anyone’s cooking but my own. It’s been ages. and kissed him. dear. Nope. I just happened to make one for our luncheon. and it flowed down her back in a rippling wave. Her eyes were the same shade of green as her aunt’s. All the colors of the rainbow seemed to collide in a pleasing combination of furniture and light. Aunt Maggie misses you. Not one of those hit or miss kisses aimed at the cheek. I’ve kept you all standing out in the hall. as overstuffed and comfortable as Maggie herself. She got him square on the mouth. but the truth is. Marc wasn’t even trying to hide his.” She gestured through an arched entry.” . giving her a sexy. his lips still twitching as they followed Maggie into the apartment. chic and graceful. and Deanna Ashton wasn’t easy to miss. And Marc. Her hair was the golden copper-color that Kate had seen in sunsets.

Ms.” Deanna gave her a slight smile. Ashton.” She patted his cheek and looked a bit anxious. She’d seen it on the sorority girls at college. Ashton was going to try and put in her in her place. At least Angus knows I’m not trying to trap him into marriage simply to get my hands on his money. If Angus wanted companionship.” “Angus is my only client. Ever. Maggie shooed them forward like a flock of chickens. then yes. “How did you work this deal out? I’m . Angus kept his grip on Kate as he steered her toward the sofa and seated her beside him. I must be. “How long have you worked as a mistress. And sometimes these types of relationships are needed. Such a beautiful place.” Kate arched an eyebrow at Marc and he shrugged. stepping away from her. I know how you hate them. “And you must be the mistress. She knew that look. It could use more flowers.” Her own smile was saccharine. Deanna. with waves crashing against the rocks and gulls swooping everywhere.” “Unless you think Angus has started sharing a room with Marc. “It doesn’t have to be roses.” “Touché. Deanna’s smile never lost an iota of its brilliance as she spoke to Kate. When she looked back. What did he think she was going to do? Punch his cousin’s lights out? She smiled at the pleasant thought.” Completely unaware of the undercurrents filling the room.” Maggie smiled. though. Carson? I must admit I was rather surprised to find out about you. Deanna.” Angus commented. Deanna took the chair across from them. “I stayed with him an entire week a few months ago. though. Ms. “Would anyone care for a drink before lunch?” She took their orders and dragged Marc across the room to help her fill them. Marc had a coughing fit and Angus hastily put his arm around her. Kate Carson. and I don’t care a flip how famous he is. Ms. Deanna was giving her the once over and she braced herself. this is my cousin. “Kate.“My mother knows she’s welcome tae visit anytime she wants tae. “Of course I am. pulling her close to his side. I’m sure he could have found it without paying for the honor.

not sure how one goes about finding a mistress. You know. I knew I wasgoin ’ tae keep her. “Iwasna tae keen on the idea at first. We might be able to use you.” Deanna interjected. Maggie’s cooking had been excellent. I really worry about him staying cooped up in that house alone all the time. but Deanna’s presence had ruined her enjoyment in the meal. but still. Kate is a very special person. “and the usual for you. “Thank you. “Is everyone ready for lunch now? Why don’t we go to the dinning room?” Without waiting for an answer. authors and actors.” Maggie hoisted herself to her feet.” She insinuated herself between them on the couch.” Maggie was back with the drinks. They pay better. “Club soda for you dear—” she handed Kate a glass. what did you do before you met Angus?” “I’m a research assistant.” Sure they would. So. but as soon as I saw her. but it was necessary to maintain her cover. “I’m so glad Angus has you.” “We use research assistants. The woman had done everything but unzip Angus’s pants and climb aboard. She couldn’t help but like Maggie and hated lying to her. Ashton know when her cousin was free again. but I only work for individuals. It would also let Ms. with his nose buried in his writing. Angus.” “How sweet. I know how he loves it. she started from the room. .” Angus looked down at Kate. Kate forced herself to smile at the woman. “Aye. he needs a real life. “I’m an ad executive for the Johnson Barr Agency. ***** Kate let out a sigh of relief when they arrived back in their hotel room. When your job with Angus is finished.” Kate took a sip from her drink. She’s even helping me with my new book.” “Marc found her for me. drop by.

I really liked her. so maybe she’d had to fight the urge to pull her gun out a few times. She likes ye tae. she’s family tae me.” His hands moved over her back. soothing her. “I wasn’t the least bit worried. . though.” Kate stepped back and headed for the bedroom. It even made her hair look good. He was smiling. Angus.” “Nay. Katie. Besides. it would suit me just fine. She caught his reflection in one of the mirrors right before she stepped through the door. “Your mother is adorable.“‘Twasthat bad.” “She’s very beautiful. “Let’s just say I’ll be glad when this weekend is over and we can go home.” “But if I never have to be in the same room with Deanna again. It was the dress. The snowy white material made her skin look as though she’d spent the summer lying on a tropical beach. I knew ye would. A lot. What if she weren’t family?” He ran his hand down her arm. CHAPTER THIRTEEN Kate twirled in front of the mirrors. She’s in lust with you. was it?” Angus wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. There’s no need for ye tae worry. not quite believing the woman looking back was really her. It didn’t mean thing. “She only thinks she is. “I stillwouldna want her. Luna was right.” She lay her head on his chest.” “Aye. It would feel…wrong.” Okay. of course.

do you?” “Tae much?” He crossed the room to stand in front of her.” She smiled up at him. Good grief.” He paused.” She wasn’t exaggerating. the bodice seemed to defy gravity. so she supposed there was magic involved. But she’d moved every way possible and hadn’t fallen out of it. watching in delight as the skirt rose in a gentle circle. it billowed into soft pleats that stopped at the center of her thighs. trying to look down. stunned appreciation all over his face. made it more pronounced. It wasn’t a sensation she was used to. “You don’t think it’s too much. Whatever it was made from weighted about two ounces and it fit her like a second skin. and everymon lusting after ye.” “Thank you. I’ve decided it’s either magic. Since there were no straps. Midway down her hips. Kate had thought her sister had lost her mind when she’d chosen this dress. She’d concentrated on succeeding and tried to make herself and everyone else forget the fact that she was female. Her whole life had been spent fighting her way through a man’s world. it was the dress. her shoulders going back. Kate straightened. She twirled again. or a pact with the devil. “Yergoin’ tae have every woman therecryin ’ in her drink from jealousy. “I’m not sure I care much for that last part. “What’s holding it up?” Kate craned her head.” Lifting a hand. the tux only increased it. butCrystalwas right. She suspected any heads turning tonight wouldn’t be looking at her. Even now she worried about what would happen if she had to run in these three-inch heels.Even if Kate did feel naked. It has tae be magic. Again.Crystalcertainly knew her stuff when it came to clothes. he ran a finger over the bodice. Sneakers would have been more practical. . She felt like a girl. “You look pretty hot yourself.” “Ye look tae much like an angel for it tae have anything tae do with the devil. Instead of detracting from that wild barbarian aspect he normally had. A low whistle filled the room and she spun to find Angus staring at her. “I don’t know. It was the first time she’d ever seen him in formal wear.

“Champagne?” “The lady would like a club soda with a twist of lime. She’s one of Angus’s fans and it will make her day to meet him. “Right away. she’d transferred the gun to the new purse.” He leaned down and kissed her lightly.” She picked up the bag that matched the dress. a distinguished looking gentleman she introduced as her husband at her side. The room was already full of people. “Are ye ready tae go down?” “I’m ready. While Angus was getting ready. “Good. She kissed both Kate and Angus on their cheeks. Do ye realize wehavena made love since last night? Amon can only take so much.“Thanks.” Angus informed him.” They were intercepted by a red-coated waiter carrying a tray of glasses.” Angus rolled his eyes and steered her toward the other side of the room. lifting a fluted goblet. Now go mingle. “The sooner we get there. “The brunette in the red dress. “I’m glad you’re here. Katie. There’s tae many people with her now.” “Which one is she?” Kate’s gaze swept the room. the sooner we can leave. “We’ll say hello later. “How did you ever survive an entire year?” “Easy.” “Thank you.” She arched an eyebrow as they left the room.” They weren’t the first to reach the ballroom Linda had reserved. checking to make sure her sister hadn’t . “Why the rush?” He leered at her. “I’m dying tae peel ye out of that dress. Don’t forget to stop and congratulate my new author. Linda was standing at the door greeting guests. Ididna have ye around tae tempt me. standing near the bar.” She laughed.” Kate looked around again. Sir.” He took her hand.

“Who’s Mitchell Kane?” “Only the biggest real estate tycoon in theU. Angus. but I’ve been to a few. “Wouldn’t surprise me.” he clarified for Kate. “I think Maggie is trying to reel him in. but it had always been in a working capacity. each with French doors leading onto a balcony. Angus clapped his hands together reverently. his gaze fixed on something behind Kate. “Ye come to these often. blonde Adonis with her and looped her arm through his. or even dressed up. protecting her more famous clients.” Eyes lighting up. and Angus nodded. Those people had wanted everyone aware that they were being protected. He looked a little .” Crystalchandeliers hung from the ceiling and hidden alcoves lined the walls. “Kate. “Wow. She hadn’t been considered a guest. She’s got George Thompson pinned up in a corner. “Here comes Marc. “Isn’t that Mitchell Kane with Luna?” Angus craned for a better look. She’d been to her share.” The agent took her hands and dropped a kiss on her cheek. do ye?” Kate hesitated.S. then turned back to the tall. George is a widower.arrived. One end of the room was a large dance floor with a live band.” Across the room. exactly. talking his ear off. George is looking a little dazed. Luna gave them a tiny wave.” Kate laughed as the waiter returned with her drink. you look spectacular tonight. “This is really a beautiful room.The man has so much money even he’s lost count. let her marry him and get her off my back. the other was graced with seating arrangements designed to promote interaction between the guests. “Please God.” Kate breathed. “Not often.” Suddenly he went still.” “Is it working?” She grinned at the idea. I don’t think I’ve been here before. Maggie said to tell you she’d talk to you later.

though. She hasn’t been out since Danny died. As soon asCrystal reached them. “It would seem Marc is smitten. “Your sister? Did she say she was married. she decided. The gown she wore was a powder blue satin that showed off her curves to perfection. this is MarcJergen .” Marc was looking more confused by the second. yes. “Who is this guy?” Kate was laughing now. “Are you married? Would you like to dance?A drink?Hors d’oeuvres?” Crystallaughed.” His smile softened as he ran a finger down her cheek. “Good lord.Crystal always had that effect on men. or that she wanted to dance?” “She’s not married and she’d love to dance. Marc. “Thank you.” “I’m glad you invited her. and no. my sister. Is she real. she thought ruefully.”Crystal answered. “Crystal.” She mouthed the words at Angus over her shoulder as Marc promptly started tugging her toward the dance floor. or am I dreaming?” Marc mumbled. She’d put her hair up in a twist. yes. “And what about ye. Marc didn’t give her a chance to speak. “Ye probablywillna see her again tonight.“No. Her sister did look especially stunning tonight.” Angus was still laughing. Kate glanced over her shoulder to see whom the agent was talking about and sawCrystal moving through the crowd in their direction. This will be good for her. leaving longer strands to curl around her face and neck. Angus was grinning like the cat with the proverbial canary feathers hanging from his mouth.pole-axed himself.” She glanced at Kate. “I’ve never been much for parties. he took her hands in his.” . this is Crystal Rivera. She should have known. Angus’s friend and agent. too. Kate? Is it good for ye tae?” Her shoulder lifted in a shrug.

‘Twasno accident that we met.” He took the drink from her and put both of their glasses on a nearby table before taking her hand and leading her outside. “I had tae get ye alone. “So I could tell ye that I love ye. Katie. “So we could neck?” “Nay. She moved to the rail. inhaling the warm summer air and the scents of the city. Panic clutched at her. You can’t. barely aware of the blood draining from her face.” He was staring down at her with a concerned.” “No!” Her breath was coming in short ragged gasps. Fear exploded inside her. perplexed expression. She could hear laughter from further down. but not as beautiful as ye are. “I know it’s only been a week. shivers running over her skin. but I’ve known almost since the beginning. She had to get out of there. only peripherally aware of Marc and Crystal as they moved toward her.“Me either. We were meant for each other.” She tilted her head to give him more access. Now. “No.” He turned her to face him.” she whispered. And ye love me tae. Sweat coated her face and her heart nearly pounded from her chest. She needed air. “It’s a beautiful night. “It’s not true.” He slid his arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck. I won’t let it be true. needed to get away from him.” “Aye.” Desperately she wrenched away from him. but this section of the balcony was empty. When he reached for her again. “It’s just the sex. You don’t love me. ***** . I love ye. turned her stomach into a hard painful knot. Kate. Whydinna we escape tae the balcony?” “That sounds good.” Kate froze. she dodged his hands and ran through the French doors.

this is hard. Alone.” She twisted her hands together until the agent was out of hearing. “I’m not sure I understand it completely myself. Oh. She shook her head.Angus stood locked in shock as Kate fled from him. It’s connected to something that happened in our past. “Kate has never dated the same man more than twice.” he whispered. Angus. force her to talk to him.” Her hands came up to cover her face.” “Why?” He was watching her intently. . “What did you do to her? Angus.” “You don’t understand. I’m so sorry. I was so young I only know the few details my grandmother told me.” One of her hands went up before he could speak. “She was so happy yesterday that I couldn’t help but hope this time would be different. but she’s lying. “‘Tisnot a crime tae love someone. and Kate won’t talk about it. Not to me and not to you. his gaze following her as she escaped across the room. You didn’t insult her. you have to tell me. Kate is the strongest woman I know. I won’t violate Kate’s trust. but the thought of love and marriage scare her to death. “No.” She looked almost as panicked as Kate. I need to talk to Angus. don’t ask me what. “Why do ye both act like I insulted her?” he roared. It’s because she won’t take a chance on getting emotionally involved with them.” “This time?” He wanted to go after Kate himself.” She turned to Marc.”Crystal took a deep breath. Besides. you terrified her. But something made him stay. Anger wiped away his confusion in one abrupt flood of emotion. She says it’s because they don’t want to see her more than that. then turned back to Angus. “God.” Marc reappeared in the doorway. “I told her I loved her. SuddenlyCrystal blocked his view. “Oh. “Please. Go after her. Angus. God.

She’d obviously gotten her panic under control. The door swung open abruptly. either you open the door or I’ll break it down. Now. I’ll call for hotel security. she was going to learn to accept that fact. but her expression was steely. He tried the knob. Angus.” “What?” She looked at him warily. and she loved him. What did she need it for?” Crystallooked down. “Kate?” Only dead silence greeted him. give her the other half of the bonus. Somehow. He loved her. Locked. “I’d better go take care of her. Anger boiled inside him as he plowed through the crush of people. “It was the only way to keep my store open. but he ignored them.” He nodded.” She must have believed him. “If you don’t leave me alone. damn it. Several women gave him strange looks as he knocked on the door of the ladies room. His anger drained away at the sight of her white makeup-smeared face.“Did ye find her?” “Yes. “I’ll go.” “Nay.”Angus put a hand on her arm. “When Kate first came to work for me she said she’d agreed tae it because she needed the money. “Marc. Then she locked herself in the ladies room and refused to answer me. Angus strode across the room. “Katie.” Without waiting to see if his friend obeyed. Long enough for her to yell that she quit. to let her walk out of his life without looking back. Not even if he had to tie her up and throw her over his shoulder to get her home. Just answer one question. He wasn’t about to let her quit.” Crystalsighed.” she whispered. “For me.” She looked like hell. but if he . He’d waited his whole life for a woman like Kate.

Butyertalkin ’ tae me before ye do. I quit.” She mopped at her eyes.” Her chin went up and she glared at him. and handed it to her. He went to the sink. “I told you.” Her fist knotted so hard around the towel. I’ll have to make payments. but you’ll have the money back. Katie. Andyer sister got the other half. “Yes.” She yanked the towel out of his hand and went to the mirror. ‘Tistwenty ye owe me.wanted to keep her. “Washyer face.” What little blood was left in her face drained away.” Her chin quivered but it didn’t lower.” “All of it. All ten thousand. water dripped from the paper. “The bank won’t give me that much.” “Aye.” . I just did. he couldn’t give an inch right now. doing more damage than good. I quit. According tae the contract ye signed.” In spite of the way she looked. “Thenye’ll bereturnin ’ the bonus money?” She spun to face him. if ye leave before the job is o’er ye forfeit the money. fire blazing in her dark eyes. It means getting a second mortgage on the house. then call them. “I don’t have to talk to you. He pushed her gently back into the bathroom and closed the door before relocking it.” “Stop telling me what to do. “I only got half of it. “What?” “The bonus money.” “Ye can’t quit.” “Yes I can. “If ‘twill make ye feel better.” Deliberately he kept his voice calm.” “Twenty. wet a paper towel. “Fine. she’d never been more beautiful to him.

But if he did. That’s all it was.” he murmured. or ye complete the contract. she would only deny that he was her fantasy man. I was an F. Angus. “What will it be. The contract ye signed was tae be my mistress and that’s the one I’mholdin ’ ye tae. I’m not even a research assistant.I. It was the sex. Sex is only sex. and now I own a personal security firm. tell her it was going to be okay. then opened them again. trapping her between his arms. he put his knuckle under her chin and lifted it until she met his eyes. “Ye can lie taeyerself if ye want. Katie? Will ye stay.” His heart ached for her.” “Nay. Pretending to be your mistress was the only way you’d let me stay. “You can’t do this to me. Katie. It makes no difference tae me.” “And do ye think the sex would have been so good if wedidna care for each other?” “Yes. “Ye know better. he’d lose her. There was no reason to remind her she’d told him her real reason for taking the job. or will ye return the money?” She squeezed her eyes shut. “I know.” He shook his head. agent for five years. Angus. “Ye’lldo both as ye agreed tae. Ye either pay me all. “Until we find whoever’s stalking me and get them taken care of. Someone rattled the doorknob.” Her eyes misted and her lips trembled. He wanted more than anything in the world to pull her into his arms and comfort her. Right now. Please take it back. “I’ll stay as your bodyguard.” Gently. I’ve known most of the last week. I didn’t even want the damn job as your mistress! We’ve been lying to you.” That should give him enough time to dig up information about her past so he could discover what he was up against. he decided. You don’t love me.” “For how long?” Angus hesitated and took a deep breath.” He put his hands on the counter. “You have to take it back. but ye enjoyed being with me as much as I did with ye. Somewhere down inside ye. Marc hired me as your bodyguard.B.“Nay. but not your mistress. ye know . Kate.

better. But if ‘tis what ye want, I’ll take it back. For now.”

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Kate was hanging on by a thread. It was as though Angus had looked deep inside her, discovered her worst nightmare, and then made it come true. And now he was forcing her to keep living it. She wanted to scream and cry; she wanted to stay and fight. She wanted to run and hide; she wanted to throw herself into his arms and let him soothe her. She was being torn to pieces and it took every ounce of her iron control to face him. He couldn’t force her to love him, she told herself vehemently. As long as she stayed aloof she was safe. He couldn’t hurt her. Hadn’t she proved it many times over the years? She could survive this. “I want to talk to my sister before I agree to anything.” Angus nodded. “She’s probably waiting outside.” Back stiff, Kate marched to the door, unlocked it, and pulled it open. Crystal and Marc all but fell into the room.Crystaltook one look at her and blanched. “Oh, God, Kate.You look terrible. Are you okay?” “I’m fine,” she lied. “Did you take the second half of the bonus money?” Crystalhesitated, her gaze going over Kate’s shoulder to Angus. Slowly, she nodded. “I’m sorry, Kate. I didn’t think there was a reason not to.” Kate squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath before facing Angus again. “You win. I’ll finish the job. But there are a few things we need to get clear now

that you know the truth. When it comes to your safety, I’m in charge. If I tell you to do something, you don’t stop to ask questions, you just do it. If you get any more letters, strange phone calls, anything suspicious, you tell me immediately. You never, ever answer a door, not here or inMaine. And you keep me informed of your movements at all times. If we’re in public, you never leave my sight. Do you understand me?” Amazingly, falling into the routine of her job made her feel better, steadier. “Aye.Yerthe boss.” Before she could reply, an irate-looking woman bolted through the bathroom door and glared at them. “Can’t you people find somewhere else to have a conference?” She darted into a stall and slammed the door behind her. Angus appeared to be highly amused. “I think we better get out of here while we still can.” “Wait.”Crystalopened her purse. “Kate can’t go out there looking like that. I need to fix her makeup.” Marc headed for the door. “Angus and I will be outside.” Kate jerked away from her sister. “No, you won’t. Angus is going to stay right here where I can see him.” “If he’s staying, so am I.” The agent parked himself against a wall. Angus leaned casually on the counter, arms crossed over his chest as he watchedCrystalrepair her makeup. A toilet flushed and the woman reappeared. Without a word, she washed her hands, her gaze skimming Kate’s face. When she was done, she opened her purse and pulled out a tube. “Here. It’s waterproof mascara.” She gave Angus a heated glare then continued. “Keep it. You probably need it more than I do.”

***** “Yergoin’ tae have tae stopjumpin ’ every time I touch ye, Katie.Yerstartin ’ tae look like popcorn on a hot grill.”

“That’s easy enough to fix,” she snapped. “Stop touching me.” “Nay. I like the feel of ye tae much tae stop.” She rubbed her forehead in frustration. “Look, Angus. How can you expect me to concentrate on doing my job if you keep distracting me?” “In caseyerforgettin ’, ye have two jobs.” She only wished to God she could forget it. The fears his declaration had brought on tried to overwhelm her again, but she pushed them back. “I haven’t forgotten. But while we’re in public, I’m your bodyguard first and foremost.” “And in private?” His voice dropped to a soft caress. Kate swallowed hard. “Both. You didn’t leave me much choice. But don’t think you’re going to change my mind, Angus. It will only be sex. As soon as this job is over I’ll be gone.” The four of them were standing in a corner, the crowd swirling around them as more people arrived at the party. Marc and Crystal were whispering to each other in low voices. Angus took a step away from her, his gaze running over the tight white dress. “Do ye have a gun on ye?” “Yes.” He grinned. “Where? I want tae see it.” She ground her teeth together. “This isn’t a game.” “Idinna believe ye have one.” “I’d be happy to shoot you and prove it,” she growled. Her statement didn’t bother him in the least. “Will ye show me later?” With a snap, she opened her purse and thrust it under his nose. “Satisfied?” He stared down at the contents, his smile fading. “A nine millimeterGlock ,” he

murmured. His gaze lifted to hers. “Ye get serious aboutyer firepower,dinna ye, Kate?” “I told you. This isn’t a game. Whoever’s after you isn’t going to stop just because we ask nicely. They’re going to take a little more convincing, and aGlock can be real persuasive.” She closed the purse and slid the chain over her shoulder. “I think we’re about to have company.” The man approaching them had been staring in their direction since the moment he’d walked through the door, and she didn’t care for the look in his eyes. It was determined and cool. The woman with him didn’t look any happier. She was dressed rather plainly in a dark blue gown, her gray hair pulled back in bun. Angus glanced at the man and groaned. “You know him?” “It’s John Wesley, themon who wants me tae do the tour.” He nudged Marc with his elbow. “Pay attention.” “Mr. McLeod.” Wesley managed to dredge up a smile as he reached them. “I was hoping to see you tonight.” Kate studied both people while he spoke. Wesley’s dark hair was short, shot with silver at the temples to give him a rather distinguished appearance. He was almost as tall as Angus, although slimmer, and she’d been aroundCrystal enough to know his clothes were very expensive. What puzzled her was that he lookedfamiliar, even though she was sure they had never met. She moved a step closer to Angus as the man continued and quietly opened her purse. “I’d love to discuss a tour with you. Do you think we might talk privately?” Before Angus could reply, Kate interrupted. “I’m sorry. I can’t allow Mr. McLeod out of my sight. If you want to talk with him, it will have to be in my presence.” Wesley’s glance slid over her, his smile remaining in place. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure. I’m John Wesley, owner ofPages , and this is Lois Trent.”

Jergen .” “Bodyguard?” One elegant eyebrow lifted in question. He did everything but kidnap me the last time I saw him. If it was anger.tryin ’ tae get me alone. we have. McLeod’s bodyguard.” “Well.” “When did he try to get you alone? Was it before or after you started getting the letters?” Angus thought about it for a second. Completely understandable. “Idinna understand themon .” “With pleasure. “He handles all my business. Now he seems happy tae wait and talk with Marc.” Angus gestured to Marc. please let me know when these circumstances are resolved and we can discuss business.She ignored the hand he held out. McLeod has received some odd letters. please let me know. I won’t continue to bother you. “I think it was before.” “You don’t think he sent them. Mr. “Is there a problem?” “Nothing we can’t handle. Maybe with your next book?” “Ye’llhave tae speak with my agent.” Marc told him.” She watched him closely. Have you hired someone to investigate the situation?” “Yes. There was no surprise. . Maybe a few weeks or so.” He tipped his head and turned back to Angus. “I’m sure it will be under control soon. “That explains why you’re so reluctant to discuss a tour. “Because he didn’t seem surprised when I mentioned the letters. but she’d swear she saw a flicker of anger in his pale blue eyes. I’m Mr. “Kate Carson. Why?” Kate was still watching Wesley. he recovered quickly. “Ah. Angus shook his head. Mr. Wesley. Mr.” His hand closed tightly around LoisTrent’s arm as they turned away. They watched the couple make their way to the new author Linda was throwing the party for. If there’s anything I can do to help with your current problem. do you? I thought they were from a woman?”Crystal was looking confused.

Truthfully.” Marc hesitated.” He gave her a meaningful look and she felt heat rising to her cheeks.” “A. I have one at home.” The hair on the back of Kate’s neck lifted and excitement suddenly knotted her stomach. they sure sound like a woman. and he was alreadydrivin ’ me crazy about the damn things. Maybe I can convince the police to let me look at them.I. damn it. Angus fired questions at her about how she’d gotten theGlock on the airplane. “Aren’t they? I mean. forms. “You saw me fill out the A.“They are. can you keep an eye onCrystal and make sure she gets home safely?” “Of course.I. “Why didn’t you tell us?” He shrugged.” “Maybe whoever wrote them only wants us to think it’s a woman.” “Yedinna have to. “I need to see the originals. Surely you know all this.”He put his arm around her sister in a rather possessive manner. And the entire drive from theBangor airport. “What are you going to do?” “We’re going back toMaine tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow.” . She almost stomped her foot in exasperation. “At the time.?” “Armed individual.” “When did you get it?” “The day before ye arrived. I want to see that letter.” Kate spun to stare at him. The guy in your books always carries a gun. I thought it would only make Marc worry more.” ***** The flight back had seemed twice as long as usual. by the next morning I forgot I had it. “Marc.

they returned to the study.ye’ve turned the place into a fortress. they can usually find a way.” “I never realized how sexy a woman could look wearing a gun. Do ye really think anyone could get in?” He poured a glass of his usual drink and reached down to adjust what looked like a painful erection.” She had put her shoulder holster on as soon as they left the plane. she drew the gun. I’ve taken it myself many times. sheathing it in the holster at her ankle. she felt better with her guns in place. now you know.” “There is. Tomorrow I want to check the rocks going down to the beach. Angus following behind her calmly. I don’t like the idea that there might be a way up or down. “Between ye and Marc. as they stopped in front of his house.” Kate rubbed her forehead in frustration. she went from room to room. “I’m going in first. she locked the door and retrieved her . But it’s steep and no easy task. When she was satisfied everything was in order. God.22 from the vase. When he was inside.” “Well. Maybe she’d even put them into practice when she got over being mad at him. Stay behind me.” he commented. She forced her mind back to the subject at hand and tried to ignore the ache between her legs. And his reaction gave her a few ideas of her own. but I’ve never had him fly anywhere before. moving immediately to reset the alarms. Apparently he’d been telling the truth about thinking she was sexy with a gun in her hand.“Aye. Now. Holding theGlock in one hand and steadying it with the other. “Is there anything else you haven’t told me?” “Nay. “Do ye think ye might wear it when we make love sometime?” She shot him a withering glare and unlocked the door. “If someone is determined enough.” “You’re sure?” .

” He led the way to the office and opened a drawer. The only time I think of it is when I smell the things. There were no unusual marks or writing of any type other than the address.” She glared at him for a second. thinking about something Maggie had said before lunch earlier today. Do ye want tae see the letter tonight. “Why do you sound so damn cheerful? Can’t you get it though your head someone is out to get you?” “Ye’llprotect me. “‘Tisnot the flowers I dislike so much.“Aye. I’ve never liked it. “Are yegoin ’ tae read it?” She examined the outside of the envelope. “Why don’t you like roses?” One of his broad shoulders lifted in a shrug.” . “Tonight. “Aye. Angus hated the smell of roses and this letter was drenched in the scent. Instantly the overpowering scent of roses filled the room and he grimaced before handing her the pink envelope. Arrested by his expression.” He took a drink from his glass.” “How many people know you feel that way?” “‘Tisnot something I’ve broadcast. There had to be a link between the two. I’m not tae good at keeping up with time when I’m working. only the odor.” “‘Tisin my desk.” “Did the other letters smell like this?” She didn’t believe in coincidences. if that’s what ye mean. but she wasn’t the least bit sleepy. It makes me feel like I’m drowning. “You said you got this the day before I arrived?” “It could have been a few days before. or wait until morning?” The clock on the study wall had just chimed one. Kate paused.

And it sounds like they’ve given you a time limit. and if I can help it. she hadn’t been forced to think about their other arrangement.Gingerly.” He took the letter away from her and dropped it back into the drawer. I’ve got a friend in the bureau who owes me a favor. “It’s the same as the others except for the last few lines. at least let me hold ye.” She looked up at him. Slowly.” “Good. “Yedinna have tae worry. If Icanna love ye.” “What happens if Idinna look. and I’ll not betakin ’ no for an answer. if Icanna find them?” Kate knew her expression was grim. we won’t. she licked her lips. “We don’t want to find out. I don’t think…” He put his glass down on the desk and moved directly in front of her. She couldn’t risk loving him.” It felt as though a yawing hole had opened in her chest where her heart used to be.” She read them aloud.” Every muscle in Kate’s body tensed. As long as she was working. he scooped her up in his arms and started out of . Before she could make a decision. Time is running out.” “Do ye still think it could be amon ?” “I don’t know. “Angus. “Let’s go tae bed. I’ll not be forcing ye tae make love if yedinna want tae. “Find me if you can. Angus. It wasn’t long and it took her only a second to scan it. if you dare. “They aren’t just trying to scare you. “‘Twaspart of the deal. or allow him to love her. Wanted desperately to feel his arms around her. But I want ye in my bed where ye belong. Kate. Now it came back with a vengeance. and the calligraphy makes it even harder to tell. She wanted what he offered. I’m not a handwriting expert. Only bad things happened in the name of love. she pulled the folded sheet of paper out and spread it on the desk. But she was so afraid of what would happen if she accepted. They want you to look for them. I’ll fax it to him tomorrow and see what he comes up with. her skin tingling.” His fingers traced a gentle path down her cheek.

I’ll not betakin ’ no for an answer. But this time it was harder than it had ever been before. She snuggled down with her head on his arm and drifted to sleep. She would have a few more nights with him. CHAPTER FIFTEEN . It didn’t mean she loved him. He wasn’t going to give her a choice. And she wanted them. Never that. I want tae feel all of ye beside me. It only meant she’d gotten used to having him there. Katie love. a bit shocked at the relief pouring through her. But he’d said there wouldn’t be any sex and she still wanted to sleep in his bed. she pushed them back. Her eyes closed as her mind fought the bloody images trying to force their way through.” He removed her shoulder holster and put it on the nightstand before undressing her and sliding her between the sheets. “I’ll get my gown. Gotten used to the fantastic sex. “I told ye. “Go tae sleep. whether she wanted them or not.the room. Yedinna need one. Teeth grinding. he put his arms around her and curved his body to hers. she argued with herself as he climbed the stairs. shewas sleepy.” Kate dropped her head onto his chest.” “Nay.” To her surprise. God. She’d die first. When he joined her. “What are you doing?” The words came out a choked whisper. how she wanted them. The battle raged inside her until Angus gently lowered her feet to the floor.

thinking. but it would take him days to go through all the archived stories. she was still treating him like he had the plague. he clicked on the first link. There were only a hundred and fifty articles this round. nearly groaning at the amount of hits his browser pulled up. leaving only his manuscript in view before he glanced up. Instinctively. He had hoped sleeping with her last night would help get things back to normal. His hand that brushed the short damp hair . And this was only one newspaper. calmed her. Yesterday. He typed rapidly then hit search. Today. He’d made it through twenty boring stories when he heard the sound of footsteps. It was a story about a city councilman namedCarson . True. it was the least of his worries. Doing some mental calculations. it had been his voice that soothed her. her soft warm curves fitting themselves to his body perfectly. Kate was hesitating in the doorway. and it was killing him. he minimized the browser. Better.Angus lifted his head and listened intently before dropping his gaze back to the computer screen. And when she’d whimpered low in her throat.Carson was simply too common a name. How old did a child have to be before they remembered details of their lives? He’d been almost two when his father married Maggie and he couldn’t remember a thing about that. That’s why he had no intention of letting her know. she’d sought him across the bed. Leaning back in his chair. it was the main one for the area she’d lived in. Instead. He moved on to the next. he changed the time span on the screen to cover the four-year period whenCrystal was a baby and searched again. If Kate discovered what he was doing she’d undoubtedly pack up and leave on the spot. But he could remember things that had happened when he was three. Starting with the earliest year.Crystal had said she’d been too young to remember whatever had happened. he’d wondered if he would ever get used to seeing her wearing a gun. sweat coating her face. her body had known. he laced his fingers behind his head. Why was she so afraid to admit that she loved him? While she’d slept. Hurriedly.

His arms that held her until the trembling stopped and her breathing deepened again.” He thought about that for a second and decided it didn’t affect him one way or the other. “I don’t want to disturb your writing.” Her chest lifted as she took a deep breath. One of these days he was going to find out why she so adamantly refused to touch anything containing alcohol. looking down on the rocks above the .” He nodded. she perched on the edge of her desk chair. she would have denied having the nightmares.away from her forehead. Katie. “Why? Ye know where she is.” Angus’s brow furrowed. Stretching his legs out. Her hands were twisted in her lap and she looked like she’d swallowed something that tasted bad.” “Ye won’t. he studied her as he took a drink. she shook her head. “Ye might as well spit it out. The nightmares he had apparently triggered by telling her he loved her. Did ye getyer calls made?” Nervously.” She took a step into the room. Katie. He’s going to take it to the agency’s handwriting expert. “Yes. then lifted the bottle he’d brought into the office. We need to know—” “Nay. your birth mother. ‘Tisnot going tae get easier the longer ye wait.” “No. But he knew that if she’d ever roused into full awareness. and filled his glass. I mean your real mother. “Okay. Ye had lunch with her yesterday. Iwillna bite unless ye want me tae. “Yedinna have to hover. “Why?” “Because of the letters. I thought you should know that I’ve asked Marc to have his private investigators try to locate your mother. Why did ye think it would upset me?” She rose and paced restlessly to the window. I faxed Norm a copy of the last letter. When he offered it to her.

“Her name was Ellen. or my eyes blue.” “That’s it?” “Aye. Other than size.” “What kind of worms?” “You’re a famous author. Ididna need another mother. She might know something you don’t.” “You weren’t at all curious?” He sighed. Do you know anything about her at all?” He shrugged. We have no idea what she’s like. “Before we do. Justdinna be disappointed if shecanna help ye. If she had wanted tae see me.’ But I’ve always been realistic.” She looked at him with a puzzled expression. He told me she packed up and left.” “Idinna mind. Ididna look the least bit like my father.” “I’ll call her this evening. she turned to face him.” Sticking her hands in her back pockets.” Her gaze landed on him and she gave . I’d like to ask Maggie about her. Angus. I get your point. My father made it clear hedidna want to talk about her. I need to know how you feel about this. We could be opening a real can of worms by finding her.” She glanced back at the window.” She took her hands out of her pockets and crossed her arms.beach. “Maybe because it would upset me if I were in your shoes. she could have found me easily enough. We lived in the same house until wecame taeAmerica . ‘that’s why my hair is dark. “Aye. You’re not exactly poor. “But if you don’t mind. “Didn’t you ever ask your father about her?” “Once. “Right now. and I had Maggie. I’m going to check out the path to the beach. There were times I wondered. Sometimes I thought it would be nice tae have someone I could point tae and think.” “Okay. and I’ve not been hiding since. She may want to reestablish a relationship with you for those reasons alone.

Where did he get off telling her it was up to her whether they made love or not? He’d paid for it. With a frown. Her body reacted to each look he gave her. . To her surprise. Every time she was within ten feet of him. “Whatever you do.him a fierce scowl. don’t let anyone through the gate and don’t answer the door. A bit steep. and at the same time.” He felt like saluting. “Yes. so sweet. she paused on the edge of the rocks and peered over the side. The path leading to the rocks was faint but visible and she followed it slowly. She wanted him desperately. sent it sailing through the air. put a little distance between them. I won’t be long. drawing in deep breaths of the salty air. so…so…She sighed. by golly. whether he liked it or not. Feeling a little better. her resolve to keep him at arms length started to crumble. locking it behind her. As long as he was writing he wouldn’t get into any trouble. She was going to earn it. The bonus he’d paid her was for being his mistress. And why the hell shouldn’t she have him? Her toe connected with a pebble. maybe. Damn him for being so sexy. So Angus. Good. She could check the rocks and beach thoroughly.” ***** She heard the clatter of his keyboard resume before she was halfway across the study. it wasn’t nearly as far down to the beach as it had seemed when she’d been looking out Angus’s window. She had never backed away from a job in her life. Ma’am. those blue eyes turning her insides to liquid metal. but grinned instead. she made her way through the kitchen and out the back door. His scent alone was enough to make her tingle from head to toe. Distance she badly needed. once she accepted it. Why should this time be any different? A spurt of anger shot up from her stomach as the wind tugged her shirt. he was damn well going to get it. or a couple of broken bones. It didn’t have to mean she loved him. but anyone falling from the top would probably survive with only a few scrapes and bruises.

sending spray high into the air. it was very steep and crooked. but anyone in reasonably good health would have no trouble reaching the top. she started down. she looked around. There had to be a way to close off the beach. Further out. Rubbing her forehead. Stopping at the back door. The beach was really a small cove. but it might be possible for a smaller craft to accomplish the feat. and way out on the water she could see the white tip of a sail. with huge boulders blocking her view of the beach at every turn. Maybe too long. just below the surface. Her only hope was the path. At least there were motion detectors and cameras in place. she took one more look at the cliff. Angus’s stalker wasn’t the patient sort.” . with rocky arms extending into the water to form a U shape. Turning slightly to her right. By the time she reached the sandy floor she was cursing under her breath. Those and her vigilance would have to do. I’m back. But whoever had sent those letters had been on the property.” “Yersister is on the phone. Lifting her gaze to the water she watched as breakers crashed into the arms of the U. She couldn’t be sure they hadn’t discovered the trail up. She didn’t like it. “Yeah. She supposed the fence crew could drill far enough into the rock to set posts. It left them too vulnerable. The path was virtually invisible from here. gulls hovered and dived. A boat of any size would have a hard time winding its way through to the beach. she could see the darker shapes of more rocks. And potentially deadly for Angus.” “Okay. From the way the last letter was worded. absently noting the way the house towered over her. Yes. The sky was the deep endless blue that only happened in August. their cries filling the air. Not a bit. It was small comfort but she’d take what she could get right now. Above her. It was a gloriously beautiful location. “Katie?” Angus’s bellow rang through the house as she walked into the kitchen.Ignoring the path for a moment. she looked back up the cliff face. she started back to the top. but it would take them a while. looking like no more than slick gray boulders. I’ll get it in here. Shifting.

Marc looks pretty good in carrots. “I’m going to give him his money’s worth. “What did you tell him?” “That I’d think about it. It’s not your fault that Angus doesn’t know the difference between love and lust.She lifted the receiver to her ear. “Sammy just made her thoughts very clear on the menu items for lunch. though.” “What are you going to do?” She opened her eyes and straightened her back. I had to call and see how you were doing after that mess last night. Kate. give me at least a week’s notice when you set the date so I can rearrange my schedule. “Let’s be honest here. “So. You only agreed to do this for my sake. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. “I know how upset you were last night and I feel like it’s my fault. It figured. The money was only part of it.” She waited a dramatic pause.” There was a loud thud in the background then the sound of male cursing. and when this is over I’m coming home and forgetting it ever . waiting until she heard the click when Angus hung up before speaking. Sis. “He’s still here.” Her voice dropped a notch. Kate grinned.” She closed her eyes.” “Well. “Seriously. I wanted a chance to live out my fantasy.” “I’m fine.” In spite of herself. Isn’t that sweet?” Kate rolled her eyes. We can figure out a way to pay Angus back.Crystal laughed. Sis. how many times did he propose before the night was over?” “Twice. Really. I’ve been worried about you. Did Marc make sure you got home?” “Better than that. I didn’t. I did it because I wanted too. “Crystal?” “Kate.” “No.” Her sister sobered.

And he was doing a lot of looking at the moment. He looked up quickly. He was staring at her as though she’d lost her mind. Dropping the phone into the cradle. do ye?” He smiled. Kate. “‘Tislike a flower.” she commanded. his blue eyes sparkling up at her. The position exposed her folds to his view. straight into Angus’s office. so damn responsive. and she wiggled. so hot. See how beautiful ye are?” One of his big fingers touched the very tip of her clit.” He parted her even more. damn it.” “It won’t.” What he did was skin her out of her clothes so fast she couldn’t breathe.” “Be careful. making her aroused. ached under his hungry gaze. his expression rather like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “Like that. “You paid for a mistress. until her clit protruded. “Yerso small and delicate. and moisture flooded from her. the hall. I won’t let it. Ma’am. She didn’t stop until she was right in front of his chair. Now do something about it.happened. and I’ve never been a quitter. and so capable of making her burn just by looking at her. staring down at the apex of her legs as though entranced. he lifted her onto his lap facing him. Involuntarily. “Look atyerself . Slowly. Kate’s legs tensed. Putting both hands around her waist. Her breath caught in her throat. a grin spread across his face. then she put both hands on the arms and leaned toward him. Kate. he pulled the foreskin back and used his index finger to gently stroke the area he’d uncovered. a miracle of construction. See?” Gripping the tiny nodule between his thumb and forefinger. Damn him.” Now it was time to get a few things straight with His Lordship. forcing his hand more tightly against her clit. and the study. swollen clit very obvious. But it wasn’t his expression she was concerned with. I couldn’t stand it if anything happened to hurt you again.” . draping her legs over the chair arms. “Thenye’ll like this even better. “Yes. The man had no right to be so sexy. she marched though the dinning room.

gathering the evidence of her lust. her lips brushing his. When his fingers were coated. she mewled in pleasure. ready to tumble over into the flames. Kate. he dipped two fingers inside her. pausing only to enter her body every few beats to gather more of her essence. until her body was quivering on the heated edge of a volcano.” “It hasn’t been that long. I want you inside me when I come.” “Then take my cock out. Kate had never felt freer in her life.” He moaned low in his throat as she slid the latex down his erection. she sat up and pushed his hands away. “It’s been more than twenty-four hours. I’ve been dying for ye. bracing herself by putting her palms on his knees. he smoothed the dampness over her clit.” His breathing increased as she leaned forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. thrilling to the way his muscles tensed under her ministrations. her nipples rasping against the fabric of his shirt. desperate puffs as he pulled a condom from his pocket and handed it to her. Before she could fall. “No.” “Shouldn’t we go upstairs?” Her fingers fumbled eagerly with his zipper until she freed him. The rough fabric of his jeans felt strange against her bottom. Abandoning all attempts to hide her emotions. eyes closing at the intensity of pleasure he was providing. massive cock.” she lied. Loved knowing that she was the one who kept him constantly aroused.Using his free hand. so hard and big. Already the head wept his essence like tears. It seemed to go on forever. “Katie. and she used it to tease the opening on the tip. She arched her body and leaned back to allow him greater access. Her head fell back. They both watched as he massaged her to new heights of passion. God she loved the way it felt. and yet with skin like velvet. . while her hips lifted for more. and put it where ye want it. “And give ye time tae back out? Not a chance in hell. his fingers sliding slickly over her wet flesh. love.” His breath was coming in short. “Ye can do the honors. creating a friction that was both warm and stimulating as she lowered herself onto his cock. eyes half-lidded as he filled her. then ran her hand down his thick.

Each touch streaked down her stomach to increase the throbbing his fingers encouraged. so needy.” she grumbled. “Yedinna have tae make up reasons or workyerself into a froth. “Katie. Frantically.” A shiver ran over her as he toyed with her clit.” “I promise. .” His scent surrounded her like a warm blanket and involuntarily she clenched her inner muscles.” “Alright.” “I didn’t do that.” Her tongue teased his. “It’s only sex. stroking in short up and down motions until she was whimpering with the need for release.Twenty-four hours? It felt more like two years. when I want you. I promise. thumb and forefinger grasping her clit with enough pressure that she nearly cried out. If ye want me. No wonder she was so hot.” She buried her face in his neck and touched his skin with her tongue.” “Look at me and say it again. But then they moved. One of his hands cupped her bottom and the other moved between them. “Just remember one thing. “Promise me from now onye’ll come tae me when ye want me. Katie.” “What?” She was barely coherent.” She lifted her head and gazed into his eyes.” Her voice was a husky moan. “From now on. she pulled his shirt up. When that offered no relief. her stomach doing a slow roll at what she saw there. All of it. I’ll come to you. “You have tae remember something tae. plucking it before his fingers moved in a slow torturous circle. “Maybe I did. all ye have tae do is let me know. then leaned forward again to press her aching breasts against the hot. she lifted her hands to her own breasts and saw his eyes glaze as he watched her tease and tweak the nipples. hard planes of his chest.

” “Yes. seeking more.” “Then letyerself go. Even if it’s ten years from now. or that he still wore a smile. and she shivered. “Are ye cold?” She could feel his voice rumble beneath her ear and she soaked the sensation in.“Even if it’s ten years from now. “No. God.” she sobbed.” “I meant what I said earlier. . “Oh. Explode for me. The chance to have him anytime she wanted with no strings attached.” She hadn’t doubted it the first time. “Say it. snuggling closer. her hips pushing forward. He was still snug inside her and she wanted to keep him there a while longer.” ***** Kate rested against him. Sweet Katie. ye know. and his hips rose from the seat to push even deeper inside her. wanted to maintain this link between them. always more. She just didn’t think he realized what he was offering her.” “I don’t want it to end yet.” “Angus…” He increased the pressure of his fingers. It was a tempting thought. her head on his chest. that she couldn’t let herself dwell on it now.” He smiled before his mouth covered hers. So tempting in fact. His hands traveled gently over her bare back creating a field of static electricity. She didn’t have to look to know his eyes were closed. squeezing her clit until she couldn’t think anymore. “Next time we’ll slow down.” “I know.

” “Did she share all the details with ye.” CHAPTER SIXTEEN Angus climbed out of bed and reached for his jeans. And yet. Kate was starting to become aware that she loved him. “It’s true. needed to know how to fight it. It wasten p. . but she will. but he was wide-awake and ready to continue his search. “Curious?” “Aye. Not that he was complaining. . What her reaction to that revelation would be worried him. He needed to keep going. Whether she realized it or not. find out what terrified her so much. The only other time that’s happened was with Danny.” “Why are ye so sure?” “Because lots of guys have asked her out since Danny died and she turned them all down.” Kate grinned at him.” “What?” He pushed her back and stared down at her.“Marc and Crystal are going to get married. like ye did her?” “No. but she will.m. I’d like tae know the lucky bastard’s secrets so I can use them on ye. He spent the night with her last night and proposed twice. He’d made it through the first two years of newspaper articles before Kate had returned from the beach and distracted him. he’d promised to let her know when he decided to work at night and he didn’t like breaking promises. She hasn’t said yes yet. Marc got her in bed the first night.

He’d barely gotten her settled on the couch before she was asleep again. Katie. “I’m going with you. but it had to be her. whatever had happened to Kate could have been personal.” he whispered. “I’ll only agree if ye stretch out on the couch in the study. he glanced at Kate. They had already made love three times since she’d confronted him in his office. He couldn’t let her divert him a second time.” “Umm. For a second he was tempted to crawl back in bed and wake her by making love to her again. Two hours later he found it. a tiny smile lifting the corners of her lips. “Queens Man Arrested in Beating Death of Wife.” He ran a hand through his hair. and I’ll not be letting ye go. “Katie. He knew searching the archives was a long shot. But he had a gut feeling about this. “We belong tae each other. The location was right. he leaned over the bed and kissed her. he turned on the desk lamp and sat down. whether ye like it or not. She was curled on her side sound asleep. Nine-Year-Old Daughter the Only Witness. ‘Twill be close enough. No.” “Whydinna ye stay and get some sleep?” “Because if something happened I’d be too far away to stop it. then grabbed a blanket and pillow while she pulled the shirt over her head and picked up her gun. He shook his head.” Leaving the overhead light off in his office.” She snuggled down tighter.” he murmured. buried on page two of the newspaper.” “Okay. After all. “I’m going downstairs tae work. as was the time period. .” A chill ran over him as he looked at Kate. not something newsworthy. “I love ye. Gently.Fastening his jeans.” A yawn stretched her features as she fumbled for something to put on. then abruptly opened her eyes and sat up. sleeping so peacefully in the next room. The article didn’t mention her name. The headline read. and he smiled as he tucked the blanket around her. Angus picked up his T-shirt and handed it to her. and ye can still sleep. Not if he wanted to discover the truth.

“‘Twasnotyer fault. Joanne. First thing in the morning. Both children were currently in the custody of their maternal grandmother. He’d met him at several parties over the years and knew he was a fan. Her choice of professions had all dealt with protection. I’ll take care of ye. Katie. “Yersafe now. MaybeRoarke could give him the information he needed. GlennRoarke . tell her he understood. “Ssh. something that would tell him why Kate was so terrified of love. She snuggled against him and sighed his name. but he didn’t want to wait weeks for a copy.” he murmured. hold her. He was familiar with Mr. It must have been going on a long time. That would help. ‘Tisthe only wayye’ll ever be free of it.Roarke . Love. And Katie had lived with all of it. It wasn’t long.” . “Butyergoin ’ tae have tae get it out in the open where it can stop poisoning ye. It explained so much about her. What had happened to her that night? He needed details. He stuck the article under a stack of papers on his desk then turned the computer off.He hit the print button on his computer and then scanned the story again. Ye weren’t much more than a baby. Leaving the lamp on. Trial transcripts were public record. forty-year-old mother of two. Love. Angus ran a hand over his eyes. She would reject his comfort just as she rejected the idea of being loved.” he whispered. But he knew enough about spousal abuse to understand thatCarson hadn’t just erupted one night and killed his wife. but he knew she wouldn’t appreciate it. Maybe with a little more knowledge he could get her to talk about it. he moved quietly to Kate’s side and lifted her. and it also gave the name of the prosecuting attorney. The date for Carson’s trial was listed. He couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for a little girl to see something like that. and that the daughter was expected to testify. Had she tried to protect her mother and failed? Was she trying to make up for that perceived failure now? “Ah.” He wanted to go to her. blanket and all. Katie. he was callingRoarke . only stating that Elwood Carson had been arrested in conjunction with the death of his wife. the man who was now the district attorney.” He brushed his lips over her hair as he carried her toward the stairs.

all tanned skin and fluid muscles. Angus was getting to her and she couldn’t push the feelings away anymore. She shook her head as she stepped under the spray and grabbed the soap. “I was picturing flying here to see you two or three times a week for the next ten years.” He nuzzled her neck.” “I’ll make it worthyer while. As though he’d read her mind.” She gave him a weak smile as she ran her hands over his chest.***** It was a beautiful Monday morning and Kate felt wonderful as she adjusted the water temperature in the shower. revealing Angus in his naked glory. racking up tons of frequent flier miles so she could meet Angus for a round of hot sex two or three times a week. but it had been nice. wet body. When she realized she was actually considering it. He stepped under the water and put his arms around her waist. the shower door slid open.” “Angus-“ . This case better not last much longer or she was going to be in trouble.” “Then stay here and save the money. She didn’t want the fantasy. but I’ll be broke after two months. a magnificent morning erection jutting out in front of him. she rested her forehead against the tile with a groan. What was she going to do? She would never be able to settle for anything else now that she knew what it was like with him. too. pulling her against his hard. It had been a bit strange waking up in Angus’s bed when she remembered falling asleep on the couch. She had a vague memory of his voice murmuring to her. She had a mental image of herself ten years from now. “I know. making her feel safe and warm. she wanted the real man. Already the thought of leaving him was bothering her badly. Too safe and warm. “What were ye groaning about?” “You.

laughing as she blinked water from her eyes. Since he was intent on using her as a sponge. She licked her lips. turned a deep bronze by the dampness. pausing at the apex of each stroke to run his thumb over the head. she tried to reach the spray of water but he held her in place. Both of his big hands moved over her body. and highlighted his wonderfully long legs. . and dripped onto his cock. “Aye.” She’d barely obeyed the command before he dumped the entire contents of the bottle on her head. like a big cat that was poised to leap. and covered more territory than her smaller hands. but in pain. Never had she seen a man do that to himself and it was making her insides turn to molten lava. Spewing and sputtering.” He looked down at his erection. and not a condom in sight.” he breathed.” To her surprise.” He leaned back against the tile. “It does appear to be rather swollen. She pursed her lips as she contemplated the part of him in question. his eyes heavy-lidded. of course. She couldn’t look away.He picked up the bottle of shampoo. the water trickling down his skin and over tight muscles in luscious rivulets. “I’d say you have the situation well in hand. It misted the back of his well-corded fist. working the soap into a thick lather. “Closeyer eyes. hit his chest and abdomen. They stroked his erection slowly as he watched her. you’d like some help. he reached down and closed his hand around his cock. before he was done they were both covered in bubbles from head to toe. They shimmered across his broad chest. The overhead lights struck glimmers of radiance from his smallest movement. Unless. “What do ye think we should do?” Part of the shower spray.” she said wryly. He looked glorious and sensuous. His fingers were long and elegant. his hand still moving. caressed the flexing biceps in his thickly muscled arms.” “‘T’wouldbe nice. “I think we’re clean now. “‘Tisswelling more each second. the part she wasn’t blocking.

Kate smiled at the thought. And when he slid. the skin on his face stretched taunt over his cheekbones. Slowly. down the wall to the shower floor. caressed her cheek. “Just don’t stop what you’re doing. she kissed his testicles. caressing and kissing. With a final lick.” she whispered before sinking to her knees. and this time when she took him in her mouth. “Ye want me tae jack off while ye do it?” His accent had thickened almost to the point that she couldn’t understand him. feeling his shudder as she pulled each one into her mouth to taste. her own body aching with the need for release.” His embarrassment at the request touched something deep inside her. saw the pre-come gather on the end of the broad head. There was a brief hesitation. she watched his big hand milk his cock as she sucked and licked. his lips parted in anticipation. unwilling to miss a single pulse. felt his sperm hit the back of her throat and licked frantically. before her tongue captured the salty fluid. he was simply feeling. she moved on to nuzzle the head of his cock. knowing she could make his body shake like that— make him lose control.” She watched for a moment longer. she kissed him. As her lips covered only the small slit. “Yes. she sucked gently and Angus’s body arched. her lips. she used her tongue to soothe the aftershocks. . thanks to her. his cock thrusting against her lips in a silent plea.” he whispered. letting it brush against her cheek. He wasn’t talking this time.” He hesitated. His free hand trembled as it lifted to her hair. As a matter of fact. Eyes open. Standing on tiptoe. It was her pleasure to give him this. she didn’t demand. Leaning forward. made it feel like her heart had swollen to fill her chest. savored his taste. And she hadn’t lied. “I want tae feel your mouth on me again. It did something indefinable to her. using her tongue to both arouse and tease. When he erupted—crying his release—she sucked harder. “It would be my pleasure. trembling. She took her time and made love to him. she loved it. He was staring down at her. “Angus? Is there something in particular you want?” “Aye. then slid her hands up the tense muscles of his thighs before reaching around to grip the tight cheeks of his buttocks.“What do you want me to do?” She lifted her gaze to his and was amazed to find his face flushing red.

she went still. I’d get between them. “Katie. “Now ‘tisye’re turn. “No one isgoin ’ tae force ye. God. buried her face against his chest. Abruptly. His hand moved over her. He had trapped her.” “Oh. But he could hit. Stunned and scared out of her mind. The words barely registered on her bruised mind. On some level she was aware of the water going off. caressing her. she was wearing the wrong clothes. . Desperately she struggled with the fear paralyzing her. but once she’d started. It wasn’t true.Yer safe now. he always found something to get mad about. I’ll die if I have to go through that again. God help them both. “I can’t love you. she couldn’t stop the flow of words. teeth clenched. It wasn’t true. They poured out of her like a river over a broken dam. a whimper caught in her throat. Snared her in a web of emotions she would never be free of.” Sobs wracked her body.It wasn’t until his body relaxed that she realized this wasn’t the only thing she loved.” She turned in his arms. Supper was cold.” He wrapped a blanket around her and held her on his lap.” he whispered. Katie. Every night he’d come home late. The memories flooded her and she sobbed.” “It’s okay. “I tried to stop him.” “Tell me. When Angus gathered her close she didn’t resist. “My…my father was an alcoholic. so drunk he could he barely walk.” His voice was a gentle croon as he rocked her. the house wasn’t spotless. she loved him. Kate. she wrapped her arms over her head. Oh.” She dragged in a breath of air. yell at him. but it was like he didn’t even know I was there. You can’t force me to love you. God.” His hand stroked her wet hair gently. “Kate?” His anxious voice seemed to come from a long distance. She shook violently. of being lifted and carried. “I don’t. talk tae me. “No matter how hard my mother tried. What’s wrong? Did I hurt ye? Please. didn’t try to get away.” she ground out. “I don’t love you. he could hit.

She said she still loved him. I tried to get away from him. Then I heard my mother scream.And every time his fist would connect he’d tell her how much he loved her. Yecanna keepblamin ’yerself or go on hiding from love out of fear. Ye couldn’t save her. He told me it was an accident. One they both participated in.” “But ye were too late. I knew I had to stop him. too dependent on him tae stand up for herself and get out. I fought so hard. hiccups interrupting her sobs.” . She was too afraid. “It was late. She’d never done that before. but she never woke up again. I didn’t stop to put my nightgown on.” She leaned back and looked into his eyes earnestly. Afraid of what he’d do to her.Yer mother was right though.” She clutched the blanket tighter and tried to still her shivering. “Don’t you see? I can’t love you or anyone else. He didn’t say a word at first and I was praying that this time would be different. My mother lived twelve hours.” His grip tightened until she could barely breathe. drenching the already soaked blanket. All it does is cause pain. “What happened that last night?” A shudder ran over her and she closed her eyes. The police came before I got away from him. that he didn’t mean to hurt her. “She was lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor and he was still hitting her. Sweetheart. He grabbed at me. I just ran. tried to reach my mother. but I dodged. He cupped her face in his hands. “Ah. One of the neighbors had called them. his thumbs moving over her cheeks. Katie.” More tears spilled from her eyes. afraid he might hurtCrystal . but he still rocked her. but the tremors only came harder. and that what he did wasn’t his fault. that he was only hitting her for her own good. Love is a sickness that can’t be cured. twisted his hand in the elastic. Later than usual. What happened was notyer fault.Yer parentsdidna love each other. this time he was going to kill her.” he whispered. I won’t live like she did. ‘Twasan unnatural sickness. I’d putCrystal in her crib and was getting ready for bed when he came in. I was afraid all the time. God. Yedinna hurt people ye love. that he loved all of us. He caught my panties. it was a sickness. but he wouldn’t let go. “I begged her to leave him but she wouldn’t do it. I won’t. I fought him. Tears soaked her face and she sobbed with every breath.

“Real love between a man and woman is a wondrous thing. you know. daring him to chastise her. I’d die before I saw ye hurt. she slid off his lap. “‘Twasyour right. I’ve loved ye since the beginning. Katie. “I need to wash my face.” “I sent him to jail. “You already knew.” she whispered. I know there must be others ye know who’ve made a good marriage. I found the newspaper articles last night. “And I never will.” Her tone was fierce. one filled with love. Katie. Maybe it was time she did.” “No. Ye told meyerself others asked her out and she refused.” “What aboutyer sister? Shedidna love her Danny?” Kate hesitated. And I don’t regret doing it. Have I ever raised my hand tae ye?” “No. Ye did what ye had tae do. then looked back at him. He died there.” It felt as if a ten-ton weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Ye probably savedyerself andyer sister.” She sat up straighter and wiped her eyes.She listened intently as he stroked her hair back. Something special only the two of them share. There’s nothing violent about it.” “Then why did she mourn him so long? She could have gotten the sex from anyone. didn’t you?” “Aye.” “Will ye be okay now?” She nodded. “It was only the sex. Keeping the blanket around her. Was it possible she’d been wrong about Crystal and Danny? She’d never really asked her sister about her marriage. She took a deep .

I’ll be downstairs putting the coffee on if ye need me.” “Hang on.shaky breath. She felt like she’d been run over by a cement roller and dragged twenty feet. But this time. not sure yet she could trust this new feeling growing inside her.” “Crystal. “What is it? Kate.” CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Need him? More than she’d ever believed possible.” . Kate. I’m back.” Her stomach clenched.” She held the phone away from her mouth. she picked up the phone and dialed the number for the boutique. Spill it. “Go on and washyer face. there was something else mixed in with it. “Thank you. but she sobered fast when she heard Kate’s voice. I guess ye do. All she wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep. She stared at him. “I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. It hadn’t been her fault. I need to talk to you. She couldn’t hide from this anymore. waiting as the panic started to creep over her. but Kate heard her tellingHowie to take care of business. Kate dressed in jeans and a Tshirt then sat limply on the side of the bed.” “Aye. Angus.” “Yedinna have tae thank me. Slowly.Crystalwas laughing when she answered.” He stood. “Okay. She’d done the right thing. I love ye. you sound terrible. but she knew it was only her body’s defense mechanisms kicking in.

Kate hesitated.” She sounded as if she were crying. She wanted so much to believe her sister. You know that—” She stopped abruptly and sighed. it makes you happy. He was the part of me that kept my heart beating. I would have died in his place if I could have. “I’m so sorry. If something hurts them.” This time it was Crystal who hesitated. A single tear slid down her cheek but she ignored it. He was part of me. Until recently. What Danny and I had was love. But deep inside. or fear. God knows I wanted to die when they told me he’d been killed. like we were two halves of a perfect whole. That was not love. part of me doesn’t believe it. too.Crystal. It’s not pain. How could he do that if he really loved you?” .” Slowly. Danny was my soul. “No. Kate. do you?” “I’m not sure I even know what the word means. She really wasn’t. “I think maybe I should have. “I don’t know what Mom was like. Sorry that you had to go through that alone. If something makes them happy. Kate. If not for you and Sammy I don’t think I could have. It’s caring so much about the other person that you put their needs before your own. it hurts you more. “My head keeps telling me that people fall in love and get married all the time without it being the way it was with our parents. And he felt the same way about me. I’m so afraid that if I let myself love someone I’ll end up just like Mom.” She wasn’t going to cry again. “Now you listen to me. And yet—”But he risked his life everyday. That’s what love is. you don’t know it. sorry I didn’t make you talk about it before. Kate. clutching the phone tightly to her ear. or anger. “Crystal. A long time ago. she began to tell her sister the truth until finally the story spilled out in a rush—the years of abuse—the times when she’d tried to interfere and ended up taking the blow aimed at her mother—their father’s warped avowals of love with each painful strike.Crystalremained silent for several heartbeats after she finished. damn it.” She sniffed. kept me breathing.” Kate rubbed her forehead. it felt like the only time I’ve truly been alive was the years we were together. I didn’t know how I was going to go on without him. “I’m saying this so badly and I want you to understand. I don’t remember her and you won’t talk about her.” Kate stood and paced across the room. did you love Danny?” “Of course I did.

This has to be your choice. She’d scared him so badly in the shower he wasn’t sure he’d ever get over it.” “I’m sure Angus will be happy to give it to you. Tears dripped from her chin. I know you think what you’re doing is safer than the agency. There’s not a drop of coward in you. And while you’re thinking things through. though. I still have it.” she whispered.” Kate hung her head. Kate. I think I am. I was standing there with the check in my purse.” “No…Yes.“You do the same thing. Kate. and his heartbeat quickened. The second half of that bonus money? When you asked me about it Saturday night.” “I know you’re right. Angus made Marc give it to me before he went after you. Crystal. Can you really go back to the way you were living. so you can’t say you’re staying because of the money anymore. “This is about Angus. Katherine Marie Carson. Angus loves you and you love him. I need more time. “No. he was filled with hope. shared all that pain and . It’s part of who you are and I couldn’t change it without changing the things I love most about you. not something you were forced into. but it’s not. She had opened up to him. isn’t it? You’re in love with him.” ***** Angus looked up as Kate entered the kitchen. knowing you’d never see him again?” The thought sent a wave of desolation sweeping over her. but I don’t know how to handle it. think about this. to see justice done.” “You’re going to take a chance. He loves you so much that he wanted to make sure there was a way to keep you with him. You and Danny were a lot more alike than you think. I understand why you do it. but I’m so scared and confused. and I don’t want you to start acting like one now. At the same time. “Then I think you already have your answer. “God.” Her sister’s voice softened. Both of you had this deep need to protect. I don’t know what to do. And I’ll tell you something else.

She had stayed upstairs so long that he was starting to think about checking on her.” Things like him.” “Ye were busy. although her face was still pale and it looked like she’d been crying again. he slid an omelet and a couple of bacon slices onto a plate and put it in front of her. the sooner…” “The sooner what. What if she’d decided to refute her feelings? He wasn’t sure he could stand it. he put a knuckle . You were right. Kate? The sooner ye can run from me. Slowly.yer job is tae protect me.fear for the first time in her life. “I talked toCrystal . “If—if I said I loved you. It was nearly impossible to stay in his seat. a symphony of proportions he’d never felt before. makeyerself believe ye don’t love me?” “No.” She picked up her fork and toyed with the omelet. The sooner we find the person doing this. “Feeling better?” He joined her at the table.” She dropped her fork and lifted a hand to her eyes. “I forgot to call Maggie last night. would we have to get married?” Joy sang through his veins until he was dizzy with it. her gaze avoiding his. He didn’t want to panic her. “Yes. I shouldn’t be letting other things distract me from doing my job. then poured her a cup of coffee. Trying his best to act casual. The sooner you’ll be safe.” “There’s no reason I can’t do both. “If I’m not mistaken. but still wouldn’t look at him.” “That’s no excuse. not find the person who’s doing the stalking.Yer tae hard onyerself . She and Danny did love each other. but he forced himself to remain quiet.” “And?” She visibly braced herself. His heart sank. Had she finally realized she loved him? She seemed a lot calmer now. A sigh escaped her lips.

” Her hesitant smile made every nerve in him vibrate with happiness. build a life together. The smile faded as she clasped his wrist. It’s going to take a while for me to get used to it.” . talk. “Aye. “I’m scared tae.” Her gaze wavered slightly before fixing on his again. ‘Tisa bit scary tae love someone so much.” He was up and around the table in two strides. “Live together if yedinna want tae marry. Angus. Love. It hit me when we were in the shower. that there’s a chance for us. At least. She took a deep breath. making her look at him.” His lips moved over her face. Angus. “There are so many problems. “I’m still a little scared. “I may need it. but I do love you.” She put her arms around him and leaned her head against his chest. Are ye going tae make me beg tae get the words out of ye. laugh.” “You’re scared?” She lifted a hand to cup his cheek. “I love you.under her chin and lifted it. I don’t want to give up my company. Not unless ‘tis what ye want. It’s the same way I feel about you.” “As long as I knowyer trying. drying her tears. Katie?” “No. “Nay. I’ve never really thought about them before. I knew for sure.Ye’ve all the time in the world tae decide.” She was laughing and crying at the same time. Angus. Make love. But I do love Sammy.” “So what do we do now?” He sat down on the stool and pulled her onto his lap. The thought of being in love still scares me to death. “Say it again. But I need tae hear ye say it.” “I love you. Sweetheart. holding her tightly. I’ve ne’er felt like this before. Then whenCrystal described the way she and Danny felt about each other. not about having any of my own. How do ye feel about kids?” “I don’t know. It’s going to be hard with me inNew York and you here inMaine .

I promise. “We’ll negotiate. Kate decided.“Nay. She wiggled her toes then glanced at Angus.” “‘Tisonly a house.” “You want to get married. Katie.” Kate laughed out loud and planted a kiss on his lips. his dark hair hiding his face.” “But you love this place. The decision has tae be yours. His skin was bronze all the way down with no white . I do.” “I’m always right. Sweetheart. and I can write anywhere as long as I have ye. “You’ll have to do all the cooking.” “Aye.” His eyes narrowed. I think I may learn to like this love stuff after all. “It was worth a shot. But I’ll not hound ye about it. Her gaze skimmed down his body. the other outstretched in her direction.” She was ginning up at him and his heart tried to leap from his chest. taking in the long hard muscles of his back and the tight curve of his bottom. “I’ll live withyer faults ifye’ll live with mine. One arm was curved under his cheek.” she warned. I can find another we both like as much.” “And it only gets better from here.” “I may not be very good at this. “As long as ye clean up afterwards. He was lying beside her on the study floor.I’ll sell the house and move. gloriously naked and sound asleep.” He smiled.” ***** If it got much better she’d never survive.

Kate Carson calling. They got a few things for you. It was a chance she had to take. she ran a hand through her hair as she thought about . There would be time to make sure it was going to work. Which made it even more important they find the person who was stalking him. It kept surprising her. even though it shouldn’t. the writer tried to mask their identity with the calligraphy. As long as they weren’t married she wouldn’t be permanently tied into the situation. A quick look at the clock showed her it was well after lunch. “Agent Norm Brewster. and dialed a number. But what a way to go. so she padded softly to the phone naked. but yeah. Agreeing to live with him made her extremely nervous. “Kate? I was about to get in touch with you. yeah. Her lips curved in a smile. and so does the letter ‘L’.” She sat up straighter. Finding her clothes was a lost cause at the moment.to mar the surface.” She curled up in the chair while she waited for him to answer.She didn’t know how she’d survive if anything happened to him. Did he sun bathe nude? She pictured him on the beach with the waves curling around his bare body and felt the heat rising inside her again. For two years to be exact. They had spent hours making love.” “Could they tell anything?” “Well. butCrystal was right. please. Oh. Now that she’d admitted it. “Like what?” “It was a woman. From the time she’d first seen his poster. And whoever she is. She loved him.” Cursing under her breath. The bar on the ‘T’ slants in the wrong direction. He was going to be the death of her. The letters are rounded too much for a man. she’s left-handed. And she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t try. I’ve got the report on your handwriting sample. she knew some part of her had been in love with him a long time.

” He smiled at her.” He stood and moved to the wet bar as though he did it every day without a stitch on. Maybe they’ll turn up something. I just heard from the detective agency. I was so sure it was him. “There’s goes my best suspect. “Does it bother ye for me tae drink?” “Not as long as you don’t get drunk. All my instincts are telling me he had something to do with this. “Areyer instincts always right?” “Usually. But the handwriting expert said it was a woman. “Hello?” “Kate? It’s Marc.” “I never get drunk. Kate?” “Thanks.John Wesley. She snagged it with her other hand and put it to her ear.” A chill ran over her. “You aren’t distracting me again today. Norm.” He filled a glass. sipped. Angus. I want this over with. I hate being afraid something might happen to you. “Do ye know how good ye looksittin ’ there that way?” “Oh. no you don’t. but we’ve got some detectives working on this. the phone rang.” “Anything else you need me to do. They have a lead on Angus’s real mother. “Where is she?” . “Who did ye think it was?” “John Wesley.” She hung up only to discover Angus reclining on his side with his head propped on his hand watching her.” She held up a hand.” “Then trust them now. and then paused.” Beside her.

Of everything she’d imagined.” She took a deep breath.” Standing. Angus. damn it! I had the right tae know. That’s where she stayed until ten years ago.” “Nay. God. tell me now. you did. “As soon as they find out anything else. and then sank onto the couch. let me know. “I hate to bring this up now. I’ll call the airport and book a flight for tonight. she pulled on his hand. I want tae see her face when we ask her. He’s the one who paid all the bills for the place right up until he died.” “She’s my mother. nothing even remotely this bad had occurred to her. but your . “The detectives found out where your mother was. And we’ll find out all of it now. “What about my father?” “You’d better sit down. We’ll find your mother if she’s still alive.” Kate watched him intently. “Come on.” She hesitated. I think it’s time we talked to Maggie. I’ll know it.” She picked up his hand. “Maybe he thought he was protecting you. but up until about ten years ago she was in a very genteel home for the mentally unstable inEngland . Your father had her committed to a home inEngland . “Itcanna be true. Angus. She ran a hand over her face.” He downed the rest of his drink in one swallow. offering what comfort she could. If she lies.” Angus frowned as she hung up the phone.” “Okay. but it is the truth.” She slid off the chair and knelt in front of him. She didn’t pack up and leave on her own like you were told. We can see Maggie first thing tomorrow morning. Shock rippled across his face. And guess who put her there?” Oh. “Not on the phone. “Yes.” His eyes were haunted when he looked up at her. “Shawn McLeod?” “Exactly.“They’re still working on that. Why would he lie tae me?” “I don’t know. or maybe he was afraid you’d hate him if you knew.

Will you let me talk to her?” “They lied tae me. his voice bitter. “It’s not your fault. You had no way of knowing. He’d sat up most of the night.” CHAPTER EIGHTEEN “Are you okay?” Kate touched Angus’s arm as they got off the elevator in Maggie’s building. “She’s probably spent her whole life wondering why Ididna care enough tae come see her. barely moving until she told him it was time to leave for the airport inBangor .” His expression changed to one of fierce anger. they’ve lied. At least hear her out before you jump to any conclusions. “It was all a lie. then nodded.” He buried his face in his hands. though. “Fine. and I know she loves you. you’re only going to put her on the defensive. Christ. Angus.” “You don’t know why.” She stopped him.mother could be tied in with these letters. Maggie has been your mother for as long as you can remember. But I’ll know now or there’ll be hell tae pay.” “Aye. if you go in there angry and start accusing her of heaven knows what.” “Iwouldna blame her if she was.” She wrapped her arms around him.” . “Aye. Kate. staring at the walls.” “You don’t look it. All these years. And Ididna even ask for fear of upsetting my father. You look upset.” He stared at the apartment door for a moment. “Angus.

his face pale. we know. she simply packed up and left. You’re just in time for tea and scones. “There’s really nothing to tell.” Maggie bustled to the cabinets. and stop dawdling in the hall.” “Oh. His fingers closed around hers tightly. “Here we go. my. children. her gaze averted. Kate took the chair beside him. dear. As I’m sure Angus mentioned. I wasn’t expecting you back so soon. we want you to tell us everything you know about Angus’s real mother. “Who is it?” Maggie’s voice was muffled by the wooden entrance. you know Angus has been getting some threatening letters. but that’s what we need to talk to you about. Shawn never heard from her again. “Kate and Angus. “We’d like to talk to you.” Kate reached for Angus’s hand as they followed Maggie.” Kate replied. “Maggie. “Maggie. Nasty business.” “Know what?” She passed the cups around and scooted the sugar bowl closer to .Kate punched the doorbell and they waited in silence.” She lifted the tray and carried it to the table. help yourselves. dear.” She squeezed Angus’s hand. Have they found out who sent them yet?” “No. Do come in. She chattered all the way to the kitchen. but Kate saw the small telltale tightening of her muscles. Instead of sitting opposite Angus.” “Maggie.” Maggie kept her back to them as she poured hot water into a teapot and placed it on a tray with the cups.” There were several clicks and the sound of a chain rattling before she smiled up them.” “Thank you. Maggie didn’t seem to notice Angus hadn’t greeted her as usual. “Oh. Dear. Her red hair was mussed and she wearing a comfortablelooking blue silk robe that covered her from neck to floor. his hand still in hers. what a pleasure. Oh. “Sit down while I get the cups out. don’t you?” “Of course. Please.

Kate glanced at Angus. Angus. “It was several weeks before I discovered he was married. I packed my bags.” She hesitated. “Shawn would be so upset. It was one of the few times he talked about Ellen. He never wanted you to discover the truth. someone he could cherish and protect.” She raised tear-filled eyes to her stepson. Shawn told me that she had always been very fragile. She groped for the back of a chair. “Why?Didna ye think I had the right tae know?” “You don’t understand.” Maggie seemed to shrink right before their eyes. Maggie wrapped her hands around her teacup. Angus. Oh.” . “They had been married for six years before she became pregnant with you. and begged me to stay. But then she had you. “Yes. Shawn stopped me. I couldn’t say no.them. near her family. it’s so complicated. and he couldn’t take that chance. but he remained silent. my. I don’t know where to start.” “At the beginning. I loved him too much. even though it was breaking my heart. he was desperately afraid she was going to hurt you. and he felt the same. She was someone he could take care of.” Her voice was a whisper. “Oh. I was going to leave. to wait for him. Shawn quietly got a divorce and we were married the day after it was final. Darling.” Her eyes took on a faraway look. made her a little off balance. She turned back to his mother. more like a child than a woman in some ways. then sagged onto it.” Kate told her. “Shawn said the pregnancy did something to her. dear. His face looked as if it had been carved from stone. It was what attracted him to her at first. Shawn took her toEngland and had her committed. “If I had known. I suppose that would be best.” She looked pleadingly at Angus.” Maggie took a deep breath. I never would have gotten so close to him. And as soon as I found out. “I was visiting some friends inScotland when I met Shawn. It was love at first sight for me. Two weeks later she was gone. He told me he’d made arrangements with a good home inEngland . “We know that Ellen didn’t pack up and leave.

He never stopped loving her.” Misery in every line of her body. he loved me too. Angus. make all of this go away. That’s why he wouldn’t talk about her to you.What little blood was left in Angus’s face had drained away. “He had her committed tae get rid of her. “Maggie.” Kate leaned forward. They told me her family had moved her out. Oh. gentle man. He felt he had no choice except to send her away. “He visited her every chance he had. she wiped the tears from her eyes. do you know why Angus hates the scent of roses so much?” “Ellen. “Until he found her standing at your crib. holding a pillow over your face. “Not really. oh no. but when Angus was about three. The smell of roses still clung to them. It scared him so badly. and he paid all the bills from the home until he died. Your father was a wonderful. He would never have done something like that.” “Do you know what happened to her after Shawn died?” Kate ran her hand softly over Angus’s back as she listened to Maggie. “You were always more my son than you were hers. It was the scent she wore. Maggie was shaking her head violently. She ached to put her arms around him.” Lifting a hand. “No.” Kate had never heard such anguish in a voice. I didn’t know anything about them so I had no way of finding her. He didn’t want you to know that your own mother could do something like that. Maggie turned to Angus. so he could be with ye. He didn’t send Ellen away until…” “Until what?” She lowered her head. I know I should have told you the truth after . There was a trunk full of her clothes stored in a corner. I took a box of old toys up to the attic. I never met her. she was gone. I would have continued to pay her bills. or even saw a picture of her. staring intently at the cup in her trembling hands. who loved you more than anything else in the world. Angus. leaving him white and shaking. but not in the same way he loved Ellen. but when I called the home a month later. I didn’t know that until I went through his things after the funeral.

“The letters didn’t threaten to hurt you.” She cupped his cheek. Kate rose and left the room. Maggie launched herself into them. All his attention seemed to be fixed on maneuvering the car along the winding road that followed theMaine coast. Such close scrutiny might be necessary on a dark rainy night. the soft murmur of Angus’s voice following her. but I couldn’t bear to hurt you. Angus. Can you ever forgive me?” When Angus stood and held out his arms. She was on the verge of asking him if he wanted to talk about it when he abruptly pulled the car onto the shoulder. It doesn’t have to be her. “‘Tismy real mother sending the letters. she ran her hands through his hair over and over. holding him as his body shook with reaction. ***** He hadn’t said a word since they’d left Maggie’s apartment. but it was the middle of the afternoon and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I never took the damn things seriously until now. She didn’t know how long they sat there. It might be one of her family.” “Then whydidna they just tell me? Why the letters?” “There could be a dozen reasons and none of them have to make sense. I think whoever wrote them wanted you to look for your mother. Now she wants tae try again. Something had to give. She wanted tae kill me when I was a baby and failed. doing her best to comfort him the way he had her yesterday morning. Instinctively. Not on the flight back or the drive from the airport. Murmuring nonsense words. It could have been five minutes or an hour before he drew in a shuddering breath and loosened his grip on her. and Kate was concerned. tears streaming down her cheeks. isn’t it. and turned to her. put it in park. Maybe .Shawn died. I love you. Quietly.” “We don’t know that. she went into his arms. Kate? It’s strange.

All the way to the main road. The suspect should be considered armed.” He threw the gearshift into reverse and shot back down the driveway. “Idinna agree with what they did. Icanna blame them for that. “But I’m not taking any chances with you. “Angus! Stop the car!” His foot hit the brake.” “This is Kate Carson. Back up.” “You won’t have to find out.” She glanced out the window and suddenly her blood ran icy cold. Until we find out the truth.” She fumbled for her cell phone. Angus seemed more relaxed and she decided it was safe to ask him a question. Kate.” He kissed her thumb. but they thought they were protecting me. I need someone at hisOceanside Drive estate immediately to investigate a B and E. “Did you get everything straightened out with Maggie?” “Aye. then each of her fingers. “What’s wrong?” “The cameras. I’m a bodyguard for Angus McLeod. the writer.” She leaned over and kissed him. Two surveillance cameras at the front gate . why don’t we go see if Marc’s detectives have found anything else?” ***** By the time they reached the turnoff for his estate.” She ran her thumb gently over his lips. dialing even as she answered him. Someone shot them to bits. or maybe they thought you wouldn’t listen if they did. throwing them both forward as the car came to a halt. I’m keeping my gun handy.” “I’m glad. Idinna know how I’d get through this if ye weren’t with me. Now. They had reached the blacktop when someone answered the phone. “Look at the cameras.they couldn’t reach you for some reason.” He slowed as the car neared the gate. “Sheriff’s department. “I’m not going anywhere. “I love you.

“We could have been here. McLeod. Carson. “No. at least they’re taking this seriously now.” Kate hung the phone up and slid herGlock from the holster. There are three cars. “Sounds like more than a crazy fan to me. The lead car pulled to a stop in back of the sedan while the other two continued down the driveway. his face pale. “Well. Both she and Angus stepped out as the sheriff approached them. “They’re on the way.” “But we weren’t. you stay put and I’ll get a couple of cars out there. My men are going to check things out. “Angus. “I’m Sheriff Dorman.” She returned theGlock to her shoulder holster. Mr. My guess would be that they got in the house.” The man nodded.” “Okay. We’re safer out here until the police check the house.” Angus was watching her.” “Yernot getting out of the car. “Ms.” “What’s your current location.“Firth? You found anything yet?” . Ma’am?” “We’re in a blue sedan at the head of the driveway.” He twisted the small radio on his shoulder and spoke into it. When she was done he nodded again.” He ran a hand over his face. they probably knew we were gone. Want to tell me exactly what happened?” Kate did the honors.” “Ye think they got in the house?” “From what I could see. it looked like the lock box for the gate was broken. I can’t go in there and protect you at the same time.” She touched his hand.have been shot out. giving him the bare facts about the letters and their trip toNew York .” The wail of sirens swelled in the distance and Kate twisted to look behind them.

Sheriff.” “Good?” His eyebrow shot up in an arched question. He steered the car onto the grass beside the sheriff’s.” He released the radio. I’ll need you to look and see if anything is missing. The deputy met them on the porch and pointed. Whoever did it is long gone. Front door is standing open and it looks like the electricity has been cut. Why don’t you follow me in your car?” Angus’s jaw was clenched as he climbed back under the wheel and pulled out after the sheriff. Ken is going to collect the tapes from the cameras so we can check them back at the station. Steve and I are going in the front. but from what you’ve told me. but the house is clear. “They took out every damn camera on the place. “I’ve never been so mad in my life. And it’s a hell of a lot better than acting like this is a game. “Yes.” The sheriff spoke into the radio again. and they climbed out. this doesn’t appear to be a normal burglary. cussing a blue streak. “Any sign of the intruder?” “Naw.” He glanced at her. “Are you okay?” “Nay.” “Good. “Mr. “Wait until you see this mess. “Cutting off the electricity disabled the alarms.When the deputy answered.” A few minutes passed in silence until the deputy’s voice returned. Dooley and Ken are around back.” “‘Tisone mistake I’ll not bemakin ’ again. Someone really trashed the place. McLeod. his voice sounded tinny and far away. Anger is a perfectly natural reaction. “They took all the cameras out with one shot each.” “We’ll be right there.” .” he muttered.” Kate examined them.

” The sheriff glanced at her. Time’s up. “Cop or F. “I take it you two know what this means?” The sheriff’s glance moved from her to Angus. no piece of glass unbroken. .“Yes. another deputy called from the study. Angus made a choked sound and reached for something on the floor. handling the paper by the corner. “Aye.?” “Former F. her heart aching for him. There were only two words.” They all gathered round the burly deputy and Kate read the message over his arm. A chill ran over her and she cursed softly. Don’t touch anything unless you have to. It was the picture of his father he’d kept on the table in the hall. And just in case that wasn’t good enough. “Sheriff? You might want to take a look at this. shredded and torn. stepping over the worst of the debris.” Kate and Angus trailed behind. Kate realized. She stopped him before he could pick it up. They might be able to lift some prints. “The only thing in the house that isn’t trashed is the computer.I. Angus settled his hand on her shoulder. they smashed them when they got in the house. Her stomach knotted as soon as she saw what the deputy was holding. It had been mutilated. and the tapestries ripped from the walls. You’ll want to watch your step. the sheer violence depicted inside the house was shocking. He was wearing a pair of latex gloves. No piece of furniture remained whole.B.” Even though she was expecting a mess. Papers were everywhere. “No. This was propped on the keyboard. folks. It was a pink envelope.I.B.” He explained the last letter he’d gotten.” Before he could respond.

“Okay. Now it was sinking in that he wasn’t the only one in danger. He hadn’t taken the letters seriously until today. I don’t want them anywhere around when this person finds you. Anyone who wanted him would have to go through her first. She clicked the phone off. His anger was finally fading.” There was something about that last statement that bothered him. The thought terrified him.” “No. it’s a sure bet you can’t stay here tonight.“Well. plus it’s small enough that I won’t have to wonder where you are. Marc is going to pick up Crystal and Sammy and take them to his apartment until this is over. “Where are we going?” “To my house. but Angus stopped her on the landing.” She turned to Angus. but he didn’t . You can reach us there if you need us. We’re going to grab some clothes and get out of here. listening to Kate’s conversations on the cell phone with half an ear. it will take us hours to dust for prints and check the place out. It will be a lot better than a motel. Even if we get the electricity back on.” CHAPTER NINETEEN Angus kept his gaze on the road as they headed back to the airport. Kate was square in the middle of this whole thing and it was obvious she took her job seriously. I want you somewhere safe. “Come on. Do you want us to call a motel for you? We can station a car outside your rooms to keep an eye on things. “That’s my cell phone.” Kate pulled a notebook from her purse and jotted something on it. but it was rapidly being replaced by worry.” They headed up the stairs.

” “Then don’t expect me to leave you. “You can’t fire me.” “Will ye promise me something?” “What?” .” She looked at him. She was too stubborn. “Nay.” “What!” Her questioning glance turned fierce real fast. McLeod.” “As a mistress. damn it.” “But you think it’s a dandy idea for me to go twiddle my thumbs somewhere while you’re in danger?” She grabbed a handful of his hair and yanked. If the situation was reversed and I was the one in danger. I have a contract.” The phone hit the seat and bounced onto the floor.” He glanced at her. “Kate. Marc can find someone else tae take over for ye. Iwillna have ye in danger tae. Kate. since I graduated from college. “I saidye’re fired.have time to analyze it right now. “Wait. Icouldna stand it if anything happened tae ye. “Angus. I know you’re upset and worried.ye’re fired. He had more important things on his mind. I’m not some delicate little female who needs to be taken care of. plus it would take time to bring a new bodyguard up to speed on the case. You aren’t going to get rid of me if you fire me a hundred times. her hand still poised over the phone. Time we don’t have. I’ve been doing things like this. “‘Tisbad enough knowing someone wants tae hurt me. and worse. I’d go crazy if I weren’t with you. “You listen to me. but I need to do this.” Her voice dropped an octave and her hand gentled in his hair. would you leave me?” He should have known he’d never win this argument. She opened the phone again. but he put his hand over hers.

Angus. you don’t expect me to tell my employees I want them to guard my house so I can have hot sex with my lover. I won’t be alone. “What the hell do ye mean. When they come after you. “We’re going to set a trap.“Don’t do anything stupid. Suddenly what had bothered him about her earlier statement sank in. And you don’t have to bellow. “Calvin? It’s Kate. we’ll be ready for them. You can take nights. How are things going at Safety First?” She listened for a few moments. he wasn’t in control of his surroundings. Francine can take days. Marc and Linda are going to let everyone know you’re staying with me. “Ye called me a client.” He forced himself to calm down.” “This Calvin works for ye?” . “Yeronly one person. I want you to call Chief Black and ask him to increase the police patrols around my house. I’ll call and give you the flight number as soon as I know it. she closed the phone again.” “If you’ll ever let me use the phone. I’m bringing a client to my house and I want someone out front in a car round the clock. With a sigh. and then nodded in satisfaction. Tae much could go wrong.” As soon as she hung up. He owes me a favor so it shouldn’t be a problem.” She smiled and picked the phone up from the floorboard. Kate. The sooner the better. and I’ll need you to pick us up at JFK. Also.” Angus bit his tongue as she dialed. Kate was right about one thing.Ye’ll be careful. I have excellent hearing. A ball of nervousness had settled in his stomach like a bad fish dinner.” “Well. I’ve got something else I need you to do. Tomorrow morning. ‘when this person finds you’?” he roared. Idinna like the thought of yedoin ’ this alone. He wanted this over. It wasn’t an experience he would care to repeat. right now you’re both. he glowered at her. “Good. Oh. It’s the only way to end this thing. do you? Besides.” “I never do anything stupid. For the first time in his life. so tell Kim she’s in charge of the office for a few days.

very good. keys and credit cards. Or she takes the jobs where she can work days while the kids are in school. He runs things for me when I’m on a job. Usually. Apparently. Angus. The extra she earns from me helps make ends meet. “I’ll get that for you. Calvin.” “And the other one?” She put the phone away then turned on the seat to face him. divorced.” “They’re both good at their jobs?” “Yes. she works part-time. McLeod. and he had to quell the urge to offer him the other bag. She was grinning hugely as she made the introductions. this is Calvin. And his wallet. “We had better. “Angus. too. She was wounded in the leg while she was on the force and draws a small disability. A montage of all the movie goons he’d ever seen flashed . Kate was used to the reaction.” The protest he’d been on the verge of making died as he gazed up at the man standing in front of them.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek. He went to work as a bouncer when he was fourteen and he was the first person I hired when I started my company. I have plans for ye. but he’s really a sweetheart. they wouldn’t be working for me. “Francine? She’s an ex-cop. “But I’m better. Mr. He looks like a huge pit bull. Sir.” ***** Angus tucked one bag under his arm and was reaching for the second when a meaty fist the size of a Buick closed around the grip. and he doubted anything but an industrial scale would give an accurate reading of the man’s weight. woman. You’ll like him. with two kids.“He’s my right hand man.” He was having trouble doing anything but stare. We will get through this.” He hooked his arm around her neck and pulled her closer. when her ex has the kids. If they weren’t. Calvin was at least six-foot-nine.

” Calvin gave a brief nod and took the other suitcase. The only incongruity was his eyes.” “I bet hedoesna need tae often. Compared to Calvin. “Call me Angus.” For the first time in his experience. deep chocolate brown.” Calvin held out his hand. “And don’t let his size fool you.” “That’s the idea. the reflected glow threatening to blind the unwary. felt it swallowed whole before Calvin gave a gentle shake and released him. but this guy made him feel positively delicate. one big enough to fit his size. there was no fat on the man anywhere. “Mr. glistening under the harsh airport lights. We’re lucky he just finished a job. Angus offered his own. “He doesn’t talk much. If eyes were really the windows of the soul. His head was bald. “Car is this way. leaning with a marked degree toward the left side of his face. Scars crisscrossed his skin like the work of a slightly insane impressionist painter. His lips were thick above a square chin that vanished into his neck. He can move fast when he needs to. leaving the backseat for Angus. People parted in front of Calvin like a tide rushing out to sea. One look at him and the villains would run the other way. As far as he could tell. only solid muscle. While they rode. and his nose was flat. she filled .” The car Calvin stopped at was an old Cadillac. They were a rich.through his mind in a split second.” Kate leaned closer to comment. the worst of them looked like pansies. tilted at the corners and fringed in long lush lashes that any woman would have killed for.” She smiled as they followed Calvin outside. McLeod. there was no fighting their way through the crowds at the busy airport. Angus was used to being the largest man around. Kate climbed into the front. Hesitantly. then this man’s monster exterior concealed the spirit of an angel. “He’s one of my best guards.

“Alone at last. she doesn’t usually have much to do with men. “Let’s go. man or woman.” The burly guard stepped outside and closed the door behind him. then leaned her back against the wood. “Everything is secure. Kate headed for the door. But now I’m afraid tae touch ye. “Yedinna have tae worry. let me know but don’t do anything without my orders.” A chill ran over him as she pulled her gun and vanished into the house. “Anyone lurking around the house who looks suspicious. “Keep an eye on him until I check inside. he suspected they would have become that way fast.” They climbed out of the car. Do you want me to make you some coffee. He was studying Angus. anyway.” “That’ll do.” The rest of the ride passed quietly. all of them lost in their own thoughts.” .” If his intentions hadn’t already been pure. Just as soon as she comes tae her senses and agrees tae marry me. stepping aside so Calvin could deposit the bags on the floor. “The boss. his eyes narrowed.” Kate met them at the door.Cal ?” “Naw. I’d really hate for her to get hurt. We want to lure this person into the open. Did you reach Francine?” “Yeah.” “Aye. I don’t think we’ll have long to wait.” she finished.” “Good. nodding occasionally. Idinna relishhavin ’ my bones broken. then. and Calvin opened the trunk and lifted out the suitcases. She’s taking over at seven in the morning. She locked it.Calvin in on all the details of the job. A glance at Calvin showed him the man had something else on his mind. As soon as the caddy came to a stop in her drive.Got a thermos under the seat.Yer Calvin is a bit protective of ye. smiling. Later. He listened without comment. “So.Yer boss isgoin ’ tae be my wife.

closing her fingers around his erection. When he was naked. Her breasts were the perfect size for her frame. with enough curves to enhance her femininity. his mouth teasing hers. “To hell with the condoms.” The words sent heat shimmering through his body. Her skin was naturally a light tan.” She wrapped her arms around him and clung tightly. God. “You better take advantage of the peace and quite tonight. slid his length between her legs. ‘I’d really hate tae see her hurt. seeking and meeting the heat he’d located. I’m tired of messing with them. His eyes closed in sheer pleasure. and felt like velvet to his touch. barely stopping himself from plunging inside. but he finally dropped her on the bed and stripped out of his clothes. Kate watched him with heavy-lidded eyes. Elbows propped behind her. Angus. peeking through the curls. God. he paused to admire her.“What did he say?” She took a step closer and started undoing the buttons on his shirt. . he prayed as he started down the hall. The trip seemed to take forever.” “Then you don’t have anything to worry about.’” He deepened his voice to mimic Calvin’s. As he knew he would. just let him make it to the bedroom.” She undid his pants and reached inside. “It wasn’t so much what he said as theway he said it. “Are you planning on hurting me?” Her hands had reached his belt. Her muscles were sleek and tight. his hips pressing forward in an instinctive move. freeing him from the constriction. With one move he stripped her dress away then lifted her. knees bent.” “Tell meye’ve got plenty of condoms. sliding her skirt up her legs.” he murmured. he encountered only warm bare flesh. already enlarged with desire. Besides. He had to taste her. “I plan on making ye feel very good.” he begged. he decided. “Nay. she had the sexiest body he’d ever seen. Things could get hectic tomorrow. “I love you. He glanced at hercunt and his cock jerked when he saw her small clit. and Kate laughed. and so sensitive the dusky nipples tightened under his gaze alone.

“Have ye ever wondered what it would it be like tae have amon pleasure ye with his mouth while ye were being fucked. And along its entire length ridges circled. it was twelve inches long with a loop at one end that served as a handle.yer about to find out. It almost seemed too pretty.” “Ye’veused it?” He arched a brow in question. When she was adjusted to his satisfaction.” she whispered.” “Now ye do.His mouth watered with the need. “Will this do?” He took it from her and examined it. Approximately the circumference of a large cock.” Angus smiled. but it’s at the bottom of my suitcase. “It looks like modern art. “It’s a sex toy.” Inserting two fingers through the loop at the end of the exotic dildo. and pulled out an object that looked like solid glass. “Did ye bring the vibrator. “Yes. “No. then pushed Kate gently back until her shoulders were supported.” As he stroked her leg. he slowly ran . “Well. Katie?” Her eyes widened. “Yes. Crystal and I each bought one at a shop inManhattan we wandered into last year. It’s made from solid hand-blown glass. Idinna want tae wait long enough tae dig it out. or use it as is. chill it in the fridge. he knelt between her bent knees. “What is it?” Kate smiled. You can heat it in the microwave. she leaned over. one after the other. Tae bad. and he knew how much she liked to watch.” he commented. The half-sitting position would give her a clear view of the proceedings.” He propped both pillows against the headboard. I didn’t have anyone to use it with. “Many times.” “Ah. by any chance?” he asked. Besides. opened the drawer on the nightstand.

Kate’s hips arched off the bed as he began a steady pumping. nuzzled it. noting the way her thighs tensed as it slid over her clit. I’m coming!” . Oh.” she gasped. God. He wanted this to last. God. and the moisture pooling at her entrance. It was already so engorged that he didn’t even have to part her folds to reach it. Just seeing Kate’s pleasure had him ready to come.” As he obliged her. God. nipping the folds and then lathing the opening where the dildo glided in and out. Her hands fisted in the sheets as he continued to tease. he turned the glass tip to her entrance. “Angus! Oh. his feet hanging off the end of the bed. he licked the distended node. He went back to her clit. making sure it barely stretched the opening. my God. never letting the glass slow from its plunging course. her head tossing on the pillow. he stretched out on his stomach. Kate buried her hands in his hair. Using only the tip of his tongue. And the third. but he forced his mind back to what he was doing. sucking with strong pulls. please. he swirled it in her dew. and then dropped a soft kiss on the area. But instead of moving on to her clit. deep pink flesh. She took almost all of it before he stopped and made a slow retreat. “Oh. The small nodule pointed skyward as though begging him to taste. he took her clit in his mouth. Very slowly. he licked lower.” Kate’s husky voice was a steady chant now.its length down her slit. then the other. When her heels were digging into the bed and each touch had her lifting from the bed. “Oh. “Oh. he blew warm air over her clit. and his aching cock digging a furrow in the mattress. time after time like a cat lapping milk. Using the flat of his tongue. “I had no idea. letting the ridges massage the delicate. With a shriek. Angus. Faster. Lowering his head. Finally. They both watched as the first ridge entered her. he gave a slow lap up one side of it. forcing him even more tightly against her as her hips pumped frantically. Not until she whimpered did he allow the large object to slide in deeper. Then the second. her gaze fastened on the glass.” she breathed.

It seemed to go on forever. ***** “It feels like the damn thing is staring at me. he flipped her over. his arms locked around her waist. but he couldn’t give her time to recover. The very second she was positioned. Kate.” He turned his head and brushed his lips over her . Dropping the glass toy beside them on the bed. slid his arm under her hips.” Angus growled. That’s one of the reasons I loved it. sweat dripping from his forehead.” he whispered. he collapsed on top of her. sinking his cock to the hilt.” And to their surprise. an endless climax pulsing against his tongue. “Say it. deep and fast. still deeply embedded inside her.” “And ye liked tae be watched. he roared as he spewed come into the very depths of her body. he drove into her. he gripped her hips and increased his speed yet again. and he was no longer capable of gentleness. His cock swelled to such amazing proportions he wondered why it didn’t burst. Not even her whimpers could slow him as he rammed in hard. and lifted. Throwing his head back. he felt endless shudders wrack her body as she screamed her pleasure. “I need tae here it again. Angus. Kate’s fingers paused in the act of circling his belly button as she glanced at the poster. his voice rumbling under her ear. It took him a moment to realize that Kate had braced herself. His need was too desperate. When it was over.” She shifted her head and kissed his cheek. the words alone were enough to make him come again. Teeth clenched. When it was over. “I know. “I love you. It was as if you were watching everything I did. was shoving her ass back to allow him in even deeper. she was a shaking mess.Ramming the dildo in harder. But it wasn’t until he felt the first ripple of her second orgasm that he let himself go.

and when I finally did. I was so excited I barely got started before it was over.” He smiled. “Embarrassing.” “Was she?” “Aye. “Only when it’s by you. We’d been to a dance at school and slipped out in the middle.” “Itcouldna have been worse than mine.” His arm tightened around her.” “Nay. “Ye can ask me anything ye like. his thumb moving over the nipple. By the time we found a hedgerow I was a nervous wreck. the movement lifting her body. “So tell me about your first time when you were fifteen.” She rubbed her cheek on his chest. “My mother had very modern ideas about protection. “I haven’t brought any men home since I’ve had it. “I wondered how long it would take ye tae get around tae asking. Luckily.” A smile lifted the corners of her lips. I wasn’t sure what tae do next. either.” He laughed. Her name was Lucy O’Connor and she was two years older than me. Lucy never spoke tae me again. Let’s see. Not that they did me much good before then.forehead.” “Didnait bother the men ye brought home?” She hesitated.” He cupped her breast with one hand. I didn’t need to. then shrugged. I’ll always tell ye the truth.” “You told your mother all this?” “Only the part about the condoms. But you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want too. ‘Twasa good thing she was no virgin.” . “After what Maggie said you can’t blame me for being curious. I shredded two condoms trying to get one on right. I wanted tae be sure she knew I’d followed her teachings so she’d be proud of me. “What wasyer first time like?” She grimaced. she was more experienced and knew what went where.

” “Okay.” She arched her back to allow his hand freer movement. He practically made me sign a blood oath before he’d let me near him again. It seemed like everyone was having sex. All the ice did was turn it blue and shrivel it up even more. so I decided it was time to stop being a virgin and find out what all the fuss was about. It was my first year in college. I mean.” She lifted her hand and let her finger dangle. I knew what to do. but for some reason he didn’t like that idea. after he stopped screaming we applied ice to the appropriate part. “There was this guy in my English class.” Angus was laughing so hard the bed was shaking. However. “He had a little problem. He was a year ahead of me and a complete nerd. A dollar. Manual stimulation was the answer.” “I bet he was surprised. I was an adult.” “Tell me. I figured he’d be so grateful for the opportunity I was offering that he wouldn’t ask any questions. Didn’t bother me though. We undressed then stood there and stared at each other. “Well. Plus. So I invited myself to his dorm room to study.” “And?” He was grinning. I’m afraid I was rather cold blooded about the whole thing and convinced I knew exactly what to expect. Since I wasn’t seeing anyone that created a small problem.“Want to bet?” “Aye. Things were going from bad to worse. I wasn’t going to give up.” “To put it mildly. but I didn’t think they werethat sensitive. I thought rubbing it briskly might restore the circulation. So I grabbed him. ‘little’ being the operative word. It took another . all the books I’d read said they were sensitive. Seems he didn’t have any more experience than I did. So we sat down and discussed the issue very rationally. and concluded we could probably manage to get the deed done. “Things weren’t exactly coming to attention.” “You got it.

A smile lifted the corners of her lips as she heard snoring. When I asked him if he’d actually gotten the job done. Angus. “Ye really think something will happen soon?” She ran her hand over his chest and down his stomach. loving the feel of his skin. They aren’t playing games anymore.” She shifted to look at Angus and grinned. “Anyway. “You saw the house and read the note. but he was finally ready.” Angus disentangled himself and leaned over the side of the bed. and threw me out. When he straightened. I’ve always wondered if it was my fault.hour and so much kissing that my lips were numb.” “Thank you. his expression serious again. They’re coming after you for real now. I couldn’t see much difference. He dropped out of school a few days later. “You win. grunted for a while. “What happened tae the poor boy?” “I don’t know. “I wasn’t sure until two years later whether I was still a virgin or not. He stretched out and pulled her tightly against him. cradling her in his arms. he climbed on. he was holding a dollar. . she took the money and tossed it onto the nightstand. Angus had fallen asleep on the couch thirtyminutes earlier watching soaps on TV. he got all huffy and insulted.” Smugly. At leasthe said he was ready.” CHAPTER TWENTY Kate checked the doors and windows inCrystal ’s half of the house for third time before moving through the connecting door to her own living room.” He wiped the laugh tears from his eyes. and then rolled off.

he looked uncomfortable. “How much do you want to bet she’s right here inNew York ?” “No thanks. They suspect she might have left the country. Both of them are positive something horrible is going to happen. She didn’t really expect anything to happen during the daylight hours. but she finally agreed to make some calls and casually let people know where Angus is. and I contacted the sheriff inMaine . two boys raced by on scooters and she could hear the mailman’s familiar whistle as he delivered mail. Oh. After checking the backyard.She paused for a second just to look at him. They said Ellen McLeod vanished after she left the home. AndCrystal is even worse. All in all.” Kate grimaced. Francine’s red compact was parked across the street two doors down. . “How did it go?” “Well. There’s no record of her anywhere. He was dressed in his old jeans and a T-shirt. but it’s not much. “It’s the only way to get this over with. Have you heard any more from the detectives?” “Yeah. she pulled out her cell phone and sat down at the table. When she was done. Moving to the front window she flicked the curtain aside and peeked out. his bare feet sticking over the other. it took me almost an hour to convince Linda we had to use Angus as bait. They had stayed up most of the night talking and making love. At least now we’re expecting them. we’ll never know when this person could strike. his head resting on one arm of the couch. I don’t think she has any fingernails left. so she let the curtain fall back into place and headed for the kitchen. but it always paid to be ready. and she knew how nerve wracking this waiting could get. she poured a glass of iced tea and cleaned up the remains of their lunch. If we don’t. On her side of the street. and she could see the woman’s outline in the driver’s seat. His arms were clutched around a throw pillow. I don’t take sucker bets. but she didn’t have the heart to wake him. Everything seemed normal. “Marc?” She tried to keep her voice low enough not to disturb Angus.” She rubbed her forehead.

but I left a message with theTrent woman.” “Okay. be careful.” “Nope. Didn’t talk to him personally. ***** “Gin!” Angus scowled as Kate triumphantly slapped her last cards on the table. they would have used my cell phone number. “If it were Marc or anyone who’s in on this.” He only said it to watch her face pucker indignantly. but it’s going to take at least a week before the place is livable again. Marc. “Let me guess. Call me if you hear anything else. for God’s sake. then gathered up the cards and shuffled. Kate’s hands went still as she looked at the instrument. She said she’d make sure he got it. And Kate. Ye were a card shark in a previous life. “Want me tae get it?” “No!” She put the cards down and rose.” She wrote down the scores. propping her feet on the one at the end of the table. thanks. I’ve sent a cleaning crew out and someone to dorepairs . I’d rather we stay here anyway.” “That’s fine.They didn’t get any usable prints from Angus’s house. right?” “He was the first one on my list. It made him too vulnerable.” “Will do. “I am not! I never cheat—” Her words were cut off by the ringing of the phone on the kitchen wall. I had a grandmother who was a card fanatic. It was going to be a long day. I didn’t like the beach access to his house.” .” She clicked the phone off and leaned back in the chair. “I thinkye’recheatin ’. You did call John Wesley.

“I can’t talk about it on the phone. she moved the receiver so he could listen too. The woman hesitated so long Angus thought she wasn’t going to answer. Miss Trent?” She held her finger to her lips. “I really have to talk with him.She lifted the receiver. Can I meet you and Angus at your house? Please. and a bit breathless.” “When can you be here?” “I’ll have to take a cab. “Yes. About thirty minutes?” “We’ll be expecting you. When he stood beside her. “Do you know where I live?” “Yes.” .” Kate arched an eyebrow at him and nodded. Ms. Who’s calling. Another pause. Carson. “Hello?” There was silence for a second. their heads touching. then she repeated the greeting.” She hung the phone up and turned to him. please?” Her gaze met his and she crooked one finger. she sounded agitated. An uneasy alertness settled in his stomach as he watched her. Ms. telling him to stay quiet. this is Kate Carson. When she did.” “Can you give me some idea of what this is about. her other hand straying toward her gun. Carson. It’s a life or death matter. beckoning him closer. and the hair on his arms stood erect. “Do you have any idea what she might want?” “Nay. Not now. I have your address. scared. I barely know the woman.

“Okay.” She lifted the phone and dialed another number. After all. Don’t stop her.” Fists clenched he paced across the room and back.” A combination of anger and worry was building inside him as Kate checked her gun. “Calvin? We’ve got a nibble. “Do you know how to use one?” “What’s tae know?” He waved his hands.” She crossed to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. Just don’t let it take over. “Practice. I’d rather not have you standing behind me with a loaded gun.” Standing on tiptoe.” She crossed her arms over her chest. Watch for an elderly lady.” He sighed and pulled her tighter against him. This time her grin made it all the way out.” Her lips twitched. “‘Tisnot. he ran a hand over his head. plain dresser. her gaze following him. “How can ye be so calm?” She slid theGlock back into the holster. “Ye point it and pull the trigger. That’s a sure fire way to lose control of the situation.” “I’m not edgy. short. but stay alert.” “Look. “Writing it and doing it are two different things.” He stopped and glowered at her. “‘Tisthe waiting I hate. and the fear that ye might be hurt. “Looks like the show is about to start. Try not to think about it. One of the first things I learned in this business was not to let fear or worry distract me from my surroundings. As edgy as you are. “Maybe ye should give meyer other gun. noting as he glanced out the window that full dark had fallen while they played cards. she kissed him. we . “Edgy can be good if you use it to stay alert. gray hair. I’ve written it a hundred times. “I know. “Then why is your hair standing on end?” Hurriedly.” She took a deep breath.

” He followed her to the living room. “Fine.” “Nay. “I’m sorry.” They both jumped when the doorbell rang.” He released her so fast she swayed on her feet.” She undid the locks and opened the door.” “Thendinna ask me tae do this. Miss Trent. blocking the entry with her body. Iwillna hide from a little old lady I could break in half with one hand. and his heart was pounding so hard he could hear it. please. If there’s danger. anyway. “It’s her.” Kate put her hand over her gun. Ye might as well get that throughyer stubborn head right now.” “Just a second.” He didn’t like the sound of that one bit. “Let me make sure it’s her. Carson. but Mr. Don’t go all macho on me now. McLeod’s safety comes first.” Kate frisked her . Ms.” She rubbed her forehead and nodded. doing his best to act casual in spite of the fact that every nerve in his body was tensed. “Thank you for seeing me.” “Angus. it’s my job. we face it together. I wouldn’t be here if I had another choice. “What do ye mean?” “I want you to stay in the bedroom until I check her out. “She’s early. Hold your arms away from your body. But please. I don’t suppose I could force you.” She glanced at the clock. He watched as Kate looked through the peephole. He shot a look at the clock. at least stay back until I make sure she’s not armed.” The woman looked confused at Kate’s command but did as she asked. I assure you.have no idea what this woman wants. “I’ll not hide while ye face her alone. “We’ve got a few more minutes and we need to talk about what you’re going to do when she gets here.

but it was taking so long. I’ll put the pot on. This is all my fault.” She sat in the chair nearest the back door. and I was so afraid he wouldn’t keep his promise that I went behind his back.” “A cup of tea would be nice.quickly and efficiently.” There was absolute certainty in Kate’s voice and Angus stiffened.” Kate shot him an eloquent look. A shredded tissue was clenched in her hand and her face was pale. he decided.” “You wrote the letters. call me Lois. “What do ye think wasyer fault. It was hard to be worried about someone who looked that nervous and worn. I should have found a better way to handle it. His curiosity was driving him crazy. John was so irate with me when he found out what I’d done. “Everything is my fault. then checked her purse. “Yes. I can’t tell you how sorry I am. “Okay. her eyes brimmed with moisture. As soon as her gaze met his.” She looked at Angus.” “John Wesley?” Kate joined them. Angus. McLeod. Even the brown dress she had on looked as though she’d slept in it. “Mr. “Yes. but I’d tried to talk with you alone so many times and never succeeded. Please sit down. Angus took the one across from her as Kate filled the pot and turned the burner on. then put her hand on the woman’s back. or your editor. Miss Trent?” “Please. I thought the .” “It’s no bother. you can come in. He told me to let him handle things. Mr. only then realizing she was holding the tissue in her left hand.” Angus got his first good look at the woman as she stepped around Kate.” She sniffed. but I was simply at my wits end. Yes I did. His gaze followed Kate’s to Lois. There were always fans around. “Why don’t we go into the kitchen where we can be comfortable? Maybe you’d like a cup of tea?” “I wouldn’t want to be a bother. or agent. McLeod. and her hair was coming lose from its prim bun. “It was never my intention to harm you.

“The first time I met him I thought he looked familiar. Shocked. Wesley? His uncle? “That’s it.” Tears filled her eyes. He looks like you. Angus.” It wasn’t until he sucked in a gulp of air that he realized he’d been holding his breath. I’ve been your mother’s best friend since we were little girls. Mr. I know her. Kate’s hand covered his and he gripped it tightly. the cup clattering against the table from her . and she needs to see you desperately before she does. “Until a few days ago. “Ye know my mother? Where she is?” “Yes.” Confusion swept over him. Older and slimmer. but that’s the extent of our information. trying to steady the world around him. are ye related tae me too?” “No. “And ye. It’s for her sake that I’ve done what I have. “I think you’d better tell us the whole thing.letters might make you look for your mother. “Give her the only chance for peace she’ll ever have.” He had to force the words past the lump in his throat. I was with her when you were born. he could only stare at her. She’s dying. Lois clasped hers like it was her only lifeline. He hadn’t even met his mother yet and he was already losing her.” Anguish filled him and he closed his eyes.” He ran a shaking hand over his face. We know now that Shawn placed her in a home inEngland . She’s at John’s apartment. but the resemblance is clear. Angus thought his mother had simply packed up and left him and his father. please. Miss Trent.” Kate leaned forward. McLeod. Lois.” The woman was twisting her tissue again. Kate stood up and poured the tea. “Why would she be at Wesley’s?” “Because he’s her brother. here inNew York .” “I want tae know everything.” Kate’s voice was soft. then carried the cups to the table. but I feel like I know you.

But Ellen laughed at my fears. “It’s true. She said your movements had dislodged the pillow and it had covered your face and she was just lifting it off of you.” “Until she had me.” he whispered. Including your father.” She took a deep breath. That made him her legal guardian.” . “Oh. He told us the same story when he committed her. no. Angus. “Because Shawn was her husband.” “But my father divorced her. no matter what they told you.” “It must have been very upsetting for all of you.” Kate commented. “Ellen was delighted when she discovered you were on the way. she never did. As it was.” Lois reached hesitantly across the table and touched his hand.shaking. and I believe her. John had no rights until Shawn died. She said Shawn would never hurt her.” “Whydidna her brother take her out if hedidna think she belonged there?” Lois looked vaguely surprised. He was so big and strong compared to her. I’m afraid it would have come to blows if Ellen hadn’t gotten hysterical. From the time we were children everyone loved her. John never forgave Shawn for what he did to her. happiest people I’ve ever known. Shawn put her in the home. Ellen swears Shawn misunderstood what happened. But Shawn didn’t believe her explanation. The second he did. But she didn’t belong there.” “So much she tried tae kill me?” Lois’s back stiffened. “John was positively enraged. “That’s not true. John accused him of having Ellen committed so he could go back to his other woman. He and Shawn had a horrible fight right there in Ellen’s room. that he’d found her trying to hurt you. “I was afraid for her when she told me she was marrying Shawn. And they did seem to be happy for many years. with an air of innocence about her that makes people want to take care of her. Ellen is one of the sweetest. She wanted you very much. John brought her toNew York .

not Ellen’s. To him. “Yes.” She nodded slowly. “Nay. praying you’d find Ellen on your own. Despite what they may have told you. you’re Shawn’s son. “Why didn’t you contact Angus years ago.” “And he hated Shawn. I want tae know it all. but he refused. couldn’t seem to make sense of anything. The doctors said it was fast acting. I begged him to talk to you.” He dropped his hands and straightened. he never divorced her.” Kate commented. but he never stopped loving Ellen. “No. her eyes worried. listened to every call that came in or went out.” He slumped in his chair and covered his eyes with his hands as shock after shock sent him reeling.” “You’re sure?” “Aye. Then. How could he have lived all those years with his father and never known him. we discovered she had cancer. He told me to stay out of it. I was afraid of what he’d do if he found out I’d told you. But John was adamantly against it. he didn’t. He was allowing me to live in his home so I could be with Ellen and help take care of her. After that he watched every move I made.” “I wanted to. His whole life had been one big lie and he didn’t know how to handle it.” Lois looked down at her cup. I couldn’t agree with what your father did. afraid he’d send me away. I don’t think he ever intended that you find out. and I knew time was running out. So I started sending the letters. Did you ever see any papers?” “Nay. that he’d take care of things. Lois? You must have known he was here. “Maybe we should put the rest of this off for a bit.” “Why make them so mysterious? Whydidna ye just tell me the truth?” . a few months ago. never even suspected? Kate touched his hair. “I couldn’t go against John’s wishes.The older woman’s voice softened and she sounded almost apologetic when she answered him.

Somewhere nearby. Abruptly. pausing to listen again. . tell him every word in each letter I sent.” A ghostlike chill chased its way down his spine as he watched her walk away. she stood and faced the living room.” She smiled at him. “You two go ahead. If I’d told you the entire story. though. “He never told me. It was for nothing. Further away. its deep snarls echoing off the quite houses lining the street. he would have known.” Her body trembled. a smaller dog responded with high-pitched yaps. I thought if I could make you act without being specific. CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE Kate stepped through the living room door and immediately turned the light off. I’ll be right back. an intense listening expression on her face. “What is it?” “Nothing. “I thought he was going to hit me.Lois sighed and lifted a hand to rub her eyes. But it was over. John could never be certain I was the one who’d done it. He made me confess what I’d done. she went to the window and pushed the curtain back an inch. but I think it was because he wanted to get you out of my reach until it was too late. a dog barked. They had found the stalker. The faint popping she’d heard a few minutes earlier had sounded suspiciously like gunfire. but her head was tilted. He caught me writing the last one. “Because I’m a coward. Moving silently.” He glanced at Kate.” “But why did he try tae get me tae go on a tour if he hates me so much?” Lois took a shaky sip of her tea. wasn’t it? Lois had admitted to sending the letters.

But the only movement came from the moths. she dropped the phone onto the couch and slid her gun free. The hair on the back of her neck crawled erect. Unclipping her cell phone. Breathing shallowly through her mouth. She heard nothing. the metal cool against her suddenly sweaty palm. but it didn’t matter. Had she heard a noise. she took a fast step through the door and to one side. For a second she contemplated turning the light on.Calvin’s caddy was parked in the same spot it had been last night. whoever was in the house . Calvin would never tie up his phone on a job. barrel pointed at the ceiling. skirting obstacles and pausing every other step to listen. and the feeling only intensified when she got a busy signal. then changed her mind. Turning toward the hall. the street lamp casting a glow off its chrome bumper. There hadn’t been another noise and yet all her nerves were screaming to stop. Which way? If she went back. It might blind whoever was there. She knew. and she sent up a little prayer to keep him there for a while longer. A glance at the front door showed her it was still locked and secure. And they would have the advantage of knowing her position. go back. she hit the speed dial for Calvin’s number. Someone was in the house. familiar as her own perfume as she raised theGlock next to her head. his voice full of tension. and in the faint light from the kitchen she would stand out like she was surrounded by neon. staggering in drunken circles up and down the dusty beams of light. Its weight was comforting. She studied the vehicle. Heart racing. she hesitated then glanced at the connecting door toCrystal’s side of the house. an old friend who had never let her down. Not unless it was an emergency. Time slowed to a crawl as she hesitated between the kitchen and hall that were mirror images of her own. tried to call the police. She could hear Angus talking to Lois in the kitchen. or was it only the house settling? Keeping to the rugs so her steps would be muffled. It was pitch black in the room. Every instinct in her was screaming that something was wrong. The scent of cleaning oil reached her nostrils. she eased the door open and stopped to listen again. she crept across the room. but it would blind her also. Taking a step away from the window. trying to pick out the bodyguard’s shape inside.

“Drop the gun. Now.could burst through the connecting door with one good kick. ***** “Why did ye break into tae my house and destroy it? Ye could have left the note without that. who cut the fence? Who left the last note and destroyed my house?” “John. But you were home. he wanted to find the letters. If she hadn’t broken into his house. the time he cut the fence. “The first time. knocking the chair backwards in his haste to find her. Then.” She flushed. adrenaline flowing as she prepared to leap through the door. Very slowly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why was Kate staying in the other room so long? Why had she turned off the light? And why couldn’t he hear her movements? Lois gaped at him in surprise. that you really were investigating them. but I thought it might make you take the letters more seriously. His anxiety was building by the second. Kate. someone dangerous was still out there.” “The one ye sent with the letter?” “Yes. He lurched to his feet. Ms. Saturday night at the party he found out that you’d turned them over to the police. “Including it was spur of the moment. and he didn’t dare confront you. But one look at Lois’s face told him he was too late. She lifted her gaze . The hall. She took another step.” Suddenly she had his complete attention. And froze when the barrel of a gun touched her temple. I wish I hadn’t done it. and that was to take the picture for Ellen. Carson. “If that was the only time ye were there. get them back if he could.” Angus was only half listening to LoisTrent’s replies. It would be much easier for an intruder to get in a bedroom window than risk entering from the backyard.” She sighed.” Dear God.” The command was followed by the click of a hammer being cocked. I think he went a little crazy. I’ve only been to your house once.

and fear slashed through him. Angus is her next of kin. “Very noble of you. Unless you want to end this now. Not that it will help my nephew any.” She took another step. Ms.to the door behind him.” “I don’t hate you. fear knotting his stomach.” “Iwouldna take her away from ye. and I’m an excellent shot. and thus her guardian. almost as though he were inquiring about the weather. John Wesley stood in the door. She’s not going back to a hospital. “That’s quite close enough. When she stood. “But you’re absolutely right. she placed herself between him and Wesley.” Putting his hands on Kate’s shoulders.” . if Lois hadn’t interfered. isn’t it Wesley?” Kate shifted in his direction and Wesley’s gun swung to cover her. Carson. a gun pressed to her head. please don’t do this. “John. With no warning he shoved Kate away from him into the center of the kitchen.” The gun swung back to Angus. her right hand was partially hidden behind her leg and he caught a glimpse of black metal. her face white. Part of him noted her holster was empty. She stumbled. Wesley? Yedinna even know me. I swear. tae be with her for what time she has left. “You just couldn’t stay out of this. her expression filled with horror. I only want the chance tae meet her. Wesley smiled. not to anyone. Angus moved her to one side. but he couldn’t look away from her eyes. “John. Carson. He’s a much bigger target than you are.” Angus spun.” Lois stood.” “That’s exactly why you’re doing it. she was pleading with him not to do anything stupid. you would never have heard from me. My sister is my responsibility and I won’t relinquish her again. Silently. “Legally. “Why do ye hate me so much. He’s Ellen’s son. went down on one knee before Angus could reach her. could you Lois?” Wesley’s voice was calm. holding Kate in front of him. On the contrary. Ms. Immediately.

“What happens to me doesn’t matter as long as her son is out of the picture.” “No!” Kate’s scream filled the room as she careened into him with her shoulder.” Angus strode forward. Everything seemed to be happening at once. You’re never going to get away with this. There was an explosion that deafened him and something heavy slammed into his body. Lois may be misguided. Why didn’t everyone shut up so he could find Kate. drag her behind him. “Then get it o’er with.” Desperation filled him. her head tilted. He was only dimly aware of Kate cursing frantically as she rolled to her feet. but he didn’t dare. He couldn’t allow Kate to continue.” Every muscle in his body tightened as Kate took another step. Wesley. He wanted to grab her. He’s called the police. shoving with all her strength. What’s going to happen to Ellen when you’re in jail?” Wesley gave a calm shrug. From his left. Wesley. I know she’ll take care of her. The same instant she fired.“Your father once said something along those same lines.” “I’m not lying. “Yewillna touch Kate?” Wesley’s gaze flicked to Kate. Lois was screaming hysterically as dozens of people filled the room. If Wesley saw the gun in her hand he’d fire. propelling him backward. “Do you hear that?” she continued. the . and it felt like his ears were stuffed with cotton. There was so much noise.” Kate stopped. I have nothing personal against Ms. make sure she was okay? The odor . and for the first time Angus realized he could hear sirens howling closer. but she loves Ellen and has her best interest at heart. “Listen. He lied. then back.22 in her hands. swarmed over Wesley in spite of the blood coating his shirt. the front door collapsed with a crash. too. “Apparently you didn’t manage to kill Calvin. his arms outstretched. “Not unless she forces me to. Carson. blocking Kate’s progress. couldn’t chance her getting hurt.

“I thoughtye’d never ask. A wave of dizziness sent his head spinning. McLeod?” In spite of the pain sweeping him away. or bled more than normal? He could be . He struggled to rise. “Damn it. do you hear me? The ambulance is right outside.” Her hand stroked his hair. tears dripping onto his face as she cradled him. his face. and the police had kept her busy with questions for over an hour. Icouldna let ye do it. half laughing.” he whispered. What if Angus had been hurt worse than she thought? What if he’d gone into shock. afraid she’d vanish again if he looked away. he smiled.” “Ye better hurry.” he whispered. Not yet. They hadn’t let her ride in the ambulance with him.couldna stand tae have ye hurt. and darkness flickered at the edges of his vision. “It hurts like hell. Don’t you dare go into shock. “Will you marry me. It had taken all her control to answer when her own fear kept intruding. his eyes fixed on her. “Katie?” She was there. “He shot me?” “Yes.” Angus licked his lips. “Can I faint now?” “No. held him in place.” He took a deep breath and winced.” “What possessed you to jump in front of me like that? You knew he was going to shoot.” Her lips touched his forehead. beside him.” ***** Kate’s heart raced even faster than her feet as she rushed through the hospital corridor. But ye weregoin ’ tae try something. It’s only a shoulder wound. You’re going to be fine. but hands pushed him down. I’ll shoot you myself. “There’s something I have to ask you first.” She was half sobbing.” “I hope ye do a better job of it. “And if you ever do anything that stupid again. He was having trouble keeping his eyes open.of cordite filled the room along with the metallic scent of blood. “Aye. McLeod.

she demanded his attention. alone. McLeod. the scent of antiseptic stinging her nose.” He spoke the second sentence to her back as she rushed through the door. He was sitting up. glowering at the nurse who was attempting to clean his wound. Yanking the heavy material back. “If you’d let us anesthetize the area this wouldn’t be hurting. you can take him home.” the nurse snapped. Maybe you can keep him quiet. so it didn’t hit any bones. Grabbing the doctor’s arm. I’d say he’s doing great. The woman was glowering right back. She nearly ran headlong into a white-coated man stepping out of an examination room. “If decibel level is any indication. but that’s about it. but they’re slower than a shot. if you’ll just hold still we can get this over with. “Mr. Another bellow sent her running to the curtain enclosed examining table at the far end of the room. she slid to a stop at Angus’ side. “Angus McLeod?” He jerked a thumb at the door. “You haven’t had anything for pain?” “We gave him some pills.” he told Kate. “In there. “Idinna like needles. looking embarrassed and apologetic. He’s going to be stiff and sore. “The blasted woman istryin ’ tae kill me. without her.” “Can I see him?” “Sure.” “I’m his fiancée. How is he?” The man grinned as a bellow erupted from behind him. The bullet went in at an angle.” he growled. his gaze fixed on the chart in his hand.” The woman dumped a . As soon as the nurse finishes cleaning the wound and bandaging his shoulder.” His head swung toward Kate.dying.

Calvin hung on long enough to call the police. “How’s Wesley?” “He’ll live. and you aren’t in any shape to be coherent. “The doctor said you could leave when the nurse is finished. “I need tae go tae Wesley’s apartment as soon as we get out of here. She didn’t want to stay away from your mother any longer than necessary.” He turned his head until his lips touched her palm. It wasn’t much more than a flesh wound. Some of the color had returned to his face and the pain lines around his eyes were easing. Wesley got him in the back. Okay?” “As long as yedinna leave me. right through the seat. Ma’am?” . Let me take you home and put you to bed. Katie. He’ll make it. and she knew he was weak and shaken despite his roars. You can see her tomorrow after you’ve cleaned up and gotten some sleep.” she soothed. ***** “Sure you don’t need some help getting him inside. Kate lifted a hand and brushed the dark.” He leaned his head against her as the nurse went to get a sling. and she could tell the pills were finally starting to work. He was still a pasty white.” he whispered. then closed his eyes briefly and nodded. then passed out. I have tae see my mother. “But it’s the middle of the night. but he’s going to be in the hospital for a week or so. You’d only scare her right now. The bullet went right through his side.red-stained gauze pad in a shiny chrome bowl and reached for the paper-wrapped bandages. The police have him in custody. sweat dampened hair away from his face. Calvin wasn’t so lucky.” “Miss Trent?” “One of the policemen took her back to Wesley’s apartment.” “I know you do.

“We’ll have lots of babies. I’ve always been the one taking care of everyone else. but I can take it from here. “I don’t believe you actually gave me a yes or no. The medication he’d taken had a tight hold on him now. They had tossed what was left of it at the hospital. a smile lifting the corners of his lips. I was afraid. If we weren’t married . and into the bedroom. While he swayed on his feet.” “What did I say?” His good hand reached for her and she caught it in her own. How could I still believe you’d be like my father after that? And while it was a stupid move. a whole houseful. Angus. “That was no dream. she pulled the blanket up then sat gingerly beside him. his head in her lap. she settled his head on the pillows then finished removing his pants. “You were willing to take a bullet to protect me.” He sighed happily. McLeod.” “I promise. no one has ever done anything like that for me. “No matter what I said before.” She hesitated.” His hand tightened around hers. “Only if you promise me they’ll have your hair. It had taken two tries to get him out of the patrol car.Kate smiled at the young officer. Easing him down. Angus.” She laughed. “What made ye changeyer mind?” “You. his voice husky. noting his half-lidded gaze following her. I did ask you. “I dreamed ye asked me tae marry ye. brought it to her lips.” “The answer is yes. He’d slept most of the way home from the hospital. and he was still more asleep than awake. I kept thinking if it didn’t work I could always leave. At least she didn’t have to try and get his shirt off. She managed to get him through the door someone had haphazardly repaired. His good arm was draped across her shoulder and he was leaning on her heavily. “Thanks.” She sat down on the side of the bed. Careful not to jar his shoulder.” She steadied Angus.” he murmured. she undid his pants and pushed them over his hips.

I could get out of the relationship. I don’t want to live without you. Katie. “Thank you. hurt little girl still dwelt and would.” he whispered. Her parents had headed down that path long before she was born. After twenty-two hours of labor.” “Ye’llne’er have tae. part of me would have died. you lied to me. But she wasn’t going to let that child rule her emotions anymore. If it hadn’t been for that picture. he looked worse than she felt.” she whispered. and . too. She’d come so close to losing him tonight that it sent pain streaking through her thinking about it. he was out of it. Only they could have stopped it.” As soon as his eyes closed. McLeod. but even under the influence of the medication it was a restless sleep. unable to resist touching him. “I love ye. for her fantasies surrounding it. “And I love you. that terrified. Epilogue “Damn it. Now try to get some sleep. It had been so foolish to think she could go through her entire life without love.” She leaned down and brushed his lips with hers. no doubt. If he’d killed you. Somewhere inside her. She gazed at Angus for a moment. she never would have accepted this job. But when Wesley shot you I realized I never wanted to get out of it. caressing him lightly. She watched him for a while. It was time to grow up and accept that she hadn’t been responsible for what happened to her mother. A smile curved her lips.” Kate glared at the man sprawled in the chair next to her bed. never met him. then glanced at the poster. to let what happened to her parents color her own view of the world. cause her problems from time to time.

” he said weakly. And with thick. “But she got the only thing she ever really wanted.” he grinned at her. holding the baby as though she were made of spun glass. “If anyone gets tae pushy. ye can always pull outyer gun. “Have you talked to Calvin?” “Aye. Katie. She died peacefully.” “It wasn’t luck. There had been several times she didn’t think he was going to make it. Margaret Ellen McLeod. I don’t know how I got so lucky. “Are you sure you don’t mind living in the city. weighing in at seven pounds and three ounces. Angus McLeod. He said tae tell ye not tae worry about Safety First. Angus hoisted himself out of the chair and leaned over to push the blanket away from his daughter’s face. At least not and stay conscious. Besides. “She has black hair. I can live with the publicity as long as I have ye by my side.” “That’s not what I meant and you know it.” She glanced down at the small. She even hasyer chin. warm bundle cradled in her arms.” “And the new house?” She reached over to touch his arm. I only wish my mother could have lived long enough tae see her.” She smiled at him. Kate’s heart turned over with love at the sight. black hair that looked like it had been styled with a cement mixer. So much for his promise.” He leaned down and kissed her. He’sgoin ’ tae drop by later today tae see the baby. ‘Twasthe least I could do after what my father put her through.she couldn’t help grinning.” “So you did. I told ye all along we were meant for each other. Katie. thanks to you. Angus?” “Stopyerfrettin ’. Your forgiveness and love. taking pleasure from the contact. “‘Twasfate.” “I know.” She reached for his hand. “She’s beautiful.” He lifted Ellie from her arms. “Nay. “You’re just a good man.” There was a fluttering movement near the door and she looked up to see Lois .” “I owed her that much. Everything is under control.

Ellen would be so happy to know what you’ve named her.” “They loved the same man. “I’ve never seen anything so amazing. Would you like to see the baby?” “Oh. with more requests coming in every day.” She grinned at him. She gazed down at the baby raptly.” “Has Maggie seen her yet?” “Aye. Her clothes were more stylish and her hair had been cut and colored.” “Of course you don’t.” “I heard you’d had the baby. was good for her. he put Maggie in her arms.” Lois put the flowers on the bedside table and turned to Angus. we couldn’t keep enough copies on the shelves. . your Lordship. “Idinna bellow. She was here the entire time. The woman lifted a hand to her chest. She’s wonderful. The baby settled down as soon as she felt her mother’s arms around her again. opened her tiny mouth. All the stores have it on back order. “How are sales going on Angus’s new book?” She asked Lois.” Kate mused. I had tae make her go home earlier or she’d have been asleep on her feet by now. “I wanted to bring you these. and let out a bellow that would have done justice to a stevedore. tears filling her eyes. “I suppose that gave them a lot in common. Maybe being in charge ofPages . yes. Kate pressed her palms over her sore stomach and laughed helplessly. “Oh.” The woman eased into the room. Kate mused. Have you started the next one yet?” She beamed at Angus.” The baby squirmed. She and Maggie became very close those last few weeks. Wesley’s chain of bookstores. I’d love to.” Angus looked indignant as he retrieved his daughter and handed her to Kate. my. her tiny lips turned down in displeasure. “Thank you. “I guess we know where she got that from. After the reviews came out.” Lois looked different these days. They’re beautiful. Lois.Trent hovering behind a bouquet of spring flowers. “Come in. Very gently.

“Well. We’ll call them later. anyway. “I love ye.” “I thought you might say that.” She smiled. “I’ll not be able tae fire him anymore. I have to get back to work. I hope you’ll allow me to visit occasionally.” Lois smiled at their banter. “Nay.” “They don’t know yet.” “‘Twill be strange having Marc for a brother-in-law. Lois.” “Sure you can. “But I wouldn’t mind hearing it again. She still thinks what happened was her fault.” His lips brushed hers. Lois is a kind-hearted woman.” Kate took her hand and squeezed.” They watched her leave.” “I don’t suppose you’d care to give me a hint about what happens to Katherine and Jack Connor?” Angus laughed.” Angus commented.Ye’ll have tae wait along with everyone else.“Aye. I didn’t want to disturb them on their honeymoon. They’re due back tomorrow. Katie?” “Yes. Kate.” . And he’ll keep right on ignoring you like he’s always done. “Have I told ye today that I love ye. and it’s almost done. then Angus settled himself on the bed beside Kate. “I expected your sister and her husband to be here.” “Thank you.” She sighed and glanced around the room. “Of course we will.” He curved an arm under her head and gazed down at her and the baby. “Do ye think she ever visits Wesley in jail?” “Probably. You’re welcome any time.

None of this would have been possible without you. Maybe it took being a mistress tae turn ye into a wife and mother. “I can live with that. Katie.“And I love you. Ye only needed a reason tae do it. Angus. You’re going to be stuck with the mistress for the rest of our lives.” “Ye always had the courage. “But I’m making you another promise right now.” “Maybe. “For giving me the courage to face the past.” Kate glanced down at the baby.” She smiled.” His smile was full of smug satisfaction as he held her. King The Pirate Queen By SusannaValent Simon’s Bliss ByTielle St Claire .” The End Also at Ellora's Cave Rayven’sAwakening By Sherri L.” “For what?” His finger traced her jaw line. “Thank you.

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