When his brother leaves him in charge of Llynmore Castle, Robert Townsend is determined to make everything go smoothly. What does it matter if he’s inexplicably drawn to Ian Cameron, the estate’s stoic steward? Robert is sure he can ignore the way the Highlander’s apparent dislike of him gets under his skin. They’ll muddle along just fine so long as they avoid one another. An excellent plan…until a fire forces Ian into the castle—and Robert’s personal space.
Ian Cameron has worked for everything he owns, unlike spoiled Robert Townsend. And he may not have friends, but he has the Highlands and the stars, and what more could he really need? But when a guest’s stolen possession appears in his room, he doesn’t have much choice but to admit to the handsome and aggravatingly charming Townsend brother that he needs help. To solve this mystery, they’ll have to put aside their differences. And as Ian learns more about Robert, he’ll have to guard his heart…or it may be the next thing stolen.
Robert felt his heart jolt and his own breath stutter, fail, start again somehow, and oh, he wasn’t immune, either. He was the opposite of immune. Never in his life had he had such a visceral reaction to another person’s lust. It was just one more thing in a long list of things to worry about—death by stolen oxygen. “Please…just…” Words failed him. Those things that had been his companions and his joy and his art flew out the window, simply because he was close enough to feel Ian Cameron’s breath on his cheek. “Just…let me.”
And then he grasped Ian’s coat in his hands, closed the gap between them, and kissed him.
Ian was still, unmoving as a sculpture, and a moment of panic seized him.READ MORE
He’d misjudged. Ian didn’t really want this. Ian didn’t want him.
All the looks, the brief touches…he’d been searching, hoping for something that wasn’t there.
He started to pull away—
A quiet so complete the world faded.
Ian had taken hold of his waist.
Ian was kissing him back.
Like a wave, everything that had gone away came rushing back to shore. Sensation. Thought, flitting in and out of his mind like sparrows. His heartbeat, a dull roar in his ears.
Their breaths tangled. Their lips tangled. And impressions flooded him—Ian’s chest, hard beneath his hands, rising and falling in great, staggered breaths. His lips, surprisingly soft. His face was covered in a light stubble that scraped at Robert’s chin. The scent Robert had noticed before wasn’t just on Ian’s clothes, it clung to his skin, too—the smell of the moors—peat smoke and brine and cold, rain-drenched wind.
Ian’s hand was fisted at the bottom of Robert’s shirt, as though to hold him in place—as if Robert would even think about pulling back.
He was in this. He was in it too far to even think about stepping away. He couldn’t have stepped away even if he wanted to—Ian’s other hand maintained a steady, inexorable grip on his waist—but he didn’t want to. All he wanted to do was bask in the sensation of Ian’s mouth moving against his with a rough, quiet intensity that made his pulse falter.
Robert wondered if he was in over his head.
Maybe he was, he thought as he gasped against Ian’s lips, trying to draw in enough air to breathe and barely succeeding. Maybe he was drowning on dry land. But if Robert was drowning, Ian was melting. Thawing. Icy stoicism dripping down to something hot and intense, a flame that burned from within, brighter and faster than Robert could have imagined.
All he could do in light of that intensity was kiss him harder.