Title: Waiting for the Laird
Author: Willa Blair
Genre: Contemporary Romance (Ghost)
Widow Lara MacLaren hungers for the hunky architect she hires to restore her derelict Scottish manor, but is she ready for a relationship...and is Ian ready for her twins?
Ian Paterson is eager to awaken Lara's passionate side. Yet, if he reveals his ancestral claim to her estate, he risks losing her and his job. His clan’s history, lost over the years, may be hidden in the walls—along with a ghost waiting for the laird's return.
When they uncover a room full of Jacobite treasure, proof of his ancestry, Ian realizes he’s out of time. If the ghost is real, it could expose his secret and destroy his romance with Lara. Ian must convince her she and her twins are the future he truly wants.
“There he is again!”
Peals of childish laughter echoed through the halls of Lara MacLaren’s Scottish manor house, Cairn Dubh, punctuating the cadence of running feet.
Since getting home from school, Amy and Alex had been whispering about “it” when they thought she couldn’t hear. When they knew she could overhear them, they used their twin-speak, a verbal shorthand that made them nearly unintelligible, even when they were standing right in front of her. It drove her batty, but their closeness also warmed her. She supposed keeping secrets from her was one of the ways they comforted each other since their father suddenly passed away.
If only she had a twin to comfort her.
But, of course, she did—two of them—when they weren’t driving her to distraction.
“Be careful, you two!” Lara didn’t know what set them off this time, but the unseasonably warm weather in the Highlands had recently turned to cold and snow. With Halloween approaching, it would be easy to imagine ghosts and goblins in a centuries-old place like this. Most likely, a mouse had taken up residence. The stray cat who’d moved in with the cold weather probably chased the mouse into its hole with the twins in hot pursuit.
The lovely warm fire in the hearth made it hard to leave the library, but she knew her twins. She set aside her book and shrugged on a sweater. Past the dining room and kitchen, the “hallway to nowhere” that used to end at a blank wall now led to the new opening into the unheated part of the house—the last stage of the entire renovation project.
Ian and his workmen cut an access into it this morning. Before he left for the weekend, he taped plastic sheeting over the gap in the wall to keep the heat in the restored main house. But as a barrier against the twins, mere plastic was worse than useless. He needn’t have bothered.
Calling out, “Amy! Alexander! Get back here this instant!” she hurried in the direction of the twins’ voices. Since they constantly traded off the nicknames Trouble and Double-Trouble, she had no doubt they’d ignored Ian’s advice and her orders to stay out of that wing until he declared it structurally sound and safe. The twins, like most kids their age, could be curious and heedless of danger.
“Aw, Mom!” Amy’s voice echoed up the hallway, dripping with disdain for her parent’s concern. The older by three minutes, she had her father’s adventurous nature, the same drive that had them living in an old ruin in Scotland instead of on the beach in California. “We have a flashlight.”
Lara laid a hand against the stone arch at the entrance to the hallway, reluctant to venture past the warm glow of the kitchen lights painting the hallway walls. “I don’t care if Ian left on overhead lights in there. Get back here, right now. Ian said to stay out of there.”
“There’s nothing in here,” Amy argued. “Come see!”
The change in her daughter’s tone from disagreement to invitation was so heartening, Lara actually took a few steps down the hall. But unless the twins started screaming, she couldn’t bring herself to go through the plastic barrier into the dark. No telling what might actually be lurking there. She shuddered at the idea of a ghost roaming the halls. Granted, being superstitious about this old estate seemed…silly. She wasn’t afraid, exactly. She just didn’t like dark places. Trying not to communicate her concern too strongly, she kept her tone light when she responded. “If there’s nothing in there, then there’s nothing to see. Come on, kids.” When they didn’t respond right away, she added more sharply, “Now!”
“We’re coming.” That from Alexander.
She could picture Alex, ever the peacemaker, grabbing his sister’s hand. Bless him. Left to her own devices, Amy would balk, but Alex had a way with her that prevented a lot of mother-daughter battles since they’d lost Angus.
She stepped back into the kitchen and pulled a bottle of milk from the refrigerator. She was reaching for a saucepan when the twins appeared, covered in dust and, in Amy’s case, defiance. Alex held the flashlight. Lara guessed he’d threatened to leave Amy behind in the dark.
“Ian told you not to go in there,” she scolded. “And now look at you. You’ve got dirt and dust all over you, and you’re tracking it on my clean floor.”
They both studied the floor tiles.
“Look,” she said, setting aside the saucepan and planting her hands on her hips, “I don’t care about a little dirt, but I do care about both of you. I don’t want something to happen to you.” Maybe laying on the guilt would work where ordering them to stay out had not. “Promise me you won’t go back in there until Ian says it’s safe.”
Alex nodded first, then Amy.
Okay, maybe they’d pay attention this time. Chances were slim, but she could hope—and keep her mommy radar set on max. Time for a little positive reinforcement. “So, now that you’re straight on the rules, anybody up for hot chocolate?”
Their heads snapped up, and they glanced at each other, blinking in the kitchen’s overhead light, then back to her. She could almost hear them thinking, All right! She’s not that mad.
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If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?
A Star Trek transporter, so I could go anywhere (on this planet, anyway) easily, safely, and instantaneously. Like everyone else, I’m tired of the confinement resulting from the pandemic. But I’m staying put until it’s safe for everyone to be out and about. Still, wouldn’t it be great to have a transporter?
Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:
Secrets! Jacobite history! Unexpected love! Precocious eight-year-old twins! And of course, the ghost!
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Runs October 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on November 1.
Romance author Willa Blair has published nearly twenty titles, including her bestselling Highland Talents and His Highland Heart series. She is also the author of the contemporary ghost romance bestseller Waiting for the Laird.
Her books have won numerous accolades, including the Marlene, the Merritt, National Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, Reader’s Crown finalist, InD’Tale Magazine’s RONE Award Honorable Mention, and NightOwl Reviews Top Picks.
For more information about Willa Blair and her books, visit her website at www.willablair.com.
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