Title: Waiting for the Laird
Author: Willa Blair
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance
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.
“This is the oldest part of the keep, isn’t it?” Lara asked after they reached the next level.
“That we’ve found.” Ian played the flashlight beam around them. The floors looked sound, the boards level and unwarped. He didn’t see any water stains on the walls or on the joists high above their heads. “Probably the original structure, which explains the lack of windows on the lower level, for defense. It’s odd that someone took the trouble to brick up every opening,
including sealing the whole thing off from the newer construction. Even odder that over the centuries, no one
opened it up again.”
“Maybe the newer part was more comfortable to live in, so they just left the drafty old wing alone.”
“Maybe.” Ian swept the flashlight beam toward the ceiling. “This area was probably the original great hall. It’s too large to have been anything else. The height of the ceiling means the upper floor has a smaller footprint, and wraps around this space.”
Lara took a few steps toward the nearest doorway, surveying what Ian’s flashlight revealed. “It is strange that no one has tried to get in here lately—whether lately means decades or centuries.”
“This has always been private property, well off the main road and not easy to get to.”
She crossed her arms and shivered as she peered into the empty space over her head. “It’s more than a little spooky up here now.”
Was she cold? Or afraid of the dark? He’d give her the other flashlight, but he wanted her to stay right with him. If she had her own light, she might wander away and get into trouble. “It’ll be better once we clear the bricks from the windows and let in some sunshine and air.”
“How long will that take?”
“Not long, once Rollo approves the structure around them. But we’ll need to cover them with plastic, or glass them in quickly. The wet will ruin the floors in a hurry.” He glanced upward, though there was nothing to see but the underside of the floor above them. “’Tis a miracle the roof is still on. Roofed structures were once so heavily taxed, owners removed them from buildings no one lived in.”
“Is that why so many castles are in ruins?”
“It’s one reason,” he replied, resisting the temptation to mention how many had been destroyed in battles or pulled down to prevent English forces from occupying Scottish territory. “Whoever built the main house actually re-roofed this old wing to match the rest.”
“And yet didn’t bother to open up this wing. That is strange.”
Ian took Lara’s arm and led her to one of the doorways off the great hall’s open space, enjoying her nearness and how the light, fresh scent she wore distracted him from the dust and must of the age-old stone and wood surrounding them. He played the flashlight around the room, but it was empty. Lara shrugged, and they moved to the next. It, too, was empty. The floors continued to be sound, so he suggested, “Let’s go up,” and lit her way back to the stone stairs.
Lara glanced up the stairway and shrugged.
“Let’s,” she said and started up the steps ahead of him.
Though he kept the light on the uneven stones at her feet, she suddenly stumbled and softly cried out. Ian grabbed for her and got an arm around her waist before her knees banged into the step above. She sucked in a breath when he pulled her back against his body and held her there. He meant only to give her a moment to get her feet back under her but found he could not let her go. Instead, he wrapped both arms around her, annoyed he could only touch her with one hand. The other held their light source.
“Are ye okay?” Ian felt Lara’s ribs expand under his hand as she breathed.
“I am now,” she murmured. “I could have sprained an ankle, or fallen and hit my head.”
“You needn’t worry,” he answered softly. “I’ve got you.” Pressed against his hard length, right where he needed her. Though he knew holding her was a mistake, he couldn’t let her go.
Her face flushed. “You do at that. I…I…” She glanced at the ceiling, then returned her gaze to his. “Thank you…”
“You’re welcome. I don’t mind a bit,” Ian teased. Her body was firm, yet soft against his. She made no move to escape his embrace. He lowered his gaze to her mouth. Her lips were so close. So tempting.
Lara’s breath warmed his face. Her gaze met his, then dropped quickly to his mouth.
He was certain she meant to allow his kiss…and to kiss him back. He parted his lips, drinking in her scent, eager to taste her.
Something moved in the darkness below them, soundless, but stirring the cool air and whispering across his hands. The back of Ian’s neck prickled.
Lara stiffened and cocked her head, as if listening.
“Just a draft,” he murmured. Ian could have sworn it was only moving air, nothing more. He hoped. He’d grown up hearing tales about Cairn Dubh—and its ghost. If Cairn Dubh did have a ghost, this ancient space would be a fine place for it to haunt.
If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?
An English queen or Russian czarina. It would be fun to wear their fabulous jewelry!
Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:
“...this is my favorite ghost story I've read this year!” Amazon Review
“The paranormal aspects of the story were absolutely delightful. This is an absolutely wonderful story to read while curled up in a comfy chair with a nice hot drink, I highly suggest you pick it up and enjoy.” NightOwlRomance TOP PICK
"About 3:00am I finally had to force myself to stop and get some sleep…yes, it was that good.” TheReadingCafe
“…this is a great story for Halloween! There's suspense, romance, ghosts and Scotland. What more do we need from a tale?” Amazon Review
“A little paranormal, A little American and a whole lot hunky Scottish romance.” Amazon Review
“What a story! Romance, mystery, adventure, treasure hunting and a ghost! What more can you squeeze into a story? This was a great read!” Amazon Review
“After getting to know Ian, I wanted to hop on an airplane and head over to Scotland so I could find a laird of my own.” Books & Benches
“An author that pulls the reader into the story from page one and doesn't let go. Willa Blair has earned a permanent home on my keeper shelf!” Amazon Review
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Willa Blair is an Award-winning Amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 Bestselling author of Scottish Historical, light Paranormal, and Contemporary romance. She has been featured on and contributes to USA Today’s Happy Ever After romance blog, Savvy Authors, Romance University, and more.
Her books have won numerous honors, including the Marlene, the Merritt, National Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, The Reader’s Crown finalist, Historical Romance finalist and Honorable Mention in InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE Award, NightOwl Reviews Top Pick, and InD’tale Review’s Crowned Heart.
A life-long student and reader, she has been a stained-glass artist and instructor, a foreign language teacher, a computer scientist, an analyst, a manager and an executive. She has visited five continents and can get by in several languages. She loves scouting new settings for books, and thinks being an author is the best job she’s ever had.
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