A Scot’s Surrender (Book 3 of the Townsends)
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.
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Just as Robert was stepping inside, a dark, wet blur shot past his feet and sent him sprawling. He fully expected to land face-first on the hard stone of the great hall, but Cameron’s hand caught his arm and hauled him up roughly.
Watch himself? It wasn’t Robert’s fault the bloody cat was a menace. The servants’ door had a hole cut from the bottom, specifically so the cat—named Willoughby by Annabel—could come and go, and he still insisted on using the entrance to the great hall instead.
A bit high in the instep really, that scoundrel Willoughby.
Robert didn’t dislike cats, but he’d always been more of a dog person himself—one knew where one stood with a dog. They didn’t stare at a person with those unreadable, impassive eyes. With cats, it was impossible to tell if they liked you or if they might be plotting your murder.
Rather like a certain person he knew. Except that was more of a debate between complete and utter indifference or murder.
He pulled his arm from Cameron’s grasp. Too quickly. Too abruptly. “Thank you,” he said, trying to sound calm.
He usually got along with people much better than this. He usually had no trouble being charming enough to get past their defenses when he chose to. And he’d tried. He couldn’t say he hadn’t tried. Cameron was either all defenses, or he just didn’t like Robert very much.
Robert didn’t know why he let it bother him—he shouldn’t care about the opinion of one lowly factor.
But around Ian Cameron, Robert felt like a piece of refuse, and he was starting to hate it.
And the feeling was made all the more potent by the desire that he couldn’t seem to shake.
He turned toward the man. His hair was slick with rain, curling into wet tangles at the nape of his neck, and darkened, like red-black velvet. “Why do you dislike me?” Robert blurted out. “I’ve never been unkind to you, have I?”
Cameron cocked his head. There was an expression, there and then gone. Robert didn’t have time to decipher it.
“Dislike ye?” He almost sounded amused. His lips were curved slightly, more of a smirk than a smile. Cameron seemed incapable of a pure smile, of happiness without a touch of derision. “Why do you assume I think of you at all?”
Robert felt heat crawling up his throat.
Before he could even figure out how to respond, Cameron was speaking again. “Thank you for the coat,” he said, as pleasantly and formally and coolly polite as though the last few seconds hadn’t even occurred.
He dropped the cloak into Robert’s hand, leaned against the wall to peel off his muddy shoes, and then strode away without a backward glance.
Robert felt like he’d just been dismissed by someone of higher rank. Theo really shouldn’t employ someone who was so…undeferential. Of course, maybe he was perfectly deferential when Theo was around. Maybe it was just Robert.
Why do you assume I think of you at all?
His grip tightened on the cloak. The silk lining was still warm from the heat of Cameron’s body, from sleep-warmed skin. He quickly draped it over a hook.
The Rogue’s Conquest (Book 2 of the Townsends)
Wallflower Eleanor Townsend is not like most women. She has no interest in marriage, the ton, or fashion. Instead, her heart lies with science. And when the opportunity to present a paper arises, she takes it, even though it means dressing as a man. But her disguise doesn’t quite work. Someone notices—and the brute intends to blackmail her!
Former prizefighter James MacGregor wants to be a gentleman, like the men he trains in his boxing saloon. His first step is gaining a beautiful, wealthy wife. Eleanor Townsend is not that woman, but a chance encounter gives him the leverage he needs. She’ll gain him entry to high society and help him with his atrocious manners, and in return, he won’t reveal her secret. It’s the perfect arrangement. At least until the sparks between them become more than just their personalities clashing. But there’s too much at stake for James to give in to his growing attraction.
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She poured hot water over the tea leaves while the footman passed around plates of seed cake. MacGregor started eating his before the tea was ready.
She was going to reprimand him when she noticed he was staring at the cake with a strange, wrinkled expression. “What is it?”
“There are seeds in this cake.”
“It’s a seed cake,” she said drily.
“Caraway seeds. You’ve ruined a perfectly good pound cake by adding caraway seeds.”
“You don’t have to eat it,” she pointed out.
He scowled and drew the plate closer to him, before taking a large bite. “I never say no to cakes.”
Eleanor, Georgina, and Robert looked on as the man devoured a fairly sizable portion of seed cake in roughly three bites. He chewed, swallowed, said, “It’s a bit dry,” in a thoughtful tone, and then twisted toward her. “Are you going to eat yours?”
Eleanor blinked and found herself handing over her plate to his outstretched hand. He ate this piece in two and a half bites, and then looked up as hopefully as a dog at the dinner table, but Georgina and Robert had a tight hold of their own plates.
“Do you ever say no to any food?” she asked.
“Not if I can help it.”
She sighed. “Don’t ask Lady Sarah if you can have her plate. It’s not good manners.”
“Obviously,” he said. “What kind of idiot do you take me for?”
“You asked me.”
“You are not Lady Sarah,” he pointed out pragmatically.
When she poured the steeped tea into cups a few minutes later, her grip on the pot was white knuckled, and she didn’t look at MacGregor for fear she might lob a blunt object at his head if it crossed her line of vision.
Content Copyright Lily Maxton