Technical analyst for the International Protective Network, Rachel Grant arrives in Sunderland intent on tidying up her grandmother’s cottage, but the disaster she discovers requires more than a gentle sweep of a dust rag. Determined to please the most important person in her life, she trades her computer keyboard for a hammer and nails to make the repairs. She doesn’t count on the chilly reception from the locals who want to claim Nan’s home as their own. Tour guide Aidan Camden wants to buy the cottage. He’s determined to acquire the property no matter how attractive he finds the current occupant. However, when tragedy strikes, throwing them both into a tailspin, he discovers he wants more than the house. He longs for the sexy American as well. Can Aidan put his own ghosts to rest in time to save the woman who’s claimed his heart?
“A bit of a disappointment, I expect.” A rich, deep voice with a twinge of an English accent drifted from behind her.
She whirled around. Her hair whipped against her cheeks and made her wish for the hundredth time she hadn’t packed all her hair clips.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
The stranger paused beside the edge of the clearing, and her heart stuttered. Although no one would mistake him for a Hollywood leading man, the guy could command attention by stepping into a room. Or onto an island.
“That’s okay. You didn’t.” She permitted her gaze to wander over him.
He kept his hands stuffed into the front pockets of faded jeans. The wind tore at his gray long-sleeved shirt, outlining the contours of a well-defined chest. Unruly light brown hair touched his collar. High cheekbones accented his deep-set eyes. Not friendly eyes, but no threat lay behind them either, at least none she could uncover.
He pulled a hand from his pocket and held it out. “Aidan Camden of Dawson Tours, your neighbor from across the water.” He tipped his head toward the way he’d come. Camden. His name sounded familiar, but why? She shook his hand with a hint of hesitation. “Rachel Grant.”
His fingers warmed her skin, his grip strong and confident. Awareness trailed along her arm. Then again, it could be the accent that made her skin tingle. British accents never failed to stir her emotions.
A trace of a smile danced on his lips. “Aye, the American.”
Huh. “You know of me?”
A low rumble of laughter slipped from his mouth, the sound relaxing her from deep within. “Word travels fast here. I saw you paddling your way out.”
Paddling? No, he’d seen her fighting with the oars. Until today, she’d never set foot on a boat, much less held an oar. But she would consider swimming across the Atlantic Ocean if it would make Nan happy.
“Tell me, Mr. Camden, are you in the habit of following foreigners?”
“No, lass, but you’re all the talk of the Roker area. The mighty Grant descendant come to see about selling the family cottage.”