Architect, Dane Lovell takes an off-season vacation in an old New England mansion, hoping to ease his broken heart, and spark his imagination. Impressed by the pretty gardens, he’s surprised by the sinister atmosphere of the river that winds through the estate. Dane tries to immerse himself in his drawings, until the sound of the back door smashing open shocks him from his work.
Spooky, gorgeous, and enigmatic Zachary Yarrow has brought logs for the fire. He’s the estate gardener and brings with him not just passion and a love affair for Dane, but a strange, spine-tingling mystery.
Who is Zachary, and what will happen when Dane finds out?
The gardener slotted his logs into the spaces between other logs already in the nook bricked into the side of the fireplace. “Zachary Yarrow.”
Dane folded his arms over his body, wishing he’d thought to close the door as chilling air swept along the hall and into the room. “Dane Lovell.”
Zachary stood, having completed his task. “You’re here off season. I guess you know. I always do the gardens off-season—have done for the last—well, for years. When I’m here, I usually stay in this cottage. I guess I need to find somewhere else this time.”
Cold, Dane accepted the information with a nod. “I need to close the door, Mr. Yarrow.” He returned to the back door and closed it up.
Zachary Yarrow had followed. “You can call me Zachary.”
Dane hung around near the back door. The gardener showed no signs of leaving and Dane didn’t know how to be rude enough just to ask him to go.
“It’s way too dark to garden. You’re wet through.” Dane’s gaze ranged over the sodden sweater Zachary wore, and along the rain-darkened jeans covering Zachary’s muscled thighs.
The guy has to be cold. “Can I offer you a cup of coffee?”
Zachary grinned happily. “A cup of coffee, yeah, that will be great, thanks.”
Dane led the way back into the kitchen. “Sit by one of the radiators and try to dry out a little.” He put water to boil and heaped instant into mugs. “I can lend you a dry sweater…”
Zachary leaned close to the radiator. “It’s okay. I’ll drape my sweater on here. It’ll be dry in no time.” He pulled the soggy item over his head and arranged it on the hot metal flutes.
Dane experienced a shock of attraction as he took in the smooth, muscled chest on display when Zachary turned to him.
“Look, it’s already steaming.”
Dane tore his gaze from Zachary’s body and glanced at the sweater. The kettle boiled and he whipped around to make the coffee, thankful for the diversion.
“Do you take sugar or cream?”
Zachary’s voice came from immediately behind him. “Black, thank you, no sugar.”
Dane closed his eyes to dissipate the surprise Zachary’s silent approach gave him. He edged around to face Zachary, who stood so close Dane’s composure flew clean away as his whole body reacted to the proximity of this complete hunk.
Holy hell, he is completely gorgeous. Dane stepped sideways and picked up a mug. He handed it to Zachary. “Coffee, er, sorry, its instant. I’ve given myself a vacation from grounds and filters.” He smiled apologetically.
Zachary studied him for a few seconds.
Dane had the distinct feeling Zachary knew exactly what he was thinking.