When Chloe Sullivan’s great uncle dies, leaving her his house and a not-quite castle in the Highlands of Scotland, Chloe’s more than willing to take a vacation across the pond to check it all out. When she gets there, she finds out there's a catch—if she wants to keep her inheritance, she has to marry a Scot.
And her great uncle even left her a suggestion as to who.
Malcolm MacTavish is taken with the lovely, straightforward Chloe the moment he sees her at the airport. But they can’t enjoy more than a brief fling, since she’s planning to go back to the States. The more he gets to know her, though, the more he wants to try to change her mind.
Until he finds out about the will…
Chloe Sullivan had never been so tired in her life. With a sigh, she shifted her carry-on bag for the sixty-first time in the past fifteen minutes and dragged herself down the long concourse of the Glasgow airport.
Twenty-four hours ago it had seemed like a great adventure. She’d been looking forward to the trip ever since the lawyers had notified her of the provisions of her great-uncle’s will. Now, after nearly eighteen hours without quality sleep, much of which had been spent on an airplane or standing in line in an airport waiting for tickets and endless security procedures, she was exhausted.
She’d talked to Jeanette MacAllister, Uncle Fergus’s lawyer and the executor of his will, the day before yesterday. The trip from Glasgow to Glen Dunn was rather complicated, she’d said, so she’d meet Chloe at the airport. Now, weary, vision blurred from lack of sleep, Chloe scanned the crowd at the terminal for a friendly face.
There were plenty of friendly faces, but none of them seemed to be looking for her. Fatigue and years of living in New York City made anger spark. She’d been abandoned at the damned airport, with no idea how to get to some Scottish hole-in-the-road…
She took a deep breath. Maybe Jeanette was waiting at baggage claim. Chloe adjusted her bag again, checked the signs for guidance, and gamely headed off in what she hoped was the right direction.
Suddenly a hand touched her shoulder. “Might I help you with that?”
Chloe turned, tensing, ready to defend herself if necessary, even though she hadn’t been able to bring her pepper spray on the plane. The man’s voice was in a mid-range, with an appealing Scottish lilt. His face was equally appealing. Light-brown eyes twinkled warmly under neatly combed dark hair. His smile creased one side of his face more than the other, giving it a lopsided look. He didn’t seem particularly dangerous.
“Um…” The hesitation came naturally to her big-city-conditioned soul. But this was a public place, and the bag was heavy… “Sure. Thanks.”
She surrendered the bag, and he took it, adjusting the strap over his shoulder. He wore a suit but no tie, and the top button of his shirt was undone.
“You’re American?” The music of his burr made it hard to tell if it was a question or a statement.
“Yes,” Chloe said.
“Aye. I came looking for an American. Would ye be Chloe Sullivan, or is that too much of a coincidence?”
She blinked. “Yes, it is too much of a coincidence, but I’m Chloe Sullivan.” Alarm bells went off in her head. Did he really know who she was, or had he read her luggage tag?
“That’ll save me a wee bit of time, then.” He held out his hand. “I’m Malcolm MacTavish. Jeanette MacAllister sent me to meet you.”
She nodded slowly. “I see. Where’s Jeanette?”
“Come down wi’ the influenza. She sends her regrets.”
“I see.” She felt obligated to be suspicious, but her deepest, most tired self wanted to trust him. “And I don’t suppose you have any proof of this?”
She liked the laugh as much as she liked the rest of him. Except the hair. It was too neat. Too suave.
“Nay, not a thing.”
They’d reached baggage claim by now, and Chloe stopped next to the appropriate carousel. It hadn’t started moving yet.
“Then what am I supposed to do?” she asked. “For all I know you could be some Scottish reincarnation of Jack the Ripper.”
He studied her. To her annoyance, amusement still lingered on his face, crinkling his mouth in that right-handed smile. “D’ye know the number to the solicitor’s office?”
“Sure. It’s in my purse.”
Lowering Chloe’s carry-on to the floor, Malcolm fished a cell phone out of an inside suit pocket. “Here, use my mobile. Ring them and ask if I’m safe.” He grinned. “Perhaps that’s no’ the best way to word it. Ask if I’m likely to kill ye.” The baggage carousel moaned into motion. “I’ll be finding your bag.”
“It’s big and blue,” Chloe offered as she dug her PDA out of her purse. Tapping a button, she found Jeanette’s office number and dialed.
“Oh, aye, Malcolm MacTavish,” said Alice, the receptionist at the solicitor’s office, when Chloe inquired. “Jeanette said she was sending him for you. He’s as safe as they come.”
“Could you describe him for me?” Chloe’s caution knew few limits. The baggage carousel regurgitated a big blue bag. Malcolm headed toward it before Chloe could react. She let him.
“Quite tall,” said Alice, “nicely built, dark hair, light-brown eyes.”
Malcolm had caught up with Chloe’s bag and bent to pick it up. The movement parted the tails of his suit coat and pulled his trousers tight against what Chloe had to admit was a finely formed posterior. She wondered what Alice would think if she asked if Malcolm had a nice ass.
“So far, so good,” she told Alice. “Any other distinguishing characteristics?”
“He wears a silver chain around his neck with a Celtic cross on it. His mum gave it to him.”
“All right. Thanks very much.”
She disconnected the call as Malcolm approached with the bag. “Am I safe, then?”
“Necklace,” said Chloe.
He drew a silver Celtic cross out from under his shirt. “Aye.”
“Where’d you get it?”
“My mum.” He grinned and pulled out his wallet. “There’s always this, as well.”
Chloe peered at the driver’s license he held up for her inspection, examining his photograph. “Well,” she said, flustered. “You could have stolen that, or killed the real Malcolm MacTavish.” She was blustering now, trying to cover her embarrassment and failing miserably. “Of course, then the picture wouldn’t look exactly like you, but I’m sure you’d be a clever enough axe murderer to figure out that little glitch, as well.”