Monday, August 25, 2014



Every dream can come true…in unexpected ways.

The only time Glenn Brody acted on the waking dreams his mother called second sight, he landed in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he keeps himself grounded in the real world, turning a neglected Scottish mansion into a co-op that gives ex-cons a second chance.

He’s almost managed to ignore the persistent, erotically charged dreams featuring a beautiful, passionate woman—until that woman accosts him in the street to ask for a job.

In hiding from her violent ex, Izzy Ross has made a peaceful life for herself and her young son in the isolated Highland village of Ardknocken. Handsome men with a criminal record aren’t high on her list, but when work dries up, she’s forced to ask Glenn for a menial cleaning job at the big, dusty house.

Their mutual attraction turns all their preconceived notions upside down, and stirs the mansion’s legendary ghost. Attracting the kind of media attention that could force Glenn to make a perilous choice to save the woman he’s grown to love.


Excerpt:Copyright © 2014 Marie Treanor
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
He didn’t look like a laird. He was big and rough, wore tatty, mud-stained jeans and a baggy grey sweater, and he crouched on the roof of the largest outhouse, hammering nails into slates. His thick, too-long brown hair was tied back in a careless ponytail.

As Fiona and Jeremy emerged around the side of the big house into the yard, he lifted his head to face them. For the tiniest instant, he remained perfectly still, then he slid down the roof and dropped lightly to the ground. He still gripped the hammer in one large hand as he walked toward them. Something in his stride reminded Fiona of a caged animal, its violence temporarily controlled but far from tamed. It did things to her libido—until she looked into his watchful, scarred face and remembered, finally, why his name had seemed familiar.

Oh shit! He was holding a hammer, and Jeremy had no idea who he was.

Frozen, Fiona watched Jeremy walk forward to meet him, hand outstretched. “I’m told you’re the laird,” he said jovially.

“I’m Glenn Brody.”

She was right. It was him—Glasgow gangster and reputed hit man, recently released after serving ten years of a murder sentence. And yet G. Brody was listed as the owner of Ardknocken House and estate.

Clearly, the name meant nothing to Jeremy, who’d never had the benefit of working in Scotland. He beamed at the ex-con. “Excellent! My name’s Jeremy Danehurst. I work for a television company called Genuine. This is my colleague, Fiona Marr—whom you may recognize!”

Brody took his time to shift the hammer to his left hand before grasping Jeremy’s in his right for the briefest shake. Then he glanced at Fiona, who felt like a rabbit trapped in headlights. Or staring down the barrel of a hunting rifle. His lips twisted slightly, but no one could have called it a smile. To her relief, he didn’t offer to shake hands with her.

Jeremy said, “Fiona’s going to be fronting a new series we’re doing on haunted houses.”

“Another one?” Brody said sardonically.

“This one’s going to be a bit different,” Jeremy assured him. “We’re looking at historically significant places, bringing genuine background into the story of the haunting. So we’d love to feature Ardknocken House in one of our programmes. You should have had a letter, but we didn’t receive your answer, so I don’t know—”

“I didn’t send any answer,” Brody interrupted. “I understood that would be taken as ‘no’.”

Jeremy laughed easily. He was good at this stuff. But even his southern English ears must have picked up Brody’s accent, by now—hardly public school, or even regionless Scottish like her own. Brody’s was pure Glasgow. Although, admittedly, you could make out the words.

“Mr. Brody,” Jeremy said with an expansive wave toward the weathered grey turrets and stone walls of Ardknocken House. To Fiona, they no longer looked romantic and atmospheric; they seemed as threatening as the man who owned them. “You can’t expect us to give up on such a fabulous opportunity without a second try.”

“Is that why you’re here? Sorry you’ve wasted your time. My answer’s no. Unequivocally. I’ll walk you to your car.”

Somewhere, in prison or out, he’d developed enough social presence to make it impossible for them to stay. Almost like obedient children, she and Jeremy allowed themselves to be shepherded around the side of the house. From inside, a muffled cacophony of rock music and machinery drifted through the stone or from open windows. Fiona could hear a television too.

“Can I ask why?” Jeremy hazarded, still not giving up.

Brody shrugged. “Too busy. And besides, the house isn’t haunted.”

“We wouldn’t get in your way,” Jeremy promised.

Brody looked at him. “Yes,” he said, “you would.”

Even Jeremy blinked rapidly at that, a rare sign of fluster.

They rounded the corner to the front of the house, where they’d parked the car. Outside the impressive—and now open—front door, a young woman and a wiry, middle-aged man were arguing, although they shut up when they caught sight of “the laird” and his visitors.

“Good-bye,” Brody said with finality. He stood still as they walked on to the car. Fiona felt only relief.

But Jeremy, bloody Jeremy, paused with his fingers already on the door handle. He turned back and said over his shoulder, “You do understand that we’d pay you?”

It was, she supposed, inspiration. A place like this must cost a fortune to keep up. And even Brody, who didn’t look exactly tempted, gazed at him consideringly before he asked, “How much?”

Fiona gaped when the number rolled off Jeremy’s lips. Twice what they’d agreed to pay even the most mercenary of participants so far.

“F*ck,” said the wiry man on the doorstep with undisguised admiration.

Brody’s expression didn’t change. Then: “I’ll think about it,” he said abruptly, and turning on his heel, he walked up the steps past the two people at the door and disappeared inside.

“What’s to think about?” Chrissy demanded, following him into the house. “Money like that would solve more than a few immediate problems!”

Glenn could hear the car’s engine starting up outside. He shrugged but kept walking toward the dark oak staircase. “Whether or not we want them here. They’re making TV programmes about haunted houses, so they’d be under our feet day and night.”

“Meeting tonight, then?” Chrissy pursued.

Without turning, he could see the pound signs in her eyes. With the TV money, they could buy the new equipment now and still deal with the most necessary of the house repairs. Though she’d have to sell the idea of visitors to more grumpy ex-cons that him.

When he’d first got out of prison, Glenn couldn’t bear being indoors, even in the pouring rain or howling gales. But here at Ardknocken, it never felt like being enclosed. The house was too big, too gracious. Light poured in its big, Victorian windows, flooded all the way down the main stairwell from the huge skylight in the roof. It was why he’d first let others stay here, because even if you heard their voices, you never needed to see their owners, let alone walk into them. Unless you chose.

He chose now to leave the rest of the outhouse roof until tomorrow. Instead, he felt the urge to play, solely for his own amusement. And making these choices for himself was still a pleasing novelty. He leapt up the stairs two at a time, stretching his legs out, and strode along the landing to the next flight, which he took at equal speed.

At the end of the next hall, he pushed open his bedroom door and went in, swiping up his favourite acoustic guitar as he went. Then he sat cross-legged on his unmade bed, by the window, the guitar resting on his thighs as he gazed out over the rugged landscape to the scattered village and the sea beyond. Farther to the right, the hills loomed tall and ancient, reminding him of his own and everyone else’s tiny place in the hugeness of the world.

He strummed the guitar once, and then he saw her, the woman who’d been haunting his waking visions for months, a fraction of a second before the world altered.

That was different. The tilt into the dream usually happened first. Perhaps it had just been hard to perceive, because in the dream, he was still in bed, just not with the guitar. And it wasn’t this bed or this room.

But the really important thing was, he lay naked, cradled between the bare hips of a woman, pushing slowly and exquisitely inside her. Her long, black hair spilled over the white pillow. Her huge, liquid-brown eyes stared up into his with aching passion as she clung to him, undulating beneath him.

He was so struck with her expression, with his effect on her, that it was several moments before he recognized his own state of physical bliss—something he seemed to have no control over. He didn’t choose how or when to move, he just did, sliding in and out of her, arching to bend his head and kiss her beautiful dusk-peaked breasts. She had such beautiful breasts, full and pert, a perfect fill, surely, even for his big hands. He wanted to try, to see if the hand that caressed her was his, but he was stroking lower down, holding her hips steady.

He plunged faster now, licking the tiny beads of perspiration from her brow as she moaned and gasped with increasing intensity. Her fingers ran up and down his spine, digging, clutching. He could stay here all day and into the night. Oh yes.

When the storm broke over her, a smile split her face like sunshine, and yet tears spilled from the corners of her eyes as she writhed and convulsed beneath him. He took her mouth, swallowing her cries, driving into her again and again until, finally—

He sat on his own unmade bed, the guitar barely held in his slack hands.

Glenn squeezed his eyes shut in desperation, but the vision had gone.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...