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Read book online «A Laird to Hold by Angeline Fortin (free children's ebooks online .TXT) 📕».   Author   -   Angeline Fortin

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I’d like to thank my beta readers and critique partners, Jody Vitek, Joyce Proell, and Dylann Crush for all their valuable input and encouragement. Also, thanks to my editor Lea Burn. Thanks for making sure what I write isn’t utter nonsense.


I hadn’t thought to write another time travel romance. At least not for a while. To my surprise, the emails and messages requesting more keep coming.

So, for all the readers and lovers of the Laird for All Time series who persisted in asking over and over, “what happened after that?”

This one is for you.



Inverness, Scotland

October 2013

“And in other news, shocking photos have emerged of actress Scarlett Thomas being escorted out of Dunskirk Castle earlier today by three unidentified men and a woman. Speculation has run amok since Thomas’s mysterious disappearance during her last public appearance at the dedication of the Dunskirk Castle historical site in August. The actress, best known for her portrayal of Finley Adams in the blockbuster Puppet Wars franchise, resurfaced a month later but was unwilling to provide any explanation as to her whereabouts during that time, leaving many to wonder whether she’d been kidnapped or assaulted.”

“I dinnae ken how ye can watch such nattering gossip,” Hugh Urquhart muttered as he entered the terrace house. He and Sorcha recently purchased the house on Douglas Row in Inverness overlooking the River Ness after deciding to permanently reside in Scotland. From the door, he could see his new wife ensconced on the sofa, her eyes glued to the telly as if the reporters spouted the secrets of the universe.

“I can hear you, you know,” Sorcha called out with a hint of laughter in her voice. “And I only watch it when you’re not here.”

“I’m here now.”

“I’ll only turn it off if you didn’t return empty-handed.”

“I would no’ dare.” He presented the bag he’d been sent out to buy as if it were a tufted pillow bearing the crown jewels. “A bag of crisps for my fair lady.”

“Let’s call them what they are. Good old potato chips.” She tore the bag open and dug into what she referred to as salty goodness.

“Yer appetite is appalling.” Yet it didn’t stop him from bending to kiss her cheek.

“No making fun of the pregnant lady,” she retorted around a mouthful of crisps as she snuggled back against the cushions.

“Och, why would I put my life in such peril?”

“Speaking of which, what took you so long? You were gone forever.”

“I blew a tire on my return from the grocer.”

 Sorcha tore her attention from the telly with a frown. “Again? That makes two tires and a rock through the windshield in the last month. I might have to take your keys away.”

“’Tis no’ my fault. I’m an excellent driv—” Hugh checked himself before his wife might accuse him of sounding once again like this Rain Man she constantly compared him to. As yet he hadn’t been able to determine whether the comparison were an insult or a compliment. Depending on the situation, it could be either one. “The circumstances were beyond my control.”

She grinned up at him with a disagreeable level of doubt. “Of course they were…oh, shush, shush.” Her eyes locked once more on the television.

“I thought ye were going to turn that blasted machine off.”

“In a second. Shush.”

She waved him into silence as the newsman, if he might legitimately be called one, continued. An inset image at the man’s shoulder scrolled through a variety of pictures of a bonny young woman with dark auburn hair.

“The actress’s bizarre behavior after the incident raised even more questions,” the reporter went on. “According to Dunskirk employees, the actress—and I quote—‘haunted’ the castle daily for several weeks, before mysteriously disappearing from the grounds again five days ago. Rumors abound as to the state of her mental health since she reappeared at the historic site this afternoon. Her physical appearance today is raising questions in everyone’s minds as well.”

The female reporter at the desk nodded in agreement as the camera shifted to her. Hugh rolled his eyes and turned his back on the screen.

Adapting to life in the twenty-first century was a trial in acclimatization on a daily basis. Seven months had passed since he’d been swept from his own time by a dark portal and landed in this one. Five months since he’d escaped his captors at Mark-Davis Labs, and with Claire’s help, had won his freedom.

After all that time, new discoveries still awaited him around every corner. Most changes he could live with. Some he could not. The telly ranked first and foremost on the list of negatives. He exercised tolerance, as Sorcha enjoyed watching so much. Occasionally an historic drama might manage to pique his interest, but the gossip rags, on the other hand, only grated on his nerves. As tirelessly as the sniping of the king’s court in eighteenth-century Paris had in his previous life.

In that comparison, some things remained remarkably the same between those days and these. But at least then he’d been able to find reprieve from blather in his private apartments. Here, there was no escape. The constant criticism and intolerance at all levels of mankind were disconcerting.

Hugh focused on putting away the rest of the groceries he’d purchased in anticipation of another of Sorcha’s cravings, but couldn’t tune out the sound of the gossip’s nasally voice.

“That’s correct, John. As you can see from the photos taken today by tourists at Dunskirk, Ms. Thomas’s general appearance is a far cry from just a week ago. Let’s compare these new photos to those taken at the castle two months ago, shall we?”

Returning to the

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