Lion of Caledonia

By: Caro LaFever

International Billionaires VII: The Scots

Chapter 1

She needed this job.

Jennet Fellowes stared across the imposing desk to the empty leather chair. Behind the chair stood a series of soaring shelves, stuffed haphazardly with hundreds of books. Leather-lined classics competed with tattered paperbacks for space. At any other time, she’d have been delighted to spend hours combing through the collection and finding new treasures.

This is not the time to get distracted, Jen.

No. It wasn’t, was it? She needed to concentrate on getting the job. Not on a bunch of books.

“You must,” her grandfather whispered in her memory. “You’re the only one who can.”

She hadn’t argued with him.

She never argued with anyone.

And, in this case, he was right.

There was no use arguing there was anybody else to do this. The rest of the cousins were too important and well known. Her grandfather had tried his best, but failed. More importantly, none of them had the talent essential for getting this particular job.

Getting the job meant getting access to this outrageous mansion stuck in the-middle-of-nowhere Scotland. Getting access meant gaining time. Time to find what she’d come for.

The ring.

Her grandfather’s most desired possession. A possession he’d lost years ago. She needed to find the ring. Then her grandfather would die in peace. And finally, at last, she would have paid him back.

So she needed to get this job.

The door behind her slammed open. Jen stiffened her spine and forced herself to take a deep breath in and out. She couldn’t afford to lose her composure, much less slide into one of her attacks.

“Ms. Douglas.”

A jolt ran through her at the name. The name she’d left behind.

The impact of his voice from behind slid inside her head and jolted her once more. She hadn’t expected a voice like his. Not rich and sibilant. From the extensive research she’d done on this man, she’d expected loud and bombastic. Arriving at this travesty of a house hadn’t changed her opinion. Only a monstrous ego would want such a place.

Another breath in. Another out.

His voice might surprise, but she’d done her homework. She’d read about Cameron Steward’s various exploits and every one of his reviews. She’d scanned the photographs of this man on the web—thousands of them. The dashing war reporter, ladies’ man, and lion of literature had drawn press attention for years. His voice may not meet her expectations, but she’d girded herself for the physical punch of him for one whole week.

The urge to swing around and stare became almost overwhelming.

But he moved before she slipped into temptation. He walked past her, moving toward the desk.

She stifled a gasp.

He was far bigger than she’d surmised from the web images. The black wool sweater he wore did nothing to disguise the broadness of his shoulders. The black jeans didn’t diminish the strength of his thighs; rather, they highlighted their power as he prowled around the massive oak desk.

Jen didn’t like big anything. Big houses. Big families. Big drama.

And she especially didn’t like big men.

He turned and she nearly gasped again.

The photos portrayed him all wrong. The articles and interviews missed the true story. They’d shown him smiling and laughing. They’d portrayed a man who lived for the thrill and did everything on a lark.

The man standing behind the desk had the eyes of a predator.

Those eyes narrowed. “Ye are Ms. Douglas, correct?”

With a start, she realized she’d been sitting there like a mute idiot. “Yes, yes,” she blurted, inwardly cringing at how desperate she sounded.

His tawny brows rose as if confirming her idiot status. The color of his brows matched the rough shadow of whiskers on his hard jaw, but they were a sharp deviation from the light amber hair falling past his ears in a messy jumble. “You’re sure?”

The tease in his voice was impossible to miss. The contrast to his predator eyes made her even more confused. Jen wasn’t good with teasing and not good with men. Her confusion only made the situation worse. The combination of the three flustered her to the point her breath stuck in her throat.

Not good. Not good at all.

She was already botching this interview. Suffering an attack would ruin any chance she had.