Suddenly Single (A Lake Haven Novel Book 4)By: Julia London
A Lake Haven Novel Book 4
Weddings were not Edan’s thing. Especially not since his own wedding had gone belly-up a couple of months back. Especially not when his attendance required him to wear a tie, like the one actively strangling him. Maybe he’d tightened it when he meant to loosen it. Anything was possible—he’d taken healthy advantage at the reception’s open bar in order to forget how much he hated weddings. He’d had a couple of drinks, or ten, who was counting, but enough that a friend had dropped him home, swerving around a Smart car that was parked in front of the old family inn Edan owned and managed.
And was going to sell, just as soon as he could.
In his office, he pulled off his suit coat, then used both hands to try and manhandle the bloody stubborn bit of silk from his neck, managing to tear the tag from the underside of the tie in the process. He was panting with the exertion when he thought he heard something. The walls of the old Victorian residence that was the Cassian Inn were pretty thick, and he couldn’t be sure what he’d heard.
There it was again—someone was ringing the little bell at the reception desk.
He flipped through the mental catalog in his sodden brain for who would be ringing the bell. No one. No one should be ringing the bell because there was an enormous sign out front proclaiming the Cassian Inn was closed for new business. Edan was tired, he was grumpy, and he was in no mood to be courteous and cheerful to whoever had ignored his sign.
The perpetrator tapped the bell again. What bloody numpty ignored the closed signs and walked into the reception area anyway? Better yet, what numpty had left the door unlocked? All right, bloody hell, that numpty would be him. Everyone around here knew he often forgot to lock the front door.
Edan scrubbed his face with his fingers.
The bell sounded again, ding ding.
Whoever it was ought to at least allow a minute or two to see if the first dings would be answered before tapping again. But no, Whoever did not wait, and just for that, Whoever could do the waiting. Edan unbuckled his sporran and tossed it onto his chair. Rosalyn, the bride, had begged him to wear a formal kilt, because God forbid a Scotsman show up at any American event in anything other than a kilt. “The girls love it,” Rosalyn had gushed.
The girls did love it.
Whoever now saw fit to pound the daylight from the little silver reception bell. Or at least it seemed that way to Edan’s throbbing head. All right then, he didn’t particularly want a contretemps, but he’d bloody well have a go all the same. He marched out of the offices and strode down the hall to the reception area.
But he hesitated with his first step through the door. He didn’t know who exactly he’d expected—an impatient elderly couple, as was wont to wander these parts—but he had not expected the lovely young woman in the hiking boots, the alarmingly short shorts, and her caramel-colored tangle of hair tied up rather haphazardly in a silk scarf.
“Oh! Hello!” she said with great exuberance and surprise when she spotted him. Her finger, Edan noticed, was poised precariously above the silver bell’s little knocker. “I didn’t think anyone was here!”
“Perhaps because the sign at the door states we are closed?” he asked curtly.
She blinked. Her finger slowly receded from the ringer. “Irish?”
“Your accent. Irish?”
If this pretty interloper thought she could simply employ a master level deflection technique on him, she was wrong. “No’ Irish. May I help you? We’re closed.”
“Scottish!” she said triumphantly. “Of course, you’re wearing a kilt! I didn’t notice it at first.” She smiled. “Nice kilt, by the way.”
What in bloody hell was this woman doing out here on a Sunday evening trying to guess his ethnicity? No one came this far around the lake on Sundays, unless it was an ambulance on its way to the care home up the road. She had a rather large bag strapped to her back, and attached to that was a rolled-up yoga mat. Jesus, she wasn’t one of those hippies who occasionally appeared at the lake around the time of the music festival, was she? Last year, some of the tools from the shed had gone missing after a tribe of hippies had sauntered through, leaving a trail of marijuana smoke behind them. That was the problem with this inn. Lake Haven was the playground of the rich and famous, who could reach it by train from New York City in an hour. But no one came around to the less popular side of the lake except old people and shifty-types and people who wanted to relive Woodstock. Was she a celebrity, then? From time to time celebrities seeking to escape appeared with enormous dark glasses and knit caps and cigarettes dangling from their lips.