“Oomph!” a deep baritone boomed.
“What the—!” Leah’s voice came out in a high squeak.
“Let me go!” Fear laced Leah’s words.
Leah jerked her breast and body away from the naked man’s touch. She flipped backwards out of the tub and onto the hardwood floor. For a moment, she sat rubbing a bruised elbow she assumed had collided with the metal edge of the monstrosity she’d fallen into.
Maybe she should be rubbing her head. She must have hit it hard to imagine she was in a strange man’s bedroom, by way of his bathtub.
Water splashed inches from her body, and her gaze lit on two large feet. Not a good sign. The man they belonged to must be a giant to sport those size twelve’s. Leah allowed her gaze to travel up the expanse of rock hard calves to thighs the size of a log and to an—.
Leah dropped her head so quickly she almost gave herself whiplash.
The massive erection jutting skyward made her tingle in places she’d only read about in romance novels.
“I don’t know how ye got in here, but I be not in the mood for witchcraft.”
Leah wasn’t sure how she’d gotten where she was either, but of one thing she was certain: the giant standing before her with the sexy brogue had to be a figment of her imagination, or worse—maybe she was dead.
Fragments of her fall through darkness rushed again toward her with a whirling collage of colors. She shook her head to dispel the frightening image. Her heartbeat, stuttered to a slow crawl, and her throat threatened to close against the fear fighting its way from the pit of her stomach. She swallowed hard to get the knot out of her throat before replying.
“Look, mister, I don’t know anything about witchcraft. I don’t understand what’s going on either, but if you’ll just point the way out, I’ll be happy to leave.”
Hopefully, when she did leave, she’d find herself back at the bed and breakfast nursing a few bruised body parts.
“Lord, what?” Leah’s frustration only added to the fear she’d lost her mind.
“Lord Knightsley be the proper way to address me, or if ye prefer, Laird MacKinnon.”
Leah’s mouth gaped. It appeared someone besides her had suffered a fall. The possibility that someone might have found her at the ruins and kidnapped her unconscious body crossed her mind. What if the man had escaped from a mental institution?
She started to stand, but that put her face way too close to a part of him she didn’t need to see. Of course, it could be fodder for her book, but in her neck of the woods, good girls didn’t gape at a man’s package—or at least—not where they could get caught. Besides, the man could be an ax-murderer for all she knew.
Infinitely better to follow her first plan of thought: slide backwards and then run for her life.
So intent on doing just that, Leah almost missed the damp, outstretched hand.
“Allow me to help ye to your feet, lass.”
Although her limbs quaked on the inside, she would not permit the man to see her fear. She lifted her gaze from his tanned hand and forearm. The face greeting her had graced her sensual dreams for months.
Eyes the grayish blue of a Scottish sky sat below dark brows and looked like they held the same confusion she felt. Lines fanned the sides of his eyes and paid homage to sinfully dark lashes, while lips that were thinned in what could have been disapproval drew her gaze to the stubborn jut of his chin. A nose that had been broken several times by the looks of it held center-stage in a broad but not fleshy face. All of his decidedly masculine and sensual attributes were foils for the shoulder-length raven-dark hair, the ends slightly damp from his bath.
Lord help her. She didn’t know if she was dreaming or not, but maybe now would be a good time to wake up.
“Thanks, but no thanks. I can get up on my own.” Favoring her bruised bottom, she climbed to her feet and promptly slid in the puddle of water. Her hands found stability by gripping the man’s massive shoulders.
A smothered laugh sounded above her, and Leah found her body pressed against his frame. Her head rested against his wide chest. Her own chest found a position against his abs, bringing her center dangerously close to his arousal.
Not a good thing.
“Uh, thanks for the help, but I think I can—.”
“Standing on your own last time didn’t help, lass, so what if I help ye to a safe spot, and ye can tell me what ye be doing in me home.”
The giant and now, she became more convinced than ever, a Scottish hunk, did not give her time to reply. His hands gripped her under the arms—thank God she’d shaved that morning—and swung her up and over the water. One second she was airborne, and the next she half-reclined on a gargantuan bed, complete with canopy and curtains.
Again, he gave her no time to reply. Instead, he turned his back and walked to the tub. His buttocks were as impressive as the rest of him—tanned and tight. The bath towel he draped low on his hips and knotted at the waist barely covered the essentials. His arms, now crossed over his lightly furred chest, made her think of a block of stone and probably did not bode well for what she had to tell him, if she even knew what to say. Maybe, she’d just let him start the question and answer session.
Legs spread slightly apart, he looked like a warrior of old. Maybe a reenactment group practiced somewhere near, for even without a sword—forget about the one between his legs—he smacked of arrogance, brawn, and a decidedly chauvinist attitude.
“Ach, lass, I think now would be a good time to tell me what ye are doing here.”
“Fine, but get one thing straight. My name is Leah Barnett, not lass. Also, I can’t tell you what I don’t know. I don’t have a clue as to what happened. Maybe you could help me by telling me just where in the sam hill I am, Mr., uh, Lord or Laird MacKinnon?”
His brows rose in an arch and his breath exhaled, she supposed, in disbelief and possibly a bit of anger.
“Well, I dinna ken anyone named Sam, but I can say ye be at Knightsley Hall. The castle and surrounding grounds have been in me family for over seven centuries.”
“Are you crazy? Knightsley Hall is nothing but a pile of ruins. So, if you don’t mind, I believe I’ll leave.
Laird McKinnon advanced on the woman sitting on his bed. He ignored the fact his sex throbbed, stirred by the provocative picture of the half-dressed lass in front of him.
Back home, he’d probably just take her to bed and then pay her off. But she didn’t look like the women that dogged the village of McKinnon. Something about this woman seemed almost innocent, but her attire said the opposite.
Before he made up his mind, he needed more answers.
“Well, Miss Leah, I dinna think that would be a good idea. What do ye have to say now?”
Her pleasing heather-colored eyes widened. Her luscious lips opened, closed and then opened again.
“I say that one of us is crazy, and I don’t think it’s me.”
“Then explain to me why ye are here.”
Blonde hair with slivers of moonlight caught in its folds shimmered as she shook her head.
“Not until you tell me what year this is.”
Alistair figured it would be better to humor the woman—for surely she was a bit mixed up in the head. Possibly, she’d suffered some type of malady.
“‘Tis the year 1811, in the year of our Lord.”