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Authors: Tamara Gill

Banished (6 page)

BOOK: Banished
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“I’ll be there.”

His parting words brought a smile to her lips. This was madness.

Chloe slumped
back onto the sofa and shut the book of mythology. How was it possible people
made up the most ridiculous things about gods? No one in their right mind would
eat their own children!

She gazed at the
book and noted an image of Zeus on the cover. He sat proudly on a throne
somewhere on Mt Olympus with a thunderbolt clasped tightly in his hands. He
looked powerful and daunting and oddly ... familiar.

A knock on the
door startled her. Chloe looked out the lounge window to see who was there and
jumped out of sight when the delicious highlander came into view.

She checked her
clothes and cringed. Having not expected company she’d dressed for comfort not
visitors. Sweatpants, t-shirt and socks wasn’t exactly how she wished him to
see her. Taking a calming breath, she opened the door. “Hello,” she said.

“Afternoon,
lass. I thought I’d drop by and invite you out for dinner this evening?”

Chloe swallowed
the nerves which assailed her at the mention of dinner ... with Cian ... “At
your home?” Please say no. The last thing she needed was to be with this man,
alone and in his home having an intimate dinner. Who knew what her body’s needs
and desires may lead her to the next time. The image of Cian laying over her in
his large four-poster bed, his muscular arms supporting his weight as he
brought her to orgasm bombarded her mind. Oh yes, dinner definitely needed to
be in the public arena.

“I thought
perhaps the local bar,” he replied, his hands fisted at his sides.

Chloe watched
the muscles in his lower arms flex at his actions. She shut her mouth with a
snap. She didn’t need to buy any sweets today, he was a chocolate bar on legs. “That
sounds really nice. Saves me trying to find something here to cook.”

“Edward is
invited as well of course.”

Heat bloomed on
her cheeks. How had she forgotten to tell him she’d broken up with Eddy? “Eddy
and I have decided to go our separate ways. He left for London yesterday.”

“I’m so sorry. I
didn’t realize.” Cian clasped her hand and a shiver stole straight to her
abdomen.

“It’s okay. Our
separation was amicable and had been a long time coming. But thank you.”

He shuffled his
feet and met her gaze. “I’ll pick you up in an hour then?”

Chloe nodded. “That sounds great.” She watched him walk to his car,
his delectable arse fitting his jeans to perfection. Wowsers, he was hot. Too
hot for her. She shut the door and leaned against the wood before panic
assailed her. She only had an hour.

***

Chloe seated
herself next to a window but close to the fire and waited for Cian. He stood at
the bar ordering drinks from the same middle aged bar lady Chloe had seen the
first night she was in town.

She smiled as he
walked over to her, bringing two beers with him.

“I hope you like
McEwan’s Scotch ale?”

“Yes thank you.
That’s fine.” Chloe took a sip and looked about the small room. It was free of
guests this evening and so tonight it would seem she had Cian to ogle all to
herself.

He looked at her
and the heat from his eyes almost singed her skin. “You look very beautiful.”

She shifted on
her seat, warmth spreading to all her extremities. “Thank you.”

“I hope you
don’t think I’m being too forward asking you out a day after you broke up with
your fiancé?”

Guilt pricked Chloe’s
conscience over her current situation. Should Eddy find out where she was she’d
undoubtedly hurt him. Yet, they were over, had been emotionally distant for
months now. But still ... “It’s okay. We’re only friends. No harm done,” she
lied.

Cian reached out
and clasped her hand. “I’d like to be more than friends, lass.”

Butterflies took
flight in her stomach and she sat back, laughing to dispel her nervousness. The
thought of being more than friends with this man who could have stepped out of
a highlander novel made her dizzy with desire. Oh, to sleep with him just once would
be amazing. Her gaze slid to his large hand clasping hers and she pulled it
away. “I’m not looking for a one night stand, Cian. I’m sorry.”

“Neither am I,”
he said, his heated gaze boring into her.

“Stop looking at
me like that.” Chloe took a fortifying sip of her drink. “I’ve only known you
two days.”

He shrugged. “I
feel like I’ve known you a lot longer than that.”

Chloe was saved
from replying when a waitress came over and took their meal order.

“So tell me what
you do for a living,” she asked to change the subject. “I mean, I know you’re
the town laird but do you have a job or your own business?”

“Being the Laird
of Durness is a job in itself. I suppose you could say I run the family
business.”

Chloe frowned at
his amused tone. “Why do I get the feeling you’re laughing at me?”

He shook his
head. “I’m not laughing at you.” He sighed. “What I do has been in the family
for generations.”

“Are you an
archaeologist or historian?” Chloe waited for Cian to reply. He ran a hand
through his hair, his unease over her questioning obvious. “You don’t want to
tell me.” It wasn’t a question.

“If I told, you
would probably run away. But I suppose historian would be a term fairly close
to the truth. I like to study and learn of the old ways of the Scottish people.
And of course I run the tours at the estate.”

Chloe sat back
as her meal of roast beef was placed before her. The aroma of gravy and
vegetables assailed her. “This looks fantastic.”

“Yes, they do
good meals here,” he said, smiling.

Chloe watched
him cut into his steak. “You like your steak still mooing?”

“Mooing.” He
frowned.

Chloe laughed. “It’s
just something we used to say back home in Australia. If your steak still had
blood in it, it was obviously still alive and mooing.”

Cian chuckled. “I
like it mooing then.”

Chloe took a
bite of her roast. “So tell me what you like to study. History of your homeland
or the Scottish people. Or is it more academic, religion or culture?”

“It’s all things
you’ve mentioned.” He smiled at her as he chewed. “What about you. Who are you Chloe?”

Who was she? Chloe
sat back having never been asked such a question before. “I’m Chloe Smith an
Australian who only went as far as to finish high school before working in a
few bars. I saved until I had enough money to travel to England. I’ve been here
for a couple of years now, my parents having dual citizenship makes it possible
for me to live here. But now that I’m no longer engaged to Eddy I’ll probably return
home.”

“To Australia.”

Chloe smiled at Cian’s
alarmed tone. “Yes, obviously.”

“Perhaps I’ll be
able to convince you to stay.”

Chloe took a
calming breath as his words full of determination and promise made her lungs
seize. “I don’t think so.”

“I do,” he said,
quietly.

Chloe finished
her meal, not sure what she should say to that. Cian was attracted to her that
was obvious. But why? How could a man she only met two days ago want someone as
much as she felt he wanted her? It didn’t make sense. And he was so serious and
charming. How was she ever to walk away from such an attraction with her faculties
still functioning? A pain tore into her skull and Chloe rubbed her temple.

“You’ve gone
very quiet.”

“It’s been a
trying few days. I think I’ll probably head home. I hope you don’t mind,” she
said.

“Not at all.”

Cian pulled her
to stand and helped her with her coat. She met his gaze as his hands slid down
her arms eliciting shivers down her spine. The perfect gentleman, he escorted
her outside and helped her into his car some minutes later, the heated leather
seats cocooning her in warmth. Chloe looked toward the castle and watched the
lights around the battlements twinkle in the night. The ocean to her left was
reflected by the moonlight, making their drive home seem awfully romantic.

“I never knew
anything could be as beautiful as my own country, but I do believe Scotland is
a magical place.”

“Scotland
certainly has her secrets,” Cian said turning the car through her holiday
cottage front gates.

The car travelled
slowly up the drive before pulling to a halt. “There’s no need for you to walk
me to my door.” Chloe unclasped her seat belt. “Thank you for dinner.”

“Chloe wait.”

She turned back
to Cian and gasped when he leaned over and kissed her. Hard. Fire ignited in
her blood when he deepened the kiss. Never had she been kissed with such
passion and need. It was almost as if she could taste his desire for her, his
craving to consume her as his own.

Chloe kissed him
back. To do so under the passionate onslaught from Cian would have been
impossible to deny. And if truthful with herself, she didn’t want to deny him.
She had wanted to kiss him from the first moment she’d seen him in the bar. No
matter how wrong it was, how bad it made her look, right at this moment she
didn’t care. All that mattered was his touch, his lips on hers and tongue
dancing with her own.

Cian was as
delicious as he looked.

He pulled her
against his chest, the awkwardness of the gear stick and handbrake forgotten. Chloe
ran her hands over his taut shoulders and clasped him about his neck. Her
breasts grazed against his shirt and left her almost panting with desire.

“I want you,” he
said, pulling back and gazing at her.

Chloe shuddered
and wondered what he saw when he looked at her. “I. Umm.”

Cian lifted her
chin to gain her attention. It wasn’t necessary, he had her full attention.

“Chloe?”

Chloe touched
her lips, swollen and tingling after their kiss. A kiss she never wanted to
end. A pain jabbed in her skull again and she winced. “I must go. I think I’m
getting a headache.” Not to mention what else was aching with no reprieve in
sight. “Goodnight, Cian.”

This time she
jumped out the car before he could call her back. Should he kiss her, touch or
look at her again, Chloe wasn’t certain she could keep her hands to herself.
What was wrong with her? Never had she acted in such a forward, needy, sex-starved
way.

She fumbled with
the key and walked inside, shutting the door quickly behind her. How on earth
was she to get through their nature walk tomorrow without her jumping his bones
and having him on some wilderness footpath?

Chloe stood in the
dark. How indeed.

Chapter Five

Chloe stepped
over a fallen tree log and all but melted into a puddle of desire when Cian
clasped her arm. She thanked him and walked on. The dense trees obscured the
sunlight at times. A nearby stream trickled and the odd bird call was the only
interruption in the quiet forest. Other than her ragged breaths at having such
a specimen of a man so close to her.

Her phone rang
and, recognizing Eddy’s number, she quickly answered. She spoke to him about
him moving out and what he’d left at her apartment in London. Chloe turned away
from Cian’s penetrating stare, his intense attention toward her making her
uneasy.

“Are you all right,
Chloe?” he asked when she hung up.

Chloe nodded. “It
was Eddy. He’s moved out of our home. He was just telling me where he left the
keys and some other stuff.” She pushed away thoughts of guilt. Eddy sounded
happy. Happier than he’d sounded in a long time. Their break up was a good
thing.

“He’s back in
London.”

Chloe pushed
away a low lying fern and continued on. “Yes.”

He stopped. “So,
you’re here alone and single?”

“I’m here. Alone,
yes. And single is how I’d like to stay,” she said.

“You’re not making
this very easy on me are you lass?”

Chloe heard the
frustration in his tone and dismissed it. She didn’t want to start another
relationship, be it a one night stand or a lasting one. She turned at the sound
of crunching leaves only to find Cian not a foot away from her.

“Answer me, Chloe?”

She strode on
not bothering to look and see if he followed. “I’ve answered you already. That
you choose not to believe me is your problem.”

She cast her
eyes down over the littered walkway. The last thing she needed was to fall over
and have the laird pick her up. The thought of his hands on her body unnerved
her and not in a bad way. She wasn’t herself when around him and that point
scared her most of all.

Cian pulled her
to a stop. “What does that mean?” His eyes swept her face and Chloe felt a
prickling under her scalp. She instinctively cleared her thoughts.

“It means I
don’t need another man in my life. Not right now and maybe not for a long time.
I broke up with Eddy only two days ago for crying out loud. He is right at this
moment shutting my apartment door and slipping the key under it.” Chloe pulled
her arm free from his clasp. “Is there anything else you wanted to know, Laird?
My cycles, my bank balance? Or perhaps, my childhood, half of which was spent travelling
around with English hippy parents with no fixed address.”

BOOK: Banished
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ads

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