Liam McDaniel grew up an orphan and raised by nuns in the small village of Lochraven. There he’ll forever be in the shadow of his past. When he finds a journal outlining the location of a treasure hidden in Dunwoodie Castle, he plans to seek it out and use it to free himself. Only he comes face to face with a man he can’t ignore and memories of other lives that fill him with emotion and need unlike anything he’s ever experienced.
Carreg learns of the human’s plans—his mate planned to take the infamous Earth Dragon Heart, one of eight stones given to each house millennia ago. Only Liam isn’t the only one searching for the stone. A threat from the past also needs the stones for his own plans and is willing to use Liam to get what he wants.
His heart stuttered in his chest, the air knocked from his lungs. Carreg stared into the eyes of the human, the man just as handsome as every incarnation before him. His body responded, heating with the need to claim.
The human frowned below him, but said nothing. He didn’t demand Carreg get off him, nothing. They stared at one another, their bodies entwined. Carreg’s cock thickened against the man’s stomach. After a few heartbeats, Carreg could feel the man below him rock hard as well. Soon thereafter, a blush covered the human’s face. It was the same male he’d spied in the market. Darker hair, but with Dominic’s looks. He was flesh and blood, not a figment of Carreg’s imagination.
“Who are ye?” he spat, the brogue slipping out unfettered.
“Liam. Liam McDaniel.” The Scot’s voice was deep and rich, like whiskey. And so very like Dominic’s.
Liam. Carreg liked the ring to it. “And what are you doing here, Liam McDaniel?”
Liam glanced over at the castle. “I like takin’ pictures of Dunwoodie. The groundskeeper has always allowed me ta sneak a few. I dinnea know anyone was home.” The last sentence was almost a whisper, heat flooding the man’s gaze.
Carreg rose to his knees and eyed the camera hanging from around the man’s neck. He wanted to pull his mate close, but he couldn’t scare the man. “Pictures, eh? I’d like to see what you’ve taken.”
Liam sat up and grasped his camera, looking slightly ashamed. “This’s an antique I bought at the second hand shop. Still uses film. You’d have to wait until I developed the negatives.”
“I didn’t know anyone still developed pictures,” Carreg said, rising to his feet. If the human liked antiques, then Carreg was plenty old enough for him. Carreg offered the man a hand up. As soon as the human touched him, he felt excitement zip through him. This was indeed his mate. His dragon roared in his chest, demanding Carreg claim what was his.
“Sometimes new isn’t always better,” Liam answered. “I like developin’ the negatives and playin’ around in the darkroom when I can. Can’t do that with a digital camera. Plus those other cameras are a pretty penny.”
I’ll buy you all the cameras you want. Build you the dark room of your dreams. Anything you wish. Carreg continued to stare, even though he sensed the human was growing uncomfortable. His mind whirled with things to say, other than the ones coming to mind. “I can’t imagine it’s easy to find the things you need for that darkroom.”
“Nae, it’s not. And twice as expensive ‘cause there’s nae longer a demand for the chemicals and such,” Liam said, smiling down at his camera. He looked up and the smile nearly brought Carreg to his knees. “But you’ll do just about anythin’ for somethin’ ya love, eh?”
An answering smile spread over Carreg’s lips. “That you will.”
“So yer alright with me comin’ ‘ere and takin’ pictures?”
“Anytime,” Carreg answered. “You’re welcome… anytime.”
Liam’s gaze locked on Carreg’s, and he felt as if the man was about to ask him something and thought better of it. A few seconds later, his lips twitched. “Would it be askin’ too much ta see about gettin’ some pictures indoors? I’ve always wanted ta see the inside of Dunwoodie.”
Why not? It’s your home. “Would you like to come in now?”
The human looked in his bag for a moment. “I’m out of film and only ‘ave one frame left on this one. Maybe tomorrow, if that’s alright?”
Carreg’s dragon roared. The beast didn’t want Liam to leave. Dunwoodie was his home. He belonged under Carreg’s protection. “Sure. Tomorrow.”
“I’ll bring ya some pictures I took… in thanks,” Liam said with a heated smile. “Oh, and might I ask yer name, sir?”
Liam frowned slightly, his smile widening. “The man who bought this place at the turn of the century was named Carreg.”
“My grandfather,” Carreg fibbed, shocked his mate knew the history. “Dunwoodie, like my name, has been passed down through the last century or so.”
“Ah,” Liam answered. “I’ll return with those pictures and more film in the mornin’. I best be goin’.”
“Tomorrow morning it is,” Carreg answered, his gaze roaming over the man.
Liam lifted his camera, aiming it at Carreg. He snapped a last photo, a wicked smile on his face. “Can’t wait.”
The human spun and started walking across the well-manicured grounds. He looked over his shoulder at Carreg, staring with heat in his eyes. Carreg’s claws slid into his palms as he stood stock-still and prevented his dragon from claiming the human then and there.
Tomorrow. He’ll be back tomorrow.
As Liam walked out of view, Carreg turned back to Dunwoodie, finally happy he’d returned. He reached out and caressed the cool stone before walking back inside through the heavy wooden doors.