Callum ruffled Emma’s hair as they started down the stairs toward the kitchen.
“I think that’s enough playing around for today, Princess. You’ve got school work to catch up on.”
In the kitchen, Louise Melkin smiled and beckoned Emma to join her at the little table with a pot of tea and a plate of sandwiches. The cook, Mrs. Parsons was taking a tray of fresh shortbread out of the auger and chattering about a local meeting of the Highland Quilters Club. She was most passionate about her quilting and would throw her hands around wildly when she really got going on the subject. Callum smiled when he saw Emma’s nanny, Louise silently begging for him to save her from further education about the subject.
“Hello ladies. Mrs. Parsons, I hope you had a lovely weekend.” He pecked her on the cheek and saw the plump fifty-nine year old blush the same salmon pink as her apron, as she always did when he planted a smooch on her cheek. She sliced the shortbread and he reached around her to distract her long enough to pluck one off the tray. She caught him and batted his hand away.
“You grab one more of those before they’re ready and I’ll ‘ave your head.”
He gave her a wiggle of his eyebrows and she sighed with exasperation, then shot him a charmed smile as she always did. She was easy enough to charm. She had been working at the castle since long before Callum had arrived six years ago. She had cooked for Malcolm’s family when Malcolm was a child and so had her mother before her. Louise had never lived at the castle, but began caring for Emma when Emma and Emma’s mother, Lady Catherine moved out of the castle years ago. Malcolm had helped his mother find a good nanny for Emma. The girl required a lot of supervision, and Louise Melkin specialized in caring for children on the autism spectrum. Malcolm’s mother now lived in a country house in Nairn with Emma and the nanny, Louise. Callum plucked another piece of shortbread, and then another, then made a show of ducking to escape Mrs. Parsons’ wrath before handing the steaming hot shortbread to Louise and Emma.
“How about you two go and walk Max and Cloudy?” Callum offered an escape.
“Fantastic idea,” Louse said, nudging Emma out of the room to take the dogs out for a walk.
“Fine,” Mrs. Parsons huffed. “No one wants to hear about quilting. Morning Cal. When is Mal due home, dear? I’ll put something on the hob for him.”
“He’ll be back from Glasgow in a few hours. He’s been in meetings all weekend.”
“Well, there are some eggs and sausage on the hob. Get it yourself.”
“You look mighty fine in that apron, Mrs. Parsons,” he winked.
“Go fuck yourself, you sexy bastard.”
Once Emma was situated under the watchful eye of Louise Melkin, Callum went to meet with the restoration artist. Ivy Croften was unexpected. Mal had told him that an art restoration artist was coming to work on the sculptural details of the castle, but they were under the impression that the artist was an aging man named Robert Saskin. Seventy-something years old and commanding a team of eager Americans who would restore some of Castle Ivergaren’s original architectural sculptures. At the last minute, Robert Saskin had informed them he would be sending his star pupil instead. IE Croften. Well, IE Croften was not at all what he expected. He wondered what Mal would think of the auburn haired young woman with smokey green eyes and tits that were impossible not to stare at without salivating. He felt like a dog and chided himself for it, but only a little. The obvious fact was that the woman was beautiful and having her in the house for months would be distracting. Callum had never slept with a woman, but he had always found them enticing and this one was impossible to ignore.
She appeared at the top of the stairs and for a moment he felt slack jawed. Don’t stare, he thought, but it was really difficult not to. Wavy auburn hair was piled on the top of her head in an artfully messy pony tail. She wore a billowy cream colored blouse trimmed in lace at the sleeves, a neatly tailored plaid wool jacket, skin tight jeans and knee high riding boots. And her curves were anything but subtle. She was no waif. She had substance and solidity in an hourglass figure. She had some style. No make up. She really didn’t need it. Simple tear shaped ruby earrings glimmered a hint of light in her earlobes like little drops of blood. Jesus, he thought, Mal would go crazy over her.
“The young lady isn’t joining us for the tour?” she asked.
“Emma is with her nanny, Louise. Ready for a long walk?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be, Mr. MacGregor.”
“Callum, or just Cal.”
“Cal. Shall we go?”
He showed her every room of the castle, which took an hour even though he was quick about it and didn’t linger too long in each room. The library, the two parlors, the armory, the big game trophy room…
“Mounted tiger heads?” she asked with a curled lip.
“Yeah. Malcolm’s father was a big game hunter and apparently reduced the population of quite a bit of Africa and Asia’s endangered wildlife. We don’t show this room to many people, but since you’re living here a while, you’ll find it eventually. We don’t really know what to do with all this stuff, so we just left it here. We’ll turn this room into something else eventually but for now, it collects dust.”
“Does Lord Malcolm hunt?”
“Mal? Hell no. It would remind him too much of his father.”
Next was the long second floor gallery of paintings. Ancestors of Malcolm’s from centuries past. Regal looking men in curling white wigs and women in diaphanous gowns that seemed to float off the canvas.
“Who is this one?” Ivy asked, pointing to a portrait in oil at the end of the hall. The painting stood out from the others. Everyone who passed through the hall noticed the painting. It was modern, though the palette was of a kindred spirit with the others. It depicted a statuesque woman in a blue satin gown.
“That’s Malcolm’s mother, Lady Catherine. And those over there, that one is Charles, Malcolm’s younger brother, and little Emma when she was five. And that hulking beast is the late James Lachlan the third, Malcolm’s father.”
He struggled to not say the man’s name without a visible amount of distaste, but that had always been a difficult task. Ivy seemed to take note. She didn’t miss much. Malcolm looked so much like the cruel man who had broken apart the Lachlan family that Callum often saw Malcolm pass that painting and turn his head to avoid seeing what was almost a mirrored reflection of himself. Callum moved along, showing her the rest of the interior of the castle before moving outside to show her the extensive castle grounds.
“The gardens are sixteen acres, of which around two acres are formal lawns and flowerbeds. It’s open to the public during the Summer season. We open some of the rooms to the public in the Summer but with all the reconstruction going on, we’ve closed it all down for the past year. Down the Western path are six cottages and four are inhabited by estate staff members. The other two are inhabited by visiting writers and artists. Lady Catherine started an artists in residence program when she still lived at the castle and Mal didn’t have the heart to close it down. On the other side of the lake are sixteen newly built houses. We had them built as family homes in a country resort style. We had to actually. It takes a half a million a year just to keep this place afloat and the real estate sales kept us from going under after Mal’s father passed on. The death estate tax was four million pounds.”
“Lady Catherine doesn’t live on the estate?”
“No. About eight years ago, she separated from Mal’s father and moved to a country house just North of here with Emma. Running this place is a lot of work and it eats up a lot of your life. It’s hard to keep an eye on Emma in a place this big and we really have to keep a close eye on her. Kids on the autism spectrum can be dangerously curious and wander off in just a few seconds. It’s safer for her in a smaller, more manageable place. Besides, I think Lady Catherine wanted out of the massive chore of running this estate.”
“And Lord Malcolm runs the estate now?”
“He does. With my help, and Olivia’s expert hand and occasionally Lady Catherine peeks her head in. This place is a working estate. We have to make money to keep it going. It isn’t Downton Abbey. Actually Downton Abbey isn’t Downton Abbey either. Highclere Castle has to open to tourists and sell land too. Such are the times we live in. So, there are historical society grants to be dealt with, real estate sales, venue rentals… Olivia manages most of that. Mal and I do what we can, but usually we’re busy running our own businesses.”
He gave her a shrug and a smile and she nodded.
“I have an architectural firm in Edinburgh that I now run mostly from here. Mal builds boats in Glasgow. At least, he did before he had to come back here and run this place. His business partner runs the company in Glasgow now.”
“Boats? What kind of boats?”
“Custom sailboats. Beautiful wood crafted boats, the kind of sailing yachts you see in old movies. The man has some serious skills.”
“So, he’s your… partner.”
“In all things.”
She seemed to fully understand then. She gave him a warm smile, though her expression was a little disappointed. He showed her the stables, the greenhouse and the boathouse at the edge of the lake before taking her back to the castle.
“I think we could be great friends, Mr. MacGregor… Callum… Cal.”
“I think so too, Miss Ivy Croften.”
He gave her another look over his shoulder before he left her in the library to get back to work.
The cool breeze of night air stirred Callum as the blankets were peeled back. He felt it, half awake but mostly still dreaming. A weight dipping onto the mattress brought him further out of a dream. The solid mass of Malcolm Lachlan covering Callum’s body with his broke the veil of dream and reality. The heat of Malcolm’s freshly showered skin was still slightly damp and radiated from him. The curtain of ink black hair fell in waves around the man’s face and shoulders, falling down to caress Callum like silk. The warmth and enormous mass covered him completely. Callum was not a sleight man and somehow Malcolm made him feel physically small. He often wondered if the Lachlans had Viking giant’s blood in their ancestry. Callum opened his eyes and sighed, wrapping his arms around Malcolm’s neck and letting their mouths meld together in a searing kiss.
“Mmm, I missed you,” Callum whispered.
“Show me how much you missed me.”
Malcolm’s voice always had a visceral effect on him. The deep, raw edge of it that was a beautiful growl. Callum’s hands moved over the mass of brawn that made up Malcolm’s chest and felt the low vibration of that growl as he spoke and it made him shiver. Malcolm Lachlan always had a way of reducing him to the most primal of animal desires. The sheer size of the man was overwhelming. He moved his hands down the broad expanse of chest and down to grip Malcolm’s thick, hard cock. He was like a mythical selkie, Callum thought, impossibly warm, naked, massive in size… something unreal. Callum was operating on less than four hours of sleep in two days, but it didn’t matter when Malcolm pressed against him. Something always fired a primal need in him when it came to Malcolm. He couldn’t control himself. All of the outside world faded into black when Malcolm’s mouth pressed against his. Those lips are impossible, he thought. Full, thick cupid’s bowed lips that Callum could not resist nipping and sucking at with soft little bites.
And the cock… massively thick and long just like the rest of him. It always hurt in the most delicious way. Despite the pain, Malcolm knew how to make it feel so good. Callum reached between them and felt the long shaft, the thick heaviness of it in his hand. He felt the deep rumble in Malcolm’s chest when he began to stroke the hardening shaft. Malcolm’s lips moved to the sloping hollow of his collarbone exposed at the V-neck of the tee shirt he wore to bed. He pulled away just long enough to slip the cotton over his head and toss it somewhere beside the bed. Skin on skin. Heat and urgency. Malcolm worked open the drawstring of his flannel sleep pants and rose up to sit back on his knees and tug them off of Callum’s legs. Callum raised his hips, giving Malcolm a clear view of his own erection springing free of the elastic waist band with an eager bounce. The moonlight through the window was dim but cast a faintly blue glow over skin and undulating, tangled limbs. Malcolm’s great solid mass was almost more monstrous beast than human and Callum felt a tremble of familiar fear just beneath the skin. That hulking mass would overtake him and he would welcome the feverish intrusion. There was no way to submit to a man like Malcolm and not feel that low hum of fear. Malcolm had made it clear that he knew this early on in their relationship. The man had learned to maneuver his massive frame with a grace that often startled Callum. His thick fingers knew just where to put pressure. His lips knew how to soften anyone’s resolve. His intimidating power was gentled by control. With Callum, he had always taken great care. Callum was not a fragile man, or small or easily intimidated. Yet still, Malcolm was the kind of man who, if he allowed himself to truly let go, he would bend and break his lover. Knowing that had always excited Malcolm’s lovers. Callum knew that. It excited him too.
Malcolm looked down at him, the beautiful halo of his dark hair a cloud that obscured his face. Flash of dark eyes as black as ink. Only under bright sunlight did Malcolm Lachlan’s eyes look any other color than black. The sunlight brought out a hint of honey brown in the blackness of them. Callum sighed as Malcolm’s fingertips traced the outline of the tattoo on Callum’s shoulder, then bent down again to trace the same line with his tongue. Hot, wet lips and teeth toyed with a peaked nipple and then moved down to trace a trail of liquid heat over his ribs, stomach, hips, thighs. It was almost too much. Almost.
“You get so hard at the slightest touch,” Malcolm grumbled. “And you have the most delicious cock. You did miss me, didn’t you?”
“I was only away three days.”
“Two days too long,” Callum said, then jolted when Malcolm’s breath ghosted along the underside of his cock and back up again.
“And the third day?”
“Nah,” Callum grinned. “I always need a day off. You do get on my nerves after a while.”
He could actually feel the man smile, then endured a playful slap on the side of his thigh before Malcolm dipped down to engulf his cock in his warm mouth. Malcolm wasted no time and spared no effort. It was hard and fast, sucking him in and raising up to let the cock slide out of his mouth with an audible pop. Callum gasped and is his hips raised up to meet the intensity of Malcolm’s mouth. Enormous hands under his hips, kneading into the muscles of his ass and down to the backs of his twitching thighs. It didn’t take long. It felt so good that he didn’t bother trying to draw it out longer than it needed to be. His hand moved down to grasp a handful of Malcolm’s wavy black hair and felt the tension build. That harsh mouth moved faster and Callum let out a cry that sounded too needy for his taste, but he didn’t care. The wave crashed over him as he gave in to the climax and Malcolm swallowed up the seed, sucking it from him until he was a quivering mess of bone and flesh and not much else. He kept sucking, hard and brutal, until Callum could take no more and slapped his hand three times against the bed, making a show of tapping out like a wrestler.
“I can’t… bloody hell… feels like I’m dying from it. You’ve gotten so good at that Lord Lachlan.”
“Don’t start with the Lord crap.”
“It’s sexy in bed.” Callum gave him his evil grin.
“You’re sexy in bed.”
“This is not the best start to witty post coital banter.”
“Truth. Are you going to finish me off or do I need to go and find some willing maiden and storm her castle?”
“There’s one in the abbey wing right now that I’m sure you’d enjoy taking in some kind of jus primae noctis ritual.”
“I love it when you speak Latin.”
Callum shoved Malcolm off of him and onto his back. Malcolm’s mouth covered his again, this time tasting of his own cum. He moved down to nip and bite at muscle and brawn, feeling the big man’s breath hitch under him. The enormous cock was steel covered with silky velvet, the head of it angry and flushed scarlet. Callum licked the sensitive underside and kissed along the shaft and up to the bulbous head, making Malcolm groan and move a hand down to stroke the base as Callum began to suck. He knew Malcolm was being careful. He didn’t grab onto the blond crop of hair on Callum’s head and brutally fuck his mouth the way he sometimes did when Callum wanted that kind of thing… and he sometimes certainly wanted that kind of thing. Callum felt the taut control just beneath the surface and it was that control that always turned him on more than anything. All he wanted was to give Malcolm pleasure. The man had given him so much of himself. Rigid, hard flesh pumped into his mouth and he licked, sucked and nipped at the head until he felt the tightness in Malcolm’s groin and the tremble in his chest.
“Come in my mouth,” Callum whispered, his voice heady with desire. “I want to taste you. Give me all of it.”
And the flood of it jetted over his tongue, hot and almost tasteless except for the faint hint of salt. There was so much of it, as there always was. He struggled not to choke on it, as he always did. He gave up the struggle and let the sticky mess of it drip from his mouth and onto the nest of silky black pubic hair. The crudeness of it usually turned Malcolm on. He knew that, which was a good thing because swallowing a full load of Malcolm’s seed was a challenge. Malcolm came down from his high and pulled Callum up to wipe the sticky fluid off of his lips with the pad of his thumb.
“My God, you’re good. In another century you would have been in some pervy sultan’s harem, you know.”
“Instead I am in a pervy lord’s harem.”
“Mmm, and that is working out very well for me. You know I missed you too. I always miss you when I’m away.”
“Oh wow, I’m all sweaty.” Callum made a show of sniffing the air. “And I stink like I’ve run a marathon.”
Malcolm chuckled and the deep rumble of it resonated in his chest.
“Yeah, you do.”
“I don’t know what you’re laughing about, you enormous moose. You’re in a likewise state. Have a shower with me?”
“Nothing I’d rather do.”
Callum watched as Malcolm leaned over adjusted the taps in the shower. He wanted him again, already. He could feel the heavy need again, but it was too soon. His body had not caught up with his mind. He leaned against the sink and brushed his teeth, waiting for the shower to warm.
“The restoration artist is here,” Callum said, smiling through minty paste.
“Oh? He seemed like a nice fellow on the phone.”
“I’m sure he did, but he himself didn’t show up. He sent his number one apprentice.”
“All right then. If Robert Saskin thinks the man can do the job, then I’m certain he can.”
“She,” Callum repeated, then gargled mouthwash. “His number one apprentice is a woman, and she is…”
“She is what?”
“You’ll have to see for yourself in the morning.”
And he let the steaming water of the shower wash over him.