THE GHOSTS OF GLOAMING
by Patricia Otto
Release: July 15, 2015
Also available at: iBooks UK : iBooks Australia : iBooks CA : 24 Symbols : Inkterra : Scribd
With his marriage to Maggie Connor, William McLaren, the Laird of Gloaming Castle, erases a war debt between their families. But he never expected his new wife to be such a spirited curious lass. A woman as unconstrained as her red curls, who forces his quiet secretive existence out of the shadows and makes him wonder if he has neglected his life, and his castle, for too long.
No one asked Maggie if she wanted to be the Lady of the place everyone calls Gloomy Castle or be married to its prickly enigmatic laird. But in this world, a woman's life is not shaped by fairness and her power is nonexistent. Now, she is determined to forge the best life for herself in a strange realm and establish an accord with her indecipherable husband all while helping the last Lady of Gloaming find peace...even if that Lady is a ghost.
© copyright Patricia Otto
Maggie stepped out into the drizzle to look up at the weather-beaten stone. Was this cold disagreeable edifice symbolic of the cold disagreeable laird living within? The notion chilled her. Why would a laird agree to wed a stranger unless there was something wrong with him? The chill became frostbite.
Another footman opened the door as they approached, giving them a formal nod as they entered.
At the back of the large entryway, an older man in proper attire bowed. "Welcome to Gloaming Castle." He gestured to his left. "His lordship is expecting you. Right this way." He led them through a poorly lit receiving room then pushed open the doors on the far wall revealing a dining room.
"Your lordship, Baron Connor and his daughter, Miss Magdalene Connor."
Her father walked into the room, removing his hat with a grand sweep. "It is an honor to meet you, Lord McLaren." He bowed.
Maggie stopped beside her father with a curtsy. Thick curtains on the windows and a meager fire in the hearth made it difficult to see much detail of the large figure sitting on the far side of the room.
"Connor. This is the daughter?" His voice emanated from the shadows as dark and inhospitable as the room.
"Yes," Maggie said, "this is the daughter." She heard her father gasp. "It is nice to meet you, Lord McLaren. It would be nicer if I could actually see you."
"Magdalene." Her father's tone was ominous. "Remember what we discussed."
"Oh?" Lord McLaren said. "What did you discuss?"
Maggie took a step toward the fireplace. "My father thought it best to not be myself."
"I see." The figure dipped his chin. "From your father's reaction, I assume you are having difficulty with the task." He paused. "Father Smythe is here. He doesn't have much time for the ceremony. I have already spoken with him. However, he wishes to speak with both of you in the chapel. Jarrett will show you the way."
Their escort cleared his throat. "This way, sir, miss."
"Oh thank you, thank you, milord," her father said, bowing once more before pivoting to follow the butler.
Maggie studied the silent figure for a moment before following behind her father. This was really happening. Her father had convinced the reclusive laird of Gloaming Castle that his eldest daughter would make a suitable wife. Neither had asked for or cared about her opinion on the matter. She was a burden her father no longer wished to bear and, for the millionth time, Maggie wished for one day of living like a man. Just one day of deciding her own fate.