Pregnant on the Earl's Doorstep

By: Sophie Pembroke

An earl’s reputation is everything...

But scandal’s knocking on his door!

Upon his brother’s death, Cal Bryce assumed the role of earl, becoming guardian to his young niece and nephew. Knowing nothing about children, he’s saved when sweet teacher Heather Reid agrees to be their nanny. But Heather needs his help, too—she’s pregnant with his brother’s baby! This could ruin the Bryce reputation...unless Cal can open his heart to another new role—husband and father!





“You’re not from the agency,” Cal repeated. “Then who exactly are you? And, more important, who were you to my brother?”

Heather took a deep breath and began.

“My name is Heather Reid,” she said, forcing herself to meet his gaze. “Just over two months ago, I met your brother, Ross, in a nightclub in London and spent the night with him. And now I’m pregnant with his child.”

A child who would never know his father. Heather clutched at the arm of the chair as the reality hit home. Her child’s father was dead.

He might have been an adulterous liar, but she wouldn’t wish death on anybody. Especially since it meant she was all alone in this now.

Even if Ross had thrown her out of the castle, her child still would have had a father they could go to later, if needed. There was someone else in the world they belonged to.

And now there was only her. And her baby’s uncle, sitting on the other side of the desk, staring at the rubber duck she’d placed between them.





 Dear Reader,

I’m often asked where I get the ideas for my stories, and most of the time I’m unable to provide a proper answer. Ideas just appear—either fully formed or in pieces. I look up one day and there’s a whole story waiting to be written.

Cal and Heather’s story, however, had a very definite starting point. I read a news story about an advertisement for a nanny in Scotland offering a huge salary—but nobody would stay in the job because the old house was supposed to be haunted.

So, of course I instantly started thinking about reasons why one nanny in particular would have to stay...and soon I had a whole book.

Spending summer in Lengroth Castle with Cal and Heather has been so much fun. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I did writing it. And don’t worry too much about the ghost. Everyone knows there’s no such thing...right?

Love,

Sophie x




CHAPTER ONE


LENGROTH CASTLE LOOKED bigger than it had on the website. More imposing.

On the slick, professional website of the Earl of Lengroth the castle had been bathed in sunlight, with impossibly blue skies shining behind its corner towers, the stone walls almost white in the sunshine. In reality, even on a dry July day in Scotland, the skies were more white with cloud than blue, and the stone was a heavy, dark and imposing grey. The seventeen stone steps up to the dark wooden front door seemed designed to put visitors off altogether—they were narrow, steep, and they looked slippery with moss encouraged by the moat they rose across.

In fact, the whole scene was enough to make Heather Reid want to jump on the first train back to Hertfordshire and never return.

Except she couldn’t. Not until she’d done what she’d come to do. After that...? Well, what happened next was anybody’s guess. By then the ball would be firmly in the court of Ross Bryce, Earl of Lengroth.

Steeling herself, Heather crossed the gravelled courtyard from the open front gate and carefully made her way up those seventeen slippery steps. Halfway up, she risked a glance down at the moat. The water was black and bottomless. Much like her fear.

Heather swallowed and took another step.

A splash beside her made her jump and almost lose her footing. Grappling for purchase on one of the higher steps, Heather darted her gaze around, looking for the cause of the sound. A fish? Duck? Crocodile? She wouldn’t put it past the Earls of Lengroth to have installed the Loch Ness Monster in their moat.

Then she spotted the rubber duck, bobbing happily on the dark water.

‘Not a monster,’ she whispered to herself. ‘That’s a start.’

But that duck definitely hadn’t been there when she’d started climbing the steps. Risking letting go of her step, Heather looked up at the windows overhead, trying to see who might have thrown the rubber duck.

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