Leith MacQuill stilled his fingers on the keyboard and squeezed shut his eyes, which burned with the strain of too many fruitless hours spent staring at the screen. Sighing, he reviewed the few lines—a pathetically paltry output. Smoldering with self-disgust, he plucked his cigarette from the ashtray, rose from the desk, and strode to the library’s diamond-leaded window.
Taking a long pull on his cigarette, he surveyed the expansive grounds of the castle he called home. The formal gardens looked scruffy, the conservatory cried for paint, and the corner turrets were in dire need of repointing. But upkeep took money, which he had in short supply. And, try as he might, he could think of no new way to acquire more. He’d already sold off most of his horses and opened some of the rooms for tour groups and special events. The former was a painful sacrifice, the latter an insufferable intrusion. But what else could he do? Let the castle he’d spent a fortune restoring fall into ruin?