They'd finally made it to the north of Scotland which didn't mean that things got easier. They'd had to stop more than once, connect with another line, lose cars, pick up cars, and generally make the distance in a pace slower than he could have on a good horse.
But he probably would have frozen to death.
At least, at the last station, Glassey had done something right. The solicitor had prepared ahead and they'd had two carriages and drivers waiting for them. To his relief, the solicitor had chosen to ride in the vehicle behind them. It was the first time in weeks that Connor had been spared the Scotsman's company. He wouldn't have to listen to Glassey's opinions, of which the man had many, uttered in an accent that was beginning to grate on him.
The man didn't talk right.
Every word sounded like it had an edge and was sharp like glass. He didn't just state his opinion—something Sam did often enough—Glassey pontificated. The man reminded Connor of their cook back home. Cookie had a point to make about a dozen things every day. It wasn't enough that he had to salt you with his thoughts. He wanted to convince you that he was right and have you come out and say it.
The solicitor wouldn't like being compared to a cook. He'd probably get that pursed-up look, the one that made Connor think the man smelled a dead cow.
Glassey had a long face, one that looked as if someone had grabbed his chin at birth and pulled it toward his feet. Age had given him lines that traveled the length of his cheeks, from the corners of his eyes to the corners of his mouth. He dressed in somber black like the undertaker in Austin. The worst thing about his appearance was that Glassey favored a bowler hat. It rounded off the top of his head and looked wrong with the rest of his angular appearance.
The only thing the man did that was a relief was melt into the background when Connor gave him a look. It was the McCraight glance, the one that said he'd just about had enough of this nonsense and wanted it to stop immediately.
His mother told him that he'd had it since birth. As the youngest of six children, the previous five having been girls, he'd been the spitting image of his father, down to imitating his mannerisms before he could walk.
"You just don't sound like your papa," his mother said. "Not that anyone could." Nope. He was a Texan. His father had sounded like a Scot. There were times when Connor couldn't understand him, especially when he started talking Gaelic.
Connor countered by talking Mexican, which made Graham give him the McCraight glance.
He missed his father. He'd missed his father in one way or another since he'd come home that day two years ago, tired of war. At the tearful reunion with his family, he'd been given the news that his father had unexpectedly died in a line shack after a day of inspecting the fence line. The cause? He'd been cleaning his gun.
That hadn't made sense then and it didn't now.
Until Glassey showed up on his doorstep a few weeks ago, Connor had no idea that there was a family in Scotland. He hadn't known about his aunt and three cousins—all girls—or that he had an uncle who'd died. He sure as hell hadn't known about any estate or that he was the heir.
He had no business freezing in a strange country. He should be home where he was needed.
"Your father would have wanted you to go."
Those words, uttered in a soft voice by his mother, had been the reason he'd agreed to accompany Glassey back to Scotland.
Now he wished he could have refused his mother. However, in the history of the XIV Ranch he doubted anyone had been able to say no to Linda McCraight.
She stared at you with those big brown eyes of hers—eyes that were replicated in all her children—standing there tall and proud, her hands folded in front of her. She was a statue of stillness, her bright red hair tucked into a braid coiled into a pattern his sisters called by a French name.
"It's your obligation as a McCraight," she continued. "The last male McCraight."
"Yes, ma'am," he'd said, despite the fact he was no longer in his boyhood and had been running XIV for the past two years on his own. All he could do was nod his head, bite back every objection that came instantly to mind, and make arrangements to have Joe Pike, his soon-to-be brother-in-law and one of his division managers, take over in his absence.