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Authors: Indra Vaughn

Fated

BOOK: Fated
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Readers love

The House on Hancock Hill

by
I
NDRA
V
AUGHN

“A great, emotionally captivating story about two men who knew each other as children and who now meet again under less than stellar circumstances….”

—Top2Bottom Reviews

“So, in summary: the gorgeous, skillful writing, the perfectly executed characters, the layered and complex plot, the humor, the personal growth and the satisfying story arc make this book one that I cannot recommend strongly enough.”

—Joyfully Jay

“When you want a quintessential romance book, you pick up a book like
The House on Hancock Hill
.”

—The Smut Book Club

“This novel had brought me to tears, got me to laugh, and made me smile. Indra truly knows how to make someone smile and provide a goodness to their heart. The characters were solid and strong, the plot was thick and fantastic.”

—MM Good Book Reviews


The House on Hancock Hill
is definitely a book that has already gone in my favorite reads of 2014.”

—Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews


The House on Hancock Hill
was an emotionally satisfying read. The characters made me feel, the town itself was quite a central character, and there was just enough of a mystery to keep me guessing. And secrets? Whoo boy, were there some whoppers.”

—The Novel Approach

Copyright

Published by

D
REAMSPINNER
P
RESS

5032 Capital Circle SW, Suite 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886  USA

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of author imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Fated

© 2014 Indra Vaughn.

Cover Art

© 2014 L.C. Chase.

http://www.lcchase.com.

Cover content is for illustrative purposes only and any person depicted on the cover is a model.

All rights reserved. This book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of international copyright law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines, and/or imprisonment. Any eBook format cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this book may be reproduced orzpus transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Dreamspinner Press, 5032 Capital Circle SW, Suite 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886, USA, or http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/.

ISBN: 978-1-63216-372-1

Digital ISBN: 978-1-63216-373-8

Library of Congress Control Number: 2014953479

First Edition December 2014

Printed in the United States of America

This paper meets the requirements of

ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper).

 

More books @ superiorz.club

To my mom, whose love for reading infected me in the best way.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

I am
lucky enough to thank exactly the same people as last time. Olivia Mandell, who stands at the root of every story I write and helps me bring it to life. Maria, who gives me her precious time, even when she has so little of it. And my husband and son: you are and always will be the brightest lights in my life.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

T
HE
FINAL
tile slotted into place with perfect precision, the last of the rough terra-cotta puzzle that made up the kitchen floor. Hart sat back on his heels and pulled off his gloves. Underneath them his hands were mildly damp, and he wiped them on his old glue-stained jeans. His knees were sore, his lower back ached, and his arms hurt like they hadn’t since his rifle-carrying training days at the police academy. None of that could take away his happiness at the sight of the beautiful finished pattern.

The idea of fresh coffee was far more alluring than the next tedious task of grouting, so Hart got up. He was about to go see if Isaac also wanted to take a break, when a muffled but heartfelt curse came from the garage off the kitchen.

Hart grabbed the nearest towel and quickly washed and dried his hands before heading toward Isaac. “You all right?”

“Yeah, I just—” In the garage Isaac clutched his arm and stared at a box of debris at his feet. Through the small window beside him, late afternoon sunbeams brought highlights of wheat-yellow alive in his strawberry blond hair. His eyes were hidden behind thick curls as he ducked his head, and only the set of his mouth gave away how much it really hurt.

“What is it?” Hart peeled Isaac’s hand away. A large gash about three inches long cut neatly through the flesh of his forearm. Even though it appeared deep, only a few beads of blood welled up.

“Huh,” Isaac said. “That’s weird.”

“How did it happen?”

“I was just moving this box into the garage when something ripped right through the cardboard and into my arm.” Isaac kicked the box lightly, shifting a large load of broken tiles.

“It might need stitches, or that’ll leave a thick scar. Come here.” Hart guided Isaac through the kitchen and into the half bath where he kept a first aid kit. As everything else on the first floor, apart from the kitchen tiles, this room gleamed with new furnishings.

Isaac sat down on the closed toilet lid and held out his arm. “Why isn’t it bleeding harder?” His voice rose with curiosity, but Hart didn’t miss the pinched set of his mouth.

“Maybe it didn’t cut all the way through the skin.” He lifted his eyes to Isaac’s and smiled wryly, pretending not to notice how Isaac’s pupils dilated. God knew Isaac was handsome in his sweat-stained sleeveless work shirt, curls grayed with dust, but… no. “I want to clean it a bit anyway. This might hurt.” He dabbed antiseptic at the cut, ignoring Isaac’s wince.

“I don’t think I want stitches.”

Hart laughed under his breath, so he didn’t jolt Isaac’s arm, but a hot gust of breath stirred the hairs of his wrist anyway. “I don’t think anyone ever wants stitches, but like I said, this might make an ugly scar. Unless….” Hart put the cotton ball down and rummaged through the kit until he found a packet of Steri-Strips. “Pinch the skin together a bit, will you? I’m not very good at this.” The cut was so straight and clean it could have been made with a knife, and Hart supposed the sharp edge of a broken tile wasn’t much different. His large fingers felt clumsy around the fragile little strips, but somehow he managed to stick five of them over the cut. When Isaac let go, they held. “That might do the trick.”

Isaac nodded and watched as Hart cut a large piece of bandage and stuck it over the wound with surgical tape. “How’s that?”

Isaac’s expression switched from pain to mischief. “Right as rain if you kiss it better.”

Snorting, Hart gave one of Isaac’s curls a little yank and rose to his feet, keeping his attention on packing away the first aid kit. “Your shirt is pretty filthy. Let me grab you another one just in case. You don’t want to risk getting dirt into the cut.”

A basket of folded laundry stood at the bottom of the stairs ready to be carried up, and Hart carefully pulled a plain white T-shirt out. When he got back to the bathroom, Isaac had already stripped. A hot twist squeezed Hart at his sternum. Isaac’s chest was lean, but his shoulders were broad. He had the faint beginnings of a six-pack—and when the hell had that happened—the small bulges moving enticingly under pale skin. Hart yanked his eyes away from the
V
leading into Isaac’s shorts and handed over the T-shirt.

Instead of taking it, Isaac folded his fingers around Hart’s wrist.

“Your shirt’s pretty filthy too.” He yanked Hart off balance, forcing him a step closer.

“I don’t have any wounds.”

A teasing light twinkled in Isaac’s eyes. “I think I’d like to take a look anyway.”

“I’m nothing to look at,” Hart said, but his heartbeat picked up a notch from its regular slow thud.

“Really?” Isaac tugged Hart’s shirt up higher and turned him toward the mirror, looking over his shoulder. “What’s this, then?” He ran light fingertips over Hart’s stomach, and the muscles jumped under the touch. Hart had trouble keeping his breathing even. He stood there, bewildered, watching himself in the mirror and watching how Isaac’s hands trailed over his skin. “I think I could look at this a long-ass time,” Isaac said.

Hart glanced up, and their eyes met in the mirror. Isaac was shorter, the top of his head reaching Hart’s chin. Pushing the shirt up higher, Isaac placed his palm flat over Hart’s chest, over the faint dusting of dark hair between his nipples. Self-consciously Hart realized Isaac would be feeling how his heart raced. He could very easily turn around now and take that boy in his arms. He could kiss that open mouth; he could drop to his knees and….

BOOK: Fated
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