Authors: Hazel Gower
Copyright © 2015 Hazel Gower
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the author or publisher constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use the material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained from the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, are coincidental.
, Literary Editor
Table of Contents
Half of this
book is set in Australia. In Australia, the legal age to drink, vote, get married and so on is eighteen. Some of the characters speak English Australian, so if you see the word ‘arse’ instead of ‘ass’ it’s because that’s how we say it in Australia where the book is set. If you find a word you haven’t heard before, look it up or message me. I’d be happy to talk to you.
Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoy my book.
Jonathan, Logan, Olivia, Hayden, and Zane—I’m the luckiest person to have you as my family, and I can’t thank you enough for all your love and support.
Thank you, Jess Buffett, for always listening to my ideas or helping me when I’m stuck.
And a huge thank you goes to my editor.
Rogena Mitchell-Jones, you’ve been awesome and very patient with me. Thank you.
Playboy billionaire Gordon
Wilks, CEO of Wilks and Co Financial survives car crash.
The magazines were piled up on his desk. It was the first time he’d been in his office since he got out of the hospital two days ago. He was packing the office up, getting it ready for his father to use.
“Gordon, I think it’s drastic moving to another country and asking your father to come out of retirement. Clients and investors will get nervous.” His best friend paced back and forth in his office. “You can find a woman here. What about one that has money like you do? Then you won’t have to worry abou—”
“David, no. Listen to yourself. Don’t you think I’ve tried that? I’m thirty-nine next week. Not exactly a spring chicken. I want a woman who’ll love me. I want a woman who wants children, and not just so they have heirs, or children because it’s required of them. I want what we didn’t have. A mother who’ll read bedtime stories, who’ll kiss and hug them when they fall and pick them up, and help when they need advice, or just a shoulder to lean on. That’s what I want for my children if I’m ever blessed to have them. For myself, I want a woman who wants me and not my money, or what stance I can give her in the community. I want to be loved. I want to look at a woman and know I’m better with her, that I love her and couldn’t or wouldn’t want to live without her.”
David shook his head. “I think you hit your head harder than just a concussion in the car crash. Have you thought this through? What you’re talking about doesn’t happen in our circles or anyone with our status. Where are you going to go that you aren’t known? You’d have to go to the other side of the world.”
He smiled at David. “That’s exactly what I intend to do. I’m moving to Australia for a year. I’m going to be an average working class man.”
“Are you insane? Australia is a fifteen-hour flight from here. You might as well be in another world. Think of what the investors will think?”
Gordon went over to his friend, placed his hands on his shoulder, stopping his pacing. “It’ll be fine. Father had run the company before I took over. He can handle a year.”
“Why a year?”
“I figure, in a year I’ll be almost forty. Too old to just let everything go and do something this drastic. A year is enough to say I’m gone to recover from this accident. A year shouldn’t put too much strain on the company. If I haven’t found a potential wife by then, I’ll look over here.”
David sighed, his shoulder sagging in defeat. “Okay, a year. What’s your plan?”
“Oooh, the for
sale sign on number two has sold on it. You’re getting a new neighbor, sis.”
Dawn smiled as her twin sister got her son out of the car. “Good. Anyone will be better than the grumpy old fart who lived there before. Do you know he called the police on me at least once a week? Poor Dilan got snapped at when his ball got into his yard, and we knocked on his door to ask to go get it.”
Destiny hugged her sleeping five-year-old, and Dawn shut her car door and darted ahead of them to open the door to her house.
“Well, it’s good you’ve got a new neighbor then.” Destiny placed Dilan on the bed in Dawn’s spare room then turned to her. “Don’t get mad, but you do have your music when you work really loud.” Destiny nibbled on her lip. “And your music isn’t very… Well, it’s… not everyone’s taste.”
They walked to the lounge room, and Dawn sat on the sofa. She and Destiny may be twins, but they were nothing alike. Their personalities were different. Dawn was focused and planned everything. She liked stability and routine. She didn’t trust easily and was cautious of relationships, where Destiny was almost the complete opposite. They didn’t even have the same friends, taste in clothes, music, or food.
Rolling her eyes at her sister, Dawn relaxed into the sofa. “Well, we can’t all be into girly pop music, Destiny.”
“Don’t get your back up. I was just going to say that maybe you could be a bit more mindful of this neighbor. You know, not have Seether or Slipknot blasting out of the speakers at crazy hours of the night.”
“Yeah, yeah. Okay, I’ll be more considerate.”
Destiny nodded and stared down at her hands. “Can you take Dilan tonight? Mark is coming around and, well, he doesn’t really know about Dilan.”
“Destiny! What the hell? Isn’t this like the fifth time you’ve seen him? You need to tell him.”
“Um, yeah, but...” Destiny looked anywhere but at her. “I need him to like me first before I tell him about Dilan.”
Dawn shook her head. “Destiny, it doesn’t work that way. Dilan is your son, and you’re a package deal.”
“I know. I know, but as soon as I say I’m a single mum, guys run.”
“Yeah, all the guys you pick,” Dawn mumbled.
“What?” Destiny asked.
“Eh, nothing. Look, I’ll take him tonight, but you need to promise me you’ll tell Mark.”
A huge grin spread over Destiny’s face. “Oh, I will. Thanks.” She threw her arms around Dawn and hugged her. “You’re the best.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Dawn patted Destiny’s back. “You better go or you’ll be late for work.”
Destiny eased from their embrace and glanced at her phone, then got up and ran to the door, opening it and yelling as she left. “Thanks. See you tomorrow. Love ya.”
Shaking her head at her sister and her time management, Dawn got up and went to the kitchen, making food so it’d be ready for when her nephew woke. It was school holidays, and he’d started school this year. Dilan was in kindergarten, and he was full of energy. When he wasn’t on the go, he was eating. Dawn helped her sister out. When it wasn’t school holidays, she looked after him in the morning and took him to school, and like now, the school holidays had him at her duplex. Destiny worked early morning shifts at a resort. Dawn only worked at a tattoo shop from Friday to Sunday, two to midnight, and the rest of the week, she worked at home on her own business. She designed and maintained websites while dabbling in graphic design.
Dawn helped her sister as much as she could. Their parents were no help. They were what you called modern hippies or gypsies. For as long as she could remember, they’d floated around Australia, living in motels, caravan parks and sometimes, they even just lived in the car and camped out. Their parents never spent longer than a year in any town and were always broke looking at the next horizon for greener grass and money. They had come close once to staying in a town longer, and that was the place Dawn and Destiny decided to put down roots.
When Dawn and Destiny were seventeen, and Destiny was ready to pop with Dilan, they stopped in this coastal town called Cave’s Beach. For the first time, Dawn could remember her parents rented a house, and she finished her last year of school. Destiny gave birth and a month before Dilan’s first birthday, their parents told them they were leaving. They were welcome to follow, but they were now eighteen and old enough to make their own way in life. She and Destiny decided to stay.
So for the last almost six years Dawn, Destiny, and Dilan lived in Cave’s Beach. She started her internet business, got a weekend job at Razor, tattoo shop, and once she had enough money saved, she bought the duplex she now lived in. Dawn wanted stability, craved it. She was sick of traveling and never knowing where she was going or how long she’d be there. She needed to know she had a home of her own that would always be there for her. She and Destiny had made a pact when Dilan had been born. They would never be the flighty people their parents were. They would have a plan and make sure Dilan was raised knowing he could count on them, always having a home to go and would feel safe. Truth, stability, discipline, and love were Dawn’s list, and she applied it to everything.
Going back to her computer, she sat at her desk and got back to work before her nephew woke.
The duplex was
small and old. Gordon had never lived in anything so outdated and small in his life. It was two bedrooms, a lounge room, bathroom, kitchen, and small little laundry. Gordon had never lived in anything this size his whole life. Now he looked around. He thought it might be a bit too low class. All his furniture bar his bed was second hand. He’d wanted to fit into the part he was playing, a single guy on minimum wage.
He’d been here now for over a month and hadn’t met his two neighbors. He’d heard the one in front of him, but the one behind he’d been told when he bought the duplex was a sweet old lady. Gordon found a job as a bartender five nights a week at the local leagues clubs. It was different work to what he was used to doing. He usually sat in an office or wined and dined clients. He’d bartended in college, but that had been to piss his family off. His mother hated that he was doing a meager job when he was born for greater things. Gordon had done a refresher course before starting, and it was slowly coming back to him. The last couple of weeks, he’d been on his feet for eight, sometimes ten hours. He’d forgotten how exhausting bartending could be, and he wasn’t a young twenty-one-year-old anymore.
Gordon was beyond tired. His feet ached, and he now had a better appreciation for the working class man. One good thing about his job—he had met a lot of women. He’d taken quite a few out so far, but they weren’t right.
It was two-thirty a.m., and all he wanted to do was to crawl into bed and sleep. Ripping his clothes off, he threw them on the floor and slid into bed in his boxers, too exhausted to even shower. His head hit the pillow, and that’s when he heard it—the screaming voice with drums and a guitar behind it. Groaning because this was the third time this week this had happened, and the last couple of nights, he’d had enough and called the police, but nothing really seemed to happen. His neighbor still played their loud, screaming music every night.
Exhausted and cranky, he got out of bed and stalked to his door, opening it and headed to his neighbors. He was going to deal with them himself, and when he finished with them, they wouldn’t be blasting their music at ridiculous hours. Banging on the door until finally, after what felt like a good fifteen or so minutes, the door opened, and Gordon stumbled back at the sight before him. A sprite that barely reached his shoulders glared up at him. Her inky black hair sat in a messy bun on top of her head. Her big brown eyes with thick black lashes narrowed on him as her full red lips thinned. She crossed her arms over her more than ample breasts, and he bit his tongue, so he didn’t lick his lips at her shapely body. She was gorgeous, and he felt his cock jerk and rise. This was not what he expected when he knocked on the door.
“What?” she snapped. “You’ve been banging on my door for the last ten minutes. Are you just going to stand there now or are you going to say something?”
Mentally shaking his head and gathering himself back to why he was here, he stared down at the little female. “Yes. It’s after two in the morning. I’d like to get some sleep, but with yawl’s loud music, I can’t.” He knew he was tired when he slipped into his Texas tongue. His parents had spent a lot of money making sure his Texan accent was nonexistent, but at times like this, it slipped through.
She was quiet for a moment as she just stared at him before she sighed and nibbled on her lip. He clenched his fist as his gaze narrowed in on the action, and his now rock hard erection jumped. “So you’re my new neighbor? You American?”
“Yes. And yes,” he snapped, hoping it would crack him out of his lustful thoughts of the little sprite before him.
“You the one who’s been calling the cops?” She tapped her foot, and he noticed her toenails were painted black. Who painted their nails black?
“It’s past two and for the last couple of nights—no, weeks, your screaming music is all I’ve heard until the crack of dawn. So, yes, I did.” He closed his eyes and gathered himself before opening them on a sigh. “I’m sorry.” He was so tired. He just wanted this over, and it was quite cool out tonight. The sprite didn’t say anything. She just stared at him and for the first time he felt awkward. “Look, I work until two a.m. Wednesday through to Sunday. You can have your music as loud as you want until two-thirty, and then, please, get some earphones or turn it off.” She may be beautiful, and his body was interested, but she was his neighbor, and he was tired. Turning around not even bothering to hear if she replied, he hurried back to his duplex. His door was still wide open, and he walked in, slamming it shut before heading to his room where he fell on the bed and let sleep claim him.
She’d been baking
all morning. Dawn felt guilty. Her neighbor had apologized, and she was being a shit having her music so loud at early hours of the morning. The disheveled guy from last night had looked exhausted. After, she’d tried not to be too obvious at checking his magnificent body and fought to contain her sigh when his Texan accent came out thick. She saw that his eyes had black bags under them, and he had a good day or two of stubble on him. His light ocean blue eyes looked tired as he stared down at her. He was tall, which to her, most people were. She was only five-one, and he was probably close to six foot two maybe taller. The more he spoke in his American accent, the more she had to control her raging hormones that almost had her coming in her panties. So now, she felt terrible for being so rude.
Dawn was making what she called a sorry cake and lasagna. The lasagna was on the stove cooling, and she was now putting the icing on the chocolate cake. Her sister, Destiny, had been offered some extra morning weekend shifts and would be there with Dawn’s nephew in an hour. She had wanted it all done before she arrived, and Dawn would have to explain to Destiny what she was doing. Destiny was still an emotional mess since Mark broke up with her. Destiny was in her post-breakup of all men were pigs. Dawn knew her thinking like that wouldn’t last—it never did.
When the cake was decorated with the word
, Dawn got the cling wrap out of the cupboard, put it over the lasagna, and then placed the cake on it resting so she could carry both. Picking them up, she held them carefully as she opened her front door making sure the latch was on so it didn’t lock so she could get back in. She walked to the next duplex and balanced her goodies as she knocked on the door. He took a while to answer, but after she had knocked a second time, the disheveled looking blond hunk of a neighbor yanked his door open. “What do y’all want?”
Her throat suddenly felt dry as she stared up into the gorgeous masculine face before her. He was even better in the daylight. He wasn’t at all her usual type—no tattoos, blond hair instead of dark, and blue eyes, not green. She’d never been attracted to older men before, but this guy, well, he was even better than what she remembered. And his accent, damn. “Um… I… Well. Here.” She shoved the cake and the lasagna at him. He stared down at them.
“Are you trying to poison me so I’m gone, and you can play your music?”
Dawn couldn’t help wincing. Okay, so she hadn’t been very neighborly, and her music might suggest she was hostile. “No. They are a peace offering.” She continued to hold out her offerings.
Slowly, he took her food. “Thanks.” He turned to go back inside and slammed the door in her face.
Dawn frowned. “Well, bye. My names Dawn, if you need anything,” she yelled before turning back toward her own home.
How rude. If he was going to be like that, then fine. She’d made peace and didn’t need to know his name. She’d play her music as loud as she liked until two-thirty, and then she’d change to her earphones. Dawn wouldn’t have anything to do with Mr. Hottie next door again.
So he’d been
an ass, but the girl, er, Dawn—he’d heard her yell through his door—had woken him up. He now couldn’t get back to sleep, and his stomach was grumbling. Getting out of bed again, he went to the kitchen opening the cupboards and then fridge, the lasagna and cake staring back at him. Nothing else was in there besides milk and beer. Sighing, he got the lasagna out. “I at least know where she lives if she poisons me.”