Authors: Sabrina York
A Tryst Island Erotic Romance
by Sabrina York
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Parker’s Passion Copyright © 2014 Sabrina York
Edited by Monica Britt
Cover design by Wicked Smart Designs
Electronic book publication
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status and trademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks mentioned in this book.
The publisher does not have any control over, and does not assume any responsibility for third-party websites or their content.
This book is dedicated to Hollie Rieth and Lynnie Stringer. When you read the book, you’ll know why, if you don’t already.
First of all, thanks to my amazing beta readers Tina Reiter, Carmen Cook, Angela Lane, Fedora, Nita Banks and Pansy. And to my amazing street team—Charmaine Arredondo, Crystal Benedict, Crystal Biby, Kris Bloom, Kim Brown, Sandy Butler, Jodi Ciorciari Marinich, Celeste Deveney, Tracey A. Diczban, Shelly Estes, Stephanie Felix, Joany Kane, C. Morgan Kennedy, Angie Lane, Tina LaRue, Rose Lipscomb, Chris Lewis, Kathleen Mixon, Laurie Peterson, Tina Reiter, Hollie Rieth, Regina Ross, Dee Thomas, Sheri Vidal and Michelle Wilson, as well as the shy ones, Christy, Elf, Fedora, Gaele, Hotcha, Laurie, Pansy Petal and Rae—for their support of my books and writing.
My deepest appreciation to Wicked Smart Designs for a rocking cover—always gorgeous—and to Monica Britt for helping me whip this novella into shape.
My heartfelt appreciation to my fellow writers for their support. Especially Kayelle Allen, Avery Aster, Sara Brookes, Emily Cale, Cassandra Carr, Cerise DeLand, Delilah Devlin, Adrienne deWolfe, Laurann Dohner, Tina Donahue, Lisa Fox, Gabrielle Holly, Desiree Holt, Jennifer Kacey, Ditter Kellen, Shelbie Knight, Adriana Kraft, Kathy Kulig, Cait Miller, Danita Minnis, Eloreen Moon, Nicole Morgan, Ana Morgan, Beverly Ovalle, Rebecca Royce, Chandra Ryan, Erin Simone and Zenobia Renquist.
To all my friends in the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America, Passionate Ink and Rose City Romance Writers groups, thank you for all your support and encouragement.
It was a shock to the system, seeing him again, in the flesh, after all these years.
Kaitlin Stringer sat, stock-still in the uncomfortable chair in the cafeteria of the heaving ferry and stared. Just stared. Though she was surrounded by her friends, bathed in their protective presence, she felt vulnerable, raw.
flooded her mind. A memory she never wanted to have again.
A young, stupid girl, a little too tipsy at a party. Lured into a back room. Surrounded by men. Cornered. Trapped.
And hands. Touching her. Everywhere.
She shuddered and forced the images from her mind, the panic from her soul. She drew in a deep breath and visualized a white light surrounding her,
shielding her, insulating her. Peace descended.
She was safe.
She wasn’t that stupid girl anymore.
“Are you okay?”
Large brown eyes concerned, Jamie leaned over and gently touched her hand. Kaitlin winced as sensation invaded her, scored her. Visions flickered through her mind like a disjointed movie.
A wine spill at a recent gallery opening—on a painting. A flat tire. The fight with her boyfriend.
jerked away, though she tried to pretend she did not, and slipped her hand under the table to rub the spot Jamie had touched. It burned. “Yes, I’m fine,” she said “Just a little sea sick, I think.”
A lie, but a forgivable one.
It wasn’t often she was knocked askew like this. Not often she let her guard down. Not often the energies swirling around her found entrance and barged in.
She knew what it was. Seeing
again. It staggered her.
Deliberately, she thrust him from her mind and focused on her friends, Jamie and Tara who
sat by her side, chatting about inane things and eating pastries, as though they hadn’t a care in the world. Then again, they didn’t.
riffled her short brown hair with a chuckle. “I know what you mean. Ferry rides get me every time.”
“It probably wouldn’t be so
choppy if it were a larger boat,” Kaitlin said. The ferry to Tryst Island was the smallest in the fleet.
Tara glanced up from the papers she was reviewing
“I don’t know what you two are talking about,” she gusted. “I love it. It’s like a mini cruise.”
bit back a smile. Everything was an adventure to Tara. And why not? She was a bright, fearless girl with a lovely, vibrant aura. There were no nasty memories lurking in her eyes. Nothing terrible had ever happened to her.
“I can’t wait to get there
,” Kaitlin said. “I really needed this.” Her volunteer work at the shelter—while she reveled it, loved really making a difference for the homeless women who came in—had depleted her reserves. It had been a tough week. She needed to recharge. At that thought, she rummaged in her bag until she found her chocolate, broke off a chunk and popped the rich square into her mouth. Almost immediately, she felt her tension ease.
“I hear ya
, sistah.” Tara tossed back her long dark ponytail. Something flickered over her expression, a minor tightening, but Kaitlin noticed it.
“Is everything all right?” she asked, focusing in. Tara’s
colors went from pink to dark ruby with green swirls, and then faded back to pink again.
the lie, but she didn’t pry. She took Tara at face value. She’d found, in her experience, it was the best way to play it. If Tara wanted to share what was bothering her, she would. And people so rarely
wanted to share. She was used to their tiny prevarications. Good gravy, she was guilty enough of that herself.
She shot a glance at Jamie and s
omething in her expression snagged Kaitlin’s attention. “Why are you smiling like that, Jamie?” she asked.
Jamie batted her eyelashes. Whenever Jamie batted her eyelashes, she knew something. Something good.
Kaitlin leaned in, anxious for a diversion. And Jamie was always diverting. “Spill.”
“Are you saying
don’t know?” Jamie’s eyes sparkled.
“I don’t know everything.”
“Don’t you?” Tara quipped. She riffled around in the Stud Muffin bag and pulled out a pastry, then turned her attention to Jamie. “So what is it?”
tucked a brown curl behind her ear. Her aura glowed. “It’s Cam and Kristi.”
“Together?” Tara bit into the pastry and it crumbled. “What do you mean
? Like together, together?”
Kaitlin blinked. “Really?” She’d sensed something simmering between her friends, but Kristi had insisted nothing would ever happen between them. Like ever. Kaitlin was glad she’d been wrong. The two were perfect for each other.
“Apparently, a couple weeks ago, they both went to the island and poof! Magic happened.”
“That’s awesome,” Tara chortled.
“They’re already there.
Went over on Thursday. To have some
before the whole crew gets there.” Jamie waggled her brows. “I think we should tease them mercilessly.”
Definitely.” Tara chuckled.
“Who else is going to be there this weekend?” Kaitlin asked. She hadn’t checked the online calendar before coming.
“Bella, Holt and…Drew.” Jamie took a sip of her coffee to hide a grin. Her sly glance at Kaitlin, however, could not be hidden.
A flush crawled up Kaitlin’s cheeks. Drew Boone, a hunky fireman with a handsome face and charming grin, was one of her best friends. He was adorable and so easy to be around
—most of the time. And he was totally in love with her.
She knew it.
Didn’t need to be psychic to know it.
Everyone knew it.
He followed her like a puppy dog. And flirted ruthlessly.
e flirted with everyone, but Kaitlin knew he was serious when he flirted with her. She saw it, the change in the colors swirling around him. But she’d never encouraged him.
It wouldn’t be fair.
Not with her…issues.
Drew deserved a woman as open and generous as he was, someone who could give as good as she got. Kaitlin was not that woman.
Aside from that, Drew deserved a woman who could love him with wholehearted passion.
And while she did love him, it wasn’t in that way. And
it never would be.
Kaitlin had accepted the fact that she would probably never
have a physical relationship with a man; she would never be able to let someone that close. A simple touch was painful enough.
She’d tried once, with a nice, gentle guy named Kenneth she’d met at work. They’d dated for a while and when he kissed her, she’d let him. It had not been pleasant. She’d closed her eyes and tried to endure his touch. But in the end, before anything had really happened, she’d stopped him. It was just too much to bear.
She couldn’t imagine tangling intimately, emotionally, spiritually with someone.
Which was fine. Everyone had their own path.
Hers, she would walk alone.
She had a gift—she could truly help others. But that gift came
at a cost.
The fourth member of their party, Kaitlin’s best friend
Emily, burst into the cafeteria in a halo of white light and slid into the open seat at their table, her blonde curls bouncing. Emily was always a bundle of energy, but it was a soft and inquisitive energy, so she was a delight to be around. She gusted a sigh. “Douche alert.”
“Where?” Jamie took
a big bite of her pastry. The delicate crust flaked all over her t-shirt. She brushed the crumbs onto the table.
Emily blotted the ones that landed on her plate. “Out on the deck. He’s wearing an ascot.”
Kaitlin frowned. She’d run into that guy earlier. He’d cornered her in the hall. The vibes coming off him—the nasty snarl of malevolence—had seriously creeped her out. Nearly panicked her. She’d had to spill her coffee on him to escape.
She’d learned that. Always carry a weapon.
Not a weapon to wound; hurting people wasn’t in her makeup. But some people needed to be kept at a distance.
Even now, something prickled up her neck. She scoped out the cafeteria, then stilled as the guy with the ascot entered. And yeah. The colors around him were dark and sinister. She shivered.
He crossed the deck, his predatory eyes scanning everyone with a malevolent glare. His
malice was so prevalent, it trailed behind him in a murky cloud.
When he threw himself into a seat
—the guy she’d seen earlier, the one she’d recognized
her belly dipped. They
each other. She wasn’t sure why, but that fact disappointed her.
She studied the knot of men
on the other side of the ferry. Handsome and entitled, with a cocky air about them.
he knew the type.
“Goddamn frat boys.”
She didn’t mean to say it with such vitriol. But seeing him again had brought all the old bitterness back.
Her tone caught Emily’s attention. “Do you know them?”
“Yeah.” Oh, yeah. Her pulse hitched. She fiddled with her napkin. “Maybe. The good looking one went to U-Dub.”
Jamie’s brow wrinkled. “Which one is the good looking one?”
Right. With the exception of Ascot Man, they were all far too attractive for their own good. “The one with the spiky hair.” With the sharp square chin, brown eyes that slanted a bit at the corners and an aura with a purple hue.
“Which one with the spiky hair?”
With a sigh Kaitlin realized both the men sitting in the corner with the creepy guy had identical haircuts. Typical herd mentality. “The one with the dark hair. In office casual. I think his name is…Parker.” She knew damn well his name was Parker. She would never forget it. “I met him at a frat party once—” She trailed off and everyone waited for her to finish, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. She stared at her threaded fingers, willing herself not to look at Emily. Willing herself to reel in her thoughts.
thoughts and memories weren’t contagious, but energy was energy and could be transmitted to others. The last thing she wanted to do was remind Emily of
night. They’d gone together to the party, excited to have been invited. Not knowing what those boys had planned. That night had shifted the trajectory of both their lives.
It was annoying, those times when life surprised her. But for all that she could see and know things about other people, she was curiously blind when it came to herself.
And that night…that night there had been no warning. None at all.
Jamie blew out a sigh as a raucous cheer went up from that corner of the cafeteria. “I hope it’s not a rowdy weekend.”
Kaitlin stilled as a premonition slithered through her. She skated a glance around the table at her friends. It swelled. Grew.
And she knew. She just knew.
Something was going to happen this weekend. To each one of them.
Rieth slopped a dollop of whiskey into his coffee. Even as he did, he knew he shouldn’t. He wasn’t much of a drinker, but this had been a brutal week. Hell, a brutal month. The tension over the looming partnership had acid spitting in his gut. He deserved the promotion. Needed it. Had worked like hell for it. But there was always the chance that Barstow and Rank would choose Nate instead.
He took a sip of his laced coffee in an attempt to still his
d, he needed a break. A blow out. A balls to the wall party weekend with no depositions, no briefs, no courtroom squabbles. No games.
He loved his job. Really
, he did. Loved the challenges. Really loved winning.
But sometimes it got to him.
So when his buddy Ash had invited him to come over to his place on Trystacumseh Island for the weekend with buddies from college, of course he’d agreed.
He hadn’t known Richie was coming when he’d agreed.
Richie was a peckerwood.
They’d roomed together in college for one quarter. It
had been all Parker could take.
his friend Devlin snorted as Richie let out an ear-splitting whoop. The fucker was already drunk. “This weekend is gonna
!” he bellowed. Then he leaned in and whispered, far too loudly. “I’ve already scoped out the chicks. Some hotties over there.” He jammed his thumb at the table of women on the far side of the room.