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Authors: Suzannah Daniels

Perfectly Able

BOOK: Perfectly Able
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Dedication:

 

To everyone who’s ever faced an obstacle in life

and
triumphed.

 

 

 

 

Perfectly Able

 

 

by

 

 

Suzannah Daniels

Copyright © 2013 by Suzannah Daniels

 

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.

 

This book is a work of fiction.  Any similarities to any person, living or dead, events,
businesses, or places are coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

First Electronic Edition: November 2013

 

Perfectly Able / by Suzannah Daniels

 

www.SuzannahDaniels.com

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Ridge

 

I
slid the key in the doorknob and turned it. This vacation couldn’t have come soon enough. I was still aggravated with my boss after his little stunt yesterday, and I’d just spent a forty-five minute drive with my younger sister, Kelsey, and her best friend, Brandy, both of whom talked nonstop the entire time. I was relieved that they had finally dropped me off at the cabin. Until they came to pick me up next week, I was completely and utterly alone, not one soul to get on my nerves.

Pushing the door open, I immediately caught sight of the huge lake that glistened just beyond the wall of windows at the back of the living room.
Leaving my luggage and groceries on the front porch for the time being, I entered the room, drawn by the majestic beauty of the lake and the solitude that I craved.

“Don’t move,” a soft, sultry voice informed me.

Ignoring her command, I spun around in search of the voice’s owner.

“I said don’t move,” she repeated, and just to prove her point, she extended her arms, the barrel of her pink .38 revolver daring me to snub her
instructions again.


Holy shit,” I mumbled, throwing my hands in the air. “Don’t shoot, babe.”

She motioned toward me with the gun
, her long, blond hair swaying with the movement. “Don’t call me ‘babe’.”

“Okay.”
Psychotic lunatic.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t catch your name.”

I kept my eyes on the girl
, afraid that if I looked away for even a second, I’d be shot by a girlie gun. Damn, my friends would never let me live that one down, not that it’d matter if I actually died.

My captor
looked to be in her early twenties, and her red tank top hugged her body like a second skin, falling just short of reaching her low-rise jeans. The resulting gap revealed a narrow strip of flat abdomen.

If I weren’
t under duress at the moment, I might spend a little more time noticing that she was sexy as hell, but considering my current predicament, I chose to concentrate on finding a way out of this precarious situation.

She looked nervous, like maybe she didn’t know what to do.

“Put the gun down,” I said softly, keeping my voice calm and even as I took a step toward her.

She lifted it even higher. “What do you want?”

I wanted a lot of things, and at the top of the list was
to be left the hell alone.
This was my vacation. No crazy people allowed.

Taking another step toward her with my hands out in a conciliatory manner, I tried to gauge whether I could grab her hand before she could get a shot off.
“I’m supposed to be staying here.”

“Don’t come any closer,” she warned.

Her eyes darted toward the window, and when they did, I lunged forward and grabbed her hand, forcing it and the revolver into the air. I spun her around, her back against my chest, and put her in a chokehold while simultaneously ripping the gun from her grasp.

She shoved her elbow into my stomach, and I grunted in reaction to the sharp pain that exploded from the point of contact. I tightened my hold on her neck and tucked
the gun into the back of my pants, freeing my other hand to snake around her body and pin her arms down.

“Calm down,” I whispered in her ear. She was pant
ing heavily and writhing like an alligator taking down its prey.

“Let me go,” she demanded.

“I will,” I agreed, “as soon as you calm down.” She smelled good, a tropical scent.

“Who are you?” she demanded. “What do you want
from me?”

“I’m just a guy trying to take a damn vacation
and train for a triathlon. I don’t want anything from you.”

“Why are you in my cabin?” she
shrieked.

I exhaled heavily in her ear. “I could ask you the same thing.”
Why was she in
my
cabin, the cabin that I was supposed to have all to myself for an entire week?


My sister’s friend arranged for me to stay in this cabin,” she explained.

“When did you get here?” I asked, loosening my hold on her.

“Last night,” she answered.

“I didn’t see a car out front. When are you supposed to leave?”

“My sister wanted to borrow my car. I’m supposed to be picked up next Sunday.”

What the hell was going on?
Her story was identical to mine. Kelsey had wanted to borrow my car, and it was her friend, Brandy, who had arranged for me to borrow her parents’ cabin.

“Who’s your sister?” I asked as theories began formulating in my mind.

“London.”

The name sounded familiar. “Who arranged for you to stay in this cabin?”

“Brandy.”

I chuckled in disbelief.
“We’ve been duped. Brandy’s also the one that arranged for me to stay in this cabin—by myself.”

I release
d her, and she spun around and looked at me. “You know Brandy?”

I nodded.
“She’s my sister’s best friend.”

P
ulling her gun from the waist of my jeans, I opened the chamber and spun it around. “No bullets?”

Her brow furrowed. “I have bullets.”

I handed her the gun. “And the emperor has new clothes.”

As I fished
my phone from my pocket, I watched her check the chamber herself.

“I had bullets.” She stared at the open chamber, astounded.
“What’s going on?” she asked, tucking the gun in her waistband and looking way too sexy as she crossed her arms over her voluptuous chest.

I started to dial Kelsey’s number
only to realize that I had no signal. “Shit.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t have a signal. Do you have a phone?”

“Yeah, but it won’t do you any good, either
. I tried to use it last night, and I had no bars.” She studied me intently. “So who are you?”

Hell, where were my
manners? For some reason, having the barrel of a pink gun aimed at me had impaired my social skills. “I’m Ridge Sutherland, and it appears that Brandy and my little sister, Kelsey, are being devious.”

“Kelsey’s your sister?”

“Yeah, you know Kelsey?”

“I’ve met her a few times.

“I assume that you’re not in a relationship
,” I said. “No boyfriend?  Husband?”

“Nope
. I’m single.”

I laughed at my stupidity for falling so completely for their trickery
. “That’s what I thought. I think what we have here,” I said motioning back and forth between us, “is a clear case of matchmaking by my annoying little sister and her best friend. This isn’t the first time that they’ve pulled something like this.” I thought about almost getting shot. “But it will be the last.”

Her
mouth dropped open, and she quickly closed it again. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I had no idea.”

“I fi
gured as much.”  I motioned toward the door. “There’s gotta be a cabin rental office around here somewhere. I’ll just go see if I can find one or maybe a landline.”

A flicker of emotion crossed her face, but before I could decipher what it was, she pasted on a smile
. “I understand if you don’t want to stay here with me, seeing how I almost shot you and all, but there’re three bedrooms. It wouldn’t be terrible if we both stayed here this week, would it?  We can stay out of each other’s way.”

A pang of guilt spread across my chest
. “I didn’t mean to offend you. I just figured you wouldn’t want to stay with a total stranger.”

“Well, you may be a stranger, but you’re Kelsey’s brother
. So you’re not really a
total
stranger. Kelsey’s a real sweetheart, so I assume that you must be a decent guy. Otherwise, I don’t think Brandy would’ve left me alone with you. Although, it would’ve been nice to have known ahead of time, before I pulled my gun out.”

“Agreed.”

“Why don’t you stay?” she asked.

“If you’re sure….”

She smiled again, and her mood seemed to lighten. She held her hand out to me. “I’m Ava Nottingham.”

I shook her hand, noting how warm and soft and
small it seemed in mine.


Nice to meet you, Ava. I guess I need to bring in my things and find me a bedroom.”

She pointed back towards the living room
. “I took the master bedroom at the end of the hall. There’s two more, but the first bedroom on the right has a spectacular view of the lake.”

“First bedroom on the right it is.”
Stepping out on the porch, I gathered up my duffel bag and the plastic bags from the grocery store. I dropped the food off in the kitchen and went in search of the bedroom that Ava had suggested. The door was open, and I tossed my duffel bag on the bed as I walked to the huge picture window to absorb the view. Ava was right. The view was spectacular.

Sunlight glinted off the surface of the lake, and I was eager to start my training
for an upcoming triathlon. I’d been swimming in the lap pool at the gym, but I wanted to experience swimming in open water. I quickly shut the bedroom door and changed into my swimsuit.

After grabbing
the flip flops and beach towel that were stuffed in the bottom of my bag, I dropped the flip flops to the floor, slid my feet in them, and went to find Ava. I found her bent over, putting groceries on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, and I caught myself smiling.

“I didn’t mean for yo
u to put the groceries up,” I said, although I certainly had no complaints.

She stood up and
twisted around, surprised to find me standing a few feet behind her. Her hand flew to her chest. “You scared me,” she said breathlessly.


I’m sorry.”

She pushed loose strands of golden hair from her face and tugged at the hem of her tank top, lowering
it back into place. Her eyes locked on my bare chest.

“I’m going for a swim
. You wanna go?”

She opened her mouth as if she were going to speak, but quickly shut it
. She shook her head. “No, you go ahead.”

“Are you sure?”

She pursed her lips and nodded, her eyes darting up to meet mine and then falling back to my chest. “Yeah.”

“Okay
. Here, let me help you finish putting up the groceries.”  I began pulling items out of the bags and found a white envelope with my name scrawled on it. “What the hell is this?”

Op
ening the envelope, I found a letter, and I read it out loud.

 

Ridge and Ava,

 

By now, I guess the two of you have met. Don’t be mad. Just relax and have a fun week. Ava, just so you know, London took your bullets. Believe me when I say, both of you will thank us later.

 

Love,

Kelsey
, London, and Brandy

 

“Just as I thought,” I grumbled, turning my attention back to the groceries.

“I guess we can kill them later,” Ava said, folding it back up and tucking it back in the envelope. “For now, we may as well make the best of it.”

“May as well,” I agreed.

When we had emptied all of the plastic bags, I picked up my towel
. “Come on out if you change your mind.”

Ava smiled
. “Okay.”

The water refreshed me
as I walked into the lake, although the mud at the bottom squished between my toes giving the experience a little bit of a yuck factor. I scanned the width of the lake, wondering in which direction I should swim. After a few minutes of warming up my muscles, I finally decided to just plunge ahead, not too far away from the shoreline, and swim until I became winded. Then, I’d turn around and hopefully be back at my starting position before I became too fatigued. I figured on twenty minutes each way.

BOOK: Perfectly Able
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