Those Who Wait
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Lynn Hones
Word Count :60000
Publication Date :2010-08-03
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-55487-324-1
Simone O’Henley, recuperating at a remote lakefront cottage from a devastating broken heart, finds anything but rest. The noises and moans she hears coming out of a nearby grove of trees terrify her, but are soon tempered by the company of handsome Jackson Taylor. The locals have never heard of him and are convinced he’s a land developer ready to snatch up their land at the first opportunity. He convinces Simone he is a simple caretaker looking over land for a friend, but her heart speaks the loudest. After he disappears, she travels far and wide to find him and the truth. A truth that turns her entire world upside down and throws everything she has ever believed into the winds of common sense and reason.
She swatted at him. "Yeah, well, if you knew the night I had, you wouldn't question how glad I am to see you." Relief flooded her like sunlight after a storm and she regaled him with the tale of the night before. Manic, she swallowed hard in between sentences and her eyes resembled moon pies, before he interrupted her.
"What happened here?" He scrutinized the side of the cottage where a board hung haphazardly. "Looks like something hit this with a sledgehammer or something mighty heavy."
Simone, feeling discombobulated for a moment, gasped. "Wow, look at that." She drew closer.
Jackson shook his head. "Is this why you were so glad to see me?"
"Jackson, I heard so many bizarre noises last night. I don't know how long that's been there, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened last night." With him next to her, she reveled in his presence, the night before seemed years ago. A warm morning with air scented by a cluster of nearby lilac bushes, she glanced his way. "How does breakfast sound to you?" She grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the back porch.
"Sounds wonderful honey." She dragged him around the side of the cottage.
"Did you notice the steps?" he asked.
"The what?" She stopped and let go of his arm and her head turned toward the stairs. "What the heck!" She hadn't noticed the holes in her excitement to meet Jackson. Not just holes, but giant gaping wounds met her gaze, as if ripped out by someone with colossal, vice-like hands. "Jackson, who would do this? Why would they do this?"
"I don't know, darlin'. It was awful windy last night. Could be the gusts ripped these out. They're old and getting warped."
Simone shook her head.
His face turned serious and he asked, "What exactly happened here last night?"
"Jackson, I told you, I heard noises and locked the bedroom. I didn't have the guts to deal with whatever was around. Whoever it was, came into the cottage. I heard them outside the door. They couldn't get in and they slammed on it so hard it practically knocked it down. I tell you, I was scared to death."
Appearing to appreciate the chance to help, he rolled his sleeves and moved to take out the remaining piece of step. "I'll look at these. They look awfully old. It may be that someone was trying to scare you and purposely jumped to break 'em. Regardless, they need replaced."
Jackson worked outside and Simone went in to put on the teapot. She heard him bang around and smiled when she thought of how afraid she had been the night before and now with him here, she felt so safe, so secure. She brought him a cup of tea and put it on the wicker table while she sipped hers and watched.
"I've got some lumber at my place. I think I have something that will fit these just fine."
A plank came out with one final pull and he turned it over and dropped it. He rubbed his arm to rid it of the gooseflesh that covered it.
"Jackson, are you all right? What happened?"
He didn't answer, but continued to rub his arm.
"Jackson, are you okay?"
He came out of his trance-like state long enough to look at her. "I…I'm…" he cleared his throat. “I'm fine. I thought I saw an animal or something in there. It's nothing though."
"It doesn't seem as if everything is fine." She watched him rub his arm. She walked over to curiously inspect the board. "Look here, there's writing on the underside. What's it say?" She squinted and rubbed at the letters. "It's so faded, but it looks like it says Beyond this point. That's an odd thing."
Jackson stared at her.
Simone, now interested in the new discovery, momentarily forgot Jackson's reaction. "Wait, I'll bet the rest of the writing is on another one." She wore the smile of a detective with a mystery to solve.
"No!" said Jackson, loudly. "Let me measure this and burn it. I'll replace the others later."
Taken aback by his abruptness, slight shock showed on her face. "Oh, okay, fine. I guess you're right. This isn't my place, after all."
Jackson picked the slat up.