Read an Excerpt
Copyright © RJ Scott 2014. All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
Just beyond Shenandoah National Park, Michael Hardin finally stopped the car.
He had three hundred miles in his rear-view mirror tracing back to New York with only a couple of stops, and he was starting to feel it. Following signs to Staunton was easy enough—finding Staunton Choral Gardens B & B less so. He’d been in a daydream and had entirely missed his satnav telling him to leave the road at the next right.
What he found when he doubled back on himself was a gorgeous place, all white sidings and a garden tumbling with a riot of colours. The extended house was stunning. And quiet. So blissfully quiet. Michael parked then grabbed his overnight bag from the seat next to him. He considered whether he should get his cases out of the back.
I’m only staying here one night.
After minutes of staring aimlessly at the cases in his trunk trying to make a decision, his New York side won out over his Ellery side and he juggled both wheeled cases out of the car. Just making that one decision had him feeling a little more confident that he could carry this ‘normal life’ off. No makeup artists fawning around him, no clothes draped by dressers on his body, no shouting, or chaos, or his damned agent ordering him here and there.
He locked the midnight-blue Porsche, then checked he’d locked it again. When parked in the city, his car wasn’t just locked—it was one of many left in a garage with security guards. In fact, the thing hardly ever moved and not for the first time he considered why exactly he’d bought the car.
To spend money, that’s all, he answered his own question.
When he turned to look up at the B & B, he faced a guy standing right by him on the grass staring with a Cairn terrier in the crook of his arms. Michael flushed at the fact that this stranger had seen the whole procrastination over cases and locking the car sequence.
“Just checking it’s locked,” Michael explained. Why he didn’t know. The man nodded like he understood the motive behind the explanation then he deliberately looked Michael up and down.
“Good morning to you,” he finally said, before ambling away and muttering something under his breath. For all Michael knew the man could be talking to his dog but he doubted it. He was used to people staring and feeling that they owed it to themselves to comment on his appearance.
Michael pushed his shades over his eyes. If the guy had a problem with tight designer jeans and a bright lime T-shirt that fitted like a second skin, then he wasn’t worth worrying about.
He awkwardly made his way up the steps to the foyer, then waited at a small desk after pressing the bell.
“One minute, sir,” a female voice came from an open office door behind the desk.
“No rush,” he called back. He pushed his sunglasses back into his long hair and waited patiently, amusing himself by checking out the various posters with views of the surrounding area. Maybe he could leave Ellery a couple of days earlier than he’d originally planned and take a detour on the way home and out into the Valley. He needed a break. Rolling his head and shoulders, he heard the cracks of tension and grimaced.
I need a massage.
He would do the couple of weeks in Ellery, spend time with his nan, Avery and Travis—be Mikey for a while. But Ellery was always sensory overload for him so maybe he should end his road trip by coming back here to this B & B to sleep. Just sleep—for a week maybe—before he’d have to go back to the place where he was Michael again.