Read an Excerpt
"Hey, Pop! Can you hear me?"
The muffled reply floated up from the Victorian house's cluttered basement.
"Yeah. Do you need me?" John Plummer shouted back to Jake, his eldest son.
"Naw. Just wanted to let you know I'll take the last couple repair calls for you."
"Uhh? Okay. Listen, Jake, take it easy on Mrs. Butler. She's on Social Security. Give her the senior discount on your bill."
"Gotcha, Pop, will do." Jake glanced at the stack of work orders his father had left on the desk. "Neither of these calls should take long, but tell Mom not to wait dinner in case I find a bigger problem and have to work late," Jake shouted. "If I'm not back here by seven, just tell her I'll eat at the diner."
"Okay, son. Do a good job," his dad called.
Jake heard footsteps scraping across the cement floor. He laughed and stuck his head through the open doorway to see his father coming up the basement stairs. "Come on, Pop, don't I always?"
"Well, I'm just saying that you haven't done this kind of work in a while," John said. "You might be rusty. Call me on the cell if you need help." His father punched Jake lightly on the shoulder and aimed a wink at him.
John Plummer, Jr., Jake's father, had hoped he'd have a partner in the plumbing business when the boys were young, but all of his sons, it seemed, had different ideas. John's second son, named "Pistol Pete" by his biker buddies because of his tattoo, had learned to handle electricity, mechanics, and computers, instead of pipefitting, water, and heating problems. Meanwhile "Chip," the baby of the family had an expert's touch with wood, carpentry and he also played a mean guitar. Jake, the eldest,learned plumbing during high school, changed his mind about the career later on, and more recently, to John's relief, returned to the fold.
"I'll take the big truck, Pop," Jake was saying. "That way if you and Mom want to go somewhere you can use my Corvette. I left the keys on my bureau."
"Oh, no thanks," John said, shaking his head. "That damn machine scares me half to death. Besides, when I'm sitting in it, I can't get out of it. My back ain't what it used to be, you know. Besides, you'd shoot me if I put a dent on that high powered buggy of yours."
Jake laughed with his father. He grabbed the keys to the blue and white Ford pickup and left the house, cutting through the kitchen and exiting to the back yard. Jumping in, he pulled the panel truck out of the driveway, waving a hand to a neighbor on the way.
His first stop was the small white house on Liberty Drive. Jake, who had met most of his father's customers while doing the rounds with him as a youngster, wondered if Mrs. Butler would remember him. He had, after all, lived away from Miradale for the past four years.
Jake rang the front door bell and waited patiently on the small, ivy-covered porch, toolbox firmly in hand.
"That you, John?" Jake heard the raspy voice and, looking through the door's large top window, saw a nebulous form hurrying down the hallway. The elderly lady peeked around the curtain covering the window.
Jake saw she wasn't smiling.
"Mrs. Butler, it's me, Jake Plummer," he said, purposely loud. "I'm here to fix your leak. My father sent me. I hope you recognize me."
Ethel Butler eyed him sharply through her thick glasses until her face lit up. Quickly, she snapped the several locks and opened the door for him. "No, I didn't recognize you, Jake. It's been a while. Come in, come in. The darn sink has been running all over the kitchen floor since last night. I've been emptying buckets all morning."
"Why didn't you turn off the water under the sink, Mrs. Butler? That would have stopped the leak until I got here to fix it."
"Hell's bells, Jake. Do you think I can get down on my knees to crawl under that sink?" She focused on his face through her lenses. "Once I get down, it isn't easy for me to get up again. I'm not as spry as I used to be, young man." She chuckled. "So I decided I'd be better off emptying the plastic buckets down the toilet."
Jake grinned. She turned around and shuffled slowly along the hallway toward the kitchen, Jake following suit.
He put down his toolbox when he saw the mess. The kitchen floor was wet and could be slippery. "Do you have a mop handy, Mrs. Butler?" he asked from the doorway, scanning the room until he spied one standing in a plastic bucket. Another bucket looked half full of water. "I'll mop up so you don't slip and fall. Meanwhile, why don't you sit at the kitchen table?"
He quickly turned off the valve under the sink and emptied the items she had stored under the cabinet, making room for him to work. While she heated water to make herself a cup of tea, Mrs. Butler sat at the kitchen table watching him. "You come back to work with your father?"
Lying on his back under the sink, Jake tilted his head up. "Naw, just helping for a couple of weeks. It's sort of like a vacation for me."
"That so? Well, I think the town could use another good plumber. Too much work for those two fellers--Bill Bowers and your father. There's a new plumber in town, but I don't like him. He's a grouch. Henderson's his name. I'm not sure he knows his stuff. Mind you, Jake, you should think about staying. Work with John. You can make a good income doing plumbing."
Jake grunted noncommittally. "Can you give me more paper towels, Mrs. Butler?" asked. "I just got squirted in the face."
As he reached out a big hand, she pushed the towels into his fist.
Some moments later, he slid his shoulders out of the opening. "All fixed," he said, wiping his face again. He swiveled on his haunches and put back the cleaning stuff he'd removed earlier. "Every couple of years the washers go bad and need replacing. This should hold you for a while." Jake wiped up the floor where he'd splashed some water and began putting his tools away.
"How much do I owe you, Jake?" Mrs. Butler asked, reaching for her purse, which was lying on the kitchen table.
"I have to charge you a service call, Mrs. Butler, but I'll take off the senior discount." He made out the bill and handed it to her.
"That's all? Twenty dollars?" The woman squinted up at him. "Well now, that's very nice of you. Thank you, Jake." She smiled. "You can come again."
All Jake had done was replace a few washers, but he was glad he'd saved her some money.
Rather than wait to eat, Jake stopped at the diner for supper before making the twenty-minute drive to the Diamond house, his next call. The notation his father made on the work order indicated no one was home, so he could finish up anytime. Jake was instructed to use the hidden key, see what was wrong, fix the leak, leave the bill on the kitchen counter, lock up and leave.
The rustic log ranch, located at 27 Lakeshore Drive, was situated on a small peninsula that jutted out into Mirror Lake. The ranch was almost surrounded by water except by a narrow strip of land thirty feet wide. A double garage was built close to the lake's main road. Jake parked his truck on the small, macadam driveway. He'd been there once a long time ago and remembered the short path to the house.
The residence faced the broad expanse of the lake. The irregular shoreline concealed numerous homes as it wended its way along fourteen miles of lush undergrowth, sturdy boathouses and fancy docks. The Diamond's house was built on one of the best locations on the lake. Jake recalled that Roxanne Diamond, in fact, had owned a sailboat. She had told him she loved to sail--among other things she let him do during that summer night when they watched the stars together, touched, kissed and later made out in the boathouse. Thoughts about Roxy and their final, vivid, disastrous encounter now sprang into Jake's mind.
Even now, he could almost hear water sloshing against the sides of a rowboat. Tied to its narrow berth, the vessel rocked gently underneath them in the dim interior of the boathouse. Only a small shimmer of moonlight flowed through the open arches of the boathouse, but it was enough for Jake to see and hear Roxy begging him, her pale, naked breasts asking him to make love to them.
By no stretch was Jake Plummer a virgin; he was eighteen. He knew his way around a female's body when he turned fifteen.
He and Roxy had gotten comfortable on several cushions stashed in the boat. By then, he was as big and hard as granite and damn eager to make her happy. When she leaned back against the small triangular seat in the boat's bow and stretched out those long, sexy legs, letting them fall apart so he could kneel between them, he was wild with anticipation. She beckoned him to kiss her. He reached behind her and unhooked her swimsuit bra with one hand, something he had practiced and could do quickly.
She yanked him down on top of her, sticking her tongue in his mouth with another smoldering, wet, French kiss.He almost came then and there.
"Oh baby, yeah," he rasped, his voice raw and urgent. "I want us skin-to-skin. Close. Real close. Get rid of the rest of that suit, huh?"
He helped her pull her legs out of the bottom half and threw the piece of fabric on the floor of the boat.
Jake's big cock jumped, pulsing like a jackrabbit. He slid out of his trunks, pushing them off his hips and feet. He could hardly wait. He was just worried he would ejaculate before he got the job done. Roxy's hot kisses had heated the blood in his veins to boiling. He palmed her lush breasts, squeezed the warm flesh, heard her suck in air. He knew he should tease her nipples, and she jerked beneath him when the nubs pebbled under his stroking. Touching her was enough foreplay for him to get it on. He and the plumber's helper, as he named it, were ready to go to work right now.
Jake let go of her boobs and reached around to grab her rounded backside. Quickly, he raised her high enough for her to open and take in his engorged penis.
"God, I'm so hot for you right now, Rox, I could start a fire with my cock. Do you have any idea how long I waited to do this, babe?" he asked, his breathing ragged.
"Do me now, Jake! Robbie never..."
That was all the encouragement he needed. He plunged forward into the blazing, wet heat of her opening in one swift, powerful move, seating his erection to the hilt as he let out a deep groan and held his breath.
The boat's gunwale rubbed against the wooden dock, making a squeaking noise. It bobbed up and down on the small waves as the boat rocked from the occupants' gyrations. Suddenly, Roxy cried out sharply. The sound echoed off the walls and across the dark waters inside the boathouse. She shoved hard against Jake's chest with palms frantic to push him off of her. But he hung on, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and hugging her to him, whispering in her ear. "God, I'm sorry I hurt you, Roxy, honey. I didn't know."
Dammit. How was I supposed to know this was her first time?
"Take it easy, babe," he murmured low. "It won't hurt again. Just give it a minute. It gets better, I promise."
"No! Get off me, Jake! It hurts! I don't want this anymore. Stop it!"
Jake loosened his hold and started to pull out, the head of his cock sliding along the slick walls of her vagina. His erection had been more than ready for release. He couldn't help himself. Instead, he plunged his rigid, velvet-tipped flesh back inside her when he felt his climax coming. Pumping for what seemed only seconds, the excitation of euphoria didn't last nearly long enough to satisfy him. He choked on a strangled cough while his pecker spurted semen on her stomach. He slumped on top of her, briefly, bracing his hands against the gunwales behind her shoulders.
He had to shut his eyes. His chin rested on his bare chest. He was puffing as if he'd run a mile uphill. He was really wired while he was inside her. Damn, he wanted to do it to her again and again.
It took him a minute to recover until he heard her ranting at him, yelling an angry series of expletives. "You big, stupid bastard! You hurt me, Jake Plummer! I hate you. I'll hate you forever after what you did," she shouted.
Hearing panicked shouts coming from her, Jake knew she meant it. Though he hadn't raped her, she must've thought so. She didn't allow him to make amends, or give her the kind of pleasure she deserved. He would have made it happen for her too, if she only gave him a chance to catch his breath.
Mounting the steps to the large deck at the house's rear entrance, Jake remembered what occurred here almost a decade ago. He reached the back door and, putting down his toolbox, he tried to shake away the harsh memories of Roxanne Diamond's vindictive voice cursing him and pummeling his chest. He'd buried those memories deep, because he didn't want to remember them. Now he recalled them all too well.
Jake stooped down and lifted the nearest flowerpot. The instructions left on his father's answering machine described under which flowerpot the key was hidden. There were a bunch of large clay pots on the deck planted with colorful petunias, but only one pot containing a white one. He found the key where it should be.
While he was still outside, Jake strolled toward the far end of the deck and looked out over Mirror Lake. It was close to eight o'clock. The red ball of the setting sun dipped slowly behind the dense foliage covering the humpbacked mountains. The sparkling water reflected the brilliant golds, pinks and hazy purples of the August twilight. The water of the lake lay flat and unmoving as a pancake, calm and serene.
It was a perfect summer evening when Jake went inside to discover the problem with the plumbing.