Dale Langley longs for some triple R time - rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. He accepts his cousin’s invitation to winter over on Ocracoke Island, far away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland. He’s always loved being a rolling stone, traveling for his job without the worry of a place to call home, but it’s time for something different. Now Dale anticipates several blissful months to learn how to be still with no demands on his time while he prepares for the next phase of his life.
Aubrey Zimmerman came to Ocracoke to attend a friend’s commitment ceremony. Never one to settle down, Aubrey’s had enough of involvements that took him from man to man without a place to call home. He needs a break - and a little solitude. House sitting while his friend is on his honeymoon is the perfect way to clear his head and catch up on his sleep. At least it seemed that way until Dale arrived and Aubrey realized sleep is the last thing he needs.
Fate has changes in store for Dale and Aubrey, the sort neither one knew they wanted. Sometimes the more you wander the closer to home you get.
* * *
His hand on my knee snapped me back to the here and now. I looked around to find everyone hovering over the steaks sharing grilling secrets, and paying no attention to us.
I tried not to notice the warmth of Aubrey’s palm on my skin, but failed miserably.
“You know, hon. I like to walk along the water after dinner. Why don’t you join me?”
I must’ve had a stupid expression on my face. He tilted his head. “No hanky-panky, of course, being that we just met.”
No one even glanced in our direction so I leaned toward him. “Um, sure. A walk would be nice. If I try to hold your hand are you going to stop me?”
“That’s all you can hold tonight, sugar. I don’t know anything about you, and I have to make sure you don’t bite before we get to know each other better.” He looked down then slowly lifted his beautiful gaze back to mine. “And you’re hiding something.”
I shivered as the memories of the vicious blows I’d received at the hands of strangers taunted me.
“I only nibble the occasional earlobe, and my secrets are my own, Aubrey. There’s nothing in them to hurt anyone else.”
He studied me for a few moments, his fascinating blue gaze enigmatic. “Fair enough, Dale.” He sighed. “I do have my own. What?”
“I could stare into your eyes forever.”
Aubrey didn’t blink. “If I had a dollar for every time some tomcat said that to me, I’d be rich…”