This publication is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organisations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.
Copyright 2011 Tasha D-Drake
Cover art by Tasha D-Drake
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favourite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Thank you to Rob and Sophie for all their help and thank you to everyone for reading.
Clutching the newspaper to his chest, Bae walked up the steps of the house. He hoped being five minutes before time was okay. He'd actually been outside the house for nearly half an hour; he was pathologically early for everything.
When the door opened he looked up ... and up ... and up. The man standing there was huge to say the least. Bae took after his mom's side of the family, short and petit, but he'd never felt quite so short as he did at that moment.
"Mr Jones?" he asked and hoped he didn't sound as nervous as he felt.
"That's me, kid," Mr Jones replied, "but it's Jim to everyone except the tax man. You must be Bae."
Bae nodded; he'd called ahead about the job. When he'd seen it in the paper he'd jumped at it immediately, because it paid really well. His dad was determined not to give Bae and his brothers a free ride through life and before he could go to college Bae needed to earn a percentage of his tuition. Bae really, really wanted out of Fountains Rock and college was his only route.
"Come in," Jim said and stepped out of the way for him to enter.
The man was so large that he still had to sidle in, however. Jim appeared to be built like the Terminator.
"Kitchen's this way," Jim said and led him down the hall; "most business is done over the kitchen table in this house."
It was said in a warm tone, but Bae couldn't help being incredibly nervous. The advertisement had been for someone to housesit with a few other duties and Jim was definitely not what Bae had been expecting. The man didn't sound so big on the phone.
"Yeah, thanks." Bae tried to sound relaxed and in control, but when Jim offered him a chair he sat down and didn't say anything while Jim made the drinks.
"So, the job," Jim said, also sitting down, but not seeming to shrink in height very much, "you must be wondering what the other duties meant."
"I live here with my brother, Steve. He had an accident at work a month or so ago, flash fire, and it damaged his eyes. The docs say he's mending, but at the moment he can't see, so I can't leave him on his own. I need to go away for work so I'm looking for someone to look after the house and make sure Steve doesn't do himself any more damage. You still interested?"
It was definitely not what Bae had been expecting. Looking after pets had crossed his mind, but nothing involving a human being.
"Yeah," he said, making an effort to appear as if he was perfectly qualified for that.
"Good kid," Jim said with a grin. "Right, I'll show you around and introduce you to Steve."
Bae was shocked.
He was pretty sure interviews were usually longer.
"I brought references," he couldn't help himself, he just didn't get it. He'd interviewed for the local convenience store and it had taken longer than that.
"I have a friend in the Sheriff's department," Jim told him with a grin, "I called her after you called me and you come highly recommended."
"Oh," was about all Bae could say to that and took a huge gulp of his coffee.
"Just bring the mug."
Bae did as he was told and followed Jim out of the room, feeling a bit like a lost puppy trailing after the first person he found. What the hell had he gotten himself into?
The house was ordinary, but nice and Bae liked the bedroom he would be using. Jim also chatted as they walked around, giving him a few house rules, but also letting him know that any food and drink in the house was fair game.
"Beer's in the refrigerator, but I will deny ever saying that outside these walls."
That made Bae grin; it was hard not to like Jim, even if he was as intimidating as hell.
"Steve, you decent?"
They had arrived outside the one door Bae had not yet been through.
"He's been a little ..."
"Touchy?" Bae suggested.
"Yeah," Jim agreed with the nod, "since the accident. He's usually an easy going guy."
"I said 'fuck off' not talk about me behind the goddamn door."
Clearly the man had super hearing and was not even close to easy going.
"We're coming in, you better be decent."
Bae just followed along meekly as Jim barged into the room. The first thing he noticed was that Steve looked nothing like Jim, except Steve also had muscles, just not quite such large ones. Where Jim was dark, Steve was light, having blond hair that appeared a little out of control. They also weren't close in age; Steve had to be the kid brother if Bae was any judge. Steve looked to be somewhere in his twenties, where Jim was definitely on the other side of forty.
The second thing Bae noticed was that Steve was not wearing a shirt. That was where his brain got stuck for a while. There weren't many men wandering around without their shirts in Fountains Rock and definitely not men with a body like Steve. Bae tried not to stare, he really did, but he was still a teenager with teenage hormones.
That was one of the reasons Bae really needed to get out into the bigger world; being gay would not go down well with his family or his friends.
"Steve, this is Bae," Jim said, clearly ignoring the fact that Steve's body language said 'fuck off' even louder than he had, "Bae, this is Steve."
"Um, hi," he said hopefully.
"I don't need a fucking babysitter."
The introductions were not really going well.
"You're blind you dumb shit," Jim said harshly, "and until that changes I'm not leaving you alone."
"Then don't fucking go," it was said petulantly, but Bae was pretty sure there was an undercurrent of something else as well.
"You know I have to."
Bae felt like an intruder.
"I'm gonna make some lunch," Jim said when Steve didn't reply, "if you feel like being polite, we'll be in the kitchen."
That earned Jim a one finger salute and made Bae wonder if this was such a good idea.
"Don't worry about him," Jim said, ushering him out of the room and back down the stairs, "he'll come around. It just takes a day or two to get ideas into that thick head of his."
"Okay," Bae agreed and tried to convince himself he wasn't about to be eaten alive.
Steve didn't come down after them.
Thank you very much for reading this sample. If you enjoyed it, you can find the full book at many of the major eBook retailers. Please click the link for more information:
About Wittegen Press:
Wittegen Press is a small independent publisher of eBooks based in the UK. We publish on many eBook sites. To see our whole catalogue please visit our website.
Tasha was born and raised in rural Kent, England where she still lives with her husband Rob, just down the road from her twin sister and sometimes writing partner Sophie. Tasha has been writing since she was a pre-teen and chose to take it up as a full time career when her company downsized and made the whole software engineering department redundant. After setting up Wittegen Press with her sister as a brand for their books she has not looked back, publishing novels, novellas and short stories in a wide range of genres.
Before taking up writing professionally she was very active in the world of fanfiction and still believes it is a wonderful creative outlet, even though she doesn't have very much time to play anymore. She likes to maintain a lively presence online and welcomes new friends, readers and writers alike.
For more information about Tasha's books and where to find her at places like Twitter, please check out her profile at Wittegen Press, linked below.