By Nikki Lynn Barrett
As love blossoms, twenty year old secrets threaten it all...
Becca and Hunter have always tried to make sense of a tragedy, but they never fully asked why. Why were they on the same plane? Where were they going or coming from? Recent events force them to find out everything they can about the plane crash and the events that led them there.
Becca's always been strong. She's always found a safety net in Hunter, the man who saved her as a child and always stuck by her, giving her reason to go on when no one else gave her a chance. Now she fights to keep her strength going, but her fears begin to get the better of her. The facade she tries to hold up threatens to crack.
Hunter is learning to fight his demons and put them to rest, but he can't help but worry about Becca and the future they've just begun to build. She's become the withdrawn person he'd been for the past few years and he doesn't know how to help, unless he finds the answers they both are desperate to know.
They've always battled every storm together, but a new storm could sweep in and blow the foundation right out from under them...
The second installment of the Masterpiece trilogy is full of twists, turns, and secrets that come unburied...
WARNING: This story is not a standalone. This is the second in a trilogy that follow the same characters. A Masterpiece Of Our Love should be read first.
He found the house matching the address and pulled up in front of it. A simple, yet elegant two story Victorian style home. Steps led up to the large front porch. The yard had so much well kept green grass. He sniffed the air. Smells like it had recently been cut.
Hunter didn't notice at first, not until he made it halfway up the walkway, but a man sat on the porch in a wicker chair. The man climbed to his feet slowly and stared at Hunter.
"It's like I've seen a ghost." Joe moved to the front of the porch, holding the banister. "Charles Beckman's boy, all grown up. You look so much like your father did at this age. I never thought I'd see you again. It's been what, twenty years? You're in your thirties now?"
"Thirty two," Hunter replied. Joe was real, and he remembered him! Shit! Wow. Now how much did he remember about what happened? As much as he wanted to ask him the truth now, he wanted to know this man he'd called Uncle even more. "I didn't remember about you until recently. A lot of my memories before the accident are skewed or not there."
"I wanted to come see you after you were found." Joe walked with a limp.
"Why didn't you?" He figured he knew the answer.
"I don't know. I wasn't in the position to take you in. I thought the past was better left there. Not a day goes by that I haven't thought of your parents and you. How are you? Where are you living now? You say you only now remembered me?" Joe gestured to the chairs a few feet away.
"I've been having triggers that bring back memories I couldn't recall before." Hunter took up his invitation, settling in the chair next to the one Joe sat in before. "Doctors say PTSD."
Joe scowled. "I'm sorry. I've seen the affects of it on people many times in my life." If he was worried about Hunter bringing up the past things he'd done, Joe didn't show it yet. "Married? Kids?"
"I was married. I have a child with my ex-wife." Hunter pulled his wallet from his pocket and took out pictures of Sienna. "My daughter. She's three." He handed the photo to Joe. His hand was shaky.
"Your dad and mom would have been proud grandparents. They would have doted on her. What's her name?"
"Sienna." Thinking of his parents as proud grandparents hit Hunter with a floodgate of emotions. "I called you Uncle Joe, didn't I?" he blurted. Well damn! He hadn't meant to put it out there quite like that.
Joe's eyes lit up. "You did. My wife and I never had children. We wanted them so bad, but life wasn't ready to make us parents. You were the closest thing I had."
So why didn't you come find me?
Hunter wanted so badly to ask, but for once, he didn't blurt out his thoughts.
"You really don't have many memories before-" Joe couldn't even bring up the crash.
"No, I don't. I hate it because so much has happened, and I don't even have anything from my mom and dad to hold on to other than memories. I don't even remember what happened to the house or where we lived, for that matter." Did he live in Maryland after all before everything?
"I've got things for you then. Photos, and a few items. I was the one who cleaned the house. I kept things, some of them even yours."
Hunter sat up straighter. "You took care of my house? Where did I live before?"
Which meant if there'd been any trace of what they were doing before the plane ride, Joe could have and probably did get rid of it. How convenient.
He'd sure made the right call to come here.
"You lived in Maryland, not far from Baltimore. Since you found me, you probably know now your dad was a lawyer. Best damn partner I ever had."
Maryland. He wondered if going there one day would bring back a memory. "I got my love of basketball from him," Hunter recalled.
Joe laughed. "Actually, you both found your love of the game through me. Your dad couldn't be bothered with it before, but we used to go to games and he grew into it. Wasn't a bad player, either. We took you to games from an early age. I was real proud when you picked up the love of it. Do you play any more?"
Hunter shook his head. "Not like I wanted to. It was just one of those things I let go of. I played here and there, but the love I had for it died the night I lost my family." Regret weighed on his heart.
"Come inside. I have some home videos and albums to show you." Joe struggled to climb to his feet. Hunter aided him. "I don't know what brought you to me today, but I've missed you, Hunter."
This book is the second in the Masterpiece Trilogy. A Masterpiece Of Our Love is the first book and is currently on sale for 99 cents! This is the beginning of Hunter and Becca's story.
Two Lives Torn by tragedy.
Eight-year-old Becca and twelve-year-old Hunter cling to each other and life after surviving a plane crash which stole their families.
Two Souls Seeking Love.
Each year, from the time she was old enough to travel on her own, Becca met up with Hunter on the island that altered their lives forever.
Until he stopped showing.
Her constant. Her link to the past. Gone in the blink of an eye.
Two Lives Bound by Secret.
Suffering more heartbreak, Hunter returns to the one place he’s always sought comfort, the island where he and Becca met. It was the place that stole from him, and in the same instance gave to him. He hasn't been back or spoken to Becca in four years.
Though he’s sure she must hate him for disappearing, Hunter discovers the girl gone, now a woman in her place. Hunter is determined to prove to Becca he isn’t the same twelve-year-old boy of yesteryear.
But someone isn't happy about their reunion...
Strange things begin happening. Letters start showing up in their hotel rooms and at home with cryptic messages.
Two Broken Hearts Heal as One.
With the mystery unsolved, Hunter convinces Becca to spend the remainder of the summer back home with him, both for safety and to give them a chance to discover the adults they’ve now become.
Will love get a chance to blossom, or will the past come back and tear the masterpiece of their love apart once and for all?
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"Guess what I found?" Hunter carried a sweater and a pair of sweatpants in his hands. "You'll be nice and warm in no time." He handed them to her.
Becca pointed to his head. She wished her words would just come out already.
"You don't want to change into dry clothes first?" He raised a brow, then winced. "Damn that hurts. Okay fine, you win. I will probably curse and go stark crazy, so bear with me please?"
She may not have been able to find her voice to speak, but a quiet laugh escaped her throat. At least, that's what she thought it was.
Hunter crossed his arms over his bare chest. "Are you laughing at me?" Amusement danced in his gorgeous eyes. "That's so messed up! There is a little devilish side to you after all. I like it," he teased.
Becca smirked and pointed at the first aid kit. She wondered if he remembered any of the sign language, back from when she'd been mute and unable to communicate all those years ago. But so far, he'd been able to understand what she needed. The very first time he came to visit her, he'd learned it so they could talk. She remembered that day well on her aunt's back porch when Hunter sat beside her. He asked if she remembered him. She nearly cried that he'd taken the time to understand sign language for her.
"All right little devil, have at it. Just don't get offended for any swear words I may use." He cracked a smile. She loved that he could still have a sense of humor. It showed that even though he had some injuries, he was the same old silly Hunter she knew. She pointed down at the floor, wanting him to kneel before her. Again, he cued in right away and lowered to his knees.
Becca opened up the first aid kit and searched for what she needed. As she pulled out a large bandage, cotton swabs and the small bottle of peroxide to clean the wound, Hunter hissed. She flicked her gaze back to him.
"Call it psychological warfare. I'm anticipating that it's going to sting like you wouldn't believe. I know, I know, I'm being a baby and I should just shut up." Hunter raised his hands. "Think you can do that one handed? I might need you to hold mine with the other."
Becca grinned and held out her hand. She wished her voice would work with her so she could tell him how cute he was being. She couldn't be too sure if he was putting on an act to make her laugh or if he really was bothered by what she had to do. Regardless, she felt needed. Important. Something she longed for. When his shaky fingers curled over hers, a ripple of electricity zipped through her.
Now those were strange, random thoughts.
"Your hand is so cold. Not that mine is any better," Hunter said softly. "I know, I'm stalling. I should just man up and take it, huh? You won't tell anyone about my weak side there, will you?" He chuckled.
She slid him a knowing grin and put a finger to her lips, then ran the finger across them as if to say 'My lips are sealed'.
"I knew I could count on you."
About The Author:
I'm an avid lover of books. I've been writing as far back as I can remember, completing my first "book" by fifth grade in one of those one subject spiral notebooks. I have a passion for music, photography, jewelry and all things creative. I live in Arizona with my husband and son, but dream of being somewhere much colder and stormier. For now, I'll have to live that life through my characters and stick it out with the summer heat.
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I love to hear from readers!
I love to hear from readers!