“A Masterpiece Of Our Love” by Nikki Lynn Barrett
Blurb: 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.”
Becca opened the bottle and poured a little bit of the liquid on the cotton swab. She raised it and moved it closer to Hunter’s face. She dreaded doing this even more than he dreaded having it done. She didn’t want to cause him any discomfort and she knew this wasn’t going to feel good at all. He flinched as the swab barely touched his skin and let out another hiss. He also squeezed her hand.
She used a small handful of the cotton balls before she considered it clean. Hunter swore and growled like a wild animal, but had held still fairly well. Becca opened the package for the bandage and gently smoothed it over the wound.
“That is some mind-numbing pain right there,” Hunter grumbled. “Thanks Becca. Now do me a favor. Go and get yourself changed into warm clothes. I’d feel a lot better knowing that you’re warm when I leave. When I get back, if you’re hungry, we’ll eat. I think the rain has let up some, although it still sounds pretty ferocious out there.”
She nodded and stood, picking up the folded clothes he’d brought out earlier.
“Bathroom is down the hall and to the left. On a good note, we have working electricity in here. Want me to run out now or wait until you’ve changed?”
She shook her head no and signed ‘Go now’. She hoped he’d understand.
“I’m so glad you were taught sign language when you were younger. It helps a lot. I haven’t used it in years, but I remember it. I’ll go. I won’t take long, okay?”
She hated the idea of him having to go out there. She wished she could tell him to stay, but he had a point. Just because they had power didn’t mean they had food, and both of them could stand to eat.
Her expression must have given her away. Hunter rushed forward and gathered her in his arms. “I know it’s not ideal. I don’t want to leave you, but I don’t think bringing you back out in the storm with me is a good idea either. Just trust me. I’ll be okay, and I’ll be back so fast you won’t even realize I was gone. Okay?” He gently tipped up her face and his dark, concerned eyes bore into hers. “Go on, get warm.” He brushed a kiss on her forehead before releasing her.
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**About author, Nikki Lynn Barrett:
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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