Home > Deacon (Unfinished Hero #4)(8)

Deacon (Unfinished Hero #4)(8)
Author: Kristen Ashley

“I also have a library of DVDs. There’s a menu in your cabin if you want to check one out. I usually require a credit card for that service but we’ll skip that part seeing as you’re a repeat customer, so I’m guessing I can trust you won’t take off with my copy of Lake House.”

That got me something. His full, attractive lips twisted in distaste.

“Not a Sandra Bullock fan?” I asked.

He shocked me by sharing, “Keanu Reeves.”

I grinned at him. “This is the difference between men and women. Many men don’t get Mr. Reeves.” I leaned in and finished conspiratorially, “Every woman absolutely does.”

He made no comment and showed no hint of understanding or humor.

Instead, he asked, “I take it it’s no longer seventy.”

I shook my head. “Sorry. And it’s high season so it’s a hundred a night.”

And it was one hundred dollars a night and I added ten dollars a person if there was more than one.

I had eight of the eleven cabins filled, with Priest there was nine.

This meant I was doing it.


Utilities and cable were crippling. Not to mention taxes. The day-to-day work was constant and there was still more to do to get the cabins as I wanted them to be. I wasn’t rolling in it and I could use some help, like someone to help me clean and do laundry.

But I was doing it. I might not be able to pay my dad off with interest anytime soon, what with all the stuff that needed doing to the house, not to mention the fact that two winters in Colorado running my business with my car were two winters too many without a truck or SUV, so I had to get on that and soon.

But I was doing it.


John Priest reached to his wallet, pulled out some bills, and handed me three hundreds, saying, “Two nights.”

“Just two this time?” I asked.

His gaze sharpened on me but he said nothing. I had no idea how to read this except to think he wasn’t a big fan of me keeping tabs on how long he stayed.

Which was weird.

And scary.

And thus totally John Priest. A man I’d seen repeatedly. A man I did not see at all when he was in one of my cabins, except seeing his SUV drive up and down my lane when he came and went. And once, I watched him carry groceries into cabin eleven.

That was it.

Therefore, he was a man I did not know. Not even a little bit. Except for the fact I was pretty certain his name was not John Priest, and since he gave a false name and paid in cash, it was likely he was not an upstanding citizen.

“Okay, just two,” I muttered.

“Key,” he prompted and my body gave a slight jerk in response, seeing as I totally forgot about the key. Mostly because he wasn’t there often, months passed in between, but he was the only one who came back time and again and it felt strangely like he should have his own key.

I moved to the cabinet, got him his key, and walked it back, hand out toward him.

He took it as I offered, “Would you like to take some cookies with you? I have plenty.”

He gave me that sharp look again and surprised me by saying firmly and extremely rudely, “Absolutely fucking not.”

“I…uh, o-okay,” I stammered. “You don’t like cookies.”

He didn’t confirm this fact.

He dipped his chin, turned to the door, opened it, and disappeared through it, shutting it behind him.

I stared at it a moment before I moved to it and locked my three locks again.

When I looked out my filmy curtains, I saw nothing but porch lit by my outside light, the gray mounds of snow beyond, and the darkness of night.


John Priest was heading to eleven to do whatever it was he did in my cabin that was none of business.

So I was heading to my kitchen to finish baking.

Which was what I did.

* * * * *

Five months later, I threw open the front door, looked up at John Priest’s scary, beautiful face, and declared, “In case you’re cataloguing the goodness, my man, we have Wi-Fi!”

He said nothing but he moved to take a step in so I had no choice but to take a step back. I did this heading toward the key cabinet.

He headed to the registration book.

He also moved not speaking.

I didn’t return the favor.

“The password to get in is ‘snookums321.’ But seeing as your badass fingers might implode if you tried to type out the word ‘snookums,’ you can give it a miss tonight because tomorrow is my normal change day. I’m thinking ‘Iloverocknroll999.’ That would be ‘and’ as an ‘n’ with no hyphens or apostrophes,” I shared, nabbing the key and turning to see him bent over the book.

He said nothing. Just kept scribbling.

I moved to stand at his side. “I should also tell you that we had a little incident.”

He stayed bent over the book but his long fingers that were wrapped around my pen—fingers that were on a huge hand I hadn’t noticed until that moment was that large—went still and his eyes slid to me.

Normally, his eyes focused on me in that intense way would make me a babbling idiot in fear for the safety of my…something.

Instead, all I could think about was what he could do with hands that big. That strong. That obviously powerful.

It was doubtful his touch could be gentle.

And that was not a bad thing.

My dry spell had lasted since Grant with no hope on the horizon it would be ending.

It was becoming clear I needed to get laid.

I also needed to stop gawking at Priest, thinking about his hands, and instead keep talking.

So I did that.

“We, uh…well, I had an, um…patron who was staying. Apparently, she was in a spot of trouble and her trouble followed her here. He assaulted her in her cabin. It was kind of…well, unpleasant considering that’s unpleasant in and of itself but he then was shot dead a few days later. Not by her and not here,” I hastened to add when his scary look turned downright terrifying even if he didn’t move a single muscle, just kept staring at me. “By some other guy who had nothing to do with that guy, but apparently this woman was a magnet for trouble so once the first guy who assaulted her later kidnapped her, the second guy killed the first guy and re-kidnapped her, uh…as it were.”

As I was finishing up (lamely), Priest straightened and he did this not taking his eyes from me.

It was then I noted something I already knew but noted it in an entirely different way.

He was really tall.

And really big.

As in really.

For both.

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