Faith Townsend’s life is going exactly as planned. The spa she recently opened is thriving and she has a handsome new man in her life. But when she receives a letter from the mother who walked out on her when she was just five years old, Faith’s perfect world is turned upside down.
Hunter Mccormick has spent the last ten years on the move, trying to outrun his demons. But now that he’s found Keating Hollow and Faith Townsend, he’s determined to make the town his home. Life is good right up until old secrets are revealed, and Hunter is in danger of losing the only person he’s ever cared about. Hunter will have to find a way to re-earn Faith’s trust if he wants to be the one to fulfill the dreams of the witch.
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“Just one more screw and we’ll be in business,” Hunter said, his impressive arm muscles flexing as he tightened a bolt on a massage table.
Faith Townsend stared at her contractor and hoped she wasn’t drooling. The man was gorgeous with a capital G. Had it really been six months since he’d started working for her, helping her build out her new spa? It seemed like just a few weeks ago that he’d walked in from who-knows-where and started the renovations that had transformed her newly acquired building into the most gorgeous space she’d ever seen.
“Everyone is duly impressed,” Faith said. She’d just hosted the soft opening of her brand-new luxury spa that afternoon. Her entire family, along with half the town, had shown up to take a tour and indulge in the fancy spa products her sister Abby had created. The appointment book was already half-filled for the following month, and the feedback had been amazing. “You’ve outdone yourself, Hunter. My sister Noel is interested in having you do some work on her inn when you have an opening in your schedule, and my other sister Yvette said she might have work for you, too.”
He gave the bolt one last tug and straightened, turning to look at her. A slow smile spread across his ruggedly handsome face. “Are you trying to get rid of me, Faith? I thought you still needed your office painted.”
She definitely wasn’t trying to get rid of him. If anything, she’d been racking her brain for the past two weeks, trying to drum up more work so she would have an excuse to see him every day. “Nope. They were just so impressed they were trying to steal you away. I told them they’d have to wait, though. I’ve decided to go ahead with the outdoor relaxation retreat area we talked about last month. You did say you could build a stone fire pit, right?”
He laughed. “Sure. Anything you want.” He stuffed the socket wrench in his back pocket. “Did you want the waterfall and rock wall we talked about, too?”
“Yes, please.” Faith grinned at him, wondering how long it would take for him to transform the outside. It was still summer in Keating Hollow, and if he could get it done within the next few months, her clients could still enjoy the outdoors before the dreary, rainy season rolled in. “If you’re not too busy, that is.”
He winked. “I’m all yours until further notice.”
Faith’s breath caught, and her heart skipped a beat. She’d developed a crush on this guy the day he’d started working for her. The fact that he’d shown up early, seemed to thoroughly enjoy his work, and stayed ahead of schedule had won her over. It certainly didn’t hurt that he was gorgeous and thoughtful. He never failed to bring her a mocha from Incantation Café every morning, and when he went out for lunch, he always remembered to ask if she wanted anything. They’d formed a comfortable relationship, and she was going to miss him when his work at the spa was done.
“Hunter?” she asked, her voice slightly shaky.
“Yeah?” He glanced up from the clipboard in his hands.
“Can I take you to dinner tonight?” she asked, hearing the nervous tremble in her voice. “As a thank you for all the work you’ve done? This place wouldn’t be anywhere near ready to open if not for you.”
“Dinner?” He frowned. “You don’t have to do that. I was just doing my job.”
She let out a small huff of laughter. “And taking care of me every day, making sure I eat and take a day off here and there. You even made me go to the healer a few weeks ago when that cough wouldn’t go away.” Faith walked up to him and put a light hand on his arm. “You’ve been more than just my contractor. You have to know that. We’re… friends. Right?”
His dark eyes searched hers, the intensity making her heat from the inside out. The expression on his face was anything but friendly. There was pure desire reflecting back at her, and suddenly she had an image of him tossing her onto the massage table and the two of them going at it like teenagers. Her entire body tingled with anticipation.
“Faith?” Footsteps sounded on the wood floors just outside the half-open door. “Are you back here?”
Hunter took a step back and gave his head a shake as if to clear his thoughts.
Damn. Faith was going to kill Yvette. Her timing was the absolute worst.
“We need to get going,” Yvette called, clearly still looking for Faith.
“In here,” Faith called, giving Hunter a defeated smile.
“There you are,” Yvette said as she pushed the door open. Her oldest sister had her dark hair piled onto the top of her head, curls framing her radiant face. She glowed with happiness, and Faith instantly forgave her for interrupting the moment. She’d just gotten engaged a few hours ago when her boyfriend Jacob had popped the question. Yvette was getting everything she wanted and deserved, including being stepmom to the sweetest little girl on the planet. “Jacob and I need to get going. Skye is ready to pass out.”
“Of course.” Faith turned to Hunter. “Don’t go anywhere. We still need to discuss dinner.”
He shrugged. “I’m not in a hurry.”
“Good.” She hooked her arm through Yvette’s. “I’ll walk you out.”
The sisters exited the massage room and were silent until they rounded the corner at the end of the hall.
“Oh. Em. Gee,” Yvette said in a loud whisper. “What did I just walk in on?”
Faith blinked. “What do you mean?”
“Come on, little sister. There was so much sexual tension in that room that I’m surprised no one burst into flames. And you mentioned something about dinner.”
“I want to take him to dinner to thank him for all his hard work.” Faith paused and blew out a breath. “It was pretty heated, wasn’t it?” she said, fanning herself. They were standing in the relaxation room where eventually her female clients would relax while waiting for their appointments. Comfortable lounge chairs were arranged around the room, and an elaborate refreshment bar was tucked into one corner. Faith walked over and filled a cup with cucumber water. After downing the liquid, she refilled the cup and turned to look at her sister. “I think he was getting ready to kiss me. But then…”
“I interrupted you,” Yvette finished with a wince. “I’m sorry, Faith. I wouldn’t have barged in if I’d known.”
“Of course you wouldn’t have.” Faith waved a hand and threw her cup into the garbage. “Don’t give it another thought. If it’s meant to be, there’ll be another chance soon enough.” She gave her sister a wicked grin, grabbed her hand, and tugged her back into the hall and through the door that led to the reception area.
“Ready?” Jacob asked as he lifted his daughter into his arms.
“I’ll be right behind you.” Yvette kissed Skye on the cheek and tenderly caressed the baby’s head. Jacob’s expression melted as he watched the two people he loved most in the world.
Faith’s heart lurched against her ribcage as she watched the tender moment. It was enough to turn even the most jaded person into a pile of goo. The glow radiating from Yvette practically blinded Faith, and she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d ever find someone who lit her up in the same way.
Jacob smiled at Faith. “Congratulations. The place looks fantastic. No doubt you’re going to have a line out the door in no time.”
“From your lips to the goddess’s ears,” Faith said, pointing upward.
As Jacob took Skye outside, Yvette stepped in close to her sister and wrapped her arms around her. “The place really is wonderful.”
“Thanks.” Faith hugged her sister Yvette tightly, blinked back tears, and whispered, “Congratulations. You deserve this so much. Jacob and Skye are lucky to have you.”
Yvette squeezed Faith and said, “I’m the lucky one. Jacob and Skye managed to steal my heart, and it’s hard for me to even remember what my life was like before Jacob walked into it.”
Good, Faith thought. Six months ago, Yvette had been newly divorced and stuck with a new business partner she hadn’t wanted. But lucky for her, the new business partner had turned out to be Jacob, and after a few bumps in the road, they’d fallen hard for each other. Faith was overjoyed for her, but she couldn’t help the empty ache that seemed permanently lodged in her chest.
All of her sisters were blissfully happy with their blended families, and what did she have? Not much besides her family, a demon puppy, and a new business with plenty of debt and negative cash flow. If she was lucky, it would be a good six months to a year before she could expect to see her monthly numbers turning from red to black. The realization was daunting to say the least. She’d bet everything on her new business. Failing wasn’t an option.
After her sister and the rest of her guests left, she glanced around at her gorgeous new high-end spa, A Touch of Magic, and knew there was only one thing missing—someone to share it with.
As if on cue, Hunter appeared from the back and flashed his sexy half-smile at her. “About that dinner offer… What time should I pick you up?”
A slow smile spread across Faith’s face as everything inside of her turned to mush. This was what she wanted, someone to share and celebrate her accomplishments. “Seven-thirty? Cozy Cave? I hear they have a trout special that will make your mouth water.”
His gaze dropped to her lips, and before she knew it, he was standing right in front of her, one arm snaked around her waist. “There’s only one thing that’s been making my mouth water, and it sure as hell isn’t a piece of fish.”
She opened her mouth to respond, but before she could get any words out, his mouth covered hers and he kissed her so thoroughly her head began to spin. Faith forgot everything else except the tall, muscular man whose kiss was making her toes curl. She wanted to lose herself in him, wrap herself around him, and explore every inch of his rock-hard frame.
“Seven-thirty,” he said as he pulled away.
“Huh?” She was dazed and didn’t understand why his lips had left hers.
“Dinner. I’ll pick you up at your place.” He pressed one more soft kiss on her lips, and then he was gone.
Faith pressed her hand to her tingling lips, trying to keep the sensation from fading. Had that really happened? She glanced in the mirror behind the front desk and took in her flushed cheeks and the slight glow of happiness in her bright blue eyes.
Yes. Hunter had kissed her, and he was picking her up in two hours for dinner.
With a new lightness in her heart, Faith closed up the spa and hurried home to her small blue cottage on the edge of town. It was a two-bedroom fixer-upper her dad had helped her purchase at auction a few years back. Once her spa started to make money, she’d be paying him back with interest. After playing with and feeding Xena, her shih tzu devil dog, she showered then spent forty-five minutes trying on everything in her wardrobe until she settled on a pair of skinny jeans and a silky halter top that showed off her tanned shoulders. After taking care to do her makeup, she studied herself and nodded. The witch staring back at her was casual but sexy. Perfect.
With five minutes to spare, Faith sat on her couch, Xena in her lap, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. When two hours had passed, she was contemplating calling the town healer or Drew, the town deputy sheriff, just to put her mind at ease that nothing had happened to him. But finally, her phone chimed with a text alert.
It was from Hunter. Sorry, Faith. Something’s come up, and I had to cut out of town. I’ll have to take a raincheck.
She glanced at the clock, incredulous. He couldn’t have texted earlier? Fuming, she broke out a bottle of wine, silently cursing the opposite sex. Her plans with Hunter had been the first date she’d had in over a year, and she’d just been stood up.
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