Title: Blind Love
Author: Kishan Paul
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
She doesnât need a hero. But a sexy Marineâ¦thatâll work.
At twenty nine, psychologist Lauren Baxter has a successful counseling practice. Since becoming legally blind at fifteen, her world has been a blurry mess of colors. Her greatest fear is also her ultimate reality. One day that fuzzy realm will forever turn black. Refusing to let blindness define her, she builds a life for herself with her dog, Jack Sparrow, and best friend, Sunny Daye.
Lauren has no tolerance for pity or for Superman swooshing down and rescuing her. She is capable of saving herself just fine. That is until Gabe, the great smelling, former Marine, from Texas moves in next door. Her attraction to him is immediate and, unfortunately for her, mutual. When Laurenâs ex-husband shows up begging for another chance, she is confused and fragile. She also finds herself in the arms of her secretive neighbor. Little does she realize that her decision for a steamy roll in the hay with Gabe will suck her into his mysterious past, thrust her ex-husband back into her life, put her in the middle of a murder investigation, and place her life in danger.
Gabriel Briggs has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Short term flings are all he can afford for more reasons than one â reasons he never plans to share. Until he moves in next door to the beautiful, green eyed, feisty, Lauren. One night with her and heâs reconsidering promises he made almost a decade ago. When a woman from his past is murdered, his world is turned upside down. Secrets are revealed and innocent lives are threatened. Can Gabe win Laurenâs love and save her life before itâs too late?
Product Warnings: Contains a blind therapist who doesnât consider herself impaired; a meddling, erotic-novel-writing best friend; a hot ex-Marine with a shady past; and a loyal guide dog that howls âI love youâ and is probably the sanest one of the bunch.
Add the book on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1LDxXNx
EXCERPTS: PLEASE CHOOSE ONE TO INCLUDE WITH YOUR POST
Excerpt 1: Her chocolate German shepherd, Jack Sparrow, nudged her leg as soon as she approached the front door. After rubbing his neck, she grabbed hold of his harness and stepped outside.
A beautiful mix of greens and blues touched with red swirled around her. After several blinks, her eyes adjusted to the brightness. She pointed in the direction of the neighboring townhome.
âJack, Mrs. Rourkeâs door.â A pang of guilt ran through her. She and her former neighbor had been close until Lauren placed her in a nursing home. It was one of the hardest things sheâd ever done, but when an eighty-five-year-old woman sat in oneâs kitchen butt naked talking about the weather, it left few options.
Jack tried to warn her but she ignored him and sent the poor dog to the backyard. She cringed at the memory of Mrs. Rourkeâs bare skin under her hands when she hugged the old woman; it was one she wouldnât soon forget. Since the episode, Lauren made a concerted effort to pay better attention to her guide dogâs whimpers and barks.
Together they made their way across the lawn. Once at the door, Jack sat down and waited for her to do the rest. Taking a deep gulp of fresh Denver air, she held it for a few seconds before slowly releasing.
Calm and patient.
Thatâs the person I am and thatâs the person heâll see.
Lauren felt the wall for the doorbell and pressed the plastic control. A few dozen doorbell presses later, realization hit. If heâs banging away in there, howâs he going to hear the doorbell? She slammed her knuckles into the wood for what seemed like an eternity but still no response.
Okay, time for Plan B. Since her home connected to the demolition manâs, they shared a common backyard.
He rose, maneuvering them back. Together, they marched into their townhouse, through the living room, and out the backdoor. Jack guided them across the lawn, straight to the offenderâs patio. She banged her knuckles against the glass pane. After they were raw and felt like they were on fire, his hammering stopped. A few minutes later, she heard the sound of plastic blinds shifting. Lauren plastered on her biggest smile and waved. Metal slid against wood and the door opened.
The faint smell of sandalwood mixed with cedar filled her lungs. It was the same scent sheâd gotten whiffs of the past four weeks since heâd moved in.
âCan I help you?â His soft Southern drawl flowed through her skin, warming her face. The image of a shirtless man in a cowboy hat and jeans leaning against the doorjamb popped into her head. For a moment, she forgot why sheâd come.
âUmm, hi, Iâm Lauren.â
âHello, Lauren.â The amusement in his voice pulled her out of her cowboy fantasy.
Jack nudged her leg, reminding her they were there on business, not to drool. âI live in the townhouse next to yours.â
âI see you two jogging the park in the evenings.â From the angle of his voice, he sounded about six feet tall. She could hear the smile in his words. When he shifted his weight, the doorjamb squeaked. She wondered if his shoulder leaned against it, like the half-naked cowboy in her head.
Thank God I changed out of my onesie.
âThey have some nice jogging trails.â Her voice came out husky and she caught herself playing with her hair when she responded.
What the hell?
Lauren dropped her arm and grabbed a fistful of her jeans to curb her need to twirl, flick or touch her hairâor him for that matter.
âI maht have to try them out.â
Maht? Yup, definitely a country boy. Images of tight jeans and cowboy hats filled her thoughts.
He cleared his throat. âWould you like to come in?â
Her heart thudded and her palms moistened at the prospect.
âNo, I wanted to ask a favor.â
âA favor?â The evil man continued his flirty tone, successfully melting her organs. âWhat kind ofâ¦favor?â The way he said the word had her brain exploring all the inappropriate things he could do with herâfor her.
Stop it! You are stronger than this. Focus.
Lauren cleared her throat for the hundredth time. âI work from home and spend most of the day on the phone with clients.â
He chuckled. âAhh. So putting in crown molding isnât helpful, is it?â
Her stomach fluttered.
Speechless, she smiled and shook her head.
âWell, what time are you finished with work?â
âFive, tonight. But it varies.â
âSo if I work on the molding after fiveâ¦â
âIâll be very grateful,â Lauren finished.
âHow about giving me your number so next time I have a project I can find out your schedule before I start?â
Wait? Was that a line or sarcasm? He canât be hitting on me.
No. It made total sense he needed her number. After all, sometimes she did have evening clients. âOkay, you want to get a pen?â
Laurenâs face heated.
Yup, heâs flirting.
She wiped her clammy palm on Jackâs back and rattled off the digits.
âIâm Gabe, by the way.â
âHi, Gabe, and thank you.â She turned to rush away before she agreed to more than her phone number.
âSince youâre done with work at five, how would you like to go to dinner with me tonight?ââ
Excerpt 2: The banging and Jackâs barking grew louder. Lauren ran her hands through her hair and made her way down the stairs with Sunny close behind.
At the door, her best friend leaned over her and peeked through the blinds.
âOh Sweet Baby Jesus, whoâs that?â she whispered.
Lauren pushed her away and blocked the entrance with her body. âIf I could see, Iâd tell you.â
âItâs a man. Open the door,â she ordered and tried to pull Laurenâs hand from the knob.
âNo! We donât know who he is,â she hissed.
âLauren, itâs Gabe.â The way her name sounded in the baritone voice of his had her stomach doing the funny flipping thing again like it did yesterday in the backyard.
âYes, Lauren, itâs Gabe,â Sunny imitated. âNow open the fucking door.â
âHi, Gabe. Everything okay?â she asked, her voice huskier than sheâd like.
âI heard screams. I tried calling a couple times and when you didnât answer, thought Iâd come over and check things out.â
âThe neighbor with the power tools?â Sunny hissed. âThe man is eye candy beautiful.â
âThat doesnât mean heâs not a rapist or serial killer,â Lauren hissed back.
Boney arms wrapped tight around her waist, lifting off the ground and planting her a few feet away from the entrance. Disoriented, Lauren was still figuring out which direction she was facing when the door rattled and opened.
âHey,â Sunny said in her most seductive tone. After rolling her eyes, Lauren walked toward her friendâs voice.
âHi,â Gabe cleared his throat. âIâm sorry, I was looking for Lauren.â
âIâm right here.â
âSorry to bother you two. Like I said, I heard screamingâ¦â
âSo sorry; we were having a disagreement,â she answered before Sunny got a chance to give her interpretation of events.
âIâm Sunny.â Her voice sounded deep and breathy. Lauren cringed and resisted the urge to hit her.
âHi, Sunny, Iâm Gabe.â
âNice to meet you, neighbor with the power tools.â
âAnyway, weâre fine. Thanks for checking.â Lauren reached over to shut the door but Sunny wouldnât let it go.
âHow sweet. Did you hear, Cat? He came here to see if you needed to be saved.â Since when did she start speaking with a Southern accent?
âI donât need to be saved,â she muttered.
âThatâs all relative now isnât it, sweetheart? Why donât you come in, Gabe? I just made some fresh coffee.â
âIâd love some. But if you donât mind, let me go put some clothes on and Iâll be right back.â
A few seconds after he disappeared, Sunny blew out a breath and closed the door. âHoney, I do mind if you put on more clothes.â
âWhatâs wrong with you? You canât let strangers into my home,â Lauren growled.
âRule number one: When a man who looks like him walks up in nothing but hard muscles and a thin pair of boxers, you invite him in. Rule number two: Keep rocking those low-cut tank tops and short biker shorts, âcause he couldnât keep his eyes off you.â
âIâm sorry, maâam. I canât help you,â the cabbie said.
Gabe put the last of the supplies into the large metal toolbox and padlocked the lid.
âHeâs a guide dog. Isnât it against the law for you to refuse services because of him?â Lauren asked.
He bit back his urge to help.
For him, the girl spelled trouble.
âThe sign right there says no animals.â The driver pointed to the backseat window.
She grinned. âAnd if I wasnât blind, Iâm sure I would have seen it.â
Gabe chuckled. He loved her fake smile. Leaning against the truck, he watched the performance.
âIâm sorry, I didnâtâI mean, you donât look blind.â
Still grinning, she cleared her throat and pulled on the dogâs harness. âI am. Which is why I need my guide dog. He goes everywhere with me.â
The beast raised its ears and looked at Gabe. He averted his eyes, pulled off his baseball cap and tucked it into his jean pocket. Her monster of a pet was making him feel guilty as hell.
âIâm sorry, but Iâm allergic to animals. He canât come in my taxi.â
âI can pay you extra for your troubles. The place is a few blocks after the highway. It would only be ten minutes of your time.â
âLook, maâam. Itâs not going to happen. If you want, Iâll call another car to pick you up.â
After a long pause, she shook her head and bit her lip. âNo, itâs fine. I understand. Thank you.â
A few seconds later, the cab pulled away. Lauren stood cross-armed, staring out.
Gabe gripped the truck to make sure his legs didnât get any crazy ideas.
This is not my problem. Maybe if he said it enough times, heâd believe it.
âCome on, Jack. Itâs time for Plan B,â she said and grabbed the dogâs holster.
Stunned, he watched the two stroll down the road. She said the place was a few blocks after the highway. Which meant theyâd be walking alongside one of the busiest boulevards in Denver for a few yards before sheâd ever reach the interstate. He looked at his watch. Four fifty, on a Friday afternoon. The two would be smack dab in front of the I25 overpass during rush hour trafficâa dangerous situation for anyone, much less a blind woman.
She wouldnât, would she?
When Lauren got to the end of the street and turned left, he cursed under his breath.
Yeah, she would.
Gabe stayed on his knees with the kid wrapped around his neck. The two men stared each other down.
âHey, there. My nameâs Lauren. Iâm your neighbor. Whatâs your name?â
âEvan.â His voice came out muffled from having his nose pressed into Gabeâs shoulder.
âHi, Evan. This big dog beside me is Jack Sparrow. We call him Jack.â
The dog wagged his tail and licked Laurenâs face. âJack, say âI love youâ.â
Both of Gabeâs hands were where visible, but Ben stayed on alert.
When the dog yodeled his response, Evan turned his head. The kidâs eyes doubled in size.
Lauren smiled. âDogs canât talk, right? And they canât. But sometimes they can make noises that sound like theyâre talking. And Jackâs a special dog. Heâs trained to smell when people need help. Like me. I need his help a lot because Iâm blind.â
âYou are?â Now Evan had turned completely around and peered into her face.
âYup, I am. Jackâs my guide dog. He helps me get places and do things.â
Both Evan and Gabe gazed at Lauren with looks of awe on their faces.
She smiled and kissed the dogâs neck. âHe is wow. But what makes him even more wower is he can tell youâre a little scared and he wants to help you.â
âYup. What he wants to do is to give you a kiss and let you hug him so youâll feel better. I do it all the time with him when Iâm scared. If youâre okay with trying, why donât you give him your hand and see if it helps?â
âGabe?â Evan said, still glued to his dad.
âItâs okay, Sprout, he wonât hurt you,â Gabe whispered.
The kid reached out his palm. Jack put his paw on it and panted.
âHe wants me to shake his hand,â Evan announced, giving the furry foot a shake.
When Jack licked his cheek, instead of screaming, he laughed.
Acid burned in the pit of Benâs stomach, from the way the man was eyeing Lauren.
âThank you. For everything,â he said to her.
Laurenâs smile faded. âI didnât do it for you.â
Ben cleared his throat but said nothing. She nodded. âWell, I better get back inside. Jack, you coming?â
The dog whined back his answer.
âHe seems to want to hang out with your son.â
Gabe had yet to blink much less look away. âItâs mutual. Would you mind if they played together for a little while?â
Lauren bit her lip and Ben prayed sheâd say no. âYou wouldnât hurt him would you?â
âDo you think I would?â
She shrugged. âYouâre obviously capable of a lot more than I realized but no, I donât think you will.â She got up from her spot. âHeâll come home when heâs ready to, or send him over when you guys are done, whichever happens first.âwhichever happens first.â
Where to buy:
Blind Love Trailer: http://bit.ly/1JQAVju
Join the Release Day Party on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1Eh9cAP
About the Author
From daring escapes by tough women to chivalrous men swooping in to save the day, the creativity switch to Kishan Paulâs brain is always in the âonâ position. If daydreaming stories were a college course, Kish would have graduated with honors.
Mother of two beautiful children, she has been married to her best friend for over seventeen years. With the help of supportive family and friends, she balances her family, a thriving counseling practice, and writing without sinking into insanity.
Her novella, Taking the Plunge, is currently available in the Love Least Expected Anthology on Amazon.
She can be found at:
Sign up for her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119110/join
TOUR GIVEAWAY! Enter to win a $25 Amazon Giftcard http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b6938c4232/ a Rafflecopter giveaway