Nine Stones is the story of Felix Lane and Kirk Shoo.
Felix lives a quiet life in his corner of the suburbs, spending his days working as an administrative assistant and sharing his experiences with his canary bird.
Then, one day, Kirk Shoo moves in across the street. Kirk who always hangs around his mailbox and who always stands too close.
Felix calm existence is shattered. And if that isn’t enough, all of a sudden there are cats everywhere.
“Rough weekend?” She grinned, and Felix narrowed his eyes.
“I was dog sitting for my sister.” And he’d been stood up. He should’ve known, Kirk was way out of his league, and he couldn’t believe he’d been so stupid as to think Kirk would be interested in him. It wouldn’t surprise him if Kirk had been home all weekend. Maybe he’d been sitting inside listening to Felix ringing his doorbell and knocking far longer than any sane person would.
What Felix couldn’t figure out was why? Did Kirk know Felix had run over his cat and was punishing him? But how could he? And Felix had never shown any interest so how could Kirk have known he’d accept the dinner invite? He’d put on his best shirt for fuck’s sake. Pathetic.
“Oh how cute.”
An image of Gibson shaking the poor kitty flashed before his eyes. “Not really. The dog is a monster.”
Hannah giggled and headed for her desk.
The clock was on sedatives. Felix spent the morning checking and answering emails, and it was the longest morning he’d ever lived through. He needed ice cream.
When it was forty-five minutes left to his lunch break he faked heading for the bathroom and snuck out the side entrance. The summer sun bounced off the glass walls of the office building and got trapped between the houses. It was hotter than a sauna and it would’ve forced him to take shelter in the ice cream place on the corner even if he hadn’t been heading there.
The bell chimed above when he pushed the door open, and he breathed out a sigh of relief when the cool air embraced him. Before the door closed behind him, it was pushed open anew, and Felix feared it’d be someone from the office. Looking over his shoulder, he stared right at Kirk.
“Felix.” His voice was desert dry. The tight black T-shirt he wore revealed a large bruise on his neck and the longer Felix stared the more scrapes and bruises he found.
“Oh my God, are you all right?” Damn, he was supposed to be angry, not concerned.
One corner of Kirk’s mouth lifted in a devastatingly sexy grin, and Felix allowed himself a mental groan. It was a practiced grin, had to be. He made an extra effort not to show any effect it had on him. Unfortunately, it only made Kirk smile wider.
“I’ve had better mornings, but I have to say the day is getting better and better.” He turned serious. “I want to apologize for not being home yesterday, it was a …eh…emergency thing.”
“You could have called, or you know, knocked on my door before you left.” Damn, he should shut up. He didn’t want Kirk to come knocking on his door, did he?
“Yeah…I…eh…figured you had your hands full with the dog, so I didn’t want to interrupt. Come on, let me buy you an ice cream to make up for it.” He stepped close enough to make Felix’s tongue stick to the roof of his mouth—ice cream would help the dryness, wouldn’t it?
Kirk ordered, and they took a seat. “So he’s gone now, the dog I mean?” Kirk licked his spoon while looking at Felix behind those stupid sunglasses. Why did he have to wear them? It made it so hard to read his facial expressions.
“Went home yesterday afternoon. Why?” The ice cream was lovely as ice cream always is but Felix had a hard time concentrating. The way Kirk’s tongue worshiped the spoon was distracting, and his lips looked soft and inviting. It was a good thing they’d never had dinner. Felix would have looked like a fool.
“I don’t like dogs and I always pictured you as more of a cat person.”
The air got stuck in Felix’s throat, and he coughed. “Cat? What makes you say that?”
Kirk shrugged, but it ended in a hiss.
“Shit, are you sure you shouldn’t see a doctor or something? What if something is broken? What happened?” Bruises on the neck were serious. What if he was hurt?
“It’s nothing.” He waved a hand and glanced around the room. Felix followed his gaze. It was a cozy place, small tables with four chairs. The walls were a soft blue and the furniture black. He liked it, it had a cool, relaxed atmosphere.
“So are you a cat person?” Kirk flashed his lopsided smile again, and Felix’s heart beat faster. He probably practiced in front of the bathroom mirror every morning.
“I like birds. Sunny, my canary, is the best companion a man can have. Was, he was the best…” Felix took a shuddering breath.
Kirk turned white as a ghost and Felix reached out.
The only thing worse than having a hot neighbor you’re too intimidated to talk to is accidentally hitting his cat with your car.
Felix Lane was perfectly content to spend the rest of his days with Sunny, his canary life companion, in their quiet little corner of the suburbs. But then Kirk Shoo with his unusual eyes moved in across the street, and Felix’s carefully constructed life is starting to unravel.
When your every bad-boy fantasy lingers at the mailbox, stands too close and smells too damn good, what’s an under-appreciated administrative assistant to do? Besides sneak out the backdoor to go to work?
But when Kirk’s cat runs out in front of Felix on his way home, he has no choice but to face the music and his dream man. Unless…
What starts as a tragic accident turns into something far more bizarre. And when Felix’s backyard begins to look like a pet cemetery, he has no choice but to come clean. That is if he can manage to find his sexy neighbor at all.