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Authors: Piper Vaughn

One True Thing

BOOK: One True Thing
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Copyright

Published by

Dreamspinner Press

5032 Capital Circle SW

Ste 2, PMB# 279

Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886

USA

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are

the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any

resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments,

events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

One True Thing

Copyright © 2012 by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea

Cover Art by L.C. Chase

http://www.lcchase.com

Photo by Andy Kay, Boycrush Studios

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted

in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including

photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval

system without the written permission of the Publisher, except where

permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact

Dreamspinner Press, 5032 Capital Circle SW, Ste 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee,

FL 32305-7886, USA.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

ISBN: 978-1-62380-046-8

Printed in the United States of America

First Edition

October 2012

eBook edition available

eBook ISBN: 978-1-62380-047-5

Dedication

For the adorable Sue N. Friend,

sister cat, fellow lover of cheap, frozen booze.

We love you, babycakes.

Acknowledgement

Thank you to all the people who helped us make

this story better.

Prologue

Dusty

TWO days in California and I was already in love.

How could I help it? The palm trees, the heat, the

pretty people wearing brand names I could admire

but never afford. I hadn’t gotten one weird look for

my clothes or my nail polish or my piercings. Even

the sun felt different than it had back in

Wilmington. Warmer somehow, freeing. Or maybe

it wasn’t the sun that had changed. Maybe it was

me.

I guess leaving your home state and driving

across the country alone can do that. I wasn’t the

same guy who’d shoved all his worldly

possessions into the back of a rusted powder-blue

Chevy station wagon and put Delaware in his

rearview mirror last week. This was the new and

improved Dusty. Dusty 2.0. Version one was still

back in the ’Ware. I’d left him behind, along with

every hard time and bad memory I’d experienced

there. California meant a fresh start, another

chapter in
The Life and Times of Dustin Davis
.

And what could be better than starting that chapter

in a place as awesome as West Hollywood?

Not much.
I smiled to myself at the thought

and transferred my keys and iced latte into one

hand so I could dig into my pocket for my phone

with the other. I wanted to call my friends, Rue and

Erik, share some of the excitement, tell them I

adored our new little house and the neighborhood

that surrounded it.

I’d spent the whole morning exploring,

walking up and down the boulevard, checking out

the shops and restaurants. Rue was going to love it,

I already knew, and I thought Erik might too, once

he got settled. It was a change for him—for all of

us—but a good one.

I hit the speed dial for Rue’s number and

lifted the phone to my ear, nodding at the woman

who was walking past me with a primped-out

poodle at her side.

“Hey, Dust,” Rue answered after a couple of

rings. “How’s it going?” I started to respond, but

his voice interrupted me. “I’m gonna put you on

speaker, okay?”

“It’s great!” I said once I heard Alice, Rue’s

daughter, babbling happily in the background. “I

found this awesome little coffee shop. Kind of

reminds me of The Bean, but don’t worry, Erik,

it’s a lot cleaner.” Rue’s boyfriend laughed at my

words, the sound familiar and warm, making me

smile. God, I missed him. Rue and Alice too. I

couldn’t wait until they were with me.

“You guys are gonna love it here,” I went on,

moving to the edge of the sidewalk so a woman

pushing a double stroller could get around me.

“It’s totally gorgeous, and the house is so cute! The

pictures didn’t really do it justice. Just wait ’til

you see. And the neighborhood is so nice and

quiet, and, Erik, you’re going to love the backyard.

There’s plenty of room for a garden and maybe

even a pool if the landlord would let us—”

I broke off when the front of one of my flip-

flops got caught on an uneven section of sidewalk

and nearly sent me flying forward. I stumbled,

almost dropping my phone, and probably would

have fallen flat on my face had someone not

reached out to grab my upper arm and steady me.

The touch went through me like an electric shock,

instantaneous and hot, sending a rush of goose

bumps across my skin. My breath caught, and

every fine hair on my body stood on end.

I looked up, speechless, mouth hanging open,

and found myself staring into the prettiest brown

eyes I’d ever seen, rich and warm as dark amber

honey, and surrounded by what seemed like an

unfair amount of thick, curly lashes.

The face that went along with those eyes was

just as pretty. More than. Beautiful maybe. But, no,

that wasn’t quite right either. Stunning. Yeah… that

was exactly it. Because this guy, this gorgeous guy,

with his strong jaw and straight nose, high

cheekbones, elegant eyebrows, and olive skin,

he’d stunned me silent. And that was
before
I got

to his lips, which were so lush and full it took all

my willpower not to lean in for a kiss.

Oh God….
I blinked at him, trying to think of

something, anything to say, like “hi” or “thanks for

saving me from falling on my face,” or maybe even

“marry me,” but I couldn’t get my throat to work. I

just stared up at him, struck stupid by his eyes, his

mouth, his gentle fingers and their steadying grip.

“Okay?” he asked, and those lips, those oh-

so-kissable lips, curved up into a grin that hit me

right in the solar plexus, dead center, straight shot


boom
.

I blinked again, seemingly incapable of

speech, and his smile broadened.

“Yeah, you’re okay,” he said, sounding

amused. He released my arm and stepped back.

“Take care.”

Before I could muster any type of coherent

response, he was walking away, and I finally

registered Rue’s voice in my ear. “Dust? What’s

up? Did you wander out into traffic?”

“Who is that?” I murmured without thinking.

The awe was clear in my voice, even to me.

Rue laughed. “You haven’t even been there

two days, and you’re already checking out the

guys?”

After a moment, I forced myself to laugh too.

“You know I’ve been checking them out since day

one,” I said, and that was true. But I hadn’t seen

anyone like him. Not anywhere. I needed to find

out who he was. “Hey, guys, I’ll call you later,

okay?”

I hit “end” on my phone and quickly shoved it

back into my pocket, turning around to look in the

direction the guy had gone. The latte I’d bought and

completely forgotten about was cold in my hand. I

dropped it into a garbage bin as I moved up the

street, eyes searching the group of people in front

of me, looking for a head of sun-kissed brown hair.

He’d had a few inches on me, but unfortunately not

enough height to really stand out in the crowd.

Where did he go?
I had to find him. I needed

to know his name, get his phone number, his

address, e-mail, whatever, it didn’t matter. I’d

seen beautiful men before, even had them flirt with

me a time or two, but I’d never reacted so strongly

to anyone. No one’s touch had ever felt like that.

No one had ever taken my breath away by just

looking at me. Twenty-four years of life and I’d

never experienced anything as intense as that

moment, those few seconds, standing on a

sidewalk in the middle of a crowd with a complete

stranger.

It meant something. It
had
to mean something.

But I didn’t get to find out what. I looked, and I

looked. I even took that same walk the next day,

and the two days after that.

I didn’t run into him again.

BOOK: One True Thing
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