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Authors: Susan Mac Nicol

Worth Keeping

BOOK: Worth Keeping
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Worth Keeping
Mac Nicol, Susan
Boroughs Publishing Group (2013)


Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone.

On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other. Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man…


Susan Mac Nicol

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, business establishments or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Boroughs Publishing Group does not have any control over and does not assume responsibility for author or third-party websites, blogs or critiques or their content.

Copyright © 2013 Susan Elaine Mac Nicol

All rights reserved. Unless specifically noted, no part of this publication may be reproduced, scanned, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Boroughs Publishing Group. The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or by any other means without the permission of Boroughs Publishing Group is illegal and punishable by law. Participation in the piracy of copyrighted materials violates the author’s rights.

Digital edition created by Maureen Cutajar

ISBN 978-1-938876-87-5

This book is dedicated to all those out there who have overcome some form of sexual abuse, or are trying to overcome it. While those memories can never be erased, and the pain of such betrayal may linger, I hope that with support, love and understanding they may find the peace they need to move forward. For those suffering in silence, please talk to someone, make your pain known. Only then can the healing begin.


I’d like to thank Vikki at Trinity House UK for her help in getting to see the inside of the lighthouse next year. She’s been very helpful indeed.


Title Page




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Author’s Note

About the Author

Books by Susan Mac Nicol


Chapter 1

At the edge of the sea cliff, Nick Mathers was overwhelmed by the sudden urge to step into thin air. He imagined his body sailing free, finally finding shattered peace on the rocks below. He closed his eyes, swallowing as the insidious pull of need threatened to take him over.

This last nightmare had really done a number on him.

A deep rumble of thunder shuddered through the air like a bell tolling, mocking him with its sonorous tone. Freezing rain stung his face like flicks of a multi-tasselled whip.

Maybe this time he’d make a better job of it. It was the story of his life. He couldn’t succeed at anything, even dying.

Nick choked back a sob. He opened his eyes and screamed hoarsely into the air. “You motherfuckers, you want me, come and fetch me!” The uncaring gale snatched his words away. Looking down at the shore, Nick judged his flight path. Then he saw movement on the windswept beach below and froze. Something blue lay at the surf line in the frothing waves.

Jesus Christ, it’s a person.

The figure stirred. His anguish momentarily diverted, Nick turned swiftly, sprinting down the gravel path of the cliff to the beach then running across the flat sand toward the figure. Waves spilled over the body then receded like a lover’s caress. Nick dragged the body out of the surf and knelt beside it. The man’s arms were outstretched, face upturned to the rain as if in supplication. He was dressed in a dark blue suit, his coal-black hair plastered to his white face and his lips as pale blue as his shirt. He groaned, his eyes flickering. Nick watched as his chest rose and fell shallowly.

“Jesus, where the fuck did
come from?” Nick tore off his jacket, jerked him to a sitting position and wrapped the jacket around the shivering man. His head fell against Nick’s chest as he held him close, trying to instil further warmth. In this sea and this weather, hypothermia could be a bitch. Nick picked the man up, grunting a little as he slung him over his left shoulder. A slight whoosh of air escaped his burden as he did so.

Shit, he's bloody heavy

The path upward back to the warmth of his cottage was treacherous with his heavy load, and Nick swore more than once as he lost his footing. His chest pounded, his throat on fire with the exertion. Rain whipped around them both, drenching them in its freezing embrace. At the top of the cliff path, Nick stopped and stood gasping, sucking breath into his straining lungs like a desperate man.

He definitely wasn’t as fit as he’d used to be.

The man over his shoulder murmured something inaudible.

“Are you okay? We’re nearly at my home.” Nick panted, jogging toward the welcoming lights ahead.

“Leave me.” Whispered words said between chattering teeth. “Let me die.”

Nick’s throat closed up at the sincerity with which they were spoken.

How often have I said the same thing? What had happened to this man to make him feel this way?

“Not going to happen, buddy,” he gasped as he reached his front door. “That sentiment belongs only to me on this island. No one else gets to ask that favour.”

The man moaned. Fists hit Nick’s arse. There was no strength in the blows, but his voice grew stronger. “Put me the fuck down and leave me alone. I don’t need your help, you ape.”

Nick shook his head, fumbling for the doorknob then entering his warm, brightly lit kitchen. He slammed the door shut behind him with his foot. “No can do, my friend. And I’d be careful about ape name-calling. There’s a monkey in the house.”

The blows to his arse got more vigorous and Nick winced as they struck a particular sensitive spot on his spine from an old injury. Catch still over his shoulder, Nick went into his bedroom, entering the en-suite bathroom. He deposited the shivering man in the corner of the large wet room then twisted the knob. Immediately, hot water rushed out of the showerhead. It was the best way he could think of to quickly restore body heat for both of them.

He grinned wryly. One of his pleasures was having a man to fuck in here and it was just his luck that instead of his wish he had a half-drowned, semi-conscious, smart-mouthed individual.

Nick turned his face to the water, soaking up the heat and trying to get his body warmth back.

The man seated on the floor was shivering, but some colour was beginning to return to his face. He opened his eyes and Nick lost his breath. The man’s eyes were an incredible shade of green, cat’s eyes coloured with topaz streaks, and Nick had never seen anything so beautiful.

The man spoke, his voice angry. “You dumb fucker, you should have let me die out there.”

The words instantly diluted Nick’s appreciation of the man’s assets.

Nick scowled. “You’re welcome, arsehole. If I’d let you die out there there’d be all sort of bloody questions and I don’t like those. So believe me, Green Eyes, you can go die somewhere else if you like but not on my bloody island.”

There was silence as the warm water cascaded down. The man’s shivers grew less vigorous. Nick stood in silence, his face upturned to the water as his own body tremors subsided. Steam filled the bathroom like a sauna. Finally, Nick turned off the shower. He reached down, grasping Green Eyes’ arm and hauling him to his feet. He noticed for the first time the red-tinged water swirling down the drain.

The other man staggered, his face paling, biting his lip in pain.

Nick reached out, a little more gently. “Come on. We need to get those wet clothes off you and see what you’ve done. There’s blood in the water. I think you’ve been bashed about a bit on the rocks. I assume you came in by sea on a visitor’s permit?”

His sarcastic words made the man’s eyes flash dangerously.

“Fuck you,” he retorted as he jerked back, counteracting the brave words by sinking to his knees. Nick caught him by the arm as he fell, Green Eyes’ gasp of pain echoing in the shower.

Hell, this is one cocky bastard.

But the emotional pain in the man’s voice was something he recognised. “Stop fighting me,” Nick said softly. “Can you get your clobber off on your own? Leave it on the floor. Then we can see what we need to fix up. There’s a towel on the rail you can wrap around you.” He expected some sort of wisecrack but was pleasantly surprised when the man nodded.

He went to wait in the bedroom and smiled at a muttered curse and the slap of wet clothes on the tiled floor.

Finally his guest came into the bedroom, towel swung loosely around lean hips. His eyes narrowed, observing the huge wooden bed in the room.

Nick sighed. “I have no intentions on you.” That was just a little bit of a lie. Despite the situation, Nick was well aware of the other man’s considerable attractions. His pitch-black hair, cat-like eyes, strong features and taut, muscled body definitely spoke volumes to him. He was a couple of inches shorter than Nick and probably a few years older too. He helped the man down onto his bed.

“Lie down so I can check you out. Wrap that thick blanket around you too. You need to get warmer. I’m still damn cold myself.” A shiver made its way from the tips of Nick’s toes to the back of his neck.

The other man nodded tiredly. “I’m sorry I was such a git. It’s a habit. Have you any clothes I can put on rather than just the blanket?” He smiled faintly. “I don’t really fancy walking about in the altogether.”

Nick went to his closet, pulling out a pair of blue sweatpants and a white polo shirt. “The pants might be a bit long on you, but they should do. Sorry about the paint stains.” He walked to the bathroom then turned. “By the way, what’s your name? Mine’s Nick. Nick Mathers.”

BOOK: Worth Keeping
13.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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