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Blind Love

Blind Love

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Blind Love

ratings:
5/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
392 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9780998529479
Format:
Book

Description

Being strong doesn't mean you have to be alone... 

Diagnosed as legally blind, Lauren's world is a beautiful blur of color. She hasn't allowed her limitations to stop her from building a successful career or gaining her independence. When she meets her new neighbor, the man's warm Texas accent and clean male scent weaken her knees. But her attraction to the former Marine is an entanglement her heart can't afford.Gabe avoids complications at all costs. He has his motives for indulging in short-term flings, but the feisty, green-eyed Lauren makes him want to forget every single one. When a woman from his past disappears, the reasons he should have steered clear of Lauren become painfully apparent.

Pasts and futures collide, secrets unravel, hearts break, and innocent lives hang in the balance.Warning: Contains a blind therapist who doesn't 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 "I love you" and is probably the sanest one of the bunch.

2nd edition. Blind Love was originally published under Samhain Publishing. This edition has been updated with new scenes, a change in the ending,  and a fresh new cover.

Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9780998529479
Format:
Book

About the author

From daring escapes by tough women to chivalrous men swooping in to save the day, the creativity switch to Kishan Paul's brain is always in the 'on' position. If daydreaming stories were a college course, Kish would graduate with honors. Mother of two beautiful children, she has been married to her best friend for over 20 years. With the help of supportive family and friends, she balances her family, a thriving counseling practice, and writing without sinking into insanity. To keep in touch with Kish: Sign up for her newsletter at: http://subscribepage.com/kishanpaul Website:http://kishanpaul.net Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/KishanPaulAuthor Twitter: https://twitter.com/@kishan_paul Join her fan group Kish's Collective: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KishsCollective/ Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kishanpaul


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Blind Love - Kishan Paul

Table of Contents

Blind Love

Accolades for Blind Love

Copyright

Quote

Dedication

Chapter One

Jack

Chapter Two

Nightmares

Chapter Three

Sunny

Chapter Four

Complicating Uncomplicated Lives

Chapter Five

Bottled-Up Feelings

Chapter Six

Ben

Chapter Seven

Wiping off the Dirt

Chapter Eight

Investigating

Chapter Nine

Dueling Heads and Rabbits

Chapter Ten

Being Intimate

Chapter Eleven

Make Me Feel

Chapter Twelve

Immediate Gratification

Chapter Thirteen

Confessions

Chapter Fourteen

Goodbye

Chapter Fifteen

His Alibi

Chapter Sixteen

Evan

Chapter Seventeen

Torture Tactics

Chapter Eighteen

Boy Meets Dog

Chapter Nineteen

Erotic Dreams

Chapter Twenty

Setting Boundaries

Chapter Twenty-One

Nana

Chapter Twenty-Two

On Fire

Chapter Twenty-Three

Q and A

Chapter Twenty-Four

Blindsided

Chapter Twenty-Five

Tunnel Vision

Chapter Twenty-Six

Don’t Think

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Feeling Complete

Chapter Twenty-Eight

The Morning After

Chapter Twenty-Nine

The Magic of Jack

Chapter Thirty

Cell Phones

Chapter Thirty-One

The Escape

Chapter Thirty-Two

The Woods

Chapter Thirty-Three

Patience

Chapter Thirty-Four

Friends

Chapter Thirty-Five

Hospital

Chapter Thirty-Six

Fighting Our Fears

Epilogue

Keep reading for an excerpt from The Second Wife

Retinitis Pigmentosa and How You Can Help

Are you part of Kish's Collective yet?

Keep in touch with Kishan Paul

Also by Kishan Paul

The Second Wife

Chapter 1

Kidnapped

Accolades for Blind Love

But this story is SO much more than a love triangle; there's action and suspense and really beautiful insight into the world of a blind woman. Probably the most remarkable thing was the way the author manages to tell the heroine's POV completely without the sense of sight, and do it so perfectly that we don't notice...This was seriously one of the most complex and interesting romance novels I've ever read, and I heartily recommend it to everyone.

~Caroline Lee, USA Today bestselling author

An outstanding plot, interesting characters and a love story that grew over time made Blind Love an exceptional book and I look forward to reading many more from author Kishan Paul.

~Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

BLIND LOVE is the type of story that will evoke a variety of emotions. It's a heartfelt story of trust, forgiveness, healing and love. It also touches on the serious issue of suicide and the impact it has on those left behind. This was a beautiful story and I highly recommend it. I would definitely read more of this author's work.

~ The Romance Reviews

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Read Blind Love

Kish’s Collective

Newsletter

Other books by Kishan Paul

About the Author

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, eBooks are not transferable.

They cannot be sold, shared, or given away. It is an infringement on the copyright of this work to do so.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

Blind Love

Copyright © 2016 by Kishan Paul

ISBN: 978-0-9985294-6-2

Print ISBN: 978-0-9985294-7-9

Edited by Tera Cuskaden Norris and The Editing Hall

Cover by Original Syn

Formatting by Anessa Books

2nd Edition

"The best and most beautiful things in the world

cannot be seen or even touched –

they must be felt with the heart."

~Helen Keller

Dedication

Although only the author’s name appears on the front of a book, there are so many more that should be included; it takes the love and support of many for authors to write their stories. I dedicate this book to all those who helped me on this journey.

To God: For all the blessings You have showered upon me, including my family and friends, and for gifting me with a brain warped enough to conjure up these stories.

To my husband: For believing in me and supporting all my crazy ideas no matter how ridiculous they seemed, and for the countless times you’ve stepped in and taken over everything so I could write. You fell in love with someone who doubted everything about herself and helped her believe she could fly. I couldn’t have made it here without your love and support.

To my children: For being the wonderful, kind, independent, and amazing creatures you are. You’re not the best of your father and I—you’re already so much better than we could ever be.

To my family: For your encouragement and support, for not judging me about the stories I create, and for stepping in to help so that I could keep writing.

To all my friends: For being my constant cheerleaders and for putting up with all my crazy talk about writing, publishing, and marketing, without complaint.

There are two friends in particular I have to single out because they’ve stayed glued to my side every step of the way in this writing journey. They have read—and then re-read—every word I’ve ever written so many times they know it by heart. Jaya: What do I say? From the moment I told you about my secret writing hobby until now, you have made it your mission to pull me out of the closet and guide me (often kicking and screaming) in directions I never imagined. Asha: For all the sleepless nights you’ve hidden under the blanket reading my stories and telling me how my writing is so much better than so-and-so.

To my writing friends: There are so many of you from Coffee Talk Writers (past and present), those on Scribophile, and hundreds of others I’ve met along the way. You have given a new writer guidance, encouragement and even slapped her around. Your patience, honesty and generosity mean more than I can put into words. In particular, I want to point out Aubrey Wynne, Valerie Twombly, Renea Mason, Cait Jarrod, Lea Bronsen, Jena Baxter, Isabella Harper, DC Stone, Paula Spencer, Kelly Lincoln, Kristen Sanchez, and Janette Spann.

A special thanks to Gillian Davis and RP Tunnel of Sight for her guidance, valuable insight, and for allowing me into her world so that I can better understand the beauty and challenges an individual with retinitis pigmentosa experiences.

To my editors: Tera Cuskaden: I was crazy nervous pitching to you that day in May. By the time I finished, I walked away feeling like I’d made a friend. Thank you for your honest feedback and patience throughout this process and for proving me right—that I had made a friend. Chris Hall of The Editing Hall: for laughing at my sex scenes and then pushing me to give you more. You have not only been a fabulous editor, but also an amazing friend.

Chapter One


Jack

Something hard slammed against the other side of Lauren’s office wall. She kept her voice calm and reassuring as she spoke into the receiver of her headset. So, you feel like your husband isn’t as attentive to your needs as he used to be?

Yes, the woman whimpered. I think he’s having an affair. In a matter of seconds, the woman’s sniffles turned into a full-fledged sob.

Elise— Before Lauren could finish her sentence, the pounding started again. This time it continued with such force, the framed diploma above the sofa crashed to the floor. She leaned forward, reached across the desk, and placed her palm on the wall, feeling it pulse with each assault. When the rhythmic tunes from a country song joined the medley, she cursed.

What the ever-loving hell was he doing?

Dr. Baxter. Is everything okay?

The concern in her client’s voice pulled Lauren’s attention back to the woman on the other line.

Yes, it is. I am sorry, Elise. She rose to her feet, grabbed the cordless phone connected to the headset off the base, and left the office. The hammering and thumping next door had started weeks ago, but they had never been as loud as they currently were, and from the sound of things, they would only get worse. She scrambled downstairs, shot across the living room, into the kitchen, shutting herself in the pantry—the spot farthest from the noise. Lauren rested her forehead against the wall, kicked at the pantry door, and worked on keeping her voice tranquil and comforting. Elise, you mentioned earlier this is the busiest time of the year for him at work.

The rest of the counseling session progressed much the same. And by the time it ended, Elise had calmed down significantly, while the opposite was true for Lauren. They scheduled their next session, and visions of taking the neighbor’s hammer and slamming it into his head filled her consciousness.

But first, she needed to get out of her pajamas.

One of the perks of providing phone counseling sessions out of her home: callers had no idea their therapist wore fuzzy pajamas while discussing their deepest, darkest fears. Stomping upstairs to her bedroom, she unzipped her oversized flannel onesie, created especially for women not interested in finding a man, and tossed it on the bed. Goose bumps pebbled her skin the second she peeled off the soft Sherpa-lined piece of heaven.

She pulled open the drawers of the dresser behind her and reached for a shirt and a pair of jeans. In fifteen minutes, her next client would call. Plenty of time to tell the asshat neighbor who had killed her wardrobe plans for the day and was ruining her career what he could do with his stupid tool.

In the bathroom, she grabbed the toothpaste and did what she’d done since she was three years old. She squirted some into her mouth and swished the wintergreen-flavored gel around her teeth for a few seconds before she grabbed her toothbrush. Lauren’s hand moved rhythmically with the thumping of the hammer. Another perk of living alone and working on the phone all day: no one smelled your breath. After her teeth had been cleaned and probably scrubbed free of all plaque, she began the tedious process of detangling her brown shoulder-length hair. Once the brush moved freely through her locks, she ran her hand over her hair to smooth down any rogue strands before heading out of the bathroom. Most would have checked out their appearance in the mirror. Heck, they’d have had the lights on in the bathroom while they inspected themselves, but for Lauren, the first was impossible therefore making the second unnecessary. One of the drawbacks of being blind.

Well, mostly blind.

Her emerald-green eyes worked. She saw colors, lights, even silhouettes of people; her visual field was just narrower with everything blurred, like a cloud had parked itself in front of her face. Sometimes the cloud was thicker than others, but it was a constant fixture to her visual field. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of six, 90 percent of her vision had gone by her fifteenth birthday. The timing sucked, considering her friends were learning how to drive while she learned how to walk around the house without running into things.

In time, it was a fate she’d learned to accept. Not that she hadn’t fought it. She had, and when she realized there was no cure, she pitched a fit and hated life. Until she got tired of feeling sorry for herself. Fourteen years later, Lauren had a PhD and a thriving private practice providing tele-counseling to clients across the country. All of which she couldn’t have accomplished without the help of her overly controlling parents and her eccentric best friend, Sunshine Daye.

Speaking of Sunny, if her assistant had come into work today, she could have handled the noise pollution.

Her chocolate-brown 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, rolled her shoulders back, tilted her chin, and spoke with an air of confidence. I don’t need Sunny. I can take Mr. Handyman myself.

A beautiful mix of greens and blues touched with red swirled around her when she opened the door. After several blinks, her eyes adjusted to the brightness.

She pointed in the direction of the neighboring townhome.

Jack, Mrs. Rourke’s door.

The mention of the name sent a pang of guilt 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 she’d ever done, but when an eighty-five-year-old woman, with no family, sat in one’s 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. Rourke’s bare skin under her hands when she hugged the old woman; it was one she wouldn’t soon forget. Since the episode, Lauren made a concerted effort to pay better attention to her guide dog’s whimpers and barks.

Together they made their way across the lawn. Once at the door, Jack sat 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.

That’s the person I am, and that’s the person he’ll see.

Lauren felt the wall for the doorbell and pressed the plastic control. A few dozen doorbell presses later, realization hit. If he’s banging away in there, how’s 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 man’s, they shared a common backyard.

Jack. Home.

He rose, maneuvering them back. Together, they marched into their townhouse, through the living room, past the dining room and family room, and out the back door. Jack guided them across the lawn, straight to the offender’s 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, plastic blinds shifted on the other side. 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. The same scent she’d gotten whiffs of the past four weeks since he’d moved in.

Can I help you?

His cologne made her chest flutter while his soft Southern drawl flowed through her skin, warming her face. A lovely image of a shirtless cowboy wearing nothing but his hat and tight jeans popped into her head.

Her fantasy cleared his throat, pulling her back to reality and the purpose of her visit.

Umm, hi, I’m Lauren.

Hello, Lauren.

Jack nudged her leg, reminding her they were there on business, not to drool. I live in the townhouse next to yours.

I know. I’ve seen you and your giant of a bodyguard here jogging in the park. From the angle of his voice, he sounded about six feet tall. When he shifted his weight, the doorjamb squeaked. Her mental image grew more detailed; now the shirtless cowboy with his wide-brimmed hat leaned his muscular shoulder against the wooden frame and flexed his pecs for her.

They have some nice jogging trails. 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 hair—or him for that matter.

"I maht have to try them out."

Maht? Words like maht did little to ebb her cowboy fantasy.

He cleared his throat a second time. Would you like to come in?

Her heart thudded and her palms moistened at the prospect.

Yes…

No, I can’t. Actually, I’m here to ask a favor.

A favor? The evil man continued his flirty tone, successfully melting her organs. "What kind of…favor?"

Her brain explored all the inappropriate favors he could do with her—for her.

Stop it! She hissed at her overly active brain. You are stronger than this. Focus.

Lauren cleared her throat for the hundredth time. I work from home and spend most of the day on the phone with clients.

He chuckled. Ahh. So my putting in crown molding isn’t good for your business, is it?

Her stomach seemed to have sprouted wings and currently was trying to float out of her body.

Speechless, she smiled and shook her head.

Well, what time are you finished with work?

Five, tonight. But it varies.

So, if I work on the molding after five…

My clients and I would be very grateful, Lauren finished.

How about giving me your number so next time I have a project I can find out your schedule before I start?

Okay, you want to get a pen?

No need, I’ll remember.

Lauren’s face heated.

She wiped her clammy palm on Jack’s back and rattled off the digits.

I’m Gabe, by the way.

Hi, Gabe, and thank you. She turned her back to him and rushed away before she agreed to more than her phone number.

Lauren?

She paused mid-flee, waiting for him to finish.

Since you’re done with work at five, how would you like to go to dinner with me tonight?

Her mouth went dry. She swallowed the lump in her throat and shook her head. Mechanically, she spouted out the same answer she’d used for years. Sorry, I’m dating someone.

I’m sorry. I hadn’t seen any men come over, so I assumed…

While her feet stayed rooted, her brain buzzed in search of a response. Very rarely had individuals challenged her I’m not available line. Yeah, Jack travels a lot on business, she shot back.

That’s too bad. You must miss him.

I do. Lauren pressed her lips together before she could spew more lies to cover up the ones she’d already said.

Well, I’d like to take you out to dinner still. My way of apologizing for ruining your workday and my way of guilting you into keeping an eye on the people who wind up renting the house. That is, if you and Jack are okay with it.

Jack Sparrow let out a soft whine at the sound of his name. She rubbed his neck and prayed Gabe didn’t notice. She needed to get out of there before her lies caught up with her.

I’ll keep an eye out for them. The last one was great until she started wandering around naked.

He laughed. What?

She shook her head and giggled. Long story.

Then we’re in agreement. Once I find a renter for the property, we’ll do dinner. Mercifully, he shut and locked the door before anything else stupid came out of her mouth.

Stunned, Lauren made her way back to the sanctuary of her home and slumped onto the couch.

My boyfriend Jack? Naked neighbors wandering around the backyard? She shook her head. I’ve lost my mind.

Sensing her complete mortification, Jack plopped his head on her lap. She patted him and kissed his nose. Technically, I didn’t lie. You’re loyal, always by my side. She rested her cheek on his neck. You keep me warm. Jack licked her arm, making her laugh. "And clearly you give the best kisses. See, you are the best boyfriend I’ve had in a long time."

Lauren closed her eyes and pressed her face into his neck. She knew she had relationship issues. They started after her ex-husband cheated on her. Hence the reason she preferred to keep men at a safe distance. The problem was that she attracted a certain kind of man. The kind who demanded being cast in the starring role as hero. The problem with being in that role was that heroes needed a constant stream of damsels in distress, and that was one thing they’d never find in her. The one simple lesson she’d learned from her failed love life was that she might need a great many things, but rescuing was not one of them.

Her mind floated to the man in the duplex beside her. He’d asked her to keep an eye on his renters. People typically avoided using words like eye and see in front of her, as if they would somehow remind her she was blind. Which made her wonder about Gabe. Did he realize she was blind?

It wasn’t like her vision impairments were obvious. That was the thing about retinitis pigmentosa. Her eyes looked normal.

And speaking of looks, the chances of Gabe resembling the sexy man she imagined were pretty dismal. As she focused on all the awful images of what her neighbor probably looked like, the phone rang. Pushing her canine boyfriend off her lap, she rushed upstairs and picked it up.

Dr. Lauren Baxter, how can I help you?

Lauren, it’s Gabe.

Her stomach fluttered and her cheeks flushed.

Hi. Her voice came out husky.

I wanted to give you a heads-up. I just scheduled a showing with some interested renters for the house, so I’m going to have to finish up the renovations on the house tonight.

Disappointment tugged at her. Then you’d better get to work.

Thanks. He hesitated for a bit before he continued. Would you like to meet them before we agree on anything? To make sure they’re not the wander-around-the-backyard-naked type.

She pressed her cool palm on her overheated cheek. No need, but thank you for thinking of me. I trust you’ll make a good choice.

I usually do. He chuckled. But I’ll feel better if I get your thumbs-up too. Tell you what, I’ll come by and let you know how it goes afterwards. He hung up before she could respond.

A confusing mixture of excitement and dread filled her veins. Mrs. Rourke’s voice popped into her head. Lauren, sweetheart, what mess have you gotten yourself into now?

Oh God, Irma, I should have never sent you away.

Chapter Two


Nightmares

Gabe!" The man’s terrified call burned Gabe’s ears. His cry was soon replaced with another sound. Gunfire. The relentless pop of bullets destroyed the peaceful silence of the night, so incessant it sounded and looked like fireworks exploding around him. Gabe curled in a ball, using his hands to cover his head. His breath caught in his throat while his heart thudded an excited beat. Moisture soaked his flesh, pasting his hair to his face. When he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, the liquid that slicked his skin was blood red. The sight of it made his lungs freeze, making it hard to breathe. He shook his head trying to get himself to focus, to think.

A dog barked and growled, alerting him to the danger, to do something. When he tried to move, to grab for his weapon and run toward the threat, his legs refused. Something restrained them and every time he tried, the fabric that hugged his thighs and ankles tightened. He kicked at it, trying to fight free of the restraints, knowing the only hope for the person in that single-story white brick house in the distance was him.

The dog let out a painful screech and didn’t utter another sound. It was then that he noticed the shots had ended.

No! He moaned, jumping to his feet and running toward the house. He prayed he was wrong about what he would find waiting for him in that little two-bedroom home. Maybe if he pumped his legs harder, moved just a little faster, he could change the outcome. As he raced, the shoes he wore flew off his feet, but he didn’t stop. His lungs screamed for air while his heart tried to leap out of his chest. When a woman’s horrified screams erupted, he tripped and fell to his knees.

Gabe reached his hand into the darkness, searching for the gun he dropped. Instead of brushing against gravel from the narrow street, his fingers connected with nylon. In shock, he stared at the earth below him, realizing it wasn’t earth at all but the deep blue of a sleeping bag—his sleeping bag.

The same dream…the same house.

Out of breath, drenched in sweat, he surveyed the unlit bedroom, a lifetime away from the scene that played out in his brain moments ago. You’re too late. Shudder after shudder ripped through him as he repeated the words. Still on his knees, he planted his elbows on his thighs and rested his sweat-soaked face in his palms.

Various versions of the dream had tormented him for an eternity, but they always ended the same. Him on his knees, shivering while drenched in sweat, never reaching the destination. It served as a reminder that he was too late—always too late.

He made his way to the bathroom sink and splashed cold water against his face. The cool liquid stung against his overheated skin. After a few more splashes of water against his cheeks, he felt better. He wiped off the liquid from his face and neck and the countertop before making his way back to the bedroom. Aside from his duffel in the corner and a pile of dirty clothes beside it, his sleeping bag was the only thing in the oversized master bedroom. He climbed in and tried to shut down his brain.

Thinking about his past and failures wasn’t something he preferred to do. He was more of the stuff that shit in a box, toss it in the darkest corner of the closet, and then for good measure, burn down the closet kind of guy. Building things, tearing them down, doing things with his hands… Those were ways he preferred to occupy his time. The problem was at night in his sleep. That’s when he’d discover that the box he stuffed his shit in was fire-safe. One by one the very things he thought he’d locked away were pulled out and used to torment him.

Gabe turned on his side and shut his eyelids. Just as sleep took hold of him, his phone rang, making him jump a second time. After cursing and then laughing at his own edginess, he grabbed his device and scanned the screen. It was barely six in the morning, and the call was from a familiar number in the 713 area code.

The sight of it made his pulse shoot back up. He answered by the third ring. Autumn?

Hi, Gabe. She choked out the words. I’m sorry. I know it’s late…

He climbed to

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  • (5/5)
    This was a sweet love story, with a murder mystery, a kidnapping, a sexy neighbor, and some steamy sex. The main character is a sassy, smart-mouthed PhD, and her best friend is a hoot! At it's heart , Blind Love is a romance, but it crosses into several other genres as well, and should be appealing to a broad audience. Loved it!