Title: Blind Love
Author: Kishan Paul
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
She doesn’t need a hero. But a sexy Marine…that’ll 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 Lauren’s 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 – reasons he never plans to share. Until he moves in next door to the beautiful, green eyed, feisty, Lauren. One night with her and he’s 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 Lauren’s love and save her life before it’s too late?
Product Warnings: 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.
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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
“Jack, Mrs. Rourke’s
door.” 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 she’d ever done, but when an eighty-five-year-old woman 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 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.
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.
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 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, 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 she’d
gotten whiffs of the past four weeks since he’d moved in.
“Can I help you?” 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 she’d come.
“Umm, hi, I’m Lauren.”
“Hello, Lauren.” 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. “I live in the
townhouse next to yours.”
“I see you two jogging
the park in the evenings.” 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.
“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? Yup, definitely a country boy. Images of tight jeans and cowboy
hats filled her thoughts.
He cleared his throat.
“Would you like to come in?”
Her heart thudded and her
palms moistened at the prospect.
“No, I wanted to ask a
“A favor?” The evil man
continued his flirty tone, successfully melting her organs. “What kind of…favor?” The way he said the word had her
brain exploring all the inappropriate things he could do with her—for her.
Stop it! 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
putting in crown molding isn’t helpful, is it?”
Her stomach fluttered.
Speechless, she smiled
and shook her head.
“Well, what time are you
finished with work?”
“Five, tonight. But it
“So if I work on the
molding after five…”
“I’ll be very grateful,”
“How about giving me your
number so next time I have a project I can find out your schedule before I
Wait? Was that a line or sarcasm? He can’t be hitting on me.
No. It made total sense
he needed her number. After all, sometimes she did have evening clients. “Okay,
you want to get a pen?”
Lauren’s face heated.
Yup, he’s flirting.
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 to rush away before she agreed to more than her phone number.
“Since you’re done with
work at five, how would you like to go to dinner with me tonight?’”
Excerpt 2: The banging and
Jack’s 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.
“Oh Sweet Baby Jesus,
who’s that?” she whispered.
Lauren pushed her away
and blocked the entrance with her body. “If I could see, I’d tell you.”
“It’s a man. Open the
door,” she ordered and tried to pull Lauren’s hand from the knob.
“No! We don’t know who he
is,” she hissed.
“Lauren, it’s Gabe.” 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.
“Yes, Lauren, it’s Gabe,”
Sunny imitated. “Now open the fucking door.”
“Hi, Gabe. Everything
okay?” she asked, her voice huskier than she’d like.
“I heard screams. I tried
calling a couple times and when you didn’t answer, thought I’d come over and
check things out.”
“The neighbor with the
power tools?” Sunny hissed. “The man is eye candy beautiful.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s
not a rapist or serial killer,” 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.
“Hey,” Sunny said in her
most seductive tone. After rolling her eyes, Lauren walked toward her friend’s
“Hi,” Gabe cleared his
throat. “I’m sorry, I was looking for Lauren.”
“I’m right here.”
“Sorry to bother you two.
Like I said, I heard screaming…”
“So sorry; we were having
a disagreement,” she answered before Sunny got a chance to give her
interpretation of events.
“I’m Sunny.” Her voice
sounded deep and breathy. Lauren cringed and resisted the urge to hit her.
“Hi, Sunny, I’m Gabe.”
“Nice to meet you,
neighbor with the power tools.”
“Anyway, we’re fine.
Thanks for checking.” Lauren reached over to shut the door but Sunny wouldn’t
let it go.
“How sweet. Did you hear,
Cat? He came here to see if you needed to be saved.” Since when did she start
speaking with a Southern accent?
“I don’t need to be
saved,” she muttered.
“That’s all relative now
isn’t it, sweetheart? Why don’t you come in, Gabe? I just made some fresh
“I’d love some. But if
you don’t mind, let me go put some clothes on and I’ll be right back.”
A few seconds after he
disappeared, Sunny blew out a breath and closed the door. “Honey, I do mind if
you put on more clothes.”
“What’s wrong with you?
You can’t let strangers into my home,” Lauren growled.
“Rule 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, ’cause he couldn’t keep his eyes off you.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I
can’t help you,” the cabbie said.
Gabe put the last of the
supplies into the large metal toolbox and padlocked the lid.
“He’s a guide dog. Isn’t
it against the law for you to refuse services because of him?” Lauren asked.
He bit back his urge to
For him, the girl spelled
“The sign right there
says no animals.” The driver pointed to the backseat window.
She grinned. “And if I
wasn’t blind, I’m sure I would have seen it.”
Gabe chuckled. He loved
her fake smile. Leaning against the truck, he watched the performance.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t—I
mean, you don’t look blind.”
Still grinning, she
cleared her throat and pulled on the dog’s harness. “I am. Which is why I need
my guide dog. He goes everywhere with me.”
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
“I’m sorry, but I’m allergic
to animals. He can’t come in my taxi.”
“I 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.”
“Look, ma’am. It’s not
going to happen. If you want, I’ll call another car to pick you up.”
After a long pause, she
shook her head and bit her lip. “No, it’s fine. I understand. Thank you.”
A few seconds later, the
cab pulled away. Lauren stood cross-armed, staring out.
Gabe gripped the truck to
make sure his legs didn’t get any crazy ideas.
This is not my problem. Maybe if he said it enough times, he’d
“Come on, Jack. It’s time
for Plan B,” she said and grabbed the dog’s holster.
Stunned, he watched the
two stroll down the road. She said the place was a few blocks after the
highway. Which meant they’d be walking alongside one of the busiest boulevards
in Denver for a few yards before she’d 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 traffic—a dangerous situation for
anyone, much less a blind woman.
She wouldn’t, 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.
“Hey, there. My name’s
Lauren. I’m your neighbor. What’s your name?”
“Evan.” His voice came
out muffled from having his nose pressed into Gabe’s shoulder.
“Hi, Evan. This big dog
beside me is Jack Sparrow. We call him Jack.”
The dog wagged his tail
and licked Lauren’s face. “Jack, say ‘I love you’.”
Both of Gabe’s hands were
where visible, but Ben stayed on alert.
When the dog yodeled his
response, Evan turned his head. The kid’s eyes doubled in size.
Lauren smiled. “Dogs
can’t talk, right? And they can’t. But sometimes they can make noises that
sound like they’re talking. And Jack’s a special dog. He’s trained to smell
when people need help. Like me. I need his help a lot because I’m blind.”
“You are?” Now Evan had
turned completely around and peered into her face.
“Yup, I am. Jack’s my
guide dog. He helps me get places and do things.”
Both Evan and Gabe gazed at
Lauren with looks of awe on their faces.
She smiled and kissed the
dog’s neck. “He is wow. But what makes him even more wower is he can tell
you’re a little scared and he wants to help you.”
“Yup. What he wants to do
is to give you a kiss and let you hug him so you’ll feel better. I do it all
the time with him when I’m scared. If you’re okay with trying, why don’t you
give him your hand and see if it helps?”
“Gabe?” Evan said, still
glued to his dad.
“It’s okay, Sprout, he
won’t hurt you,” Gabe whispered.
The kid reached out his
palm. Jack put his paw on it and panted.
“He wants me to shake his
hand,” Evan announced, giving the furry foot a shake.
When Jack licked his
cheek, instead of screaming, he laughed.
Acid burned in the pit of
Ben’s stomach, from the way the man was eyeing Lauren.
“Thank you. For
everything,” he said to her.
Lauren’s smile faded. “I
didn’t do it for you.”
Ben cleared his throat
but said nothing. She nodded. “Well, I better get back inside. Jack, you
The dog whined back his
“He seems to want to hang
out with your son.”
Gabe had yet to blink
much less look away. “It’s mutual. Would you mind if they played together for a
Lauren bit her lip and
Ben prayed she’d say no. “You wouldn’t hurt him would you?”
“Do you think I would?”
She shrugged. “You’re
obviously capable of a lot more than I realized but no, I don’t think you
will.” She got up from her spot. “He’ll come home when he’s ready to, or send
him over when you guys are done, whichever happens first.”whichever happens first.”
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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 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:
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