Book one in the Kindred Spirits Series
When two insanely hot guys encounter a few distressed spirits in the beautiful Whiskers’ Seaside Inn, love becomes entangled with a mystery that must be solved.
Whiskers’ Seaside Inn doesn’t sound like the most exotic location for a weekend getaway, but it’s certainly intriguing. Ethan Roberts is smitten the moment he sees the weathered clapboard inn, and even more so when he meets the establishment’s hunky handyman.
Cade Wyatt seems like a good man to have around. He’s muscular, handsome and very protective of the inn and its occupants. He falls into lust, and then bed, with Ethan.
The inn has two paying guests, but Ethan discovers there’s another cast of characters who come and go. Cade might be nonchalant about the ghosts, but Ethan’s not sure he feels the same. He wants Cade more than anything, but Cade won’t leave the inn. Somehow, Ethan must find a way to live with the spirits as well as the man he’s come to love.
When Ethan pulled his SUV into the car park and saw the inn, he immediately knew he was going to have a wonderful weekend. He’d always loved the west coast of Canada and had been looking forward to visiting British Columbia ever since he’d booked his room. This particular place had a very intriguing advert in the tourist brochure. The name alone had been enough to make him smile. Whiskers’ Seaside Inn. The ad featured a cute, black-and-white spotted seal pup with long, white whiskers. The same picture was etched into an old, battered sign in front of the building.
The structure itself was small, only two storeys, with wood siding that had once been blue but was now grey from the salt water. Despite the weathered appearance, the place seemed well cared for, judging by the beautifully landscaped gardens and lawn stretching in all directions. He could see the beach even from where he stopped outside the well-marked entrance. The white sand stretched for miles. Further along the beach, rocky outcrops, like fingers of some deformed giant, reached towards the surf and sky. Blue upon blue with the white-capped waves crashing against the shore. Fir trees, stunted and deformed from the battering of winter storms, hugged the ground, their roots reaching across the sand. Gulls circled the bay, rode the wind like kites, dipping and weaving in their search for food. As it was barely spring, he was sure the inn wouldn’t be crowded. Peace and quiet sounded like heaven. The advertisement had said ‘rustic luxury’, and he was definitely ready for that.
He climbed out of the car and reached behind the seat for his bag. With it in tow, he headed for the front entrance. The cool wind tugged at his scruffy, collar-length, dark hair, and again, for the hundredth time in the past few days, he thought about getting it cut.
A noise from the side of the inn caught his attention, and so did the man he saw when he faced that way. Tall, bronze-skinned and beautiful in a pair of cut-offs and work boots, the man was clipping one of the vines that crawled up the side of the building and cursing as he pulled the leafy stuff aside. Drool worthy, Ethan thought and grinned. He’d have eye candy, at least.
He watched for a few moments but didn’t want to look like he was staring, so he reached for the door. Once inside, he walked straight to the long, wooden counter ahead. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a dimly lit seating area with a fireplace taking up nearly one full wall, windows the rest. An opening across from where he stood showed a carpeted hallway leading off to where he assumed the rooms were. On his right, there was a small dining area with four or five tables and glass doors opening onto a patio on the beach.
An older man, white-headed and wrinkled, waited expectantly and greeted him with a smile when Ethan dropped his bag in front of the counter. “Good evening, do you have a reservation?” The man flipped open a large, hardcover book and ran his finger down the page.
“Yes, under Roberts, Ethan Roberts. I booked online. It should show I paid by credit card.” Ethan reached into his back pocket for his wallet and dug out his driver’s licence.
The old fellow peered down the sheet and found Ethan’s name at once. “Yes, here you are, Ethan Roberts. Two nights, maybe more.”
“That’s right. I wanted a room right on the ocean, if you have one available.” He handed over his licence and watched the clerk check the numbers.
The man nodded and handed it back. “Yes, a room on the beach. It’s the slow season, so one of our best is available.” He handed Ethan a key and spun the book around so he could sign in.
Ethan scrawled his signature and reached down for his bag. “I’m surprised you’re not doing more business, even if it is off season, Mr…”
“Felton, Stan Felton. My wife and I own the inn.” Ethan smiled. “So you can clue me in to the unusual name. Whiskers? He looks like a seal but sounds more like a family pet.”
“Both. The first owner of the inn was a retired sea captain. He rescued a seal pup after the mother had been shot. Back then, there was a bounty on seals, five dollars a nose. Fishermen shot them for the money.”
Ethan fingered a business card on the counter that bore the seal logo. “Sounds grim for such a cute, little guy.”
Felton shrugged. “Apparently, fishermen and other people used to debate the value of seals. But, as I said, that was a long time ago. They’re protected, now. Still not popular with the fishermen, but they’ve learned to get along with each other. The inn is listed in guide books and registries all over the world by this name. The previous owner told me it’d be too much work to change it, and I tended to agree with him. So, Whiskers’ Seaside Inn it remains.”
“With an interesting story for your guests.” Ethan nodded. “I look forward to my stay.”
“You can go down the hall,” Mr. Felton said, pointing towards the opening Ethan had noticed when he’d entered. “Or, if you’d like a more scenic route, there’s a walkway along the ocean side of the building.” He nodded to the set of double glass doors in the dining area. “Your room will be right at the end, number eight. Do you have more luggage?”
“No, this is it. Thanks.”
Ethan was just about through the outside exit when Stan Felton called to him. “Continental breakfast is from eight ‘til ten. There’s coffee in your room. If you need anything, just come to the desk or call.”
Ethan looked back and said, “Thanks. I’ll be fine, I’m sure.”
He walked outside and inhaled the salty tang of the ocean air. It lifted his hair, chilling the back of his neck as he looked out at the surf. The tide was in, and the breakers sounded like they were only a few feet away. He made his way along the wooden walkway towards number eight.
“I wonder where Mr. Hunk went?” he muttered and smiled. I hope he’s a regular around here.
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