Title: A Masterpiece of Our Lives (The Masterpiece Trilogy #1)
Author: Nikki Lynn Barrett
Genre: Contemporary Suspense Romance
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Tour Host: Dreams Come True Promotions
Two Lives Torn by tragedy.
Eight-year-old Becca and twelve-year-old Hunter cling to each other and life after surviving a plane crash which stole their families.
Two Souls Seeking Love.
Each year, from the time she was old enough to travel on her own, Becca met up with Hunter on the island that altered their lives forever.
Until he stopped showing.
Her constant. Her link to the past. Gone in the blink of an eye.
Two Lives Bound by Secret.
Suffering more heartbreak, Hunter returns to the one place he’s always sought comfort, the island where he and Becca met. It was the place that stole from him, and in the same instance gave to him. He hasn't been back or spoken to Becca in four years.
Though he’s sure she must hate him for disappearing, Hunter discovers the girl gone, now a woman in her place. Hunter is determined to prove to Becca he isn’t the same twelve-year-old boy of yesteryear.
But someone isn't happy about their reunion...
Strange things begin happening. Letters start showing up in their hotel rooms and at home with cryptic messages.
Two Broken Hearts Heal as One.
With the mystery unsolved, Hunter convinces Becca to spend the remainder of the summer back home with him, both for safety and to give them a chance to discover the adults they’ve now become.
Will love get a chance to blossom, or will the past come back and tear the masterpiece of their love apart once and for all?
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"You have this knack for memorizing every detail and then capturing it on canvas later. Everyone who visits me asks about your paintings. I tell them that the artiest is special - one of a kind. I've even had a few people offer money to take your art home. I've had to turn them down."
Becca opened and shut her mouth again. He had to be pulling her leg on that last part.
"I'm serious. If I could take you home and introduce you, I bet you'd have people lining up to meet you."
She let out a laugh, but it came out more of a squeak. "You still have that way about you that flatters me every time."
"I'm sure you get flattery all the time. But I mean what I say." Hunter extracted his hand from hers and reached in his pocket. "I brought you something."
Before she had time to protest, Hunter pulled the item from his pocket and handed it to her. It was a small box, wrapped up in pretty blue paper. He pushed it across the table, urging her to open it.
Sometimes he acted like four years hadn't passed between them. Becca shook it off and reached for the box, carefully removing the perfectly wrapped ribbon, then tore into the box.
He didn't get her just one thing. There were multiple items inside. She held up a small seashell and a key chain.
"It's from Mexico. I bet you don't have any from there in your collection." At her silence, Hunter bit his lip. "Do you still collect them?"
She certainly did. She used to keep all her small keepsakes like these in a chest that had a lock on it. That way her grandparents could never get into the chest and search through her mementos and memories that only she would understand. Now that she lives by herself, she displays them proudly. Hunter knew her fear of flying, so every time he went somewhere new, he'd send her a piece of the world.
Hot tears pricked her eyes. "Thank you. They're beautiful. Perfect. I can't believe you remembered."
"I don't ever forget things when it comes to you, Rebecca. I have more, but I thought I'd bring those for now." A dark emotion flashed in his eyes. "I can't make up for the years I didn't show, nor will I try, because you can never make up for lost time. I just want you to know how important you are to me."
"Guess what I found?" Hunter carried a sweater and a pair of sweatpants in his hands. "You'll be nice and warm in no time." He handed them to her.
Becca pointed to his head. She wished her words would just come out already.
"You don't want to change into dry clothes first?" He raised a brow, then winced. "Damn that hurts. Okay fine, you win. I will probably curse and go stark crazy, so bear with me please?"
She may not have been able to find her voice to speak, but a quiet laugh escaped her throat. At least, that's what she thought it was.
Hunter crossed his arms over his bare chest. "Are you laughing at me?" Amusement danced in his gorgeous eyes. "That's so messed up! There is a little devilish side to you after all. I like it," he teased.
Becca smirked and pointed at the first aid kit. She wondered if he remembered any of the sign language, back from when she'd been mute and unable to communicate all those years ago. But so far, he'd been able to understand what she needed. The very first time he came to visit her, he'd learned it so they could talk. She remembered that day well on her aunt's back porch when Hunter sat beside her. She nearly cried that he'd taken the time to understand sign language for her.
"All right little devil, have at it. Just don't get offended for any swear words I may use." He cracked a smile. She loved that he could still have a sense of humor. It showed that even though he had some injuries, he was the same old silly Hunter she knew. She pointed down at the floor, wanting him to kneel before her. Again, he cued in right away and lowered to his knees.
Becca opened up the first aid kit and searched for what she needed. As she pulled out a large bandage, cotton swabs and the small bottle of peroxide to clean the wound, Hunter hissed. She flicked her gaze back to him.
"Call it psychological warfare. I'm anticipating that it's going to sting like you wouldn't believe. I know, I know, I'm being a baby and I should just shut up." Hunter raised his hands. "Think you can do that one handed? I might need you to hold mine with the other."
Becca grinned and held out her hand. She wished her voice would work with her so she could tell him how cute he was being. She couldn't be too sure if he was putting on an act to make her laugh or if he really was bothered by what she had to do. Regardless, she felt needed. Important. Something she longed for. When his shaky fingers curled over hers, a ripple of electricity zipped through her.
Now those were strange, random thoughts.
"Your hand is so cold. Not that mine is any better," Hunter said softly. "I know, I'm stalling. I'm should just man up and take it, huh? You won't tell anyone about my weak side there, will you?" He chuckled.
She slid him a knowing grin and put a finger to her lips, then ran the finger across them as if to say 'My lips are sealed'.
"I knew I could count on you."
"I echo that sentiment." Hunter chuckled. "What a night." They entered Range's and headed for the elevator. As the doors enclosed them in the small space, he turned to her again. Gently touching her face, Hunter inched closer. "Bec, I feel like we should talk about that kiss. That's the second time we've kissed and this year, I don't want to walk away without talking about it."
So that was still bothering him. And second kiss? So he did remember what happened four years ago. Well, shoot! She felt the heat rush to her face. She was so not ready to talk about this yet.
"It was just a kiss," she said softly. "We were caught up in the moment." Just a kiss? Oh, that was the wrong way to describe it. Hunter's kiss was on another level of amazing. She didn't know how to put it into words. She could get lost in a kiss like that under an umbrella in the rain. Or standing by the ocean while the sun set as the chilly waves danced around their feet.
Just like that, the room filled with an unseen energy charge between her and Hunter. What was that all about? She melted inside as his lips parted. What stopped her from kissing him again was the elevator. It jerked to a stop, signaling the arrival on her floor. The doors pulled apart.
"I'd better go," she muttered, tearing her gaze away from his face. She whirled and bolted, unsure of what to make of that tension she'd just felt. It wasn't the bad kind, not at all. It was the I-want-to-do-something-crazy-with-you kind.
Before the doors closed, she heard Hunter's quiet words. "It was more than just a kiss."
Back in her room, she leaned against the closed door and sank to the floor, touching her lips as if she could feel Hunter's still on them from yesterday. His voice echoed inside her head with his last comment. Yes, it was more than just a kiss.
For the past twenty years, Hunter had been her friend and mentor. On many occasions, her protector and voice of reason. The one who knew her weakness and fears, yet still loved her despite them.
Four years ago, something changed. And this year, it seemed to evolve. She had to push it out of her mind when he fell out of contact. She'd left it alone.
Could it be they were both overly sensitive at making it through another storm ravaged accident and they were having mixed feelings? Or could it be so much more?
Nikki Lynn Barrett lives in Arizona with her husband and son. She's an avid reader, a dreamer, and loves everything about books. She runs a book blog, an online used bookstore, and writes various genres of romance. Nikki can also be found outside with her camera when a storm is near, snapping photo after photo. Her dreams of becoming a writer started when she was young, when she started writing books in one subject notebooks by the fifth grade. You can visit Nikki's site at: www.nikkilynnbarrett.blogspot.com for more information. She is working on her next book. Nikki would love to hear from readers. Email her at email@example.com