Stone is used to getting around on his own, even if he is blind. When he
decides to head out on a book tour to promote his latest title, though, he
knows he needs more help than his seeing eye dog can provide. Stone decides
to hire a personal assistant, someone to help be his eyes and ears on the
Mason seems like the perfect candidate, a strong, ex-military man who can
take care of anything. Even if he can't see Mason, Stone knows he's
attracted to the man's gravely voice and hard body, and things start moving
fast. Maybe too fast. Will Stone scare Mason off with his strong feelings,
or can Mason see how good they could be together?
Stone finished listening to his messages and stretched tall, back popping
and cracking. Leeah was curled at his feet under his desk, snoring softly.
Fall was really started, the wind blowing through the open windows of his
office chill and damp, curtains rustling, leaves blowing in.
He almost had all his class stuff organized, ready to go. Two semesters off.
He hadn't done that since he started teaching. Probably wouldn't be taking
the time off now if his second novel hadn't hit hard. Who knew a simple
story about the Civil War would be so popular?
"Dr. Watson?" Hillary's sweet little voice sounded, the door hinges
creaking. "Your four o'clock appointment is here."
"Oh, excellent. Send them in." He'd decided he needed a personal assistant,
someone to help him juggle, help him travel.
The door opened farther, firm steps clicking on the floor. "This is Mason
Vergis. Mr. Vergis -- Professor Watson."
A deep chuckle sounded. "Professor Watson? As long as you're not expecting
me to be Sherlock Holmes." The voice matched the chuckle, low and gravelly,
as if its owner didn't speak often.
Stone smiled, shook his head. "Right era, wrong man." He stood, held his
hand out. "Very nice to meet you, Mr. Vergis."
His hand was engulfed in one that was large and strong, warm. The handshake
Oh. He liked that.
He liked that a lot.
"Please, have a seat. Would you like a coffee?"
The chair slid across the floor.
"Hillary? Two coffees, please?" He found his chair, opened his laptop and
searched for Mr. Vergis' resume. If he remembered correctly, Mason was a
former soldier, a bodyguard.
"Black, no sugar," put in that growly voice.
"So, Mr. Vergis, tell me about yourself, about why you applied for the
Vergis cleared his throat. "Call me Mason. I did ten years in the service.
Honorable discharge. Did a few years as a bodyguard. I'm looking to get into
something that combines that with a few brains."
"Well, I can't see that I'd need bodyguarding, but I need brains." He
smiled. "I'll be honest. I'm traveling, starting next month. Thirty-six
weeks, sixty cities. I need someone who can drive, read mail, help me get
around, basic daily things. The pay's not great, but room and board's
included, travel, that sort of thing."
"Well, I can do all that. And it sounds a lot more interesting than
babysitting some spoiled, rich kid."
"Well, we won't be in the Ritz, but we'll be in decent places and I have a
good-sized house." He leaned back. "Have you ever worked with a blind
"No, sir, I haven't." He heard Vergis shift in the chair. "Are you really
totally blind? I don't mean to be rude, you're just... you don't act like
you can't see."
Stone took his dark glasses off, showed Mason his pale, blank eyes, the fine
webbings of scars that covered his face. "I was in a plane accident when I
was five. Haven't seen a single thing in thirty years."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to suggest..." Mason cleared his throat, an
awkward silence falling.
"No, no. Please. I'll take it as a compliment." He smiled, put the glasses
back on. "I'm very self-sufficient, as a rule. My life's just getting
"You don't want me to leave then?"
He frowned, tilted his head. "Well, our coffee's not here yet..."