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Prodigal Son (Sanctuary #6)
Author: Abbie Zanders

Prodigal Son

(Sanctuary, Book 6)

by

Abbie Zanders

 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Abbie Zanders

All rights reserved.

Visit my website at https://abbiezandersromance.com

Cover Designer: Graphics by Stacy

Cover Photographer: Eric McKinney / 6:12 Photography

Cover Model: Mark S

Editor: Jovana Shirley, Unforeseen Editing, www.unforeseenediting.com

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

 

Table of Contents


Title Page

Copyright Page

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Epilogue—One Year Later

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Prologue

 


15 Years Earlier

Hayley

On the far side of the private lake, near the secret tunnel leading into the estate, Hayley Freed stared up at the inky sky, a lovely cloak of velvet black with streaks of deep midnight blue. The full July moon, commonly called a Thunder Moon, reflected on the still lake surface like a mirror, making it appear like a glowing silvery-gold portal.

Her body was humming pleasantly, thanks to the attention of the man lying naked beside her. Sumneyville’s favorite son and the one who unknowingly held her heart. Matt Winston. He’d been gentle and thorough and attentive. She’d heard the horror stories about first times. How much it hurt. How uncomfortable it was. How quickly it was over.

Hers was nothing like that. Not because Matt was so experienced, but because he truly cared.

Oh, Matt was no virgin, but after being exclusive for the last six months, she was even more convinced he wasn’t the selfish, spoiled rich boy her brother and father claimed he was. Matt was kind and good-hearted and sweet and strong and smart and ...

Matt’s arm flexed, pulling her closer to his body. His lips found her forehead, a gentle brush, warm and tender.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good, thanks.”

“It’s nearly midnight. I should take you home.”

Hayley didn’t want to go home. She wanted to stay with Matt for as long as she could and make the most of every moment. He’d be leaving soon, as would she. It could be months before they saw each other again.

If they ever saw each other again.

The thought gutted her. Matt wasn’t just her boyfriend; he was her best friend. Her soul mate. And now, her lover.

The timing sucked. With high school graduation behind them, their time together was limited. They’d be going their separate ways soon.

No matter what the future held, she wouldn’t regret this night.

“Not yet.”

She reached over and stroked him. He felt different now than he had earlier, soft where he had been so hard. Not for long though. He began to grow and stiffen in her hand. The urge to have him inside her again grew right along with him.

“Hayley ...” he warned. “I only had the one.”

She knew. She didn’t care. She climbed on top of him, silencing his protests as she eased down on him. He could have stopped her if he really wanted to.

His hands flexed around her waist. She stared down into his eyes, a rich golden brown, now glowing with the light of the moon. Just like the citrine pendant he’d given her for her birthday.

“I trust you,” she whispered and began to move. She wasn’t as fluid as he’d been, but she knew what felt good. Now that she’d finally given in to her own desires, she wanted more.

His eyes closed, and he moaned softly. Then, they opened and stared deeply into hers, and she knew in that moment that no one would ever look at her like that again. Like she was everything.

He rolled her over and took control of their lovemaking. They came together in a burst of bright lights. It was even better than the first time.

Church bells tolled from down in the valley. A sense of foreboding washed over her.

“Now, we really have to go,” Matt said. “It’s past your curfew. Your brother’s going to be pissed.”

“He won’t know,” she assured him with a quick kiss. “He thinks I’m camping out at Kim’s.”

Even as she said it, a deeper shiver ran through her. Her brother—a local cop—had a habit of checking up on her, especially since she’d started seeing Matt. Unlike the majority of the people in their small mountain town, her family did not like the Winstons and had forbidden her from seeing Matt. If Daryl or her father discovered where she’d been or what she’d done, the punishment would be severe.

Still worth it, she thought.

Hayley had Matt drop her off a block from her friend’s house, though she knew he would follow and hover in the shadows to make sure she got inside okay. He was protective that way.

“Call me tomorrow,” he commanded softly, leaning down for one last kiss.

“I will.”

She turned and jogged toward Kim’s, turning back once to wave before reaching down to unzip the tent. She watched as Matt’s shadow melted into the other shadows. She was just about to slip inside when a voice spoke from the darkness and filled her with icy dread.

“Where’ve you been, Hayley?”

Daryl.

Hayley straightened and moved toward the firepit, where a few glowing coals remained. Her older brother rose from the wooden picnic table just beyond.

“Quiet,” she said in a hushed whisper. “You’ll wake Kim.”

His expression was hard, his eyes cold despite the reddish-orange reflection of the embers in them. “Kim’s not here. She’s at the hospital with her grandmother.”

Oh no! “What happened?”

“Doesn’t matter, does it?” Daryl asked.

Since Kim was her friend and Kim’s grandmother was one of the few women in town who didn’t look down on her like she was trash, yeah, it mattered.

Hayley knew better than to antagonize Daryl. He was obviously in a mood, and he could be a real dick when he was in a mood, but she was in a mood, too. He would not ruin this perfect night for her.

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