Faith Hamilton is different. Blessed with the power to draw her ancestors from the past into the present, Faith formed a strong bond with Andrew Byrne, her charming rogue of a “relative” from pre-Revolutionary Boston. Andrew’s first visit when they were both teens led to many more over the years. But despite her close friendship with Andrew, Faith has always felt that her life would never be normal unless she made a drastic change. Now she avoids relationships with people outside her tight family circle, fearing she might be forced to reveal her ability. Instead, she tries to keep it a secret, and her private life hidden as she focuses on her career. For a while she succeeds, until she meets the sexy and dynamic Cody Simpson.
Cody is a mathematician, a man devoted to classifying and defining the world around him. Once hurt by a woman whose sole focus was her career, not the people in her life, he swore he would never allow himself to be attracted to this kind of woman again—until he meets the beautiful and captivating Faith Hamilton.
Intrigued by Cody, Faith can’t stop her growing attraction to him. Nor can she keep that charming rogue, Andrew from popping into her life whenever he chooses. As she frantically schemes to keep the two men apart, her problems multiply at home, at work, and most of all in her relationship. How long can she keep up this double life? More importantly, what will Cody think if he finds out about her magical power?
Fighting Fate is available through Lachesis Publishing (http://www.lachesispublishing.com/proddetail.asp?prod=FightingFate)
Faith hadn’t quite finished her e-mails when her telephone rang. The call was from a client who wanted to discuss their latest billing so she took it. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Andrew was at the window, searching the edges of the glass the way he had in the car. She spared a moment to reflect with relief that he couldn’t open the door this time and almost fall out, then she focused on the problem at hand.
Faith’s window consisted of two six-foot square panes, framed by black metal. These didn’t open, but between them and the four-foot walls that rose from the floor were two narrow rectangular windows that did. These were hinged to open outward with a gentle push and, like the non-functioning windows, they were framed in thin black aluminum.
A modern design, these windows were not the old-fashioned sash construction that Andrew was used to. Instead of moving up and down, the hinge opened the pane outward, rather than upward. By the time Faith finished her conversation Andrew had found the handle that worked the window and thrust it open. As she put down the phone she took a good look at what he was doing.
He had his head stuck out the window and was in the process of pushing his shoulders out along with it.
Focused on the task at hand, he didn’t respond. Or that was what Faith told herself. Maybe he just didn’t want to hear another lecture on what he could not do.
The open window provided a narrow opening between the sill, the frame and the angled windowpane. There wasn’t a lot of room for a body to exit, particularly a muscular, big-boned one like Andrew’s. “Andrew. What are you doing? You’re going to get stuck.”
The door to Faith’s office opened.
For one panicked moment Faith thought Ava Taylor was about to come in. Her heart skipped a beat, then started again at a gallop. She wasn’t ready to face Ava. Andrew needed more coaching. Ava was never going to believe Andrew was an intern.
It wasn’t Ava who entered, though, it was Cody. He smiled when he saw her, that sexy half-smile that made her think of his lips on hers, his hands stroking her body, the press and promise of his hips against hers.
Andrew said cheerfully, “The window opens outward, not up the way it should.”
Cody ripped his gaze away from Faith’s. One look at Andrew hanging half-in, half-out of the window, doing his best to wriggle into a better position to view the workings of the hinges, had Cody closing the door behind him. He pointed to Andrew as he said to Faith, “What’s he doing?”
Faith looked over at Andrew. “He’s trying to figure out how the window works. I think.”
“Is he really?” Cody said, sounding approving. He went over to the window where he crouched down so he could look out at Andrew’s level. “What’s up?”
There wasn’t room for both of them to stick their head and shoulders out, particularly now as Andrew had managed to wriggle an arm out. “Do you see this?” Andrew said, reaching up to rub his finger along the top of the frame. “There is a hinge up here. It allows the window to open outward. Once the windowpane has been opened fully the hinge locks to become a brace to keep the pane from falling back against the frame.” He grunted. “I do believe for this mechanism to work properly it would have to be very strong.”
“I guess,” Cody said. “I’ve never thought about it.”
Andrew wriggled a bit more. “I certainly hope it is .”
There was an ominous sound to that statement. “Why?” Faith demanded.
Andrew hesitated, then he said, “Because I do believe I am stuck.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” Faith said.
Cody rocked back on his heals. There was a suspicious twitch to his lips that suggested he was fighting the urge to laugh. He managed to keep a straight face as he stood up to assess the situation. “Andrew, you need to arch your back and roll your shoulders. Make yourself as small as possible, then inch back and forth. That should work. I’d hate to have to cut your t-shirt off you so we could grease you up to let you slide out.”
Andrew grunted. “I’m damned well not about to be disrobed by you, my friend!”
At that very moment the door opened again.
This time Faith’s worst expectation was fulfilled. Ava the Tyrant Lizard walked in.
And heard Andrew’s half-amused comment.
“Nor by anyone else, I should hope,” she said tartly.
Cody sighed. Horrified, Faith said, “Oh…ummm…ah…Hi Ava.”
“Who is this?” Ava demanded, joining Cody by the window.
“This is my—” Faith began.
Cody said, “This is Andrew. He’s a computer grad, here as my intern. He’s trying to make the decision to go for his masters or look for a full-time job. Andrew, this is Ava Taylor, the COO of NIT.”
“A pleasure dear lady,” said Andrew from the window. “If you will be patient for a few minutes I will introduce myself properly.”
Ava didn’t acknowledge this. She said curiously, “What are you doing?”
There was an ominous silence. Faith said, “There was a bird.”
“A bird?” Ava raised her brows in a disbelieving way. Not surprising, since Faith’s windows displayed a panorama of concrete sidewalk and asphalt street with nothing green in sight. She looked pointedly at Cody.
Faith said in a rush, “Yes, a bird. It…ummm…flew into the window and got…stuck. Andrew was helping it escape.”
“I see,” said Ava, who looked as if she saw entirely too much. “What was your intern’s name again, Cody?”
The intern, still stuck in the window, was wiggling in a determined way and had begun to make some progress, but he wasn’t free yet.
Ava waited a heartbeat, and then another. Her brows rose. “And does Andrew have a last name by any chance?”
“Of course,” said Cody.
Faith realized Cody had no idea what Andrew’s last name was because she’d never used it. Why would she? Andrew was Andrew. Cody was covering his ignorance by staring at Ava as if she’d just asked the dumbest question in the world. Ava was glaring back, resisting the silent intimidation. In a second or two she’d probe deeper and in doing so make it obvious Cody didn’t really know Andrew well. That would blow Andrew’s cover and make Cody look like an idiot. Faith had to do something.
She kicked Andrew on the ankle, hoping Ava wouldn’t notice.
Andrew said loudly, “Ouch!” which tore Ava’s attention away from Cody for the moment.
“Are you okay?” Faith said. She leaned close to Andrew to say more quietly, “Tell Ava your last name. Quick!”
“When I am able too free myself of this insidious device,” Andrew said, his tone indignant, “I will introduce myself properly. However, until that time I will tell you, dear lady, that my surname is Byrne.”
Ava absorbed the somewhat flowery language. She observed Andrew with considerable interest. “And what is Andrew Byrne doing down here in Faith’s office supposedly rescuing birds in distress instead of being up in your office, Cody, working with you?”
Almost out of the window, Andrew stilled.
Cody leaned against the edge of Faith’s desk. He looked relaxed, but the muscles in his jaw had tightened and his mouth was a hard line. “He was here because I sent him down here. What is your point, Ava?”
Ava raised her brows. “Nothing. Except that I’m having difficulty accepting that a young man who gets himself stuck in an office window would be of any benefit to NIT.”
“Are you questioning my judgment, Ava?” Cody demanded. He sounded cool. His raised brows suggested that this was a mild disagreement between colleagues. The flash of fire in his eyes said otherwise.
Ava must have read the anger in his eyes as clearly as Faith had, but she wasn’t backing down. “Had you taken the time to clear this through me—as you were supposed to!—you wouldn’t have placed yourself in this position, Cody.”
He crossed his arms over his t-shirt covered chest. “And what position is that, Ava?”
“You’ve exposed your very poor management skills,” Ava said, with surprising heat.
“No!” Faith said. “It’s not—”
“Hell and Devil confound it!” Andrew said, popping out of the window like a cork out of a champagne bottle.
“You see,” Ava said dryly, to no one in particular.
Andrew brushed himself off, then sauntered over to Ava, his mouth curved in a disarmingly rueful smile. “I fear I have not created the best impression.”
Ava shot him a glance that said he’d got that right.
Andrew replied with a direct look, his eyelids slightly lowered. The faint smile slowly widened as he took Ava’s hand, held it for a moment, then raised it at the same time as he bowed over it.
Ava blushed and looked away, clearly rattled.
“I trust,” Andrew said in a low voice that was as smooth forty-year-old scotch and just about as lethal, “that I will have the opportunity to redeem myself in your eyes.”
Ava collected herself. She drew her hand from Andrew’s slowly, as if she really didn’t want to, but knew she had to. “I am sure you are a very fine young man. But NIT has no need of another computer programmer—”
“I’ve asked him to work with Faith, to make sure that the software problems we’ve had over the last few weeks don’t reoccur,” Cody said, interjecting quickly.
“How nice for you, Faith. Your own computer jock.” Ava shot Cody a frigid look. “I still do not think that an intern is necessary and I would have said so if I had been asked.” She smiled sweetly at Andrew. “It has been interesting meeting you, Andrew. Please remember. Redemption is not easy to achieve.”
She walked out of the office, annoyance in every tense muscle in her body. Andrew followed her, poked his head out the opening to make sure she was out of range, then quietly shut the door. “That one,” he said, “is dangerous to know.”