Return to Me

By: Aimee Nicole Walker

Book 5 of the Fated Hearts Series



May 15, 1899



“I WISH I COULD go with you to the harbor and give you a proper goodbye, Octavius.”

I watched as he pulled up his breeches and fastened them. I could’ve gone with him that morning to say goodbye, but there was no way I could’ve kept my true feelings for that man a secret. It killed me to pretend that he was a cousin, when in reality he was my lover; my whole world. He was the person I loved above all others and I couldn’t just stand there and wave him off like it was no big deal. We kept our goodbyes private, in our bedroom, where we blocked out the rest of the world and reveled in one another. It would have to be enough, because I didn’t ever see the world changing to accept that two men could love each other as a man loves a woman.

Octavius looked up and gave me his wicked smile. That smile and his long, wavy blond hair gave him the look of a pirate, even though he was really a merchant. “I believe you just gave me the only kind of goodbye that I want.” His blue eyes raked over my naked body where I laid with the sheets tangled around my legs. “I don’t mind keeping the crew waiting if you want to tell me goodbye some more.”

I wanted to pull him down onto the bed with me and never let him go. This voyage had made me uneasy from the very beginning. It was to be his last one. He had amassed enough wealth that he didn’t need to sail goods across the Atlantic anymore and I felt he kept placing himself in unnecessary danger every time he made the long trip.

“Are you still worried something bad will happen to me, love?” He knew me so well. He had owned my heart from the moment our eyes met and it wasn’t long after I started working for his family, that he owned my body too.

“I am, Tave. I just have a very bad feeling.” My voice broke as I was flooded with so much sadness at the thought of never seeing my love again. The voyage was something he felt he needed to do and I needed to support him and not make him feel bad. I reached for his hand and pulled him down to me for one last kiss. “Return to me, Octavius.”

“Always.”

I laid in our bed for hours after he left, memorizing the smell of him on my skin and in our bed. The dreadful feeling had turned into paralyzing fear as I realized that no matter what Octavius said, he would not return to me again.





LIFE WAS A FICKLE bastard with a penchant for yanking the rug out from beneath my feet just when I pulled myself up off the ground. Yet, it was hard to be mad at him with the warm air blowing through my open car windows as I drove south on I-95. Perhaps, something special was waiting for me at the end of this trip instead of the misery I was anticipating. A guy could hope, because I wasn’t close to having the life I had dreamed of by the age 38.

I loved my career as a psychiatrist, even though the work was challenging and often took an emotional toll on me. I had been burning my candle at both ends for a few years after establishing my own practice and it was catching up to me. I had absolutely no personal life. Hell, I couldn’t remember the last time someone, other than me, touched my dick. I needed to put my life in perspective and figure out a healthy balance. All work and no play made Noah a very dull and horny man.

I reached over and ruffled my two-year-old Lab’s head. She turned away from the window and gave me her best doggy smile. “Are you ready for a break too, Madge?” I knew that a lot of gay men fawned all over Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé, but Madonna would always be my girl. So, I chose Madonna’s nickname for my blonde bundle of joy when I picked her out when she was only eight weeks old. Madge’s response was a short bark. It seemed she was tired and needed a vacation too, but only I knew that we probably wouldn’t be resting much. I’d deal with her disappointment when the time came.

It had been way too long since I spent any time in my ancestral home in Beaufort, North Carolina. I wished my trip was for happier reasons and not because of the frantic phone call I received from the neighboring property owner the night before to tell me that the house that my family had owned since 1890 had been vandalized. To make matters worse, the property, Elijah’s Landing, was supposed to be rented to a family from Ontario for the entire month of July.

It sounded like I would be refunding their money to them, because according to my neighbor, Willis, the house needed extensive repairs and there was no way it would be done in time for the family to arrive. Luckily, he called in a contractor he trusted to start putting estimates together on the cost of repairs. He assured me that Second Chance Restoration was the best in the business.

I hadn’t called my aunt Minnie yet to let her know what had happened to the property she sold me before she moved into her condo, but I was certain by now she had heard through the grapevine. I was waiting for her “I told you so” phone call. She had been deeply disappointed when I had decided to use the house as a vacation home and a seasonal rental instead of moving into the house myself. At the time, my practice in Washington D.C. had been recently established and I had absolutely no intention of moving. It was the first time since the home was built that a McKinney didn’t reside there full time and was a bone of contention between us.

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