Home > Fate Actually (Moonstone Cove #2)

Fate Actually (Moonstone Cove #2)
Author: Elizabeth Hunter

Chapter 1

 

 

Antonia Dusi slicked a clay face mask over her olive-toned skin and set the timer for five minutes.

Five minutes.

She leaned on the edge of the counter and glanced to her right, drumming her fingers on the edge.

Four minutes, fifty seconds.

What was she supposed to do with four minutes and fifty seconds? Toni hated sitting still. She hated wasting time. She had too much going on in her life to waste time. It was Wednesday morning, she had a dozen things to do at her garage that day, and her dad was supposed to be coming in; she wanted to get her butt going out the door.

Four minutes, thirty seconds.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

The rhythmic drip of water at the bottom of her sink snagged her attention. She cocked her head and put her finger to the faucet. It was one of those little jobs she hadn’t quite gotten around to doing since she bought the old cottage at the bottom of the hill.

It was probably just a washer. She could fix that in five minutes.

She glanced at the counter and the numbers ticking by. Okay, four minutes, fifteen seconds.

Toni opened the bathroom door and walked through her bedroom and toward the kitchen where she kept her toolbox under the sink. Eventually she’d move her tools to the laundry room, but right now the laundry room was torn up while she refinished the cabinets in there.

Just as she grabbed her tools, she felt her phone buzzing in her pocket.

She slid it to answer. “Morning, Dad.”

“Toni, you’re not at the garage.”

He was early. Of all the days.

“I’m just running a little late. I’ll be there soon.”

“There’s like three guys just sitting around in the bay.”

She looked at the clock on her phone. “It’s five till eight. They’re not on until eight.”

Bobby Dusi huffed and muttered something about “his day.”

She walked the toolbox back to the bathroom. “Dad, I’m sure Glenn has them all scheduled. It’s a busy day and he knows what’s going on.”

“Is this Glenn’s garage or yours?”

It’s mine, you old coot! “Dad, do I go to the club and tell you how to play bocce ball?”

“You act like I didn’t run this place for forty years.”

“You act like I haven’t run it for the past fifteen.” She could feel her temper start to rise. So much for that careful meditation she’d been practicing every morning since she’d been struck with unexpected psychic powers earlier in the year.

The traumatic near-shooting that had triggered her empathy was a fading memory, but the unexpected wash of emotional energy still took her by surprise most days.

If she was happy, she could make other people ecstatic. If she was pissed, she could start a fight. Not to mention the emotional sponge she’d become. Most days she hardly knew whose feelings were swimming through her body.

Her two new friends, Katherine Bassi and Megan Carpenter, were dealing with changes too. Katherine was still having flash visions she couldn’t control, and Megan had become telekinetic. Megan seemed to be most devoted to understanding their new situation, and she’d been the one to suggest meditation for Toni.

Meditation worked. Until your seventy-five-year-old dad went and blew your Zen to hell.

“Dad, I don’t have time for this.” Shut it down. Shut it down. “Listen, I’m not sleeping in. I have a leak in the bathroom I’m fixing.”

“A leak?” Her father calmed down. “Ah, I know how that is. Take care of it, and I’ll see you here. It’s a good old house, but we all know how old houses can be.”

“I know.”

“I helped build that house, so I know how solid it is. But everything needs maintenance.”

“I know, Dad.”

“You need any help?”

“I got it.” She reached under the sink to turn off the water lines. “If you can help Glenn out this morning, I can take care of this. But really, don’t worry about it, because Glenn’s got everyone scheduled for the day.” Her foreman had been working with her for ten years. Glenn could likely run the entire garage on his own, but then what would she do for fun?

“Okay, honey. I love you. Mom made us lunch today.”

Her stomach rumbled, then gurgled, despite the tea she’d sipped that morning. “That sounds great. I’ll see you later.”

She hung up the phone and glanced at the counter. Two minutes.

Okay, so she’d fill a couple more minutes than five. She’d just gotten her pliers around the faucet when her phone rang again.

“Seriously?” She hit the button and put it on speaker. “What now?”

“Toni?” It was Glenn. “Did you know your old man is here?”

“Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t know he’d be in so early. There’s a leak in the bathroom I have to fix. I’ll only be a few minutes late.” She heard the timer go off and quickly hit the button before she continued. “Just uh…” She glanced down and blinked. “Just keep my dad occupied for a while until I get there, okay?”

“All right.” Glenn cleared his throat. “I might have him help the new kid at the parts counter. I really don’t want him trying to change tires again.”

“I know, I know.” She swept everything on the counter to the side so she had room for the faucet parts. “Bobby tends to forget he’s not thirty-five.” Her dad might have retired, but he wasn’t very good at taking it easy.

“I’ll take care of things here.”

“Sounds good.” She stared at the glossy edge of water forming at the lip of the faucet.

Drip.

“Okay, I’ll see you when you get in.”

“Thanks, Glenn. You’re the best.”

Drip.

Toni blinked and grabbed a red rag before she started taking the faucet apart.

Drop.

She had the faucet head in her hand when her phone rang again.

“Seriously?” she grumbled. She glanced at the screen.

Henry.

Nope. Not today, Satan’s better-looking brother.

No, that wasn’t fair. Henry wasn’t Satan or even in Satan’s extended family. He was good, so ridiculously good that she didn’t know how to handle him that morning.

“Go to voice mail,” she muttered. “Take a hint.”

She pried the old washer out of the faucet and set the cracked rubber on the counter. “Out with the old, in with the new.”

It was kind of her motto for everything these days. When she bought the house, she knew it needed work. That’s why she got it for such a low price. The old stone cottage was at the base of the hill that marked the boundary of her cousin Nico’s winery and his nearest neighbor, Fairfield Wines. She was ten minutes from Moonstone Cove, fifteen minutes from the beach, and smack in the heart of Central California wine country in a seventy-year-old cottage surrounded by a stand of oaks.

It was heaven, leaky faucets and all.

She was putting the new washer in when her mother’s name flashed on her phone’s screen.

Toni groaned. “How? How do you all know the exact worst time to call?”

No matter. She hit the green button because if she didn’t, she’d regret it later. “Hey, Ma.”

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