House sitting her childhood home seemed like a good idea
until the microwave blew up and the lights went out.
Okay, so the microwave didn't exactly blow
up—it was more of a pop—and it wasn't
all of the lights, but Chloe Burke wouldn't be trusting her
laptop to her parents' kitchen outlets anytime soon. It was
still light outside, but on an early December day in Maine
darkness fell fast and early, so she grabbed a flashlight
before venturing down into the basement.
Where she found some ancient, round, screw-in things instead
of a neat row of circuit breakers. Since her skill set ran
to designing websites rather than poking her fingers into
faulty electrical systems, it was time to call a professional.
The phonebook was in the same kitchen drawer phonebooks had
been kept in for as long as Chloe could remember, and a
handwritten sheet of frequently used numbers was still
tucked inside the cover. The paper wasn't yellow and didn't
fall apart in her hand, so hopefully the info was from the
current decade at least. And because her parents were more
than comfortable in the '80s, they still had an
old-fashioned, corded phone that didn't need juice to work.
That was good since her cellphone's battery was almost dead.
The name of the company she remembered her parents using had
been crossed out and a new name—Quinn
Electric—and a number were squeezed in next to
electrician. The name was familiar, but she couldn't
quite place it. A friend of her dad, maybe.
Despite the fact it was probably past regular business
hours, the phone was answered on the second ring. "Quinn
An incredibly sexy voice, so probably not one of her dad's
VFW buddies. "Hi. I know it's late, but I think I have an
electrical problem. I turned the microwave on and the lights
"That's definitely an electrical problem."
Under the initial sexy impact, his voice was warm and had a
touch of humor that had her twirling the cord around her
finger like a teenage girl. "The furnace is still running,
so I guess it's not an emergency, but—"
"Where's your house?"
"It's actually my parents' house." She gave him the address
and crossed her fingers. Maybe it wasn't really an
emergency, but she wasn't a big fan of the dark, either.
He chuckled, a delicious sound that seemed to vibrate
through the phone line and into her body. "This must be
Chloe. Did John and Anna at least get on their ship before
you broke their house?"
The curse of the small town. "Yes, they're safely at sea.
And I checked the electrical box, by the way. Or I tried to,
but I didn't find circuit breakers, which I at least know
what to do with."
"I've been trying to talk your old man into ditching those
old fuses and upgrading his service for a while, but he's,
"I was going to say frugal."
"I'm not, so can we set up a time for you to fix the fuse or
whatever it is you have to do to get my lights back on?"
"I just finished up at the Fosters, so I'll be there in ten
"Oh. Can't beat that kind of service."