Wanted by RE Hargrave Genre: Contemporary Romance Cover designed by JC Clarke of The Graphics Shed
Hyde Johnson is an erotic audiobook performer. A ‘Read By’ byline is too plain, and ‘Narrated By’ still doesn’t capture what he does. His livelihood is his passion. Performance art, the air he breathes. Which translates to a recluse who is a hot mess. He’s not eating right, he’s drinking more, and his family’s meddling is making it harder to stay on task.
Being designated the guardian of her young niece Tina is the last thing Gypsy Hartford expected. But when the State of South Carolina unceremoniously puts Tina in her care, Gypsy accepts it’s time to grow up and stop floating from town to town. Where does she start when she has no degree, no real friends, and no family besides Tina?
A want ad could be the answer to both their conundrums. Or it might open a whole new can of worms. Especially when you throw in a crazed author with an unhealthy obsession for her narrator.
Someone to run errands, cook, and handle minor cleaning. Must be quiet and self-starting as I work nights and sleep during the day. Compensation negotiable, including transportation and board. Discretion a MUST.
Only serious inquiries please.
“Easing his tongue into her mouth was more sensation than his body could handle—”
“Unca Hyde, sissies chase me. Halp!”
The tiny voice, paired with a banging fist, called through the door of his studio, bringing Hyde’s recording session to an abrupt halt.
Why his brother thought they needed a fourth kid when they had three monsters already was beyond him. Removing his headphones and switching off the mic, Hyde marked his script, saved everything, and shut down. Heavy feet dragged him to the door, which he opened to glare down into the wide eyes of Randy, his three-year-old nephew. A few seconds later, giggles drew his attention to the top of the stairs where Aimee and Ashlee, the twelve-year-old twins, stood on the right side of breaking the house rule: no one under eighteen was to step onto the upstairs landing.
They were close, but unlike their brother, they hadn’t crossed the line.
Since moving back into his childhood home, he’d remodeled the second floor of the old converted schoolhouse into his recording haven and business, Hush Studios. A small kitchenette and bath were at one end; the rest soundproofed and kitted out with the best audio and technical equipment he could get his hands on. Via the internet, of course, because Hyde Johnson didn’t leave his house unless he absolutely had to.
“Unca Hyde.” Randy tugged his hand, and Hyde let out a ragged sigh.
Sami was going to be less than pleased. Ms. Jackson, the author he’d narrated five projects for in the last two years, had been getting more demanding of late. Entitled even. It wasn’t his fault Zeke had shown up unannounced two weeks ago with his wife and kids and interrupted the recording of number six. Hyde’s meticulous nature meant this delay was driving him mad. Two days, he reminded himself. They’ll be gone in two more days.
“Where’s your mom and dad, kid?” Hyde directed his glare at the twins even though he was speaking to Randy.
Their faces sobered before they turned around and disappeared down the stairs.
He gave a satisfied nod and looked down at his visitor. “There ya go, Randy. They’re gone. Off you go to bed now, I’ve got work to do.”
“You always say dat, Unca Hyde.” The little boy shuffled his feet and tugged harder on Hyde’s hand. “Come read me story. Pwease?”
“You aren’t going to take no for an answer, are you?”
Randy shook his head, and Hyde huffed. Fuck. Why not, my concentration is already screwed, he thought. “Lead the way, kid.”
An hour, and three stories, later, Hyde stood and stretched his back. Randy had put up quite the fight falling asleep. Wondering if his animated reading had kept the little tyke up, he made his way out to the hall and closed the door behind him. He turned and jumped at the sight of Zeke and Connie leaning against the wall a few feet down, smiles on their faces.
“What?” Hyde grouched at the pair.
Zeke shook his head. “Nothing, brother.”
“Everything, Hyde,” overrode Connie. “It’s not too late for you to settle down and be a daddy, ya know? You’d make a good one.”
Hyde scoffed then trudged past them. Before he turned the corner, he looked back and snapped, “Remind your fucking kids to stay off the second floor. I’m behind schedule.”
Fifteen minutes later, he had everything almost ready to resume his performance of Tristan, the warrior lover with a wicked tongue.
First things first, though. Hyde went over to the wet bar, pulled the bottle of Effen from inside and poured a two-finger shot, then slammed it. The vodka burned on the way down, leaving a crisp, clean cucumber taste in its wake. Now he was ready.
Domestic engineer. Author. Burgeoning editor. And quite possibly certifiable. Believing every story can shine bright with a bit of tenacious tough love, R.E. Hargrave is thorough and to the point.
An international bestselling author, she takes storytelling and manuscript polishing seriously, working with her authors and on her own creations to ensure they come to life, crawling from the pages and into the reader’s souls.
Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX and is married to her high school sweetheart; together they are raising three children. A native ‘mutt,’ she has lived in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and California. She is fond of setting her stories—which range from the sweet to the paranormal, to the erotic and horrific—on location in South Carolina and Texas.