Home > Drawn to Him

Drawn to Him
Author: Willow Winters

Prologue

 

 

Lila

 


The air is frigid and the land barren as I stare straight ahead at the quaint Alaskan island. More than that though, it’s hauntingly beautiful. I wrap my hands around the cold metal railing of the boat as it bobs in the water, bringing us closer to the shore.

It’s not as cold as I imagined it would be, although the breeze and the cool spray of ocean water send a trail of goosebumps down my arms.

It’s hard not to go to the very edge and lean forward, since I want to see everything, but the waves are harsh and unforgiving. And I don’t trust my own grip. Chills run along my spine as I step away and sit back on the bench, farther away from the edge of the boat.

I’ve never been to a place so gorgeous before, and I’d never planned to come here either. I’m only here to interview a man I’ve never met.

I watch the fog billowing up the trees. The colors are shades of soft blues and grays. The thin clouds let only the faintest bit of light through as the night drifts in. Picture perfect fails to describe the sight right before my eyes.

I have to remind myself that I’ll only be here for one week. I need to get this job done and leave this place, but my God, Ketchikan is beautiful.

It’s an old town, founded on the beliefs of ancient clans.

Everyone knows everyone on this island.

I spent the entire flight to Seattle looking up details of this place once the internet proved useless in discovering anything at all about Alec Kulls, the man my employer was so eager to interview.

All I know is that his family has a rich history, and wealth that keeps the island independent. There’s not much known about the town otherwise, simply because they don’t rely on anything but the land itself.

As the fog dips lower, revealing more of the pine trees that seem to sit on the far edge of the ocean, I think I see a man. I blink as my lungs still, depriving me of breath. And just like that, he’s gone.

There’s no way anyone could be out on the edge of the forest, so close to the ocean. I couldn’t have seen what I think I saw.

My eyes search the thick trees over and over, but there’s nothing to be found but the dense forest.

It was far off in the distance, but I know I saw him. Out of instinct, I grab the arm of a stranger to urge whoever it is to look with me.

An old man in a thick winter coat gives me a scowl that makes his wrinkles seem even more pronounced.

The wind whips across us and I let go of him, feeling embarrassed and alone. I swallow thickly, turning away and muttering a small apology. That’s how I’ve felt since I landed in Seattle and drove straight to the dock. Alone.

I lick my lips, wrapping my arms around my chest and shaking off this odd feeling spreading through every inch of my body. It’s slow, like the very waves that rock the ship.

My eyes flicker to the trees on the mountain. He’s vanished.

I can still see him in my memory; I swear he was looking at me, too. Even from so far away, looking so small in the dense brush. I can practically feel his gaze on me even now.

My heart flips in my chest in an odd way. It feels like I should run. It thumps hard at the thought, as if confirming my instincts. But just then the small crew moves about me, preparing to dock.

There’s only one way to the island, and it’s by boat. This boat.

Once I step off this ship, there’s no going back.

A tingle travels along my skin and pricks the back of my neck. I stare into the trees as the boat rocks and pushes my body forward and the men hustle to tie the thick ropes to the ship. I can’t explain why I know without a doubt that the man really was there, and that he was waiting for me.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Lila

 


Every worry is left behind as I step into the pleasant warmth of the bed and breakfast's entrance. All this tension and anxiety must be from lack of sleep. I brush the water from my jacket and wipe off my rubber rain boots on the worn welcome mat. The cabin looks like a quintessential grandmother’s home. It's just like the pictures I saw online.

The smell of apples and cinnamon hits me the moment I stop in the foyer. I inhale the comforting scents deeply and listen to the crackling of the fire on the far right. The dim lights and warm glow make every touch in the place feel homey.

I roll my suitcase to the sofa and stop, spotting a crockpot on the entry table and white ceramic mugs next to it.

Hot cider. I know it in an instant. I’m quick to shrug off my jacket, looking behind me as I hang it over my suitcase, searching for the owner. I almost put the jacket on the old sofa; it’s a dated floral print, but the throw neatly folded over the back of it looks plush and inviting. My jacket is coated with a thin layer of mist from the light rain outside, so I wouldn’t dare put it there.

I look around the corner and see a small dining room with a wooden table and chairs. In the center of the table is a stack of pale blue cloth napkins and a set of white salt and pepper shakers that look like owls. But not a soul is there either.

It’s quiet, but welcoming.

The cabin itself is small, and someone must’ve heard me come in.

I shake off the cold from the outdoors, feeling the soothing heat from the fire and go to the crockpot before searching out anyone. I need something to warm me up. Just a moment to myself while my nerves settle. I’ve been on edge every minute of this trip. I know part of it is my fear of flying. It’s a stupid fear. I’ve heard every statistic, and I’ve been told over and over that flying is safe. But I’ll be damned if I could breathe for even a second of that six-hour flight.

The heavy smell of cinnamon greets me as I lay the glass lid down on the table and pick up the ladle, pouring a serving and then another into one of the mugs.

I’d give anything to shake this overwhelming apprehension that seems to be clinging to me.

I close my eyes, letting the heat of the cider travel through my chest and the taste of apples and cinnamon tickle my tongue. I smile into the mug, taking another sip before slowly sinking into the sofa and letting the flames of the fire warm me.

I roll my head to the side wanting to ease the tension, but it only makes me that much more tired. Already I’m exhausted from this trip, and it’s only just begun.

I wish I could have stayed longer in Seattle. It’s absolutely gorgeous, although opposite in beauty to this island. Where Seattle has intricately designed buildings that tower over you and the old streets lined with planted trees and cobblestones, here the nature is untouched. It’s not arranged to complement the city structures; the mountains and forests are the sights here. The few houses I saw earlier were tucked back into the thicket and seem to blend in.

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