Love and Kerosene Read Online Winter Renshaw

Categories Genre: Angst, Contemporary, Insta-Love, New Adult Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 80
Estimated words: 76517 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 383(@200wpm)___ 306(@250wpm)___ 255(@300wpm)
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For me, family is a curse. My father and brother made my life hell. My mother’s untimely death still keeps me up at night. Now that my brother, Donovan, has been killed in an accident, I can forget the past.
The last remnant is the childhood home I’ve inherited—and which I intend to burn to the ground. The only obstacle? Anneliese Nielsen, Donovan’s fiancée.
Donovan left her destitute, and selling this run-down house is her only chance to recoup her losses. I shouldn’t care, but…maybe it’s her eyes when she sees me. I look strikingly like my brother, a man she loved despite everything.
So we strike a deal. We’ll renovate the house together, but she’ll have to convince me to sell—or up in flames it goes.
But the more time we spend in the house, the more its terrible history threatens to come out.
And even more dangerous, the harder I start to fall for Anneliese.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

I curled up

with my trauma

and gave it

a name.

It had your eyes,

his hands,

my voice,

your face.

Comfortable

and warm;

an eerily

familiar place.

—Etta Gray

@ettagraywrites

ONE

ANNELIESE

solivagant (adj.) wandering alone

They say everyone has a doppelgänger. Statistically speaking, there could be seven people sharing the same face at any given moment. But the odds of meeting someone’s double are in the neighborhood of one in a trillion.

Highly unlikely.

Impossible, even.

“Anneliese?” Florence, the owner of Arcadia Used Books, waves her hand in my face. “Did you hear me?”

I peel my attention from the brooding man on the sidewalk outside the shop—one who shares the same messy auburn mane, hooded gaze, and chiseled jawline as my late fiancé.

“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost,” she says with a hesitant chuckle as she places her palm over my hand. “Sweetheart, you’re trembling and pale as a sheet. Is everything all right?”

Cool sweat blankets my forehead as I focus on the small stack of used books on the counter. The words on their spines fade in and out, growing blurry before turning clear again.

“Um, I’m sorry. What was the total again?” I steal another glimpse outside. He’s still there—standing the way Donovan used to: one hand in his pocket, the other tapping out a text message with his thumb. Same build. Similar height.

It’s uncanny.

“Fifteen dollars and twenty-eight cents,” Florence says, her stare weighing on me. “You sure you’re okay?”

No. I’m not sure.

“I just . . .” I shake my head, a feeble attempt to pull myself out of this daze, and then I slide my debit card her way. “I thought I saw someone I knew.”

Her crinkled gray gaze drifts to the man on the sidewalk. She squints, but her efforts are in vain. Florence wouldn’t know him from Adam. We’d only lived in Arcadia Grove for two months before his untimely passing. Granted, this was Donovan’s childhood hometown, but Florence isn’t a local—she’s as fresh off the boat around here as I am.

“That guy right there?” She swipes my card and hands it back. “In the brown jacket?”

“Yeah.” I draw in a steady breath. My heart has yet to calm down, but it’s not for lack of trying. “But it’s not him.”

It couldn’t be.

Even if it were, Donovan would never dress in a leather bomber jacket, ripped jeans, and dusty boots. And he certainly wouldn’t leave the house without running a comb through his hair. This guy looks like he’s been riding on the back of a motorcycle for days.

“Well, he is a looker . . .” She slides me a pen and the receipt to sign before placing my haul in a thin canvas bag with have a great day in faded red print. “If I were your age, he’d make me break out into a sweat too.”

Florence winks. Maybe she thinks I was checking him out. Or maybe she’s trying to make me smile.

“I’ll call you when the next shipment comes in,” she says, referring to the vintage and international baby-name books and rare dictionaries she sources for me. As a part-time naming consultant, I’m always looking for new and unusual terms and monikers to add to my arsenal. Florence never fails to deliver.

I wait by the exit, feet frozen on the wooden floor, and watch as the man who isn’t Donovan scans his surroundings, shoves his phone into his back pocket, and exchanges it for a set of keys. A second later, he climbs into an olive green vintage Ford pickup, proving me wrong about the motorcycle. Cranking the window down, he fires up the engine and backs out of the slanted parking spot.

I emerge from Flo’s shop as soon as he disappears over the hill, and I continue my Saturday-morning shopping with that stranger’s image burned into my mind’s eye.

Wandering the flower-lined merchant district of Arcadia Grove, I mostly shop the windows. It’s all I can afford these days, though it’s not like I’m in dire need of a new outfit for a hot date. I’m half-tempted to mosey into a home-accessories boutique to grab something pretty for the house, but then I remind myself I’m putting the cart before the horse per usual. There’s no sense in buying kitchen accessories when my current one consists of a folding table, microwave, dorm fridge, electric teakettle, and single-burner hot plate.

I spot an empty park bench and take a seat, flicking through one of my books. While my eyes scan the words on the pages, nothing registers. It might as well be a jumble of nonsensical letters. I close it and return it to my canvas bag, opting to close my eyes and take a second to simply exist in this moment.

The late-morning sun is warm on my skin, trickling through the treetops and wrapping me in a much-needed hug—something I haven’t had in three months, three days, five hours, and thirty-two minutes.


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