He was the wickedest of all Sinners, or so the story is told. He brought the darkness smothering out the light except with her; she changed everything, she was the light.
“What will happen when I die, daddy?”
“You will make a mad dash for the light, and I will be waiting for you on the other side,” I answered my daughter’s question, so blithely sure in my knowledge that she would outlive me. Oh, how the Gods live to make fools of men.
-Excerpt from the journal of Alain Moreau
She first met him in the tropics, Martinique to be exact. She always loved the sea. As a child, she often dreamed of sailing away. When her Aunt Arlene passed away, leaving her a large and unexpected inheritance, she researched every beach she could think of before deciding on the French Isles. It turned out that living there was a lot more expensive than Adriana ever dreamed, but she found a nice fixer upper that she thought she could handle by herself. Unfortunately, when she claimed her new dream home it wasn’t quite as easy as she first believed.
“Damn, damn, and double damn,” the muttered curse fell from her lips, as another piece of drywall came crashing down on her head. She had read the instructions on how to hang drywall in the do-it-yourself book she bought, and it hadn’t looked very hard, but clearly, she was doing something wrong.
“Looks like you could use a hand.”
Adriana squealed, jumping a full foot in the air. As she spun, raising her hammer above her head defensively. He held up both hands. “Excuse me, mademoiselle. I did not mean to frighten you. I knocked several times, but I’m guessing the sound of your hammering was too loud for you to hear.”
“Or my cursing was,” she added lamely, causing his mouth to twitch with suppressed laughter, as she lowered her makeshift weapon.
“How can I help you?” she asked, feeling a bit stupid over her reaction. As far as burglars went, he was the sexiest one in her memory, not that she had met many or any for that matter. His dark brown hair brushed his shoulders and his hazel eyes shined with laughter, no doubt at her expense. He wasn’t especially tall, maybe only five-foot-ten, but at five-two, everyone was taller than she was; besides his shoulders were wide and his skin held a golden hue that made her a little jealous. She lived directly on the beach and spent hours in the sun, but never managed his perfect skin tone.
“I have a delivery for you,” he answered, waving a clipboard in her direction. “It will require your signature however.” Well, hells bells, if she would have known that this is who would be delivering her stuff from the home improvement store, she would have ordered more stuff. She took the clipboard as he passed it over, and he eyed the wall as if expecting it to collapse at any moment, which was probably a good possibility. She turned her attention away from him, and read the list of supplies over carefully before signing off on it. When she turned to hand him the paperwork, instead of taking it from her hands, as she was expecting, he pulled a hammer out of his tool belt and easily hung the section of drywall in a matter of seconds. Her mouth dropped open in mixture of surprise and outrage. She had been fucking around with the shit all day, and he simply walked in doing what would have taken her the rest of the night.
“You’re not doing it right,” he said simply at her look, as he reached for the clipboard.
“Clearly.” She didn’t intend the note of sarcasm that entered her voice, but really did he need to point out the obvious?
“I did not mean to offend you. I only meant to help.”
She sighed heavily at his words. “I know. I’m just having a rough day. Fixing up this house is turning out to be a much bigger job than I anticipated.”
He looked around the room, clearly taking note of the mess. “Would you like some help? You were my last delivery of the day, and I don’t have any other plans for the evening.”
“Jacques. Jacques Dubois,” he supplied, when she looked at him questioningly.
“Jacques. I’m not really looking to hire anyone to work for me.”
“And I’m not looking for another job. I just thought to help out a beautiful lady, Adriana.” When her brow furrowed in confusion, he held up the clipboard for her to see.
“Adriana Claymore. It’s on the paperwork.”
She eyed the wall, weighing the choice between ending up raped and murdered by a stranger, and getting the dry wall hung before she turned eighty. “In that case,” she told him brightly. “I’d love some help.”
Houses located directly on the beach were much coveted in Martinique, and Adriana Claymore had landed a gorgeous one despite the many repairs it needed. The four-bedroom home had an open floor plan, allowing you to see inside each room from the center of the living room, and he could tell they were decorated tastefully, with the Caribbean flare for bright colors. The many windows throughout the house caused a twinkling effect on the walls, as the light reflected off the sea.
The American, Adriana, was a beautiful woman, Jacques thought to himself. Perhaps not his type, but still very attractive. Her choppy brown hair fell to her shoulders, and she possessed lovely green eyes, but he held a preference for blonde-haired women, with haunting blue eyes, nonetheless she obviously needed help and he was never able to resist a lady in distress.
“Just let me go out and get my own tools, and I’ll be right back.” He was forced to bite back a laugh, when she eyed her own tools suspiciously, as if it were their fault she was unable to do the job on her own. At his truck, he made a quick decision grabbing up a few extra items, including a small cloth-wrapped item that he tucked in the back of his pants, underneath his shirt, before heading back into the house. Inside the house, Adriana still stood where he left her, staring at the mess in the floor. Jacques nodded towards the unfinished walls. “This is going to take awhile, so if you have anything you need to do,” he trailed off.