Places Like Home (Pickleville #7)

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Running away from his problems isn’t an option anymore.

For three years Dakota Weaver has done nothing but run from a man that wants to hurt him. He changes his name and takes a job as far away from the last place he lived as he could get. The Heath’s are great people and he loves his job. It reminds him of the home he left behind all those years ago. Dakota has looked over his shoulder for far too long and has come to the end of his rope.

The first time Jackson sees Dakota on his best friend, Travis Heath’s farm, he wants the man. All of Jackson’s flirting gets him nowhere with the man though. Jackson overhears a telephone conversation Dakota has with his brother and gets a whole new perspective on Dakota’s life and what it’s really like.

Dakota rolled his eyes but otherwise didn't comment. Jackson said it more to himself anyway so he didn’t seem to need Dakota’s help.
"So, why have you been avoiding me so much?"
Dakota had a sudden urge to turn tail and run as fast as he could out of the barn, but he supposed he’d been rude the last few months. It couldn't hurt to talk about his reasoning with Jackson. Not like the man could do anything about it anyway. "You and I want different things from each other. What you want from me comes with a price you won't pay. Now answer my question." Dakota's southern drawl was slightly more pronounced than usual. It always happened when he was nervous.
The horse snorted out and shifted from foot to foot. "I kept her here because my dad has been having health issues that gives him dementia and he'd sell her for less than she's worth without thinking about it. It's a problem I've had in the past, so I keep all the horses that are worth something here. That whole side over there, are my horses." Jackson pointed to the other side of the barn from where he had just come from.
Dakota wasn't a horse person. His family raised pigs and cattle, not horses. So he could tell a good expensive horse from a cheap horse about as well as the average person could, which is not at all. Still, Dakota eyed the horse lead beside him, trying to figure out what made her worth something as Jackson had put it.
"I guess it’s a good thing Travis is such a good friend."
"He's my best friend, man. He's family. He's your family too now. That's how we work. Now, my question is what do you think I want from you?"
Dakota looked right into those blue eyes and said, "You want something casual. Like a friends with benefits, maybe." Jackson started to open his mouth to say something but Dakota held up a hand, effectively shutting him up. He turned and started out of the barn. Dakota made his way out of the barn and away from Jackson.
It wasn't that Dakota didn't want the friends part of that equation but the benefits part he could do without. He wasn't having casual sex with anyone ever again. He still had nightmares and some other issues he probably would always have, not to mention Ron following him around the country for three years, doing unspeakable things to him. He’d been terror free for six months now, since coming to Pickleville and he wanted it to continue for as long as possible. 

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