So I’ve just released a novella, CHAINED TO YOU: The Contract, which is basically a taste of what CHAINED TO YOU the novel will be. You can download CHAINED TO YOU from Amazon. Here’s Chapter 1.
It was a mistake to let Andy leave the country, and I’d known it the moment he told me he’d be going.
“Better job prospects there,” he’d said. “Friends of mine promised to find me a good one.”
A good one to Andy meant a job that would offer very good pay and didn’t require any university qualifications, since he didn’t have any. I wasn’t one to argue though, since I didn’t have any either, and working as a kitchen hand in a restaurant at minimum wage wasn’t something both of us planned for the rest of our lives. Andy wanted to study business and, one day, own his own big corporation with hundreds of employees and a very cool office with an outstanding view, high in the building. Me, I wanted to teach.
“You won’t have to work those shitty long hours anymore, Mia. We won’t have to worry about money. You can quit that pathetic job and say good-bye to that arsehole boss of yours.”
“Pathetic job,” I murmured under my breath as I stared out the small window to my right. “Arsehole boss.” I hugged myself tight as I gazed at the view.
It was beautiful, with bright gold and blues, and just below the plane, there were thick white clouds all along the endless horizon. I’d always wanted to see this exquisite scenery for real, since I’d spotted it in a beauty magazine I bought from a secondhand bookstore. I even had the picture glued in my notebook of places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do and accomplish before I die. I’d also wanted to be in a plane, too.
At the moment, however, both were the furthest from my mind. In a few hours, the plane would land, and I’d be in Los Angeles, California—a place I’d never been to before and hadn’t even wanted to visit. Paris, Tokyo, and Rome were the cities I desperately wanted to see. Not Los Angeles. Never Los Angeles. And the fact I didn’t know where I was going or what I’d be doing there really worried me. No, that wasn’t true. What really worried me was I wouldn’t know who I’d be facing and how the hell I’d be getting Andy out of his mess.
During the next few painstakingly slow hours, I remained paralyzed, seized by fear of the unknown. Fear of what would happen to Andy if I couldn’t help him.
“Andy,” I murmured. “Why?”
He’d been such a good little brother. I understood it had been hard for him since the death of our parents, as it had for me. Understood shit happened in everyone’s life, though it seemed to happen a lot more for us. But we had to carry on living, didn’t we? And Andy? He was just that gullible, more than the most gullible person on the planet. I’d known that, yet I’d let him go. Allowed the wolves to have a taste of him, to play and dance with him. And now he was stuck, and I didn’t know how I could save him.
At the moment, I knew I was charging forward blindly. The wolves, these billionaire businessmen who didn’t hesitate to play dirty, were who I would be dealing with.
“Maxwell.” I said the name softly under my breath, a shiver passing down my spine. Even the name itself radiated power, and it scared the hell out of me.
All I’d gotten was a phone call from Andy and then an email—a threatening email—from a man simply called J. Maxwell. That email was short and to the point. Even now, I felt a little dizzy thinking about it.
I would like to inform you that your brother, Andy Donovan, has done a very unwise thing. He and his friends have swindled and lost two million dollars of mine in a gamble. He is currently under our protection. Negotiation between us is prudent, and I urgently advise you to make an appointment to meet me.
The bastard had made it sound like he was the police with the words protection and negotiate. But then again, Andy and his so-called friends had swindled millions from the billionaire, and now, it was my job to replace them. Once again, the number of zeros following that two made my head spin. How the heck was I supposed to supply two million US dollars?
The plane landed, and I found myself shuffling through thousands of people I didn’t know. I tried to pass them as quick as I could, clutching my backpack close to me. I knew I looked like a fish out of water here, and those staring at me with the look were evidence of that. I didn’t care though. I had a mission to accomplish, and their judgement wasn’t going to faze me.
I sighed with some small relief once I was outside where there were less people to encounter. It was hot. So hot in fact I had to take off my jumper. I knew I had to take the bus into town because a taxi was way too expensive, and I couldn’t afford that, what with only three hundred bucks cash in my wallet.
I jumped into the bus a few minutes later, and after paying my fees, I settled in a lone seat, placing my backpack on my lap in front of me. I kept to myself throughout the whole journey. When the bus stopped in town, I took another up to Beverly Hills and then another one farther out. This took me another hour, and by the time it stopped at the very end of the route, I was exhausted and thirsty.
Out on the rather deserted street lined with big mansions that both terrified and amazed me, I took out the Google map I’d printed out and peered at the white, neatly folded piece of paper. The glare was getting to my eyes, so I moved around, trying to find a bit of shade. My finger followed the line of roads on the map as I muttered to myself, “Where am I? Where am I?”
An angry, long, loud beep blared from the distance. Tires screeched against asphalt. I lifted my head, and my eyes rounded with dread. Panic sized me the moment I saw the car heading toward me. I reacted by staggering back, just in time, as the vehicle came to a sudden halt inches from me.
I fell on my backside, my heart pumping loud and fast. I was still paralyzed with fright when the door of that expensive car opened. Shiny black shoes landed on the pavement, followed by clean black trousers.
I watched, suddenly fascinated as that pair of shoes came my way. They stopped right in front of me, as if waiting patiently for me to lift my head. And I did. My eyes slowly drifted up to the long legs trousers and then to the slim waist and expensive-looking pale-blue shirt and dark jacket, and then… My breath was taken away the moment my eyes met his.
Strong, aquiline nose, deep-set eyes, prominent jawline, and dark hair—this was the type of face found in fashion magazines. The male models in ads for perfume and expensive suits. The type that was out of my reach. The rich, expensive type that every girl drooled over and dreamed of dating.
He was the type that scared the shit out of me, and he was doing so right now. My breathing became shorter and faster. At that moment, I just wanted to run. My legs, however, seemed to have become numb, and I couldn’t command them to move.
The handsome stranger made my condition worse by coming down to one knee. I was surprised he actually allowed those expensive, clean trousers to touch the dirt.
When he faced me, I swallowed.
Prussian blue. The color of his eyes. Dark yet bright, with an ominous feel to them. A shade of blue that had fascinated me since I was a child. It was the shade of the sky I’d seen when I opened my eyes that day many years ago, my whole body aching in agony and my bones broken. The sound of sirens and people shouting, asking me if I was all right. I’d never been all right. I was dying from a car accident. And they asked me, a child of twelve, if I was all right.
I flicked my mind back to the present, to the man in front of me, and bit my dry lip. I subconsciously licked them—a mistake. His Prussian blue eyes drifted to my lips, and suddenly, my whole body reacted in a way it had never reacted before.
It flared with heat and delicious sensation coursed through me, making me almost breathless. I was trembling more fiercely than I had when I’d thought the car was going to hit me. My whole body trembled beneath his stare, at the sudden electrical sparks that charged and pulsated between us.
He narrowed his eyes—against the glare of the sun or a knowing sign, I didn’t know which. When he grinned at me, one that would take any girl’s breath away, I knew it was the latter. He was way too handsome for my peace of mind. It was a crime for such a man to exist. He was too much.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice timbre deep.
A thrill rushed down my spine. I tentatively nodded and wished he’d just up and go.
He didn’t, which both angered and pleased me at the same time. At that moment, I didn’t understand my own feelings. Yes, I wanted him to leave me alone, but at the same time, I didn’t want him to go.
He surprised me by wrapping one large, strong hand over my arm. I jolted at the touch, and my whole body went into a frenzy of sensation, a whirlwind of heat.
He pulled me along as he stood, and I mindlessly followed. My head barely reached to his massive broad shoulders. I swallowed as I stared at his shirt.
“Don’t walk into the road without looking if you don’t want to get hit,” he said.
I nodded, still not looking at him. “Thanks,” I said, stepping back. I felt his hand releasing me, his warmth leaving me.
I turned, picked up my backpack, and gave him a small smile. I saw him cocking his head to one side before turning away. I was still trembling when a few moments later I watched his car speed by.
* * * * *
Again, you can download CHAINED TO YOU: The Contract from Amazon. You can also join my Mailing List to get notification of when the next parts of CHAINED TO YOU are released ^_^