We're reaching the conclusion of Chapter 2 here - will there be a game changer thrown into the plot, especially to make Logan civil with Neha again? Read on to find out!
And yay - this book comes out officially tomorrow!!!
Catch up with all the excerpts I posted this past week-and-a-half, right from Page 1!
pages 1-5 here;
pages 6-8 here;
pages 9-11 here;
pages 12-14 here;
pages 15-17 here;
pages 18-20 here;
pages 21-23 here;
pages 24-26 here;
pages 27-29 here;
pages 30-32 here;
pages 33-35 here.
And the full book is out! Get it from Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Decadent Publishing ~ Barnes & Noble (Nook) ~ AllRomance Ebooks ~ Smashwords
The walls of the house closed on him, making him suffocate with the need to be out and about. Bloody hell. Why did he have to think of the past? He banged his fist into a wall and didn’t wince when another knuckle tore open. Some would think boxers had strong hands, but they’d be surprised how a little insignificant action could injure hands rendered fragile by too many punches.
Not bothering with the blood seeping down his finger and drying into an ugly scab, he stormed out of the villa and headed for his car. After sliding behind the wheel, he started the engine and set out on the road toward the cyber village of Ebène and the cybertower housing the station.
He’d planned to work from home today, but the prospect had turned to custard. Being in the station’s setting would ease his mind, and hopefully, make him forget New Zealand.
The memories refused to clear from his mind, and he gave in to their tug with reluctance.
Privilege. He chuckled with bitterness. Privilege had lured his mother and saddled her with two sons, before dumping her back unmarried and on her own in a shack in Newtown, the poorest working-class suburb of Wellington back in the days when he’d been young.
Anne Warrington carried to her grave the name of the man who had fathered her children. Logan had never been able to extract anything about him out of her.
The only time she spoke about him happened when Logan came home flanked by two police officers, at fourteen, after having been involved in a fight in the rowdiest pub in the area.
After one glance at his bloodied fists and bruised face, she'd asked him if he preferred to be feared or respected. Fear proved easy to stir, but respect wasn’t easy to earn. Privilege won’t earn you respect, she’d added. A wistful sadness had tinged her words, and he’d known she thought back to her own life. Seeing an opening, he’d prompted if his father came from that world, getting an affirmative reply.
To this day, Logan still carried those words in his mind. They’d been the ones to forge his character, made him strive for more when he could have settled into one of the racist, bullying gangs in the neighbourhood.
The sight of a bright yellow car on the side of the road caught this attention. The driver seemed to be replacing a flat tyre at the back, sunlight reflecting off shiny black hair.
A woman? Should he go help? She appeared alone, pulling the heavy spare out of the boot herself.
As he parked a few feet behind the Citroën, his stomach lurched when he glimpsed the driver from up close. Neha Hemant. Bugger. Why her? He wouldn’t take the easy way out, however. She could probably use a hand. He stepped out of the SUV and walked toward her. She glanced up and brushed the hair from her face, to leave a small trace of dark grease on her flawless cheek. Her eyes widened when they locked on him, and she muttered something he couldn’t quite hear.
His gut told him she’d sworn.
“Need a hand?” he asked.
She fixed him with a dark, even glare and went about her task of dragging the spare next to the punctured one. “No. Thanks. I can manage.”
She carried on with changing the flat, and her lack of further conversation or glance in his direction made him think she ignored him completely. However, when the time came to pull the tyre from the chassis, she visibly struggled.
He knelt by her side and settled his hands on the black Michelin rubber surface to tug it out for her.
Logan received the surprise of his life when she slapped his hand away.
“Don’t you dare,” she said in a low growl.
Too stunned to react, for even his temper had been dumbstruck, he sat there in a squat as she huffed and wrestled with the tyre, finally wrenching it free.
The weight and the sudden give knocked her off balance, and she fell back. He shot an arm out to catch her before she hit the hard asphalt.
She shrugged away from his touch and continued with her task.
“Let me help,” he again said.
She bowed her head, and her hair fanned about like a curtain at the sides of her face to block the sight of her features. After a few seconds, her body started shaking.
Bugger, no. She was crying?
At a loss, Logan reasoned he could at least finish the task for her, since she sat in no fit state to continue. She’d probably inflict some injury upon herself.
He put the spare tyre in place and had started to screw it back in, when she snatched the spanner from his hand and proceeded to secure the bolts.
“I said I could do it. I don’t like accepting favours.” She turned to face him, her huge eyes glistening with tears, yet her voice had an incredible hardness when she calmly said, “It’s a question of principle.”
Touché. He didn’t know what to say, his wit having deserted him.
“What is it with everyone?” She rambled without looking at him. “Why do you all think I’m not up to par to achieve anything on my own? Why take me out of the comfy little cotton box, right?” She snorted. “Does your mother drive you insane, Logan?”
She continued before he could answer.
“No, I bet not. She wouldn’t dare, would she? Mine would drive anyone over the edge. Because I’m looking for a job, she’s got it in her head I’m out looking for a man to warm my bed.” She snorted. “Everyone’s conspiring to drive me crazy. Why can’t anyone accept how some people have more dignity than to accept favours? All I’m doing is trying to look after my kids in an honest way. How will I have respect for myself if all I do is give in to favours?”
She stopped and stared straight at him.
“Why am I telling you all this? You’ve already put me in a box and labelled it as ‘cheap and worthless’, innit?”
Logan’s skin crawled with shame. Heat burnt his dignity. Did he do that? Bloody hell, where would his respect for himself go if such was the case?
Processing all this in his mind, he startled when Neha got up and pulled all the tools around them in her hands. She stepped up and around to the boot of her car, placing the metal objects in a corner at the back.
He heaved the flat tyre and dropped it in the stow, under her angry glare.
“I said I can—”
“I know. You can do it. I wanted to help, that’s all.”
“Thanks.” She muttered the word while closing the hatchback door. She rushed to the front without another glance, for all intents dismissing him as if he were nothing more than a speck of dust in the air around her.
Why didn’t such a callous treatment make him fly into a temper?
Her previous words rang in his head.
What sort of woman did it take to attempt a tyre switch when she could simply call for help or hail someone to do it for her?
A woman who doesn’t ask for favours.
He’d been an arse.
He strolled over to the driver’s window and bent forward until his face drew level with hers.
“Two weeks’ trial. You start Monday.”
Once back at his car, he stopped by the door. Closing his eyes, he prayed he’d taken the right decision.
Something told him he had. The same something that made him realize Neha had remarkable similarities with a woman he respected more than anything.
Continue reading...by getting the full book from the following outlets! Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Decadent Publishing ~ Barnes & Noble (Nook) ~ AllRomance Ebooks ~ Smashwords
From Mauritius with love,