Love, Lies and Other Disasters, страница 1
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, places, or events is coincidental and not intended by the author.
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Lies and other disasters...like love
Copyright © 2012 Cecilia Robert
All rights reserved.
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Celina’s heart pounded to the same beat as the heavy footfalls of the man – no, brute – who was carrying her.
Man, talk about being manhandled!
When did her life turn to disaster of all disasters? At this moment, she should be on her way to her long awaited vacation, on the cruise ship L’ami, gliding down the smooth waters of the Mediterranean. Instead, she was dangling face down with a black cloth sack over her head and no idea what or why this was happening.
Thoughts tumbled and chased each other in her head, as they had been since her abduction.
Who was this man? And what did he want with her? Her breath hitched, ice-cold fear slithered along her spine.
Could it be something to do with her line of work? Or her father’s enemies? Her father collected enemies like ants gathering food for winter. Wesfeld Agency, her father’s company was one of the best bounty hunters in Europe, housing over two hundred fifty well-trained agents.
Her heart doubled its wild galloping and a sound escaped her lips involuntarily.
Calm down, maybe it’s not anything more than a joke to get my father’s attention.
Oh, who was she lying to? This seemed worse with every step the heavy footsteps thudded on the earth below. Probably hauling me to my own death.
Panic and desperation washed over her. She began wiggling and flailing her hands and legs. But the arm clutching her imprisoned legs tightened.
“Leash it, woman!” the voice growled. “Or you’ll get your hands tied.”
She froze. Since this terrifying ordeal had begun, this common criminal hadn’t spoken a word to her. It had been all caveman grunting and whispering. Hearing that voice- - That voice! Although spoken in a low growl, she thought she recognized it.
Who the hell was this guy?
The worst of it was, she couldn’t tell where he was taking her. Maybe if she protested a little more, the man would drop her. She had enough experience in fighting her way out of situations that demanded it.
Once again, she lifted a fist and pummelled his muscular back. It was like hitting concrete. A smack sounded and pain shot from her butt, up her back to her head.
“Do that again, and you’ll receive worse.”
She clenched her jaw. When the pain subsided she said, “Who are you? And what do you want with me?”
“Don’t worry, Sweetheart. You’ll find out in due time.”
Her breath caught in her throat. Could it be him? She knew of no other person who twirled the ‘S’, just that dark, presence from her past. And if it was him, the past had caught up with her.
She squirmed again, and tried to raise her upper body, to throw herself off that hard, broad shoulder, to do anything to dislodge the hand that was around her legs. Unfortunately, all she managed to do was get herself into a more secure hold. She gave up and decided to save her energy. This torturous journey would soon come to an end. And when it did, she would be ready.
Abruptly, the feet halted. She listened, hoping to have an idea what he was about to do. He seemed to fumble with something – then the sound of …keys?? After that, the sound of the door opening. Her heart thudded louder, and she took a deep breath ready to launch herself at the man. The door shut behind them with a swish, then the sound of key turning.
The footsteps shuffled on what sounded like a wood floor. Abruptly, the strong arm loosened. Two hands gripped on her waist, and before she knew it, she was sitting on a soft surface. The air whooshed out of her.
Suddenly the sack was yanked off. She yelped and instinctively scrambled back away from the threat before her. She blinked rapidly trying to adjust from the dark of the sack to the sudden brightness of her surroundings, then squinted at the form in front of her. Her eyes drifted up and up to what she thought was a face, but was unable to make out anything yet.
Don’t show fear. Maybe he won’t think you’re an easy catch.
“What do you want from me?”
There was a chuckle, and then the form moved, lowering its face closer to hers. She jerked back, but not before she caught a scent, a scent so familiar it triggered a gut reaction. Her jaw dropped. She blinked rapidly as the form before her took shape, and she found herself staring at eyes so green she was drowning in them. Familiar green eyes, but….it couldn’t be. Or could it? There was only one way to confirm. Her gaze dropped to the mouth, tracing the line above the upper lip.
Those lips stretched in a wide, cocky grin. “In the flesh. Hello, darling.”
Celina’s heart sped up. With one smooth move, she leaped out of the bed, the panic replaced by anger and glared at Abe. “What do you want, Abe?”
He straightened, and crossed his arms around his chest. “You. I want you, Celina.”
“You lost that right five years ago.” Quickly she ducked around him, and stalked to the door.
Before she had a chance to reach it, an arm caught and whirled her around. She glared at her abductor. She turned away from him and clutched at her chest, as pain cut through her. “Leave me alone, Abraham.” She grabbed the door handle and yanked it inward. It didn’t budge.
“I want that right back.”
She swivelled around, her hands clenched to fists.
“We have to talk, Cel,” Abe said.
She shook her head. “Unless it’s to tell me you’re taking me back to the ship, no talking.”
Abe slipped an arm around her waist. Her treacherous body responded to him again, leaning into him. Taking a deep breath, she tried to move away, but he urged her back to the bed, sat her down and lowered himself to the floor and sat on his heels. He braced his elbows on his knees, fingers mere inches from her exposed skin. Her eyes travelled from his strong hands, down his strong taut thighs that were emphasized by his faded jeans. She swallowed and lifted her eyes to meet those eyes that had haunted her for years.
“Take me back to the ship, Abe.”
His lips tightened, but his eyes were conflicted. “No.” Swiftly, he straightened on his feet, and without a word turned and left.
Before Celina could gather her thoughts on the sudden change, Abe had disappeared. She heard the key turn in the lock. He’d locked her in! She hopped from the bed, and dashed to the door and began banging on it.
Twenty minutes later, giving up on any response, she slid to the floor, with her back on the door. Her body shook and she fisted her hands on her lap.
What did he want from her? The last time she had seen him was five years ago. And that was when she was handing over the divorce papers. Why was he here now? How had he known where to find her? No one knew where she was except for Beth. What if Abe was planning on taking
Once more determined to make her ex-husband listen, she sprang to her feet and began banging on the door and yelling.
It felt like she’d gone on forever. Exhausted, she dragged her feet back to the bed, and dropped on it. All she could do, was wait. He’d be coming back. Her eyes darted tiredly around the room taking in the spotless space. It was neat, with nothing out of place. Was this his house? His room? Taking a deep breath, she curled into a ball, finally drifting to sleep.
Abe stood by the window, arms crossed across his chest, his thoughts on the woman in his room. Had he done the right thing ‘borrowing’ her for a little while? It had seemed right at the time. He smiled, thinking how she’d become more beautiful than he could remember. This was going to be a fun two-week leave for him. He chuckled as he remembered how her silver eyes flashed once she recognised who her abductor was. The smile vanished, as he doubted his plan once again.
Oh, well. He’d have to prove to her that he had changed.
The doorbell rang, snapping him out of his thoughts. He strode toward the door and yanked it open. After paying the delivery boy and tipping him, he closed the door and briskly strode toward his room with the food in his hands. He placed a hand on the door handle, paused and listened. Everything seemed quiet. Taking a deep breath, he turned the handle and walked in. Celina lay huddled in a tiny ball, one hand cradling her head in sleep. At five foot two, she looked like a harmless little thing.
However, he knew better. She was as harmless as a prowling tiger. She was one of her father’s firm’s best hunters. He rubbed his ribs as a memory of their early practices together sauntered across his mind. God, she was the best thing that had ever happened to him. And he’d stupidly walked away.
He sighed, placed the Chinese takeout on the bedside table and took away the chopsticks. Who knew what she would do when she was angry. Even simple chopsticks could be lethal in her hands.
He leaned forward and shook her shoulder gently, wishing he would wake her up with a kiss instead. Like he’d always done.
Her eyes fluttered open, and his heart picked up an erratic beat. Finally, sleep faded and she focused on him.
He cleared his throat. “Hey, darling.”
She scowled, and he bit back a smile. Yep. It was going to be a fantastic two weeks. Her eyes shifted to the food in the table, and then turned to look at him suspiciously.
“What game are you playing, Abe?”
He folded his hands across his chest and shrugged. “Nothing.” She narrowed her eyes. “Trying to win my wife back.” He added.
She waved a hand. “Not interested.” And she turned back to the food at her side, hunger overriding anything said between them. Then she swung her head back at Abe and her eyes widened as the words sunk in. “Did you just say ‘wife’?”
Abe’s heart began a drum roll of continuous beating. This was it. He nodded.
Slowly, Celina recoiled and rose to her feet, her eyes flashing. A storm brewed behind those eyes. Her gaze was laced with disbelief. Finally, she stood to her full height, her head hardly reaching his shoulders.
Abe slid a hand on his neck and began rubbing it. His eyes skittered away from her, then back. “I never signed the papers.”
“It’s been five years. You mean… to say that I’m still married to you?”
“Yep. Saddled fair and square,” he said, fighting a smile.
Celina stared at him disbelief rolling all over her. Suddenly she lifted her fist and flung it at him. He caught it easily in his big, strong one. She tried twisting out of his grasp, and stopped, realizing how useless the effort was.
“Why?” She hissed, pushing down the urge to scream. “Do you enjoy seeing others suffer? Is that why you’re still holding onto the papers-- to see me suffer?”
The confident look on his face faltered, then vanished, replaced by an expression she’d so loved six years ago. “No, Cel. That’s not my intention.”
Different emotions played across his face. “I…I couldn’t let you go.” He lowered their hands, but held on to her as if afraid to let go.
“You couldn’t or you didn’t want to?”
He glanced at her for a moment.
What was he thinking about? Certainly not how he’d inconvenienced her. This was her much needed holiday after working for the last five months overseas. Now it turned out she still had a husband!
“I couldn’t.” he said in a voice so low, so passionate she gaped at him. “And I’ll prove to you that I have changed, even if it kills me.”
She snatched her hand and moved away from him, slumping back on the bed. “I can’t go back to when we were together. Not again.”
“Then you leave me no choice.” Quickly, he dropped to his knees, grabbed her by the shoulders, pulled her to him, and crashed his lips to hers.
Caught unawares, she froze, and then began to struggle, pushing him away, but he was like a rock.
Abe’s heart pounded wildly in his heart. This is what he’d dreamed of for the last five years. Holding her, kissing her. It would have been better if she weren’t struggling though. He moved his hands and caught hers, holding and applying slight pressure to still them. She went limp beneath him. He locked eyes with hers. Anger still ranged in them, which only drove him to kiss her more insistently. He needed proof she was over him. Even then he wasn’t sure he’d let her go.
Wrapping one hand around both of hers, he slid the other around the nape of her neck and through her hair, savouring the silkiness of it. He pulled her to him, forcing her unyielding lips to respond. Desperation clung to him, shredding the little pride left in him.
Come on Celina, respond. Please let me know you still feel the same.
She tried drawing herself away, but he held fast. Suddenly, she groaned, breathed out and her lips softened beneath his. And she kissed him. Really kissed him. Shifting his weight, he tentatively relaxed the hold of his hand around hers. She pulled her hand away, slipped it over his shoulder, and dug into his scalp. He brought his other hand to trail along her jaw and grunted in satisfaction.
Before he knew what was happening, he felt his weight shift and stumbled on the wooden floor. A flash of jean-clad legs dashed by him, and even in his passion-induced mind he knew he’d been duped. Shaking his head, he leapt to his feet and was just in time to grab her by the arm before she could dart out the door. He whirled her around and slammed the door shut.
“So, pretty little darling, Cel. You’re good.” He chuckled. “You even had me fooled.” He paced her backwards until he had her pinned on the opposite wall. He swooped in and kissed her, trapping her hands behind her. Feeling her resistance crumble, he eased off her, trailing his lips along her jaw, then bit at her earlobe gently and whispered in her ear. “I’m not letting you go that easily. I did the first time, but now… I’m here to stay, Celina.”
He lowered his head quickly and kissed her, then released her and moved away and toward the door.
Four days had passed since she was kidnapped. And in those days, she’d hardly slept a wink. She kept an eye on Abe, still not trusting him. The last two days were the most uncomfortable she’d ever experienced in her life.
Abe’s determination was wearing on her nerves. If he wasn’t trying to romance her to smouldering embers, he was tempting her with the finest food on earth. And to top it all off, he made sure the book shelves were stocked with books she liked to read: mysteries and romances paperbacks. All brand new. Beside the bookshelf was a flat screen TV with more channels she’d ever thought imaginable.
She dug her hands in her hair. She should have been on the ship on her way to Naples, relishing the salty sea air. Being caged in a room, and only seeing the sun light through windows wasn’t fun either. She glanced at the direct
Why was everything turning out to be a disaster? First there were the lies; Abe lying to her that he loved her. Enough to leave her hanging and waiting for his response as he travelled around the world bounty hunting. Even love in itself was a disaster. She cringed at that long ago memory of her following Abe around like a puppy, begging for attention. Then her life became a blow after he left her, trying to pick up the shards of her broken heart. And that was the reason she’d worked so hard these last few years, purging any thoughts of Abe. Right now, men weren’t up there in her priority meter.
However, Abe had changed. It was as though he’d undergone a total makeover. Everything about him seemed to have doubled in intensity: ; with just a look from those panther like eyes, shivers clamoured against each other trying to send the message to her brain. With just a touch, even accidental, her body inflamed. Even his voice felt more sensual. Or was he pretending so he could have her again?
Ugh again. Closing her eyes, she threaded her fingers in her hair and tugged it back. Her eyes flew open as footsteps sounded in the corridor, drew closer to the door, and then paused. They were accompanied by low murmurs of deep voices. Removing the book from her lap, she straightened on the bed and cocked her head to one side.
The door opened. Abe sauntered in, his eyes on her. She looked at him for a moment before shifting over his shoulder, ready with a fierce glare. Whoever it was, was working with him to keep her here, he’d receive the full power of her glare.
Instead, she squealed and hopped off the bed, threw herself into the open arms waiting for her, and wiggled as those arms enveloped her in an embrace.
“Hello Peanut.” The voice rumbled, calling her by her affectionate name.
She leaned back away from him. “Sam, it’s good to see you.”
“Good to see you too.” He held her at arm’s length, his eyes raking her from head to toe. “You look gorgeous, Peanut. Looks like staying away from this idiot was doing you good.” He jerked a thumb over to Abe. Abe rumbled low in his throat, and Celina glanced at him in surprise.
Since when did he rumble? Yes. Total makeover.