Contemporary Romance – coming soon!

HER LATIN LOVER © Simone Angela

Excerpt One

Okay, here goes… “My name is Scarlet Castle.” She hitched her laptop bag higher on her shoulder. “I’m a staff reporter for Clandestine Women’s Magazine in Australia.”

Gabriel leant against the doorjamb looking super-cool, relaxed and, dare she think it, primed for sex.

“And…?”

Don’t lose your nerve. “We’re doing a feature article on international male models and I would like to interview you.”

His eyes narrowed and the corner of his mouth twitched. “I’m afraid you’ve wasted your time. I’m not a model.”

“Oh.”

He shrugged. “I only did my sister a favour. She needed a Mr February.”

 And what a Mr February you turned out to be! “Okay, no problem, I’ll make my story an article on entrepreneurial men instead. I understand you own a chain of themed restaurants?”

“Yes, that’s right but I’m sorry, I’m still not interested.”

Her brows shot up. “Really? But it could be good exposure for you, for your business. I’m sure you’d like to expand your enterprise into Australia.” She paused, wanting to gauge his reaction. His face was impassive. With no response from him, she said, “We also have a travel section in the magazine. We could do a travel article on South America at the same time. And Matinhos is a beautiful little seaside village. More people should know about it.” She moved her heavy laptop bag to her other shoulder. “My article could help put this little paradise on the map as well as giving you great exposure for your restaurants.”

“What magazine did you say you were from?”

“Clandestine.”

“Do you have some ID?”

Breath held, she pulled out her ID, hoping he wouldn’t realize it was fake.

Excerpt Two

Gabriel stood at the railing, watching Scarlet grab her belongings and head out the door. A strange feeling snuck up on him after she’d left, and a slight emptiness filled him. But that was ridiculous. How could he be experiencing this emotion? He’d only known Scarlet for a matter of hours. While they’d chatted easily and she’d turned him on like no other woman had, he shouldn’t be feeling anything more for her than just physical attraction.

Relationships weren’t on the cards for him. He sat down on his bed and hung his head, thinking about the beautiful wife he missed so much.

Excerpt Three

Scarlet saw a woman enter, tall and slender with choppy auburn hair storm past him and straight over to Scarlet on the couch, pointing an accusatory finger at her. “You, Ms Scarlet Harris, NOT Scarlet Castle, have some explaining to do.”

Gabriel came over to the two women, his brow deeply furrowed, confusion on his face. “Cecelia, what are you going on about?”

Cecelia turned to face Gabriel and shook her head. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but this woman is an imposter. She’s not who she says she is. And she doesn’t work for Clandestine Magazine in any capacity whatsoever.

“She tried to con you,” Cecelia went on to say. “She just wanted to get all this dirt on you I bet. I mean why else would she go to such extremes to fool you? And boy oh boy did she have you fooled.”

Panic swum in Scarlet’s eyes. Her heart hammered in her chest.

Gabriel stared at Scarlet, alarm etched on his face and a disturbed look in his eyes. “What is she talking about Scarlet? Tell her none of what she says is true. Tell her she’s confused you with someone else.”

Her heart now plummeted to her stomach. The confrontation scene had arrived. For a moment she couldn’t say anything.

“Go on,” Gabriel urged. “Tell her she’s mistaken.”

Scarlet felt the blood draining from her face. Her hands gripped the edge of the sofa and she held her breath, fear rippling through her. “She–she’s right. Everything she says is true.”

 

A WISH ON HIS LIPS © Simone Angela

Excerpt One

Later on that day, as Carl plonked down on his couch, Ben’s words kept ringing in his ear the look of love. The look of love.

Love?

No. It was too soon. Sure, Sasha was a gorgeous woman, but he’d never fallen in love so quickly, even with Clarissa. And how could he fall in love with her when doubts still swirled in his mind? It was only raging hormones, lust… Lust? It wasn’t purely that either, then what…?

Shit. This whole thing was driving him nuts.

He surged off the couch, headed to his bedroom and got changed into his running gear. He needed to get out of his apartment and clear his head.

Once and for all.

Excerpt Two

As the interview progressed, Sasha wondered how on earth they were going to fill up the rest of the hour. They’d talked about the movie, her inspirations, her views on fame and how she’d handle it, about Sasha being Carl’s ‘protégé’, and they still had about fifteen minutes to go even after the television ads. Then she remembered what Mason had told her. That Simon’s mysterious death would be brought up at some stage.

“Now Sasha,” talk show host Kirk began, “the newspapers and magazines are all abuzz about you and your fiancé Simon Bentley. He’s the millionaire businessman who mysteriously ‘disappeared’ a year ago, isn’t he?”

Her fingers tensed. “Yes. He died. In that plane crash. You know all about that.”

Knowing the viewers and studio audience would be hanging on his every word, eager for the juice to be spilled, Kirk kept up the interrogation. “I can understand why you think he died, but don’t you think he could be alive?”

Anger coiled within her. “Nobody could have survived that plane crash, Kirk.” She tried to sound as convincing as possible, but unease rose inside her like poison ivy. She should have been more prepared for such confronting questions, especially as she herself had wondered if he had really died.

“But the authorities never did find Simon’s body, did they?” Kirk pressed on, perched eagerly at the edge of his seat, licking his lips like he was about to eat a juicy steak.

Her hands balled into fists as Kirk’s grating voice continued. “I’ve heard that he had his finger in a number of pies, both savoury and unsavoury, so if he’d been involved in some dodgy dealings he could have faked his own death or something. Have you considered that? And maybe he plans to turn up at your movie premier, in disguise because he’s a wanted man. He could be some mysterious, hooded guy lurking in the shadows.”

She wanted to punch the jackass in the face but refrained, for a very good reason – she’d come off looking like the bad guy and her good reputation could be tainted.

“Listen, Kirk,” Carl said firmly, “we came here to talk about the movie, not the circumstances surrounding Simon Bentley’s death. You can ask me any question you like, about the movie, about Sasha and I. I’ll be straight up with you. But just leave it at that.”

Excerpt Three

Sasha blinked hard. There was something about that voice… “Who…who is this?” she asked again, an eerie feeling winding within her like a coiled snake. “Who…who…who are you?” she stammered.

Silence.

Carl came and stood beside her. “Do you want me to have a word?”

Sasha shook her head. “No…no, it’s okay. I…I think they’ve gone. Hello? Hello?” she asked but the line had gone dead. Troubled, she hung up the phone, barely registering sitting down on the couch. Her mind churned, blood drained from her face.

“Are you okay?” Carl asked.

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you.” She skulled the water in her glass. It was just some weirdo playing a joke on her.

It had to be. The alternative was too scary to think about.

 

A KISS BEFORE DAWN © Simone Angela

Excerpt One

Cara’s jaw dropped when the man said that. What if she was outbid? She had a fixed limit, not an endless supply of money as it seemed this guy had. Covering her dismay with a click of her tongue, she turned to him and said, “Surely it would be foolish to pay more than it’s worth?”

“The value of any possession is determined by how much you want it.” He paused, fixing her with a cool, green-eyed gaze. “And when I want something, I make sure I get it.”

Her eyes suddenly widened. The boldness of his tone and words, the intense look he gave her, took her breath away. Unsure how to respond to the statement, she quickly moved away.

Excerpt Two

Cara frowned, irritated. Having her matchmaking grandfather sitting at the same table as Mark was not a good idea. “Come on, Grandpa, let me take you back to bed.” She went to help him get up from the chair but he brushed her hands away.

“Not yet, my dear. I want to talk to this nice young man of yours.”

“He’s not my nice young―” Her words died in her throat and she gave Mark a cringing look. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that you’re not nice or anything, but just that you―I mean…” Her cheeks bloomed pink. She had to look away.

“That’s okay,” Mark reassured her. “I knew what you meant.”

“Grandpa, Mr Rhodes only came over to drop something off to me, that’s all.”

Her grandfather smiled broadly. “Well you two certainly make a lovely looking couple. So Mr Rhodes, what do you do for work?”

As Mark answered him, Cara sat at the table and tried to eat her pie and chips, but all of a sudden she’d lost her appetite. Then she looked at her watch. Good. In another half an hour Mark’s lift would be here.

“It was my late father’s business,” she heard Mark say, “but I took it over after he died. Now I run it with my brother.”

“Vintage cars, hey?” her grandfather said. “Nice to know you’re not a banker, a lawyer, or a financier. Never had any good experiences with them stuffy types. I’m glad that Cara’s found herself  a new man. I mean after her ex-fiancé slept with her best―”

“Grandpa!” Cara snapped, cutting him off with a warning hand. “That’s enough! Come on, I’m taking you back to your room!” She forced him up from the table.

Excerpt Three

Mark’s joy should have been contagious. Her heart sank. Guilt flushed her cheeks. She was going to hurt his feelings, but she was doing the right thing, wasn’t she? “Mark?”

He put his phone back in his jacket pocket. “Yes baby?”

She chewed her lower lip, trying to find the right words. Her hands shook, but not from the cold around them.

“You’re having second thoughts about us, aren’t you?”

She nodded, hating herself, wishing things could have been different.

“Well I’m not going to twist your arm.” Bitterness laced his tone as he turned away from her and busied himself with packing up his bag, not once glancing her way. “I’m going to wait outside,” he announced, picking up one of the two lanterns. He looked at her briefly as he said, in a detached tone, “Make sure you rug up.” Then he was gone.

Cara’s heart broke into a thousand pieces.

She’d hurt him.

She’d hurt the man that she loved.

 

STEALING HER HEART © Simone Angela

               Excerpt One            

“But I know that’s not what this is about, Katherine,” Katherine’s best friend Alana said. “You ran away the very next day you found out that your husband had gambled away all of your money, rather than surrounding yourself with people who love and care for you, people who would be able to help you through your pain, and comfort you after such a horrible thing.”

She slumped on the couch. “I just needed to be alone, to clear my head. And I’m doing that—clearing my head, slowly but surely. I’m just not doing it here.”

Hands on hips, Alana didn’t let up. “But you didn’t need to drive five hours away from Sydney and stay away for four weeks to do that. You can sugar coat it all you like but the truth is you ran away like your mother did. And now you want to run away again. I just don’t want you to become like her.”

“I won’t,” Katherine insisted, exasperation pushing at her chest.

“But what if there’s another tragedy down the track, or further stress in your life, and you run away, but for good, like your mother did?”

Excerpt Two

Jack’s jaw clenched. Just when he’d tried to steer the conversation away from himself and his job, it had come back full circle to him. And he faced a dilemma. If he kept on lying about his profession, it would only be harder down the track if he eventually did admit the truth to Katherine.

“I worked for the NSW Fisheries department.”

“So what made you decide to give up your city job and move back here to Edendale to become a fisherman?” Katherine enquired further.

His jaw clenched and his fingers tensed under the table top. “I decided it was time for a sea-change.”

Alana pursed her lips. “Hmm… Well, I would have to say that fishing would be far less stressful than government politics. I’d have made the change as well.”

Jack acknowledged Alana’s statement with a smile. If only it had been as easy as giving up one career for another without any regrets or doubts or disillusionment.

Excerpt Three

Jack shoved a hand through his hair. “But there’s something I have to tell you.”

His eyes were dark, his light-hearted expression gone. A sense of foreboding suddenly gripped her.

“Ye–you’re not in live love with me?”

He clasped his hands over his face. Her heart-rate spiked. “Is it something I’ve done?”

“No.” He inhaled deep breaths.

Katherine waited with bated breath for some profound statement, anxiety beating a rapid tattoo against her chest. Her mouth went all dry.

Jack kept his head lowered, and clasped his hands tightly together. “The thing is…I…I’ve been keeping a secret from you.”

She tensed immediately. “A secret?” Her heart raced. “What kind of secret?”

“A secret about…my profession.”

Oh no, please don’t be exactly like my husband. “You’re…not a fisherman?”

“No. I’m…” He gulped. “A financier.”

 

 

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