Archive | June 2012

Undercover Lover – Part 3

Saige Ingalls just broke up with long term boyfriend, Ben. Taking refuge with her mother, she’s trying to deal with the idea that she’s single again. 

Her phone rang. Looking at it absently, she saw it was Brodie calling her. What could he want? It was nearly seven o’clock on a Friday night.

“Hi, Brodie.”

“Where are you? Did you forget dinner?”

“Oh, shit! Yes, I did. I’m so sorry. Ben and I….”

“Had a huge argument. Yeah, he told me. I was just at your place to pick you up.”

“Dinner completely slipped my mind, Brodie. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay. I can wine and dine these clients without you. You just make me look so damn good and your memory for details is incredible.”

“You don’t need me to look good, Brodie. You’re gorgeous.”

“Okay, wrong word. Impressive, on the ball, in touch with the pulse of the fucking city. What do you want me to say?”

“You’ll pick me up after you wow the clients and take me out for a cup of coffee and a shoulder to cry on?”

“Sure thing. Um, where are you?”

She giggled, smacking herself in the head. “My mother’s. She lives in that quaint cedar cabin across the lake from Lita.”

“Oh, yes! Ooh, does this mean I can get a tour? I’ve always wanted to see the interior of that house. It fascinates me.”

“If Mom’s awake, sure. If not, another time, I promise. Can’t have my boss lusting after my mother’s home without satisfying him, can I?”

“Absolutely not. I should be done by nine. Nine thirty at the latest, so see you about ten?”

“I’ll be here. Thanks, Brodie.”

“Not a problem, Saige. See you soon.”

Her phone rang again almost immediately. Thinking it was Brodie again, she answered without looking at it. It wasn’t Brodie, it was Ben.

“Your boss was here,” he said simply, his tone petulant, hurt and still very angry.

“Yes, he told me.”

“Yeah, well, I thought you should know. Something about dinner?” He hedged for details.

“With clients. It wasn’t a date, Ben, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“What does it matter? I’m a stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, insufferable prick.”

“Ben, don’t.”

“Are you fucking Brodie now? That’s it, isn’t it?”

“Benjamin! I told you it was dinner with clients. I’ve never slept with Brodie.”

“But you want to. I can see it in your face whenever you’re around him.”

“You’re out of your mind. You were the only man I wanted, Ben. Don’t you know that? It’s only ever been you.”

Saige could picture his brown hair tousled from his exertions throwing her things out. He thought she wanted Brodie? Had he sunk so low that he could ever doubt her love?

“Ben, I loved you so much. How could you even think…?” She couldn’t finish the sentence. It made her chest hurt.

“I’ve got absolutely nothing, Saige. Why wouldn’t you want something more?”

“I can’t do this right now, Ben. I can’t go through all this again today.”

“Never mind. Forget I called. Go have dinner with your rich, jacked, successful boss boyfriend.”

“Fine!” She screamed. “Fine! I will. I’ll go out and fuck his brains out. Would that make you happy? Do you want to be right that badly?”

“No,” he whispered and hung up.

Saige screamed and threw her phone across the room. It landed with a clatter, the back flying off. Both pieces whirled in opposite directions. She didn’t even pay attention to where they landed.

Her mother tapped on the door, leaning around with a sad smile. “Darling, dinner’s ready if you’re hungry.”

“Thanks, Mom. I don’t feel much like eating.”

“I made your favorite.” She paused to gauge her daughter’s reaction. “Roast Pork Caesar Salad with homemade croutons. Sure you aren’t just a teeny bit hungry?” Her wheedling tone got a smile from Saige.

“Actually, yes. I’m starving. I didn’t get any lunch and breakfast seems a really long time ago.”

“That boss of yours doesn’t let you eat?” Her mother frowned. She wasn’t sure sometimes what to think of Brodie.

“Yes, he lets me eat. It’s my own fault. I went shopping for an anniversary present for Ben.”

The tears threatened to fall again. Rubbing her eyes angrily, she followed her mother to the dinner table. The house was situated in such a way that the combined living and dining room had a magnificent view of the lake. Surrounded by weeping willows and an ethereal stand of bamboo, it was magical. The stress and anger flowed from her muscles as if washed away by the lake.

Undercover Lover – Part 2

Saige Ingalls has just broken up with long time, live in boyfriend Ben. After a long and heated argument, he threw her out of her apartment and tossed her belongings onto the street below. Thanks to her kind neighbors, her things are safe, but what about her heart?

Julia’s three grandsons loaded her belongings into her blue Cooper Mini. Those things that didn’t fit went into the Cross’ apartment for storage. Chas, Romany and Dexter were about the same age as Saige. She’d had the feeling they all wanted to ask her out, but there had always been the problem of Ben in her life.

The middle one, Romany leaned in the window as she turned on the car. His brown eyes twinkled, his black hair was wind tossed. “You call if you need anything, right? Chas and Dexter said they’ll break the fooker’s legs for ya.”

“Thanks, Rom.” She kissed his cheek fondly. “You guys are the best. Don’t bust him up too bad. Maybe he’ll grow up and we can work things out.”

“I hope not,” he chuckled. “I want ya for myself, Saige. Girl like you is hard to come by. He’s a stupid twat if he hasn’t figured that out.”

“Who knows. Maybe?” She pouted, not sure she believed him.

He laughed loudly, kissing her on her pout. “Yeah, love, when his balls start going blue, he’ll wish he’d treated you better.”

Giggling, she pulled into traffic and drove away. They stood on the curb and waved at her until she was out of sight. Trying hard not to cry, she drove to her mother’s house across the river and on the other side of the lake.

It was a picturesque home perched over the water. Very in tune with the environment, it was designed by a an artist and an architect for their summer residence back in the sixties. After a nasty divorce, the wife lived there until her death in 1990 when Saige’s mother bought it. She’d lived in it ever since.

If Blair Ingalls was surprised to see her daughter, she certainly didn’t show it. She welcomed her in with hugs and kisses, waiting patiently for an explanation. It came in the form of a tearful recitation that made very little sense. The gist of it was that there had been a horrible fight and Saige walked out.

“You should have tossed the bastard out of his ear.”

“I know, Mom, but I was so angry, I had to get out of the apartment. Then he handed me an armful of clothing and threw the rest out the windows.”

“What a pig! I should call and give him a piece of my mind!” She picked up the phone.

“No, please. Don’t.”

“Don’t tell me you still love him?”

“He can’t help what’s happened. When he has a job, it’s so great!”

“When he doesn’t he takes it out on you. That’s not so great, Saige.”

“He’s never hit me, Mom.”

“If he ever did, I’d break his balls,” her mother frowned. “I did it to your father, I can do it again.”

Saige’s father abused and beat her mother. She stood for it until her daughter was five. When he raised his hand against Saige, Blair fought back. She hit her husband in the testicles with a baseball bat, took her daughter and left.

Together, Saige and her mother unpacked her tiny car and got her settled in her old room. Flopping down on the bed, she tried not to cry again.

“How long are you staying?”

“I don’t know, Mom. If we get back together, I’ll be out of your hair soon. If not, I’ll have to find an apartment. I can’t be making this drive every day.”

“You’re welcome as long as you need a place. But you’re right about the drive. If I didn’t work from home, it would be hell.”

“It helps to be a wealthy author,” Saige giggled, tossing a pillow at her mother.

“Not wealthy, but comfortable,” her mother replied.

She had written a series of self-help books for women in abusive relationships. The first one, her autobiography, was called, “Breaking His Balls, the Story of How One Woman Got Away.” It had seen only moderate success until she was featured on Oprah, then the sales skyrocketed. Now it was a national best seller and really starting to rake in the cash.

Saige lay on her bed staring at the ceiling. She thought about her life. She loved her job, but hated what it had done to her and Ben. Her boss, a successful architect named Malcolm Brodie, was a great guy. He was handsome, friendly, personable and a player.

Ben worried that Saige would hook up with Brodie, but she never had. Not that Brodie wasn’t to die for, but she loved Ben. Besides, Brodie had a policy not to date women he worked with.

“It gets messy when there’s a breakup,” he told her once.

She and Ben had a terrible argument shortly after Brodie’s latest relationship had done a sickening crash and burn. She took him out for drinks and dinner. He’d needed a friend badly and Saige was there to help.

He told her that night as she drove him home, drunk and heart broken, “If I dated you, I’d have to fire you. And I really need you, Saige. No one else can keep up with me. Besides, you love Ben. I’m not coming between you.”

Undercover Lover Part 1

As many of you know, I’ve been sharing my shorter works here on my blog in serial form. I took a vote of several loyal fans on Facebook and the majority vote went to “Undercover Lover”.

Saige Ingalls works in an architectural firm. She’s the personal assistant to their top man, Malcolm Brody. Tall, blond and dashingly handsome, Brody is a threat to Saige’s fiance, Ben. When things fall apart, will Brody be the one to pick up the pieces? Or is there an undercover lover waiting in the wings?

 Saige Ingalls slammed the door behind her, tears of anger and frustration making black rivers out of her mascara. Her head ached from crying, her throat sore after all the shouting. Her strawberry blonde hair was a mess, her green eyes bloodshot.

“Stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, insufferable PRICK!” She screamed, kicking the heavy wooden door. “I hate you!”

“Good!” Ben’s deep voice bellowed from inside. The door flew open and he stood there with a huge armful of her things. “Forgot something.” He said with a nasty smirk. “The rest is waiting for you out front.”

“What? What are you doing? Benjamin Watson!”

“Don’t get that tone with me, Saige. You don’t control me anymore.”

“Bastard!”

“Not according to my mother.”

“I hate you!”

He dropped her clothing on the floor. The door slammed in her face.

“Hey! Why am I the one having to leave? Ben? Ben!”

She beat on the door as their neighbors stuck their heads out of their apartments, curious about the noise.

“Mind your own business! Nosy busybodies.”

Her neighbors weren’t really all that bad, she was just angry. Wondering where she was going to go, she hurried down the steps to find her belongings falling from the sky onto the pavement. Several of her neighbors were gathering them into neat piles by the building.

“Here, love,” her downstairs neighbor Mrs. Cross said. “I got all I could til me back gave out. But Maude and Sally are still at it. The boys will load it up.” She waved to three young men across the street.

“Oi, lads, Saige needs your help.”

“One moment, Gran,” the tallest said, grinding out a cigarette. “What’s up?”

They dashed across the street, grinning down at Saige.

“Ben and I had an argument. I guess I’m leaving.” She started crying again, sobbing and hiccuping noisily.

“Oh, love,” Mrs. Cross held her and let her cry. “It will work out somehow.”

“I don’t know. I just don’t know anymore. He’s so distant, so changed.”

“Boys, help get her things, eh? She needs a good hot cuppa. Come on then, love.” She led Saige into her apartment.

As she puttered around her kitchen, Mrs. Cross chatted about this and that, keeping conversation light and general. She set a cup of aromatic tea in front of Saige and offered her cookies.

“What was it about this time? I heard it start, but I didn’t ever figure out what he was upset about.” She said quietly.

“That’s the problem with living in an apartment,” Saige took a sip of her tea. “Everyone knows everything that’s going on. He got angry over the food bill,” she said sadly. “I swear, I do

the best I can. I know I spent more this week, but it was for our anniversary. I was going to fix a nice meal at home. We can’t afford to eat out.”

Mrs. Cross nodded, sipping her own tea. “Still not got a job?”

“No. I’m working, but it makes him crazy that I’ve got a good job and he has nothing. He can’t even get on at McDonald’s. They tell him he’s too overqualified with a Master’s degree. I told him to lie on his next application, but he refuses to dumb it down.”

“It’s hard for a man to see his lady working to support him. Mind you, Mr. Cross was on disability for the last ten years, God rest him. It nearly killed him to see me working. But when you’ve bills to pay and not enough money coming in, you do what you have to.”

“He’s had a few consultation jobs, but none last over six months. The last one ended two weeks ago and he can’t find anything else. He’s so good at what he does, but most people use their own staff for computer security these days.”

“He can’t get anyone to hire him?”

“No. His years in the military don’t count as work experience most places. They want someone with documented experience.”

“I’m sorry, love. Have you a place to stay?”

Saige nodded, wiping her tears. “I’ll go to my mom’s.”

“You could stay here.”

“Thank you, but I can’t be this close to him. If I am, it will be a constant reminder and make him angry. It’s better if I’m far away across the river.”

“Whatever you think best, love. But call me every day.”

“I will. I promise.”

They hugged, both crying. Julia Cross had always been more like a grandmother than a neighbor.

“I’m going to miss you,” Saige said quietly.

“Me too, love.”

Tarnished – Conclusion

Has Kier’s plan worked? Is Hannah free?

The driver’s door to the other car was finally forced open. The passenger was already out, but Hannah couldn’t see who it was. They were getting the same treatment as Kier. The driver was yanked from the car and slammed against the back door. There was something very familiar about the stance.

“Bernie?”

The short, balding man glanced over his shoulder. “Hannah, thank God!”

“Turn and face it, buddy,” the cop said.

“That’s my fiance,” Hannah cried. “Bernie!” She tried to get around the front of the car.

“Hannah!” Kier bellowed. “Don’t listen.”

“But it’s Bernie!”

“Hannah, thank God you’re okay! I’ve been worried sick! Thank God I found you!”

“How would he know where to look, Hannah? He wouldn’t know about this Godforsaken place unless he already knew about it. He’s the Mater, Hannah. You have to believe me!” Kier called desperately at her. “For God’s sake, don’t let her near him! Hannah!”

Moonlight flashed on something in Bernie’s hand. Hannah screamed as the cold metal bit into her flesh. Everything happened at once as pain exploded in her side. She could hear Kier’s voice.

“Get these goddamn cuffs off me. Call an ambulance!”

“Catch him, he’s trying to get away! Halt, or I’ll shoot!”

The report of a weapon, a scream, a groan and all was silent. Sirens sounded in the distance. Hannah lay on the pavement, strong arms holding her, gentle fingers brushing her hair.

“I’m here, Hannah. I’ve got you. You’re all right now….”

~ * ~

She woke a long time later. Dim light limned the room in a faint blue-white glow. Rain pattered against the windows. Hannah was lying, propped up in a hospital bed. The call button was clipped to the pillow beside her head.

Thirsty, she tried to reach the water, but couldn’t quite. Someone moved in the dark, approaching the bed with care.

“Hannah?” It was Kier.

She tried to ask for water, but her throat was too dry. He poured her a glass, holding the straw to her lips. She sucked at it greedily, stopping to catch her breath. He took the cup away, setting it on the table.

“Kier,” she gasped.

“Shh, don’t try to talk. It’s over. You’re safe.”

“You saved me,” she said with a sob.

“Least I could do for the woman I love.” He kissed her brow.

“You love me? I love you.”

He kissed her tenderly, his lips lingering on hers.

“Bernie?”

“In the county lock up. Or he will be when he heals up some. Cop shot him in the ass when he was running away.”

Hannah laughed, holding his hand to her lips. “How appropriate. So, the bastard set me up?”

“Yes. He knew our shop was the only place to get the things he wanted for the wedding. He planted the idea of a Medieval wedding, and encouraged you to get the candles and incense. He planned this from the beginning, Hannah. From the moment he found out about your allergy.”

“Who are these people?”

“Who they are doesn’t matter. What they do—well, you know what they do. They find special people and torture them.”

“Why didn’t you ever try to get away?”

“I knew they’d come after me. The only way to stop them was to take down the Master. But I’d never met him. Not until they found you did he show himself.”

“But you knew it was Bernie? How?”

“Little things he did betrayed him. There was a nurse at the hospital watching him for me. Remember the woman who sat with you?”

“Yes! She was such a comfort.”

“She’s my real mother. She was just as trapped as me. Had either of us spoken up, the other’s life was forfeit. All this time, we’ve been prisoners, Hannah. You set us free.”

“No, we set each other free.”

Tarnished – Part 12

So far, the plan has worked. Hannah is free from her prison. They aren’t home free yet. The Master has arrived and is giving chase.

The SUV bounced and bumped over the rutted dirt track. Kier concentrated on what lay ahead, glad of the excuse to stop talking. How could he tell Hannah what his part in this had been? How could he tell her that even now, he was part of the torture? He was determined to set her free, but he must play his part authentically so that the others thought he still worked with them. It was a double role he wished he didn’t have to take. But Hannah wouldn’t believe him unless it played out this way.

Hannah couldn’t speak. Fear froze her voice in her throat. Clinging to the armrest, she pushed her foot uselessly against the floor as if slamming on the break. The vehicle jounced along at an alarming speed. She bitten her tongue and cheeks a dozen times already and could feel the blood in her mouth. The salty, copper flavored liquid trickled down her throat.

The road fell out from beneath them. The SUV tottered over the edge, slamming into the ground. The wheels spun a moment, losing their grip. The tread engaged once more and the car leaped ahead. Kier almost lost control, but held on by sheer force of will.

“We’re almost to the main road,” he said. “Only one car behind us.”

“Is it the Master?”

“I expect so. He’s persistent. We’ll have to face him soon, but somewhere I choose.”

“Where are we going?”

He didn’t say a word. Concentrating on his driving, he leaned over the steering wheel, peering into the night. He didn’t want to tell her that he honestly wasn’t sure what their destination was. He hadn’t had time to plan that far ahead. He’d concentrated on getting her away from the house. Everything else he was playing by ear.

The motor roared as they hit higher ground. Soon, the tires whined against asphalt and she knew they’d made it to the highway. It was dark and lonely on the long stretch of road. There were no other cars this late at night, no towns nearby. They were at the corner of No and Where, about a hundred miles past the point where Jesus lost his sandals. Hannah hoped Kier knew where he was going, because she had no clue.

Once it gained the highway, the car behind them sped up. It crept slowly up on their rear bumper, then eased around too pass. The other driver was trying to cut them off. With a terrifying maneuver that made Hannah want to vomit, Kier hit the brake, spinning the vehicle around. They skidded crazily until he put the car back in drive, heading back the way they’d come.

The other vehicle tried the same move and nearly overturned in the ditch. It took longer, but soon they were gaining again.

“We’re never going to get away!” Hannah cried, watching the car creep up on them.

“That’s the point,” Kier said, slowing down.

“What? What are you doing? You bastard! Did you do this to torture me some more? Make me think I had a chance? I’ll kill you!” She struggled to get her belt free.

“Don’t be a fool,” he said, tone harsh. “If I wanted to torture you more, I’d have kept promising to save you while I pleasured myself with your body. You do have a magnificent body, you know.”

“I’ll kill you! You used me, Kier!”

“Be still, Hannah. I have to concentrate.” He turned sharply left.

Ahead and on her left she saw a police station. The vivid blue and white sign was a welcome sight. Three police officers, apparently on break, were standing outside, smoking. Kier gunned the motor, honking his horn. They looked up, surprised, and ran for their cars.

Moments later, they were following the SUV as it headed out of town. Kier pulled the same move he’d done before, heading back toward the town and their pursuers.

“What are you doing? Are you insane?”

He shushed her, eyes glued to the road. The police cars were gaining. The Master’s car was up ahead. When Kier got even with it, he slammed on the breaks, cutting hard toward the other car. He hit the front fender with teeth shattering force. The police cars wove crazily around, avoiding Kier, the Master and one another as all five cars ground to a halt. The Master was effectively surrounded.

Four more police cars pulled up from the opposite direction. One officer after another got out of their cars, approaching Kier and the Master warily.

“Shut off the car,” one officer said into a loudspeaker. “Hands on the ceiling. I want ’em where I can see ’em.”

Kier and Hannah complied. They couldn’t see into the other car. The windows were too darkly tinted.

Their doors flew open. Armed police held them at gunpoint. Hannah was shaking so badly, she couldn’t get out of the car. Kier allowed himself to be pulled onto the pavement.

“Assume it,” the cop said, spinning him to face the side of the car.

Hannah could see a similar process taking place at the Master’s car.

“Ma’am, step out of the car.”

“I can’t. I’m going to faint. I’ve been kidnapped.”

“By this cocksucker?” The cop cuffing Kier slammed him into the car.

“No! No! He’s helping me escape. By them.” She pointed to the other car.

“You hear that, Luke. Lady says those folks kidnapped her.”

“I’ve been held at a big house in the country. I was locked in a room and drugged. They tortured me….” She burst into tears. “Kier saved me. Please, please let him go.”

“I gotta keep him cuffed, lady.”

“It’s okay, Hannah. Don’t worry about me.”