Her Passionate ProtectorBy Dilys J. CarnieErotic RomanceSecret Cravings PublishingNovember 12, 2012When Lucy meets Alex the owner of the new company her cleaning business has just picked up a contract for, her hard won self-preservation and quiet life flies out the window.Smoldering heat ignites every time Alex comes near her.He is confused by this independent, yet vulnerable woman and when her ex-husband returns, determined to hurt her, Alex fights for her life and their love.
And now an extended excerpt:
The shrill of the phone startled Lucy as she gazed at her reflection in the full-length mirror in her bedroom. Frustrated with trying to get the perfect appearance for this occasion, she was relieved to turn from the task and answer the phone, although she knew who it was before she picked it up.
“Is that you, Luce?” her best friend and business partner asked softly.
“No Nic, it’s Jack,” Lucy said in a silly voice. “Luce can’t come to the phone right now, but as her soft furry cat, I am pleased to take any messages forthwith.” Lucy giggled and pretended to meow. “Of course it’s me, who the heck do you think is going to answer my phone?”
“Oh Luce, sometimes you are just so damn hilarious,” Nic drawled sarcastically. “I’m just ringing to remind you about tonight.”
“Gosh Nic, I’m hardly likely to forget.” Jack, the cat in question jumped on her knee, purring incessantly as she stroked his long back. They were old buddies and went way back, almost ten years.
“I can see you’re going to be a bundle of fun. Smile, it’s only going to be a couple of hours. Hey, who knows…you might even enjoy yourself.”
“I doubt that. I can’t even find anything to wear,” she declared with a sigh.
“What have you got?” Nic asked patiently.
Lucy lifted Jack off her knee and went over to her wardrobe and fingered the clothes that were there, the phone tucked into her neck. “I have three dresses, and one is a summer flowery contraption with thin straps.”
“Yes. What else?”
She could almost hear Nic tapping her long fingernails as she waited. Examining the other two dresses, she decided she didn’t like either.
“Navy wool dress with long sleeves?”
It’s July and seventy-five degrees out there, you will be too warm in that.”
“Okay, the only other one is a black shift dress with short sleeves and a square neckline.” She sighed. Melancholy thoughts flashed through her mind. The last time she wore that dress was at her university graduation eight years ago when she was an innocent twenty-one year old. It seemed like a lifetime ago, but so much had happened in the intervening years.
“Lucy, please don’t tell me that was the one you wore to our graduation?”
“Yep, it sure is.”
“Seriously Lucy, you need to shop. I can’t believe you have no other clothes to wear. On our next day off, you are coming shopping with me.” The tone in Nic’s voice suggested to Lucy that she had no other choice but to agree, although she knew Nic was right. She needed to update her wardrobe, but she was one of those rare women who hated to shop for clothes. Put her in a book shop and she would be happy to stay there forever.
“Luce, are you listening to me? I’m talking and you’re not replying.”
“Actually Nic, I wasn’t listening, but I am now.” Lucy chuckled at her friend’s exasperated sigh.
“Go for the black shift dress, and wear some jewelry with it to break up the black. Otherwise you’ll look like you are going to a funeral.”
“Thanks a bunch, Nic, you’ve just made me feel a whole lot better about the evening ahead.” Lucy walked back to the bed, flopped back down and her head sank into the fluffy pillows as she listened to Nic. She sighed as her friend continued with the barrage of instructions.
“Anything else madam?” Lucy asked as Jack jumped back onto the bed beside her.
“No, I think that just about covers it. I’ll pick you up around seven thirty. Be ready,” Nic ordered leaving no doubt in Lucy’s mind that she dare not be late.
“Will Simon be with you?”
“No, Simon is going with Alex in his car. We’ll meet them there.”
“Okay.” Lucy picked up her book and Jack settled comfortably against her side. “Lucy put that book down and start getting ready.” Nic giggled knowingly. Her
Lucy returned it to her bedside cabinet. “It’s a worry Nic when you know me so well.” She laughed. “See you in a bit.” She put the phone down and thought about the evening ahead.
Simon was Nic’s boyfriend. They had been going out for two months. He was a partner in a software company he had founded with his friend, Alex. Nic informed her they had hit the big time with a program the majority of businesses used and they even had it on their own business computers. Lucy knew nothing about that side of the business and left it all to Nic.
Apparently, Nic told her, they had offices in New York, France, and now in the UK and were about to open an office here in Chester, as well as London.
“Luce. They have oodles of dosh,” Nic had told her, so for the life of her she couldn’t understand why on Earth a man with so much would insist on having a dinner meeting over a simple cleaning contract for their new offices. Surely they had managers for that sort of thing? Millionaires! I guess they are a law unto themselves, she thought with a grin.
Simon was nice and she felt comfortable with him, which was unusual for her. After the fiasco of her marriage to Pete and all the trauma and violence it had entailed, she didn’t think she would ever feel at ease with a man again.
Her childhood hadn’t exactly been a bowl of roses either, but she didn’t want to think of that now. When she walked out of that courtroom four years ago, she promised herself that it was all behind her. But still there was a little smidgen of fear buried deep inside her, constantly reminding her that very soon her ex-husband would be released.
Sighing she got up from her bed. “Sorry Jack, I have my orders.”
Scratching his ears, she slid off the bed and moved toward the bathroom.
“You’re on your own tonight.”
As she stepped into the shower, the blast of hot water made her sigh, and she felt all her stress of the day evaporating with the steam. She wondered about the infamous Alex Magnar who was well-known in the New York social circle. She had seen his pictures in the public pages of some very reputable magazines a couple of times, usually with a long-legged blonde on his arm.
Pretentious and somewhat arrogant, his reputation preceded him, and she was not looking forward to meeting with him. However, the contract they were offering was going to be worth it. The cleaning business she had started with Nic almost five years ago had taken off and now they were branching out into doing contract work, still keeping their domestic clients but taking the business up to the next level.
Arcadia Software Ltd. seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. On the other hand, Lucy was happy just to mosey on along. It was Nic with all the ambition, and having a boyfriend who part owned the company was just too good an opportunity to miss. Well according to Nic, that was.
Reluctantly she got out of the shower, roughly drying her hair as she made her way to the bedroom where she dropped the towel and pulled on her plain black underwear. Stepping into the dress, it glided onto her slim body. She moved across to the mirror. Hmm... It didn’t look too bad. At least it was simple and unpretentious. Deep brown eyes stared back at her from under a thick fringe of dark brown hair. Inspecting the reflection, she rearranged the strands of hair to cover the deep scar on her forehead. Touching it briefly, she shuddered even now at the memory of that part of her life.
Anxiously, her gaze travelled down the length of her body. She was slim with small breasts, but there was nothing she could do about that. She was tall. In her bare feet she was five foot nine and when she stepped into her shoes it would take her to just under six foot. Intimidating to any man, her height was usually enough to keep any amorous male away from her.
Pulling up the back of her hair, she gathered it to one side securing it with a diamante clip. It fell past her breasts to her petite waist, waves of chocolate curls caressing each other as they settled.
The only jewelry she wore was a watch Nic’s mum had given her and a pair of clear crystal stud earrings that had been her graduation present to herself. Fastening them in her small ears, she grimaced at the reflection staring back at her.
She wasn’t beautiful like Nic who was a like a smaller version of Marilyn Monroe and totally gorgeous. No, Lucy was the giant with size eight feet, although she conceded she did have good hair. The cupid bow on her top lip was pronounced and sometimes looked as though she was pouting, a sexy pout, but hell there was no way she would be considered a beauty.
I’m just an everyday kinda girl and I have lived on the Island of Anglesey in North Wales for thirty nine years. I have two grown up children Emma is a teacher and Christopher is involved in the family commercial business. I have three sisters; two of them live close by as does my mum.
I am an avid health freak, a vegetarian who is manic about working out in the gym and doing Pilates classes. I love clothes, makeup, having my nails and hair done. I’m just a girl’s girl.
If I am not in my office pounding the keys I’m sitting in my favourite chair reading on my new Kindle.
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