Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ryan's Madam

Let me introduce you to Agent Thomas Ryan who works for the FBI.  His home base is usually in Seattle.  

Agent Ryan had been the lead investigator in a Prostitution ring for three years, slow and surely they'd managed to bring those involved to justice, though there were several more to go.  Arriving back in New York from his holiday's and to visit his sister he finds a couple of messages on his cell phone.  The lady was aggressive and not overly pleasant; well by the third or fourth unanswered call.

Meet Sylvia Carson, Dragon Lady extraordinaire.  Sylvia works with Eric at Garrett Investigation Bureau.  She is peeved at the lack of response from Agent Ryan.  Their first meeting is nearly a disaster; of which Ryan finds quite amusing.

Ryan is a gentleman who loves his junk food, he also likes to make sure women are safe and generally doesn't have a problem; well until he met Sylvia and gets a tongue lashing.  Sparks fly as they work together.  It is time to bring Blaze Carrington down for good.

Read on and watch their relationship grown, how they react in different circumstances. With many unexpected twists and turns as the story unfolds, the excitement mounting; will wedding bells ring.

I hope you enjoy the latest in the GIB series.  Look out for "Mascosta's Dreamgirl," Book 5 in the series which will be out in within the next 6 months.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Zoe's Journey

The Escape

The next time I’m home I’ll try to organise what I do with my evening’ she mumbled to herself quietly. There again why does she have to be quiet, why not put on her Queen album; and blast the ruddy neighbours out, ‘God I’m grouchy this evening,’ throwing her slim petite hands up in the air in exasperation wondering where her parents were.
Zoe wandered through the house touching and looking at things she’d not seen in many years. It seemed her parents hadn’t changed much at all. Still collecting plates and pictures; you could hardly see the wallpaper or paint anymore. The thought of clearing the house out one day made her slim body shudder in horror.
Zoe cringed walking into the front lounge. This room held striped wallpaper in blues and creams; it actually looked rather regal, though the old fashioned furniture didn’t suit at all.
The doorbell sounded. Zoe smiled grimly as the tune played, it was different each time though she was beginning to hate the ‘Happy Birthday to you’ tune completely; it drove her nuts.  Wondering who it could be Zoe flung open the door to the night, shivering as cold wind wrapped its fingers around her body.  The hunched figure turned back to the door making Zoe gasp in surprise.
“Fabia, where on earth did you come from? I haven’t seen you for what nearly 8 years,” she exclaimed excitedly grabbing Fabia’s arm dragging her into the house banging the door shut.
“OMG Zoe, I’m so glad you’re safe, I was so worried about you,” said Fabia her voice laced with terror.
“Of course I’m fine Fabia, don’t be daft,” she said scornfully.
“Zoe, you don’t understand….”
“What are you on about?  Here let me take your coat; I was just about to make a cuppa tea to warm me up; would you like one?”
“Zoe, we need to leave here now before they come for you.”
“Fabia, nothing’s happening here, calm down you’re starting to scare me.”
“Get some clothes, food and water Zoe we need to leave immediately,” she replied urgently, “they’re getting closer I can feel them,” she shuddered violently.
Raising an eyebrow at her old school friend Zoe decided to do as requested. Just maybe a bit of fresh air would revive her friend’s brain. With a huge sigh Zoe collected some things together putting them into her favourite backpack; slinging it across her shoulders turning with a small smile to humour her friend.
“Come on then you daft twit, let’s go.”
“Zoe it isn’t funny.”
Zoe threw open the front door looking into the dark night to find the night sky brighter than it should be. In the distance she could see a light drawing closer. Frowning she grabbed Fabia’s arm. Fabia took one look at the light and ran towards the back of the house, Zoe trailing after her.
“What the hell is it Fabia,” she gasped breathlessly running beside her friend.
“I told you they were coming to get you. Hurry we must climb the fence get across the school grounds, the fields will be a good enough hiding place.”
“Who are they? What do they want with me?”
“Let’s get out of here Zoe. I’ll explain later when we have shelter for the night. The further we get away the safer we’ll both be.”
With a sigh Zoe followed Fabia over the wire fence.  At a steady trot by her side they made it into the rugby fields.
“How much further do we need to go,” Zoe questioned.
“If we can walk through a stream or something, then they should lose our scent. I don’t think they have the wolfhounds with them.”
“Who the hell are those people?”
“Later Zoe, just know you’re not safe in this place any longer.”
A roar suddenly erupted behind them. Crouching down Zoe looked back in horror. The lights were fire torches held by a bedraggled crowd, they’d marched up to her home waving the flames back and forth chanting. Zoe couldn’t make out the words. Suddenly the crowd surged forward surrounding the house throwing their fire torches at the windows, smashing them; the torches landed inside making the rooms glow as the fire ate its way through the house.
“What the…they can’t do that,” her mouth hanging open she started to stand only to be pulled back to the ground by Fabia.
“Just remember you could’ve been inside if I’d not come for you.”
“Well thanks Fabia, though now I don’t have anything, all my memories were in there, what about my parents?  Where are they?”
“It is too late to save them, they’ve been turned,” Fabia said sadly.
“Turned?” Zoe asked her questioningly.
“Yeah,” grabbing Zoe’s arm Fabia pulled her along running by the hedgerow where they were less likely to be seen. Stumbling along they crossed field after field until Fabia thought they would be safe for the rest of the night. She pulled Zoe into the hedge for protection just as big rain drops began to fall.
“We’ll be soaked through in minutes if we stay here Fabia.”
“No we won’t don’t worry I’ll keep us dry,” waving her hands slowly over their heads, chanting Zoe suddenly noticed the rain had stopped and she was also warm.
“H-how did you do that?”
“Just one of those little things I learnt along the way to witch hood,” giggled Fabia.
“Give over Fabia, no such things as witches, there just a fairy tale.”
“Hate to tell you Zoe, witches are real, so are goblins, giants, unicorns and all sorts of things we thought were just stories when we were children.”
“Don’t be a ninny Fabia, they are just myths, geeze whatever are you going to say next. I suppose animals talk too,” she laughed quietly.
“So I’ve been told Zoe, though I’ve yet to experience the talking animals.”
“What drugs are you on Fabia? This is just getting too stupid for me.”
“You saw them burn your home.”
“I think I saw them burning my house, maybe someone put something into my supper tonight and this is all a dream.”
Fed up with Zoe’s reaction to their circumstances Fabia dug out a pin jabbing her with it several times.
“Ouch, what the hell did you do that for?” she said.
“So you’d feel it and know all this is for real.”
“Ok so I’m awake,” she said grumpily to Fabia, “What dimension am I in? This is seriously ridiculous.”
“I’m starting to wonder about you Zoe, where have you been? How could you have missed all this? The battles were ferocious to say the least, millions died or were turned against their will,” tears started to run down Fabia’s cheeks, “Even my little brother’s gone now,” she sobbed.
“Tranor has gone? What, no way Tranor must be ok, please Fabia,” she begged, “you’ll have to tell me what’s going on. I’ve no idea. Honestly.”
“Mother Nature finally fought back. She set free all the so called mythical creatures we’ve always read about.”
“Why though?”
“We don’t know. We need to find the Daughter of the Earth. She’ll be able to explain all this to us; maybe even turn the tide of the battles still raging around the globe.”
“Who’s the Daughter of the Earth for goodness sake?”
“It’s something we've yet to discover Zoe. Our researchers are looking through their books as we speak.”
“Why did you save me?  Where are you taking me?”
“You’re my best friend. Your parents were very precious to me. As for where I’m taking you; I don’t yet know. I just knew I needed to get you away quickly.”
“Which certainly doesn't tell me much,” Zoe sighed. “Thanks for rescuing me, for keeping me warm and dry. It seems you’re a clever little witch after all.”
“Wait until you work out what you can do Zoe,” she laughed watching Zoe’s face look more puzzled than ever.
“What do you mean Fabia?”
“When Mother Nature set the mythical creatures free she also gave us humans back all the powers we never knew we had; there are not only witches out there,” she smiled.
Groaning her head in her hands Zoe gave up thinking about what’d happened.  Fabia held out her hand stroking Zoe’s cheek chanting a relaxing spell. Soon Zoe was fast asleep with Fabia snuggled into her waiting for orders from her mistress of the earth Gaia. 
This human was particularly special though she’d no idea why. The people, who’d destroyed her home; taken her brother, seemed to know. Fabia shuddered at the evil she’d seen in their eyes before her escape.  Sleep finally claimed her though dreams disturbed her throughout the night.

The Diary of a Psychotic Killer

Ramon had always been mine from the first day he smiled at me I knew he’d be my destiny.  He was gorgeous with his dark slicked back hair the brownest eyes I’d ever seen on a man. His muscular shoulders showing he was athletic and we all knew he was on the college football team. Everyone knew he’d be playing professionally one day and I knew I’d be the girl on his arm not that slutty Fran with her short pink skirts.  The way she smiled up at him made me shudder, the poor man, I didn’t know how he could put up with it. At six foot two he towered over most of us, supremely confident in all he did. I couldn’t wait to make him mine.

It must have been two months later when he first spoke to me. I was so in love I soaked up every word he said to much laughter around him.  I’d show them I thought as I smiled up into his lovely eyes.
“Geeze man do you have to talk to that ugly bitch,”
“Hey we’re all equal,” he replied.
“Fucking hell she looks like a cow shat on her face.”
I ducked my head, tears rolling down my face, my glasses sliding down my nose my anger rising in a way they’d least expect.
“Hey Jill don’t cry they don’t mean it,” he said patting my shoulder.
“Yes we fucking do, now let’s get to practice,” he said.
Gently he lifted my chin. “Ignore them they don’t really mean it.”
“Ramon,” shouted Fran, “will you stop feeling sorry for the ugly bitch.”
Rolling his eyes he turned walking away as Fran approached me.
“Keep your dirty fucking hands off my man.”
“I-I didn’t touch him.”
“Make sure you don’t he’s mine.”
Boy had she a lot to learn.

Within the next twelve months Fran was dead due to a car accident and I was Ramon’s new girl.
It had been so sad about Fran. Her parents and our school were devastated at her loss; she’d been such a role model. Shit it made me sick, I was glad she was gone though I only gloated in private. As for Ramon he soon got over her. I was there for him in his time of need. We chatted in the library sometimes going out for coffee.
I understood his pain; you see my mother had died when I was 11 years old. She died in her sleep after not feeling very well for a few months. Her funeral was so sad. My daddy was very sad, though I was glad she was gone, it meant I had my darling daddy all to myself. Nobody came between me and my daddy ever again.

Of course I blossomed and groomed myself to become Ramon’s wife it was my destiny after all. We both knew it.  It was so romantic when he got down on one knee. I’d better explain this better. 
We were at the official signing of his contract with the Bulls; the excitement in the air was palatable. There I was the centre of attention on the arm of the greatest footballer ever to roam the world. Camera’s flashing we smiled until our faces ached, Ramon looked down at me tenderly helping me to my chair he’d always been a gentleman. With the line-up set his place confirmed, contract signed we partied.  It was right in the middle of this when he proposed.  The whole room went quite as he looked into my eyes, a huge smile on his face a huge diamond sitting prettily in a box.
“Jill after these last few years your support has been the thing I needed most.  I love you with my whole heart and would like you to be my wife, to have and to hold for evermore.”
I think I spluttered as he took my hand at my nod sliding the ring on my finger. I exploded from my chair jumping into his arms kissing him hard much to the amusement of the other players who were whistling, camera’s once again going into a clicking frenzy as we turned smiling towards them.  I knew for once we’d be front page news. My destiny was coming true. It wouldn’t be long before I married the man I’d loved since kindergarten class.
Of course daddy was thrilled and the wedding was huge, probably the biggest the town had ever seen. He was so proud to call Ramon his son in law.

I married Ramon six months later. I’d had the most glorious wedding gown in white silk, thin layers billowing out in the mild breeze as I walked. Yes you got it I was to be a virgin bride. Yeah we mucked around touching kissing playing and learning each other’s bodies, but I made him wait for his first fuck with me. It was going to be divine.
We married on a hot summer’s day in the biggest church in town. An invite list of three hundred went out. All were accepted. The church was filled to the rafters with many folks waiting outside, news crews, you name it they were all here for the official day watching their favourite player and his love get married.
God I loved it all, I glowed with love my eyes sparkling with unshed tears as I walked down the aisle on my father’s arm.  He handed me to Ramon kissing my cheek.
“You make me so proud Jill darling,” he said.
“Thank you daddy,” I replied searching out his latest girlfriend knowing it was time to get rid of her. I smiled to her gently before turning to Ramon. We walked up the three steps to the minister were our vows were said in quiet steady voices.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Ramon lifted my veil murmuring against my lips, “I can’t wait to have you Jill.” I smiled lovingly placing a hand on his cheek kissing him back with my own murmur, “Not long now darling.”
We walked down the aisle out through the doors to be covered in rice and confetti, we laughed as the crowd roared with approval rushing to our wedding car not stopping for anyone. The car pulled away taking us to the rose gardens to have our photos taken. I smiled at the memories, the reception and finally the loving.
Oh the loving, it was amazingly sublime, his hands gliding over my body in the usual scrumptious way, his lips and hands taking me higher and higher until he entered me in one hard swift movement kissing my pain away as my body adjusted to him. I nearly exploded there and then. Moving with him was a great joy, tears slid down my face as our orgasm took over. I knew then I’d never get enough of this man.

Our apartment had everything I could’ve dreamed of, the place was huge and we entertained frequently. Ramon’s mates from football, their  wives and girlfriends, it was the girlfriends I had to watch, some were rather slutty, if they touched my man they learnt the hard way which usually had them apologising, backing off rapidly, though there was one I remember. Sue just didn’t get it she thought she could play with what was mine.
Well of course I couldn’t let that happen, after all he’s mine. Narrowing my eyes I found her slutty person wrapped around my husband who was trying hard to peel her off, our eyes met she smirked in triumph which I knew would be short lived. Going to our bar I poured two drinks making my way to Ramon who was trying to drink his can of beer. I passed the second glass of wine to Sue raising an eyebrow at her indicating she join me somewhere more private. Turning I walked away to Ramon’s study. Of course the stupid girl followed.
Closing the door behind her she sauntered in to the study as if she owned the place.
“You do realise Sue that you’re over stepping the mark with Ramon?” I said.
“So, he’s a gorgeous hunk,” she said without looking up sipping her wine.
“Did you know bad things happen to bad girls Sue,” I said. She must have heard the warning in my voice as her eyes finally connected with mine.
“Why what you going to do about it?” she replied I saw the smirk rising on her face. Leaning my head to onside I watched as she finished the last of her wine.
“You’ll soon find out Sue.  Keep your hands off he’s mine.”
Slowly I walked to the door, “I suggest you go home and catch some sleep.” I re-joined the party and never saw her again. Someone mentioned she died from a drug overdose. They didn’t seem overly surprised either, apparently she’d been snorting up for a few years.

Two years later we were living in a huge house with gorgeous garden. I was pregnant and not overly joyful about it either. I’d never wanted kids, noisy messy smelly things they were. Needless to say Ramon was over joyed swinging me around in his arms when I told him.  He tended to my every need, the strange foods I ate, my emotional outbursts which stopped him in his tracks horror on his face especially the time I smacked him across the face, god it was so funny. He usually forgave me when he remembered I was pregnant.

I hated every minute of my pregnancy. The baby pissed me off rolling around in my stomach as if it owned the place, the sooner it was out the better. Nine months was too long and they dragged, Ramon partied, I was too sick to go, I felt ugly for the first time since school. Ramon just told me I grew more beautiful each and every day.
Then I found lipstick on his collar, oh the rage which went through me should’ve made the house tremble in fear.
“Ramon darling,” I said gently drawing my finger nails down his chest. “It’s time to wake up darling.”
“Go sleep Jill,” he moaned at me rolling over pulling the covers up.
“We need to talk Ramon,” I replied.
“What,” he said sitting up on one elbow, “the baby isn’t due for another month at least.”
“Who kissed you tonight darling,” I asked.
“What,” he said his eyes opening wider. “You woke me up to find out who kissed me, for god’s sake Jill nobody did.”
“Lipstick on your collar Ramon, don’t lie to me.”
He had the gall to laugh at me, my fists clenched in rage and before I could stop myself I smacked him across the face. He looked at me stunned.
“What the hell was that for?”
“You’re having an affair aren’t you,” I sobbed.
“Shit no of course not Jill, geeze you know what those women are like. It’s you a love and adore darling,” he reassuring me.
I hiccupped, “are you sure Ramon, I’d hate it if you were lying to me.”
“Positive love, now let’s get some sleep,” he smiled gently pulling me into his arms.

It’s not that I didn’t believe him, it was more like I was protecting myself and our child. I’d never wanted to share him the same as I’d never wanted to share my daddy who was a widower again after just two years of marriage. My poor daddy, I sighed snuggling into Ramon’s chest falling into a dreamless sleep.
The bigger I got the more emotional outbursts I had. I was convinced he was having an affair I just needed to find out who he was fucking. I’d take the bitch down.

Our daughter arrived four weeks later. I couldn’t like her she was scrawny and screamed a lot. Ramon on the other hand looked down enchanted love at first sight making me hate her more. Last thing I needed was a rival.
It was like watching a leech suck my husband dry his adoration grew each and every day as my hate darkened the horizon for us all, not that I realised. I refused to give him more children having my tubes tied privately without his knowledge; he made me laugh when he took all the tests under the sun trying to work out why he couldn’t get me pregnant. It took him a few more years to work it out by this stage his little darling was in kindergarten. He blew his top when he found out what I’d done without discussing it with him.
“Fuck Jill, why the hell didn’t you tell me?”
“It’s my body Ramon.”
“We could have discussed it, we could’ve adopted,” he yelled.
“I don’t want any kids, I never did Ramon. I only ever wanted you.”
“What? Why, I don’t understand.”
“You’re mine Ramon, you always have been,” I replied.
“Well you can’t have me Jill,” he said. “I want a divorce.”
The quiet which descended was huge; I looked up at him in shock my face paling my mouth hanging open.
“Y-you can’t mean it.”
“Yes Jill I do. I’m fed up with how you treat Caren. I want more children and since you can’t provide then I’ll have to get elsewhere.”
“You bastard,” I yelled at him hitting him smacking him across the face drawing blood with my nails, “I knew you were having an affair years ago.”
“I’m not Jill. I don’t know what’s wrong with you anymore you’re not the loving woman I married,” he said grabbing my hands.
“No you changed it by making me bring Caren into the world.”
“She’s your daughter Jill, she’s part of us, she needs both of us she’s beautiful and smart.”
“I hate her,” I screamed.
Ramon paled his eyes closing at my words pushing me into a chair.
“You can have the house or you can leave you have twenty-four hours to decide,” he said before walking out of the room and out of my life, or so he thought.

My destiny was in tatters, my life in ruins and it was all Caren’s fault and the bitch he was fucking. I left quickly finding an apartment close by so I could watch him. The divorce papers came through faster than I wanted. He was generous with his money to me for which I suppose I should be eternally grateful as it was this I used to hire a PI to follow him.
Of course the reports given me showed nothing so I took it into my own hands, firing the PI and following Ramon and Caren myself. I’d send letters which were returned unopened. Stalking him became part of my life. Stupidly I started attacking him with threatening phone calls, it wasn’t long before the police turned up to question me. Not long after that I found myself in a mental hospital tied to a bed.

Looking down at myself now nearly a year on, I was getting better or so they thought, so bloody easy to fool the doctors. In two days I’d be released from my prison cell and allowed back into society, it was here I would have my greatest moment of glory, if only they’d known…….

Charlie Girl's First Summer Christmas

Christmas was approaching with the summer sun, glaring down with an intensity of an oven. Sunglasses on, shorts and t-shirt with matching jandels (flip flops) “don’t forget the sun lotion,” he muttered to himself gazing through the open doors out over the calm ocean waves, a gentle breeze soothing him.  Water bottle in hand he looked down at Charlie who was bouncing around like she’d never been to the beach before.  Smiling gently he took her hand leading her onto the deck the verandah keeping them in the shade.
“Please dada beach,” she pleaded beseechingly her short curly blonde hair flying about her face as she jumped up and down in excitement.
“Go on Glyn,” I said with a bemused smile. “Charlie needs to use her energy,” I laughed.
“All right, I’m going,” scooping Charlie into his arms charging down to the beach whooping loudly, making other families turn smiling at their antics.  Charlie screamed in delight as she held on tightly shrieking as Glyn charged over the hot sands and into the ocean waves letting droplets of cold water soak them both.  Turning back to our cabin Glyn and Charlie waved to me laughing with the greatest of enjoyment.  It’s so beautiful to see.

This will be our first Christmas in New Zealand, it seems so weird after years of cold and snow, not that Charlie will remember much since she’s only three.  We migrated here six months ago, Glyn having being offered a fantastic job opportunity we just couldn’t turn down.  We live in Rotorua on the North Island, lots of lakes and beaches not too far away; it’s like a different world, a slower pace of life if you like. Stunning scenery surrounded us, so lush and green, the flowers so vibrant in colour and fragrance. My favourite is the Pohutukawa Tree which is known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree.  Tall with gorgeous red flowers covering them, they are beautiful, so much more colourful than home.  Mind this is home now, slowly getting used to being here. I for one miss my family back in the depth of Cumbria; though I don’t miss the freezing cold winters or snow.

Watching Glyn and Charlie enjoying the waves before settling down to build a huge sandcastle I smiled enthralled with their enjoyment wishing I could stop this moment in time capturing them on camera. Maybe Christmas would bring me a camera.  Turning from the window I began to make a picnic, looking forward to joining them. I made ham and cheese sandwiches, apples and kiwi fruit were already in the cooler, along with more water and lime juice for my adorable Charlie.  Picking up my sunnies, chilly bin (that’s what they call them here) and the sun lotion Glyn left behind I walked on to the deck locking the door behind me. Leaning on the rail I watched the gulls flying noisily overhead hovering on the gentle breeze. Lots of families were on the beach sunbathing, swimming and surfing, kids running around as if there was no tomorrow. Finding Glyn I stared in wonder at the sandcastle they were building, glancing up smiling Glyn waved. Grabbing the blanket and cooler (damn I mean chilly bin) I sauntered towards them grinning. This was the best way to enjoy family time.

“Mama,” shrieked Charlie dashing towards me across the black sands, “look what we built,” she laughed delightedly running around me until I was quite dizzy.
“Charlie love, slow down,” I said smiling.  “Take the blanket to you dada,” I appealed to her.
“Blankie to dada,” tearing the blanket out from my hands she was soon running back to Glyn leaping at his chest bowling him over backwards. I could hear the oomph as his breath wheezed out of his chest.  Quickening my pace at the sudden silence I looked down at them hands on hips as my laughter bubbled up.  Grinning widely Glyn dumped Charlie on the sand picking up the blanket spreading it out for us all to sit on.
“Food,” Glyn said smiling happily.
“Yes, Glyn you’re spoilt rotten,” I laughed giving him a quick kiss.
“Kiss,” squealed Charlie. 
Sitting down on the blanket Charlie tumbled into my arms sand and all, her hair was matted with it, her pink and blue swimsuit full of sand as if she’d deliberately shovelled it inside. 
“Go wash in the sea with dada Charlie, then kiss,” I laughed as her mouth turned down.  “Mama no wants a sandy kiss,” I said pressing my finger on her nose making her giggle.  She was never unhappy for long.
“Wash dada,” she said jumping on Glyn again, “wanna kiss mama,” she appealed.
“Your wish is my command oh Princess Charlie,” he replied picking her up racing down the beach into the waves. I could hear Charlie screeching as they tumbled through the cold waves again.  They were soon back, wet and breathless shaking water all over me, now it was my turn to squeal much to the delight of other families close by.  Taking a towel I threw one at Glyn while wrapping another around Charlie who was snuggling on my knee.
“Food mama,” she said looking up with her sparking deep blue eyes, her blonde curls drying in the sun starting to spring out around her head.
“Kiss first,” I said raising my eyebrows at her.  I loved my mummy kisses, tucking her arms about my neck puckering her lips she kissed me gently.
“There now mama, food please,” she demanded.
Opening the chilly bin (it’s going to take me ages to get used to the different names of things) I took out the sandwiches and juice knowing neither would last long with these two gannets.
Silently we munched away watching other children play. 

Looking to the horizon you could see White Island a plume of smoke rising into the air, it was strange to think we were sitting so close to an active volcano, it had made me shudder the first time we came to Omanu beach.  On the far left was the Mount as the locals called it, it was a lovely place. I was looking forward to climbing to the top sometime this summer.  On the right the bay curved away towards Maketu another lovely beach, very different from Omanu though.  It was stony with rock pools, tiddlers, crabs and seaweed in abundance.  It was nice to be able to collect shells from the beach.  I was hoping Charlie would walk with me for a while with her bucket to see what we could find.
We each had a bottle of juice or water and drank thirstily, we’d learnt quickly not to let ourselves get dehydrated; the sun here was very different from England, hotter and more intense.  Glyn settled back on the blanket closing his eyes.  I took the sun lotion spraying it on Charlie’s arms, legs and neck before spraying it on Glyn with a giggle.
“Carol,” he yelped so I sprayed more.
“Can’t have you burning Glyn,” I giggled.
“Wait until I get my own back woman,” he muttered closing his eyes again rolling onto his back.  Charlie grabbed the sun lotion spraying her dad on the stomach making him yelp again glaring towards me until he heard Charlie giggle delightedly. “Ragamuffin,” he mumbled deciding to ignore us both.
“Walk with mama, collect shells Charlie?”
“Yes please mama,” she said excitedly picking up her bright green bucket.
“Hold hands now,” I reminded her.
Her small smooth soft hand slipped into mine as we walked toward the Mount looking around for seashells of various colours, shapes and sizes.  These moments always made me wish for my camera which I had lost in transit.  Charlie tugged me along squealing every time she found a shell she liked.  Our collection grew as we walked.  After walking for ten minutes we stopped looking back deciding we should return wading through the waves keeping out of the way of the baby jellyfish. Splashing and laughing.  Soon Charlie was dragging her feet so I hauled her up into my arms where she quickly fell asleep snuggled into my shoulder.  Arriving back at the sandcastle and Glyn I jabbed him with my toe, moaning he opened his eyes.
“Going back to the house Glyn, she’s tired out.”
“Ok love, will be back a bit later,” he smiled.
“Don’t stay out to long, remember your last sunburn.”
“You worry too much Carol, I’ll be fine,”
Sighing I left him to bring back our things.  Up over the sand dunes was hard going carrying a toddler, nearly breathless I arrived on the verandah sitting on the swing to catch my breath.  I must have nodded off; it was Charlie’s whimper which woke me.  Thumb in her mouth she settled again.  Rising off the swing with Charlie in my arms I noticed the door was open, glancing back at the beach Glyn was nowhere to be seen.  Walking inside I found him slouching on the couch watching rugby on TV a beer in his hand.
“Typical,” I snorted walking past him to Charlie’s room.
“Nice sleep sweetheart,” he said, “you both looked so cute.”
“As always,” I tossed over my shoulder..
“Get her to bed, be nice to have some us time,” he said tenderly, ruining it with a loud belch.  Giggling I continued down the hall laying Charlie gently on her bed kissing her brow, wandering back to the lounge I was soon snuggled into Glyn on the couch.
“What are we going to do for Christmas Glyn,” I asked.
“Depends on if you want to try something new or not Carol, we can BBQ and spend the day at the blue lake or have a proper hot roast like in England.”
“Doubt I want to slave over a hot stove on Christmas Day in this heat,” I grouched.
“Didn’t think so,” he laughed kissing me.
“Do we have all the presents organised, are we putting up decorations when we get home?”
“Of course we are silly, we have to show Charlie a good time. We need to visit Santa as well, there’s a good one at Harvey Norman’s from what I’ve heard. I’d love a photo to send back to our parents.”
“Great idea, it will go great with the calendar she did at playgroup.”
“Glyn,” I asked shyly, “Do you think….” I trailed off.
“What Carol?”
“Do you think we could try for another baby?”
“Really, wow this is sudden,” he grinned.
“Well what do you think?”
“I honestly don’t know.  Charlie’s a bit of a handful isn’t she, I wouldn’t want you to get over tired,” he said seriously.
“Maybe a baby would help calm her down, someone to help look after?”
“Possible I suppose. If you’re really serious then I don’t see why not love, I’ve always wanted a houseful anyway,” he grinned.
“Just remember you’ll have your fair share of things to do Glyn,” I laughed contentedly.”
“Thought we were talking about Christmas at the blue lake?” he questioned.
“Oh yeah, sort of lost track then,” I smirked.
“So we start our own new traditions, but what are those traditions going to be in this sweltering heat.”
“It ain’t that hot yet Carol.”
“Feel like I’m melting, how the heck can you celebrate in this heat?”
“It’s called shade and air conditioning.”
“There won’t be any air conditioning at the lake.”
“Maybe we’ll get a nice gentle breeze?” Glyn suggested.
“If there isn’t any breeze you can BBQ on the deck at home.”
“Yes Carol,” he sighed.
“What’s for dinner?”
“You hungry already?” he replied.
“Nope, just wondering since it’s your turn to cook,” I giggled.
“Charming,” he exclaimed. “How about some steak with pasta salad and a glass of crisp white wine,” he suggested.
“Looking forward to it already,” I muttered kissing him.
We missed the thud of little feet on the floor continuing to kiss until a little voice piped up.
“Me kiss too,” breaking apart there in front of us was Charlie with her blankie and thumb in mouth regarding us seriously.
“Come here poppet,” said Glyn picking her up nestling her between us we both kissed a cheek each.
“Have a good sleep Charlie?” I questioned.
“Yes fanks,” she said drowsily.
“Bath time sweetheart, then you can have some dinner.”
“Ok mama,” she said lifting her arms to me. Bringing her onto my lap I stood up turning to Glyn. “You have about thirty minutes to get dinner ready,” we marched off towards the bathroom chatting quietly. I could feel Glyn’s eyes on my backside which made me grin as we shut the door to have some girly time.

Joseph's Story

The contract was signed. They raised their cocktail glasses as Kevin proposed a toast to their future research, government contracts and success.
“So where do we go from here Kevin?”
“Well I’ve another little celebration to include. I’ve found the perfect premises for our laboratory in Kips Bay, though it needs a little redesign.”
“Oh I didn’t realise you hadn’t got a Lab yet Kevin,” said Joseph in disappointment.
“It won’t take long Joseph, we needed you on board first,” he grinned. 
“It also means you can design and decided exactly what you want in your lab Joe,” Henri said mildly.
“Well that’s a nice thought, I think I’ll be making a list tonight,” Joseph laughed. “When do we get to see the building?”
“I need to contact Justin to let us view inside on Monday.”
“All going well we can sign the contract for the lease in the afternoon,” said Henri.
“Let’s eat, I’m starving, the steak here is fantastic,” said Joseph.
“Yeah we know,” the other’s chorused laughing.

Monday dawned with a fine blue sky though the wind made the air rather chilly. The day grew warmer as it progressed, luckily for them all. They met Justin outside the building in Kips Bay at ten in the morning. Kevin rubbing his hands together in excitement while Henri and Joseph watched in amusement. The door opened and Justin showed them through giving them the sales pitch even though it really wasn’t necessary. They loved it. It started with a huge reception area which was sealed off from the rest of the building. Behind the locked door was a hallway leading to offices and work rooms, all of which would need redoing. Down the far back was a small hospital ward area which they weren’t going to need.
“What are we going to put in here Kevin?” asked Joseph.
“May as well keep it as it is for now Joseph, after all we can change it when we need.”
“True,” he smiled.  “I’ll have a think on it then Kevin.”
“All I need to do is pay the bills I suppose,” laughed Henri.
“Just the major ones Henri,” Kevin said firmly.
“I presume from what I’m hearing you’d like to lease the place then?” Justin said mildly.
“Let’s have a look at the lease Justin,” said Henri.
Opening his briefcase he handed the document over to Henri, “here you go.”
Reading through the dos, don’ts, responsibilities etc Henri finished looking at Kevin he gave him the nod to proceed.
“Sounds like it’s a go Justin,” Kevin smiled happily.  Henri and I will sign now, can you get the details back by tomorrow so we can start reorganizing the place.”
“Yep shouldn’t be a problem I’ll fax it to you.”
“Here’s my business card with my numbers,” said Henri.
“Great doing business with you,” Justin said leaving them with the keys.

“Well this is it folks, we are now in business,” said Kevin tossing the keys up in the air.  “Do either of you know a good architect?”
“Do we have to go that far?”
“Yes Henri I think we do to get it right. After all we only need two offices, two labs and reception done at this point.”
“What about the rest?”
“The part with the beds we’ll leave for now though those last two offices we can make into one big general lab say for government contracts. The smaller ones can be for our pet projects. What do you think Joseph?”
“I think it sounds great Kevin, though we need to make sure everything stays above board even working in our own labs.”
“At the first inkling of illegality Henri will stop funding, so I don’t think you’ve any worries there at all.”
“Yes Joe, Kevin is correct,” he said warningly to them both.
“Good to know Henri. Hopefully I’ll make you both proud,” said Joseph with a relieved smile.

Two weeks later the building was ready for business.  Kevin transferred his office bringing Amy with him as their receptionist.  He decided to keep his old office for future private meetings since his lease had a few more years to run. Joseph smiled as he walked into his very own rather large office for the first time. He knew he was going to enjoy this space along with his own lab next door. He already had a project to start thanks to a family friend who had a sick child. They wanted to know what was wrong with him so asked Joseph if he could help with the genetics. Henri didn’t move anywhere he was their main money man and paid the bills, they both knew Kevin had money. They just didn’t know how much. It was many years before either of them found out.

Over the coming months Joseph and Kevin worked well together, each enjoying their private projects. It looked like it would be a tough start with all the competition out there for scientific research. The areas of research were vast. Though both young men had proven themselves over the last five years they still needed the little push to get work. It was Kevin who worked his way around it, mainly through the back door. Having friends in high places helped, though it’s what these friends did in their private time that finally got them their work. Kevin was most unscrupulous, though neither Joseph nor Henri knew to what extent he went to get what he wanted.

Business at Truit & Haier was going well; Kevin and Joseph had both published various articles in medical journals to some acclaim. The work they did was now more established, they both hired lab assistants while Henri watched on more pre occupied with his up and coming wedding. He was getting nervous now; the wedding was three days away. 
Phillipa was trying not to panic at the last minute details, like most brides to be, she was nearly bouncing around happy and excited about their future together. She was sure married life was going to be bliss. He was so gentle and caring, his kisses so arousing and stimulating. She was ready for more; her appetite had certainly grown over the last five months. Kevin was to be Henri’s groomsman; Joseph was just going to have fun he didn’t even have a date.

The day finally dawned, a beautiful deep blue sky with cotton wool clouds. The wedding would take place at Grace Church, a Gothic Revival Church of great historical importance.  There were three hundred guests attending, Phillipa was trying not to panic.
“I can’t believe my day is here at last,” she smiled happily.
“Oh Phillipa, you’ve made such a good choice,” exclaimed her mother sweetly.
“Where’s my matron of honour,” she giggled.
“I’m here silly, just finishing dressing then we’ll slip you into your gorgeous gown, it is truly divine Philly.”
“Thank you Georgie,” she grinned. “It took ages to find what I wanted.”

“Right now it’s your turn Philly,” said Georgie taking her gown carefully off the hanger. Pooling it at Phillipa’s feet she stepped in carefully as her mother and friend gently raised the dress up.  Her arms slid into the see through blouson sleeves as Georgie settled the gown on her shoulders, before fastening the small pearl button running down to the small of her back.  The pearl encrusted lacy top revealed a stunning neck line, the top finished just under the bosom in the empire style, falling away in voluminous skirt with Venetian lace edging the bottom.  Next Phillipa’s mother placed her veil on her head with a small tiara holding it in place. The veil was short and once again edged with Venetian lace.
Phillipa swung around to the mirror gasping in surprise at how lovely she looked, placing her court shoes on her feet, she was ready. Nervous energy ignited inside her as her father knocked on her hotel suite door ready to escort his daughter to the church. He beamed with pride, tears in his eyes giving her a quick hug.
“You look stunning darling,” he said softly. “Henri is a very lucky man to have you as his wife.”
“Thank you papa,” she whispered her eyes shining, “I love him so much.”
“Well ladies are we ready to go?”

At Grace Church Henri Haier was pacing back and forth in the vestry, while Kevin looked on grinning at his discomfort.
“What happens if she doesn’t turn up?”
“She will Henri, you should have no doubts.” He peeked out the doorway watching the throngs of people being ushered to their seats. “Quite a crowd you have out there Henri.”
“Don’t remind me, I’m nervous enough now.”
“Time to go to the alter Henri,” he rubbed his hands with glee; “it sounds like she’s on her way.”
“Oh god please let me get through this,” he crossed himself. Taking a deep breath he strode out to wait for his bride, the guests went quiet as they smiled encouragingly to him.
The organ started the bridal hymn five minutes later.  Turning slightly Henri looked down the aisle his eyes opening wide at the vision of loveliness approaching him. Was this stunning beauty really his Phillipa? Standing side by side the wedding service began.

“You may kiss the bride,” intoned the priest.
Lifting her veil carefully, looking at her happy smile he gently pulled her into his arms giving her a chaste kiss. Putting his arm around her Henri escorted his new wife down the aisle and out the church where confetti and rice were thrown as they raced down to their limo to set out for the reception being held at his parent’s house.
“Oh Henri,” she sighed against his shoulder in the limo.  “That was such a beautiful service, you look very handsome,” she smiled, “and now your all mine,” she looked up into his eyes bringing her lips in for a more adventurous kiss.
“You look radiant my darling,” he murmured against her lips.
Tasting, nibbling they explored each other’s mouths, enjoying the heady sensations growing around them, intensifying as their kisses deepened. Phillipa finally pulled back a little breathless, an adoring smile on her face.
“I can’t wait to get you out of your gown tonight darling.”

Phillipa flushed shyly, looking down then wishing she hadn’t, a small giggle escaped her as she buried her face into his shoulder. Henri held her his amusement great, he’d always liked her little giggles; this was part of what attracted him to her in the first place.

Rosetta's Lot

Rosie continued towards St Clair Marina the sight taking her breath away.  The lovely deep natural curved harbour entered into an even deeper blue lake past the harbour master’s residence. The moored boats were gorgeous, all different sizes and shapes, beautifully painted and cared for. There were several pontoons, full sailing boat and fishing boats. A paddle steamer stood in pride of place; the steamer did short trips where you could book a romantic meal out.  Sometimes it was used for wedding receptions and events. 

Across the other side of the harbour there was a boat building business bustling with activity.  Gorgeous well-built tanned men were busy working on what looked like a luxury wooden yacht. Next to it there was a sale yard for those who wished to buy and keep a boat instead of hiring.  With yachts entering and exiting the harbour; people waving to each other, relaxing watching the comings and goings she relaxed enjoying the wonderful sights.  Smiling at tourists enjoying the admiring looks she strolled along the pier enjoying the breeze ruffling her hair.
“Miss,” looking down a little boy tugging on her jacket.  Crouching down she smiled.
“What’s the matter young man, are you lost?”
“Nah, I live here miss.  Got a note for you though,” he grinned up cheekily.
Slowly she stood looking around scanning faces close by. “Thank you. Who gave you the note?”
He turned slowly pointing towards the back of a blonde haired man disappearing into the crowds.  Sighing she took the note giving the lad some coins. Grinning he ran off to the ice cream parlour.  Rosie opened the note.

Meet me at Lola’s Bar and Grill tonight at 8pm.  I have vital information for you.

No name, she didn’t recognize the writing.  A puzzled frown on her forehead she tucked the note into her pocket making her way toward where the person had disappeared.  Not one for meeting strangers she shrugged eventually returning to her hotel. A night out she wondered, dare she after her set down with the other man yesterday. Rosie rang down to reception checking with management the rating of Lola’s Bar.  Making her decision with narrowed eyes she went to change she’d be ready for whatever came her way. Apparently Lola’s had great reviews.

Settling down at her desk Rosie transferred the film data to her SD card slotting it into her laptop. Looking through the film frame by frame until she found the blonde haired guy; she already noted he was dressed in black jeans and t-shirt. His face in every shot was turned away from the camera much to her frustration.  He had strong broad shoulders like a football player though with slim hips. He looked to be about five foot ten.
“Who the hell are you,” she muttered scowling at her lack of knowledge.  Closing her laptop she stood gazing out the bay windows noticing night was drawing in, the sun sinking behind the mountains made them glow eerily as it dipped lower. It was time to prepare to go out.  Showering quickly Rosie was soon standing in her underwear in front of the wardrobe, opening it she sighed looking through the few dresses she’d thought to bring with her.  Finally picking out her favourite forest green knit dress she pulled it on over her head letting it slide snugly over the flare of her hips where it settled right on her knees showing her gorgeous figure. Picking out black heels she slid them on her feet. Turning to the mirror smiling, knowing she looked great she settled her bodice showing off her cleavage to best advantage. A small blade in her garter, her colt 45 in her purse she was nearly done.  Highlighting her face with make-up she added a diamond drop necklace and earrings just as a knock sounded at her door. 
Sighing with exasperation, “who is it?”
“Porter here Miss, a parcel was dropped off for you.”
So much for nobody knowing she was here. Holding her gun behind her she unlocked the door looking the young lady over. Taking the parcel she gave a tip shutting the door placing the package on a side table while she finished her make up.  Snatching up her little jacket she glanced at the parcel deciding to leave it until later. Purse, keys, camera broach and off she went to locate Lola’s Bar and Grill.

Rosie arrived early at the restaurant giving her time to case the place, not knowing if she’d need to escape later.  Scanning the early evening crowd, she found a booth at the back with a great view of the whole room.  Taking a seat she relaxed ordering a Gin and Tonic.  Her eyes on the door she waited in anticipation of her mystery man.

The whole room stilled as he walked in, every woman gaped at the stocky blonde man in tight black jeans and black t-shirt pulled taunt across fantastic abs.  Stopping in the doorway he looked around until his eyes settled on Rosie in the back booth, with a small smile he made his way towards her.  Sliding on the seat opposite he nodded once before ordering a beer from the waitress who’d followed him across the restaurant.
An impish smile crossed his face as he gave his full attention to the gorgeous red head who sat across from him.
“Good evening Miss, thank you for joining me tonight.”
Lifting an eyebrow she quipped back, “you could say I was curious as to who knew me here in Grampton.”
“Oh we don’t know each other, though we will,” he replied smiling.
“What sort of game do you think you’re playing Mr..,?”
“Call me James,” he smiled.
“Oh like James Bond, the mysterious 007 how exciting,” she said placing her elbows on the table, “There again where’s your martini?”
“I knew I’d like you.  I do adore a red head.”
“Really James that’s very trite of you.  I’m sure you can do better than that.”
He let out a belly laugh making patrons turn towards them wondering what was so funny. “Let’s order, the steak is very good here.”
“Fine, I’ll have peppered steak, medium rare with mushroom sauce.”
Turning to the waitress who appeared at his elbow he repeated the order doubling it, adding baked potatoes and veg.
“So James, what’s this information you have for me,” Rosie asked politely. “I don’t usually meet with strange men, you had me intrigued.
“First what’s your name?”
“What you didn’t find out, amazing, your obviously not Bond then are you,” she chuckled with delight.
“No, I can’t say I am though I do enjoy been mysterious,” he laughed quietly.
“You can call me Modesty,” she grinned.
“My, my we’re going to have an interesting evening after all.”
“Perhaps, so what’s this vital information James? Or was it just to get my attention,” she said in an amused tone.
“Well I certainly got your attention.” Their food orders arrived so they let the evening progress as one would on a blind date.

By the time they got to coffee they’d talked about many different subjects, finding they’d much in common. 
“Thank you for distracting me James. It’s been lovely, now I must leave and get some beauty sleep.”
“It’s early Modesty; surely you can spare another hour?”
“Well I would, however you still refuse to tell me about this so called vital information which I think is bogus anyway.”
“You’re in danger here,” he said simply.  “I’m here to protect you.”
“Oh please you can do much better than that James, most women on their own are in danger.  I don’t even know you,” her laugh harsh. “You’re the second guy to accost me in the last thirty six hours.”
James’s eye narrowed dangerously.  “Who was the other man?” he growled.
“Please James, or whoever you are, I’m quite capable of looking after myself.”
“Who was he?”
“None of your business,” she said indignantly rising from the table. He grabbed her hand pulling her back as she whirled around her hand in her purse. “Get your hands off me,” she said stiffly.
“Get off your high horse and trust me,” he ground out in frustration.
“I don’t trust or usually turn up for blind dates James.” She glowered, “now take your hands off me before I make a scene,” she whispered fiercely
“Fine, find out the hard way and don’t come running to me.”
“I won’t James,” she hissed.
Reluctantly he let go of her watching her stalk out of the restaurant hips swaying, anger in every line of her body.  Sighing he ran his fingers though his blonde hair.  His phone rang.  Grimacing at the number he answered it.
“So how did it go?”
“She just left.  You could’ve warned me she was a difficult woman.”
“What your charm didn’t work this time Gabriel,” laughed his boss.
“You need to tell me more about Rosie until then I can only keep an eye on her.”
“She’s in deep trouble Gabriel,” he replied seriously.
“Tell me about it, who is she, why is she in trouble? What the hell’s going on here?”
“I don’t know much, that’s the trouble with my speciality. I’ll keep you updated as I can.  Keep your ear to the ground and watch her.”
“She mentioned another guy accosted her.”
“Did you find out who it was?”
“Nope, that’s what caused her angry walk out.”
“Get over to the hotel and keep watch Gabriel, the danger is approaching,” he said urgently.  “Move it.”
“Ok, gone,” he replied closing his phone.