How it all began
A/N: Dear readers, If you have found my book, I want to ask you to stick with it for a while because the way it starts might be confusing, but it has a perfectly good explanation, and everything will be clear soon enough. Promise it will be worth it.
The chills from the cold car window pressing against my forehead shot through my entire body and gave me exactly what I needed - they kept me on high alert. Being alone with a man in the taxi after what happened just a few hours earlier, no matter the current circumstances, demanded my full attention in case a need to defend myself arose again. The turmoil wreaking havoc in both my mind and soul kept distracting me and pulling me away into a place I shouldn’t be, making it hard to keep focus.
From time to time, I’d peel my eyes from the passing scenery to cast a quick glance in the rearview mirror, wanting to make sure the driver’s eyes were directed to where they were supposed to be – the road in front of us.
I was well aware that how I acted could lead me to full-blown paranoia if I didn’t get a grip on myself, but who could blame me, really? It wasn’t every day I fought off an attack I never saw coming.
However, more important, pressing things demanded my undivided attention, so I did what I knew best – I suppressed it all, locking it into a deep, dark corner of my mind, hoping it would stay there forever.
“We’re here, Ma’am.” The driver’s announcement rang in my ears, his dull voice electrifying my every nerve.
I offered my card through the opening in the glass barrier, and as soon as I got it back, I exited the vehicle and turned towards the house.
On any other occasion, I would be delighted with the sight. However, the spectacular villa with an even more magnificent garden and a park surrounding it went unnoticed as I had one goal in mind – confronting the estate owner.
Hoping that the obsessed fan-girls whose online chattering led me here were not wrong about the address, I stomped toward the entrance door.
With my heart trying to claw its way out of my chest, I made my way up a couple of marble stairs, not taking my eyes off the doorbell. I could do this! I had to avenge my sister! I had to inflict pain on the person responsible for almost losing my only family.
As the images of what, for sure, would be the most tremendous moment of my life, I pressed the bell. When no one answered after what seemed like an eternity, I pressed the button again. And then again.
Was it possible that I was wrong about the address? Certainly. I relied too much on internet rumors, but I could always look for him in his office if this was the wrong place. At least I could never miss the King Enterprises building downtown.
Shifting my weight from one leg to the other made my wait unnerving. I hated him. I’d never met the man before, but I hated him from the bottom of my heart; I hated him for what he did to Ellie.
I rang the bell again, deciding I would give up if no one answered. Like the previous times, this one, too, went unanswered. I was looking for Philip King at the wrong place, or nobody was home.
I sighed in defeat.
Maybe this was a lost battle, but I was yet to win the war. And what did I actually want to say to him? Only then did I realize I came here completely unprepared. I acted on impulse. Pure instinct was what brought me to his door. Everything else? Well, I guess I never stopped to think it through.
Giving up with a deep sigh of disappointment, I turned to leave. I couldn’t spend the night on his porch. Besides, Ellie was home sleeping, blissfully unaware of my doings. I had to get back to her.
The sound of these massive double doors being opened came to my attention, and I jumped back in a panic, encountering the most unexpected sight. A few feet away from me stood a man, much older than I expected him to be. In his early thirties, maybe, late twenties at least, but certainly too old for my 19-year-old sister. He was wearing only sweatpants while the rest of his body was naked. His dark hair was dripping wet, and water droplets were falling from it and rolling down his perfect skin that covered tight muscles.
At that moment, I could not blame my sister for falling for this guy. He was the epitome of masculinity and sexiness. I couldn’t help but swallow the hard lump stuck in my throat.
“Who are you? How did you get here?” His voice sounded menacing, and if my blood wasn’t pumping with so much adrenaline, I would have recoiled in submission to the power rolling off of him in waves.
“By taxi? Through the front gate?” I couldn’t help the sarcasm that laced my voice. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. I always hated men like him, rich and well-looking, who abused both of those advantages for their personal gain.
“That brat forgot to close it…” he murmured, more to himself, but I caught it. “What do you want?” A deep grunt of intolerance came from him.
And I? Instead of answering, I took a step forward, and before he could react or stop me, I slapped him with all the might my right hand could muster, so hard that his head spun to the side.
Almost immediately, he turned to face me. The red mark my palm left on his cheek was evident, but it wasn’t enough. He needed to be in pain, he needed to suffer for what he did to Ellie, and if I could kill him right then and there, I wouldn’t think twice about it! He wouldn’t be the first... But all I could do was swing my hand and slap him again.
This time, though, I wasn’t fast enough. My target caught my hand just before it met his cheek, and I realized the anger and hate that brought me here could never be an adequate weapon. He was strong. He squeezed my wrist, and I snarled in anguish, trying to wiggle it out of his painful lock but failing miserably.
“Let go of me!” I ordered, rage lacing my voice despite the pain that radiated from my trapped wrist.
Instead of doing what I demanded, this guy only put more pressure on it, and a deep rumble came from his chest… an animalistic rumble shook me to the core and, for the nth time today, gave me the scare of my life. If this day doesn’t end soon, I swear I will lose my mind.
“No woman ever dared hit me!” He roared. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
He hovered over me, and I had to tilt my head back to see his face distorted with anger. The fire was blazing in his dark brown eyes, and I could’ve sworn I saw steam coming out of his ears. His chest was raising and lowering at a frantic pace, and for a second, just for a second, a thought ran through my head: he might kill me.
Memories of a previous encounter that had me trapped in a man’s arms against my will flashed in my mind, churning my insides in the worst way. But then I remembered why I was here; I remembered what condition Ellie was in when I found her earlier and what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come home when I did.
“I am a woman that will raise your child, you bastard!” I spat.
“What the hell are you talking about? I’ve never seen you before!”
“Of course you haven’t seen me before, though my sister shouldn’t be unknown to you, considering you left her pregnant!” I yelled from the top of my lungs.
The shadow of confusion disappeared from his face so fast that I wasn’t even sure it was there in the first place.
“Nora doesn’t have a sister!”
“You sick bastard! I Have no freaking idea who Nora is! I hope you burn in hell for what you did to Ellie!” My throat was like sandpaper from all the yelling and realizing what a big mistake coming here was. I should’ve stayed where I was, trying to figure out how to provide for my family instead of coming here to confront this man-whore!
King’s hand wrapped around my neck as the other held my wrist, harshly and painfully. He was squashing my neck, constricting my windpipe, making it difficult to breathe.
“If I were you, I’d watch my tongue.” I felt his threat settle in my bones, and I knew how serious he was. He wouldn’t blink before killing me.
No matter how scared shitless I was, my eyes didn’t waver. I watched him straight in the eyes.
Black spots started clouding my vision, and I said goodbye to the world. This was a mistake, a big mistake. But suddenly, he let me go and moved a few steps back while I coughed and tried to catch my breath.
“You had me confused with someone. I know nothing about Ellie, and I certainly didn’t leave a girl pregnant.” A flash of pain flew across his face as he clenched his teeth, and no matter the situation I was in, I couldn’t help but wonder what it meant.
“You are Philip King, the almighty who thinks he can use young and naïve girls for sex and then dump them like pieces of trash. You impregnated my sister, dumped her, and she tried to kill herself today because of it!”
He looked at me like I had grown a second head.
“As I said, I have no idea what you’re talking about because I am not Philip. My name is Kieran.”
What in the world?