Chapter 5 of The Love Square on WattPad!

I’ve published Chatper 5 of The Love Square up on WattPad!

Read the story here:
https://www.wattpad.com/story/159227215-the-love-square

This is Part 2 from Ender’s Love, you an also read the story on WattPad, or you can read The Love Square as a stand-alone!

The Love Square

Butterfly House – Chapter 2

Note: If you’d like to read the Prologue and Chapter 1, please find them here:
Prologue
Chapter 1


Chapter 2

The sound of music filled the air as a red Aston Martin Vantage convertible drove down a relatively busy road in the city centre of London, its roof down. The owner of the car, a young pretty woman with long brown hair tied back into pony tail, sunglasses and a large smile on her face, tapped to the beat of the song on her car door as she rested her arm out the window.

The car gave a bit of life to the street for a few minutes, the happy song filling everyone with joy, and the bright beautiful car turning most men’s heads, even a few of the women who either appreciated the car too, or were hoping to see a hot rich guy in the seat instead.

The woman grinned as a set of pedestrian lights turned red, signalling her to stop. She grinned because stopping the car was sometimes the best bit, being able to concentrate on the people around her and not the road, taking in their looks and agape faces as they stared. She winked at a young lad, no older than eighteen, but realised he probably couldn’t see her eyes behind her glasses so gave him a cheeky grin instead.

But just as the lad stumbled across the road, his cheeks going red, the music dulled and her car speakers were filled with a ringing sound instead. She sighed, looked down at her mobile which was on the passenger seat, recognising the caller ID, she pressed the answer button on her steering wheel.

“Hello, beautiful,” she said, making a balding middle-aged man look round in shock as he walked passed the car, and suddenly looking embarrassed when he heard another voice come from the speakers, knowing instantly that that hot woman in the expensive car wasn’t talking to him.

“Al, next Saturday!” said a woman’s voice.

The woman in the car, just as she started to drive off now the lights were green, gasped and said, “Have you realised you love me, so you’re leaving Dillon and running away with me?”

The woman in the speakers laughed. “Lunch, babe.”

“Ah, that’s the next best thing I suppose.”

“Is twelve okay?”

“Midnight?”

Another laugh. “Lunch at midnight?”

“You know me, I like to live life on the edge, thought maybe you were taking a leaf out of my book?”

“I’m in bed by nine these days!”

“That’s usually the same time I get up!”

“At night, babe.”

“Exactly!”

Another laugh. “Then what are you doing up this early?”

The woman in the car looked round at the time on the screen in her car, it read nine-thirty in the morning. “Haven’t gone to bed yet.”

Another laugh. “I can’t tell if you’re joking or not!”

“Sometimes I can’t tell either.” She laughed.

“So, you free next Saturday?”

“Will Dillon be there?”

“No, he’s working, just you and me.”

“That’s a shame, I’d quite like a threesome.”

“Allison!” her friend groaned, and she could almost see her friend going red from embarrassment.

The woman called Allison laughed, just as she saw a disgusted look from an old lady who was walking down the street as she drove past, clearly having overheard Allison. “I’m kidding!” she said, and gave a small pause before saying; “It’s all about foursomes now! Much more fun and no risk of someone missing out.”

Her friend groaned loudly. “I’m regretting booking this place now.”

“Where have you booked?”

“It’s that new place the other side of the city, beautiful willow trees in the gardens.”

“My house?”

“No.” Her friend sighed. “I can’t remember the name of the place.”

“Sounds exciting.”

“So, you free?”

“I’m always free for you, baby,” Allison replied. “I’ll even wear my kinky outfit.”

“I wonder why we’re friends sometimes, you know.”

“I pay you well.”

The woman on the phone laughed again, and then was cut off by sirens as an ambulance drove past.

“Where are you?” her friend asked.

“Victoria Street.”

“Oh god, you’re talking to me on hands free through the speakers with your top down again, aren’t you?”

“Yep,” Allison said, a huge grin on her face, as she stopped by another set of traffic lights. She glanced to her side as another car rolled up next to her. A rather plump looking couple in a beat up Volvo glared at her from within, the passenger; a woman with greying hair and a large mole on her chin, had her window down in the sun. “Oh, toats hot couple right next to me in traffic!” Allison yelled deliberately loud. “Shall I ask them if they want to have a foursome with us?”

“What?” said her friend on the phone, she must have not heard her or was momentarily distracted at work.

“Hot couple, three o’clock, say hi, Kathy!”

Just at the same time as Kathy groaned on the phone, the woman in the passenger seat of the Volvo went red and rolled her window up. Allison just burst out laughing.

“I have to go,” Kathy said, her voice sounding absolutely horrified.

“Don’t worry, you can have the guy, I’ll have the hot chick. Her mole is a strange turn on.”

“Allison,” Kathy groaned. “I have a meeting in five minutes, I’ll ring you later or something to give you the details for next Saturday.”

“Bollox do you have a meeting, you have an awful lot of them when you’re on the phone to me.”

“I was being polite.”

“Don’t be,” Allison said, as she started to drive off again. “Just tell me to fuck off, I don’t mind.”

“Alright, fuck off.”

“Well, I say!”

“Bye, Allison.”

“Love you, sexy.”

There was another groan before the line went dead and the music started to run back up, Allison just drove, singing along without a care in the world, as she drove towards the Wellington Arch.

***

Click here to read the next chapter!


Thanks for reading!
If you like what you read, please check out my other works.

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

I also have a book published, “It’s My Mistake” with 5-star reviews!

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

It’s also out in paperback where you can get a physical copy here!

Another 5 star review!

Admittedly it was a friend of mine who bought and read my book, but I am extremely thankful that he has taken the time to buy it, read it and review it. 🙂

Another 5 star review is on Smashwords!

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It’s currently up for sale at 50% off! 🙂

www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

If you’d like a paperback copy rather than an e-book, you can do here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709

 

 

 

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 3

Note: If you’re new to the story please read from the beginning here.

Chapter 3

Officer Jennifer Finley

“Sir, what’s going on?” asked a young woman with brown short cropped hair underneath a black army helmet that was strapped uncomfortably under her slightly pointy chin.

The young woman had rushed out of an official looking yet plain office-style building and out into the fresh morning air along with the rest of her team. She not only left the building behind her, but also the feeling of safety, as she hurried to keep up with her superior. Although the sense of dread didn’t stay behind, it was clearly following her and growing with every rushed step she took.

She dodged around her colleagues, as they were marching towards a large black van that was parked in the courtyard of the building, a few trees and bushes hiding it from the overlooking buildings in the vicinity.

She, and her team, were dressed in what could only be described as an official black tactical uniform, unlike the usual multi-terrain pattern combat clothing that the British Army wore. This uniform was specially designed for a different type of situation.

The trousers were modelled from the Viper Tactical Elite trousers but with a few adjustments, including the pure black colour specifically designed to be kept hidden in darker environments. Finley had once found it amusing to find out that even the colour had been tested to find the right shade of black. Like the Viper trousers they were modelled from, they sported eight different pockets; two deep hand pockets, two standard pockets at the back, two cargo pockets on the side and two thigh pockets on the front, with elastic adjuster cords for the knee pads hidden inside. However, the replaceable knee pads were specially reinforced with titanium and an aramid layer was added on the inside of the trousers for flame resistance.

The trousers were being held up by a black rapid-release belt which was supporting a utility pouch with a swiss-army knife, an air-tight box of ear-plugs, aramid rope, compass, and other items useful for surviving in extreme situations. Also on the belt was a 3W black aluminium LED torch and a magazine pouch with spare, full magazines for both the handgun and P90.

Around her right leg was a black adjustable holster holding her specially adapted Double-Action self-loading 9mm Glock 45-S. The S stood for ‘special’, which does not officially exist since it was adapted within the walls of building behind Finley. It had a specially adapted grip to not only hold a 31-round double-stack magazine, but a better designed grip for all weathers and situations and a specially designed UV light attachment underneath the barrel. The barrel of the gun, as well as the other necessary parts, had been tested to withstand larger forces, due to the specially adapted ammunition that had also been designed within the walls behind Finley, which not only had a specially adapted propellant but were expanding ammunition with a secret ingredient hidden inside. It also sported the usual 6-Goove right-twist rifling but with a higher twist rate for better accuracy.

The jacket was also designed off the British Army MTP Combat Waterproof smock, with two large chest pockets, two large fleece lined side pockets, a heavy duty two-way front zip with Velcro fastenings, Velcro adjustable cuffs, large external hood with adjustable elastic to shape and included the zips underneath the armpits to adjust airflow. However, the tab on the front for the rank slide has been removed, the large Velcro squares on the arms removed, an additional removable fleece lining for the changing seasons was included and it was sporting the same black colour design as the trousers. Also, unaware to the civilian were the reinforced pads stitched into sections of the smock, from the four chest pads, back supports and arms in multiple sections for greater flexibility and protection and an aramid layer much like the trousers.

Hidden under the smock was also a specially-designed reinforced body armour, both lightweight and slightly more flexible than the typical Osprey Assault Body Armour worn by the British Army, which is also designed in black with the rubber mouldings on the shoulders, but each body armour is specifically moulded and designed for the individual wearer rather than a single production-line fit. Underneath the armour is a simple black thermal and sweat-wicking t-shirt for greatest comfort.

The helmet protecting Finley’s head was also designed around the Virtus Helmet worn by the British Army, with under-chin supports that are easily adjustable, sculpted rear for neck protection, a layer of aramid throughout, fixed shroud for mounting night-vision goggles and can be fitted with a mandible guard and visor. The visor, however, was specially designed with abrasion resistance, anti-fog and mirror coating, photochromic and UV400 protected lenses, complete with a small hidden high-definition 1080p video camera capable of capturing infra-red and high-quality sound, and recently designed with on-display augmented reality with specially adapted data to help the wearer in particular sticky situations. The helmet also by default had a fully adjustable Personal Role Radio so teams could communicate more effectively.

Even the boots were specially designed, modelled off the All Leather Patrol Combat boots with Thinsulate lining, full leather with padded collar, removable EVA inner sole, PU sole and nylon laces. However, the steel shank and eyelets were replaced with titanium, there was an added titanium heel stiffener and toe cap, better grip on the sole with embedded cleats, and addition aramid sole and aramid stitched into the underside of the leather for flame resistance.

The gloves were also specially designed, with the same black used with the trousers and smock, with Sharktec FR palm, reinforced patches on the knuckles and fingertips, thermal insulation with sweat-wicking, highly durable aramid material making them abrasion resistant, blade cut resistant, tear resistant, puncture resistant and with overall flame resistance.

Accompanying her trousers, smock, armour, pouches, multiple pockets, belt, helmet and Glock, she also held her favourite item protectively tight to her chest with the use of a sling; the personal defence weapon; a FN P90-S. The submachine gun was also specially equipped with a customised infrared scope installed on top of it to give the agent a slight advantage in dark environments. It, like the Glock 45-S, had also been adapted to withstand the specially designed ammunition; a typical 5.7x28mm design, but expanding with a secret ingredient inside.

Finley rolled her shoulders up slightly to adjust the weight pressing down, while regretting skipping a few days in the gym. The tactical uniform looked odd on the young woman’s small and skinny frame, which gave her a few annoying sexist comments from her male colleagues, but she knew she was just as capable as them. She, like her comrades, were carefully selected from British Armed Forces and Intelligence Agencies.

Finley herself had served in the Royal Air Force, originally applying as an Intelligence Analyst straight after completing her A-Levels at college at the age of 18. She completed her basic training at RAF Cranwell, went on to complete a language course at the UK’s Defence Academy, becoming almost fluent in Arabic, and was moved to the Intelligence Analyst Linguist division, before being quickly promoted to an Intelligence Officer. She moved around a lot, having been stationed at many different RAF bases, including her favourite, RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus for a few months but she was unfortunately relocated back to England with no prospect of returning.

But aside from the appealing changes in locations, she was getting quickly bored of the work after a few years and began entertaining the idea of moving into a role within one of the Intelligence Agencies. She was adamant it was this that led to being approached by a man who was so shrouded in secrecy that it sent shivers down her spine. She wouldn’t admit it, but she wasn’t completely sure she knew what she was agreeing to. She was extremely excited to join the most secret service there was; so secret, only a very select few in the world even knew it existed. She scored just above average on almost all of her gruelling tests and training, and average on her physical fitness test.

She never in her wildest dreams would have imagined she’d end up where she was. She only recently, possibly in the last few minutes after hearing the dreaded alarm go off in the building and having a sneaky suspicion that it wasn’t one of Captain Stroud’s early morning drills, started to regret accepting that mysterious man’s offer. She wouldn’t admit this, not to her superiors; Captain Stroud, nor the Director General and most certainly not to her comrades. Nor would she admit how nervous she was. Especially since the Director General himself was leading this mission. It was one thing going through the rigorous training, thousands of different drills, learning about a rather unforgiving and almost unbelievable enemy, but another facing the real thing.

“What you are trained to do, agent,” replied a tall, handsome and greying man, also in the specially adapted tactical uniform and another P90 held to his chest, the Director General, Duncan Ryan. There were no markings on his uniform to suggest he was the Director General, even Captain Stroud had no markings. It was a safety thing; the enemies they faced were generally extremely intelligent, so they weren’t allowed any advantage. They even practiced T42 frequently; another member pretending to be the leader, just in case.

“Does this mean…” the woman started, but the man stopped his stride abruptly and turned around to look at her, giving her a stern look. The young Officer stopped herself and instantly fell quiet as her superior’s eyes searched her own.

After a few seconds, he spoke, “I suggest you leave the questions to me, is that clear?”

“Yes, sir.” She nodded, suddenly holding her posture authoritatively.

“Good, you will all find out soon enough what is going on,” the man said, and waved the woman and the rest of his team into the van. The door had been opened by Captain Stroud at the front of the group, who had a large black yet neatly trimmed beard to match his large dark sideburns underneath his own tactical helmet. “Briefing in the van.”

The woman climbed into the back of the van after the rest of her comrades, settling into a custom-made seat next to a man with bright red hair and a nervously worried face that could compete with her own. The Director General was the last to get in, shutting the van door behind him, plummeting the vehicle in eerie silent darkness and before her eyes were able to adjust to the sudden change, the van lurched forwards to take them to their destination.

The woman’s eyes fell on the outline of the man right by the door, clearly seeing he held his posture authoritatively himself, as he stared out into space. The woman wondered if he, the Director General, was just as scared as the rest of them, because she had a horrible feeling this wasn’t a drill.

Click here to read the next chapter!


If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Beta-Readers needed!

I’ve been working hard on re-editing my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ as my main challenge is to get it into a paperback format. I want to do this by making the book the best I can.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist though, and there is something final about a real physical book that I don’t want to have a book riddled with mistakes and plot holes. So, I need beta-readers.

I have asked friends to read, but I don’t have many friends that are willing to a) read a book in general and b) let alone one that is a romantic story!

So, for anyone who likes reading, please feel free to read my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ here:
https://www.wattpad.com/story/124947755-it%27s-my-mistake-%7E-completed
And let me know what you think. If you find any errors, plot holes, or anywhere that generally needs work, please let me know!

Here’s a blurb:

Alice wants a carrer change, especially after a terrible incident at her last job. Her dream job has always been to work in a hotel, maybe even own one. But after messing up an interview very spectacularly for a vacancy at a well-known hotel chain in London, she wasn’t expecting to hold the attention of the Global Business Manager; Daniel Jeffries. And in more ways than one. Does Alice take the risk and accept Dan’s offer or does she play it safe?

Who knew that that interview day would be the day that changed Alice’s life? But is it for the better? IS this alluring Global Business Manager as amazing as he seems? And who is that mysterious yet amazingly handsome man at the hotel?
By the way, if Romance isn’t your thing, or this blub doesn’t catch your eye, there are other works on my WattPad page, feel free to check them out!

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 4

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.
This work is my first draft and thus unedited, so may be subject to changes.


Chapter 4

The next week and a half went by in a mess. Or was it that I was a mess?

Later that day, after Liam had asked me out – well, sort of. He finally managed to ask if I wanted to go out on Friday. I was already busy Friday, I had made plans with Leah to go out with a few of her friends for a meal. It was a favour for her. She had found out her ex-boyfriend was going to this meal because he was best friend with her best friend’s fiancé or something and she needed someone to back her up. It was an interesting night actually. Her ex-boyfriend was actually really lovely and didn’t hold any grudges against Leah and was quite happy now with his new girlfriend. Even Leah went away – albeit a little drunk by the end of the night – a lot happier knowing that there was no bad air between them.

Liam then asked me if I wanted to meet up at the weekend, but he was busy Saturday and I had already arranged to skype my friends back home and do some well-needed cleaning on Sunday. I had a pile of washing and ironing and my apartment was a mess. I hated it being a mess. But I counter-offered next weekend, so as to avoid it sounding like I was brushing him off, and he agreed.

So, I had a date with my crush, Liam, on Friday after work.

That was in two days.

When Wednesday came, I found myself sat in my apartment fiddling with my thumbs. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I was too nervous about Friday evening. I had tried reading a book, but when I read the same line about five times I gave up. I tried to watch TV, but everything just reminded me of Liam and I was a nervous wreck watching it. Even this silly advert about a super-power man with kitchen clothes that is able to scrub away any tough bit of dirt reminded me of Liam – he was always sneaking up to people and blurting lines from the advert. I tried to clean more of my apartment, I hoovered my floor again, even though it didn’t need doing. I washed all my dishes, put a load of clothes on to wash, dusted, cleaned the windows, even gave the kitchen a good scrub. But by about half seven, I had done everything and was bored – and a nervous wreck.

I plopped myself down on my sofa and stared at my blank TV screen, just about seeing my reflection in the mirror. For some reason my own reflection reminded me of a poster I read. The poster had these girls on the front of it drinking cocktails. I think it was because one of the girls looked a little like myself and my mind decided to bring it up now. The poster itself – although not very well done from what I could remember – was trying to advertise a deal on cocktails. Every Wednesday evening they have a two for one deal on cocktails at the bar. It was as if my unconscious was trying to tell me something: go to the bar.

The only problem was; the bar was Xander’s local.

But was that a problem? It’s not like I was going there on a date. I was just hoping to pass the time until Friday without going crazy with nervousness.

Before I was able to talk myself out of it, I was out of the shower, dressed in my favourite red dress and out of the door heading for Mario’s.

***

“Can I have two Mojitos, please?” I yelled to the bar man about the unexpected busy noise. I couldn’t help but think the extras were back in place. I just needed to figure out where the main star was again.

“Two Mojitos coming up,” said the bar man, before he wandered over to the drinks shelf to grab the white rum and pour a two shots into a large metal mixing decanter.

As soon as he poured one shot in though, I turned around to face the bar to scan the faces.

I huffed under my breath as I couldn’t see who I was looking for. I had caught the attention of a few guys because of my red dress, but none of them interested me.

Last time I was at Mario’s, I had worn jeans and blouse. This time, I had made an effort. My red dress always got me attention. I had read somewhere once then men were attracted to the colour red. So not only did I have my red dress on, I had deliberately accentuated my eyes in dark make-up and wore a deep red lipstick.

I realised as I was sat in a cab that I was being stupid. I told myself that I was only going for the cocktails that was it; I was bored and wanted cheap drinks. But as soon as I saw my reflection in the cab window, I realised it was more than just me being bored and wanting cheap cocktails. I wanted to see Xander again. I felt guilty; I had a date with a perfectly nice guy on Friday. Liam. I was looking forward to it, I was even nervous about it to the point of feeling sick. Unless it was because Xander had been a distraction from Liam last time, that I wanted him to take my mind of Liam again?

Or was it something else?

But whatever was going through my mind. Conscious or not. Xander wasn’t in the bar.

“Here you are, love,” said a voice from behind me. The young barman had made me my Mojitos already and had placed them on the bar top. I smiled and took out my purse from my clutch. After I paid for them, I wandered over to a free booth which appeared to be wet where someone had clearly spilled a drink, and slumped down in disappointment.

***

I was there for an hour and a half, sipping my Mojitos. I only had two. I decided it wasn’t worth getting another two in fear of drinking too much and having a hangover at work tomorrow. It wasn’t until I was trying to drain the remainder of the melted ice in the bottom of my glass that I realised there wasn’t much point staying there either.

I sighed and stood up from the booth, taking the glasses with me and putting them on the bar top. The bar man giving me a small nod in appreciation as he noticed me, and I just smiled back and left feeling hugely disappointed, both at not seeing Xander and with myself for even thinking this was a good idea in the first place.

When I got outside and started to sulk away, I noticed there was a bit of an incident happening down a side street. The side street was actually down the side of the bar. It wasn’t an alley; unlit, dark and smelling like urine, like back at home in the UK, but it was definitely a little darker and less populated. I noticed there was a guy yelling in the distance as I walked past the street, my phone out in my hand ready to call a cab. I stole a glance down the street and saw there was a guy in dark clothes yelling at another guy. Another was present but was holding himself back away from the scene a little.

But I gasped and stopped in the middle of the street when I seemed to recognise one of them.

I stared down at the commotion and realised finally what was going on. Someone, the guy in dark, held something in his hand. I had a feeling it was a weapon. I wasn’t sure if it was a gun or a knife. But the thing that upset me to the core was that he was clearly threatening a guy in a grey suit. It was a mugging. And the guy in the suit, even from this distance, I knew who it was.

I rushed into the shadows of the street and took my shoes off, now bare footed I walked down the other side of the road and towards the issue, hoping and praying that the attacker didn’t hear me and didn’t attack before it was too late.

Not that I knew what I was doing, but I was hoping that coming up from behind him I could find something to whack him across the head and knock him out. I’ve had my fair share of incidences to be able to protect myself, although none have involved a gun. But me, walking barefooted down the street, looking for something to use as a weapon, was their only chance.

“Just give me the watch, Rich Boy and no one will be hurt,” I heard the guy in the black hoody. Now realising he was in a filthy hoody that was up over his head. His posture was bent and I could see a glint of a knife in his hand.

“I’m not giving you the watch, so either you stab me or fuck off,” said the deep booming voice that went with the masculine bulk in a suit.

“Just give him the watch, Xander,” said the guy holding back. Looking apprehensive.

I didn’t realise at the time, as I was too busy looking for something large and heavy, that Xander really didn’t give a shit the guy in front of him had a knife in his hand.

“No, this watch was a gift from my grandfather, I’m not…,” he paused, his green eyes suddenly fell on me, just as I reached down and found a large rock on the floor next to a large bin. I put my finger to my lip to signal him to stay quiet. His eyes flicked straight back to the attacker in a matter of seconds. “I’m not handing it over. Over my dead body!”

Xander’s friend hadn’t noticed me yet, but the attacker had noticed he paused and went to turn around to see behind him. He would easily have seen me. I held in a gasp as I had straightened up, putting myself in a position to run if I could. But Xander took a step forwards as if to go for the guy and he stopped and held up the knife in his hand at Xander. “You move and I’ll stab you!”

“And you move and I’ll kill you,” Xander said, his voice sounded a little menacing.

The guy seemed to falter slightly, suddenly unsure whether to pursue this idea of mugging Xander and must have been weighing up his options. In the meantime, I had started to slowly make my way towards the guy now armed with – hopefully – a weapon in one hand and my heels and clutch in another.

But just as I made my way slowly and quietly across the street, hearing my own heart pound in my ears and my head yelling at me to leave Xander and save myself, I stood on something and gasped in pain.

Unfortunately, however, the guy with the knife had heard and swung round, knife swung round with him, still in his hand. His emaciated face sunken and pale, his grey eyes fixed right onto mine. I remember seeing pure madness deep within them.

I gasped again and accidentally let the rock in my hand slip from my grip. It landed painfully on my bare foot and I screamed in pain.

Check out the next chapter here!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 3

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.
This work is my first draft and thus unedited, so may be subject to changes.

~~~

Chapter 3

“Hey Jo,” said a voice from beside me and made me jump. I span round in my comfortable office chair and looked up at a familiar face of my colleague. My insides twisted the moment I saw him. Well, to be honest, my insides twisted the moment I heard him. “How was your weekend?”

The guy looking down at me smiled his lovely welcoming smile which sent a familiar warm feeling through my body. He leaned on the desk next to mine with his arms crossed, waiting patiently for my answer. All I could think about was how close he was to me and hoping my pale cheeks hadn’t gone red.

The desk he was leaning on belonged to my work colleague and friend; Leah, who was currently away from her desk. The guy currently in her place was one of those guys that most of the girls swooned over. He wasn’t exceptionally handsome. At least not as handsome as the guy I met on Saturday evening in the bar. But he was cute enough to turn heads. It was his charm and sense of humour that mostly won the ladies over. He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable. He liked to joke about and even make fun of himself. Always had a witty comment to say.

“Oh, hi, yeah, was good,” I felt my cheeks flush. “How was yours?”

His smile widened and I couldn’t help but smile back at him. It was infectious. “Same old. What did you get up to?”

“Oh, not much,” I shrugged. “Went out to that bar you told me about on Saturday though.”

I remembered back to Saturday when I met that strange guy. Xander, his name was. After he told me his name, I felt a little uncomfortable and wanted to leave. He ended up convincing me to have a drink, which I just asked for a glass of water – I didn’t want anything alcoholic and risk getting tipsy, or worse, drunk. When he returned he said again he didn’t mean to insult me and said I could ask him any question I liked. I made a point by asking him the same question he asked me; “who are you?” And I saw that familiar small smile creep on his face and reach his eyes. It was as if he liked the fact I had asked him the same question he asked me. He seemed to like talking about himself a little too. Which was why he probably asked the question in the first place. He told me he was born and grew up in Chicago, finished college, never went to university, but climbed up the employment ladder quickly and always seen in that same bar we were in. The conversation went onto the bar for a bit, I mentioned I hadn’t been there before and he only replied; “I know, I would have recognised you.” I then went back to how he knew Bath. He apparently travels a lot with work. I was nearly tempted to ask him about work, but I stopped myself as I wasn’t sure if it would have been an offensive question or not.

It wasn’t until I noticed the bar was thinning out that I realised it was getting late and I had to excuse myself. Xander didn’t seem to push, he just made a comment about hoping to see me again and let me leave.

I had walked away slightly wishing I didn’t leave. I realised afterwards that whatever anger I had earlier in the evening had vanished, replaced with a deep curiosity and attraction. I replayed the conversation in my head and didn’t find anything of what he said odd anymore. He did say he thought he recognised me from somewhere and was trying to figure out where, which was why he was listing places he knew to see if I did. Then he clearly got bored asking – or maybe thought I was bored, I did seem a little curious to the questions, he could have read that wrong and thought I was bored – and the conversation turned into wanting to know who I was. Maybe by asking ‘who are you?’ he was avoiding those boring cliché questions of ‘What do you do? Where do you work?’ I remember reading somewhere that a person’s job shouldn’t define the person, what makes someone happy defines them. Or was it how they treat people? Could have been both. But either way, I figured that could be why he later asked about my work. He was trying to figure out if work was important to me or not. It was also the reason why I didn’t ask him about his work.

I realised when I got home why I was feeling low that night. Realisation hit me while I was scrubbing myself clean in the shower before bed that evening. I was lonely. Although, Xander filled that hole for just under two hours. Even if it was just a strange chat in a bar. But it returned when I got home.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of Xander again. I actually hadn’t stopped thinking about him. In fact, for a moment, he even made me forget about my crush at work. When Monday morning came around, I plopped down onto my office chair and felt slightly annoyed it was Monday already. Normally I’d look forward to going in, just to see my crush again and hoping that that day was the day he’d ask me out. But Xander was on my mind. It wasn’t until my crush was in front of me that Xander was momentarily forgotten about.

“You went to Mario’s?” The guy in front of me looked shocked. Maybe even a little disappointed.

“Yeah, it is nice in there,” I smiled politely. “You were right.”

“Who did you go with?”

“Oh, I didn’t go with anyone.”

He laughed. “You went to Mario’s on your own?”

My smile faltered.

“Oh, wait, did you go to score?”

“What?

“Find a guy to hook up with?”

My face flushed. I did speak to a guy; that was true. I had some images of me going home with him or even inviting him back to mine. But I also had previous thoughts of him being a serial killer so I couldn’t really rely on what my intentions were on Saturday night. But I never intended to go there to hook up with anyone.

“You did didn’t you,” he said after I didn’t reply and sat himself down in Leah’s chair. He sounded impressed but his face told a different story. In fact, he looked a little upset at the idea.

“No, I didn’t!”

“Oh,” he frowned. “Then why did you go there on your own?”

I shrugged. “I’m used to going to places on my own, I travelled the world on my own.”

“I guess.” His eyes seemed to go off somewhere to the right, as if he was deep in thought about something. I was curious to know what he was thinking. “If you wanted company though, you only had to ask,” he said, apparently coming back to earth.

I felt my cheeks flush. Did he really just say that? “I actually had company for most it.” I tried to shrug. But feeling a little guilty that I was only moments ago swooning over another guy, I felt I was betraying someone. But that someone wasn’t even a someone. Not to me anyway. Just a crush.

His eyebrows rose slightly, clearly not even trying to feign his surprise. “But you just said you didn’t hook up and you went alone.”

“I met a guy, but I didn’t hook up with him,” I replied.

“Oh,” he said. He was suddenly lost for words. The first time I had ever seen him lost for words.

“Why are you so concerned about what I did there anyway?” I asked, swinging my body round on my office chair to face him.

“Babe, I mentioned that place for a reason, not so you could just go there on your own!” he said. His eyes wandering over my body slightly as he took in my green dress I was wearing. It made me feel even warmer as his eyes skimmed over my body. I hoped to hell I didn’t have horrible red marks on my knees where I had been crossing my legs or he wasn’t put off by my white bits. “I was sussing out if you wanted to go there one day.”

“What?” I blurted out accidentally.

“I wasn’t sure if you liked going to those places, bars and shit – it was something Leah said – so I was trying to figure out if you were interested and then I was going to ask you out. But I got interrupted on Friday and didn’t have a chance.”

“You were going to ask me out?” I asked in shock.

“Sure.” He nodded. “What do you say? Want to go back again? This time with me?” He smiled wildly again.

“Oh,” I gasped. But before I was able to answer, someone interrupted us.

“Liam, get out of my bloody chair!” Leah was back.

The guy in front of me; Liam, shot out of Leah’s chair in a flash, like he had just been stung by a wasp. He suddenly wore a strange expression on his face. One I couldn’t quite place. Either he was surprised to see Leah standing there – which was absurd as it was Leah’s desk and Liam knew that. Or Liam was just scared of Leah for some reason.

When I thought about it, I hadn’t seen Liam and Leah together in the same room for a while. I wondered if they were avoiding each other. Maybe one of them had upset the other. I wouldn’t be surprised, Liam had a habit of saying the wrong thing sometimes. Along with his witty funny side, he sometimes said things that he thought was funny but was actually rude.

I thought it was odd that Leah was upset with him though, she used to swoon over him just as much as I did. I had never told Leah that I was into Liam, as I was worried our friendship would be affected. I never twigged that Leah hadn’t mentioned Liam for a while, not until then.

Leah sat back down in her chair tentatively after Liam shot out of it and gave Liam a rather disgusted look back. “What do you want anyway?” Her New Zealand accent stronger than usual.

“I’m here to talk to, Jo,” he replied, looking away from Leah and then back at me. “Let me know what you say,” he said, before wandering off again without hearing a reply.

When Liam was out of earshot, Leah swung round to me and narrowed her eyes at me. “What did Liam want?”

Leah was a brilliant beautiful woman. Originally from New Zealand and came to Chicago with her father when she was in her late teens. She had curves in all the right places, a lovely brown face that made you think she was constantly going on exotic holidays, and had full luscious dark brown hair. Her eyebrows even looked perfectly shaped. I envied her.

“Err, well, apparently he was asking me out.”

Her face fell. “What?”

I frowned back at her and leaned over slightly. “Has something happened between you two? Did you have an argument or something?”

“Something like that,” Leah sighed and span her chair round to face her computer again. “Just be careful of Liam.”

“What? Why?”

“I can’t say, just be careful, Jo.”

“Sure,” I replied but watched Leah for a few seconds trying to figure out what she meant by that. Be careful of Liam? But he was just a bit of a joker that was all.

I span back round to my computer and sighed deeply. My thoughts went to Liam suddenly. I was thinking about what he had said. Had he just asked me out? I had been wondering about this for months, wishing Liam would finally ask me out. I was up and down trying to figure out if he liked me or not. He seemed to be friendly with most girls.

But as soon as I thought back to going to that bar with Liam, my thoughts went to Xander. It was his local, I couldn’t go there with Liam now, I might bump into Xander!

And then there was what Leah said.

Click here for the next chapter!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 2

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.
This work is my first draft and thus unedited, so may be subject to changes.

~~~

Chapter 2

It must have been over an hour before I started to relax slightly around this guy. Or it could have been the alcohol. We sat chatting for almost two hours in total, while he tried to figure out where he knew me from. Well, he chatted, I mostly uttered one word answers or the occasional small sentence.

He at first asked if I came to the bar often. I didn’t, it was the first time I’d been there. Then he asked if I had heard of some restaurant. I hadn’t. He mentioned some place with a strange name. I didn’t even know what it was let alone heard of it. He mentioned a company. The name sounded vaguely familiar but I wasn’t sure from where, so I said no. The questions continued one after the other, all the while he sat there watching me curiously.

That was the first hour anyway. The second hour, or what was left of the second hour, was a little different. It wasn’t until I noticed he had gotten a little bored with the conversation and something changed. I remembered thinking at the time; he must have a short attention span.

The conversation had suddenly become weird too. He had given up asking questions that required closed single answers and seemed to start asking a different type of question. Questions that was a little odd in nature, ones I couldn’t possibly answer.

“So, who are you, Jo?” he started after taking a small sign and catching me unaware.

“Sorry?”

“Who are you?”

“You know who I am,” I said. One of those rare sentences I had managed to string together.

“No I don’t,” he replied and took a long pause. It was the pauses that made me nervous. Like I was waiting for him to do something spontaneous in that time frame. I don’t know what, but I had a feeling he was the spontaneous type. My thoughts ranged from him dragging me out of the bar and having his wicked way with me up against a wall, or dragging me out of the bar and murdering me in a dark alleyway. “All I know is your name’s Jo and you interest me, that is it,” he said again. His deep penetrating eyes surveying me.

I literally gulped. I wasn’t yet relaxed at that point. I was still nervous. It was the ‘you interest me’ that set me on edge slightly.

“What do you want to know?” I asked, trying to remind myself that it was just a conversation. A slight sense of confidence suddenly appeared. There was no harm in a conversation. I’ve done it loads of times. It’s not like I’ve never spoken to a guy before.

“I don’t know.”

My confidence vanished. What did this guy want me to say? Was he interested in knowing where I was from? Where I worked? Who my friends were? What?

“Err, well…” I started, “I’m from England–”

“I know that, I can tell by your accent,” he interrupted and then paused again, waiting for me to continue. Waiting for something interesting.

“Okay, well… I moved here a few years ago. After travelling and working a little. I have a Master’s degree in History, I’m mostly interested in ancient history though, not the world wars or anything. I…” I paused, I ran out of things to say. My mind drew a blank. “I don’t know what else to say really.”

“You were on a roll,” he said and smiled again. A smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

I didn’t know what to make of that. I had never met a guy like this. Not one that actually cared enough to know anything about me. I’d met the odd guy who asked certain questions, but more of a formality than anything; “Where are you from? Where do you work? How old are you?” those sorts of questions. But this guy didn’t ask those questions. He asked who I was. A vague question. A question that was difficult to answer. A question that seemed to require an interesting answer otherwise he wouldn’t be interested.

“Well, tell me about yourself?” I asked. Trying to take control of the situation, but not sure I really wanted to know. I was worried about what I might find. Although at the same time, I did want to know. He was mysterious and judging by the watch on his wrist, rich too. I know, thinking back to it, it was an extremely weird interaction. He just wandered over and started talking to me uninvited. He was demanding to the point of arrogant.

“No, we’re not talking about me yet, we’re talking about you,” he said. And I could have sworn I saw him looking disinterested suddenly.

“I… I don’t know what to say.”

“Okay, where in England are you from?”

Easy question, I can answer that one. “From a little city called Bath in South West of England. You might not have heard of it, it’s–”

“In Somerset. South-east of Bristol. Known for its Roman baths. Became a World Heritage Site in nineteen eighty seven,” he said, interrupting me.

“You know Bath?” I asked in shock, feeling my nervousness slowly ebb away.

“I do. I’ve travelled to England a few times.” He nodded. But he didn’t linger on the subject for long, to my disappointment. “Next question; what University did you study at?”

“I got my undergrad at Oxford and my master’s at Edinburgh.”

He gave a small nod. If he was impressed by my qualifications, he didn’t say. Most people did when I mentioned Oxford at least, and those that knew Edinburgh were equally impressed.

“And why move to Chicago?” he took a sip of his beer.

“Err, a number of reasons; I like travelling and I wanted to further my career.”

He didn’t seem too interested in that answer. Like he was expecting me to say something remarkable about how I had got my big break and it was only here in Chicago.

“Where do you work?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t currently work in anything to relate to history. I just got a pretty boring job working in an office.”

His eyes narrowed. Wrong answer. “So, you got your master’s degree in ancient history but you’re working in an office that doesn’t relate to it?” he quizzed suspiciously.

“Err, yes?” I said. I made my reply sound like a question, not an answer. I felt suddenly concerned that this guy was disappointed in my life choices. I had said something wrong. I needed to fix it.

“Why?”

“I…” I paused and thought for a few seconds, what was wrong with the truth? “I moved here temporarily, I just got a job anywhere just to get my feet on the ground, get settled, before I could apply properly for history vacancies-”

“Why not just wait until there was available and then apply?” he interrupted.

It was my turn to frown. I suddenly realised that I didn’t need to justify myself to some guy. Regardless if he was attractive and possibly rich. I didn’t care who he was, I wasn’t going to bend over for him. It was my choice to move first without my big break, so what if he didn’t approve? How dare he question me? “I don’t know you’ve noticed, but there aren’t many vacancies in ancient history,” I snapped.

“There are lots of a teaching positions around the country,” he replied, not even noticing that I snapped at him.

“Yes, but I don’t want to teach!” I huffed.

“Why?”

“Because I can’t stand people!” I said, raising my voice angrily.

At this the guy raised his eyebrow and smiled at me again. This time his smile reached his eyes a little. “Something we have in common.”

“Then why come over here? Or are you just here to mock me?”

His smile disappeared. “I’m not mocking you.”

“Sounds like you’re questioning my life choices!”

“No, I’m just asking questions.”

“You just asked why I don’t just wait in England and apply for a position when one was available. You sounded as if you were mocking my choice to come to Chicago first without the job.”

“I was curious, I wasn’t mocking you.”

“Right.” I frowned at him. No longer sure what to say.

There was few moments silence between us before the guy in front of me finally filled it. I was mostly aware that he was just watching me. I was starting to get a little nervous again. Plus, I was starting to realise how strange this interaction was; he came straight over and started to ask questions. He didn’t even introduce himself. I started to realise I should probably leave.

“Do you want another drink?” he asked.

I looked at him, looked deep into those green eyes for a moment, trying to figure him out. When I couldn’t see anything there, I groaned slightly before answering, “No, I don’t want another drink!”

“Okay,” he said, apparently unbothered that I was raising my voice and clearly annoyed with him. Instead he just stood up.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting another drink,” he said, and paused as he stood. I was able to appreciate the bulk of his body and his lovely and clearly expensive suit he wore. It looked black in this light.

“What the hell?” I huffed.

He just frowned at me, as if he was confused by the question.

“You think I want to speak to you again after you insulted me? You didn’t even apologise!”

“I didn’t mean to insult you.”

All I heard was; ‘I’m not apologising’. I laughed, which the guy just gave me a funny look, like he couldn’t tell why I was laughing at him. “You come over here, demanding to know why I am familiar, you probe me with questions, then insult me, and I don’t even know anything about you, not even your name, you didn’t bother to introduce yourself.”

“You didn’t either.”

“I did, I told you my name is Jo.”

“I asked you for your name. You didn’t ask me.”

“What?” I laughed again. And he looked at me strange again.

There was a few moments silence between us. He just stood there staring at me while I was just scowling at him. I didn’t want him to leave, I still found him mysterious. But at the same time, I was annoyed with him for being rude.

“Xander,” he finally said, breaking the silence.

“What?”

“My name; it’s Xander.”

Check out the next chapter!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

I know… I know… finish one you’ve already started, Penny. But I can’t help it! These ideas just come to me in the middle of the night, or maybe while I’m in the shower, or I could be staring into the abyss again and I have to write them down!

Anyway, my feeble excuse out of the way… Have a look-see what I’ve already written. *grin*

NB (updated 10/02/2020):
If you’re new to the story, I added a prologue,
please read it here.

~~~

Chapter 1

I was feeling pretty low when I first met him. I was sat in a bar, wallowing in my own self-pity as I stared into a welcoming glass of rum and coke. I knew ordering a rum and coke was a little immature. A glass of wine would have been more adult-like. Maybe a glass of whiskey to remind me when I lived in Scotland. But fuck it, I was in a bad mood and I actually needed a reminder of my teenage years to lift my mood.

It didn’t. It actually made me feel worse.

I didn’t know at the time why I was low. Realisation came a little while later.

I sighed and looked up from my disastrous drink and scanned the bar. I noticed a couple of lads laughing at something funny while one of them rubbed his face in embarrassment. I wondered what was so funny. Maybe the embarrassed one told a humiliating story and that was why he was red in the face? Or maybe the others were reliving something from another day that the guy didn’t want brought up again for the hundredth time?

My attention then drifted to a young couple who were barely looking at each other. Their faces were almost white from the glow of their phones they were staring into. I snorted as I imagined them either talking to each other via their phones instead of talking across the table, or maybe engaging in a pathetic attempt at advertising their wonderful night out on social media.

I sighed again. This time deeply as I brought my glass up to my lips to take another sip.

As I did so, something had caught my attention. Well, more appropriately; someone. My smile fell from my face. The smile that I didn’t even realise I was wearing until that moment. I realise now that that smile wasn’t a happy smile; it was a bit of a cynical smile from imagining the previous couple having a fake good time on social media.

I noticed I had faltered slightly, the glass raised to my lips but not moving any closer. His eyes only briefly glanced at me, but it was enough to send a curious shock through my body and linger dangerously.

I hadn’t noticed him before now. I don’t tend to notice people right away. My first instinct when I’m walking into a bar on my own is to find a table that is both free and far enough away from too many people. Usually in a corner or by a wall so as to not draw too much attention to myself and so I can sit and people watch. It’s not until I have successfully got a drink and slinked my way onto the table quickly enough that I can relax a little and look around myself.

The group with the curious and allusive embarrassing tale were the first people I properly noticed. The couple were the second. And he was the third.

As soon as I noticed him, however, my attention elsewhere was nearly non-existent. He had a strange air about himself that drew all attention to him the moment you noticed him. Everyone else was just background noise. Or extras in a film. There, but not really important. The main characters were important. It was as if he was the main character in this film.

He was ruggedly handsome. Short dark hair, either dark brown or black, I couldn’t tell in the poor light of the bar. A strong jaw, cleanly shaven, with a curious scar on his thin upper lip. He wore a crisp suit, which was also dark, it could have been black but I wasn’t ruling out any other dark colours. He held himself tall while he took large gulps of a beer. He clearly seemed unbothered by the noise around him. Like he too thought it was unimportant background noise.

I found myself staring. My glass now back on the table, that sip I had been meaning to take was never taken. It had lost its appeal. It was as if the welcoming liquid in the glass held no more significance to me and might as well have been stale water.

I gasped as his eyes flicked to me again. His deep endless green eyes seemed to stare straight into my soul and almost reveal my biggest weakness right before me. I was helpless. I even saw a faint flicker of a smile.

Little did I know, that was the beginning.

I remember reading somewhere once that most women – probably only the straight women – usually go for the tall, muscular men who are confident and powerful because they want a partner who can protect them. I also remember thinking that every time I thought of my Mr Right, he would be tall and muscular too. As well as confident enough to protect me and keep me safe. I knew no one was perfect of course, I was expecting some flaws in my Mr Right. But those were definitely my main requirements.

I’m not saying that guy at the bar was my Mr Right. In fact, I’m certain he wasn’t. Far from it. I imagined my Mr Right as a loving guy, with a wacky sense of humour to make me feel better on my low days, who loved me unconditionally and even enjoyed cuddling – I know, cliché much! The guy at the bar didn’t even strike me as that sort of guy. Even then, on that first day I met him. I couldn’t imagine him wanting to cuddle or even having any form of sense of humour. But Mr Right was suddenly forgotten about. Especially when the Mr Most Probably Wrong stood up and walked right over to my table.

“Have we met before?” he asked. His voice as deeply masculine as his features. The now familiar American accent I had gotten used to boomed in front of me. Even his voice sent an involuntary shiver down my spine. I should have realised then that I shouldn’t engage in any form of conversation with him. He was entrancing and it was dangerous.

But of course, I couldn’t help myself; “No,” was the only thing I could say. Unable to string a few words together to complete a sentence.

I was happy enough to know I spoke the right word; I didn’t know him. I was certain I’d remember him if I had ever seen him before.

He watched me for a few seconds. His gaze had some sort of superpower as I felt the hairs on my arms start to raise.

“Are you sure?” he was stern and commanding.

“Yes,” I uttered another single syllable word.

“What’s your name?” he practically ordered. It wasn’t really a question; it was a demand.

I remember thinking that I shouldn’t answer. I shouldn’t give him my name. I didn’t know this man. What if he was a serial killer looking for his next victim? But of course, my lips seemed to move on their own accord; “Jo.”

“Tell me, Jo,” he started. I was unable to read any emotion on his face or his voice. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was currently incapable of reading people or if it was him. “Why do you look familiar to me?”

“I… I don’t know,” I stuttered. Well, at least it was better than a single syllable word.

He seemed to watch me again for a few painfully long seconds and I could feel my palms getting sweaty. He seemed dissatisfied with my answer. As if it was my fault he couldn’t figure out why I looked familiar to him.

“Sorry,” I uttered involuntary to break the uncomfortable silence between us. The background bar noise didn’t even register to me by this point.

For the first time I saw his face move, other than his lips. His right eyebrow rose. “What are you sorry for?”

“For…” I paused. What was I sorry for? “For not being much help.”

“I don’t know…” Another movement, this time a small smile. A smile that made you falsely believe you were in safe hands. “I still think you can.” He suddenly plopped himself down in the chair opposite me uninvited and took a swig of the beer he was holding. The beer I’d only just noticed he even had.

Click here for the next chapter!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

Psychopath-2 (2)