Check out the blurb and a small excerpt below.
Marcus Harding is eighteen, English, hot and rich. He can have any girl he wants just with the snap of his fingers. But when Victoria Hart walks in to his life he has to work hard to possess her.
Victoria is damaged after being raped at her last sixth form school and does not trust men anymore. Marcus is eager to show her he is different and more than worthy of her trust and attention. He is given the chance to prove himself when the boys who attacked Victoria come to exact their revenge and she is kidnapped by a mysterious gang snatching girls off the street.
Marcus has to use all of his power, strength, guile and cunning to find Victoria and protect her from the men who hunt her and those who would abuse and traffic her as a sex slave before they can be together.
First Contact Excerpt
Victoria moved backwards as I climbed in to the room. Immediately sensing her sudden unease I stopped mid way, one foot on the black velvet padded chair she had placed under the window to assist me. I opened my mouth to say something reassuring when I caught sight of the long silk cerise curtains tied back at either sides of the window. I hadn’t taken Victoria for a pink girl. Raising one eyebrow in surprise at the bright colour I stepped down off the chair deciding to take the plunge and just go in to the room. She wasn’t changing her mind and objecting to me being there she just seemed a little nervous.
But Victoria took another step back when I stepped on to the floor of the bedroom with both feet. I stood my ground but remained still letting her get used to a man being in her room for the first time. Nervously she tapped her index finger against her thigh. She looked terrified and for a second I thought she was going to ask me to leave. Perhaps I should have offered to. I opened my mouth to speak but she interrupted me as though she already knew what I was about to say.
“No, please stay. I’m sorry. It’s just the first time I have had a boy in my room since it happened. I don’t want you to leave. Please stay,” her last sentence was a plea.
Smiling I nodded and watched her visibly relax.
“I like the décor,” I said quickly searching for something to say. I cast my eyes around the room and nodded with approval. It was lame but it was a start.
Three of the walls were decorated with stylish black wallpaper coloured with large flowers in the same cerise as the curtains. Across from the window sitting on a beech wood floor was a white wood frame holding up a Kingsize bed. Covering the bed there was a black silk duvet with pillowcases to match. To brighten the black covers a collection of bright cerise velvet cushions lay fashionably arranged on top back against the pillows.
Black and white accessories littered the large square room. There were some photographs on one of the white nightstands positioned on either side of the bed. I presumed they were of family members, the largest being of her late mother. Three black frames above the bed housed black and white photographs of Paris.
“Thanks. I am glad you like it. I am usually beige, white and more beige in my taste but my Aunt persuaded me to take a chance this time. She did it for me. She is an interior designer with her own business.”
The room was chic, flamboyant, Parisian. The more I looked at it the more I liked it. I decided to take a chance and move away from the window. Victoria had to get used to my presence moving around the room if she wanted me to stay. Moving slowly I approached the bed and leaned over to look at one of the photographs of Paris.
“Did you take these?” I asked genuinely believing she had done.
I hadn’t missed the professional looking Nikon camera on the large white dressing table on the wall in front of the bed.
“Yes, last year,” she beamed. “Aunt Tilda took me to Paris for a week in the summer. I love taking photographs. My Dad reckons I have a good eye for a photo. I’m not so sure though,” she bowed her head embarrassed. “I just like taking pics.”
“They look great. I agree with him and I like the black and white theme.”
Steadying my hand on the bed frame I leaned in to get a better look. My hand brushed one of the pillows. When I glanced back at her she was staring at my hand. I guess I was too close to the bed and all it implied between us in any future we had together and all the fear she had to overcome.
I was determined not to allow her to continue being frightened with me. I ignored her staring and deliberately kept my hand on the rail, leaning on the pillow as I continued to study the impressive photographs she had taken. I wasn’t running out of there or from what was building between us. Victoria’s pain was not going to make me run scared. Somebody needed to help her navigate it so she could come out of the other side whole again and I was going to make damn sure it was me. I would help her to realize she could trust me and I would be there for her. It was going to take work and time but I knew the effort would be more than worthwhile.
Victoria took a breath and to my surprise she finally moved away from the closed door she had backed up to. She sat down on the stool next to her dressing table.
Victoria moved a strand of blonde hair from her forehead and I noticed her hand was trembling. I straightened and sighed.
“We aren’t going to get very far if you are going to be frightened of me being here. I don’t bite,” I joked looking directly at her.
She gave me a nervous twitching smile.
“You don’t need to apologise,” I said softly. “Listen, I will sleep on the chair or the floor.”
“That’s hardly fair,” she piped up.
“It sounds fine to me,” I told her dragging the padded chair from under the window to a safe discreet distance from the side of the bed and sat down.
“What about watching some TV? Maybe a late night movie before we sleep?” I suggested folding my arms as I nodded my head in the direction of the TV placed on a white chest of drawers next to a desk. I slid down in the chair and stretched out my long legs in front of me to indicate I was comfortable and had no intention of moving.
Victoria was watching my every move with guarded attention. But now she moved slowly from the stool to sit on the end of the bed nearest the chair. On her way over she picked up the remote on the TV and aimed it at the screen. It flickered in to life.
“Do you like the SyFy channel?” Victoria questioned me in a small voice.
“Love it. Especially those dodgy B-movies they show.”
She laughed and I felt the tension in the room ease a touch.
“Me too. I think Stonados is on tonight.”
“I haven’t seen that one. What about Sharknado? Seen any of them?”
“Yeah. They are hilarious. As Syfy would say they are terribly good movies,” she laughed changing the channel.
Victoria leaned back on her arms and I smiled to myself. She was becoming more comfortable by the minute. I watched Stonados for a few minutes laughing along with Victoria at the people having large boulders from a tornado crash in to them with force cutting them off in the middle of their speech. Every now and again I glanced at Victoria out of the corner of my eye just to make sure she was still comfortable having me around. To my relief she appeared to be fully relaxing a long last.
“Do you want a drink or anything?” she asked. “I could sneak one up. My Aunt will be up for ages yet. She sits with a bottle of wine in front of the TV and falls asleep.”
“No, thanks. I am fine. Why don’t you get ready for bed,” I ventured. “It is getting late.” I looked at my watch to emphasise the point. It was now after midnight.
“I might just stay dressed,” she told me quickly.
I raised an eyebrow in surprise.
“Really? You should be comfortable. You have to trust me. I will stay in this chair and not move. I promise,” I encouraged.
Victoria gathered a piece of the duvet up in her hand and smoothed her thumb over the material. She bowed her head.
“I am trying. I promise. It doesn’t seem like it but I am.”
She sounded defeated.
“Prove it then. Get changed and get in to bed,” I challenged with an upbeat tone.
She stared at me then took a breath as though to steel herself.
“Ok. I will.”
Victoria let go of the duvet and stood up with a look of determination on her face. She opened a drawer and pulled out some pyjamas.
“I won’t be a minute.” She opened the door to the ensuite bathroom. “Don’t go anywhere.”
“I will be here.”
Victoria closed the bathroom door and I turned my eyes back to the TV to patiently wait for her return. I was in new territory with Victoria. I had never had to work so hard in getting a girl to trust me. Girls had never hesitated in being with me. I would merely have to click my fingers and she would be underneath me in my bed or she wasn’t in my life. This was a new game. Maybe game was the wrong word. This was no game – not to me and not to Victoria. I was taking our connection seriously but I was having to play it by ear and wing it, fielding every fear Victoria had of me as a man and dissolve it to dust.
This girl was spectacular. Not only was Victoria gorgeous she was challenging. She pushed my buttons and made me work for the honey. A maelstrom of feelings had attacked me all in the space of one day of being with her. She made me feel awe, confusion, frustration, strongly protective, loving, caring, stuff I didn’t even realise I was capable of feeling but for all that she was and the man she was changing me in to. Life around Victoria wasn’t frivolous. It was coming to mean something.
The bathroom door opened interrupting my thoughts. Victoria emerged from it in a grey vest top and grey pj trousers. She’d cleaned the make-up from her face and tied her blonde curls back from her face. It made her look soft and vulnerable. I couldn’t help but stare and admire her beauty. She busied herself opening her cupboard to retrieve a blanket. She pulled a pillow off the bed and handed it to me with the cashmere blanket.
“There is a spare toothbrush unopened in on the sink. I left it out for you if you want it,” she said gently. “I have also left you a towel out if you want a shower or anything.”
Taking my cue I stood up.
“Yes. Thanks. Get yourself in to bed,” I told her softly running the back of my hand soothingly down her bare arm. She nodded and with a half smile backed away to the bed. I walked to the bathroom and glanced back to see her lifting up the duvet to get in.
The bathroom was spacious. As I brushed my teeth I looked around the room. Victoria liked to take care of herself I thought with approval. Bottles of skin care cream, body lotion and shower oil covered the small glass shelf above the sink. I picked a Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin shower oil up and examined it and sniffed it wondering if it was responsible for the fresh citrus scent covering her skin all the time.
When I came out of the bathroom Victoria was sitting up in bed watching the TV. She gave me a nervous glance. I opened my mouth to speak when I paused hearing a noise outside. It sounded as though someone was walking on the gravel drive. Victoria’s face paled as we listened to the footsteps out of the still open window letting the warm late summer air travel inside.
I put my hand up to halt her movement when she tried to leave the bed and then to my lips to beckon her silence. Quickly I walked towards the window and hid from view at the side of the curtains. Peering down in to the darkness only vaguely lit by one lamp I could have sworn I saw the shadow of a male figure disappearing out of the gates at the bottom of the drive. My first thoughts were of Harrison but I couldn’t be sure. I checked the rest of the drive hearing no more noises and watched for a moment. Nothing. Somebody had definitely been there.
Victoria was breathing hard when I turned back to her.
“They have gone. I couldn’t see much. There was a shadow but they went out of the drive.”
She looked terrified. I bent over her and lifted her face up towards me feeling her tremble.
“Relax. You are safe,” I whispered in a calm even voice to soothe her fear. “I am here, remember and I will be with you all night. I meant what I said, I will protect you.”