Maybe by Christmas? A FREE 15 minute story

 

Copyright © 2017 by Kris Pearson

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the US Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior permission of the author.

Note from Kris: When I started writing the Wellington Series I decided to make my city the link between the different novels and to keep the stories intensely focused on one couple at a time. This year I thought it would be fun to write a prequel to introduce you to at least one of the characters from each book and to show you how their lives do indeed interweave.

This free fifteen minute read starts in the New Zealand spring, with many of my people yearning for better lives than they’re currently living. Maybe by Christmas there’ll have their happiness…

***********

     Rafe Severino squared his shoulders and glanced around the gathering in the opulent upper-floor dining room of the Wakefield Club. The heady scents of assorted perfumes and colognes warred with vases of fragrant freesias, and the heating was turned up too high. At least the guest speaker should be interesting. Otherwise the same old faces were illuminated by the same old chandeliers, including that of his about-to-be ex-wife, Faye.

     What a disaster Faye had been. No sooner had he slipped the very expensive rings on her finger than she’d made it abundantly plain family life was not for her – yet. She loved being a decorator. Adored looking after her clients and impressing them. And took to spending his money like a duck to water.

     But children? Why would she want them spoiling her glamorous life so soon? Not to mention ruining her svelte figure. That’s the way her story had gone for several years, and Rafe now knew it was never going to change. Was she so devious or had he simply been too hopeful she was the woman who’d want to build a family with him? A better family than the sorry combination of distant parents and estranged brothers he’d been landed with?

     Today Faye had one of her protégées in tow – a quiet, dark-haired girl in a grey dress – no doubt intended as the ideal contrast to her own flamboyant persona. Rafe collected a whiskey from the bar, swallowed half of it, and went to meet her anyway.

     “Darling!” she exclaimed, as though there was no bad blood between them, no divorce being negotiated. “I don’t think you’ve met Jetta Rivers. Jetta, this is my handsome husband, Rafe.”

     He grimaced at the ‘husband’ tag. Husband in name only, and not for much longer.

     The girl bobbed her head. “I’ve seen you sometimes in the studio, but my desk is way down the back.”

     Rafe grinned at that. She was pretty. Of course Faye would position her well out of sight so she was no competition. He took a much smaller sip of the whiskey. “Yes – but not often lately.”

     “Poor Rafe is so busy with his super-yachts,” Faye purred.

     “And the house, I suppose,” the girl said, glancing up at him. “Mrs Severino showed us all the plans once it was under way.”

     “Not your sort of place, is it Jetta?” Faye suggested, flashing her over-smoky eyes in Rafe’s direction. “Jetta specialises in heritage décor. The big old traditional homes. All the original colonial features and so on.”

     Rafe took another sip of his drink. Faye didn’t want his children so she’d never get to share the house. Her dream house.

     She pursed her lips. “And of course ours is cutting edge modern.”

     “Ours?” Rafe couldn’t help quirking an eyebrow and putting some steel into his query.

     “Well, yours really, darling,” she replied, apparently unfazed by his correction, and adding no further explanation to Jetta except, “he’s spending absolutely squillions on it.”

     The girl had the sense not to comment on that. Or maybe she was genuinely not impressed.

     Faye thrust her empty glass toward Rafe. “Get me another one, sweetie?”

     How had he not registered her endless demands much earlier? The way she’d taken him for granted and tried to treat him like a biddable servant. He stared her down, still fuming about the ‘husband’ claim and furious about the crass ‘squillions’ comment. Not even a ‘please’ on the end of her carelessly flung request.

     “I’m sure Howard will be thrilled to see you again,” he said, angling his chin in the direction of the bow-tied barman.

     Faye made a little moue with her scarlet lips. “No need to be so unkind, darling. You keep Jetta amused for a few minutes then.” She turned away, slim hips twitching with every step, and her Louboutin pumps flashing their lipstick-red soles to match her suit.

     He looked down at the girl again. She seemed calm and composed, despite the occasion and the possibly daunting guest list. Rafe was used to women flirting and simpering, and supposed the whole rigmarole would start up again once word got around he was ‘available’. She was a refreshing change, but she wasn’t radiating sexual attraction. Indeed, rather the opposite. “You enjoy working for Faye?” he asked.

     The girl looked even more discomfited. “Well, yes. It’s been good. But I won’t be there much longer. My grandmother is far from well, and really not able to look after herself any longer. I spend a lot of nights not in my flat so I can keep an eye on her. I need to be more flexible. Get her some extra care. Do some of my work from home.” She raised her wineglass to her apricot-glossed lips.

     He nodded slowly. It was good to find someone young with such devotion to her family. Exactly the kind of girl he should have chosen. Maybe by Christmas he’d have the right mind-set to start searching again.

     “So you’ll establish a studio of your own?”

     She swallowed and shrugged. “Probably, but please don’t tell Faye. In fact there are a couple of us making plans.”

     The corners of Rafe’s mouth quirked. “No great surprise. She gets through staff like other people get through popcorn.”

     “She’s very good at what she does, though,” the girl said in Faye’s defence, and then added, “But not so easy to work for.”

     He took another sip of his whiskey. He’d almost finished it, and the ice cubes rattled and slid against the sides of the glass. “So you’re teaming up with someone?”

     She shook her head. “No, on my own is best right now. I’ve been collecting private clients on the side. That probably sounds terrible, but the situation with my grandmother really is making things very difficult.”

     Rafe glanced across the room. Faye now had her new glass of wine, and several men hanging on her every word. “Then good luck,” he said. “If you attack it with plenty of energy I’m sure you’ll be fine. I had nothing behind me when I started. Just a burning desire to succeed, and the willingness to put in the hours and make the most of opportunities.”

     “Yes,” she agreed. “I’m determined.”

     “So who else is planning to go?” Not that he gave a damn, but he couldn’t leave her standing there alone, and at least it was something to talk about.

     “Sophie,” she said. “She’s been there quite a while.”

     He recalled a pretty little blonde with a shy smile. “I presume she doesn’t have a grandmother to take care of?”

     “No.” Jetta shook her head. “She has a young–”

     “Rafe m’boy!” boomed City Councillor Ian Gordon as he strode up, hand out to be shaken. “Just the man I wanted.”

     Rafe lost the rest of the girl’s reply as Councillor Gordon realised he’d interrupted and began to apologise profusely.

*

     Jetta took a couple of steps away and left the men to their conversation. Councillor Gordon was a teddy bear, but Rafe was overpowering. Faye had been right when she’d described him as her ‘handsome husband’. She couldn’t imagine surviving alone with him for much longer. He was too tall and too broad-shouldered. His cheekbones were high, his nose blade-straight, and his bronzed skin gave him an exotic air. Severino might be an Italian name but she’d bet a week’s salary he had some darker blood, too. Maybe New Zealand Maori, because his hair was thick and black and his eyes were the colour of well-roasted coffee beans. He was a total hunk.

     She clenched her hands until her nails started to bite her palms. The feeling of helplessness still swamped her when she least expected it. Of course she was safe – here in such a big gathering, with her boss and so many leaders of the business community in attendance. She’d recognised Councillor Gordon from a recent interview on TV. And she suspected the shorter but slightly American-sounding man a few feet away was the financier Mike Ellison – a hot-shot investor who’d recently returned to Wellington after making a killing in New York. His wife had visited the studio recently. Bella. Jetta remembered the almost-rhyming Bella-Ella start of her name.

     She backed away a few more steps and tilted the last of her wine up. There seemed to be plenty of it on offer so she wandered slowly across to the bar and waited until the barman was free. “Another Sauvignon Blanc, please.”

     “Coming right up,” he assured her, making a dramatic production of pouring it. “I haven’t seen you here before, have I?” He had that intimate, cosy manner of older gay men. It wasn’t the bow tie or the way his long white shirt sleeves were held up with expanding metal bands above his elbows, although maybe both were a little eccentric. Jetta remembered her grandfather wearing bands like those. The barman’s eyes twinkled from under carefully trimmed brows, and his expression was just a little too enquiring.

     She couldn’t help smiling back. “No – I came with my boss. She said it would do me good to make some more contacts.”

     “And let me guess,” he said with slight sibilance. “That would be the lovely Mrs Severino? She’s a great one for networking.”

     Jetta took a sip of her wine. “I’m sure she’s right. She’s very successful. But how did you know?”

     The barman tapped the side of his nose. “I see a lot more than people expect. To them, I’m just Howard the barman. To me, they’re a never-ending parade of fascination.”

     She laughed at that, because yes – she was an observer, too. How could she feel perfectly comfortable with this stranger, yet so on edge and sometimes downright terrified when alone with young, attractive, obviously heterosexual men?

     Because of Uncle Graham, of course. The man who’d touched her and scared her witless when she was younger. Disgusting, pudgy, onion-breathed Uncle Graham – who had disappeared from her life the moment her parents found out what he’d been doing, but not before he’d ripped a huge bleeding gash in her confidence.

     Jetta was healing, but it was slow. Her flatmates, Hallie and Bren, were determined to help her with their cheerful encouragement and sociable company. Maybe by Christmas she might be ready to try dating again?

*

     Journalist Kerri Lush moved from foot to slightly sore foot as she willed the pedestrian signal to change. Wellington was in the grip of an early spring southerly, and the keen breeze from Antarctica threaded itself in under the collar of her jacket, around her knees in the gap between her boots and skirt, and over her fingers as they clutched her briefcase.

     Should have worn gloves and a scarf. Bet it’s going to snow!

     For sure that would make something to write about, but given that the hills around the city attracted only the lightest of dustings every three or four years, the odds were against any snow this week. Or this year. Yet another bet she’d lose.

     At least the fancy lunch was free – a tiny respite for her depleted finances. Once again she’d gambled all her spare cash away. And she was running late. Or hobbling late, thanks to the ridiculously high heels on her boots. Being barely five feet tall, Kerri always tried to gain extra height.

     Bet the main speaker starts before I get there. Bet I’ll end up sitting beside the bore of the year.

     Finally the signal changed to green and she hoofed it across the street and in through the hard-to-push front doors of the Wakefield Club. They sprang back on their too-stiff springs and almost knocked the briefcase out of her hand.

     “Bugger!” she exclaimed, rubbing her knuckles. “Ow…”

     Bet that’ll leave a bruise.

     She stared at the directory board in the lobby. The function she’d been allocated to cover was upstairs. Casting a glance at the very grand staircase with its ornate bannisters, and giving her knuckles another rub, she started to climb.

     How interesting could she make an American specialist on climate change sound? Hadn’t everyone heard it all before? Things like rising sea levels and melting ice and polar bears losing their habitat… low-lying islands needing to be evacuated… crops growing badly because the weather was becoming too hot? Could she put a local twist on any of that? Not a hope.

     As she climbed, she unbuttoned her jacket because at least it was nice and warm inside the Wakefield Club. She paused at the entrance to the big room. Quite a crowd, and there were faces she recognised from other assignments. Rafe Severino, the boat builder who’d done very well for himself indeed. If he was here, his bitchy decorator wife would be lurking somewhere, too.

     And dear old Councillor Ian Gordon, frowning as he tucked his phone back into a pocket. He snagged her gaze and mimed drinking.

     Kerri nodded with enthusiasm. “Anything white,” she said as she drew near. “You’re not looking quite your usual cheery self. Everything okay?” It was amazing what people told you if you sounded genuinely interested in them.

     He took a deep breath and pressed his lips together for a couple of seconds. “Not entirely. Our speaker isn’t going to make it. That damned ash cloud has delayed his plane. I don’t know why they didn’t let us know earlier.”

     “So…?” Kerri asked, accepting her drink and sending him a grateful smile.

     “So it’ll have to be me, unless anyone else volunteers.” He took a sip of his scotch on the rocks. “Still, good stories are everywhere in our city. The Zealandia sanctuary is going from strength to strength, for instance. That pest-proof fence is worth every penny they raised.”

     “Or every million,” Kerri agreed with a grin.

     “The native birds are spreading out for miles,” he said, tipping his glass up again. “And you can’t put a price on that.”

     “I’d like to shoot some of them,” she muttered, sampling her wine. “The ones that start gargling and clicking about four o’clock every morning. Tui?”

     “Tui,” he confirmed. “Amazing song.”

     “And the ones that fly over quite late at night screeching to each other.”

     “Kaka, I think. Big dark brown parrots. Absolute coup to have them doing so well. Have you seen the Kereru signs?”

     Kerri shook her head. “We get Kereru on the power lines outside our flat. At least they’re not noisy. What do the signs say?”

     Councillor Gordon licked his lips. “Slow for Kereru,” he said with evident satisfaction. “Those poor old wood pigeons take off about as fast as fully laden bombers, and they’re in danger of being hit.”

     “Euw!” Kerri exclaimed. “I bet they’re heavy enough to go through windscreens. I could give that a bit of publicity if you like?”

(And guess what I just found in the local paper!)

     He nodded agreement. “And I can tell them about next time’s speaker, because that’s really good news. Foreign chap has just bought our old Onslow-Smith building. Doing a big renovation and renaming it after his mother, so that’s freed up a few millions for other projects.”

     “No worries about foreign ownership?” Kerri asked. Maybe a story had just dropped into her lap?

     “He’s half Kiwi,” Councillor Gordon said. “So it’s not a problem. He’s some sort of anti-gambling crusader.”

     “Ah,” she said, switching off. He’d be the last person she’d ever want to interview.

*

     Nick Sharpe’s keen gaze swept across the big room like a searchlight. He was in a hurry, as usual. Too much to do, too many places to be, and never enough time for all of them. Hearing his PA was pregnant had really put a dent in his day. Tyler was the best assistant he’d ever had. Nothing had been too much trouble or too difficult for her, and he didn’t relish having to find a replacement.

     His chain of fitness centres was poised to expand into Australia. After that, North America. Nick pushed himself every moment of every day, dividing his time between local, national, and now international projects for BodyWork. And the house. The vast old wreck of a house on the cliff top he was having restored. It was a total money-pit, but the view of the sea had grabbed him by the throat when he’d first seen it and all rational thought had fled.

     Nick’s attention landed briefly on several of the younger women in the room and then travelled past them. No flickers of attraction. A sense of unease had recently started to drag at his heels. Something was wrong. Something was missing, and he had no clue what it could be.

     “Beer thanks, Howard,” he said, catching the barman’s eye. “A Stella?”

     “Coming right up.”

     “Busy today,” he said as he accepted the bottle.

     “A few new faces,” Howard agreed, turning back to continue chatting with a girl in a grey dress. Not Nick’s type, and he never needed to initiate pursuits anyway, so he returned his alert gaze out across the room. On the far side, the architect who was remodelling the house stood talking to another man.

     Nick strode across. “Anton. Good to see you again.”

     “Likewise,” Anton said, smiling broadly and raising his glass of Shiraz in a salute. “All good?”

     “Now that planning permission has finally come through,” Nick agreed.

     “Nick Sharpe – Jake Benson,” Anton said. “Another client, so watch your tongue.”

     Nick grinned and took a swig of beer. “What are you building?”

     “Nothing yet,” Jake said. “Haven’t even demolished what’s on the site. A huge old timber mansion in a very sad condition. Carved up badly for rental units, and then neglected for years. Great views across the inlet, but it’s facing the wrong way.”

     “Jeez, mine too. That’s what Anton’s doing for me. Putting a big new living area on the end that looks out to Kapiti Island, and kind of turning the rest of the place around.”

     Anton took a mouthful of his wine, and swallowed. “Jake and his business partner are redeveloping. Planning to replace the oldie with several very classy new homes. Really good piece of land.”

     “Yeah….” Jake said, dragging the word out.

     Nick heard his frustration all too clearly, and wondered what was wrong.

     “Be good if the aforementioned partner’s wife could get her head out of the sand and start being reasonable,” Jake added.

     “Women,” Anton agreed. “Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.”

     “Haven’t heard you complaining about anyone in particular?” Nick queried.

     Anton shook his head. “Been a little busy getting a new apartment block organised on my own account. The ladies have had to wait.”

     “You mean you’ve had to wait.”

     “Also true,” Anton agreed with a wry grin. “But it’ll be worth it. Maybe by Christmas.”

     “Starting or finishing then?”

     “Finishing? I wish!” He took a swig of his wine. “Starting. Plans are done; still negotiating on the land. Playing a waiting game there. And I’m working in the Aussie office for the next few weeks, so that’s delaying things, too. No – I meant it’ll be Christmas before romance gets a look-in.”

     “Romaaaance…” Nick said, drawing the word out as though it was a joke. “Good luck with that, buddy. Hope you find a total Christmas cracker.”

     The others laughed, and then Jake said, “We’ve made a start on our demolition anyway. The recyclers are removing any remaining original features that are still okay. I want to use the place for a big fundraiser before we finally bowl it.”

     “Funds for what?” Nick asked, tipping his beer up.

     “Leukaemia research.”

     “Ahhh…”

     There was an awkward pause. “So what are you planning?” Anton finally asked.

     Jake gave a grim smile. “One hell of a party for one hell of a price. Let the guests wreck the rest of the place if they want to. Go for broke. Big marquee and expensive caterers. Masks and fancy dress. A really good band…”

     “Sounds like my sort of shindig,” someone said behind them.

     “Fancy dress?” Nick asked doubtfully as he stepped aside to make room.

     “Only need some teeth and a tux to turn into a vampire. I’m Mike Ellison,” the man added, joining their circle.  Hands were shaken.

     “Fancy dress…” Anton repeated, also without enthusiasm.

     “Always wanted to be a pirate,” Jake said. “The full deal. Braided jacket, three-cornered hat. One night only, and anything goes.”

     Anton smirked at that. “Masks could be fun. Very Carnivale – the way Venice does it. People misbehaving everywhere.”

     “Now you’re talking,” Nick said, upending his Stella. “When’s it happening?”

     Jake shook his head. “Still in the planning stages. Better wait for early summer if we want the girls in skimpy costumes.”

     The four men nodded, picturing harem girls and Playboy bunnies and Victoria’s Secret models.

*

     “Who said ‘skimpy costumes’?” a woman asked, threading her arm through Nick’s. “Hello Mr Muscles.”

     “Bloody hell, Mel – you make me sound like a bottle of floor cleaner,” he complained, glancing down at the long-haired blonde. “You know everyone? Melanie Kennedy Anderson, CEO of CustomAir – my architect, Anton Haviland; one of his other clients, Jake Benson; and Mike…?”

     “Mike Ellison. Ellison Carpenter Finance.”

     “Yep, sorry, should have remembered.”

     Melanie grinned. “Your brain’s fogged up with visions of half-naked girls by the sound of things.”

     “But for a very good cause,” Nick assured her. “You’d be a starter, Mel. A really big party to raise funds for Leukaemia research? Fancy dress, masks so you can misbehave as much as you like, all you can eat and drink?”

     Melanie slowly closed her eyes. “I’m not quite ready for misbehaving, Nick. It’s too soon after Rob.”

     He bent and kissed her hair. “Jeez, sorry Mel. That’s both my feet in the mire now. I wasn’t thinking at all.”

     “My husband died three months ago,” she said to the other men. “A diving accident. Umm – scuba diving, not skydiving. Nothing to do with our planes, thank heavens.”

     “Can I get you a drink to make up for that?” Nick asked.

     “A big glass of tonic water and ice,” Mel suggested, releasing his arm, and feeling, rather than seeing, his enquiring glance. No, she wasn’t off alcohol because her husband had left her pregnant, more’s the pity.  At thirty-three, Mel had pretty much everything she wanted and needed except children. A home worth millions. The small private airline that her late father had established and which she’d inherited. A full, busy, satisfying life that most people would be envious of.

     Rob’s untimely death had been a total shock, but it was her own traitorous body that was letting her down, not that Nick needed to know that. Rob’s tests showed he could have re-populated the whole of Wellington without breaking a sweat, whereas she had to suffer endless prodding and procedures – so far without her longed-for happy result. How cruel he’d died right then, just as her medical specialists were finally sounding more optimistic.

     “You’ll certainly raise money with a party like that,” she said to Jake. “I can’t think when I last went to a true masked party. Not in New Zealand, anyway. I could buy a ticket to support the cause, and in the unlikely event I decided to attend, I might dress up as…” She tilted her head on one side. “As a naughty air hostess, maybe. In the company uniform with the hem way short and a glimpse of stocking tops. Might as well do a bit of promotion on the side.”

     Nick overhead as he returned with her drink, and grinned at the glazed expressions on the other men’s faces. “You never miss a trick, do you, Mel? So you think I should go in my BodyWork shorts and tank?”

     “Lose the tank. Wear your chest and shoulders instead,” she teased.

     Nick shook his head as the other men guffawed.

     “No point having a body like yours and not showing it off,” she added, linking her arm through his again. “I could bring my chief pilot, Cody – also without his shirt. Give you a bit of competition. He and Rob, side by side with their wetsuits peeled down to their waists, looked very tasty indeed.”

     “How can women get away with comments like that about their staff when men can’t?” Anton asked, narrowing his eyes.

     Mel smirked. “Cody? He’s doing half the women in the city. I don’t think he’d notice.” She took a sip of her tonic water, blinking at the hissing bubbles as the men laughed again.

     Cody. Yes, she had plans for tall, dark and gorgeous Cody. Nothing he’d be expecting, for sure. It was too early yet, but maybe by Christmas?

*

     Rafe set his glass – empty except for ice-cubes – on the window ledge and enjoyed a moment of peace. He might be safe with another small whiskey, but there was no point risking a drink/driving charge for the sake of a warm buzz in his body. They’d be serving lunch in a few minutes, anyway.

     The harbour looked good under the spring sun – ruffled by whitecaps from the chilly southerly breeze, and a sparkling contrast to the dark green hills that surrounded it. On the far side, luxurious houses with wide city outlooks climbed the slopes of Mount Victoria. He’d chosen to build his spectacular home further south – close to the harbour entrance, and with a view of much wilder water and deserted hills. A boy born and brought up in remote countryside never lost that love for nature.

     He sensed someone approaching and turned to find Christian Hartley. Chris had financial interests all around the Pacific, but his money was no guarantee of happiness.

     Rafe nodded in greeting, and Christian set his wine beside Rafe’s empty glass. “Can I get you another?”

     “Had enough for today, thanks. Busy afternoon coming up.” And then he asked, knowing the answer already, “How’s Jan doing now?”

     Christian shook his head.

     The two friends stared out over the harbour together, and Chris eventually said, “Her sister’s coming home soon. It’s just a matter of time. And probably not much time.”

     They stood in silence a little longer. “I want peace for her, but I also want to keep her with us.” Chris clenched his jaw.

     Rafe easily saw how much those few words had cost him. “Yeah…. I’m so sorry, man. And on another topic entirely, although not really, Faye and I are finished. I’ve called it a day.”

     Chris picked up his wine and put it down again. “Jeez, both of us. Wasn’t expecting that. At least Jan and I have little Nic. I’ve no idea in the world how I’m going to explain things to her when the time comes, but a piece of Jan will live on with me.”

     Rafe grimaced. “Faye never wanted children. Didn’t tell me that for several years. Wasted time.” He tried not to sound bitter, and feared he was failing miserably. He wasn’t coping with anything nearly as tough as Chris, but it still hurt like hell.

     They both stared straight ahead until Rafe’s phone signalled an incoming text. He dug in his pocket. “Mind if I check it?”

     Christian seemed lost in thought. He shook his head.

     Confirmation of a huge contract for a billionaire based in Hong Kong. Any other day he’d have shared the news about the beautiful craft his northern boatyard would be building, but not today. He took a deep breath and picked up his glass. “However tough things are now, they have to get back to normal eventually.”

     “At least Nic’s old enough to get excited by Santa and decorations this time,” Chris agreed. “That’ll help me through. But as for getting over Jan… Going to take forever.”

     “To Christmas then,” Rafe said, tipping his glass up and draining the trickle of melted ice with its faint flavour of whiskey. “And new beginnings when we’re ready.”

*********************

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to some of the characters in my Wellington series.

 THE BOAT BUILDER’S BED is Rafe’s story. http://krispearson.com/the-boat-builders-bed

You’ll read how he finishes his magnificent house and finds the ideal woman to share the rest of his life with – although not without a big upset along the way.

 

SEDUCTION ON THE CARDS is Kerri’s book. How does a girl with a gambling problem ever gain credibility? Especially with a gorgeous French anti-gambling crusader? http://krispearson.com/seduction-on-the-cards

 

RESISTING NICK takes you into fitness guru Nick’s busy world. Will his new PA manage to slow him down? Sex him up? Or will she refuse what he might (or might not) be offering? http://krispearson.com/resisting-nick

 

OUT OF BOUNDS is Jetta’s story. And Anton’s story. They were in the same room and never knew it. Wait until they find they’re expected to share the same house. And the same bed. http://krispearson.com/out-of-bounds

 

THE WRONG SISTER is the next part of Christian’s life. Can he get past his grief over Jan and find eventual happiness? It’s too soon, and she’s the wrong one, and… http://krispearson.com/the-wrong-sister

 

Leading on from this is the Christmas novella SANTA CLAWS – Christian’s older brother, and his tricky predicament. You’ll also get further glimpses into Chris’s life. http://krispearson.com/santa-claws-a-christmas-novella

 

RAVISHING ROSE http://krispearson.com/ravishing-rose is where party pirate Jake gets his fancy costume on, and his rocks off. This naughty shortie novella is available separately, or…

 

…as a bonus with HOT FOR YOU. Airline heiress Melanie has plans for her chief pilot, Cody. Naughty plans. http://krispearson.com/hot-for-you-games-for-two

 

Some of these characters will also have small roles in my current series. The Scarlet Bay romances take you north of Wellington to a holiday beach where the sun always shines and the beds are always bouncing. Hope you’ll join me there.

And finally – please don’t try and review this story. I’ll be keeping it as a free treat for you through my website or newsletter, so it won’t be available to buy anywhere. However, reviews for any of my other books are greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance for helping me this way.

Kris.