The Wrong Sister
Now in print and ebook.
A tender, sexy 'second chances' story of family relationships and long-time unrequited love.
Attraction explodes between Fiona and Christian when they met on the day he marries Jan, her beloved sister. The only way Fiona has coped is by hiding on the far side of the world. The only way Christian has coped is by leaving on business whenever she visits her family back home in New Zealand.
After five long, frustrating years Fiona has the heart-wrenching six-week assignment of caring for newly widowed Christian and his tiny daughter. Their mutual love and respect for Jan holds them apart. Will their lost love ever be given a second chance?
Billionaire Christian would rather spend time with anyone except the tempting woman who reminds him so much of his cherished wife. But Fiona has leave from her cruise-liner job and seems determined to do her family duty. Passion and temptation simmer between them as they get to know each other again. This sensual feel-good romance novel is heart-warming, steamy and bittersweet. How can craving the wrong sister feel so right?
WARNING: Contains one hot man who knows how to get what he wants.
A lovely comment I found on my Facebook page from reader Phalbe
I have read 81% of The Wrong Sister. I read a while. Quit for a while. Read for a while. They're at the river now. I'm scared to death to reach the end. I couId spend the rest of my life reading it and never get tired of it. No matter how it ends, I'll be bereft when I finish it.
CHAPTER ONE - TRAPPED TOGETHER
“I don’t need you here,” Christian growled.
He moved close behind Fiona as she stood by the floor to ceiling sliders in the sunlit living area. She filled his senses. His eyes soaked up every strand of her shining hair, the stretch of her pale blue T-shirt over the curve of her shoulder, the just-glimpsed bra-strap through it. He heard her soft breathing, saw her breasts rising and falling, but she’d turned her face aside and he had no way of seeing if she’d bitten her bottom lip in frustration or closed her eyes in annoyance. She wouldn’t be smiling, that was for sure. More like vibrating with fury.
“I don’t want you here,” he continued, knowing it was a huge lie.
He leaned an arm on the window frame, partly imprisoning her, but touching her nowhere. Her subtle fresh perfume wafted across to taunt him. He ached to bridge that tiny distance between them. Sensed the magnetism pulling them together. And knew that of all the women in the world, this was one he wouldn’t dare take a chance on.
Worse—the one he wanted and absolutely couldn’t have.
The heat of his body radiated across the small space between them as Fiona stared resolutely through the glass. The view of Wellington harbor might be fantastic, but right now her imagination was consumed by his long thighs in soft old blue jeans, right behind her. Hell, she could almost feel his thighs—it was just so easy to imagine them pressing lightly along the backs of hers.
There was a right-angled rip in the fabric above one of his knees, and she’d glimpsed brown skin and dark shining hairs through the enticing gap.
Since she’d padded barefoot into the huge room five minutes earlier, her eyes had been constantly drawn to the off-centre rubbed-and-faded patch of fabric at his groin. The old jeans had seen a lot of wear. Each time she looked, a delicious tingle spread through her breasts because of the giveaway condition of the denim. If she touched him right there…
Stop it! Stop it! This is the last thing I need. I can’t give in or the whole deal becomes impossible.
And now he’d trapped her. They were in exact alignment. She longed to push back against his tall, lean, forbidden body. She found just enough willpower to hold still and deny herself the pleasure. She clenched her teeth, steeling herself to stay strong.
She flinched as Christian nudged his chin against her shoulder in the briefest of contacts, his early-morning stubbled face now only millimeters away from her flaming cheek.
She smelled the shampoo from his newly washed dark hair. Or maybe it was the soap from his shower, wafting up from his warm body? Certainly not aftershave. He hadn’t shaved yet. Fiona loved the toughness it lent his face, and wished so much she didn’t.
Why was he making things so difficult for her?
“Christian, it’s not the ideal holiday for me, being stuck here with you.” She spoke out toward the sparkling harbor and cloudless sky because she didn’t dare turn toward him. That way lay danger. It would be just too easy to be snared by his sexy brown eyes and then lose her resolve and seek his lips with her own. What a fiasco that would be…
“Then go,” he challenged her.
“I can’t,” she ground out with frustrated anguish. “Mom and Dad have lost their other daughter. They want to know their only grand-daughter is well looked after and as settled as possible. I promised them I’d help you for a while. I can do that much for them. I will do that much for them, and for you.”
She longed to wrench herself away. Christian was grieving, not himself. Why else would he be standing here taunting her with his closeness? Her bare toes curled against the shining floor as though tensed to run. The invading sunshine flooded over her feet and up her shorts-clad legs.
She needed to stay calm, although that was a joke. His hard tempting body stood so near to hers that all her nerves tingled and pulsed as though she was a gigantic Christmas tree full of shimmering lights.
She drew a deep breath and finally found the resolve to slide away sideways and put a couple of steps between them.
“I don’t want you here,” Christian said again. “You’ll only...remind me so much of Jan.”
She turned, raised her eyes, and plummeted into the dark depths of his. She hadn’t thought of it in those terms. She shook her head helplessly.
“I’ll keep right out of your way. You’ll hardly see me.”
“Yeah, right.” His tone was scathing. She heard him breathe out hard through his nose. It was almost a snort.
Okay, so it would be difficult, but she’d make it work somehow. If he didn’t want her looking so similar to Jan, then she’d endeavor to look totally different.
Like her sister, Fiona had thick honey-brown hair in a rich swathe well past her shoulders. That could go for starters. It would be a beginning, anyway.
Jan had always been a discreet and classy dresser. Fiona pictured bright funky clothes to go with a new hairstyle. Flamboyant earrings, lower necklines, shorter skirts—all the things alien to Jan would become part of her own new look. Little Nicola would enjoy the storybook colors, and hopefully Christian would be reminded a lot less of his recently dead wife.
She turned toward him, feeling safer now she’d increased the distance between them.
“What will you have for breakfast?” She hated the false brightness in her voice. “Bacon and eggs? Toast?”
“Just coffee. But Nicky likes porridge.” Their eyes swiveled in unison to the determined two-year-old digging in the sandpit outside the huge doors. A fence of toughened glass and slender steel posts bordered the sunny lawn. They were high up in the Roseneath area of Wellington. Beyond this, the land dropped steeply down to the harbor. Beautiful houses, old and new, nestled on the most improbable building sites to capture views of sparkling water and the city centre against its backdrop of tree clad Tinakori Hill.
Early summer in New Zealand, Christmas a bare two weeks away. Fiona’s eyes roved over the garden borders billowing with petunias, marigolds and lavender, thinking they were much more Jan’s sort of thing than the careful funeral flowers. She could still picture the perfect stiff formal roses decorating her casket in the hushed church. The church where just a few short years ago her sister had been married.
Jan would never see her garden again, but if her daughter wanted porridge, that at least Fiona could manage.
“You need more than just coffee,” she said too sharply to Christian as she spooned oatmeal into a saucepan. “I’ll make you some toast.”
His beautiful lips twisted. “I can do it myself.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, I know you can! But I’m here to help. Let me. Go and get dressed for work.”
He shook his head, sulky as a mutinous school-boy.
Fiona found herself once again snared by his dark deliberate gaze. She’d always found her sister’s husband disturbingly sexy—not that she’d seen him very often because of her globetrotting cruise liner job—but now he looked exhausted as well. She had a sudden fierce urge to hold him and comfort him, to help him slide into a deep refreshing sleep.
She dropped her eyes from the heavy-lidded intensity of his. She knew the very best way to tire him out so he’d sleep deeply, and that wasn’t going to happen.
“I’m staying home for a few more days at least, so you may as well go,” he said.
Fiona turned aside, fuming that he’d taken no notice of her parents’ wishes. If only he knew what a nightmare assignment this was for her.
She threaded two slices of bread into the expensive four-slot toaster, and took her annoyance out on it, pushing the knob down with unnecessary force. There was a loud pinging noise and the mechanism failed to engage.
“You’ve broken it.”
Her nerves stretched a notch tighter. “I’ll toast it under the grill then.” She bit back her temper as she flicked the stove controls on and removed the bread to a rack.
Christian unplugged the chrome monster, shook the crumbs out into the sink, and laid it down on his opened newspaper. He left the room for a short time and returned with a handful of tools.
Fiona got the porridge under way, and stood by the counter pretending not to watch as he turned the toaster over and poked about, his whole attention fixed on the task. She’d noticed he was always like this, immersed in whatever he was doing or whoever he was talking to. He gave himself totally to little Nicky when he played with her...had devoted himself without reserve to Jan when Fiona had dared stay with them in New Zealand on her trips back home from Europe. It was almost as if she hadn’t existed for him during those times—and it had been a shameful relief, because she’d found herself fascinated by him.
He’d made her feel super-aware, and edgy and uncomfortable.
Guilty with nothing to feel guilty about.
Far too alive and alert, when she’d been there to wind down and relax.
It had been wonderful seeing her sister, but there was always that extra edge of intensity when Christian was present.
I chose this lovely view of Wellington harbour for the base of the cover. At the centre is a steep street called Hay Street. I lived down by the water, and my husband-to-be lived up the top. Lots of climbing up and down to visit each other all those years ago...
Why I wrote the book
I like gently pushing the boundaries in my novels. In 'Out of Bounds', there's a whiff of incest. In 'Seduction on the Cards', my heroine has a gambling problem. In 'Resisting Nick", my teenage hero could barely leave under-age Sammie alone. (A good thing they both grew up before the book started!)
In 'The Wrong Sister', I've explored the attraction between a sister and brother-in-law. Nothing unacceptable. No giving in until it's legally possible. But it makes for an edgy story with a lot of yearning and delayed passion.
My hero Christian loved his wife Jan dearly, but he was so drawn to his sister-in-law Fiona that he knew he had to get right away whenever she visited.
For her part, Fiona sensed the crackling tension, and became super-aware when Christian was present. And then Jan died. Everything was now possible. Except, of course it was now even less possible.
Join Christian and Fiona as fate traps them in his luxurious cliff-top home in Wellington, New Zealand. Temptation assails them at every turn, but they need to resist. What they both want is far too much and far too soon. This time it's Fiona who leaves, but there are still a few weeks before she's due to resume her cruise-liner job on the other side of the world...
From a beautiful country lodge in New Zealand to a palazzo in Venice - this novel spans the world. It's a family story that's sad and happy by turns. I hope you enjoy it.