Ruins of Temptation – Eve Rabi
JOY AND DROVER
“Joy! What are you doing here?”
The last person Drover expects to see on his doorstep is Joy. How she found out where he lives, he has no idea. Strangely, once he gets over his surprise, he is actually happy to see her.
“Hello, ex-husband! Is that the way you greet your ex-wife?” she asks in a sweet voice.
“Well, I …”
“You gonna ask me in or –”
“Come in! Come in!” He steps aside to allow her in.
She looks a little worse for wear – lines around her mouth and eyes, broken blood capillaries on her nose and cheeks, dishevelled and brittle hair, stains on her sweat suit, and she has put on weight. Since he’s last seen her, she appears to have aged. A lot.
Joy enters and looks around Drover’s home. “So, this really how you live these days?” Her voice is unmistakably critical.
“It’s okay,” Drover says in a defensive voice. “It’s all I need.” Mentally, he makes a note to get in a property stylist and fix the place.
“A far cry from the mansion we lived in,” she says in a sympathetic voice. “Poor Drover.”
Drover shrugs. “How are Daisy and Andrew?”
“Okay.” Her dismissive tone tells him that she does not want to discuss the children with him.
He gestures to a chair. “Coffee?”
“A beer would be great, thank you.”
Without thinking, he glances at his wristwatch. 8:58 A.M.
“Don’t be a prude now, Drover. It makes you look old and boring.”
“Okay.” He fetches her a beer and a Coke for himself.
Joy eyes him as she takes a sip of her beer. He’s in good shape, clean-shaven and neat. His shirt is creased, but other than that, he still looks good. Such a sharp contrast to Paul, who sports the look of a homeless man these days. Now that he’s no longer practicing law.
Imagine if I didn’t bring Paul into the house, Joy thinks. I would be sleeping next to this every night. Silly me.
“What brings you to Sydney?” Drover asks, shifting about in his chair. He has not seen Joy since he walked out of their house. Their speedy divorce was handled by their attorneys and since both parties cooperated, there was no need for face to face meetings.
“Okay, business …” Joy takes a sip of beer, puts it down and looks at him. “I’m curious as to how Jeff Pace could allow you to be involved in the Callan-Murdoch case?”
Her answer stuns Drover, and for a moment he just stares at her.
“I mean, you have declared your relationship with the defendant, right? The one you’ve dropped all charges against?”
Drover sucks in his bottom lip.
“The one whose husband you sent to prison?”
“Joy, I do not wish to discuss –”
“The one who lives in your property across the street?”
He stares at her in disbelief. How the hell did she know all of this?
“I’ve done my homework, Phillip,” she says, before she takes another swig of beer.
“What do you want, Joy?”
“All three of your properties.”
His jaw drops.
She drinks up.
“Joy … are you fucking nuts?”
“And I want her kicked out of that property. I do not want her living in it.”
“You want me to put her out? She has children!”
Staying focused, Joy reaches into her bag and pulls out a stack of papers. “I’ve made things easy for you by drawing up the documents. I will be trustee, after you resign of course. All I need is your signature and I’ll do the rest.”
Drover stares unblinking at Joy. “You drew up the paperwork?”
She nods and pushes it over to him.
He shoves the papers back at her. “Go fuck yourself!”
“I’m with Paul, still, so he’ll do all the fucking, thank you very much.” She smiles. “You on the other hand, will be fucked and disbarred, Drover. And the scandal at the offices of the Public Prosecutor? It will be huge, Drover. They may be forced to review the case against Love, retry her husband, and charges may even be levelled against you. Who knows, you may even face imprisonment.”
Drover stares at his ex-wife. She was right – everything that she said could happen. “I’ll take my chances,” he says, scraping back his chair and getting to his feet. “I don’t do blackmail.” He heads for the door.
“There will be pressure for Love to stand trial for her participation – I’ll campaign to make sure she does.”
Joy takes another swig of beer.
Drover slowly turns around to look at Joy. She jerks her chin toward his chair. After a slight hesitation, Drover walks back and stands behind his chair, his jaw clamped.
She smiles at him.
“How did you become this way, Joy? Where is the woman I married? The one I fell in love with? Huh?”
“She died when you cheated on her with that fucking waif, Drover!”
“No.” He shakes his head. “The joy I married, she wasn’t malicious. No, and I refuse to believe she could have morphed into this … this vicious woman sitting across me right now. This blackmailer. Paul is behind this, right? It has to be his idea.”
Joy’s wave is dismissive. “Regardless, I want your property portfolio, or I will bring you down, Drover. You and all those around you. It will be huge, it will be ugly.” She taps the document in front of him. “I’m not playing.”
Drover is at a loss for words. He flirts with the idea of succumbing, simply to avoid the case against Love being re-opened. What if he caves and gives in? Love and her children will be on the street. Okay, he can still help her out, but he knows that the blackmail will never end. He believes he will not be just fighting Joy, he will be fighting Paul as well. Paul was always underhanded. When they were young and in school, Drover regarded Paul’s antics as daring, amusing, entertaining, even. Paul was the bad boy, the risk taker, fearless and shrewd. He broke into neighbours’ homes and stole for weed, booze and for just partying in general. Petty thieving, so it was all fun seeing what he could get away with. Drover and Joy would laugh it all off when Paul bragged about his escapades. As they grew older, Paul became addicted to cocaine and booze, and his thieving escalated to more than petty crimes to fund his habit. Paul was a smart, shrewd attorney who represented big, unethical clients, so he commanded top dollar. However, he was always broke because of his drug habit. Unable to pay his bills, Paul pushed his brand-new Porsche into a lake, then reported it stolen. When he filed an insurance claim against it, the insurance company investigated. They then denied his claim and filed a charge of insurance fraud against Paul. Paul needed Drover’s help in providing him with an alibi. Drover refused to get involved. Paul became livid with Drover, they argued about it, and a wedge formed between the two friends. Drover didn’t care what Paul thought and began to distance himself from his friend.
Paul fired back by sleeping with Drover’s girl, Joy. She fell for the bad-boy image and had an affair with Paul. Drover immediately ended the relationship with Joy. She begged him to reconsider, saying she had made a mistake while intoxicated. Drover refused. Joy ended up falling pregnant by Paul. She married him and had another baby with him. Paul was eventually disbarred for using misusing money from a client’s trust account. Broke, unemployed, and with two small children to feed, Paul began to drink heavily and took out his frustrations on Joy and the children.
Joy called Drover from a women’s shelter one night and begged for his help.
He helped her, and slowly they rekindled their friendship. Drover fell in love with Andrew and Daisy, and they took to him right away, having never really bonded with Paul. After a long courtship, Joy and Drover managed to put the past behind them and resumed their relationship. Paul wanted nothing to do with Joy or his children, so Drover was the only father that Daisy and Andrew recognized. Until now – Drover believes that they may now consider Paul their father once again, a thought that hurts, even though it shouldn’t.
“Well?” Joy asks.
Drover stands up. “Say hello to the kids for me,” he says as he walks to the door and throws it open.
A look of surprise flits over Joy’s face.
“Say hello to attorney Stacy Wilson,” Joy says as she stands up. “Heard you’re about to adopt her.” Her smile is mocking.
Drover shakes his head. “Private detective?”
She nods. “How else?”
“Well, you should fire your P.I. because she’s a paralegal, not an attorney.”
“Oh, that explains the photos of the two of you on Instagram.”
Drover rubs his eye. Shit! He hates it when Stacy takes photos of them and posts them on social media.
“And on snapchat,” Joy continues in her mocking voice. “And Facebook, and all her other social media accounts. Who would have thought you’d be a vegan one day? I didn’t. You’re a meat and … more meat type of man. Well, that’s what I thought. Who would have thought you’d like fat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free vegan ice cream?”
“So you’re stalking me, then?” Drover says. “Stalking us?”
“Well, that little girl wants the world and his wife to see her every move, Drover. How can you blame me?” She gives him a saccharine smile. “It’s soooo sweet. Reminds me of my daughter – she’s always posting on social media. Kids that age … why you shaking your head, Drover?”
“Well, Joy, you know … I have always been there for you. From the time we were little, I’ve been someone you could rely on. So, I’m baffled as to why you’d want to destroy your strength? Who’ve you got other than me? Huh?” Before she can answer, he says, “Please don’t lie to yourself that Paul is there for you, that you have Paul, because we all know that Paul is only there for Paul, not even for his kids. You and I both know that. You wrote to him and asked him to attend Andrew sixteenth birthday – I know you did, because I saw your sent email. He told you to fuck off. He didn’t care about his children, but I cared, and I gave all I could to them. So why would you want to hurt me like this?”
“I never meant to hurt you. I was lonely, lost with you and I had no hope, so I latched onto … onto a vine on a slippery slope, Joy, that’s all. A lifeline. But when push came to shove, Joy, when you came back into my life, I chose you, not her. Did you forget that?”
“You finished, Drover?”
“I put you before her, even though I could easily have gone the other way. I loved you and cared enough for you, to put you first.”
“Are you fin—”
“Let’s hope you don’t need me one day, Joy. Because you are burning a very vital bridge right now. The only lifeline you have ever had in your entire life. The only support in your children’s life, because you know that I love those children like my own.”
Joy’s response is to let out a long breath.
“Yes, Joy, I am finished.”
She sashays out of the house.
End of Excerpt
Available 26 June 2018.
This is not a stand-alone book. It is one of the books in the Girl on Fire Series.Read The Other Woman (an epic and jaw-dropping collision between a betrayed wife and a cunning seductress), which is available on #KindleUnlimited, Please read before you read this book. Fans of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, The Affair, will be gripped by Eve Rabi’s riveting tale of love, lust and revenge.
#RomanticCrime #RomanticSuspense #StoriesofRevenge #VigilanteJustice #FreeonKindleUnlimited #LoveTriangles#TheOtherWoman
Follow this blog to avoid missing out on the next excerpt/instalment. You’ll want to keep up with Scarlett’s karma, believe me!