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ColorBlind – A heartbreaking romantic suspense book by Eve Rabi – Excerpt 3

Apartheid: noun, historical, a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. 

Decades before Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, the country was rigorously governed by various pro-apartheid acts, including the Immorality Act, where sex between white and other ethnic groups was a criminal offence. Both parties contravening the Immorality Act would be imprisoned for up to ten years.
Under that law, Shabba and Sarie’s love was declared a crime and both of them were imprisoned. Now, one of them must risk all to save the other. A heartwarming tale of love, loss, redemption and … revenge!

EXCERPT 3

If you haven’t read the first two excerpts in this series, please click on the link below:
https://everabi.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/colorblind-a-romantic-suspense-book-by-everabi/

(NB: This is a raw excerpt, not yet professionally edited, so please overlook any errors in this piece)

 

Cape Town
1968

SARIE

Most children get bored, restless and even fall asleep at church. Not me – Sunday was my day, the day I get to shine. The day when the reverential Pastor Schoeman Vorster would look at me and beam with pride. That moment was fleeting, but I lived for it. I would sit and listen intently for my name to be called, because it was the only time my father really looked at me. The only time my father would utter my name. Other than that, he would talk to me when necessary, but he seldom looked at me or used my name. I had no idea why he did that, but he just did.

People said that when my father shone those blue eyes their way, they felt as if they were levitating. I believed them, for my father had the gift of making you feel as if he was talking just to you when he delivered his sermons. Even though I was his daughter, I too was in awe of him, so I too waited for the crumbs of attention he dusted my way every Sunday, when I made him proud (and made him money).

I would have done anything to get my father’s attention and hold it. I wanted to be like him, talk like him, preach like him, rapture audiences like he did. I longed to have the rust-colored birthmark etched above his eyebrow, the one that resembled a map of South Africa. My father had always boasted that he had been blessed with his country’s stamp on his face, right above his eye. I longed for his stamp on me too, but God did not give it to me for some reason. When I expressed my disappointment at not having my father’s birthmark, my mother said, ‘What rubbish are you talking? Are you stupid? Beauty queens don’t win titles with marks on their faces, you silly girl!”

I did not care to be a beauty queen like my mother, I wanted to have the stamp of South Africa on my face too.

After the church service ended, the members of the congregation lingered and socialized over wine, beer, coffee and snacks, while my brothers went around collecting money from the donation buckets and contribution boxes.
Jacob, my eldest brother, half-brother, actually – my father had six children from a previous marriage, oversaw the collection of money. He was my father’s right-hand man and spent hours with my father on the road, recruiting white members for our church, and collecting donations for our Garden of Eden. Jacob was a replica of my father, down to the stamp of South Africa above his eye.  

The money was then taken to my father’s office in the church. There, my father’s ex-wife Torti, and their six children would line up in front of my father’s desk. My father would then hand them cash from the monies collected from the contribution boxes. He must have been generous, for I remember their broad smiles as they filed out of his offices. Maybe that’s why they all never missed church.
The rest of the money was handed over to my mother. With the help of Boy, our driver, also called ‘Baba’ by the servants, my mother would load the money into the boot of our car and take it home.

After the service, I played a little with the other kids, accepted their praises as to how much they enjoyed my song, then looked around for my mother. She and my father were smiling and whispering in a corner of the church.

“Pa! Did you like my song?” I asked, skipping up to them and interrupting their conversation

“Schoeman, I’m sick of this foking kak!” my mother screeched.

 “Shhh!” my father said moving his body to block out everyone else. “I got things to do, Magda. We are going on tour, remember? We have to talk about all of that. The details … It’s big money, Magda, so don’t nag now. And keep your voice down.”

I was a little confused – they appeared to be arguing, yet both were smiling at each other? Weird.

I ran circles around my father, “Pa! Pa! Pa! Tell me how much you liked my song.”

My father’s smile never dipped. “Take Sarie home, have a couple of drinks, take a nap and I will see you later.”

“Pa, did you –”

“Sarie!” my mother snapped. “Shut your mouth!”

I froze and looked at my father, who was now looking past my mother.

My mother and I both turned in the direction of his gaze and looked at Laurika Bezuidenhout, who was eating a popsicle. Laurika was different from the other women in church. Not because she had big hair and wore tops that showed off her big breasts, or because she wore red lipstick all the time, even in the morning, but because, while the other woman had cake and biscuits at church, Laurika ate popsicles in the churchyard. Judging by the expression on her face as she did, angling her head, closing her eyes, she enjoyed popsicles a lot more than ice cream. The funny thing was, whenever she ate the popsicle, the men in the congregation immediately flocked around to watch her eat it. However, I was always baffled when women in the church pulled their husbands and sons away from Laurika and stopped them from watching her. In fact, I don’t think the women cared for Laurika, because they seldom invited her to events outside the church.   

I looked back at my father. The look he gave Laurika, it was the same look he gave me before I sang a song. A pang of jealousy shot through me. That was my look – how dare he share that my look with her? That was it – I too was not going to invite Laurika to any of my parties.
That was the thing that confused me about my father – he didn’t notice me unless I was on stage. Unless there was an audience around. Other than that, I was invisible to him. As young as I was, the realization hurt, and maybe that’s why it caused me to constantly seek his approval and attention.  
Laurika waved a gloved hand at us. I raised my hand to wave back.  

My mother slapped my arm down, stopping me from waving.

“Magda!” my father chided. “Not … here!”

With her nostrils flaring, and her eyes blazing, my mother whirled around to glare at my father.

“She’s helping me with my recruitment tour, okay?”
“So she’s going with you on tour? What about me, Schoeman?”

My father cocked his head at her, trying hard to keep his smile in place, his eyes turning to slits. “Magda, get out of here, before I get really mad!” he finally said through clenched teeth.

With her chest heaving and her eyes bright with anger, my mother grabbed my wrist and marched me out of the church.

“You’re hurting me, ma!”  

“Shut up and walk!” she snapped, as she bundled me into our waiting Jaguar.

“Good afternoon, Sarie. Good afternoon, Mevrou,” Boy, our driver, said, before he shut the door of the Jaguar.
My mother sat with her arms folded tightly across her chest, her lips turned downwards, her chest rising and falling rapidly.

“Boy, did you hear my song?” I asked.

“Yes, Sarie. It was very nice. Good tune too. You were the star act in the church today, Sarie.”
A thrill snaked through me at his complimentary words, even though I didn’t know what ‘star act’ was. “Really, Boy?”

“Oh, for sure, Sarie. You were twinkling like the little star you are.”

My soul twinkled with joy at being called a star.  

“I have a hundred more songs like that,” I lied.

“Really? I would like to hear them sometime, Sarie. When I am not working, of course.”

Encouraged by his words, my lies compounded. “My daddy said that I was the best singer there too.”

Boy smiled at me in the rear-view mirror. “He did? See what I mean? You were wonderful, Sarie.”

I nodded and sat back. I liked Boy. He knew exactly what to say to make me happy. He spoke well, he was respectful, and he dressed neatly all the time. Even when he was washing our cars, he wore a tie. Boy drove me around and kept me safe from all the black people who hated our church and shunned the Bible – all the savages who didn’t want to speak Afrikaans. So, in essence, Boy, who was black, kept me, a white girl, safe from other blacks. I didn’t question it because my father said so, and whatever my father said was … gospel.

SARIE

Sunday afternoon after church was a pretty boring time for me. I had nothing to do, no siblings to play with, and I was bored of all my toys.

“Can you color in with me, ma?”
“No!” she said, walking toward our bar and bringing out a bottle of vodka.

“Why not?”

“I’m tired.”

“But I’m bored, Ma. Please!”

“Go play with Katrina, Sarie. Stop worrying me. I have a migraine.”

“What’s a migraine, ma?”

“You ask too many questions, Sarie. Go play with Katrina. Please!”

“Katrina doesn’t wanna play with me, ma. She said I am too little to play –”

“Sarie, stop telling lies, okay?”
“It’s the truth, I swear on God!”

My mother’s sapphire eyes narrowed at me.

Yes, I was a seasoned liar – an attention-seeking little girl who would make up stories in the hopes that they would paint me out to be more interesting than I was. A lonely, poor little rich girl, even though I had six half siblings.

Shaking her head, my mother picked out a crystal glass and walked away. That was her Sunday afternoon ritual.

Since we lived in a mansion – ten bedrooms and seven bathrooms, with rolling lawns, and horses, we needed a fair amount of domestic help. Hence, the fifteen servants living on our property.

After changing out of my church clothes, I went in search of Katrina, daughter of Agnes, a maid who worked inside our house. At eleven, Katrina was five years older than me. Her job was to be my constant companion and keep me entertained. Most of all, she had to keep me from bothering my mother. Sometimes she’d bath me, tuck me into bed, tell me a story, or even sing me a lullaby.
I cannot remember my mother ever doing anything for me. I cannot remember her bathing me, feeding me, reading me a bedtime story or even comforting me when I was ill. Between Agnes, Boy’s wife Mama Tsela, and Katrina, they took care of me.

I found Agnes hanging up washing at the maid’s quarters.

 “Hai, Sarie, how was church?”

“Good. Pa said I was the star singer there.”

Agnes paused to stare at me, her eyebrows elevated.

“Ja. He said … he said … he that I was his twinkle, twinkle little star and that he would like to hear all my songs, when he wasn’t busy with work. He said … he said, that I was the apple of his eye and that he loved me the most in the whole wide world.”

With a condescending smile, Agnes ruffled my hair, before pointing at the back of the servant’s quarters.

I ran off in search of Katrina. “Katrina! Katrina! Katrina!”

I found her playing with someone’s baby. She was always playing with babies because she just loved babies.

“Inga binga banga boo

the elephant said to the kangaroo

I bet you boy I’m bigger than you

Inga binga bango boo!”

Katrina smiled at the baby. “You like that song? Ay? Ay?”

The baby gurgled at her. Katrina laughed and gave the baby a hug and a kiss. A pang of jealousy shot through me – Katrina was my maid; she should be giving me all her attention.  
“Katrinaaaaa!” I yelled. 

She looked at me, arms akimbo. “Hai, Sarie, what are you screaming like a siren, ay? I’m going to klup (smack) you if you shout me like that. Do you think I’m deaf? Huh? You scaring the blerry baby. Because why, her eardrums, it will bust like that!” She snapped her fingers for dramatic effect.
“Ma’s got a migraine,” I said, eyeing the baby’s eardrums and picturing it ‘busting’. “She told me to play with you.”

“Hai, another migraine?” She shook her head. “Let’s go to Mama Tsela, then,” she said, kissing the baby several times before she took my hand. “She is making cake.”

Baking cake,” I corrected. I loved it when Mama Tsela baked cake in a pot over an open fire. The place smelled warm and pleasant whenever she did.

“Katrina, your scarf!” Agnes called.

With a labored sigh, Katrina wrapped her scarf around her head and pulled it low over her forehead.

“Why is Mama Tsela baking cake?” I asked, as I hopped around Katrina.
“Because why, her grandchildren come to stay, and she be happy.”

“Katrina, the clay!” Agnes shouted.

With another sigh, Katrina stopped to scoop up a little clay from the ground and painted her forehead with it, something she was forced to do before she ventured out of the servant’s domain for some reason.  She hated doing that, but her mother insisted she do.

“Grandchildren? Why have they –?”
“Hai, Sarie, I dunno. You ask too many blerry questions, you know. I’m gonna klup you if you keep asking questions.”

That was Katrina – always wanting to klup me. She never carried out her empty threats, though, just sprinkled the word klup around like a coma.
I fell silent and tried to keep up with Katrina. The silence didn’t last.

“Katrina, what’s a migraine?”

Katrina scratched her head and looked at the ground. While she did, I studied her. Even though Agnes was a black, Xhosa woman with brown eyes, Katrina had the same color skin as me, and her eyes were as blue as mine. Her hair was different though – it was curly and brown, with copper flecks. She did not resemble her mother at all.
“A migraine, it is … it’s like a … a vision of God, Sarie.” She nodded. “A vision.” 
“Oh.”

I had great respect for Katrina, not because at eleven she knew a lot – knew it all, actually. Not because although she’d never been to school, she knew more than most of the kids around. It was because she took the time to explain things to me. When she wasn’t threatening to klup me, that is.

“Race you there,” I cried and bolted ahead.

“No, no, not fair!” she yelled holding onto her scarf and running after me. “Cheater! Cheater!”

I laughed and ran ahead of her.

“Stop, Sarie! I’m going to klup you when I catch you!”

Katrina could never catch me. I was too fast a runner.

SARIE

To my surprise, Boy was seated at a wooden stump that served as a table, arm wrestling a little boy. The same boy I spotted upstairs in the church, making funny faces at me. Boy was big and strong and was always showing the other men around how to box, how to fight, how to use a vuvu, which was a big stick used in self-defense. He could easily win the arm-wrestling competition, yet he was contorting his face, making all sorts of noises, acting like he was struggling to keep his arm up.
Nearby, a young African girl around Katrina’s age, rolled her eyes. Katrina joined the girl, and the two of them moved away, whispering and giggling.  

Finally, the little boy managed to bring down Boy’s arm. “I win! I win!” he sang, dancing around and showing off his little biceps that weren’t quite biceps. “I am the champ, Baba!” 

 I watched with envy as Boy laughed and pulled the showoff into a hug. “You are the champ, Shabba! One day, you are going to be a famous champ. The greatest. Like Mohamed Ali. You are going to dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee, Shabba!”

The little boy began to box the air, adding sound effects as he did. Then suddenly he dropped to the floor and lay flat on his back, facing the ceiling.

Baba laughed and left the room.
When the little boy didn’t move, I grew concerned – was he dead? I tiptoed over and peered down at him.

The boy’s eyes were closed, his arms limp.

I stared at him, unsure what to do.

The boy opened one eye and looked at me. I smiled.
“He let you win,” I said in a sneering voice to the little show off.  

“No, he didn’t,” the little boy said, jumping to his feet. “I am really strong!” He flexed his muscles. “See?”

“Yes, he did!”

“No, he didn’t.”
“Yes, he did!”

“Shabba!”

We both looked toward the sound of the reproachful voice. The young African girl talking to Katrina gave Shabba a drop-it look.

Shabba stuck his tongue out at her.   

“Who is she?” I asked.

“Fendi. My sister. She’s a pain here.” He pointed at his neck. “And here.” He pated his butt.

I chuckled at his cheekiness. “What were you doing at our church today?”
“Church?” With an impish smile he said, “Wasn’t me.”

I had never met anyone as audacious like him before, and I was somewhat fascinated. “How old are you?” I demanded.

“Twenty-five,” he replied without hesitation. “And you?”

I was a little taken aback. Twenty-five? He was pretty short for a twenty-five-year-old … man? Boy?  

“Shabba!” It was Fendi again.

“I’m nine,” he quickly said.

“Shabba!” 

“What, Fendi? What?” Shabba snapped, clearly irritated at his sister for outing his lies. He looked at me. “Okay, fine, I’m seven,” he said in a defiant voice. “Seven and a bit. A lot of … bit.”
I was elated. I could handle seven and a bit. A lot of bit. Still, he was older than me and for some reason, I wanted to dominate with age.

“I’m eleven,” I lied in a smooth voice.

“Hai, Sarie!” That reproachful voice belonged to Katrina.  

“I’m eight,” I quickly said with a shrug. “Still older than you.”

“Hai, Sarie!” 

I looked Katrina, then at him. With a pouty voice, I said. “Okay, fine, I’m six.”

“Ha ha!” he said, whirling around, a look of triumph on his face. “I knew it! I knew it! I’m way older than you.”

“Not way older. You’re just a year older. When’s your birthday?”
“The first of September. I’m a spring baby.”
I jerked back. “Me too. First of September!”

We smiled at each other, and the bond that would prevail between us for years, was formed over a mutual birthday.

Fendi brought us cake, which was actually bread with sugar sprinkled on top. “Don’t mess!” she warned.
“So, where’s your ma and pa?” I asked as we tucked into Mama Tsela’s cake.  

“My mom is in heaven, and my dad is in New –”

“Shabba!” Mama Tsela and Boy chorused, before they hurried over. Mama Tsela clamped her hand over her grandson’s mouth.  

 “So, Sarie my darling, you meet my grandchildren, then?” Mama Tsela asked, her voice bursting with pride. She hugged Shabba and smothered him with kisses. I’d never seen Mama Tsela this happy before. She was simply beaming. Mahogany-skinned Mama Tsela was the matriarch to all the servants on our property. She was plump and bosomy and gave hugs at the drop off a hat, but she was also respected and feared by the other women, so when Mama Tsela spoke, they listened, or she would think nothing of whacking them over the head. However, she was loved by all, because she had a soft centre and she cared about all the servants and their children.  

Shabba tried to dodge his grandmother’s kisses so he could eat his cake, but she persisted. “I haven’t seen you in years, Shabba, so don’t stop me from kissing and hugging you,” she said with a laugh.
As I watched Mama Tsela show affection toward Shabba, a pang of envy shot through my six-year-old self. Both my grandmothers had never hugged and kissed me like that. My own mother had never hugged and kissed me like that.  

“They will be living with us,” Mama Tsela announced.

“For a while,” Baba yelled from outside. “For a while!”

Mama Tsela gave a dismissive wave, rattling off something in Xhosa to Baba. She turned back to look at me. “This strong boy is Tshabalala, and that beautiful young lady there is Fendiwe. She looks just like her mother, God bless her soul.”
Fendiwe, or Fendi, blushed beautifully, then appeared to be trying to blend into the furniture to avoid being seen.
“They are very smart too,” Mama Tsela gushed. “So smart. They can read … they can write, they can speak very good English you know. But not too much Afrikaans.”

“How come?” I demanded.

Now Shabba, who did not try to blend into the furniture, answered in a cheeky voice. “’Cause Afrikaans is the white man’s language, so you shouldn’t speak it any –” Mama Tsela’s hand clamped her hand his mouth again.   
With a nervous laugh, Mama Tsela said, “Say something smart in English, Shabba.”

“Something smart,” Shabba retorted.

Everyone laughed.

“Say something really smart,” Mama Tsela coached.

Shabba scratched his cheek. “Something smart … “We are all born equal, and –” Mama Tsela’s hand clamped over his mouth once again. “Never mind,” she said with a nervous laugh.

Shabba turned around and tried to lift up his grandmother. “See how strong I am Mama Tsela?” 

Mama Tsela laughed. “Ja, ja, ja! You are really strong, Shabba!”

Shabba ran over to Fendi and tried to pick her up.

“Shabba, stop!” Fendi cried.

“Shabba’s a skelm (rascal), ja?” Katrina said in an amused voice, when Shabba put Fendi down.

Shabba ran after his grandfather and tried to pick him up but failed. Yet, he said, “See, Baba? I’m strong! I can lift you up.”
Baba lifted one foot to humor Shabba and said, “Ja! You are the strongest boy in the world, Shabba!”
Fendi rolled her eyes. “Such a skelm.”

Shabba turned to me. “So … you live in the big house?”
I nodded.

“How many bedrooms you have?”
“Um … fifty?”

“Whoa! How many bathrooms do you have?”

My eyes shifted from left to right. “Forty. I think.”
“Whoa!”

“Wanna see it?” 
“Ja!”

“Shabba!”

We both turned to look at Baba.

He shook his finger at Shabba. “The inside of the big house is out of bounds to you, my boy. Never go inside, okay?”

“Okay, Baba,” Shabba said, and turned to me.

The moment Baba’s back was turned, Shabba grabbed my hand and together we sprinted toward my house.

 

SHABBA

A house? Sarie didn’t live in a house, she lived in a mansion! To a boy like me living in a stable, sleeping in a manger like Baby Jesus, her house was a palace. It was massive, modern, and furnished with huge crystal chandeliers, expensive furniture, plush carpets and six fireplaces. The place was so huge and so beautiful, I said, “Hey, why does your father want to build a Garden  of Heaven, when all the people from the church can move into this? It’s big enough?”
Sarie looked around, a thoughtful look on her face. “Maybe they will,” she said.
I continued poking around. The place was big, spacious, opulent and … quiet. The place screamed money, yet, it was cold and lonely, reminding me of a museum, it was that quiet. I tiptoed around, somewhat intimidated by what I saw. Compared to the noise, laughter and cheerful chaos at the servant’s quarters, Sarie’s house was like a haunted house out of a Grimm’s fairy tale.

“Where is everyone?” I whispered, as we crept through the place.

“Ma is asleep, and Pa is doing God’s work. The servants …” she shrugged, “It’s Sunday.”
“Oh, okay.”
“Hey, you want some ice cream?” Sarie asked.

Ice cream, twice in one day? I could hardly believe my luck. “Ja, ja, ja!! What flavor you got?”

She shrugged. “Any flavor.”

Any flavor? Well, by then I had discovered Sarie’s tendency to exaggerate. The house did not have fifty bedrooms, it had ten. There were only seven bathrooms too. However, it did have three living rooms, two dining rooms, two kitchens, a pantry the size of a massive kitchen, an olympic size pool, as well as a kiddie pool, five garages, a tennis court, a row of stables and a playroom that looked like it had never been used.

“Chocolate? I like chocolate?” I said, getting back to important issues.

She nodded and gestured for me to follow her.

I smiled with delight as I hurried after her. “Mint chocolate?”

To my surprise she said, “Ja, okay.”

My eyes grew large. I ran faster behind her.  “Strawberry? Do you have straw –”

“Ja.”

She’s lying, I thought, slowing to a halt.  She had to be. How could she possibly have chocolate, mint-chocolate and strawberry ice cream in one house?

She stopped walking and turned to look at me.
Despite being convinced that Sarie was lying, I decided to push my luck.

“Mango? You have mango?” I held my breath as I waited for her answer.

After a moment of deliberation, she nodded.

What a little liar she was, I thought.  That was cruel to a seven-year-old kid who hadn’t eaten ice cream in … well, more than three hours. It was cruel to a seven-year-old boy living in the servant’s quarters.
However, we were talking ice cream, and I really wanted to give Sarie the benefit of the doubt. In fact, the thought of that many flavors of ice cream in one fridge made me dizzy with excitement.

The kitchen! Oh man, was I in for a surprise! There were three fridges in the kitchen, all industrial sizes. In one fridge were rows and rows of ice cream, and all kinds of desserts. It turned out that Sarie had not been exaggerating – there really was chocolate, strawberry, mint, mango and a number of other flavors, most of them unopened. Ice cream heaven – that’s where I was. I started having difficulty breathing. I must have died and gone to heaven, I thought. Either that, or this really was the Garden of Heaven.

In the second fridge were all kinds of drinks – wine, beer, fruit juices and soft drinks. Some in bottles, some in cans, some in jugs. In the third fridge, were meat, vegetables, butter and such kinds of food stuff.

“Take what you like,” Sarie said as I stood frozen in front of the ice cream. “Me, I’m having … this! It’s my favorite.” She took a stick of rum and raisin ice cream and sat on a chair.

Still in a daze and unable to believe my luck, I helped myself to a stick of chocolate ice cream, and sat on the floor. The chairs looked expensive and well, I wasn’t used to sitting on furniture like that. In fact, I wasn’t used to sitting on chairs, period!

Sarie stared at me for a moment, a confused look on her face. I patted the floor next to me. Reluctantly, she sat down next to me.

“It’s got real rum,” Sarie said as she ate her ice cream, so I’m going to be drunk after this. Have you ever been drunk?”

I shook my head.

“I get drunk on rum and raisin ice cream all the time,” she declared.

All the time? I have never been drunk in my entire life. I began to feel really underprivileged. When it was time to get another ice cream, I decided it was also time to get drunk. 

“One day, when I grow up, I am going to make lots of money and buy a house like this,” I announced, as I helped myself to rum and raisin ice cream. “Bigger than this, and I am going to fill the fridges with every flavor of ice cream in the world.”

Sarie stared at me. 

“Are you feeling drunk?” she asked, peering at me.

Turned out the rum did nothing for me. I didn’t feel really drunk. I wasn’t going to say that to her though. “Oh yes,” I lied. “Very.”

She nodded.

“I am going to make so much money, I will be able to buy six fridges,” I warned, helping myself to strawberry ice cream instead.

By the time I got to the mint chocolate chip, I was feeling drunk in my stomach. That did not stop me from finishing it.

“Maybe buy me an ice cream … shop,” I said helping myself to some honeycomb and caramel flavored ice cream. “A factory – a ice cream factory. A big one! Like huge!”

Shortly after my fifth ice cream, I began to turn the color of the mint ice cream and struggled not to throw up.

It was then that I began to rethink my ambition to buy me an ice cream factory. That’s how drunk I got. I ran outside, threw up, then returned inside the house, on my way back deciding that I was no longer going to invest my money in an ice-cream venture. In fact, I made a decision never to touch another ice cream, because being drunk was nothing like I imagined it would be.

SHABBA

“Wanna see something cool?” Sarie asked, oblivious to my queasiness or my changing ambition. 

I nodded, eager to get away from all the ice cream.

“Come!”
I could no longer stand even looking at the ice cream. Yet, before I left, I turned and looked at the ice cream. Fendi

Despite my new-found attitude toward it – I grabbed four sticks of ice cream. One for Fendi, one for Katrina even though she wanted to klup me all the time, one for Mama Tsela and one for Baba. It was hot, they would enjoy the ice cream, I reasoned.

“Hurry!”

With the ice cream firmly in my grasp, I followed Sarie upstairs. We stopped outside a bedroom door, where she put her finger on her lips. She slipped into the room and returned a few moments later with a key. Using the key, she opened another room door, and pulled me inside.
Hallelujah! A roomful of money, that’s what it was. How could my jaw not drop at the sight of it? Never had I seen that much money at one place! Never had I seen that much money. Never had I really seen money, period.
The room itself, which was as large as a bedroom, was lined with steel, so it was a vault masquerading as a room. I looked around in awe, took in the shelves from floor to ceiling, the fact that every shelf had wads of banknotes tied with rubber bands. I took in the jewellery – gold necklaces, watches, rings, earrings and bracelets, all laid out with price tags on them, and the boxes and boxes of coins on the floor of the vault. On the top shelves were about a dozen assorted firearms and boxes of ammunition. On another shelf were bunches of keys – house keys, car keys and all sorts of spare keys, I assumed.

“How much is in here?” I whispered, still a bit drunk.

Sarie shrugged. “Gazillions.”

 “Whoa!” I began to move cautiously through the room, touching the money, then pulling back my hand. I had to be dreaming. This Garden of Heaven was filled with treasure. It actually reminded me of a Hansel and Gretel house, but made of banknotes, coins, jewellery, guns and spare car keys.

“This the church money for the Garden of Eden,” Sarie said, but you can take some if you like.”

I jerked back at her words. Then I looked at the money and licked my lips. Baba would kill me if I took the white man’s money. Fendi would twist my ears, and Mama Tsela would scold me rapidly in Xhosa – I knew how it would go down. Yet, I heard myself say, “Okay.”
“Just don’t take the jewellery because ma says pa needs it for bribes.”

“What’s bribes?”
Sarie shrugged.
After handing Sarie my four ice creams to hold, I helped myself to a bundle of banknotes. How much was in there, I had no idea at that time. Later on, I worked it out – there was at least three thousand rands in that batch. We’re talking 1968 – that was a lot of money to a seven-year-old kid then. To a black, seven-year-old who called a windowless stable in the back of someone’s property his home.

After stuffing the money into my pockets, I took back my ice creams from Sarie and we began to leave the room. When Sarie opened the door to the vault, we both collided with a ghost. I screamed and jumped back in fear.  

SHABBA

The ghost had long blonde hair, sticking out in all directions, red lipstick smeared across her face and black rings around her eyes. Across the ghost’s body was a white sash that said, Miss Boxburg 1962. On the ghost’s head was a somewhat battered tiara.
“Sorry, ma,” Sarie said in a scared voice.
Ma?
I peered at the ghost – could this be the same woman who the pastor said, “… as beautiful as the day I met her.”?
Well, it was Mazda Vorster, the pastor’s wife, who appeared to have trouble walking.  

I froze as she looked at us. I was in deep, deep trouble. I was inside the house, a wad of stolen money in my pocket and the four ice creams in my hand. Baba had warned me that the big house was out of bounds, yet I had failed to listen. I was busted by Pastor Schoeman’s wife.
With her hand on her crown, the woman looked directly at me. This is it! I thought. I’m doomed. Baba will be so disappointed. And Mama Tsela … damn! And Fendi – oh shit!

She struggled to keep her head from wobbling. “Me! Not … Laur … ika. Me! I am the beauty queen, you hear?”

I nodded, my eyes shifting to Sarie’s, who stood frozen.  

“Fif … fif … teen,” Magda said. “When I meet him. Best years of my light … life, g … gone!” She almost lost her balance trying to snap her fingers. “G … gone!” The hiccups didn’t help either.

I looked at Sarie. Her eyes urged me not to move.

I nodded and remained frozen as Magda rambled on. “He’s taking her on … tour? I will kiiiiiiill her! C… cut her tit … tit … throat!”
Again, I had no idea who she was talking about, but the cutting of the tit, or the throat, I wasn’t sure, made me sober again.

Then, a look of fear appeared in her eyes, as she looked at me.  “My c … c … clown! My clown!”

What clown?

“It’s there, Ma,” Sarie said, pointing at the plastic tiara on her mother’s head. “See?”

Magda felt for her ‘clown,’ nodded, then said, “Go get me my … med … i … cine.”
Sarie got up, Sarie ran downstairs to the bar, fetched a bottle of vodka and handed it to her mother.
Magda smiled lovingly at the bottle, opened it, took a giant swig, then thrust it at Sarie. “Have some. Have a driiiink with me.”

Sarie shook her head, moving her face away.
“C’mon! Have … a driiiink, Sarie!”
Sarie refused.

Magda lunged at Sarie, grabbed her by the hair and forced the bottle to her lips. Sarie pushed her mother away. Magda pushed harder, spilling vodka all over Sarie’s face and clothes.
“Stupid shit!” Magda muttered, eventually stumbling back. “Think you’re prettier than me, riiiiight? Wong! Wrong! Wrong!” As she spoke, she pointed her bottle at Sarie. “I am the beauty queen here, you hear? Not you! You … are … ugly! Ug … ly.” She took a giant sip of her vodka.
Sarie stood like a statute, her eyes brimming with tears, her bottom lip trembling. I felt so bad for her, I forget to act like a statue. I walked over to Sarie, put my arm around her shoulder and whispered, “You okay?”
Sarie nodded and put her finger to her lip.

Magda suddenly looked at me with surprise in her eyes, as if she was seeing me for the first time.  “I’m Ma…zzzda,” she said in a coy voice. “What’s your name?”
“Me? Eh … Shabba?” I said. I thought her name was Magda, but I may have heard wrong – it was Mazda; she said so.  
Mazda smiled at me, her glazed eyes almost closing as she did. Slowly, she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and said, “Have a drink with … me, Chubba.”
“Okay!” I said without hesitation, taking the bottle from her.
“Don’t!” Sarie whispered.

Despite her calling me ‘Chubba,’ I thought Mazda was a nice car. I mean, nice person. So, I took the bottle from her and drank from it, ignoring Sarie’s disapproval. The vodka was so awful, I spat it back into the bottle. I did it without thinking, and immediately I regretted it. But I couldn’t undo what I did, and the bottle turned murky.

I looked at Sarie with eyes the size of the wall clock – How do I fix this?
Her eyes were equally large, so she was of no help to me.  
Crap! Crap! Crap! I couldn’t help it – after the sweetness of the ice cream, the vodka tasted bitter and disgusting.
To my surprise, Mazda smiled, took the bottle from me and took a huge gulp of it.
I was stunned to see her do that.

“How old are you?” Mazda asked, wiping her mouth with a sleeve and smearing red lipstick all over the white fabric.

“Twenty-five!” I answered.

She smiled. “You are so much f … fun!”

I puffed my chest out and gave Sarie a did-you-hear-that? look.

 “Miss Junior B … B … Boksburg …” Mazda said to me, pointing the vodka bottle at her sash. “I was the most beautiful gi … gi … gi … girl in the room!” The hiccups made it really hard for me to understand what she was rambling on about, but it didn’t matter – I intended to be a great listener, because despite the mess she was, she was still a good looking woman.  
“Eh, ma, come,” Sarie said, “Come, I take you to your bed.”
Mazda Vorster shrugged off Sarie, and cradling the bottle of vodka, began to dance in the narrow passageway, humming a tune as she did. Well, it was more like swaying drunkenly around the passage, giggling as she did, pausing only to sip from the bottle of dirty vodka. Then, she looked at me and extended her bottle to me.

I shook my head. No way was I going to drink from that disgusting bottle.

She shrugged, then said, “Come dance with me.”

So, I did. I began to dance with Mazda Vorster. She smiled and tried to clap, so I rewarded her cheers by dancing harder, by dancing like a butterfly, even though Baba hadn’t as yet taught me how to dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee. I flapped my arms like a butterfly would and moved swiftly around the corridor. The more I danced, the harder Mazda cheered and clapped.  

Sarie the spoilsport did not join us, she just stood around with her arms folded and watched us dance, her mouth turned downward.

I frowned at Sarie. What?
“Stop dancing!” she said through clenched teeth.
Although I didn’t understand why she was mad at me, I slowed down my dancing to just swaying, moving my butt from side to side, mainly because I didn’t want to stop dancing altogether and disappoint Mazda. She appeared to be having so much fun. Besides, the woman bought me my first drink, know what mean?
With bulging eyes and gnashing teeth, Sarie motioned for me to go back into the vault, which was unlocked. So, while Mazda danced with her bottle of vodka, bumping into the sides of the walls and almost falling as she did, Sarie and I backed into the vault and out of the Mazda’s sight.  
I was confused – why was everyone making a big deal of me being inside the house, when Mazda was so happy to see me? I mean, she had seen me emerge from the vault, seemed to have no problem with it, told me her real name, told me about the best of years of her life that she had given to Him, whoever he was, offered me a drink, asked me to dance, and even declared that I was fun! People could really make a big deal about nothing, if you asked me.

Once inside the vault, I picked up a .38 Special and played with it for a while. “Is it loaded?”  

“Ja, they have to be,” Sarie said. “In case the bad people come to take away our land.”
“Cool!” I said, putting it down and picking up a 9 millimetre.
“What is this for?”
“It’s the safety catch.”
“Oh, what happens if I do this?”
“No, no, no! You must not touch that.”
“Why not?”

“Because it will go off.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll push it back then.”
After a while we got bored with the fire that we were playing with, and decided to go outdoors. We peeped out into the passage, and when we saw that it was empty, Sarie and I crept outside the house. Not before I helped myself to another two wads of cash from the vault.
“What do I do with all the money?” I asked, as I stuffed them inside my shirt. Taking it home was out of the question.

“Mm … hide it?”

“Where?”

She shrugged.

We eventually put the money in a plastic bag, and using our hands, buried it in the garden. It wasn’t a very deep hole, as you can imagine. By the time I had finished with my burial, the ice cream was just a soggy mass inside its packaging. I stared at it in dismay.

“If you took it home, Boy would know that you were in the house,” Sarie pointed out, in a things-happen-for-a-reason voice.  

She was right. I had never thought about that. I looked at the ice cream and nodded. Leaving the four ice cream packets near the money grave, Sarie and I skipped off in search of something else to entertain us.

End of Excerpt
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EMBERS OF TEMPTATION by Eve Rabi (Book Release) Excerpt 2

Second Instalment Blog image 2 wordpress Wrath of Temptation 14 April 2018

SCARLETT
The question that plagues me – is Colin aware of Love the imposter’s real identity? (Well, other than where is my money, bitch?) Has Clover confessed to Colin that she has done a Lazarus and risen from the dead? If Clover has, then why hasn’t Colin approached me about it? Demanded his freedom? If Colin knows the truth, why duck and dive and keep the truth away from me? Surely he’d want to run off with his real wife and child and live as happily as Kanye and Kim? After all, this is the wife he’s spent days searching for, remember? Moping around like a pussy over her. Why is he still around? It’s not like he’s ill or something – earlier on he looked in peak shape when he was fucking my nemeses in the water. Tanned, fit and sexy – better looking that Shane the crooked cop for sure. Better looking than those Hemsworth brothers by far.
Considering the packed suitcases I found contained stuff for just Angel and Clover, considering that the documents I’ve discovered in Clover’s possession were mainly hers and Angel’s, I suspect that Colin may not know who Clover really is. In fact, as I stand in front of the window, taking swigs out of my quad-distilled, overpriced, imported vodka, I conclude that Colin has yet to discover the volunteer’s real identity.Being the gambler that I am, I’d say that Clover was probably getting around to the big reveal. Liz, with her man’s shoes, her plastic packet and her greedy self, popped up her balding head to dart a spoke Clover’s wheel of fortune, causing it to wobble. In time, I showed up and blew it to smithereens.
When I hear the chopper, I take a giant swig, then quickly put away the bottle of vodka. I rinse out my mouth with Listerine, pop a breath mint and prepare for battle. Will I be in combat with just the phoenix from the ashes, or will I be taking on both Colin and the phoenix?
Well, it’s best I prepare for my worst-case scenario, so I seek out my backup – a 9 mm. I stick it into a thigh holster. Bring it on.
From the window, I watch the helicopter hover, then slowly descend.
With folded arms, I watch Colin alight from the chopper, then help the slut out of it.
I tilt my head at the sight of Clover – it’s amazing how similar we now look. That bitch has been ’jacking my style quietly. Bit by bit, she’s been morphing into me, artfully blurring the lines in Colin’s muddled mind. Sneaky bitch. And that bikini she’s wearing – only a seductress would wear something so inappropriate. Sure, she’s wearing a beach robe, but you can still see most of her arse, half of her breasts through it. Maybe that’s why my man is holding onto her hand, despite the fact that he’s returning home to his FUCKING WIFE! With my eyes blazing and my mouth twisted in fury, I watch the cheats advance toward my house.
As if she remembers where she’s heading, that I might be watching, Clover snatches her hand out of Colin’s, her eyes darting nervously around. Hiding the affair from me, are you? Too late, I’m onto you and it’s game on!
With her head bowed, the slut walks fast, almost running ahead of Colin.
The walk of a person afraid. Terrified.
Good, be afraid. Be very afraid of your master and commander, the person you made the cardinal mistake of betraying.
As the conniving couple near the front door of my house, I prepare for battle – six deep breaths … exhale loudly. Three slow shoulder rolls, shake arms till loose, kick out legs to loosen up the muscles, exhale. I’m now ready for a punch-up of a lifetime. Watch how I handle myself. Watch carefully, for you are going to learn something here. Watch.

*****

THE OTHERS
As Clover approaches the house, her steps suddenly falter, her throat constricts, and her mouth becomes dry. This is not a house, this is a lion’s den. Above her the sky, now dark and ominous, concurs with a rumble of thunder. Colin catches up with her, and with his hand on her back, propels her forward. This time, she does not shrug him off. She needs his hand on her back. She needs him to have her back, because evil lurks ahead.
The front door is flung open with such force, both Colin and Clover cease walking.
Scarlett steps out of the house, stands on the patio and glares at the errant couple.Clover braces herself, while Colin stiffens.
“Sweetheart, what a lovely surprise!” Scarlett says, breaking into a smile and rushing up to throw her arms around Colin. “Sister Naomi and Brother Ezekiel told me how badly you wanted to surprise me with your recovery, and there I had to go and ruin it all by showing up unannounced. I wanted to spring a surprise visit on you guys and I … ruined it all.” She laughs and hugs Colin again. “My bad, my bad!”
Colin stands rigid in Scarlett’s embrace, arms dangling at his side, his eyes wide with surprise. Next to him, Clover sports a confused look.
As their shoulders slowly drop from around their ears, Clover and Colin look at each other behind Scarlett’s back. While he looks somewhat relieved, she doesn’t. Her eyes dart around for Angel. When she doesn’t see her, that feeling of dread that plagues her since Angel disappeared, once again pours into her stomach. Please let my baby be okay. Please! Please! Please!
“You look so well, I can’t believe it,” Scarlett gushes, touching Colin’s face, then stepping back and checking him out. “So tanned and fit …” She runs her hand slowly down his arms, then over his back and squeezes his butt. “Sexy, I have to say.” She laughs when he turns crimson.
Scarlett releases Colin and walks over to Clover. Clover holds her breath.
Taking Clover’s hand in both of hers, she says, “Dear Sister Love, you’ve done a … sterling job, bringing Pastor Colin to life. It’s nothing short of a miracle, a joy … a real joy.”
Clover flinches at the blast of peppermint in her face, at the choice of words (sterling, joy), and even more at her murderer’s touch.
“What you have done for Pastor Colin, Sister Love, is nothing short of a miracle. Comparable to… to … “she raises her arms to the sky, “resurrecting Lazarus from the dead. The Church of Light is ever so grateful to you. Ever since we’ve heard about Pastor Colin’s recuperation, the question on our minds are; How do we ever thank our wonderful Sister Love for doing such a … sterling job? She is such a … joy!
Clover glances at Colin. He turns out his palms, a see-I-told-you-there’s-nothing-to-worry-about look on his face.
Clover is in no way feeling reassured. Nothing the sadistic killer says or does will ever allay her anxiety, until she finds Angel and sees that she is safe. To Clover, all this is simply a strategy, a big game that the wicked woman is playing, and clearly, she is enjoying it.
“Come, let us go inside,” Scarlett says, holding firmly onto Clover’s hand.
Not knowing what to do, Clover follows Scarlett into the house, ahead of Colin.
Memories of the missing suitcases that were hidden in the back of the house, the sinister drawing on the whiteboard – the one with the child buried alive, flood her. Repulsed by evil personified, she involuntarily snatches back her hand.
Scarlett stares at her. Clover holds her gaze and the tension between the two Mrs. Callans is palpable.
Scarlett suddenly throws her arms around Clover again. Clover tenses – the last person you want to hug you is your murderer. Like scenes from the mafia movies – hug, kiss, kill.
“So happy to have you back,” Scarlett says in a spritely, voice. She follows this with a whispered warning, “Behave, if you want her back, understand? If you don’t want her to disappear. I’m not joking.”
Clover’s head lolls as her worst fears are confirmed. Awash with dread, she raises her head to look at the cold-blooded killer. Up close, her eyes glisten like diamonds, her lips are tightly fused and her nostrils flare. Clover literally feels the heat of her silent rage. Having no choice, Clover nods.
Pleased with the naked fear in Clover’s eyes, Scarlett smiles sweetly and continues her charade.

*****

SCARLETT
How did I do? Good? Of course!
Look, it isn’t easy for me to smile and feign pleasantness when I’m facing betrayal by multiple members of my household – my husband, the man I’ve given my all to – he could hoodwink me to such a degree? My staff, the trusted and loyal servants – they could have their loyalty so easily swayed by a Trojan horse-styled intruder? Then the intruder herself – a crafty, scheming manipulator who artfully stole my husband, my brat, my staff’s loyalty, my money – all my money stolen by the psychopath who is clearly after my life?
My perfect world, one that I’ve created with blood, sweat and vodka, has been rocked by a thug who needs to be strangled with a garrotte until she lies in a heap on the floor. Until a medical doctor declares her deceased. Then for added measure, I should burn her corpse. Douse it with flammable vodka, then throw a lit match on it. Watch the cremation with a bottle of overpriced champagne at hand (or two), while I wait for the fire to burn out, until all that remain are ash, charred bones and the stench of no-return. Have an AK-47 at hand in case a phoenix rises from the ashes – another added measure. Blast it to smithereens to ensure no comebacks.
Yes, that’s what needs to be done. However, I’m not doing that just yet. Why? Well, it’s all about strategy, because … the money; I have to think about the money. If I ranted and raved at the deceitful duo, hurled accusations like some cuckold wife, made threats, knifed them even, I would risk losing my money. Where would that leave me if I couldn’t get my money back? The money is of paramount importance and should be considered above all else. Therefore, a clear head is necessary. Along with an artful strategy, of course.
The situation calls for a game. Play the bitch at her own game and win. That is the most important things about games; you have to win. You must. Or, what’s the purpose of playing in the first place? Luckily, I am brilliant at games, and … I like to win. In fact, finishing second is not an option, never was. Winning is. Winning in my books is everything.
So far, I am winning. Think about it – I have the betrayers in my clutches, Colin is charmed and Angel is back in my care and out of sight, and Clover is cowering in terror like the coward she is. Now, all I have to do is implement the next step.
Impressed? Well, you ought to be. Hold your applause, though. For now.

*****

THE OTHERS
Colin looks around. “Where’s baby?”
Scarlett lets go of Clover and turns to look at Colin. “Oh, she’s gone into town with Sister Naomi, Brother Ezekiel and a few other congregation members, darling. She was so excited to see all the kids, she badgered me to allow her to go with.”
Colin frowns. “Badgered you?”
Scarlett nods. “I think she misses having kids around, Colin. Besides, I thought it would be nice to give Sister Love some time to herself.” Scarlett smiles sweetly at Clover again. “God knows she’s earned it.”
Colin concurs with a nod.
“I’m thinking, Sister Love could take the car, go visit her husband and darling children for a few days if she likes, catch up with them …” As she talks, Scarlett walks back to Colin and takes his arm. “You come with me, darling, we’ve got some … some … catching up to do.” She winks at him. Then, leaving Clover staring after them, she leads him into their bedroom and shuts the door.
Clover remains where she is. She doesn’t care about Scarlett’s lascivious wink, she doesn’t care about them being alone in the bedroom – all she cares about is her baby. Where in town is Angel?
The moment, they are out of sight, Clover hurries over to the key rack and picks out the keys to an SUV. It’s a small town, she knows that she will eventually find Angel. Then she will run. Just get into the SUV with Angel and drive. She will only stop until she reaches her safe haven in Sydney.
Suddenly, she feels a sharp sting on the back of her neck. She swings around to look into Shane’s face. In his hand is a needle and syringe.
“Going somewhere, sexy?”
Clover rubs her neck. “Did you just –?”
“I sure did, sexy.”
Shane suddenly starts to tilt and everything goes black.
End of second excerpt. More coming soon!

Release date: Coming soon!

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This 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. 
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EMBERS OF TEMPTATION by Eve Rabi (Book Release)

EMBERS OF TEMPTATION  (Excerpt One) 

 

Blog image 1 wordpress Wrath of Temptation 09 Jan 18

SCARLETT 

Pumping with adrenaline, I look out of the window, my ears cocked for the sound of the chopper. Where are you? Liars, cheats – where the hell are you? Better hurry, I don’t have all day.
Nearby, three technicians quietly comb my home for bugs. “It’s an emergency, the Church of Light is in grave danger!” I declared when I called them. “Pastor Colin needs your help.” The suckers dropped everything and rushed to protect their church and their pastor.
I figured, first things first – before I deliver any kind of retribution, I need to rid the place of all surveillance equipment installed by that psychopath called Clover. Or Love. Or Whatever the fuck she’s calling herself these days. Before more damage is done.
Joy Sterling indeed – I can hardly believe how dumb Sister Grace was for not checking this so-called volunteer out thoroughly. By not doing her job, she has allowed Clover to believe that she can take me on. Me, Scarlett Smyth-Murdoch-Callan, manipulator and criminal extraordinaire, probably one of the finest Svengalis to tread the Earth. She has no idea who she’s dealing with. How dangerous I am. That she is tangling with someone with an IQ higher than that of Einstein.

Such a fraud, pretending to be so helpful and supportive and reliable – coming up with the sparkling pacifier, the convenient playground – God, I feel like screaming right now!
Before you call me dumb (someone like me could be duped by an  unremarkable, unimpressionable, thrift-shopper in long skirts, vintage cardigans and sensible shoes), just remember that I have an empire to run, so I was distracted. It happens, okay? Distraction is an occupational hazard for moguls like me, so don’t even think of berating me. And … just keep in mind how quickly I derailed her locomotive of deceit.
Clover’s biggest mistake was thinking she could take me on. Her second biggest mistake is that she forgot about that greedy hillbilly named Liz. That beanpole who also, God knows why, thought that she could take on someone like me. “Give me ten thousand dollars today and two hundred thousand dollars in three days.” Yeah?

“Fetch me cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows.”

Really? Bitch, I am the director of the Church of Light, not a volunteer. And FYI, never in my whole life had I ever fetched anything for anyone.

Well, I hope she enjoyed that steak sandwich and that cup of hot chocolate, her last feast before she was deposited where she belongs – three feet under (six is not necessary). May the maggots enjoy feasting on her wiry body.

Bristling with fury, I look at the three wise men, roaming the place with their selfie sticks. Or detectors – they look like selfie sticks to me. My ears are cocked and ready for that, Found one! For that, beep! beep! beep! followed by ‘gotcha!’
More than an hour passes, and not a squeak from the men. Absentmindedly, I inspect my nails – I’ve ruined a good manicure by constantly tapping of my fingernails on the table.
As I wait, I think about Townsend, the sleaze bag. Thanks to Shane, he will soon be accompanying Liz. No one will come calling for Townsend – he’s a mere unemployed British actor working illegally in Australia, and doesn’t have any family around who will miss the creep in ridiculous red briefs. The nerve of him thinking I’d fall into bed with him. The nerve of him demanding a Maserati. The nerve of him thinking he could blackmail me. That’s always been the problem in my life – everyone around wants a piece of me. Love, Liz, Townsend, Shane – yes, even Shane the cokehead is expecting a piece of the pie I so lovingly and so painstakingly baked. Why? I’ll tell you why they demand a piece of me – it’s because I’m a woman. A powerful woman at that. If were a man, not even an authoritative one, even if I were a Weasel like Woody Allen, everyone would laud me, not blackmail me. They would expect nothing from me and be too scared to even think of asking. You think people can go up to Donald Trump and shake him down? Picture it – Trump, can you fetch me a steak sandwich? Trump, go fetch me a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Trump, buy me a Maserati.
Can you picture the look on Donald’s face? He’d stare at them with puckered lips, before he makes a call – not to 911, not to the Secret Service, not to the FBI, not even to Ivanka – no, he’d place a call to the Russians. That’s right – they’d be there in fifteen seconds to douse the person in mob-strength, flammable Vodka, light a match and throw it on them – Nostrovia! (now you know why mobsters light their cigarettes with matches. You can’t throw a lit cigarette lighter at a body, can you?).
“Sister Callan?”
I spin around to look at the men. “Yes?”
“All done,” the head of the bug-finding team says. “Nothing to report.”
“What? That can’t be right!”
The man shakes his head, his comb-over causing a breeze in the process. “Not a single one.” He waves the selfie stick like a flag.
“Are you sure? There must be surveillance devices.”
“Nah. We’ve combed the place for them. Nothing. Checked, doubled checked – nothing. Not even one of those cheap nanny cams.”
“And you’re certain of that?”
“Positive. We would have caught them by now. The place is clean.”
“Mm.”
“Luckily for everyone, right?”
No, not luckily. If there aren’t any camera’s around, just how did the bitch gain access to my computer files and my money? She’s gained access to just about everything and everywhere in the house, except the basement. It’s startling to think of the damage she’s done without the use of old fashion surveillance cameras.
“Ah, well, okay then.”
The men stare at me.
What? Surely, they’re not expecting to get paid? It’s the friggin’ church, for crying out loud! Have some goddamn respect!
“The Church of Light thanks you,” I say in a dismissive voice, before I turn away from them.
The men look at each other, shrug, before they slowly shuffle out of the house.
The moment they leave, I log onto my laptop, and holding my breath, I double-check my off-shore bank account. Maybe, just maybe, the money is still there. Please, please, please, let my money be there!
As I look at the screen, a feeling of utter devastation follows – the money, the one I’ve worked so hard for, has definitely vanished. My heart shatters and the pain is physical. Clover … I’m going to slice her up if I don’t get my money back. She has it. There’s no way someone can spend sixteen million dollars in such a short space of time. My guess is that she’s stashed it somewhere. In another bank account in Switzerland. (When did she get to Switzerland? How did I not notice her absence?) If she does not want to die a painful, prolonged death, she will return my money.
With my ear cocked and listening out for the sound of the chopper, I walk over to the bar, fetch a bottle of vodka (which is the only fetching I do, by the way), and take a couple of swigs from it.
What? Like you don’t drink from the bottle?

*****

CLOVER

In the chopper, Clover shifts about in her seat. Hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up! Questions zip through her mind:
What’s happening to Angel?
What will happen to her and Colin?
Will the evil witch shoot them on sight? Has she already shot Angel? Buried her …
At the thought of her baby being hurt, at the recollection of the drawing of the child on the fridge, the cold hand of dread squeezes her heart. Please God …
Colin reaches over and slowly removes her hands from her head. She looks at him, unaware that she was holding her head. He nods – Relax, it’s going to be okay.
Clover squeezes her eyes shut, before she opens it again and looks out the window. She whiles away the time tallying her deceptions: among others … the secret DNA test of Colin and Angel, the hidden suitcases, Colin’s secret recovery, stealing Joy’s identity to worm her way into the church and hiding her real identity, stealing back Colin’s love and affections, and the grand prize – stealing millions of dollars from the wicked witch of darkness. People who steal that kind of money usually goes to prison or ends up having their throats slit. There are more crimes that she committed, too many to name, that make her believe she should run, that she should never have boarded the chopper. If it wasn’t for her baby in the clutches of that psychopath, she would never return to the Church of Light. No, she’d run and hide, leave Colin and bolt for her life.
At the sight of the church, her anxiety soars.

*****

Release date: Coming soon!

More excerpts to follow soon! Follow this blog to avoid missing out. You want to keep up with Scarlett’s underhandedness, believe me!

This 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. 
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WRATH OF TEMPTATION – Hell Hath No Fury …

 

 

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Reviews:

“OMG!!! Yet another amazing book by Eve. From the moment you start reading, you are gripped. I have recommended Eve to friends and family.” Smashwords reviewer

“I just finished the book. All I have to say is, HOLY SHIT, EVE! You wrote a killer story that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps it.” Smashwords Reviewer

“OMG Eve! You are absolutely BRILLIANT! I never saw that ending coming!” Smashwords Reviewer

“Forget those well manicured nails. Eve Rabi’s latest book Lead me into Temptation will have you nibbling on your delicate French tips from start to finish. Brilliant!” Smashwords Reviewer

“Wow! I loved this story! My suggestion, do what I did: find a quiet hiding spot, turn off your phone and escape into Scarlet’s world for a few hours. I promise you will not be disappointed.” Smashwords Reviewer

“Be warned: if you start reading this book you won’t want to put it down
until it’s over…then you feel a bit disappointed because you want more.” Smashwords Reviewer

“Prepare to sacrifice several hours of sleep and walk around with panda eyes because that’s what happened to me. But hey the adrenaline rush from this fast paced and exciting story was so worth it.” Smashwords Reviewer

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FREE for a limited time -My Wife’s Li’l Secret

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“I had it all – the loving and supportive wife, two precious girls, a

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She called me the miracle in her life, I called her my little treasure. Sounds corny, I know, but I really believed I was the luckiest bastard on earth. I had the loving and supportive wife, a nurturing mother to our two precious girls, a thriving business and the future looked rosy. I was a contented man.

But overnight everything changed. My wife withdrew from me, ignored our children, and made it clear she was no longer interested in playing the role of wife and mother. We had two children under five, they needed her. I needed her.
When her dressing began to change and she disappeared for hours, I suspected I was not enough for her. Thinking she was having an affair, I placed my wife of five years under surveillance. What my surveillance revealed shook my world, broke my heart and went on to expose a web of lies and deceit.

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Reviews:

“I have loved every single one of Eve’s books, this one however was a hit out the park!”
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“Riveting from beginning to end. The twists and turns this book takes are unimaginable!
“Wow I was totally entranced with this book from the beginning!”
“All in all I loved this book, it made me laugh, cry, hold my breath till I went blue, smile and finally caused my heart to break for Ritchie!”
“Very gripping but sad story line! But keep the tissues handy.”
“Drama, suspense, mystery, action, romance and sex – this fast-paced thriller has it all. Buckle up. You and your kindle are in for a ride, Eve Rabi style.”
“Twists that will blow your mind and make you think about this book long after you finish it.”

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A Vain and Cruel Queen, a Gay Prince, a Poor Village Girl and an Unsuspecting New Yorker …

 
 
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Reviews:
“…it’s like an ugly duckling meets Snow White’s bitch of a Wicked Stepmother…”
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 “Not for the faint of heart, Royal Deception is intense. Starting with a homely 13 year old village girl, we watch as she grows into a beautiful woman…the ugly duckling scenario wrapped around dysfunctional families, royal lies, a queen who is beautiful…but evil.”
 “A fascinating story.”
 “I absolutely love this book, Can’t wait until the second part!!”
 “Such a terrific lovestory..the palace scenes are so vivid everything is so vivid..and Henna is the most adorable and lively heroine i’ve come across..her dismal fate makes me teary..can’t wait to read the next part..well done!!five star book.”
 
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Don’t Call me Gringa!! (Warning: strong language, sexual references, violence)

Excerpt from, Gringa – In the Clutches of a Ruthless Drug Lord by Eve Rabi

Image

‘Gringaaa!’ Diablo yells.

I slam the door on his hollering. Bastard can go to hell.

‘Gringaaa!’ he yells again, and again, I ignore him.

Finally, Maria quietly enters my room, a worried look on her face. ‘Senorita please …’

‘Maria, you tell him …’ I wave my finger at her, ‘tell him my name is Payton, and not fucking “Gringaaa! Gringaaa! Gringaaa!”’

Before she can respond, Diablo storms into my room and of course, hears what I say.

‘Come to lunch,’ he says in a strained, but controlled voice.

I look him in the eye. ‘No!’

He stiffens. ‘Come to lunch.’

‘No! I don’t wanna eat with you, okay?’

He grabs me by the scruff of my neck and drags me out of the room to the lunch table.

‘Leave me the fuck alone!’

He shoves me into the dining room. It’s Saturday so that entire gang is there, in the mood to party and to be entertained. Watching Diablo drag me to the table sends a hum through the room.

Humiliated and seething, I sit down and drum my nails on the table. I don’t eat or look at him.

‘Eat!’ he orders.

I ignore him and drum louder, furiously.

A man named Norman, seated next to me, leans over and says, ‘Senorita gringa want Whisky?

‘Yes please, Norman.’

Norman pours the whisky and places the glass in front of me.

‘Thank you Norman,’ I say, bypassing the glass and reaching for the bottle.

Norman’s eyes grow huge when he sees me taking giant swigs from the bottle.

It’s awful. I hate whisky. Tastes like gasoline to me. ‘Damn!’ I say, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. ‘This sure is mighty fine whisky, Norman.’

‘Eh, Senorita gringa, my name …’

‘Lemme pour you one, Norman.’ I top his glass to the brim and hand it to him. ‘Knock yourself out,’ I chuckle.

Diablo’s not smiling.

Yeah, I’m supposed to be nice to him now that the FBI is involved. Well, fuck the FBI and Fuck him.

As lunch progresses, I’m feeling a little more relaxed now. Warm in my toes and even a little confident. Well, they’re eating lunch and I’m drinking mine – whisky, Tequila and some other shit on the table.

After a few more swigs from the bottles, I cross my arms over my head and whistle Hit me Baby One More Time  by Brittany bitch. Totally out of tune, but hey, who gives a fuck right now.

Diablo’s hairy face reveals little, but somehow I don’t think he’s comfortable with my drinking. Hell, I’m not comfortable with my drinking, but screw him.

They’re passing around pictures. Pornographic pictures and the conversation becomes steamy.

Usually, I pass on the pictures, but today, I snatch them out of Norman’s hand. ‘Lemme see that!’

I peer at the picture then burst out laughing. ‘That’s the fugliest flower I have ever come across,’ I say.

‘Eh, Senorita gringa, iiis not a flower, iiis a, how you say it…?’ He snaps his fingers.

‘Pussy,’ some other fucker calls out.

I peer at him. ‘What?!’ I snatch it out of his hands again. ‘Gimmee that.’ I stare at the picture. ‘Mm. Can’t be a woman’s vagina. It’s too fugly. Has to be a man’s.’ I hand him back the picture and go back to my neglected bottle.

‘So many Gringas,’ Antonio says, perving over the pictures. At the mention of the word ‘Gringa’, all eyes zero in on me.

Am I embarrassed? Hell no!

‘Hey, don’t look at me,’ I say and down another Tequila, whisky – whatever – I’ve lost track of what I’m drinking. ‘I don’t roll that way. Why don’t you ask the fugly asshole at the end of the table?’

There is a collective gasp in the room and all eyes dart towards Diablo, including mine. Now he’s gonna be really pissed. Great.

But his amused response in Spanish brings on some guffawing.

‘What? What did he say, Norman?’

Norman is pissed enough to explain. ‘Diablo say, is like a fucking a colchon sometimes. He say, is a big let down. And, Senorita Gringa, and my name is not …’

Colchon … mattress? He said that, did he?’ I let out a long, low whistle. ‘Well Norm, what the hell does he know, huh?’ I smile at Norman. ‘Can I call you “Norm?” I don’t wait for him to answer. ‘He don’t know jack. Foreplay – hell, he probably thinks it’s some kind of sugar-free chewing gum, or something to do with his car’s steering wheel. Huh, Norm?’

‘But Senorita gringa, my name is not Norm, it is not Norman, it is Lucas.’

I stare at him for so long, he flinches. ‘Lucas?’

He nods.

‘Why didn’t you say something, Norm? Okay, I’ll call you Lucas from now on, Norm.’

‘Eh …’

Santana almost falls off her chair laughing.

I look at Norm. ‘Now, Norm,’ I point to Santana, ‘she’s probably laughing at what I said. Or she’s laughing at what the fuckwit at the end of the table said about me – the mattress – whatever shit …but, you ever seen a donkey laugh, Norm?

‘No, Senorita gringa. But my name …’

‘Never? Well, it’s your lucky day, Norm, cos you’ve seen it now.’ I jerk my head towards Santana.

Well, that magically erases the smile of donkey’s face.

‘You biiitch!’ Santana screeches, half out of her chair. ‘I fargin’ kiiill you!’

I smile and raise my bottle at her. ‘Take a “fargin” number and get in “fargin” line.’

Troy comes up to me. ‘Gringa,’ he whispers, ‘come, let me take you to bed so you can sleep it  … ’

My eyebrows shoot up. ‘Take me to bed? Are you better in bed than your brother? Christ, I hope so, Troy!’

Troy turns scarlet and shrinks back, all the while glancing nervously at Diablo.

Diablo looks at everyone around him falling out of their chairs with laughter and his breathing becomes like that of an emphysema patient – raspy and labored.

‘He really is lousy in bed Troy. And you know what? I don’t like him. He’s hairy and yuuuuck! He won’t let me visit my … ’

Diablo slams his fist onto the table, rattling the table and animating plates, cutlery, glasses.

‘Fuck! Look what you did Satan – you nearly made me spill my …’ I jerk back and peer at the label on the bottle in my hand. ‘What the fuck is this shit? Anyhoo, you’ve made me lose count of how many drinks I had. Have to start all over again. In case I have to drive.’

Diablo suddenly whips out his knife and flings it ninja-style at me. I duck and it hits the wooden beam behind me.

‘Ooooh!’ I cry shaking both my hands mockingly. ‘I’m in trooouble now! Biiiiga trooouble.’

‘Go gringa, go!’ some of the men cheer.

‘Whoookay!’ I say.

Diago stands up.

I stand up too and look him in the eye, my eyebrows disappearing behind my spiky fringe.

Breathing heavily, he creeps slowly to me, but I’m ready for him. I kick back my chair and sidle around, using the table as a barrier between us.

‘Watch him move, like a … eh, what you say for walrus in Spanish?’

The men laugh harder. Even Christa laughs.

‘You will farkin’ die!’ Diablo roars.

‘And who’s gonna farkin kill me, huh?’ I ask, dancing on the spot. ‘You?’ I throw my head back and laugh.

More laughter around me.

Diablo runs to his knife, grabs it off the beam and runs towards me.

But I’m already out of the villa and racing towards the cliff.

‘I’m going to kiiiill you!’ he yells as he chases me.

‘Fuck you, motherfucker!’ I scream over my shoulder and sprint ahead. I don’t care if he kills me, I just don’t want to be assaulted by him. He’s super strong and I stand no chance against him if he does. I’ve never seen him run before and I’m hoping he’s out of shape and slow. Well, the big lunch should make him sluggish.

But to my dismay, I can actually hear his breathing. I’m surprised at my slowness. Must be something to do with the booze. I have to admit, I didn’t realize how drunk I was until I started running. Too late now.

I run up the hill and through the dense foliage, passing startled villagers tending the cannabis crops. They stop and stare when they see Diablo chasing a gringa with a knife in his hand. Behind Diablo are his family and just about all of his men, some on horseback and some on foot, not wanting to miss the moment Diablo finally kills the insolent Gringa.

‘Go, gringa go!’ I hear.

‘Go, Diablo!’ I hear Christa say.

I run faster than I ever did in my life.

‘You will die!’ Diablo threatens behind me, still brandishing the knife. His breathing is getting louder and I know I have to do something.

The rock pool! I know for sure that Diablo is no match for me in the water. Very few people are. I head for the pool.

Changing route confuses Diablo and for a few moments, the gap between us increases, allowing me some respite.

I’m desperate to reach the rock pool so that I can shake the enraged animal behind me.

But to my dismay and my surprise, he catches me.

‘Let go of me, you fucking freak!’

We grapple for a few moments, but somehow, I manage to break free. Minus my dress.

He’s holding it in his hands and I’m running in just my bra and panties. I don’t give a fuck though – too drunk to care.

I’ve never been so relieved to see the rock pool and I dive in and swim frantically. I don’t stop until I’m in the middle of the pool, then only do I turn to look back, expecting to see him close by.

To my surprise, he’s standing on the banks of the rock pool, with his hands on his knees, breathing heavily. Behind him a group of villagers laugh and point at me.

I do what anyone would do – I give him the finger.

He doesn’t react.

I play an air guitar and start to sing. ‘I win! I win! I win! Yeah! Yeah!’

He glowers at me and waves his knife threateningly.

I’m confused as to why he isn’t trying to get me, though.

Then I hear jeers from some of the crowd. Something about Diablo being scared of water. So that’s it – this brutal slayer, this nightmare of a monster feared by all, is scared of water? How bizarre is that?

‘What, Diablo, you scared of water, eh? You fucking baboon! Yes, you’re a monkey.’ I tap the top of my head. ‘Hee, hee, hoo, hoo!’

Diablo’s mouth twists.

‘You wear clothes and you walk upright, but that is the extent of your evolution – you’re still a fucking baboon. Get it? A baboon that allows men to do drugs in his home. You’re nothing but a pathetic murderer. You kill women – how tough does that make you, huh? What about children? You kill them too? Huh? I wouldn’t be surprised, ’cos you’re such a fucking coward!’

Nobody is laughing now.

Two of the men, start wading into the water to get to me, but Diablo stops them.

Someone hands him a lit cigarette and he puffs away, never taking his eyes off me.

The crowd hums.

Usted es un pesimo laicos, Diablo. How’s my Spanish, El Bastido?’ I ask proudly. ‘I learned that from the Spanish Dictionary of Dirty Words I brought in LA. Means you’re a lousy lay. Funny eh?’

‘Two minutes then it’s all over. Two minutes, then it’s finiiiito!’

His drags on his cigarette are longer now.

‘You should stick to her,’ I say, pointing at Santana. ‘She thinks you’re great. She’ll always tell you how fabulousa you are in bed and how you’re the greatest lover she’s ever had in her whole life. You like that, right? Egotistical bastard!’

Santana is fuming. ‘Shoot her Diablo,’ she hisses, circling him. ‘Pegarle un tiro!’

‘Me? I’ve had better,’ I jeer. ‘Ten times over. My boyfriends were soooo much better than you, El Monstero. You just take what you want, you fucking low-life. As for killing me – whose gonna kill me? You? Ha! You shot me, but guess what? I’m still here, motherfucker!’

I look at the crowd. ‘Eh, how do you say in “You’re a lousy shot” in Spanish? Anybody …?’

Of course, none of the fuckers have my balls right now, which emanates from the copious amounts of alcohol I consumed.

‘You shot me because I was a spy? What spy? Some intelligence you have there.’

To my utter amazement, he smiles. For a moment, I’m not sure if I’m imagining it. But upon closer examination, by way of an intense stare on my part, I see that he is indeed smiling – an undisguised, genuinely amused smile.

He looks at the others. They appeared to be just as surprised to see him smile and they too smile. Some of them chuckle. A few of them even laugh.

But not Santana and Christa. They are not smiling.

‘What d’ya want me here for, Diablo?’ I ask, feeling a little tired by now. ‘I don’t fit in here and I’m like, so not impressed by you or your crew or your tequila or your Ponderosa. Okay, maybe your tequila. But I’m never gonna like, marry you and be your wife and have your children. Lord no! I have plans for myself. I gonna like, fight bad guys one day.’

He raises his eyebrows.

‘Keep her instead of me.’ I say and point again at Santana. ‘She’s mucho impresso with you and your … your ability to burn down a village of defenseless old men and women and children with the strike of just one match.’

He glances at Santana as if seeing her for the first time.

Santana’s smirk disappears. ‘What? Don’t listen to her, Diablo.’

‘The only time you will ever get anything out of me El Stupido, is if you steal it from me like you did. Other than that, you have a hope in hell!’

Somebody hands him another lit cigarette and he smokes, looking blankly at me.

‘I hate piercings and you’re like a fucking tea-strainer. I dislike tattoos and look like a badly sketched road map. I hate hairy men and you have dreadlocks and a beard. Uggh! You need an extreme makeover, Amigo. Oh, and some serious exfoliation.’

‘And you …you need to put on some clothes,’ he growls.

I look down at myself. Crap! I become especially conscious of Tongue’s leering smile and quickly drop below water level.

Diablo picks up my dress and holds it to the skies.

I shake my head from side-to-side. ‘I’m gonna stay here forever now that I know you’re scared of water.’

‘My men, they are not scared,’ he reminds me. ‘They can bring you to me.’ Then he looks over his shoulder and rattles off in Spanish to the people behind him. I grow nervous. The bastard’s actually going to send his men after me?

But, to my surprise, the crowd starts to slowly thin. I stare, confused. What the hell’s he up to now?  He turns and looks at me, and I realize he’s messing with me. He’s not sending them after me. I giggle, then float on my back, while he watches. I’m in no hurry to leave the water. I just wish he would leave, but remember to leave my dress behind or I’d have to walk back to the villa almost naked. Not a pleasant thought since the alcohol is wearing off and I’m developing a mother of a headache.

When I look back at him, he’s smiling at my antics.

‘You have cojones,’ he says. ‘No one talk to me like that.

‘Yeah?’

He nods.

‘Yeah, cos you’ll probably shoot them for telling you like it is?’

He thinks before he answers, ‘Si.’

‘Gosh, you’re such an arrogant prick,’ I say more to myself. I raise my hands in a surrendering motion. ‘Go ahead. Shoot. But please – I’d like to die with the first bullet, not the thirty first.’

He grins. Then his smile disappears. ‘You don’t like me?’

‘Duh.’

‘You like Him.’

“Him? You mean Austin? Eh …’

His nostrils flare at my response. ‘Why?’

‘’Cos he’s nice. He’s a good man – pleasant, intelligent, educated … a gentleman.’

‘He must be gay.’

‘He’s not gay! He just … dresses nice.’

‘He is your sister’s husband. How you do this?’

I drop my gaze.

‘He got a baby.’ His voice is edged with reproach.

You getting all moral on me? You?’

Cords appear in his neck.

‘What? You gonna kill him now?’

Si.’

‘Don’t you dare. Be nice for once.’

‘Nice?’

‘Yeah, good, nice. You know …?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘You don’t know?’

He shakes his head. ‘Teach me.’

‘Me?’

Si. Teach me how to be good, nice.’

I stare at him. ‘Why? Why do you want to be nice now?’

He drops to his haunches and stares at the ground. Then he looks up at me. ‘Imatired.’

‘Of what?’

He shrugs. ‘This life. I want to be good. Teach me how to be nice Payton,’ he says softly. ‘I want to learn how to be good.’

His words surprise me. ‘Teach you how – that’ll take decades. I don’t think you’re teachable.’

Si?’ His disappointment is visible.

I nod but then I feel really bad. ‘You really wanna learn how to be nice?’

Si.’

‘Why?’

He looks me in the eye. ‘For you.’

He suddenly looks so vulnerable and sincere and even human, that I feel a little sorry for him. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way considering he’s such an asshole, but I do.

‘You swim good.’

‘Swam for University of California, Los Angeles two years in a row,’ I brag, treading water.

He nods and raises his busy eyebrows. ‘Time to go now,’ he says softly.

This is the first time we’re actually having a conversation and I realize I’m no longer afraid of him. If he wanted to kill me, he would have done it already. Frankly, if he kills me, he’ll be doing me a favor.

I slowly emerge from the water and walk up to him.

He helps me into my dress and steadies me when I stagger.

I giggle as I fight for balance.

We stumble back to our villa in silence. He walks me into the bedroom. I stand in front of my bed and look at it. The bed rises and hits me in the face – knocks me out.

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