Posted by Eve Rabi Author
EMBERS OF TEMPTATION (Excerpt One)
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?).
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.”
“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?
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.
Fans of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, The Affair, will love Eve Rabi’s tale of love, lust and revenge.
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