Valerie groans at the thought of showing the new guy around. But when it turns out he isn't just some stranger, things get worse. And both their lives are thrown into chaos.
I watched the snowflakes fall past the hotel window. The perfect flakes swirling out of control within the harsh wind billowing outside. The street below was powdered white, looking like some beautiful winter wonderland.
I wiped at my eyes angrily and released a deep breath, hugging myself tightly. Tears dripped off my chin and onto the plush carpet regardless. I turned from the window and surveyed the room. The fancy bed covers were still rumpled. The sound of the door slamming ringing in my ears, as if it had happened only moments ago. How had I ended up here? I'd known what would happen, experienced the hurt and let down so many times in the past. And yet … I had let him reel me in. Trusted him when my past said I couldn't.
Chapter One (Three Weeks Earlier)
I turned over in my sleep, half-opening one eye to glance at the clock. The moment I saw the time I swore and jumped out of bed. I needed to get a louder alarm, cause I just kept sleeping through this one. I grabbed a quick shower, trying not to blare obscenities as the freezing water touched my skin. I'd forgotten to turn on the hot water before I went to bed again. After changing into a knee-length black skirt and a purple work shirt I headed out of my flat and to the car park. One slice of toast between my teeth.
“Good morning Miss Harper,” the car park security guard said with a wave. A knowing smile barely contained. I opened my door and dumped my handbag on the passenger seat.
“Hey Henry,” I threw back taking the toast out of my mouth. I shut the car door and started up. Driving one-handed whilst eating my belated breakfast.
“Really need a better alarm,” I muttered as I glared at yet another red light. It's like the universe wanted me to get yelled at by my boss today. I tried to remembered what needed to be done. If there was anything urgent I was screwed. I went through everything I'd done yesterday but nothing rose up as important. Then I remembered something my manager had said right before I'd left.
“Shit,” I muttered, slamming both hands down on the steering wheel. I was meant to be doing something for the big boss. I parked quickly, thankful a spot was still free this late. I hurried to the lift and tapped my foot impatiently the whole time the lift was going. Silently glaring at the cosmos everytime it stopped at another level before my own. When the doors dinged open for my level I piratically ran out and to my desk. I put down my handbag and looked around. No one had noticed me, maybe I'd gotten away with it.
“Late again, Val?” Sophie asked from behind me. I half-spun in my chair to see her grin. Sophie was an old acquaintance from secondary school. They'd be the only two in their respective group of friends to skip university and opt for the apprenticeship option. They ended up in the same department and become friends since.
“Alarm didn't work again,” I explained. She laughed, shaking her head at me. Her chestnut hair was in a perfect bun while my black hair fell in unruly waves. I hadn't had the luxury of styling my hair this morning.
“It's true,” I whined, fully turning in my chair to face her.
“I believe you. Just make sure you actually set it,” she replied.
“Of course I did. I'm not stupid,” I said, crossing my arms.
“I didn't say you were. But you can be forgetful at times,” she jested with a smirk.
“At least I can maintain my composure around a cute guy,” I threw back with a grin. Her cheeks flushed.