Title: Walking The Edge
Series: Book #1 in the Corpus Brides Trilogy
Author: Zee Monodee
Release date: January 5, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Espionage Romance/ Action Thriller
Length: 228 pages
Walking the edge
The next step might be the last…
A woman without a past
Left amnesiac after an accident, Amelia Jamison’s instincts slowly rise from the depths of oblivion to question her life as the wife of a cold, manipulating, and distant man. Wisps of a dream show her another man she may have known intimately, but is he a memory, or a figment of her imagination?
A man with too much information
After many aliases, today Gerard Besson is simply a police commissaire in Marseille. When a mysterious woman starts to follow him, he is suspicious. But things aren’t what they seem, and as he reluctantly gets closer to her, dredges of his painful, buried past spring to light and make him question her identity.
Each seems to have led two different lives
But neither is prepared for what awaits them when they cross the fine line between knowing your true self and that of your alter ego.
Danger is the name of the game, and as it catches up with them in the French Provence, both know they better be ready for the inevitable fall.
She flew straight to the bedroom and its adjoining bathroom the minute she stepped into the cold dwelling, wanting to get to the pills she had to take—pills scheduled like clockwork every six hours, and the reason why Nathaniel had said they needed to get back before Peter came home. She could ditch them down the drain while Nathaniel struggled to get in with the mountain of shopping bags she’d piled on him back at Selfridges, and thus escape the drugs’ heavy, losing-control sedation.
As she closed her hands on the vials in the medicine cabinet, she froze. The plastic tubes rolled with a clatter of shaking pills into the sunken marble sink.
Someone stood there.
Oh, no. Peter.
Her breath hitched in her throat as she sensed more than heard his approach, his Italian loafers making no sound on the bedroom carpet, then on the polished floor tiles of the en-suite. Like a stealthy big cat, a predator on the move… The closer he got, the more she recoiled and cringed, dreading the feel of his cold, slimy paws should they touch her.
He dipped his head so his mouth would be level with her ear, and the whisper of his breath teased her skin with a malevolent reek.
“There’s a good girl.”
His tone thrummed low, soft, chilling…with a hint of mockery, a distressing reminder that he called the shots around the house. Gone was the distant, detached man who had been by her side at the hospital. In his place had settled a manipulating monster who took pleasure in making her jump out of her skin.
Against her will to not give in to his silent threat, her body shook with subtle tremors. The one vial of medicine still in her palm rattled with a nerve-wracking jangle as the pills inside danced from the involuntary movement. Couldn’t she be made of sterner stuff? Why did he have this effect on her, damn it?
Peter placed his cold hand onto hers and rubbed his long fingers along her wrist. She yearned to shrink back from the creepy, reptilian touch, but she couldn’t move. He’d make her do what she didn’t want.
He’d make her take the drugs.
Misery threading an icy path down her spine and into her soul as he reached for the small bottles. Her lower lip trembled to contain a sob, and she bit down on the flesh so hard, the coppery tang of blood flooded her taste buds, making her yearn to retch even more.
“Seems like you need to rest, Millie.”
His still-low voice sliced her like a thousand shards of sharp crystal, stabbing into her gut and at her pounding heart. He took one pill from each of the white vials, and two from the pink one, before he cradled her hand in his and placed the little spheres in her palm.
After putting the medicine bottles back in the cabinet, he swung the door closed. The mirror on the panel reflected their images. She stifled a gasp when the visual confirmation that he stood so close drove home. What a devastatingly handsome man; tall, with pale skin as flawless as the most precious Italian marble. His eyes had a unique, deep green hue, and locks of his expertly cut dark hair—the shade as intense as gleaming mahogany—brushed his wide forehead, which tapered down to an otherwise lean face. But no soul existed behind that façade. Nothing but darkness… And she couldn’t let him win. Ever.
She tore her gaze from his reflection to stare at her own. For all the racing heartbeat and thundering blood pounding in her veins and at her temples, her face betrayed no hint of the fear and pooling dread inside her. No, she appeared detached, regal, as if she didn’t give a damn.
Peter filled a glass at the tap and placed it in her other hand. His stare caught hers in the mirror, and she shook inwardly at the empty hollowness of his soul that darkened his bottle-green irises.
Drink, they seemed to order, a barely concealed command obvious in the penetrating gaze.
No, she craved to scream, but something else took over. She needed to show him she’d never cower. Defiant, she threw the pills into her mouth and swallowed them with a big gulp of water.
Satisfied? Her blue gaze insolently asked as she stared back.
He smiled. Only the corners of his mouth stretched, his eyes remaining hard, emerald stones in the smooth, chiselled perfection of his otherwise expressionless face.
She shivered—at his calm, detached demeanour, or at the drugs hitting her bloodstream with no food as a buffer in her empty stomach? The stuff he plied her with proved potent, and it could knock her out in minutes. Already, she grew groggy, wisps of oblivion snaking through her consciousness and laying siege upon her mind, intent on numbing any functioning neuron in her system so the abyss could consume her.
Peter’s hand settled under her elbow, the chill of his touch permeating the fabric of her cashmere twin set. He made her turn around, his grasp firm as he led her, stumbling steps and all, into the adjoining room.
As her blurred vision made out the silhouette of the king-size canopy bed, the last thing she clearly recalled before darkness claimed her was someone pushing her forward with all their might.
He released her on the threshold of her bedroom and turned to leave. The violence in his moves hit like a splash of cold water on her senses, and the certainty slid home that she couldn’t trust him. Something told her he lied as naturally as he breathed. And he had a mistress…
“She made you her bitch, didn’t she?”
The question hurtled from her mouth before she could think it out. Too late, though—she’d have to see it through. Also high time he came clean with her.
He didn’t turn. “You’re out of your mind.”
“Am I? No wonder, since you ply me with so many drugs!” She’d add oil to the fire, but she had a feeling restraint wasn’t something that featured high on her list of priorities when she got riled up.
He whirled around, and she saw him move as if someone had pushed a slow-motion button. Somehow, she should be afraid, but she wasn’t. He didn’t faze her, not his erect stance, or the fury evident on his face. What a change from the usual detachment. Had she hit a sensitive nerve?
“No one made me her bitch, Millie. It’s been a long time since we’ve been husband and wife in the carnal sense, you and me.”
Her gut told her some truth lurked in his statement. Hallelujah. She needed more, though. Why the sham of their marriage, then?
He gave a bitter snort and laughed. “You don’t want to know.”
She did. “What happened?”
“I don’t want to go there.” He turned to leave.
But she couldn’t let him go, not after he’d started to open up, if only a little. She ran to him, as fast as her still-sluggish body could, and caught up with him in the doorway of his bedroom, clasping his wrist to force him to stop.
“What happened?” she again questioned him.
“If you want a new start for us, you wouldn’t ask that.”
He didn’t shrug off her hand, so she stood her ground. “Tell me.”
When she insisted, he did throw her hand off, and she jerked from the sudden movement. Her insides shook when he hit his clenched fists against the wall. The reverberation along the panel rocked the glass vase on the nearby demi-console propped against the silk-lined wall, and it tumbled to shatter on the parquet.
“You want the truth? I’ll give it to you.”
A sliver of unease slid into her heart, and for once, she questioned her judgment. Would it be a good thing, to know? Wasn’t ignorance better?
“The bloody truth, Amelia, is that you were on the Côte d’Azur while I stayed back here. I thought you went to the film festival in Cannes, but you’d scampered miles away from there.”
He paused, as if for emphasis, and her unease snowballed into dread.
“You’d found a comfy spot on a yacht off the coast of Nice. A yacht that exploded because of a bomb, leaving you for dead, while the intended target escaped.” He let a few seconds elapse in silence. “Will you ask why you were on board that yacht in the first place?”
She wanted to shake her head “no,” but she couldn’t. She needed to hear this, however unsettling it would prove to be.
“You were there because someone invited you to have a good time on board their friend’s yacht.” He took a step forward, backing her against the wall. “That someone, Millie, was your lover.”
This couldn’t be true. She wasn’t someone who cheated. She couldn’t be. “Fuck you, Peter.”
The sting of his palm striking her cheek forced the breath out of her lungs as she reeled from the violence. How dare he hit her? Reflexively, she struck back and connected with his face, the back of her hand a hard blow to his mouth, her diamond ring splitting his lip.
He brought one hand up and used his thumb to wipe the blood trickling down the side of his chin. Without another word, he turned on his heels and went into his bedroom.
But she wasn’t done with him, not yet. Not by a long shot. “Why did you stay with me, then, if I’d taken another man to my bed? Why the whole make-believe setup now?”
She followed him, but one step inside the bedroom and her instincts rose to the highest alert. Something very bad was about to happen. She froze with the insight as sounds of a cabinet door closing in the bathroom reached her ears. She should turn tail and run, back to her room where she’d slide the bolt and turn the key so Peter couldn’t get to her.
But she wasn’t fast enough. She still found herself where she stood when he re-entered the bedroom, something in his hand. She didn’t know what, but it would spell her doom.
She turned and rushed to the corridor. His footsteps accelerated behind her. Two feet from the door to her deliverance, his arm wrapped tight around her neck and he pulled her roughly to him, his hand clutching her upper arm in a vise-like grip. He was so much bigger than her…
Her first instinct told her to fight, yet, the more she squirmed, the tighter his stranglehold got.
Take a few steps forward, gather momentum, and hit the wall, feet flat. In the same move, twist your torso to the side and hit hard with the elbow.
She had no time to ponder where the certainty of that thought came from or how the sound of the deep, male voice addressing her crystallized in her mind. She tried to do as the voice inside her head told her to, but she wasn’t fast enough. The sharp prick of a needle in her neck made her cry out. She howled with misery and defeat when the stinging release of the drug Peter injected into her burnt through her muscles.
Her body went progressively limp, but she heard the words he whispered in her ear.
“Because you were always meant to be mine,” he said in a low growl thrumming with possession and spite.
Then the darkness claimed her, and she sagged as its clawing fingers ripped at her consciousness.
About The Author:
Author, editor, smitten wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween boy, best-buddy stepmum to a teenage lad, bookaholic, lover of all things fluffy & pink, chronic shoeholic, incompetent housewife desperate to channel Nigella Lawson (and who’ll prolly always fail at making domestic goddess status)…
Zee hails from the multicultural, rainbow-nation island of Mauritius, in the southern Indian Ocean, where she grew up on the figurative fence—one side had her ancestors’ Indian and Muslim culture; the other had modernity and the global village. When one day she realised she could dip her toes into both sides without losing her integrity, she found her identity.
This quest for ‘finding your place’ is what she attempts to bring in all her stories, across all the genres she writes. Her heroines represent today’s women trying to reconcile love, life, & relationships in a melting pot of cultures, while her heroes are Alpha men who often get put back into their rightful place by the headstrong women she writes. Love is always a winner in her stories, though; that’s a given.
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