70 chapters
She held the collar of her coat and ran through the roof of the five-story building to the edge, tilting her head back, observing the angry rolling clouds announcing the storm, likewise inside her head. On that terrible morning, the dark gray skies promised an omen. A flashback of her life passed before her eyes, while she contemplated the horizon, and the wind picked up getting stronger by the minute.Read more
Chapter One - The Cruise
Ella had worked nonstop for years after she moved to Florence. She couldn’t even blame her hard work on the company she worked for since it was her fault not taking a break and overloading herself, as long as her mind didn’t wander off to what she had left behind. A client from Madrid had called early that morning, yelling at her. The software she had developed got glitches, and they couldn’t keep up with their customers. The problem wasn’t the software, but their outdated machinery. She calmed them down and convinced them to upgrade some of their equipment to function better, but it had exhausted her. As she talked to them, her stomach churned and Ella felt the signs of a headache add up to her already tired state of mind and cursing under her breath. She massaged her temples, hanging up the phone with a loud sigh. To make things worse, Ella would have to visit them to set everything up, she thought, leaning back in her chair.The week spent in Madrid was far from easy, among fixing
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Chapter Two
A rough scream full of pain called her attention, and a beautiful pair of eyes glared at her, smoldering with anger, as cold as black ice. They froze, staring at each other. She wouldn’t dare even breathe since the air was crackling with tension, and a storm raged in those eyes. His gaze traveled throughout her body, stopping in every curve. Those same eyes turned to a shade of midnight blue, and Ella saw glimpses of fire burning in the back of them, promising hell and heaven all together and for a minute there she thought she was naked, thus a warm wave spread throughout her body. She bit her bottom lip as her neck and face turned crimson red, making her eyes brighten up.Justin froze in the corridor; his head pounding in pain, looking to the woman sprawled on the floor. He wasn’t sure what hit him, but he was sure about one thing, he hallucinated. He stared at her as he’d seen a ghost. The devil had shown up in front of him. Blood flushed out of his face, and as much as he wanted to
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Chapter Three
Justin bordered on insanity. He fled to his cabin before he behaved like a monster, and he didn’t even know how he got there. When he came to his senses, it was already late morning the next day, and an empty bottle of whiskey accompanied him on his bed. He felt desperate, and for the first time, he didn’t know what to do. Claire couldn’t be alive, no one would survive that fall. 'How? How is she here?' Tears of anger and frustration flooded his long dark lashes, and for a long time, he was just there lost in his thoughts. After a while he forced himself back from his ordeal; showered, got dressed in faded jeans and a black T-shirt, and left.Evening came, and he had stalked Ella the whole afternoon. Justin got himself behind some columns, and Ella was on the deck by the ship’s balustrade. She looked prettier than he remembered, looking at the blackness of the sea, and once in a while, she would close her eyes, enjoying the sea breeze touching her face, making her long ebony hair floa
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Chapter Four
He shot her a sarcastic look and nodded. Justin walked by her side in silence, still unsure of his steps and quite dizzy. He put his hand on the small of her back, after a while, leading them to one of the ship’s restaurants. The feel of his hand on her set her pulse on fire, leading her heart to thrum like drums.The host approached with a friendly smile and greeted them. “I’d appreciate, if you could get us a table at a nice and quiet section of the diner, please,” Justin asked. The host agreed with a smirk on, picked up two menus, and asked them to follow him. They were mute for a while and staring at each other like they didn’t know what to do with themselves.“I don’t even know your name.” Ella broke the mortifying silence. He cocked his head and looked at her for some time. “Justin.”“Well, Justin, how’s your head?” There was genuine concern in her tone.“Don’t worry too much, it’s fine.”“Any headaches or any kind of pain?” She furrowed her brows and looked into his eyes, th
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Chapter Five
“Are you ready to order?” Anna handed the drinks and gave them space to decide on the food and under their watchful eyes, Ella grabbed her beer and gave a long and nice gulp on it, to ease the stress of the day. His eyes darkened, and at that moment, he wished he was that bottle just to taste her lips.“Delicious! I needed this!” She closed her eyes, savoring the drink. “Would you like some pasta dish?” he asked after a few seconds, knowing Claire’s love for Italian cuisine.“Well, I’d rather have fish, but sure, why not? Once in a while doesn’t hurt, right? I’ll let you choose.” She grinned and closed the menu, blushing a bit. Justin talked to Anna and ordered for them.“What are you doing so far from home?” He stared at her, sipping on his beer.“Which home, Florence or New York?”“Let’s start with New York.” He smiled, and from the way her cheeks burned, she knew they were crimson.“When I graduated in college, I wanted a life of my own, and since I spoke the language, Italy seeme
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Chapter Six
Ella closed the gap between them, crushing her soft lips into his. Surprised by her reaction, Justin lost it. With one hand he grabbed her by the hair and the other rested on her waist, pulling them even closer, pressing her against his hard body. Ella moaned against him, opening her lips and giving him total access to explore her mouth. His lips were gentle at the beginning, but he deepened the kiss, becoming wild and anxious by the second.'Oh, gosh! How I missed this! I missed us. I hate her so much, but I also missed her.' There was a raw hunger for her eating up at him, and he couldn’t stop himself. His kisses were full of tension and rage. He wanted to punish her, to torment her, and to make her pay for everything she had done to him.Her fingers playing with his hair, and the gentle caress in his face, sent a jolt of fire to his groin. She intertwined one of her legs in his and his hips moved forward, pressing against Ella’s. The hard bulge pressing against her added to the fire
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Chapter Seven
“Sorry, it’s stronger than me. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” he said, tapping his foot under the table. “I’m trying to figure out what happened to us last night.”“First, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve never behaved this way with someone I’ve just met, but there’s something about you that makes me lose my reason and it’s freaking scaring me!” She got exasperated, blushing even harder. “Second, you think I’m someone I’m not. I’m not this person, whoever the hell she might be. I’m not this girl!” she answered in distress. “If it makes you feel any better, I feel the same way.” The strain in her tone made his eyes go from dark gray to black in a flip of a second.“So I think we should keep a distance from each other until we get back to Italy.” “I don’t think so.” He got in a very sour mood.“But I do. I came on this trip because I needed time for myself, and I won’t get it with you around me.” Ella twisted her fingers on top of her lap. “Ok, let’s stop playing ga
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Chapter Eight
She didn’t know what to think about it and who the girl from the picture might be. Tears threatened to fall, and she blinked to get rid of them. She had trouble with her memory, but she had pieces of it, and in none of them she found Justin. She wasn’t a lunatic, she thought, tapping her fingers on the table, and glancing around the diner. She connected with him in a sick sense, and the way he looked so much in love in those pictures was the proof he was the one who got the short-end of whatever shit that happened between them. The sun was already setting when Ella came back, stopping in front of her door again and giving one last look. Maybe one of her father’s associates had found out about her and doom was coming closer. With the thought, she went inside and turned on the lights, Justin was sitting in the armchair facing the door.“How did you get in here?” The blood drained from her face, and she leaped back, taking her hand to her throat.“Are you trying to avoid me, Ella?” The s
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Chapter Nine - The Threatening
“Ella! Ella!” Valentina called a few times and no answer. “What’s wrong with you?” she said, waving her hands in front of her boss. “Yes, I’m sorry… What were you saying?” Ella closed her eyes, massaging her temples. “Meeting a new client?” “What’s wrong with you? You’re acting weird since you’ve got back from Spain.” Her gaze fixed on Ella. “You lost focus, you’re spacing out all the time and don’t concentrate anymore!” Val crossed her arms. “What happened on board that ship, Ella?”“We need to talk, I feel like I’m going to burst.” She wiped her eyes to dissipate the tears threatening to fall.“You haven’t been yourself at all, why don’t you tell me what’s going on?” Valentina enveloped Ella in a warm hug, sliding her hand up and down, soothing.“I know. Just a little more patience, please? For now, can we just go back to work? What about the client?” She stepped back, her eyes were full of tears and seeing her in distress, Valentina nodded.“Ok. Signore Di Bianco. His secretary ca
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