Authors: KM Golland
(A Temptation Series
Cover Design by: Wade
Pauze - Design and
Published by K. M.
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portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or
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written by the author, all songs, song titles and lyrics contained in this book
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For my readers and fans who requested Carly’s voice.
I question your sanity
Have you ever thought that you knew exactly where your life
was headed? Knew what you would be doing and who you would be doing it with?
Well, I did. I had my life somewhat mapped out in my head. My life was going to
be free. Free from obstructions, free from drama and free from anchors that
tied me to anyone or anything. Yep, I was an anchorless ship on her maiden
voyage that never ended.
I was going to sail through life on a continuous journey of
good times, fashion and fun. I was carefree, fat-free, child-free and
fancy-free. I had good health, good family and friends, good shoes and a good
arse! My life was good. Uncomplicated.
That was until I met Derek.
Firefighter Derek. Drop-dead gorgeous Derek. Blue-eyed,
dirty-talking, cocky-as-hell Derek. He was the sweetest man I’d ever met and
the one person to completely change my infinite voyage of freedom.
He was my iceberg.
If you watch the second hand on a clock closely, you will
see it pause then tick backward. Sometimes it even skips forward then bloody
backward again. Don’t believe me? Watch one, I dare you. Watch it like a hawk,
just like I did every day at 3.15 p.m.
I’m not ashamed of being able to tell you every detail about
the clock in my office. It’s round, white, and it has a black circular edge. It
has three hands and twelve numbers on it. It’s quite simply plain and ugly and
it taunts me on a daily basis.
Rolling my neck from side to side, I attempted to rid my
body of the built-up tension that primary school students placed on it. I
groaned and flinched as a cracking noise sounded from my neck, the sound alone
indicating that I was in need of an appointment with my super-sexy chiropractor,
also known as Give-Us-A-Crack Jack
. Mm, Jack ... the things that man does
with his hands.
I removed the pervy smile from my face that said ‘Yes, I’m
currently daydreaming about being fucked’ and, with an additional grizzle and
gloomy moan, shrugged my shoulders and focussed on the remainder of my day.
It wasn’t lost on me that I sound like a whinging, whining
cat, and I knew that my job as the school receptionist was not the worse job in
the world. I knew it because my room-mate, Libby — or Miss Hanson as she is
known to her grade three students — has a cousin who drives to numerous public
places, such as shopping centres and offices, and replaces those sanitary bins
that sit in the corner of a ladies toilet cubicle.
Now that’s a bad job!
And an old school friend of Lexi’s and mine, who befriended
us on Facebook, well ... he cleans those whack-off rooms in sex shops.
Grossest job ever!
So, no, my job wasn’t yuck or bad; it was just really
draining and sucked the absolute life out of me. Why? One word: children.
Curious, over-enthusiastic, loud and inquisitive children. They were the bane
of my existence.
Stretching my fingers over my computer keyboard, I again
watched as that bloody second hand on the clock played its evil trick on me. I
had a dream once, a horrible, horrible dream that bordered on nightmare. I
dreamed that the ghastly timepiece had a face ... a real face, a human face. It
wasn’t even hot or sexy; it was the face of a geeky guy and it talked to me,
teasing and taunting as the seconds counted down to the final school bell for
the day. ‘Ten more seconds to go, Carly,’ geeky clock-man had said. ‘No, make
that eleven seconds, also known as 660 billion nanoseconds. Oh, pardon me, I do
stand corrected, there’s ten seconds left. Aw, now it’s twelve.’
‘Miss Henkley?’ a timid voice sounded from somewhere in my
vicinity, snapping me out of my recollection.
Looking up, I spotted seven-year-old Ellie Lake, standing in
front of my reception counter. We had a small footstool on the ground for short
students, and Ellie, being one of them, was propped on top of it, peering at
‘Yes, Ellie?’ I replied with my pleasant
‘I’m this week’s bell monitor,’ she advised proudly.
Almost instantly, the song ‘Ring my Bell’ by Collette played
in my head, throwing me back into the 1980s: spandex, acid-wash denim and
fluorescent pink and yellow hair scrunchies.
God, I need a night at the
‘Excellent,’ I replied, a bit too sarcastically, while
plastering on a faux smile.
Ellie was none the wiser.
‘Come around here, Ellie, and I’ll show you what to do.’
She jumped off the step, skipped past the reception window
and came through my office door. Her ridiculous enthusiasm to press a button
which inevitably sounded the last school bell of the day made me smile —
children are such strange creatures.
‘Okay, so when the clock says 3.20 p.m. exactly, you press
this button right here,’ I explained, pointing to the circular red button.
‘Three times, like this: One. Two. Three.’
Unfortunately, I had to be precise with my instructions,
making sure I clearly exaggerated the pause between each push. Last week, Jet
Bradley — aged eight — decided that he would try to be the fastest bell-button
pusher in history. OneTwoThree — no pauses. So to avoid a similar scenario —
because superfast bell-button pushers were not what we were after as bell
monitors — I reiterated the tempo of the push.
Somebody please kill me now.
Thank everything in the world that is wonderful, though,
because tomorrow is Saturday, which means no school and more importantly, no
school children. Tomorrow was the beginning of the school holidays. Oh, and it
was also my best friend Alexis’ birthday.
Lexi and I have been friends for as long as we could remember,
both of us having first met each other at the age of four when Mum and Dad
bought the property next to her parents’ farm in Shepparton. Mr and Mrs Blaxlo
— also known as Graeme and Maryann — owned twenty-eight hectares of land which
they used to farm beef cattle, whereas our farm was a little smaller and contained
sheep: smelly, ugly, boring sheep.
Now, I wouldn’t call myself an animal hater. In fact, I
liked most animals. I even have a Mexican walking fish named Rico and an eight-month-old
golden retriever named Sasha. I just didn’t like cows, cats, mice, spiders or
sheep ... especially sheep.
Baa, baa, fucking baa.
Alexis — my partner in crime for the past thirty-one years —
was having a birthday party at her extremely wealthy, and sexy as hell,
boyfriend’s penthouse apartment the following night. Apparently also her
apartment, too. She moved in with Mr Sex-on-a-stick Bryce Clark a couple of
months back after she found out her husband of twelve years — Rick ‘arsehole’
Summers — had cheated on her and spawned a love child he just recently found
Days of Our Lives
when I have Days of Alexis’
Jokes aside, though, their separation and the revelation of
Rick’s past was heartbreaking for Lexi. Luckily, Alexis had Bryce with her
every step of the way to pick up the pieces of her broken heart. And not only
did he pick them up, he forged the pieces together like a Herculean god,
building a new heart for Alexis that he decided was his sole mission in life to
look after and protect.
Hmm ... thinking of Herculean gods, might have to
download the movie
tonight and get my fix of triple-chocolate swirl
ice cream and Gerard Butler
Damn, that Scotsman is fine.
‘One. Two. Three,’ Ellie quietly chanted while waiting for
the time to tick over.
Subduing a smile, I returned to thinking about my best
friend’s crazy-as-fuck life. You see, Lexi and Rick have two children: Nate,
aged nine, and Charlotte, aged six. As I’ve said, children are the bane of my
existence, but Nate and Charli are the exception. I love those two gorgeous
twerps like they are my own.
My own? Ha, never! Carly Josephine Henkley is
never having children. Not until sheep fly ... fly the fuck off, that is.
Before Lexi found out about Rick’s infidelity, she’d fairly
recently gone back to work after staying at home and raising Nate and Charli
for nine years. All well and good ... until she fell in love with her obscenely
rich and sizzling-hot boss, Bryce Clark, and he just as madly, if not more so,
fell in love with her.
The whirlwind that has been their romance could only be
rivalled by the one that swept Dorothy’s house from Kansas. But as explained by
Alexis, it was as though the two of them were woven from the same cloth: made
for each other, a romance written in the stars. And I couldn’t say that I
disagreed with her. Their connection was undeniably perfect ... akin to
chocolate and peanut butter, or lamb and mint sauce.
Mm ... lamb and mint
sauce. That’s dinner sorted.
What? I may not like sheep, but I am more than
happy to eat them.
Ellie shuffled impatiently, eyeing the taunting clock as the
seconds ticked down, the anxious wait to perform her duty painted across her
little face. I was of half a mind to ask if the second hand jumped back and
forth for her as it did for me, but I didn’t. Instead, I started to arrange the
individual class folders in a pile, ready for me to input the day’s final
attendance record into my computer.
As I sat down on my seat and smoothed my black pencil-pleat
skirt down my thighs, I noticed that my fingernails needed a new coat of
Shit! Mental note: don’t forget to prettify my digits before the
One of my cardinal rules — known as Carly’s Cardinals — was that, as
a female, one’s nails should always look stunning. They should be pretty and
intimidatingly scary, all at the same time. Not to mention that I couldn’t
possibly go to Lexi’s party without fingernails that could stop traffic. Surely
Bryce had hot friends ... wealthy friends, friends that came from the same
planet as him. I’m guessing Krypton. Surely he was not the only super-sexy,
smart, obscenely handsome, successful businessman in Melbourne. Odds were, he
That was why my nails had to be smokin’ hot and enticing
enough to have one of his friends want nothing more than for me to drag them
down his back in a moment of ecstasy.
Well, that’s my plan, anyway.