Authors: Claire C Riley
“Claire C. Riley is a name you need to add to your list. She may very well be the best writer you have never heard of . . . but need to.”
TW Brown—author of the DEAD series,
That Ghoul Ava
, The Zomblog series and editor for May December Publications.
“Claire and I met prior to the release of her stellar debut
, a tale of overpowering obsession and inescapable consequence. Her personality won me over quickly and then her author’s voice created within me a fan for life.
She consistently takes the most overtired, exhausted, and stale subject matter and warps, molds, and fashions her stories out of them and into something fresh, beautiful, and impossible to resist. Since her debut, Claire has released
both of which capture the essence of old-school horror, recreated and modernized into new-blooded material that seeps warm, wet, crimson entertainment.
is no exception. Within these pages, you’ll find the continuation of a brilliant storyline with elements that will elicit sincere emotion- grief, terror, and sometimes joy. Have a happy ride across these pages, you lucky readers.”
“In a world gone mad, with enemies both alive and dead, Claire C. Riley takes her readers on one hell of a heart-pounding journey alongside a very relatable heroine. Filled with nail-biting twists and turns,
isn't a story you'll soon forget.”
Best Selling Author
The Holy Trinity Series
The Undeniable Series
is a well-balanced horror tale filled with vivid imagery, engaging characters, and heart-racing action. This series quickly made my favorite zombie reads of all time!”
Published By Claire C Riley at Breakwater Harbour Books, Inc. Scott J. Toney and Cara Goldthorpe, Co-Founders.
Electronic Edition. License Notes.
Copyright 2013 © Claire C Riley.
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.
No reproduction without permission. All rights reserved.
To my husband John—I will love you forever. And for my three beautiful girls, Becca, Abbie, and Lilah—you are my life and my soul. You will never know how much you all truly mean to me. You all complete me.
To Kate, the loveliest friend anyone could ask for. Without your constant encouragement, I don’t think that I would have had the confidence to finish this book.
And to you…yeah, you! (Well, you’re reading it, aren’t you?) Without your support this would still be just a dream.
Now for another part of my dedications: I promised everyone that ‘liked,’ commented, and participated on my author Facebook page that you would be in my dedications—and I always keep my promises, so here goes. I’ve tried to copy all your names the best I could so hopefully I have it all right.
Firstly, San DK (man this guy has been such a great source of encouragement to me, so thank you.) My best friend, Kate Fraser. The beautiful Emma Lagan. Wulf Francu Godgluck. Neil Peters. Shauna Dillon Bookman. Milly Stott. Katie Stott. Gemma Stott…and obviously the beautiful Emily Rose. Joise Ryan. Tim JD Byrne. Julie Rainey; The Lost Princess. Michael Matula. Chris Bostic. Jane Lawry. David EM Emrys. Gaz Liu. John Lovell. Chiara. J. Cetrangolo-Mainolfi. Adriana Buia. Halima Rahman. James Barrett. Amy Queau. Neil Belcher. Alex Rosa. Kaylee Smith. Hayley Berry. Britta McDonald Häming. Amir Moshiri. Anna Limbert. Candice Swann. Stacey Swann. Sharon Swann. Charlotte Bradley. Chloe Hardwick. David Allen. Deidre Brown. Gerald Rollason. Graeme Booth. Helen Whelan. Jane Medd—kisses and hugs to you my beautiful and lovely friend!
(Was that soppy enough?)
Steve Medd. Jayne Lawlor. Jo Whitehouse. Jules Lamb. Kala and Dan Tully—
congratulations again, Mr & Mrs Tully!
Kim Shaw. Michele Zugnoni. Nicole Häming Vourliotis. Paul Riley. Sarah Aldred. Ryan Blackburn. Sam Jon Abbot. Sara Stinson. Sharon Doleman. Sharon L Norris. Sheila Rollason. Hayley Chaddock. Shelby Lynn. Anna Rahily. Sheri Taylor-Emery. Emma Burge. Ellen C McCraney Maze. Gemma Cull. Victoria Pritchard. Mathew Dudley. Lauren Dootson and Pam Hellyer.
A cold hand snakes under my duvet, intruding on my thoughts. It slides along the warmth of my calf, and I shiver. I pull my legs up to my chest, turning myself into a ball. The hand’s grip on me is firm and strong. It pulls my legs out from their foetal position and begins to massage the muscle of my inner thigh, kneading my flesh persistently. My muscles deep inside clench in expectancy and I smile despite myself.
“Go on you, get to work.” I emerge from under the covers. My long black hair falls around my shoulders, untidily no doubt, and I yawn and rub my eyes.
“I’m the boss you know, Mia; I'm allowed to be a little late.” Oliver’s voice is husky. His hand has reached my waist, and now rubs the arc of my hips.
Damn, he’s gorgeous.
I smile and look him over. His body is hard and toned with a rugged sex appeal, and his sandy hair is tousled. His eyes are a deep chocolate brown and sexy as hell as he looks at me. I notice that he’s only in his underwear—some tight, black boxer shorts—and nothing else. My stomach twirls in excitement.
“First off, Mr Boss Man, you cannot be late for work today. You need to make a good impression. Secondly, just because you’ve been given lead control on the development over on the Island, it does not make you ‘the boss’ as you so aptly put it.” I grin at him and sit up.
I lean over, grab my coffee mug, and take a tentative sip. Grinning, I let the covers slide down off my shoulders, making sure to show more flesh than necessary.
“Mmmmm.” The sound leaves me, deep and throaty. “This is really good.” I smile appreciatively, my blue eyes never leaving his.
Clearly, I’m not talking about the coffee anymore.
He grins and his hand grips me tighter under the covers, then moves up to my stomach. He reaches further under my lace cotton vest, his fingers probing the soft outline of my breasts.
“I’m pretty much the boss,” Oliver says with affection, his body straining against his boxer shorts.
And there’s that sexy grin again.
“I’m in charge of the entire landscaping team over there. And you can’t do
,” he squeezes my plump breast tenderly, his eyes dark and brooding, “and expect me to go to work.”
Leaning in for a kiss, he closes his eyes. I bring my face to his, our lips brushing against each other. Both his hands reach out for me, and he cups my face. Holding me to him, he slips his tongue between my lips. He strokes it against mine and heat spreads through me at his touch. He smells divine as he leans further in, kissing my neck. His chin stubble is rough against my sensitive skin and I shiver.
Swallowing down my desire with a sigh, I dive out of bed. His face falls as I walk away with a giggle. I pad into the bathroom, looking back over my shoulder with a grin. “You did that all to yourself, sailor.”
He pouts at me, showing off his puppy dog eyes.
I laugh. “We haven’t got time.”
Oliver groans. “Fine, I give up. I’m going to work, grumble, moan and all that. I’ll call you at lunchtime if I get a chance. But I’m not sure how busy I’m going to be.”
I watch from the doorway whilst he pulls a black T-shirt over his hard, defined body, and I wonder idly if we could ‘make’ some time for our extra activity.
“Have you met him yet?” I ask, leaning against the doorframe, continuing to look him over. I scrub my teeth, the toothpaste foaming between my words.
“Who? The new owner? No, probably won’t—not for a while I reckon, anyway. You never do with jobs like this. There’s so much to do over there, Mia. I mean literally, acres and acres of landscaping. We’re going to be busy for a good few months.” He tugs up his blue jeans with a smile. I realise that he must have been worrying as much as I have over the lack of the recent work.
“I don’t think anything has been done with those gardens for the last twenty years or so. Certainly not since that creepy old guy used to live there. What was his name? Mr Sam? Mr San? Or something like that. I wonder what happened to him,” he says with a shake of his head. “Anyway, I don’t have time to make small talk with silly little rich boys.” He uses his most patronising voice on me.
Oliver grins and bends to tie his bootlaces, knowing that this will irritate me. He looks back up through his long lashes, his brown eyes, alert with playfulness whilst his unruly blonde hair falls over his forehead.
“Ollie,” I scold. “You shouldn’t judge someone until you’ve met them. As you just said yourself, you haven’t, and most probably won’t. He could be a perfectly nice chap for all you know.” I rinse my toothbrush in the sink. “And, Mr San sold the land off and moved away—I think that was his name anyway,” I continue. “Probably because of people calling him creepy!” I laugh and look back into the bedroom.
“Whatever, sweet cheeks. I’ve seen these types before. Big city boys think they can come down here for some quiet time. They flash their cash around, cause a bit of mischief, and then decide that it’s too boring and head back off to the big city again, leaving a trail of broken hearts in their wake.” Oliver stands up and comes towards me. The top button of his jeans remains undone.
He notices my glance with a sly smile. “I’ve got to go. Like I said, I’ll try and give you a call later if I get a chance.” He strokes his finger across my bottom lip. “Are we still going out for dinner with your sister tonight?” He slips his hand into the back of my long black hair, his fingers brushing through the softness. He pulls my face up to meet his, and his eyes cloud with lust whilst he plants soft kisses along my jaw line. I moan. My stomach heats and flips under his touch.
Pulling back, he looks into my face. “I love you so much. Shame I can’t interest you in anything.” I can hear the smugness in his voice, but I don’t care right now.
His tongue darts over his soft lips. I groan as the warm feeling spreads to the apex of my thighs, leaving me trembling for him. He grins, his dimple pulling in, as he plants a passionate kiss on my mouth, pushing his body roughly against mine. His hips hold me in place against the doorframe. I am practically panting for him, ready to crumble and give in to his every demand, when he releases me.
“Better go, babe.” He slaps my behind and strides off down the hallway with a smug grin and a chuckle buttoning up his jeans, leaving me overwhelmingly frustrated.
I follow him down to the front door. “Touché, Mr Boss man,” I murmur. He picks up his jacket and shrugs it on, stretching it over his strong, broad shoulders, and grins at me. I reach up and wrap my arms around his neck. “I love you too, Ollie.”
He looks into my face, cupping it with his hands like a delicate flower. “You’re so damn beautiful, sweet cheeks.”
I flush under his praise. “Shut up!” A giggle escapes. “I’m far from beautiful, but I guess that’s all in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it.”
“Well, this beholder thinks you’re gorgeous.” He smiles.
I can’t help but smile back. “Well, I think the same of the beholder.”
He sniggers and kisses me. I change the subject—I hate being the centre of attention. “Yes, we’re still going out tonight. Caitlyn is really looking forward to us meeting her new boyfriend, Will.”
My half-sister Caitlyn finally seems serious over a man. Therefore, I am not about to miss the opportunity to meet the lucky guy. I lean in for another kiss, pushing myself against Oliver’s hard chest, my full breasts pressing against him.
I don’t think I will ever tire of kissing this man.
His hands move round to cup my buttocks and hoist me up onto my tiptoes.
“Get a room!” Rachael—my best friend and annoying flatmate—looks up from the sofa with a scowl. Rachael is not a morning person, and she hates the whole romance thing.
And she has the worst timing ever.
Oliver leans over and plants another hard kiss on my mouth. “We have, but it’s so much more fun to ruin your Monday morning with some good, old-fashioned romance. I know how much you love that mushy stuff.” He grins and winks at me before turning to leave. “I love you, sweet cheeks.” He blows me a kiss and shuts the door behind him.
“Love you, Ollie.” I shout after him.
“Mumbo jumbo more like,” Rachael mutters, sinking back down on the sofa with a frown.
“Are you ready to go yet, Mia?” Rachael shouts down the hallway. “Seriously, stop primping yourself.”
I can hear her still muttering something, but choose to ignore it. Once the caffeine hits home, she’ll be her happy-go-lucky self again.
“Yep, I’m coming.” I slip my pumps on, grab my art satchel, and head down the hallway. I trip over some shoes outside Rachael’s door on the way and peer into her room. The curtains are still drawn and the bed unmade. “Damn it, Rachael. You need to sort your room out; it’s a mess. And I am not primping myself, thank you very much. It’s this damn hair.” I flick my long, dark waves away from my face.
Rachael twists a short, dark lock of her pixie haircut between her fingers. “Chop it off then, and stop making me late.”
Aaah yes, Rachael: total timekeeper. The polar opposite of me.
I roll my eyes at her.
“And there’s nothing wrong with my room. It’s arty and creative.”
“It’s a mess, how can you say there’s nothing wrong with it? How do you even find anything in there?” I slip on my jacket
“Whatever, Mum. Anyway,” she continues, “looks as if lover boy forgot his lunch.” She nods over to Oliver’s lunch sitting on the countertop. “He can grab something over there can’t he?” she asks, shoving some toast in her mouth.
I shrug. “No. I doubt it anyway. There’s nothing over there but the house and the old servant’s quarters, and I can’t see him getting an invite for tea and crumpets can you.” I mentally kick myself.
making judgements before meeting someone; it must be catching.
I drop my purse and phone in my satchel and pick up his lunch box. “I better take it to him.”
She raises an eyebrow at me. “There’s no way that you’re going to get time today—not with the new brats starting at college, and all the staff meetings we have.” She shoves her feet into red trainers, which clash magnificently with her blue tights.
“You are a sight to behold, my girl,” I laugh. Sometimes I think I should have been the history teacher, and she should have been the wacky art teacher.
She looks down at herself with a grin. “What?”
“Anyway, I’ve got some free time this morning between meetings. The professor spoke to me at last week’s staff meeting. He wants me to start work on a painting for the new reception area.”
I pick up my car keys, finally ready to go. “So I may need to go out and do a little,
, research,” I whisper to my now co-conspirator and grin.
“Aaaah, so a little trip over to the Island isn’t going to do you any harm then, eh? See, I knew you had a naughty bone in you somewhere.” She smirks and slips a thick headband on her head on our way out of the apartment.
She links her arm through mine and we continue down the hallway. “I heard that the guy moving in over there is a rich billionaire who’s running from the mob.” She laughs.
I roll my eyes at her. People have been speculating for weeks over who the mysterious new owner is going to be. We haven’t had any new people move into our little town, for quite some time—certainly no one interesting or rich enough to purchase the mansion over on the Island.
We make our way down in the elevator to the car park, only meeting, Mrs Dorset- the crazy old woman from number 45, along the way.
I unlock the car before we reach it. “I’m driving,” Rachael says matter-of-factly and moves for the driver’s seat. “I can’t stand your driving Miss Daisy crap, Mia. Seriously, I don’t know how lover boy puts up with it.” She holds out her hand, waiting impatiently for the keys.
“Fine,” I grumble and walk to the passenger side. “Will you stop calling him that?” I throw the keys over the roof to her and climb in. “And he basically just never lets me drive. Like anywhere—kind of like you, really!” I scowl.
“That’s because your driving is terrible. And slow. Really, really slow. And no, I’m going to continue to call him that for as long as I know that it irritates him. You know how much I love to annoy him.” She grins wickedly at me.
As we pull out of the underground garage, Rachael waits for a car to pass. It’s sleek and black—I’ve no idea what type it is, but damn it looks expensive. A man is sitting in the back, staring straight ahead, shouting into his phone. I have to admit, his profile looks hot, even with the frown that he wears.
“Wooooo, mama!” Rachael whistles loudly out of her open window.
“Rach, have you no shame?”
She turns to look at me. “Are you serious? A gorgeous hunk of a man has just driven past us—scratch that:
past us by his chauffeur—in his very expensive and very posh-looking car. And I’m not even allowed to whistle at him!” Her voice rises in indignation.
A laugh escapes my lips. “No, Rach—big shocker for you, but that’s classed as rude. And it’s embarrassing, not to mention that he might have heard you.”
“Get a grip, Mia. He couldn’t have heard me.” She pulls out onto the road and continues driving. “Could he?” She wiggles her eyebrows at me. I notice her keeping a watchful eye out for the black car as we drive, but I ignore her. I wonder if the man in the car is the new owner on the Island. It’s more than likely. No one around here would be able to afford such a luxurious car.