Authors: GJ Walker-Smith
by G.J. Walker-Smith
© 2013 G.J. Walker-Smith
Cover by Scarlett Rugers
Other Books by G.J. Walker-Smith
Storm Shells (Book three, The Wishes Series)
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, places or people, living or dead, is coincidental.
Please note: Sand Jewels is not a stand-alone novella. Please consider reading Saving Wishes and Second Hearts first.
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Table Of Contents
3. A Deal Is A Deal
4. Funny Ways
5. Sick Day
6. Social Suicide
8. Black River
9. Perfect Man
14. Off Track
It was the never-ending day. I checked the time on my watch, sighing at the realisation that it was seven o’clock, and I was still at school.
Parent interviews were not exactly the highlight of my school term. Most of the parents I’d dealt with that night weren’t exactly thrilled to be spending time with me either.
I poked my head out the door and looked down the corridor, hopeful of finally making my escape. There was one more person waiting to see me, and I was more than a little surprised to see him.
Alex Blake was the brother and guardian of one of the most insolent, unteachable students I’d ever had.
“Mr Blake,” I announced haughtily.
He ambled toward me, grinning smugly. “It’s Alex,” he corrected. “We’re friends, Gabrielle. You buy coffee from me every morning.”
“It’s Mademoiselle Décarie today,” I replied. “This is a formal setting.”
Alex walked past me and headed into the empty classroom. “It doesn’t look very formal,” he noted, glancing around the room.
My heels clicked on the wooden floor as I marched over to my desk and sat down. “It’s my workplace.”
“You’re right.” He turned back to face me. “The café is my workplace. Maybe you should call me Mr Blake when ordering your latte.”
I frowned across at him. I should’ve had the upper hand. I’d been waiting to tell him what a disaster his sister was for weeks, but I was having trouble holding my ground.
“Sit down, please,” I ordered, pointing to the chair on the other side of my desk.
Alex paced slowly across the room and sat down, keeping his brown eyes locked on mine the whole time. “You didn’t come to the café this morning. Why?”
“I was busy.”
“I missed seeing you.”
I hated his cockiness. The reason he got away with it wasn’t complicated. Alex Blake was simply a stunning looking man. I usually favoured well-put together men who put effort into their appearance. My last boyfriend used to spend more time in front of the bathroom mirror than I did. He was perfect, except for the fact that he also used to spend more time in other women’s beds than mine.
I wasn’t sure Alex even had a bathroom mirror. His floppy sandy hair was in a constant messy state and I’d only seen him clean-shaven a handful of times – and there was something incredibly sexy about it.
He knew the effect he had on me. I’m sure it added to his superior attitude. I’d made it my mission that day to tear him down a peg or two.
“Let’s get down to business, shall we?” I asked, shuffling through my notes.
“Yes,” he agreed, resting his hands behind his head, “let’s.”
“Charli failed to submit the last three assignments I gave her,” I told him. “She’s right on track to fail.”
“Does she get credit for being consistent?” he joked.
I slammed the pen I was holding down on my desk. “You’re not taking this seriously. She’s failing Alex, miserably.”
“But she’s getting a B in English,” he replied, shrugging. “That means she can read and write – pretty competently as it turns out. She’s also getting a C in maths. It’s not spectacular, but I’ll take it. Her competency in French isn’t really important to me.”
I was furious with him. “A failing grade shouldn’t be acceptable in any class!”
He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Are you going to cry, Mademoiselle Décarie?”
I straightened up in my seat. “Of course not,” I scoffed.
“Good.” He smirked at me. “I’ve just spent twenty-minutes with Mrs Jennings. She has a difficult time teaching Charli too. She was in tears by the end of our meeting,” he explained. “The woman teaches cooking. Do you see a pattern forming here?”
“Yes. Your sister is a brat,” I hissed.
It was a terrible thing to say. I’d never sunken so low when describing a student, even one as wicked as Charli. I apologised immediately.
“Don’t be sorry,” he replied, smiling at me. “It’s a fair assessment, and you can rest assured I won’t be letting it slide. But you have to understand, I pick my battles carefully where that kid is concerned. If she can read, write and add up, I’m satisfied. If she can’t cook or speak French, I won’t lose sleep.”
I wanted to slap the smug look right off his perfect face. I also wanted to reach across my desk and hug him. I’d long felt sorry for Alex. He was far too young to be burdened with the responsibility of raising a sixteen-year old girl.
“Are you planning to sort this out?” I waved my page of notes at him.
He grinned. “Of course I am.”
“How?” I was curious to know.
“I have my ways.”
I couldn’t help laughing at him, which was probably a mistake. It brought out the flirty side of him.
“You’re very pretty, especially when you smile,” he said quietly. “You should do it more often.”
“I’ll have you know I smile all the time,” I defended. “Just not in the presence of you or your sister.”
He laughed, a superb deep sound that matched his voice. “Give me the work Charli missed.”
He held out his hand. “Give me the assignments she missed and I’ll have her do them. They’ll be on your desk on Monday.”
I leaned to the side and opened my desk drawer. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” I muttered, thumbing through the papers inside.
“Oh, ye of little faith,” he crowed, snatching the papers from me as soon as I held them out. “She’ll do it.”
“Well, if she does, I’ll be very impressed.”
Alex stood up, preparing to leave. “Impressed enough to go out to dinner with me?”
My heart seemed to falter at the suggestion. Flirty innuendo from Alex was nothing new. Actually asking me out was, and I wasn’t prepared for it.
A witty reply was never going to happen. “Yes.”
He walked toward the door. “Great. It’s a date.”
“No it’s not,” I retorted, making him turn back. “She hasn’t completed the work yet.”
He waved the papers I’d given him. “Monday.”
There were only two places in town that sold coffee. One squirted canned cream into instant coffee and called it a cappuccino. I’m French. That automatically made such a concoction intolerable.
Alex made decent coffee, which left me with no choice when it came to choosing cafés.
“Good morning, Gabrielle,” he greeted.
“Mr Blake,” I replied, nodding just once.
He smiled at me. “The usual?”
“Yes, please.” I pulled out a stool and sat down at the counter while he set about making my latte.
“So, I was thinking,” he began, glancing back at me. “I think we need to change the terms of our date.”
“Is that so?” I replied, totally unfazed. As far as I was concerned, there would be no date.
He turned around and placed a cup of coffee in front of me. “Absolutely so. Instead of going out for dinner, we should keep it on the down low. You can cook me dinner at your place,” he audaciously suggested. “I don’t think we should advertise the fact that we’re infatuated with each other.”
I was not infatuated with this man, and I was a hundred percent sure no part of him felt infatuated by me. From what I’d heard, Alex Blake considered women to be sport. I hate sport.
“It won’t even get that far so I shan’t worry.”
“Shan’t?” He grinned inciting a scowl from me. “You shan’t worry?”
I felt crippled by the heat rising in my cheeks. English is not my first language. Much of my English education had come from reading Tolstoy novels. Anna Karenina had no aversion to the word ‘shan’t’.
“It’s a word, Alex,” I growled. “Look it up.”
“Of course it’s a word. I think it’s a lovely word. I shan’t make fun again.”
He winked across at me and I wish he hadn’t. It made staying furious with him difficult.
Perhaps I’d set the mood anyway. A few seconds later, the glass door of the café swung open and his sister stormed in. She obviously had no problem with being furious with him.
“How did you get here?” he asked.
“Nicole drove me,” she snapped.
“Okay. Why are you here? You’re supposed to be at home.”
“Because you locked the shed,” she spat, marching over to him. “Why would you lock me out of the shed?”
He walked around the counter perfectly calmly, which seemed to rile her even more. “Why are you so surprised? I warned you I was going to do it.”
“Give me the key.” She held out her hand.
“I just want my board, Alex…. any board,” she whined. “I don’t even care which one. Just let me in to get one.”
“Have you done your homework?” he asked, lowering his tone.
The obnoxious girl was so angry she was shaking. “No.”
Alex turned around and walked back behind the counter. “No surf for you then. Shame, really. The swell was outstanding this morning.”
Charli glanced across at me, seemingly noticing me for the first time. “Can I have an extension, please Mademoiselle Décarie?” She spoke in the sweetest tone I’d ever heard from her.
Seeking instruction, I glanced at Alex. He infinitesimally shook his head at me.
“I saw that, Alex!” yelled Charli, abandoning the sugary tone.
“You’re not getting an extension, Charlotte,” he said quietly. “You’ve already been given an extension.”
Charli straightened up and drew in a long breath. Even I could tell she was plotting her next move. “Fine,” she relented. “I’m going to spend the day at the cliffs then. I’ll kill the whole weekend taking pictures.”
“If you say so, Charli.”
“I’m going to hitchhike up there, Alex,” she threatened.
“No you won’t,” he told her. “Besides, it would be a wasted trip.”
She narrowed her hazel eyes. “Why?”
“Because I locked your camera in the shed too,” he said smugly. “I’ve clipped your bratty wings. Now go home and get your French work done.”
I’d never been victorious where Charli was concerned but Alex was clearly used to it. He barely batted an eyelid as she stormed out of the café muttering under her breath.
“Is it always like that?” I asked curiously.
If that kind of tension were commonplace, he probably wouldn’t survive her teenage years.
“You might not believe me, but it’s hardly ever like that,” he replied. “We get along well most of the time.”
“If you say so,” I mumbled, bringing my cup to my lips.
He grinned broadly. “Today’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
“She owes Mrs Jennings an essay too. I just haven’t told her yet.”
3. A DEAL IS A DEAL
The last thing I expected was for Charli to actually come through. The sullen girl stalked into class on Monday morning and slammed three completed essays down on my desk.
I spent my lunch hour grading them. It wasn’t brilliant but she’d earned a passing grade. As usual, Charli Blake had done the bare minimum to scrape through. If she were mine, I’d smack her.