Romance Fiction posted February 27, 2019 Chapters: -1- 

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Angela, determined to start over, arrives at her new home...

A chapter in the book Blood Relations

1.1 New apartment, new landlord...

by WriterTess

Relationships...a bloody nightmare or a longed-for dream...aren�¢??t always what they appear...
He towered above her at the top of the wide gray wooden steps leading into the three-story Queen Anne-style house. The morning sun glittered brightly in the sky, but she felt a shudder pass through her as she observed him standing in shadow, his dark eyes seeming to pierce through the exterior of the car, driving right through her. Strong chiseled features. Unrelenting. An avenging angel carved from smooth, hard marble.

Intimidating, solid, and as solitary as one person can be in a thriving city the size of Albany. Pity the man, or woman, who tried to move him. She remembered the impression he made on her at that first meeting--his skin taut and golden--reminding her of an Egyptian sphinx. A fierce presence retaining all the secrets inside, letting no one enter, and letting nothing out, full of traps for the unwary and death for the foolhardy. She was certain he could be lethal if any hostile attempt at entrance to his inner sanctum was attempted.

She'd studied him intently at the meeting in his downtown law office, and now, as then, she determined it would take an Act of Congress to pull a smile from the man. She felt the heat of his gaze upon her, watching, and she shifted uncomfortably in the seat of her small midnight blue Subaru wagon.

He was an attorney--a public defender--and by looking at him now, she wouldn't have wanted to be an adversary of his in any courtroom. Unyielding was her first thought, unreadable, her second. Untouchable, her last.

So, why did she care? He was nothing to her but her new landlord. Why should it possibly matter what went on behind those emotionless sapphire blue eyes?

Because you've got the hots for him. She tried to ignore that nasty little inner voice. I do not, she denied. Oh, yes you do. Sometimes it was only herself she needed to strangle. So what if it had been over a year since she'd been with anyone. This wasn't the time to be thinking about what he might be like in bed. Was it the challenge she found so intriguing?

A sentry guarding his palace, that's what he looked like perched there above her, waiting to swoop down. Jesse Falcone belonged in another era. The only difference between now and then was that his armor wasn't visible to the average modern-day person.

But she knew it was there all the same. She didn't like the feelings he stirred inside of her. Yet, as much as she fought against them, another part of her was intrigued by him--almost mesmerized. The vision of him standing atop the steps already caused a hitch to her breathing.

He had to be the most virile man she'd ever met, not counting those saps back in Cooperstown her mother was always trying to set her up with. It was a rather frightening prospect to find a man who tapped into her inner soul, when all she was trying to do right now was simplify her life and get it back on a normal track.

One thing she didn't need in her life right now was more complications. Jesse Falcone could certainly become a huge complication if she wasn't careful.

She'd chosen this time of year to make her move because to her, springtime represented a season of rebirth and renewal. This was her chance at a new beginning, the first step that would lead her out of the nightmare, and her life had certainly become that.

A new job, a new place to live, and a new city was just what she needed to right her life again. She hoped. She tightened her grip on the steering wheel. It mirrored the firm grip she intended to maintain on her sanity. Her life had attempted to veer out of control and she'd almost let go and allowed herself to crash. Almost. But in the end, she hadn't allowed the guilt to win.

She'd teetered at the cliff edge as memory taunted her. A tingle raced along her spine as she felt Jesse Falcone's studied scrutiny and it served to draw her away from the clinging cobwebs of poisonous memory.

Again, she glanced up at the old Victorian where her new apartment was situated. She felt the heat notch higher, starting at the pit of her stomach and working its way...down. And she wasn't even within touching distance.

She wanted the past to disappear, forever. Maybe an interest in a new relationship was just what she needed to draw her away from the quicksand of the past. She found herself more interested in him than she had been in anyone--or anything--in a very long time. And that spark of interest might be just what she needed right now.

Her palms itched to caress those high, sharp cheekbones, to smooth away the perpetual frown, to follow the line of those muscular shoulders, and to have his large hands caress her body. The fire inside her grew hotter and she had to stop this line of thought before she totally embarrassed herself. After all, he hadn't shown her any indication he might have the slightest interest in her. And Angela Coltrain didn't tread where she wasn't wanted.

It was only that ever since that first meeting, she'd been unable to get him out of her thoughts--like his image had been seared into her brain. An errant silky raven hair seemed to be forever falling out of place and she ached to smooth it back. Her hands unconsciously clenched and unclenched against her leg.

Stop it! Maybe this move to Albany had been a mistake. She didn't need these feelings with everything else she was trying to contend with.

Finally, she turned away from the compelling demonic angel standing on the steps above her. Inhaling a deep, steadying breath before opening the door of the car, she stepped onto the hard pavement. It was time to brave the beast--but was she thinking of him, or the one lurking inside herself?

She'd needed to get away from her sleepy hometown in upstate New York, where the nightmares wouldn't stop. The scrutiny every time she walked out of the house felt unbearable. Her life had to change, if she was going to achieve some sort of a life. The torment in her soul seemed never ending.

Move forward, one step at a time, was the litany she repeated over and over, trying to convince herself that she could do that. She would move beyond what had occurred. As a child psychologist, it was the same thing she tried to get her young patients to do. Identify it, shake it off, move through the anger, past the betrayal, past the pain. Move on.

Looking up, she studied the apartment house. Jesse Falcone had told her that there were seven apartments in the main house, and a carriage house in back. He lived in the apartment over the carriage house. There were two apartments on each of the three floors, and a basement apartment with an outside entrance. Angela's apartment was on the third floor, at the back of the building. She would be in apartment number five.

Angela had so loved working with the children; felt she was making a difference, filling a real need. She liked the 'messy' problems of dealing with emotions and consequences; with living, breathing people--the often unexpected results. She'd thrilled as she watched the layers separate to reveal the beautiful child that would slowly emerge.

Until Tad...

Part 1 of Chapter 1 of an older WIP. A sensual contemporary romantic suspense.

Characters thus far:
Angela Coltrain
Jesse Falcone

Story Foundation:

Angela Coltrain, a child psychologist, fighting the vivid nightmares of a client relationship gone horribly wrong, is trying to rebuild her life, in a new city, with a new job. Falling in love with her handsome, mysterious new landlord, and complicating her tattered life, was not part of the plan. Jesse Falcone is a public defender with deadly memories that bind him to a past littered with dangerous, bloody secrets, and no hope for a future with the woman he has come to desperately love and need.

But Jesse�¢??s past catches up with a vengeance, as a serial killer hunts the people closest to him, and Jesse becomes the prime suspect. Angela must resolve her own haunted memories as she may just be the only person who can stop the killings and save the man she loves more than life.

Can Jesse and Angela overcome the secret guilts, ghostly riddles, and haunting memories that torment them to stop a killer and find each other before it�¢??s too late? What we think we recognize as truth isn�¢??t always black and white, is it?

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