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Irene’s entire world takes a drastic turn when she is forced to spend the night with William Hayes — The hard headed man is on a mission to find out who murdered his parents while Irene is struggling to pick up the broken pieces of her heart from her last relationship. Their personalities clash almost immediately but between night terrors, bickering and the electrifying feelings they can no longer deny — The two find themselves falling hard as secrets from Hayes’ past threaten their lives. Irene will stop at nothing to protect the man she loves and the life she has managed to rebuild, but is she willing to risk her unborn child after a misunderstanding causes William to send her to prison?

Chapter 1 A Lover’s Quarrel

      "What were you thinking?!" I screeched. 

     "Why are you creating a scene about this, Rene?" The brown haired man’s orbs held no form of remorse and a part of me questioned whether or not I was ready to spend the rest of my life with a man who had no regard for anyone but himself. 

     For the past few years, I’d evisoned a million and one ways our engagement diner could go, and having my fiance insult my best friend in front of all our guests was not one of them. 

      "You can't keep treating people like crap!" My voice came out breathy.

      Jared’s hypnotic blue eyes raised in what I assumed was amusement before laughter broke out from him. 

      "You can't tell me what to do Rene," He dragged his tone and relaxed his muscles, "It was just a joke and she took it personally." Jared reinforced his words with a shrug. 

      "You don't joke about people's self-respect!" I spat "How would you feel if someone told me that I looked identical to a stripper?”I demanded in a high-pitched tone. 

      Silence loomed over us for a while before Jared’s calm and calculated tone rang through the room. 

      "You always act dramatic over everything." Jared began and I raised an eyebrow at his audacity. "Yes, her feelings were hurt, but that would have never happened if the cheap maid hadn’t bumped into me." 

       How could he stand there and play the victim when Rose had left the room crying? 

      "That maid is my friend! And you had no right to make her feel like that or insult her! It disgusts me that you are acting like this, Like—" I could barely force the words out because of how much I was fuming. 

       I tightened my fist and paused; I had learned to not express myself in anger. It never ended well. 

       "Like what?!" Jared challenged and I took a step forward as if to accept it. 

      "Like a piece of crap, like a jerk, and nothing like the man I know!" I spat in his face and stormed out of my room. 

       I must have been so engrossed in my feelings of anger because I stumbled right into something— No, someone. 

     I grunted when we hit the ground with a thud. I slowly opened my eyes and locked eyes with him; Of course, I would run straight from fry pan to fire.

     "Can't you see where you are going?" Hayes’ deep voice rang through the hall. His piercing grey eyes bore into my skin and I rolled my eyes at his audacity. 

     "This is my home," I reminded sharply and untangled myself from him. "And why do you have four eyes and those dum glasses if you don't even use them!" I poured my frustration on him and stood up. 

      He followed my tracks, taking his time to wipe invisible dust from his overly expensive blue tuxedo. 

     Rich people and exaggerating every single thing. 

     I moved to walk past him but he held me back, My green orbs widened and I spun around to give him a piece of my mind. 

    The dark haired man let me go almost immediately and raised his hands in what I assumed was a peace sign.

     "At least I have a good reason for falling and bumping into you." He admitted in one breath. "You on the other hand have two good eyes," Hayes adjusted his glasses and we made eye contact. 

    "Why did you bump into me? You are always so clumsy " He commented and squinted his eyes as if to look down on me.

  I gasped. 

       Always? "You don't even know me!" I defended in a sharp tone

     “Fifteen seconds is enough time to form an impression, you would know that if you were smart." He quipped at me and I had to blink to ensure that this man hadn't just taken a jab at my intelligence. 

       I was the smartest person I knew! 

      "It takes an entire lifetime to get to know someone, if you weren't so bitter, you would know that!" I snapped and walked off to the garden to blow off some steam.

       I could never truly understand why my father was so hell-bent on doing business with the Hayes family. 

      They were all just a bunch of parasites.

      This man was downright rude, self-centered and arrogant. 

      I had only heard the rumors but now he had confirmed it. I s*ck*d a deep breath when I finally arrived at the garden. 

    "Who did you fight with this time?" My mother's warm soothing tone called out to me like a melody. 

     "Mama!" I almost cried and ran to her. She let out a delicate chuckle and pulled me into a hug 

     "Oh dear, we ate dinner together, remember?" She reminded me but I refused to let go.

     The petite woman gently pulled me away to look into my eyes, Her brown orbs held so much affection in them. 

     "What happened?" worry coated her tone.        

     I pulled away from her and scrunched up my nose.

    "Hey hey," She warned gently. "We have gone past hiding secrets long back, so what is wrong?" She pressed on and mirrored the pout I knew was on my face.

    "Can I just lie about it?" I lazily offered. Mama rolled her eyes at me. 

     Her perfectly styled blonde hair bounced on her shoulders, even though we had contrasting features and Carmen was the one who was strikingly Identical to her while I took after her father, We still had the closest relationship. 

    "You don't know how to lie though, so how will you pull it off?" She mused with a raised eyebrow. 

    "I don't think I want to marry Jared." Mama gasped at my words and her eyes softened slightly. 

   "Why? Did he hurt you? Did he say anything? If he did anything to you; I will personally hit him with a stick and then we will break off the wedding." 

    "Not to me. But to everyone else." I began. "I don't like how he treats people"

    “This is about Rose, innit?” Mama asked and gently led me to sit on a chair in the garden, we sat opposite each other and I parted my lips to speak. 

    Nostalgia hit me in waves. We used to sit down just like this when I was a child. 

     Whenever I had an issue or I was upset about things; We would talk it out and I would feel a million times better. 

    This time, I had a strong feeling the talk would not be enough to pacify the feelings his actions had awoken.

   "Look sweetie, it's normal to have disagreements and different preferences as a couple. Jared’s not good with people, but that's why you made good friends in high school right? Because you both complimented each other?" Mama tried to reason with me. 

   "He is behaving like a narcissist." I deadpanned. "He disregarded my feelings and it's not the first time. He acts like everything is everyone else's fault but his, and I just don't know." My voice lowered an octave and I sighed.

    "I know, sweetheart. If you want to end this wedding, then you can," My eyes widened at her words, "But I don't want you to lose what you already have in your grip. With Jared you have an amazing future..."

"So what do you suggest?" I inquired sincerely with a raised eyebrow. 

 "A few weeks before I married your father, we had a huge argument and I was so close to calling off the wedding. Instead, his mother advised me to take some time apart from him, the distance would make us yearn for each other" Mama spoke earnestly. I sighed. 

"So what are you trying to say?" I pressed on.

"Remember those tickets Carmen gifted you as a birthday gift last month?" My mother inquired, a mischievous spark appeared in her motherly gaze. 

"Yeah?" I responded, still not catching on. 

"I think it is finally time to put it to good use." She grinned and my eyes widened in realization.

Chapter 2 Runaway Tickets

"Your tickets." Carmen's sharp tone pierced through my ears and I paused what I was working on, I almost had not noticed her come in, she was always one with a quiet step. I sighed.

"Thank you," I offered. I was not in the mood to have another banter with my overbearing sister. Carmen wasn't having it though, the edges of her lips formed into a smirk.

"So tell me; what are you running away from this time? Jared or the company?" She taunted and pulled out a chair from nowhere, I closed my laptop fully and gave her my undivided attention.

"Do you never get tired of picking fights with me? I'm not in the mood Carrie," I deadpanned and heard her tsk.

"Well if you don't want all the attention then you should not aspire to be the perfect child" Carmen pointed out and loosened the small bun she had her blonde curls in.

"If you want the title so bad, it's yours," I i


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