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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. My bubbly tone was almost extinct and I glared at Jared with the meanest look I could muster.

"Why are you yelling and creating a scene about this, Rene?" Jared voice radiated with indifference

His blue orbs held no form of remorse and for a moment I wasn’t sure if he understood the gravity of what he had done. But, I knew Jared.

This was how he was; nonchalant and indifferent to everyone's feelings and thoughts. Yet of course; I had never seen him outrightly disregard and disrespect anyone.

I guess there was always a first.

"You can't treat people like that," My voice came out breathy. I ran my hands through my brown wavy hair that stood just below my jaw and licked my plump lips. "You can't treat people like crap." I deadpanned.

Jared’s hypnotic blue eyes raised in what I assumed was amusement before laughter broke out from him. My eyes widened in confusion "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 offered and reinforced his words with a shrug.

"You don't joke about people's self-respect!" My tone was sharp and decisive. "How would you feel if someone told me that I looked identical to a stripper, Huh?" 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 do this. 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." He sounded so carefree and indifferent to the situation. 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?!" He 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 knew!" 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 seemed to follow in 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 and irritable." He commented and squinted his eyes as if to look down on me. I gasped.

Always? "How dare you! 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 sucked 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.

"I missed you," I mumbled as I sniffed the comforting scent of her clothes.

"Oh dear, we ate dinner together, remember?" She reminded me but I refused to let go. She 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? Please tell me, dear. 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 disregards my feelings and treats people like crap."

"Honey, are you referring to what happened with Rose?" 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. But 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. You have always known Jared, He has always been a little bit indifferent toward others and that's because of everything he went through. He'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, and she simply smiled. "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 and then we would realize just how much we did complement and sometimes hurt each other. We would value each other's feelings a whole lot more," 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.

Maybe it was finally time. But oh boy. Things would not go as planned.

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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