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Tangled Embers

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BLURB: A passionate one night stand with a troubled billionaire heir Karl Martinez soon changed the trajectory of Zena's dysfunctional life when their part cross again. This time subconsciously igniting fire in Zena as she falls head over heels for Karl, against her will. She struggles to navigate the complexities of her own life and sieve through Karls uncertainty and penetrate the tall emotional firewall he's built around his cold heart in their fake relationship. Together they try to fight off the social class that divides them as well as Anton Martinez who is employing every means to destroy their union albeit fake and take over GMT groups. Karl might have realised a little too late that he's in love with Zena. Will Karl and Zena survive the raging storm that awaits their budding love? And will they heal from the scars that cut them deep? Find out more in the book

Chapter 1

ZENA’s POV

I paced to and fro the room dialling Mr. TK,  slapping my cheeks several times to wake up from this nasty dream. I refuse to believe what I just heard. That Tema Inc- the company I invested all my life’s savings in is a Ponzi Scheme?! 

“No No, this is not happening” i said plopping down on the floor as the call kept going to voicemail. Mr. TK had stopped responding to my calls 3 months ago when I transferred the deposit. I should have known then. My sixth sense should have kicked in! But no, I was too gullible to grab the get-out-of-jail-free card turned scam that was a better option than my cleaner by day and waitress by night job as Mr. TK had promised. 

I only wanted to get a head start on my student loan.  

“Don’t tell me you put your money in that, '' Khloe said slowly. Her voice was on the verge of losing it as she looked back and forth between the TV and I. The news anchor announced Tema’s CEO fleeing the country after being found guilty of fraud. 

I was mute as my mind raced. Where do I start from? Where do I go from here? My breathing was shallow with hot tears streaming down my cheeks.

“Never have you volunteered to pay for the water or light bills in this house but you have enough money to throw away?” She yelled.

“How much lower can you stoop, huh? All your years of education were for what if you can’t beware of scams?”

Mom please…

“Your mates are relieving their parents of some responsibilities. Buying them houses and giving them a better life but here you are wasting the little you’ve acquired” she continued angrily removing the ingredients from the grocery bags.

Please ma.. don’t add insult to injury.

“I can’t boast of something you’ve done to benefit anyone else in this house. You’re always so selfish”She said washing her hands aggressively 

“Your mates are also leaving properties and trust funds in their children's names but what am I left with? Poverty and toxicity? If not for your pressure would I have jumped into this fire? Would I have been so desperate to get money and land here? What? Education? That you didn’t pay for? That you clearly told me was not your responsibility?” I wanted to reply so badly but my mouth was numb.

“What’s the point of having a grown *ss daughter like you when there’s nothing to write home about. I have to feed and clothe your dumbass”

“Have a child they said, it’s a blessing they said but what use are you to me. I don’t know why I skipped my goddamn birth control pills.” Khloe screamed throwing a ceramic plate on the floor, smashing it in pieces

“Maybe if you were logical enough and not so blinded by “love”. I would never have existed,saving you the stress” I managed to utter. 

“Oh young lady, you don’t speak to me in that tone. And you definitely do not speak in that manner of your father” she said, turning to me sharply. Her gaze was shooting daggers.

“Father?” I scoffed “where is he? I’m not so sure I remember what he looks like or when he’ll make one of his infamous comebacks ” I said slowly standing up from the floor and stormed off to my room.

Bawling my eyes out as I packed my stuff. Staying here any second more would be hell, I’ve had enough. I like to think I would be the best daughter in the world if I had the money pouring in. Another reason this scam just sucks. That was my only ticket, my only shot at upgrading my life and family. It would take a century of cleaning and waiting tables to buy the house and car mom so eagerly wants. I would end up scrubbing toilets at 60 to get a measly paycheck. Like mom.

Our relationship- Khloe and I is hanging on a thread. It was only a matter of time before one of us is fatally injured from this toxic WWE championship of who-can-hurt-who most. 

I’m tapping out, I need to nurse my bruises and dislocations. I can never be the perfect daughter. I’m too flawed for that and Khloe doesn’t care to understand me either. I guess it is what it is then.

But it wasn’t always like this. Mom used to be cherry blossoms in spring. She exudes the kind of peace and warmth you just want to snuggle in and stay there. It’s felt safe. That’s now trapped in what’s left of my childhood memory- The few not traumatic ones.

I rolled my suitcase down the stairs daring not to make eye contact with Preston, else I’ll loose my will again. For the 9th time. I’m leaving for real this time. For me, for us.

Khloe gave her self to this stupid love fever going around. The one that makes people act like they’re on crack, all over each other- makes me puke. They say it’s blind. Is that why she couldn’t make a logical and rational decision and spare me the trouble of this damned reality?

The man she was so “in love” with literally ruined her life and vanished. Making sure to reappear once in a while with tales of how he went to sought for greener pastures for us and she would forgive him. Every-d*mn- time! Just until he had enough room to steal her savings, jewellery, spend on strip clubs and  go incognito again. 

I hate love, the idea of it and everything it represents. If that’s what love is. I never want to have anything to do with it. I’m good.

My life is worrisome enough anyways. I’m a mess. It’s at this point that the Prince Charming usually comes to save the princess- the damsel in distress and they live happily ever after in those lame Disney fairytales. which is very abstract from reality because No sane person would want to deal with all this crap. Once again a huge lie being peddled and sold to the gullible lonely minds and they sure do gobble it all up. I might be a fool once but I won’t make the mistake of falling for a love scam. Ever.

Chapter 2

KARL’s POV

Finally, it’s out. Everything that had happened all these years was leading up to this moment. And now the battle line has been drawn. Well it’s been drawn pretty much since I was born but now it’s drawn with a red marker.

Dad just announced his retirement and in classic Martinez tradition, the ultimatum to decide his successor. We- Anton and I are to increase the revenue of our respective GMT Groups jurisdictions by 60% in a year's time- the annual stakeholders meeting.

“May the best man win”  everyone cheered as he led the toast. I scoffed. They’re probably picking their sides now. The most profitable camp they can milk to soothe their never enduring greed. I looked around at their pretentious smiles and rehearsed speeches that perfectly conceals their innate ability to pounce on the slightest loophole of their “friends” and foes alike as long as it benefits them. That’s why I don’t even bother. It disgusts me. I don’t need friends. 

Heroes

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