Jenna has always been an avid reader and writer from

childhood. She retired from being a director of her own
company to write full time when her gorgeous husband
died suddenly on holiday.
She loves animals and helping others using her natural
gift of mediumship and healing. She also loves weaving
the characters in her books with intrigue, love, murder
and sex.










To my darling husband who always told me I was
invincible and could write a best seller.




































Copyright © Jenna Kirby

The right of Jenna Kirby to be identified as author of this work has
been asserted by her in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this
publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims
for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British
Library.


ISBN 978 184963 751 0


www.austinmacauley.com

First Published (2014)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5LB








Printed and bound in Great Britain




Prologue


She huddled into the corner of the bedroom trying to make herself
as small as possible, but knew from past experience that he would
still be able to inflict mind-numbing pain any minute now.
She closed her eyes in submission knowing if he caught her
looking at him that would be an excuse to beat her even harder. He
had already punched her around the room using her as a punch bag.
She couldn’t win, because she really didn’t know what she had
done wrong this time.
Lately everything she did was wrong.
When these drunken rages brought him home earlier than usual
– when his day hadn’t gone quite to plan, she truly feared for her
sanity and her life.
She began to shake uncontrollably when his verbal abuse
started.
“You are a dirty whore. The worst kind of disgusting slut.
You’d give yourself to any man who gives you the time of day. I
don’t know why I allow you to contaminate my home. I should
throw you out on the street with nothing but the clothes you’re
wearing.”
She’d heard the same old drunken litany for the past eighteen
months, and it was all lies. His brain had been addled with drugs
and drink. When she had met him he had been an intelligent,
charismatic, gorgeous-looking man. If only she had known what
lurked beneath that extremely beautiful package, she would have
run a mile in the opposite direction.
He was pure undiluted evil, and she wished with all her heart
that he was dead, but knew that there was every possibility she
would be dead long before him.
They had both spiralled into a dark twisted world, where she
accepted the role of battered wife, and he controlled every moment
of her life through fear, pain and intimidation.
Now she hated him with every bone in her bruised, scarred and
battered body, and however long she lived that would never
change. When they had first met she had loved him with such an

intensity it had been pathetic. And she was absolutely sure he had
felt the same about her. If there had been any sign of something not
quite right, or normal, surely she would have noticed, or had she
been too naive or too innocent to see what he really was? A cruel,
vicious bully.
In all probability he still loved her, but it was an out of control
love, twisted, darkly jealous, and psychotic.
There had to be a way that she could get away from him, and
leave before he inadvertently killed her, because these maniacal
outbursts were definitely getting worse.
She had to have a plan.
A plan that couldn’t fail, because he had threatened the lives of
her family, and she believed he meant every word. She would
rather he killed her than touch her parents, or her precious younger
sister. Even though they lived thousands of miles away she knew
her husband would find a way to get to them. His work allowed
him the freedom to travel the globe, and that was how they had met
in a crowded bar in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Relentlessly he had pursued her. Quickly she had been besotted
with the gorgeous American news reporter. He was totally hot,
every young girl’s dream come true.
Within a month they were married, and had travelled to San
Francisco where he lived and worked. That was two years ago, but
six months later he had turned into a complete stranger. A stranger
who was dependent on high octane drugs, strong alcohol, and any
woman who would give him what he needed.
From being a happy, totally in love, young married woman, she
had become a neurotic, nervous, battered wife. Absolutely terrified
of the man she had to share a bed with, when he did come home to
her bed, which wasn’t very often.
She wasn’t allowed contact with her family. Didn’t have any
friends she could confide in, and never socialised unless he was
with her. When he was away working he had friends who kept tabs
on her, and reported back to him.
Her life wasn’t worth living. It was a living hell, and she
desperately wanted out.
For now she had her head down, and was slumped against the
bedroom wall. But she knew exactly where he was, because his
breathing was heavy, and she could almost taste his excitement. He
was going to rape her, because she would never give in to having

sex with him. Making love was not an option, and he never had
consensual sex with her. She would rather suffer the dire
consequences than give in to him. She would fight him until he
overpowered her, but she’d be damned if he enjoyed her.
But she knew he hadn’t finished hurting her yet, and her breath
stuttered in her throat as she waited for the pain to explode. And
she didn’t have to wait long, he kicked her viciously in the thigh.
He never hurt her where it could be seen by others. She bit through
her lip to stifle the groan leaving her mouth, because if she made
any noise it would fuel his out of control temper to hurt her even
more.
Grabbing her long hair he dragged her towards their king-size
bed. “I am going to teach you who is boss in this fuckin’ house!” he
screamed in her ear. “It’s a lesson you don’t seem to understand
however many times I have to hurt you. You stupid bitch, you just
keep coming back for more, and I’m the man to keep dishing it out,
darlin’.”
She almost vomited at his words, because he always did things
to her that no woman should have to put up with. But she gulped in
a deep breath, gritted her teeth, and didn’t make a sound. If she
tried to beg him to stop that would really piss him off, and it
possibly could escalate the horror he would put her through.
Finally he would want her to say how much she loved him, but
this time he would have to kill her before she would utter those
obscene words to a man who could inflict such torture on a wife
who was completely innocent.
She began the usual litany in her head to be able to endure the
agony her frail female body would have to endure.
If she ever managed to get out of this diabolical marriage and
the situation she was in, she would never, ever, trust a man again,
or get married again.
Not in this lifetime. Not in two lifetimes.
But for the next hour or so she just had to get through the
godawful punishment of marrying in haste and not at leisure.



Chapter 1

Three Months Later
San Francisco News and Media Network


No! No! No! Oh God no! She couldn’t be. But the white plastic
stick with two blue straight lines was telling her otherwise.
It couldn’t be true. He had told her over and over again that
they would never have a family because he was sterile. But she
knew it only took one persistent little bugger to swim up and
connect to a solitary egg.
She had hated him for lying to her, because he hadn’t told her
before she had married him. She’d always wanted a large family.
She loved children. Adored babies.
Now she hated him even more if that were possible, because
she did not want his child.
Clamping her hand over her mouth she dived into a toilet
cubicle and was violently sick. Now she understood why she could
hardly keep down a mouthful of food for the past month, because
she must be at least three months’ pregnant. She hadn’t had a
period for two months, but had thought his last beating had
somehow stopped her cycle, which had happened before.
She threw up again with the sheer terror of him finding out.
Sebastian would never believe it was his. And she wasn’t brave
enough to take the consequences, or the punishment he would lash
out on her and their unborn child. She had to get out of this
marriage, before she wasn’t able to.
Staggering out of the cubicle, she just managed to make it to
the vanity and rinse her mouth, because her legs felt like jelly. But
then the enormity of what she had found out hit her like a tsunami.
Her legs gave out completely and she slumped to the floor and
began to cry uncontrollably.
Grace didn’t bother to stifle her sobs, because she had
purposely come up to the exec’ rest area knowing at this level there
wasn’t anyone still around this time of night. She couldn’t allow
anyone to guess she was pregnant, Sebastian couldn’t find out from

anyone at work. He would totally freak out. It would be an excuse
to hurt her so bad she probably wouldn’t survive.
That scenario made her cry even harder, making her lean back
against the cold tiled wall and sob as if her heart was breaking.
This time she had really got herself into a dark place there was
no escape from, even though once again it wasn’t her fault.
Sebastian had raped her, and even she knew that it only took one
tiny sperm to connect at the right time of the month, to become
pregnant.
In other circumstances she would be over the moon to be
pregnant. It had been her dearest wish to be a mother, but not with
Sebastian’s child. Never Seb’s baby. She could not be connected
for the rest of her life to that evil, drug-addled maniac.
Before she went home she had to get all this misery out of her
system. She had to appear perfectly normal and in control, because
she didn’t want him to find out yet. She needed a reprieve on her
tumultuous emotions.
He had left work early to get organized, because he was
leaving for Afghanistan tomorrow. He was making a war
documentary, which was his speciality, on his honest perception of
what was really happening out there.
The big boss had told Sebastian to stay as long as it took to
make it a good one, as the troops deserved to have a strong voice in
the ridiculous conflict.
At least he couldn’t hurt her while he was thousands of miles
away, and it would give her time to regroup. Perhaps she could find
a place to hide as far away as possible, but he always took her
passport with him, which only left America. Wherever she went he
would find her, and his drinking friends always watched her. She
would have to be extremely careful. She couldn’t allow herself to
confide in anyone, not even Sam. She was totally alone without any
money. Sebastian kept every dollar they earned, only allowing her
the bare minimum for housekeeping.
If she went to the police they wouldn’t believe her, because
Sebastian was a lauded television and news reporter. He had
influential friends and associates in high places, who would never
believe in a million years that he was capable of torturing his young
wife when his dark moods took over.
There seemed no end to her terrible suffering, and she believed
that heart and soul. But sometimes in her dreams she believed that

if there was a God in Heaven, somehow, somewhere, there had to
be someone, strong enough, courageous enough who would help
her.
There just had to be!

* * * *

Max’s long, lean but well-structured frame strode purposely
through the executive corridor towards the elevator. He felt like the
white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, because he was late, very very
late, for an extremely important date, and Simone would be
absolutely livid.
He fixed his silver cufflinks as he ate up the length of the
luxury hallway. He had shaved, showered and changed into his
tuxedo in under fifteen minutes, all for a very boring evening
talking nothing but finance. But he had coerced Simone into being
his partner for this political and financial silver plate dinner. And he
was the main speaker, so he didn’t have a choice of backing out.
“Bloody speeches. I hate making bloody speeches,” he
muttered to himself. Unfortunately as the president of the company,
and financial fixer, he wasn’t allowed an escape route on these
particular male-orientated evenings of mind-numbing boredom.
Still, the outrageously gorgeous Simone would pick up everyone’s
heartbeat, if any of them actually possessed a heart.
Max knew from past experience that Simone’s lack of proper
attire could give any red-blooded male either a hard-on or a heart
attack. Her dresses cost a small fortune, and usually just about
covered the feminine parts of her spectacular body. He always paid
the account when she partnered him, so he really knew what the
best designer houses charged in San Francisco.
But he didn’t care because the sex after was mind-blowing,
amazing. Simone was the highest paid female escort in town. But
while Max paid the bills she worked exclusively for him, and he
wouldn’t have it any other way. She was Eurasian and had learnt
her particular craft in the Orient. She had taught him more in a
couple of months than he had learnt in his twenty years of sexual
activity.
He was a highly sexual being, and Simone never failed to
excite and satisfy him. But he realised that they were at the end of
their time together.

He would never consider marriage to someone like her, in fact
didn’t want or need to get married, ever. He had watched his
mother torn apart when his playboy father had left her. He was
never going to have his emotions messed up by a scheming woman.
Max knew he would be toast if he ever fell in love, would want
marriage, kids, the complete works. He was far too busy to be
involved with anyone who needed his time – his love – his heart.
Simone had felt the same way, so they had been extremely
compatible. But something had changed the last time they had been
together, he couldn’t put his finger on it, but she had felt clingy and
tearful when he had left.
It was time to call it a day.
Their association was past its sell-by date.
He did not do clingy and tearful. That was a gene his feckless
father had given him, and he thanked him for it. His financial,
mathematical brain was also a gift from the same man. And that
just about summed up his only connection to the man who had
given him the seed of life.
The hyper – on the move – charismatic man had been his
mother’s only and always love. Max was never going to make that
dire mistake. He needed sex, great sex, but that was all he was
capable of giving a woman, great sex, and that was where it ended.
He didn’t want or need commitment. He didn’t need or want
everlasting love, or marriage. He was already extremely wealthy,
and with his brother was heir to their grandfather’s billions. Their
dearest mama was in control of their fortune until Max could get
back to Greece permanently and take over the day to day running of
the Andreous empire.
Magda was the only woman he would ever implicitly trust with
his fortune – his love, and his heart. She adored her children and
would defend each one with her life, and they returned that love
tenfold.
Max had his hand up to touch the button to open the elevator
when he thought he heard a weird noise coming from the women’s
rest area. But then he shook his head; everyone had left this floor
for the day, he must be imagining he heard something.
But to make sure everything was OK he turned and went back
a few yards and slowly pushed open the door not entirely
comfortable with entering a female domain. All the rest areas in the
building had showers, couches and facilities for sleeping. More

often than not staff had to work all-nighters to complete a critical
news item, or an ongoing documentary.
But up here in the executive’ offices nobody stayed all night
except Julian, Dominic, or himself, and they had their own sleeping
facilities connected to their offices.
Then he was stopped in his tracks because someone was
breaking their heart, sobbing so hard they must be hurting their
throat.
He thought about backing out and giving the person their
privacy, or should he somehow help? But he had no idea what to do
with a hysterical woman. Or did he? His younger sisters often
threw temper tantrums and were totally out of control when he
visited his family. He should have enough experience with his silly
siblings to at least see if the woman was OK. Then he really would
have to run to pick up his car, he was so beyond being late by now.
Then he saw who was huddled on the floor, with her head on
her bent knees. He didn’t have to see her face, because her glorious
hair gave her away. Max had never seen anyone else with that
colour hair. Honey blonde with streaks of tawny gold, and it was a
mess of curls which she never managed to quite get under control.
She always wore it in a ponytail to try and curb its resistance, but
nothing seemed to work.
Of all the women who worked for the company it would have
to be Grace Fallon.
The woman who made him lose sleep. Gave him an
uncomfortable bulge behind his zipper whenever he watched her
move gracefully from department to department. He groaned
inwardly, for two long years he had lusted after this shy, beautiful,
exotic, extremely talented, married woman. And he most certainly
wasn’t proud of himself. Quite the reverse.
Because she didn’t know he existed, except that he was the
overall boss of the company she and her husband worked for.
He went down on his haunches, and softly touched her on her
shoulder: “Grace. Mrs Fallon. Are you OK? Can I get anyone to
help you?” His deep rich voice was full of concern. In reality all he
wanted was to take her in his arms and console her. To understand
why she was in total meltdown, and to give her anything she
needed to stop the pain. He hated her to be in pain.
He hadn’t felt like this over a female since his high school
days. And he couldn’t understand why he felt so attracted to Grace

Fallon. Nothing about this awkward situation made any sense
whatsoever. Literally he could have any woman he fancied with his
background and money. If he could only work out why his hot,
Greek blood rampaged south and rang bells whenever he saw her;
perhaps he could get the damn woman out of his system.
What he did need to do was bed her, and that wasn’t going to
happen in this lifetime. He did not, and would not try to seduce
someone else’s woman.
Grace stiffened and immediately stopped crying. She
recognised that deep gravelly voice. Oh my God, it was her boss.
She was so screwed, because she shouldn’t be up on this level. She
was certain he would terminate her contract, and she wouldn’t
blame him. But Sebastian would be beyond angry, and would
punish her accordingly. That very thought started her crying again.
She just couldn’t control her emotions right now.
Max watched her turn towards him, and those huge violet-blue
eyes filled up with tears again, and she valiantly tried to hold in a
sob, but it didn’t work. She also really tried to grimace a smile, as if
it was perfectly normal to be a sodden mess on the marble floor of a
restroom at eight p.m. having a total meltdown.
“I am s-so s-sorry Mr Andreous. I know I-I shouldn’t be here.
But I truly thought that everyone had gone.” A hiccoughing sob
finished the abject apology. She tried to get up, but had been too
long on the floor, her legs felt like jelly. But when Max went to
help her she shrank away from him. It was an automatic reaction,
because if Sebastian found out that a man had touched her there
would be terrible consequences.
“Please, call me Max. You know we don’t use last names in
this establishment, Grace.” Max couldn’t help notice that she didn’t
want to be touched, he honestly didn’t usually have that effect on
females of any age. But then Grace was an ongoing puzzle. He just
couldn’t work out what was wrong with her relationship with
Fallon.
It was open gossip that she was far too good for that dope-
addled womaniser. In fact things had seriously gone downhill for
that bastard. His work was suffering and he couldn’t be trusted to
turn up for projects. He was more often than not too drunk to hold
his camera, or so high as a kite he almost floated to an assignment.
Max was not going to renew his contract his year. In fact they
were sending him to Afghanistan for three months to allow his

contract to expire. In San Francisco he was a liability they couldn’t
afford. In Afghanistan he was expendable.
But his wife was a different matter entirely. From the very first
time Max had seen her walking hesitantly towards him a pain deep
in his chest had startled him, and it had never lessened. She was the
epitome of gorgeous womanhood in everything she did. She always
wore long floaty dresses with sleeves. Nobody had ever seen very
much of Grace, it was as if she was too shy to show her incredible
body. She was tall and slim, but had great breasts, as far as Max
could tell. A sweet, pretty face with very soft kissable lips. He
honestly couldn’t find a solitary thing that didn’t appeal to him on a
purely sexual, caveman level.
He wanted Grace in his bed, naked. He wanted to plant his seed
deep within her. He wanted her to bear his children, lots of them.
But it was a ridiculous fantasy, because Grace Fallon was
married. He knew his mother Magna who was a devout Catholic
would plunge a knife deep into his heart if he broke up a marriage.
He would never understand how this beautiful woman stayed
married to that asshole, Sebastian. He was the curse of the station,
with his womanising, gambling and drug abuse. He had shagged
every available piece of tail, and borrowed money from everyone
for his habit. Max knew what the Fallons earned, they should be
very comfortable with a fabulous lifestyle. But Grace never seemed
to wear new clothes. Everyone noticed she never had any spare
cash on her person, or went shopping with other female members of
staff. In fact she only ever conversed with Sam, or her own
assistant.
Their TV station was well known for its friendly atmosphere
and staff, but Grace was definitely the exception.
Jules his PA was the company’s worst gossip, nothing
managed to get past him. Anything that Max needed to know to
keep the wheels of industry turning, he only had to ask Jules. And
Jules was very perceptive. Max knew that he was very fond of
Grace, and he worried that her husband was in some form or other
abusing Grace.
Now with Fallon in another country for at least three months, it
was Jules’ chance to find out exactly what was going on in the
Fallon household. Then perhaps Max would get lucky by offering
his help if Grace needed it. He would be there for her, whatever it
took.

“I am sorry Grace, but I can’t just leave you on the floor.” He
bent down and picked her up as if she was a five-year-old child.
She didn’t try to stop him, it was as if she was exhausted and had
given up. “I am going to take you to my office and Jules can look
after you.” He smiled down at her. “Jules is great with damsels in
distress. Me, I’m not that great,” admitted Max smiling.
What he couldn’t get his head around was that she was actually
in his arms. He couldn’t admit that he wanted to look after her
himself, because he was sure that she wouldn’t let him, Jules would
be preferable in the circumstances. Everyone loved his PA, and
Grace was more likely to tell good old Jules what was wrong.
Max was very concerned for her, she was painfully thin, and
had dark circles under those incredible eyes. He had never seen her
looking so pale and ill.
“No, please Mr Andreous. I have to go home, Sebastian will be
worried,” she whispered brokenly.
But Max ignored her plea and began to stride down the hallway
to his office. “And I am desperately late for an extremely important
event this evening, hence the tuxedo,” he added unnecessarily. He
really couldn’t care less if he didn’t get there at all. Staying with
Grace was a much better option. He needed to find out what had
upset her so badly.
He held her as if she was precious. Grace didn’t realise just
how precious she was to him. She had never looked at him with
those sad violet eyes showing any interest whatsoever. She had
never shown any interest in any other man but Sebastian.
Max felt a piercing pain of jealousy, because she must love her
husband so much.
Fallon was the luckiest bastard alive.
In truth if Max couldn’t have Grace he didn’t want anyone. He
didn’t want marriage, kids, the whole damn dream of loving
someone forever. Grace Fallon was his soulmate, his other half.
None of this made sense to his logical, analytical brain, but he felt
it deep within his soul.
And it hurt like hell.
Suddenly he skidded to a complete stop, because Gracie’s body
weight had changed. She had gone completely floppy, and her head
hung over his arm. He could see she was unconscious, totally out of
it. Now he was really concerned. The colour had left her face, and
he couldn’t tell if she was breathing or not.

Terrified that the situation had become serious he ran the rest
of the way. Slamming the door of his office back on its hinges he
shouted at Jules seated at his desk. “Get the medic up here now
Jules! Get the bloody medic. Something has happened to Grace.
I’m not sure she’s still breathing.”
Julian’s blond head jerked away from his computer screen, he
had never heard his boss raise his voice at anyone. Max was the
most even-tempered man he had ever had the privilege of working
for. He loved Max and would defend him with his last drop of
blood.
Well, perhaps he wouldn’t go that far, he loved his own life
just a tad more.
Max had only left the office five minutes earlier, and looking
far too good for Julian’s blood pressure. If there was a better
looking man in San Francisco Julian hadn’t met him, and in a
tuxedo Max was a total dish. Well over six foot tall, olive skinned,
long black hair tied back in a ponytail, and that diamond stud in his
left ear just about completed his heart-stopping male perfection.
Unfortunately, he was also the straightest male that Julian had
ever met, if he wasn’t, Julian would have married him by now, and
arrived in heaven.
Max laid Grace onto a couch as gently as possible, trying to
make her comfortable, but didn’t have a clue what to do next, he
just hovered awkwardly.
Julian came off the telephone and pushed Max out of the way,
and felt Gracie’s pulse. “She’s fainted, that’s all, and her breathing
is perfectly normal.” He looked back at Max and frowned. He had
never seen his boss so rattled about anyone. It wasn’t like Max to
lose it, he was always in control of his emotions. Often too much in
control as far as Julian was concerned.
“You sure Jules? I was carrying her when she just went
floppy.” He peered over Julian’s shoulder at Grace who was still as
white as a sheet. “Where’s that bloody medic? How long does it
take to ride an elevator for chrissake?”
“Right behind you boss.” The young medic pushed between the
two men, and immediately went down on his knees to his patient.
“Gracie sweetheart, what have you been up to?” He quickly
assessed the situation by checking her vital signs.

Julian turned to Max who was still hovering worriedly close to
Grace. “I think we should give Dave some space, and I’m sure
Grace will be mortified at causing such a fuss.”
But Max didn’t seem to want to move and leave Grace. “Max
you need to go, right now. You have to make that speech. Your cell
is turned off, and Simone is spitting mad. I would not want to be in
your shoes when she gets hold of you.” He rolled his puppy dog
brown eyes and added, “Literally!” He couldn’t stand the emaciated
woman. She was stick thin, and had a brain the size of a pea. He
could only assume she must be very inventive in bed, and that
thought made him feel decidedly nauseous.
But Max moved back into the shadows, refusing to leave. He
needed to know that Grace, his Grace, was going to be OK. He
couldn’t care less about the speech, any idiot could take his place.
Again Julian frowned at Max, he never let anyone down,
especially when one of his charities was involved. When he
promised he would attend a dinner, he would be there even if he
was sick.
Dave broke a capsule under Gracie’s nose, immediately she
began to cough and splutter. “That’s my girl. Now, don’t sit up too
quickly, we don’t want you to pass out again.” Slowly he helped
her sit up, and she glanced vacantly around the room obviously
wondering where she was. “It’s OK Grace. You are in Mr
Andreous’s office,” Dave assured her.
Julian came over and put his arms around her. “Max carried
you here, Grace. He was worried when you passed out in his arms.
You gave us all a fright. It isn’t like you to do such a silly thing.
Now tell mother what is going on?”
She gave Julian a watery smile, everyone loved him, and he
was the one person her husband wouldn’t mind touching her.
Dave physically moved Julian to the side. “Excuse me mother,
but let the professional do his job. I need to know why Grace
fainted, in case it’s more serious than we think.”
Julian moved back to stand with Max in the shadows of the
large office, who was leaning nonchalantly against the wall, his
hands in his pockets as if he didn’t care one way or another what
happened to Grace. In fact he was finding it almost impossible not
to go and take her in his arms again.

Again Julian gave him a puzzled look. He couldn’t fathom out
what was going on, and he thought he knew everything that went
on in the television station.
Dave spoke quietly to his patient. “I am just going to give you
an injection to calm you down and make you feel better.” He began
to sort through his medical bag.
But Grace put her hand on his arm, and burst into tears again.
“It’s OK sweetheart don’t cry, I’m not going to hurt you. I am
extremely adept with needles, you won’t even know I’ve done it,”
Dave tried to reassure her.
“N-no, it isn’t that”, she whispered. “I-I’m pregnant. I don’t
want anything to hurt my baby.”
You could hear a pin drop in the room. Julian watched Max
stand up straight, he had a look of utter desperation on his
handsome face. His features could have been carved out of granite.
Now Julian knew exactly what was going on. Max wanted Grace.
Grace did not have a clue. And Max was used to getting everything
he wanted within reason. But this time it wasn’t going to happen.
Sebastian Fallon was an evil bastard, who would kill anyone who
touched his wife, even though he believed it was OK to shag
anyone else’s wife.
Julian could see that Grace was becoming distraught. He
couldn’t understand why, but he went to congratulate her, because
surely every married woman wanted a baby of her own? When he
looked back to where Max had been standing, he had disappeared
without saying a word. Obviously he had decided to give up on
Grace, and get on with his life.
Julian felt in his bones that was a very wise decision. But Max
was an enigma, he rarely did what was expected of him.
Davie packed up his equipment, and then helped Grace to get
to her feet. If he lived a hundred years he would never understand
women. They cried when they were happy. They cried when they
were sad. They cried when they were sick, and cried when he told
them they weren’t sick. He was never going to get married, because
more than most he had seen another side of the supposedly weaker
sex. When you wore a paramedic uniform women came on to you,
it was definitely a bird-pulling scenario. All he could say was
‘bring it on man’. He was always up for a good time, and good sex.
And Fallon’s wife could definitely ring his bell, and how. But
neither was he tired of living. Grace was a great looker, and a great

person, but like every other red-blooded male in the company she
was an absolute no-go area. Nobody trusted that drug-addled bully.
Lately he was losing his rag over the least provocation.
Julian waited for Dave to leave before asking Grace why she
was so upset. Grace never told anyone her private business, but
Jules knew that Fallon treated his wife badly. Often she came to
work in dark glasses, and had had so many accidents at home in the
last two years. It was a no-brainer that Grace suffered from her
husband’s filthy temper.
“Sweetie, why aren’t you happy about this baby? I thought
every woman wanted their own child. I would love to be a parent,
but it ain’t going to happen to me.” He shrugged his shoulders, it
was impossible with his chosen lifestyle. “Does Seb’ know? Isn’t
he happy about it? For God’s sake Grace, surely he must be
overjoyed? What husband wouldn’t be?” But Julian didn’t believe
such a thing. Sebastian Fallon would not want the competition from
a baby. He was an egotistical bastard, and would want his gorgeous
wife to himself.
“H-he doesn’t know yet, and I c-can’t tell him.” She was
crying non-stop now. “H-he told me that he couldn’t have
children.” She stopped to pull in a breath of air. “He won’t believe
it’s his.” She cried even harder. “He w-will make me get rid of my
baby. And I can’t kill my tiny child, my family would never forgive
me.”
Julian’s heart dropped to his boots. He wasn’t surprised at her
words, and felt so bad for her. Nobody deserved to be married to a
man like Fallon. Grace was the most gentle, kind, caring woman he
had ever met, and she deserved so much better.
“Look sweetie, Seb is going to be in Afghanistan for at least
three months, and by the time he gets back it will be too late to do
anything. So, don’t tell him something he doesn’t want to hear.
You know I will help you, and everyone loves you here.” He gave
her a pristine white handkerchief. “Now dry those tears, and blow
that disgusting red nose. You remind me of a circus clown.”
He smiled encouragingly at Grace, but in his heart he felt so
sorry for her. The poor woman must be continually walking a
tightrope of fear. “Right, let’s pull ourselves together, and go home
as if everything is perfectly normal. You must wave your husband
goodbye, and when he has gone we can talk about what we are

going to do.” He took her in his arms and gave her a long rocking
hug. If he wasn’t gay, he could love a woman like Gracie.
But Grace’s stomach was churning, not because she was
pregnant, but she couldn’t trust that Sebastian wouldn’t find out.
He seemed to be able to notice any slight difference in her body
language or her attitude, however hard she tried to cover it up.
Could she cover up the fact that she was pregnant? She was such a
poor liar. She would have to try so hard to pretend everything was
normal when having a baby the father didn’t want was, definitely,
not anyone’s normal.
He would be waiting at home right now and absolutely furious,
because she was so late. She had to get home ASAP. She trusted
Jules implicitly, knowing he probably had guessed what she went
through at home. But nobody could help her. She was beyond help.
But would try and take his advice, and act as normal as possible.
But she wouldn’t take a proper breath until Sebastian got on
that plane tomorrow. Then she would have to decide on her future.
She could not, and would not, abort her child, even though she
hated its father. Grace was desperate to be a mother, and Sebastian
was not going to stop her.
She scanned the room worriedly expecting to find her boss in
the background, but was relieved she was alone with Jules. “Mr
Andreous found me in the executive recreation room. God, Jules,
will he fire me? Please, would you talk to him, because Sebastian
will be furious if I lose my job.” Grace looked really scared at the
thought, but she shook her head. “No! I’m sorry, I can’t ask you to
do that.” She almost bit through her bottom lip. “Jules, I don’t
know what to do.”
Julian smiled that perfectly formed smile of perfectly white
capped teeth. “My darling girl. I’m sure you haven’t a thing to
worry about. Max seems to like you. I somehow doubt that he is at
all concerned that you were up here on the executive level. You and
Sam are crucial to this company. Both of you are so talented in
your field of expertise. Max isn’t stupid, he is totally aware what
goes on in every department. Pretty lady, neither you or Sam will
ever get the boot.”
And Julian wasn’t stupid enough to tell her just how much his
boss liked her, because Grace was too shy, and too vulnerable to
get mixed up with a powerful financial machine like Max
Andreous. It was obvious that she had enough to contend with

Sebastion Fallon. Her sweet life wouldn’t be worth living if Fallon
thought Max had designs on his wife. Julian was already suspicious
that Grace was at the receiving end of her husband’s drug-fuelled
anger, and dark moods.
And there was no way he was about to get mixed up in Max’s
love life. Max was very anal, and very protective of his privacy,
and his family. Julian could understand why. He was mega
wealthy, as was his brother Dominic. They both ran their late
father’s legacy. He had left them San Francisco’s award winning
News & Media Company. A television station – a financial
newspaper – a radio station. All dedicated to world news, world
weather, documentaries, finance, sport and classical music. And
they were government-funded. There was no advertising to pay the
bills. But prestigious companies did pay for the privilege of making
documentaries about them, knowing they would always be kosher,
and the truth. The company sold their film and documentaries
around the world.
Under no circumstances did they do fluff.
In the last ten years the brothers, through exhausting long hours
and hard work, had built up the company to be a major player in the
media market. They employed around two thousand, and that was
not counting those who worked around the globe linking in with the
latest news, especially in war zones.
And neither of the siblings actually had to work, they were
independently wealthy through their mother Magna in Greece. She
was the only heiress to her father’s billions in freight and shipping,
and Max and Dominic were next in line to their grandfather’s
fortune. Magna was getting to an age when she was desperate to
retire.
But Julian was extremely conscientious and worked almost as
hard as Max. Often he wished that Max would let go, relax and take
some time off. But he was a serious, quiet and steadfast
workaholic. While Dominic was the complete opposite, a major
player, and womaniser by nature. He worked hard, but played even
harder. Always with a bimbo. Always at a party until dawn.
Always the life and soul of any social event he decided to give his
lively presence to. Spent money as if there was no tomorrow to
worry about, which in his case was absolutely true. He didn’t make
an appearance in his office until midday, but didn’t leave until
midnight, then partied until the sun came up.

Max often worked through the night, but was always in his
office by seven a.m. Julian often felt sorry for his boss, because he
seemed such a lonely man in a foreign country he had never really
felt comfortable with. He had lived in America for twenty-five
years, but still yearned to go back permanently to his roots, his
family, his homeland. Max was a typical Greek male, with rigid
rules about family, children and home, and at thirty-five years old
hadn’t managed to acquire any of them so far.
Julian knew when Max went to the opera, ballet or dined out;
he always had a partner, but they were never permanent ones, some
managed to last a couple of months, but they were few and far
between. Simone of course was a regular escort, but that was as far
as it went between them. Max never took his women to his home,
and never stayed all night once he had satisfied his sexual appetite.
To that end he kept a permanent luxurious suite at the Windways
Hotel close to pier 39.
Julian realised that he probably knew more about Max
Andreous than any other living person did. And he was proud of
that fact, because his boss was a fantastic boss to work for, and a
thoroughly decent man.
Now Dominic was a different kettle of fish. He was the
proverbial playboy, with a voracious appetite for hard drinking and
easy women. But as far as Julian was aware he did not mess with
social drugs. If he did, then Max would have wiped the floor with
him, because he loved his younger brother too much to allow him
to go down that road of desperation and destruction.
They were a fantastic team together and always watched the
other one’s back. Each having different strengths and weaknesses,
which worked when you were running the most successful
company in the state.
Julian phoned down to the garage for one of the drivers to take
Grace home. Even though she had tried to argue with him, he
wouldn’t hear of it. She was still so pale and shaky he was worried
that she might faint again.
Poor Grace, he wanted to look after her, and felt much happier
knowing she would be safe with one of their drivers. And surely
Fallon wouldn’t take it out on his wife for going home in a
chauffeured limo?



Chapter 2


“What are you talking about? How dare you tell me that you are so
late because you didn’t feel well. That is no excuse. You knew that
I have to leave for the airport soon. And that some of my combat
gear needs washing, and there’s me thinking that my sweet little
wife would have already done it.”
His bloodshot eyes were already glazed and unfocused, Grace
knew she had to keep her head down and not attempt to answer
him.
His voice began to rise in volume. “What was I supposed to
eat? There is nothing in the fuckin’ refrigerator. I have a long,
tedious journey to cope with, you were supposed to cook me
something hours ago. That’s your fuckin’ job here, isn’t it? Or were
you too busy cosying up to all those cameramen and producers?
And if I thought any one of those slime-heads had so much as
looked at you I’d kill ‘em.”
Grace had met this verbal tirade as soon as she had put her key
into the lock of their shabby front door of their shabby, poky
condominium in the cheap part of town. Sebastian had owed so
much money to so many people they had lost their beautiful home
in the suburbs. They were now renting in an undesirable area. Their
neighbours were street walkers, alcoholics and those down on their
luck, as they obviously were.
Tiredly she went to walk past him, but he grabbed her by the
arm and painfully pulled her back. “Don’t you dare ignore me when
I’m talking to you, bitch.” He twisted her arm harder, and put his
suffused face close to hers. “I asked you why you are so late. And
don’t try and tell me you were working, because I phoned in and
they said you had left a couple of hours ago.”
He pushed her arm so far up her back she thought he was going
to put her shoulder out. He had done that injury before to her. “I-I
told you. I wasn’t feeling well, I had to sit down for a rest. I
thought I was going to pass out.” It was as close to the truth that
Grace could get away with.
“You are a lying bitch. You’re never sick. You’ve been with
someone haven’t you?” His voice had dropped down almost to a

whisper, and that was when Grace became very frightened, because
his explosive temper would hit the ceiling any moment now.
This was the seething calm before the tempest.
“I’m telling you the truth. I had to go to the Medical Centre,
and they gave me something to settle my stomach, because I was
feeling so nauseous. You know I am not interested in any man but
you. I don’t even look at anyone else. I love only you, Sebastian.”
Grace would beg. Would lie. Would talk absolute rubbish to
keep her baby safe. She couldn’t take a beating now she was
pregnant. She would tell him anything he wanted to hear.
But it didn’t work.
He slapped her round the head so hard her ears were ringing.
She hit the wall of the hallway and immediately without thinking
put her hands over her stomach to protect her baby.
When his eyes narrowed she knew he was suspicious, because
normally she put her arms over her head to protect herself. Then he
began pushing and punching her down the hallway and up the stairs
to their bedroom.
Grace couldn’t let him do this. It was obvious what he was
going to put her through before he left. And she was still just about
in her first trimester, she couldn’t take the risk to the baby or
herself.
She begged and cried the entire length of the hallway and up
the stairs, but he totally ignored her, continued to hit her and then,
finally grabbing her around the neck he threw her body into the
small dark bedroom.
“Shut your fuckin’ mouth you whoring slut. You think I don’t
know what goes on at that stinkin’ rat-hole of a station when I’m
not there?” He bent over her, his eyes were the eyes of a madman,
totally out of control.
Grace realised that she would have to tell him if she was going
to be able to save the life of her unborn child. Perhaps in that drug-
addled brain there was still left a modicum of humanity. A tiny part
of him that still loved her enough to understand, and believe, it was
his baby that she was carrying.
He went to drag her to her feet, but she scuttled away from him
on all fours as quickly as possible. “I am having your baby, Seb.
That is why I was sick at work today.” She said it without raising
her voice, because he would consider that to be answering him
back, which would only escalate the beatings.

He went as still as a stone statue, a look of absolute horror and
disbelief on his face. Then quietly, too quietly, he spoke without his
tight-lipped mouth moving. “Would you repeat those fuckin’ words
again, very slowly, and clearly.”
She couldn’t help it, and desperately tried not to, but she
started to cry. Big hot, fat tears ran down her pale face. She had to
be strong – had to get the truth out for her baby’s sake. She was a
lioness defending her cub, and she had to win this fight. “I am
having your baby, Seb. I know you said it couldn’t happen, but
somehow it has. I am three months’ pregnant. I really am. I am so
happy darling. So very happy.”
He towered over her, his hand raised this time to shut her up.
His eyes closed against her filthy lies. Then he opened them, and
got hold of the front of her blouse, and hauled her up to him. This
time he screamed at her, spittle accompanying his anger. “Shut the
fuck up! If you are pregnant, it is someone else’s bastard. When I
find out who has fucked with my wife I will kill him, and then
you.”
Then he literally took her off her feet and threw her against the
nearest wall. Her screams must have been heard around the block,
but in that district everyone kept to themselves, it was safer that
way. He followed that with a vicious kick to her stomach. The last
conscious thought in Gracie’s head and heart was that her precious
baby was not going to survive, and neither was she.
The father was not going to allow his only child to live. The
husband wanted his cheating, whore of a wife out of his life
permanently.
And he was determined to accomplish both situations before
starting a brand new life in another country.

* * * *

Sebastian Fallon was actually crying when he closed the front
door behind him. He fired up their old jalopy, he might as well
drive it to the airport and dump it, because he had no intention of
ever returning to America. He couldn’t come back because he had
killed his wife, that cheating, whoring, trollop.
Grace was dead to him, and her memory.
She definitely wasn’t carrying his baby, because he’d had
severe mumps as a teenager, and he had been told he was sterile.

Anyway, he could never have sex with that filthy bitch ever again.
She’d been with another man, probably more. There was no way he
would share his wife with another man. She was spoilt goods,
unclean, unfaithful and deserved to die, and that bastard in her
swollen belly.
He was hours too early for his flight, but couldn’t stay in the
apartment. There would be plenty of good company in one of the
bars, his preferred company. Before he had left he had taken the
last of their cash. Anyway, once he arrived at the airport he was on
company expenses, with a credit card.
Sebastian knew that the big time boss of the TV station wasn’t
going to renew his contract this year. He wasn’t that drunk, or that
stupid, because the signs were on the table. So he had at least three
months to fleece the company of thousands of dollars, before he
would disappear into another country.
He had been very clever about his wife’s demise, because he
had made sure that she had managed to fall from top to bottom of
the hardwood stairs. After giving her the hiding she deserved for
her perfidy, he had dragged her unconscious along to the stairs, and
thrown her down without a second’s hesitation. If the beating
hadn’t killed her, the stairs would definitely finish her off.
When he’d picked up his gear that he had packed earlier, he
hadn’t even glanced her way, because he hoped she was dead. And
anything he had forgotten he could purchase at the airport with the
compliments of Max Andreous.
If this was going to be his last job in America then he was
going to enjoy every fuckin’ moment. With his special talent
behind a camera he could work anywhere in the world, that didn’t
have a treaty with the States. And that suited him, because drugs,
booze and women would be cheaper, and easier to obtain in those
Third World countries.
Sebastian Fallon had every intention of enjoying the rest of his
life with absolutely no female attachments holding him back. Of
course he thought he had loved Grace when he’d married her, but
he had soon tired of her. She was too innocent, too naive, far too
nice and sweet for his sexual taste. In bed she was cold and frigid,
even when he made her do things to him, and vice versa, that he
needed for his own sexual deviations.
But right now anger filled his entire being. How could that
scheming bitch try and convince him that the bastard in her belly

was his? Was he that stupid, or even worse? Did she think that the
jealously that consumed him when she so much as glanced at
another man would allow her to foist another man’s child onto
him? Well, she had made the biggest mistake of her damned life,
because she and her bastard were dead. In his book, she had got
what she deserved.
He couldn’t be held responsible for what had happened,
because her actions had pushed him over the edge. Any other
cuckolded husband would have done exactly the same.
As far as he was concerned, women were only good for laying
on their backs, opening their legs and shutting their stupid mouths.
Men were by far superior beings in every way.

* * * *

“Morning, boss!” Julian called out as the door opened, he
didn’t have to look up to know it was Max. It was gone eight a.m.,
and he had never known his boss to be as late as this. Then he
raised his blond head, and peered over his horned-rimmed glasses.
“Ooh! Dearie, dearie me. Tied one on last night did we? I really
hope you don’t feel as bad as you look.” He couldn’t believe his
eyes, Max never allowed himself to get drunk, especially at a
charity do. In fact rarely drank much at all. “Simone must have
been very disappointed in your performance, when you were that
drunk.”
“Shut up!” Max hissed very quietly through clenched teeth,
because every hair on his head hurt. “Do not dare speak, or make
any more innuendoes about my personal equipment.” He drew in a
very careful breath. “Yes, I have somehow managed to get to work,
but, I do not want to be here, because I feel like shit.”
Julian realised just how bad he was feeling, because Max never
used bad language unless absolutely necessary. In the five years of
working for him Julian had never seen him the worse for wear.
There was no way he wanted to lose his fantastic job, so he didn’t
dare ask what had happened last night.
“I am very slowly and very carefully going to sit at my desk
and try and get on with my work that appears to be piling up.
Would you be so kind as to pour me out a very strong, very sweet,
cup of coffee. And find me at least four aspirin to help me feel just
a tad human.” Max moved carefully to his comfortable winged

leather chair, and sighed with relief as he lowered his big body into
it. Putting both elbows onto his desk he rested his throbbing head
into his hands, and groaned. “I will never, ever, do this again to
myself, it definitely isn’t worth it. How Dom parties every night,
and makes it to work every day, I do not know.”
Julian took him a large mug of coffee that resembled molasses.
“Simone in the same bad way then?” He couldn’t help himself, he
was such a gossip. But not enough to piss off Max.
“Why do you think I drank so much? She’s gone. Permanently.
She’s a scary female. I had to have a lot of alcohol to get rid of
her.” He groaned at the memory. “She caused such a fuss when I
gave her a diamond bracelet and told her it was over. The bloody
bracelet cost me a small fortune.” He sipped the coffee and closed
his eyes with the relief it gave his throat. “Can you believe it? She
told everyone in a very loud voice that she thought I was going to
marry her.” He looked at Julian for a sensible answer. “Why would
I want to marry a woman with her – her?”
“Background.” Julian helped him out. “So are we going to be
bombarded by rat-ass reporters, who aren’t affiliated to us?” That
would be an absolute pain all round.
In answer Max just groaned again and put his aching head back
into his hands. His well-ordered life seemed to be going inexorably
down the drain at an alarming rate. He would become celibate if he
thought he would get peace of mind, and his normal overworked
day back, every day.
As far as he was concerned the female race was far too
complex, and he would never understand them if he lived to be a
hundred, or more.
Julian decided to leave Max to his misery and telephoned down
to Grace to make sure she was OK. He was worried that she was
really sick, and that bully of a husband had left for Afghanistan as
scheduled. Grace was always in really early to make sure her
department was up to speed and ready for any last minute changes
in their schedule.
But Sam picked up, which wasn’t unusual as both women and
their assistants worked in the same area. “Sam here. How can I
help? But do get a move on, because Grace hasn’t turned in, and I
have got to fit her work in as well as my own.”
“Sam, it’s Jules. Grace never calls in sick, neither does she take
time off. Did she ring in sick earlier this morning?” Everyone was

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