The opening pages of Margaret’s book, Rachel’s Retribution
I know I've already posted an excerpt from this book but I couldn't resist posting these first couple of pages.
Rachel felt a chill steal down her spine as the man strode into the bistro. She shrank back into the shadows, her heartbeat accelerating. The last time she had spoken to him he had verbally thrashed her to within an inch of her life. She had been young and foolish and she had let him down big time. For days afterwards she had cried, feeling as though it was the end of her world.
Their last meeting had prompted her move from Ireland to North Yorkshire in England. She had needed to get away from her old life, make a new start, forget her stupidity. As she studied him she placed her hand over her heart, as if by so doing she could somehow bring calm. Heat ran through her, even her palms became clammy. This was a man she had hoped never to see again.
If everything had gone according to plan she would not have been here, she would not be shaking like a leaf in the wind. Liam Mallory belonged to a part of her life she thought was over, a part that still mortified her every time she thought about it. Meeting him now, having to speak to him, would be far too embarrassing.
Although she and Steve, her partner, had discussed finding someone to invest in their business in order to expand, she couldn't recall him actually mentioning this man's name. He had told her a prospective investor was coming to see him and she'd been disappointed that she couldn't be present. Now, though, she wished with all her heart that her appointment with the dentist had not been cancelled.
She watched as Liam walked over to her partner and shook his hand before disappearing into the office. Only then was she able to breathe again
Steve's voice called out and she froze.
"Rachel, come and join us."
Hell! She could not do this. She simply couldn't. But what choice had she? Steve would think it strange if she didn't do as he asked. The bistro wasn't yet open, she had very little to do, nothing that couldn't wait.
Her heart felt as though it was trying to escape from her chest as she walked slowly into the office, and she could feel trickles of perspiration running down between her breasts. Even her legs felt as though they were going to collapse.
Liam took one look at her and a thunderous frown blackened his brow. Thick, dark brows bristled in surprise. "You!"
"You two know each other?" Steve smiled in delight, seemingly unaware of the tension pulsing between them, though Rachel could not see why. Surely the air had chilled?
"Oh, yes, I know her," said Liam, "but if this woman is a part of your business then consider our deal off." His eyes met Rachel's alarmed ones.
All she wanted to do was turn and run. But of course she couldn't. She had to stand and face him.
Steve's jaw dropped and he asked the inevitable question. "Why? I do not understand. Rachel's my partner, she's invaluable—"
"And she's also a thief," interrupted Liam harshly. "She won't think twice about stealing from you. How long have you known her?"
His loyalty warmed her but he did not know the whole story.
"And you trust her?" Liam's words were filled with scorn.
"Implicitly." Steve looked at Rachel, his brows questioningly high.
She said nothing.
"I have every faith in her."
But his frown made Rachel question whether he was beginning to wonder if his belief in her was justified. Of course it was! It had been years since she'd worked for Liam, since the Ben episode!
Even thinking about Ben Tamlin caused her fists to clench, but she refused to let it bother her. He was a part of her terrible past. A past she had thought was over and done with. She had consigned it to the deepest recesses of her mind. Unhappily it did not look as though Liam had.
"Mark my words, she is not to be trusted," Liam growled, standing up. "Watch your back, Steve. This meeting is over." After a further damning look in her direction, when eyes of steel pierced her skin, leaving her bleeding and humiliated, he turned and walked out.