Before Krish

Thank you for purchasing Krish! I hope you enjoyed it. It’s my debut novel and I would love to hear your thoughts, so please do leave me a review.

Before Krish, the second instalment in the series is due to be released next year. In the meantime, if you’d like to know how Raphael and Nicole’s story continues, here’s a sneak preview of Chapter 1.

Chapter 1
For hours, the relentless storm thrashed the island without any sign of abatement. I sat where Raphael had left me, waiting for him to return, but as the hour hand circled the clock face for the sixth time, he still didn’t appear.

If only mobiles worked on the island, I would have called him a hundred times by now. Unfortunately, we were miles away from the nearest network, or civilization, in general.

My anxiety worsened with each ticking minute. Where could he be? He’d been angry when he left. I had horrible visions of him punching walls with his bare knuckles, like a mad man.

On quizzing his staff, I discovered Raphael and Ignacio weren’t in the villa. Though they didn’t give away his exact whereabouts, it comforted me to know Raphael wasn’t on his own. Ignacio would keep an eye on him, of that I could be certain. Hobbling to the glass wall, I peered out at the dark stormy horizon. Winds howled like fearsome creatures terrorizing the lush tropical foliage, while torrential rain flooded the grounds. A violent thunderclap shook the panes, and gripped by renewed trepidation, I hugged myself. We were at the mercy of the elements on the island.

‘You’re the only woman I’ve ever brought here.’ Raphael’s glorious voice came from behind me.

I almost cried with relief. ‘Thank you, God.’ Sending up a silent prayer, I spun around.

Raphael appeared to be soaked to the skin. As a wild urge to wrap him up in my arms and keep him safe came over me, I dashed to him. But soon, I remembered ours wasn’t that kind of relationship, forcing my feet to halt. It proved to be one of the hardest things I’d ever done.

‘How long have you had it?’ I made myself ask. Anything to distract from dying to hold him tight against me, to wipe away the rivulets of moisture dripping down his face, to kiss away the haunted look in his eyes.

‘A few weeks.’ He cleared his throat. ‘I was thinking of you when I put the bid in.’

A sliver of hope lit up my heart. I limped over to Raphael and reached up to dry his angelic face when I noticed the bruising on his temple and around his eyes.

‘You’re hurt.’ Horrified, my chest tightened. It had been exactly what I’d been dreading, something terrible befalling Raphael. ‘You had an accident.’ Because of me.

It was my fault Raphael had been hurt. He’d only stormed off in the first place because of me. If I hadn’t upset him, he wouldn’t have left, at all. Ugly history seemed to be repeating itself. First Jamie, then Raphael.

Raphael snaked his arm around my waist, drawing me hard against him. His wetness soaked my robe, making me shiver, though not because of the cold, but the utter despair in his emerald eyes. He seemed so vulnerable, very unlike the impervious deal maker I knew and once loathed.

‘I’m truly sorry.’ Closing my arms around him, I held him like a drowning woman clutching onto driftwood. ‘What happened, Raphael?’

He pushed me away. ‘It’s late. You should go to bed.’

Like a hot knife, his unexpected rejection cut me to the quick. ‘W-why?’

I wanted to challenge him for pushing me away. I wanted to demand he tell me what had happened. Like I had the right to know? My resolve wavered. Did I have the right? After all, I was just his toy for the week.

‘I have some things to do.’

It reminded me of the old De’Angelo, evasive and brusque. He would never open up to me. Despite the hope I’d glimpsed earlier, nothing between us had changed, at least not for Raphael, anyway. Much as I hated to, I had no choice but to leave him to his own devices, and go to our bedroom. There I showered before changing into one of the negligees he liked. Afterwards, I’d lain awake in our bed, waiting, yearning for him, while outside the tempestuous weather continued tearing the island apart.

That was the first night Raphael didn’t come to bed.