From Book # 3 “Race Against Time” (Update)
Stalking happens every day, and I wanted to bring this issue into my CounterClockwise Paranormal Romance Series, making it fit in with 1840s life.
Nora Wells put the book back down on the table with a thud and quickly turned around. “Don’t tell me it wasn’t you!”
Tracy Allen shifted his 6ft. 4in. frame uncomfortably in his chair. He was guilty as hell. Only he didn’t like it at all that he got caught. “How can you be so sure, Nora? It was dark.”
“Yes, of course it was. You can’t skulk around very well during daylight hours can you?” Nora eyed him with disgust. “How many others have you done this to? Or should I ask how many others are you currently doing this to in addition to me?”
There was no getting around it. Tracy had indeed been caught. The woman must have eyes in the back of her pretty head. A story about this whole incident might make a good song. He smiled. Or two…..
“What are you smirking about?”
“Nothing. I was just thinking about how pretty you look in those….what do you call them again?…..oh yes, panties.”
She blushed. She hated the fact thay he had seen her getting dressed and undressed without her knowledge – or consent. It made her feel cheap and used. Like she was in one of those filthy magazines she heard women laughing about in Paris. “You dog!” Nora said with hate in her voice.
Tracy kept smiling. “Now you are just imagining things, Nora. I know you are. A woman alone. She gets jumpy like.” He was baiting her now.
“Oh I thought you’d say something like that. It’s all in my head. Naturally. You assume, then, that I can’t prove anything.” Nora walked over to the fireplace mantle and put a hand on it to steady herself. She needed to feel brave right now and she damn well needed to look confident. Being wobbly was not allowed.
“I don’t assume. You can’t prove it. I am sure.” His blue eyes danced and taunted her.
Her gaze met his. “Yes. I can.” She paused to let that hit him. “You see, I have met another woman who has had the same problem with you. We compared notes you might say. And guess what? We have proof.”
Now Tracy felt his calm, cool front beginning to slip. He stood up, knowing how menacing a man his size could look, and shouted at her, “No! You do not!”
Nora stayed where she was and did not flinch. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Tracy. But there is evidence. I don’t have it here of course. It’s been placed with an attorney for safekeeping. So no one will ever see it.”
Tracy shook his head in bewilderment. “What? Why bother having it then? And why tell me?”
“Well,” Nora let out the breath she’d been holding, “there is a condition you must agree to if you do not want anyone to ever see that evidence.”
He sat back down with a thud and threw his hands up into the air. “What? What do you want?”
Nora walked over to him and stood just a few feet from his chair. She looked beautiful tonight. Especially so. She was radiant in blue, as always, and her dark brown hair had a sheen to it that few women could boast having. Her green eyes caught the light just right and blended alluringly with the blue of her gown. She pursed her full red lips just right. Just so he’d want to reach out and have his way with her. And then she took a small step back, as if to give him her refusal.
“I want you to admit what you did. Watching me from a distance with your spyglass. Listening to my conversations from the hallway. Peeking through my keyjole. And for lying to me. You don’t love me. You don’t love any woman. You love yourself and your money and all the ladies who dance to your tune any time you like.”
Tracy looked at her with amusement. “Is that all? You just want me to admit that?”
“Yes.” Nora answered as she walked over and reached for the book she had put down on the table earlier,taking a folded sheet of paper out of it. “Sign this. And I’ll never reveal my evidence.”
He took the paper she handed to him and read it quickly. Everything she had accused him of doing was neatly written down, with a space at the bottom for his signature, owning up to the crimes.”And if I don’t? Then what?”
“I left instructions wth the other woman you mistreated to give the attorney permission to have you arrested should I not be here tomorrow to meet her with this letter – signed.”
Tracy let out a sad breath. “How did we come to this, Nora? How? You loved me once.” He shook his head. “I know you love me still.”
Nora wasn’t a fool. Not any longer. She knew he was putting on an act. “Save it for the stage, Tracy. Save it for the adoring audience. It won’t work with me anymore. You’d be smart to sign the paper and leave. And stop following me. Stop listening to me.” And then she added. “Love has nothing to do what happened here.”
Tracy leaned over to the end table, picked up the fashionable fountain pen lying there and signed the paper in his elgeant, scrawling way. Saying nothing further, he picked up his hat and made his way to the door. He turned once and looked at Nora’s back, hoping that she’d turn around and run into his arms, but she stood her ground. Stood firm. He gave her credit for that.
Outside, Tracy D. Allen turned up his collar against the cold rain that had started to come down harder. He knew he was a lost man without her. He felt it already and it had only been minutes.
She was the love of his life and he’d treated her like a whore. Used her. Abused her trust. Took full advantage of her innocent nature.
Nora Wells was nothing like other women. And he’d known more than he could count or remember. But he had demons within himself that waged war against him every day of his life and he couldn’t find the way to beat them and finally put them down.
Waving off the hack driver who asked if he needed a carriage, Tracy decided to brave the cold, wet weather and walk the rest of the way to his hotel. It was fitting that he get good and drenched. Because he’d be downing a considerable amount of whiskey before morning came.
But that wouldn’t stop the pain. He didn’t expect it to. And it never would until he found a way, no more like found a miracle, that brought him back into Nora’s heart and her arms. This time it’d be different. No more nonsense. He’d be 100% there with her. If, and it was an enormous IF, she ever spoke to him again….
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