My next book, the first in the ‘Tainted Love’ series is called ‘Misplaced Love’ and it is Zoe’s story. You might remember Zoe from the ‘Perfect Match’ series.

I’m hoping to release this book during the next few days.

Happy Halloween!

Chapter 1

Zoe dragged her battered suitcase out of the taxi and stood outside, staring at the familiar apartment she’d shared with Billy.

She’d moved in with him when things had turned serious between them. But even then, if she was being truthful, she wasn’t sure if it was because she loved Billy so much or whether she wanted to move out when her mom’s new husband moved in.

Her stomach churned and she wondered whether Ethan would be inside. He didn’t even know that she and Billy had split up, or that she had cut short their trip around South America.

It had all been so different when they’d set off, starting in Peru, and it was Peru where she had returned from.

She’d never made it to Ecuador or Bolivia. Heck she’d barely lasted a month. A month away on the road with Billy, running away from their problems. Why had she thought traveling might fix things?

Like flecks of dirt on white cotton, it had only highlighted them even more.

They still had another four to six months on the road, maybe longer. They didn’t have a concrete plan. Billy winged it wherever he went.

Winging it was fine—for people who could sleep easy in hostels where the floor crawled, and eat from soup bowls not caring too much what horrors floated beneath.

When Billy suggested they join the group of Australians instead of it being just the two of them traveling together as planned, she’d had enough.

With all their rows and with her mind constantly harking back to home, she hadn’t really been wholly convinced she had done the right thing.

She’d even signed up for the programming course she’d been thinking about. So when Billy changed their plans to fit in with the Aussie group, she quit her plan with Billy and focused on her needs instead.

He was now on his way to Ecuador and she was staring up at the redbrick building wondering what it might be like to stay with Ethan again.

Just as she got ready to walk up to the door, it opened and a statuesque girl with flyaway hair and hot pants rushed out. She pulled the corners of her teeny leather jacket together.

As if that’s going to keep you warm, thought Zoe, and wondered whom this creature had come to see.

Billy’s friend Andre had moved out in a hurry and Billy had told her their room was free again. It seemed serendipitous—as though she was meant to come back and follow her plan, instead of idly following him around.

If Andre wasn’t at home, it meant Ethan was.

And if Ethan was in, had that long legged gazelle paid him a visit?

It couldn’t be.

She sucked in her stomach and walked up to the door and knocked. No matter how many times they had called, texted and emailed him, they’d been unable to get a hold of Ethan, but seeing the girl leave just now had given her hope that he was in.

She waited, wishing he would hurry up, and yet the thought of being face-to-face with Ethan again set her nerves on edge.

When he didn’t open the door, she started to get irritated. She knocked again, and rang the doorbell twice.

Still no answer.

She crashed to the floor in a huff, flung open her battered handbag and rifled through it, muttering under her breath. She was tired after the long flight and needed a bed more than she needed food or a clean shower.

Relief poured out when she found the key. Getting up quickly, she opened the door just as she heard heavy footsteps on the wooden floor from inside. The angry voice of a man yelling greeted her.

The door yanked roughly open away from her, pulling the key with it.

She stared at the tall and slim shirtless man who opened the door wearing only jeans and a bad attitude. “I see her once a week, Chrissie. Why the hell has she started to demand two to three appointments a week?”

He glared at Zoe, then looked away and yelled into the phone. “I don’t care how much. I can’t see her so many times. This isn’t a full time gig for me.”

A rush of adrenaline tingled through her body. This wasn’t Ethan or Andre.

With the call over, the guy stabbed a finger at the cell and shoved it into his back pocket. He turned his attention to Zoe, his slate-gray eyes widening for the briefest second.

Zoe stood stupefied into silence, first by his rude manner, then by the sharp line of his abs. It rendered her speechless. Her gaze skimmed over the faint gauze of his five o’clock stubble—before dipping down lower to fix on his tight, ripped chest.

Her heartbeat raced and she experienced firsthand the sensation of free falling without leaving the ground.

The guy cocked his head and gave her a who-the-hell-are-you look.

And then she remembered.

Tyler.

He was one of the guys who’d been in the Dreamboys Dancers right at the beginning for a little while. They knew each other, through Billy. They’d all been friends, Troy, Jed, but Tyler was always on the outside. He’d only been with the group a short while before he left.

Her eyes widened as she recalled it now—he’d left to join an escort service. Apparently, he was the one who told Ethan all about it.

What the hell was he doing here?

“Ethan’s not in.”  He gave her a hard smile.

She felt more out of place than ever, especially now that Billy wasn’t here. She stood taller, mustering her bravado; the guy was tall—very tall—and the way he stared at her made her feel minuscule in her flat sneakers.

She had expected to sail right in, but this guy was barricading the door with his totally ripped chest.

Seconds passed while they had a silent but deadly standoff and she tried to find her tongue.

Finally, he stepped closer to the door—his hand on the door handle. “Zoe, right?” His eyes narrowed and the angry ridge between his eyebrows kept her at bay.

She nodded, wishing he’d put a shirt on. She grabbed the handle of her suitcase trolley even tighter.

“What are you doing here?” The slate-gray eyes remained cold.

She swallowed. “Billy received Andre’s email about him moving out in a hurry. He emailed Andre to say I’d be taking the room.” Her explanation caused the angry ridge to deepen.

The guy’s face was a mixture of confusion and irritation.

“I’m staying here. Andre moved out last week. Didn’t Ethan tell you?” He frowned at her, then scrubbed his jaw.

Ethan? They hadn’t heard from him since they’d left. “Tell me what?” This time her eyes narrowed. She wished again that he would put a shirt on. Jet lag made it harder to focus on his face.

“Your friend Andre moved out. Ethan knew I was looking for a place. So here I am.”

Zoe felt her body tense. His explanation just about tipped her over the edge and especially that idea that he seemed to think he had one over her.

“I think you got that wrong. I’m staying here. We got Andre’s email and we told him I was coming back. The room you’re temporarily staying in belonged to me and Billy anyway.”

But even as she said it, she remembered they hadn’t been able to check their emails while they were in a rural part of Peru. And when they’d received Andre’s email, it was a week after he’d sent it.

She knew what had happened. In the time that Billy hadn’t replied, Andre must have gotten a hold of Ethan.

It was the only explanation which made any sense, and which would explain why this caveman was now staring at her with that smug look of satisfaction plastered all over his face.

He gave her a cool, condescending stare. “Look at it any way you want; it seems I beat you to it. The room’s mine.”