Which works for me because (though I would of course make the time) I don’t really have the time to type Rescue Me at the moment. So, if you really want to read that one, send everyone you know over to my site and get my hits up to 10,000. This could also be helped by my recent reactivation of my Twitter! You may have noticed the little green bird pulling a sign under my BlogLovin‘ button. So do what it says and tell your friends, follow me!
Sorry for the shameless plug. Without further ado, the excerpt Chapter Four. Necessary background information: Rosella’s job has sent her from NYC to London where she bumps into Julian who has recently been released from prison. He had been incarcerated for six years on false charges of killing his father, but is now scouring London in search of the real culprit.
Big Ben clanged noisily sending the pigeons squawking into the air and people scurrying along the sidewalks after they realized they were late. Rosella glared at the giant brown clock tower connected to the majestic British Parliament building.
She turned on her heel and stomped across the street toward Westminster Abbey. On any other day she would have been thrilled to be in London. In fact, as soon as tomorrow arrived, she’d most likely squeal in delight.
But not today.
She scowled at any Brit who crossed her path as she pressed through the streets. Today was just another day to them. There would be no celebrations. Actually, for them, today was probably a day of great shame. She smirked at that thought. Today was the day that reminded them of when a group of ragtag rabble-rousers kicked them in the ass and tossed them back to their side of the pond.
“Seriously,” she muttered to herself as she stalked down the street in the direction of her hotel, “what kind of American spends Independence Day in frigging Britain?”
She stopped at an intersection and tapped her foot impatiently waiting for her turn to walk. Jaywalking was legal in London, but, being a good American, she decided to adhere to the more sensible American laws and wait. A few people standing next to her shifted awkwardly and whispered to each other. Yeah, that’s right, she thought, whisper behind my back. Real mature. I don’t care. I’m independent.
“Excuse me, miss,” a young man standing to her right said in a deep British voice (but the Brits did speak well), “please don’t take this the wrong way, but do you have a death wish?”
She fixed him with and annoyed glower and was surprised to find him extremely attractive. His thick shaggy brown hair fell in unruly curls (well not quite curls, waves were a more accurate description) around his angular face. He had a strong jaw line and stood a full head taller than she with very broad shoulders and visible muscles through his t-shirt. She inwardly sighed in contentment, envisioning his thick arms wrapping around her and crushing her to him. Those arms could protect her and she could lay her cheek against him. His hands could easily swallow hers or, since in her mind they were still embracing, they could gently stroke her hair. She frowned when she saw his clear grey eyes looking at her with concern over his straight nose. She was having such a nice fantasy, wasn’t he?
She shook her head. Attractive with a sexy accent or not, he had just insulted her; she shouldn’t be prepared to melt in his arms. Figures. The best-looking men were always the biggest jerks.
“No, I do not have a death wish, and for the record, I took it the wrong way.” The little electronic person on the other side of the street flashed, indicating her turn to cross. She and a few others stepped off the curb. “Good day, sir,” she called over her shoulder.
To her dismay, he followed her. “I am only looking out for your safety, miss. You’re going to get shot.”
She gritted her teeth. “That is preposterous. I am not.”
“Yes, you are. Take off your shirt.”
She stumbled and nearly tumbled to the ground. “I beg your pardon?!” she shrieked.
“If you continue to wear that shirt, you will be shot. You have to change for your own safety.”
The car horn blaring at her, demanding they get out of the road drowned out the sound of her hand colliding with his face.
“Pervert!” she hollered stalking away from him. How dare he say such a thing to her! Had he no shame? Did he believe the standards of propriety applied to everyone but him? If he wanted to see topless women all he had to do was go to a porn site, not lewdly demand she remove her shirt on a public street corner! And all this time she’d believed British men were more genteel and possessed more class than the American ones. Obviously, she had been blatantly mistaken.
“Really, miss, you must!”
Good God he was still following her! She quickened her pace and dug around in her purse for her mace.
“You cannot parade around the streets of London wearing a shirt decorated with the United States flag that says ‘PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN’!”
Her fingers curled around the mace as she turned to confront him. “And why not? People wear shirts decorated with the Union Jack that say ‘PROUD TO BE BRITISH’ in Washington D.C. It is Independence Day and I am proud to be an American. This should not be an issue.”
“But it is an issue. You’re headed towards a bad section of the city. I can promise you some thug will attempt to beat you, or worse, because of your outfit.”
Letting go of her mace, she placed her hands on her hips. His eyes looked sincere. She felt confident enough in her ability to judge people’s character that he did not pose a threat to her; his eyes would have betrayed him if he did. However, that did not give him a free pass for his atrocious behavior.
“I thank you for your concern, but I think what this is really about is that you don’t like the visual reminder of how we tossed your sorry butts back to your side of the Atlantic. Twice.”
He bristled, eyes narrowing. “Once, to be accurate. The second time you didn’t really win. We were unable to send our full forces over to the States because we had more important things to deal with, like toppling Napoleon. Trust me, had we sincerely tried, the only lyrics to ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee,’ your national anthem, would be ‘God Save the Queen.’”
Spots danced before her eyes. The man was the most insolent person she had ever met! First he demands she strip for him and now he insults America? Oh, he’d picked a fight with the wrong patriotic woman.
“You know who says things like ‘if we had actually tried’? The loser. And that is not our national anthem. At least have the decency to get your facts straight before you slur us. Allow me to educate you in the American song.” He was in for it now. She took a deep breath, cleared her throat, and proceeded to belt at the top of her lungs: “Oooh say, can you seee/ By the dawn’s early liiiight/ What so prooouudly we haaailed/ At the twilight’s last gleaming?”
His jaw dropped farther than she though physically possible. Ha! Serves you right, you damn Brit! A few people who passed them paused to stare before averting their gaze and hurrying on their way. This was going much better than she’d anticipated. Look, all the color had completely drained from his face! Well why stop here? To the next verse! “Whose broad —”
“Stop! Enough!” He grabbed her arm and shook her. Fear chased the song out of her, drying her throat. Her hair stood on end. She should have kept hold of her mace.
“This is not funny and it is not a game. You’re acting recklessly, for no reason. You’re asking for trouble, and if you ask hard enough it will find you.”
“I appreciate your concern, but I do not need your help,” she whispered. Her voice was not yet capable of anything louder. “I am twenty-two years old and have managed just fine on my own —”
“A fact I find shocking.”
“— just like my fine nation.”
“Are we honestly back to this topic?”
“Yes. We are. I have one thing left to say.” Her stubborn Irish pride combined with her pushy Italian nature never allowed her to lose a fight. He was going down.
“And what is that?”
“A question actually.”
“I’m intrigued.” She scowled harder at his heavy sarcasm.
“Are we speaking German right now?”
He blinked at her incomprehensively. “Have you lost your mind?”
“It’s a simple question. Are we speaking German or not?”
“No, a fact I had previously thought self-evident.”
“Then you should be thanking me for saving you from Hitler rather than assaulting me in the middle of the street.”
“You personally did not defeat —”
“Is there a problem here? Miss, is this man bothering you?” a voice a few feet away called.
They looked up to see a police officer approaching. The Jerk dropped her arm as if it would contaminate him and backed away from her.
“Miss, I was only trying to help … I didn’t mean to … I don’t know what came over me, I don’t usually act so improperly, I apologize … and … and …”
With each step the officer took, he grew more and more nervous, fidgeting and stammering uncontrollably. If she’d thought all the color had drained from his face before, that was nothing compared to now. He looked like Caspar the Ghost.
“I should have you locked up.”
He turned his wide, panicked eyes on her. “Please don’t. I spent the last six years in prison and if you have them put me away now, they’ll never let me back out.”
Her pulse rate skyrocketed more than it did when she got to the top of a roller coaster hill. “Oh. My. God. You’re a criminal?!”
“No! I was falsely accused!”
“That’s what they all say!”
The officer would be upon them in only a few strides. “Please, miss, I’m begging you. My life literally rests in your hands.”
The officer stopped beside them. “Is there a problem?” he asked Rosella.
She looked at the stranger’s pale, pleading face. She should have him arrested. He’d made sexual demands of her and physically shaken her hard enough to give her a headache. Assault. But, now that she thought about it, it didn’t seem too bad. Her guy friends at home did much the same. Besides she had slapped him first. But the men at home were her friends. She did not know one shred of information about this man except that he had spent the last six years in jail. He had openly admitted to her that he’s done time. Was he a rapist? A murderer? Both? If she didn’t press charges, he might follow her and attack her. Or someone else. She could save her own and another woman’s life by pressing charges.
The imploring look in his eyes changed her mind. That look told her the one place he feared the most was prison. He couldn’t survive it again. She could feel his trepidation through that look. He was right. His fate rested in her hands. Could she, in good conscience, send him to his worst nightmare?
“No, officer,” she said finally. “This man is not bothering me. I was just leaving.”
“Very good then,” said the portly man, his stomach bouncing as he readjusted his nightstick. Rosella, ready to forget this incident and put it behind her, turned to walk away.
“You may want to change your shirt.”
Do tell me what you think, suggestions, comments, etc. Hope you enjoyed my chapter 🙂