To give you a flavour of my book Global Raider here is an extract from Chapter 2. Extracts will continue every Tuesday and Friday.
Extract from CHAPTER 2
In the Back Bay district of Boston, USA, Lisa drove the Mercedes away from the elegant, brownstone house Lucas Kean had rented solely for Juliet’s visits. Settling for the long drive Juliet curled both legs beneath her, tugged ineffectually at the hem of her mini skirt and half turned towards her bodyguard. She knew Lisa wanted comment, something to report if questioned by Papa. Papa always wanted to know, Papa had expectations.
“He has nice eyes and a cute butt,” Juliet said finally, rewarding her friend’s patience. “And he kissed me, twice.”
“Eyes for you only, Sweetpea, you have him at your beck and call.”
Juliet shrugged and let the darkness of night hide her grimace. “I’m not sure I want to call. My father sees himself as emperor, Lucas the power. Truth is, I’m just the trinket in between.” She fondled the gold cylinder hanging on a chain around her neck, the metal encasing an emergency pull switch and transmitter.
“Come on now baby, lighten up.” Lisa glanced momentarily from the road, the city lights reflecting over her blue eyes and short blonde hair. “You have yourself a maestro. He’s clean, sharp and flying so fast others burn in his tail fire. He’s in your palm. Number one bachelor of America. Every female socialite wants his name in her diary.”
“But would you marry him?” Juliet asked, twisting the tracking bracelet on her wrist. “A white President with a black wife. I’ll be the symbol of a united America. After the first black President that’s what Lucas is after; and all very noble. But I don’t want to be a symbol, I want to be a woman, a wife and a mother.”
“And First Lady! I tell you, Sweetpea, if I were in your place I’d swallow the guy. But I’m from the wrong side of the track and I ain’t pretty like you.”
“Yes you are. Even Lucas eyes you up. You’re striking, you have presence.” Juliet smiled and touched Lisa’s shoulder, leaving her hand there for reassurance. Lisa was tall with razor cut blonde hair and boyish features. Years of training had developed a solid but statuesque figure, one hundred and twenty pounds of silken muscle capable of flooring three assailants in as many seconds. Sometimes Juliet allowed herself the mental and physical capitulation of being encapsulated by that strength, not the brute power but the essence of domination which lay beneath. It came with tenderness, a touch, a caress, a kiss that lingered seconds too long. Over the years while Lisa had guarded her during time at the university, Juliet had exercised the boundaries of intimacy and friendship in tandem with caprice. To hide her own uncertainties and to maintain the bond of intimacy, she made frequent play of platonic, sisterly union. She knew this was cruel to Lisa but she did not know how to cope with her own tangle of emotions. She had few people to love and Lisa was her rock in isolation.
“You’re kind, Sweetpea,” Lisa said. “But what I generate is simple lust. You’re different. You have that essential feminine sway, that prettiness which draws men. They want to protect you, yet same time find themselves captivated by your little girl smile. Men see me as fantasy sex. You’re the girl they want to marry. I watch men, the way they watch you. And Lucas watches you with an open need. I see it in his eyes. For him, you’re the perfect partner for his perfect marriage.”
“His perfect marriage, Papa’s perfect marriage. But you ain’t got anything unless you’ve got love. And I don’t love Lucas.”
“Love! You’re kidding me, Juliet. What’s love got to do with it? In the perfect marriage, love is what the P.R. men pull out of the package when you go before media. Love is messy. You have to show clean, be snappy.”
Juliet shrugged. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned … husband and kids, a family.” She suddenly wanted to busy herself and found superficial distraction by unpinning her long black hair before shaking it to fullness.
“Come on, Sweetpea, let’s stay real. Love is for dough-heads. Super couples don’t love. They have sex and try not to bite each other.”
“Momma always talked of marriage and love.” Juliet fished a white, elasticated ribbon from the glove compartment and slipped it over her wrist, pulling her hair to form a black, gleaming ponytail which she twisted through the band. She listened to Lisa’s lapse of silence before feeling friendly fingers squeeze her arm.
“’S’OK, baby, I understand.”
Clear of central Boston, Lisa turned the Mercedes up onto the freeway, heading south towards Plymouth and Cape Cod. Juliet did not want silence, she wanted Lisa’s counsel.
“The truth is, I don’t have a choice. I’m Juliet Walsh, daughter of Wat Walsh, richest nigger in America, probably the world. I’m as much a part of his empire as any other commodity. There for use or disposal in securing or expanding the greater whole. But if forced, I want Lucas on my terms, not Papa’s. That’s why I need to stay here this summer I want to know the man I’m expected to marry.”
Lisa’s hand came up over the back of her neck, gently massaged between thumb and forefinger.
“You want my advice,” Lisa said. “You’re right. But you been going with him four months now. Time to take a break and reflect. Listen, Jake Hammerton’s been on the line, he asked if you’ve considered the proposed trip to England. It’ll mean two weeks out of the cage. Also time to look up universities for your PhD.”
“Tempting, but I’m determined to sort Lucas. I have to do this, Lisa. Lucas wants Papa’s money for his campaign. Papa wants a son-in-law who will be President of the United States. Little Sweetpea is the connection. When Lucas asks me to marry, I’m going to face a lot of pressure. I can only handle that if I know we have a chance.”
“And who says romance is dead?” Lisa moved her hand back to the steering wheel, a soft smile on her lips. A sad smile, Juliet thought. She stared to the roadside emergency lane, vision and thoughts lost in the blur of passing darkness and light. Now she felt bitter, her own words having explained her position as the bartered bride. Lucas was charming, kind and courteous, but also fifteen years her senior. He treated her like a child bride in waiting, the pretty princess being groomed for the media. During that evening in their one brief moment of privacy, he had embraced and kissed her, then set her aside as if duty done and courtship satisfied. She would have been happier taking him to her bed, warming him, discovering him woman to man as she had done with other boyfriends during moments of freedom. She wondered if Lucas had ever been a boy, or always a hard-boiled contender for the presidency of the United States.
“You’d think he’d want me in his bed,” she said out of her thoughts. “Any man would want to try the goods.” She shrugged and grinned. “But maybe he ain’t got the balls for it. Next time I’m close, I’ll grab the senator’s jumbo; see if I get a reaction.”
“That’s my baby. You’re beginning to see the light.”
Juliet began to giggle. “As my best friend and confidante, you can have the honour of judging. I’ll move in close and give a come on squeeze. You watch his face, see if his tongue pops out, then we’ll know he’s for real.”
“Sweetpea, for that show I’ll carry a surveillance camera.”
“And I’ll let you know if the future President has balls enough for the job.”
Juliet laughed, then put her head on Lisa’s shoulder, clasping hold of her arm as she closed her eyes.
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