Title: Fallen Angel, Part 3
Author: Tracie Podger
Publication Date: December 28, 2014
Tour Sponsor: Passionate Promotions
Being married to the dark and dangerous Robert Stone doesn’t come without its problems – trust being one of them.
Trusting your average husband means you believe he won’t cheat on you. Trusting a man like Robert is accepting that he will kill to protect his family.
Brooke loves her husband – mind, body and soul – she will do whatever is necessary to protect that love.
But what happens when Robert discovers he wants something Brooke can’t give him?
This is a story of an extraordinary couple who find the strength to become the people they want to be.
But can they have it all?
“Home,” Robert said, cutting off Gary’s excuse.
I caught Gary’s eye in the rear view mirror and gave him a sly wink and a smile.
“Don’t mind Robert, he’s being grumpy” I said without thinking.
I saw Gary quickly look towards Robert before starting the car and pulling out into the traffic. A minute later Robert placed his hand around my chin, turning my face towards him. His mouth was millimetres from mine, I could feel his breath on my lips.
“Don’t ever undermine me,” he whispered.
I opened my mouth to speak as Robert sat back in the seat and stared stonily ahead. I snapped my mouth shut and we drove home in silence. I didn’t wait for either Gary or Robert to open the car door, opting to do it myself. As Gary drove the car back down the drive, I turned to him.
“What was that all about?” I asked.
“Gary fucking falls asleep while he’s on duty, I don’t like it and you give him a wink and a smile. Then tell him, what was it, don’t mind Robert. That is undermining me, Brooke.” He unlocked the front door and we climbed the stairs to the lounge where he threw his suit jacket over the back of the sofa.
“I’m not undermining you,” I said, totally confused by this change in him.
“You apologised for me snapping at him. He fucked up, he knows it and you apologise.”
He was really angry and now so was I.
“I was embarrassed, I wasn’t apologising on your behalf. It wasn’t the worst offence in the world, Robert.” As soon as the words left my lips I knew I’d said wrong.
He spun around.
“He falls asleep, Brooke. What if someone took that fucking moment to attack you or me? That’s his fucking job, to stay awake and protect you. He nearly got you killed once and now he’s not on the fucking ball,” he shouted.
“Don’t swear at me, Robert. If you think I undermined you, then I’m sorry and I sure as hell don’t like you shouting at me.” My voice rose on every word until I was shouting back.
“I’m not swearing at you, for fucks sake. I’m pissed, big time. How do I keep control of those guys if you do that, because you’re embarrassed?” he spat the word embarrassed. “And to tell him ‘not to mind me’. I’m his fucking boss, he better fucking mind me. He’s not your friend, he’s here to protect you, drive you around, nothing more.”
Robert paced, running his hand through his hair, a sure sign he was really mad. I shouldn’t have said what I did, I realised that, but I was not happy with being sworn or shouted at in that way. Robert’s temper could be turned on as quick as a light switch and I wanted to find a way to flick that switch to off again. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t being a feeble wife whose husband could walk all over them, but I was someone who would rather talk than stand and shout. I took a couple of calming breaths.
“Will you stop pacing and calm down? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said what I did,” I told him.
“Calm down? You made me look a fucking idiot.”
“You’re acting like one now,” I shouted, all attempt at being reasonable gone.
I stood facing him, he stood facing me, both of us breathing hard. Shit, this was our first argument. We had sniped at each other in the past, I had shouted that day after being shot at, but we had never had a full-blown row. A silence followed. As he stood before me, pumped with his fists clenched and his eyes black, a hard hitting punch of wanting, of arousal hit me square in the stomach. As I took a step towards him, he did the same.
Robert was distant the following morning. We talked, he smiled and joked but it felt a little forced. His kiss as we parted at work was brief, his eyes not quite meeting mine. I was at a loss. For the first time, I didn’t want him to open up about his feelings because I knew how painful it was going to be for both of us. Somehow I got through my day. I had sent him a text asking if he wanted me to pick him something up for lunch, his reply was brief, he would wait until dinner. It felt like he was shutting me out and I was letting him. I wondered whether to skip the gym session with the kids that night. As much as it pained me, I still needed a little more time before I faced Robert and I knew I was letting my anxiety get the better of me.
I sent him a text. “Working late, I’ll skip my training but meet you in the gym later. I love you. XX”
Again, his reply was brief. “Okay.” No kisses, just one word. He wasn’t okay, neither of us were.
I didn’t have to stay late, in fact the work I had done was coming to an end. I would soon be moving on to work on the rentals. I sat for an hour lost in my own thoughts before plucking up the courage to head down to the gym. I didn’t change, I wasn’t up for a training session, I kicked off my heels and opened the door. Robert and Travis were boxing, the kids hanging around the ring and watching. They both looked angry, they were pounding each other as if they were in a real fight. I caught Ted’s eye who was immediately by my side.
“What’s with these two?” he asked.
“Stressed, but I don’t like this especially with the kids here,” I replied, looking at them.
Both had sweat running down their faces and their T-shirts were soaked. “Can you stop them, Ted?”
“I think the kids time is up anyway, might be better to take them home and let those two idiots fight it out.”
Just as Ted finished his sentence, I heard a shout. Travis had said something and Robert had lost it. Ted ran to the ring and climbed under the ropes, I called the kids to me, ushering them to the door. It wasn’t until I turned back to the gym that I realised I had missed one. Gerry was trembling, tears were rolling down his face and his mouth was moving but no sound came out. But then he screamed.
“Stop it. Stop hitting each other.”
I ran to him.
Ted had grabbed Robert’s arm, he was nowhere near strong enough to stop him but both he and Travis must have heard Gerry. They stilled, their breathing ragged. Travis paced, angry.
I scooped Gerry in my arms. “It’s all right darling they’re not fighting for real, just practising their boxing.” I glared at Robert.
Robert whipped off his sodden T-shirt and climbed under the ropes. He pulled the strap of his gloves with his teeth, hooking them between his legs to release his hands. He walked straight to me and without a word, took Gerry from my arms. One hand cradled Gerry’s head to his chest and he walked away, whispering to him. I turned, furious.
“What the fuck was that all about?” I asked Travis. He had the good grace to lower his gaze.
“You two, you’re like fucking animals. You scared that little boy half to death. Whatever shit is going on, sort it out. We made a deal, get in that changing room and ring Caroline before it’s too late, if it isn’t already,” I shouted.
“What do you mean, if it isn’t already?” Travis asked.
“Let this go on any longer and she isn’t going to hang around for you to grow up.”
Tracie Podger currently lives in Kent, UK with her husband and a rather obnoxious cat called George. She’s a Padi Scuba Diving Instructor with a passion for writing. Tracie has been fortunate to have dived some of the wonderful oceans of the world where she can indulge in another hobby, underwater photography. She likes getting up close and personal with sharks.
Tracie wishes to thank you for giving your time to read her books and hopes you enjoy them as much as she loves writing them. If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact her, she would love to hear from you. She will be signing at Peterborough, York, Birmingham and Aberdeen in 2015, and in the U.S. at some 2016 events; drop in if you can and say hello!
The Fallen Angel Series is available in e-book and paperback versions on amazon.com.
Fallen Angel, Part 4