Betrayal


Overview of Betrayal

I found my inspiration for Betrayal on a flight home from Charlotte, NC. I was playing with names and came up with an idea of a woman named Chapelle “pronounced like ze French say it – Sha-pelle” who marries a man named Corbin Hill and ends up with this very unusual name, Chapelle Hill.

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This was only one of her problems and a minor one at that.

Her husband runs off with Sue-Ann, her former best friend, meets a tragic end and breaks her heart in the bargain. Chapelle picks up the pieces of her life and reinvents herself as a private investigator, specializing in what else? Philandering husbands.

One day Chapelle is hired by a man, Grayson Paul, who wants her to find someone who disappeared with 50 million of his client’s dollars. When she discovers the target is none other then her stone cold not-so-dead husband, it’s a case she can’t refuse.

Shocked, hurt, and angry, she’s eager to find Corbin and even the score for four painful years. Only Corbin doesn’t want to be resurrected, least of all by Chapelle. Strange gifts start turning up, like the dead body floating by her wharf. It’s no mistake the beautiful huntress soon becomes the hunted and the game quickly extends from Fairmount City to Las Vegas and Yuma, Arizona.

There’s just one small complication, the strong attraction she feels between herself and her mysterious employer and the realization that she’s still married to the man who betrayed her.

Surrounded by a cast of characters that includes her eccentric esthetician, Emilio, her swinging father, Archie, who loves freely and often, and her highly intelligent poodle, Angelle, who resents any competition for Chapelle’s time…Betrayal is a suspenseful and occasionally funny story of a strong, independent woman with no intention of ever falling in love again. That is until…..

Chapelle was looking forward to the next few days. There was something about Vegas that grabbed you by the ass and dug in deep.

And for once, it felt good to be the windshield and not the bug. She was getting closer to Corbin. Could feel it in her bones. He was here all right. Somewhere.

“How are you feeling?” Gray asked as he placed his arm around her waist.

“Glad we’re here, glad I’m not Corbin. You?” She matched his rhythm, step for step, moving in syncopation with him.

“I’d like to see him get his due, for a lot of reasons. One of them being you.”

His comment caught her off guard. Could he really be feeling that way toward her? They’d only just met but things seemed to be taking off at a speed that left her head spinning.

Across the lobby she caught sight of herself and Gray reflected in a mirror. She doubted a woman could resist looking at him, tall and elegant, moving with the grace and power of a panther. As for the woman by his side, she almost didn’t recognize herself. Sure, there was the familiar auburn hair but her bearing was different and it had the eerie effect of making her wonder who was with Gray. It was crazy and absurd but that was truly how she felt.

“A penny for your thoughts.”

“Very funny. You have an interesting sense of humor. According to you and your psychic ability, my thoughts are an open book.”

“Not always. There are circumstances.”

“You’re telling me this now?”

“I noticed the furrow between your brow. You’re uncomfortable.”

“Who wouldn’t be, spending a weekend with someone who claims to know everything you’re thinking?”

“Not everything. Just some things.”

They had reached the front reception and Gray escorted her to a chair. “Have a seat while I take care of this.”

She watched him as he moved to the counter. The man did more for a pair of chinos than should be allowed. She saw the furtive glances of other women; it was obvious the female population in the immediate vicinity agreed with her.

It would be interesting sharing close quarters with him. Close quarters? What was she saying? They were going to be sharing a bed, for god’s sake. The thought excited her more than she wanted to admit and, on its heels, came the unsettling stirring in her belly. What his hands could do to her, she hadn’t felt like that in years.

She sighed. She had liked it, more than she was willing to admit. But it was time to get some control over her feelings, and fast, which wasn’t easy given his ability to invade her mind. She’d heard about people who could do that sort of thing from halfway around the world, even over the telephone, and hoped he wasn’t that gifted.

She jumped when Gray leaned over and brushed his lips against her cheek.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Never been more.” As she slipped her hand into his, a surge of energy passed between them. Her attraction to this man was lethal and the next few days were going to be one heck of an adventure if she didn’t take some control back.

“I thought we’d go up and see our room. Get settled.”

“I’ve no plans to sleep with you, you understand. This is strictly business.” Chapelle regretted her words the moment they were out of her mouth. Why did she even bring up the sleeping arrangements?

“I understand.”

If Gray was put off by her comment he didn’t show it, so she continued, “Just because you caught me at a weak moment last night, doesn’t mean the door is wide open.”

“I didn’t expect it to be.”

The twinkle in his eye was darned annoying. He was toying with her again. And no wonder. Since they’d first met, she’d been drawn to him like a hooker to a good night’s sleep. Who could blame him for responding to that?

She thought of that fateful day, their first meeting a few weeks back. He’d ignored her when she’d entered the room, kept his back to her, all the while tuning into her mind, figuring how she would handle the news about Corbin. And the whole time she was sizing him up, she was sending out signals stronger than Marconi on a clear night. And he had picked up on every damn one of them. Including the way she’d responded to him physically.

Her resentment increased the more she thought about that first encounter. He took advantage of her and he knew it. And she hated the way he thrived on her interest. If she had only known he could read her mind, she would never have unleashed those thoughts.

It might be complicated, but when in close quarters with him she would have to filter her thinking, give him enough information to keep him at bay and, if she wanted to have a bit of fun, maybe enough to keep him standing at attention for a week. Heck, things were looking up. Mind doodling would add a whole new dimension to her day.

Hot damn if she wasn’t back. That’s what was different about her reflection in the mirror. For the first time in four years, she was seeing her true self. Her teardrops were finally dry.

“You’re looking frisky all of a sudden.” Gray tucked her arm into his as they walked across the lobby.

“I’m feeling frisky.”

“Any particular reason?” He gave her arm an inviting squeeze.

“This trip has been liberating for me.”

“Liberating? I haven’t heard that term for a while. Should I expect a bra burning?”

“Honey, you may not know what to expect. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this free. I may have a bonfire and toss in my panties as well.”

“Really? That sounds promising.”

They’d reached a bank of elevators but Gray directed her to one set apart from the others with a security guard standing by it.

“A quick ride to the top for us,” he whispered to her. “And maybe then you’ll reconsider your point of view.”

“What point of view is that?”

“The one about not sleeping with me.”

“Perhaps I will, and then again,” she gave him that crooked grin, the one Archie always said was a sure indication of lying, “perhaps I won’t.” This felt good. She smiled encouragingly to herself, feeling her old confidence returning like a tidal wave to a beach party.

Their suite was spacious and luxuriously appointed. Gray didn’t fool around when he planned an attack. She walked to the window and looked down, all the way down to an elaborate park that was home to the famous Garden of Eden. Grayson slipped silently behind her and placed his hand lightly on her waist, sending a wave of excitement through her.

“We have front row seats, don’t we?”

She turned slightly. “We surely do. It’s incredibly beautiful here.”

“Have you seen the bedroom?”

“One thing at a time, Gray. We just got here.”

“Come on and have a look. Let me carry you over the threshold.”

“Not so fast, honey. This is a game, remember?”

A muscle jumped in Gray’s neck. Chapelle caught the movement and felt it might be an appropriate time to try a little experimenting. It wasn’t hard to do, tucked as she was against his firm body, feeling his warmth against her back.

She gave over to the feeling, imagining a vast bed and then, herself and Gray smack in the middle of it, entwined within each other’s arms. She allowed the image to absorb her. Reaching deep within, feeling the heat rising from her core, she gave him plenty of time to tune into her frequency. She imagined him pressing her into the bed, his body scorching hers with his weight and his strength.

Without a word she slipped out of his arms and walked to the bedroom. She didn’t need to look back. She knew he was behind her.

The room was everything it promised to be. A large king-size bed stood as the centerpiece in an oasis of indulgence. Chapelle ran her hand over the embroidered spread and sat down, her weight resting on her arms which she splayed behind her. She stretched slowly, dropping her head back, closing her eyes, pressing her chest forward.

“Ahhh, this is wonderful.” She opened her eyes, not surprised to find him standing over her.

“We’ve got a little time before we need to make an appearance downstairs.”

“I’ve been thinking,” she replied carefully spacing each word for maximum impact.

“Chapelle, I thought we agreed I’d do the thinking on this assignment. You’re too close to the subject.”

She ignored him and continued “…that with Corbin in close proximity, and his uncanny ability to disappear, that maybe, just maybe we’d better keep our focus on the job.”

“This is part of the job.”

“Not really,” she said. “The pretence of this is part of the job. There’s a big difference.”

She watched confusion play across his face and knew he’d gotten her earlier message loud and clear.

“But you want this. I…I…” He leaned over and placed his hands on either side of her hips, pinning the fabric of her skirt to the bed.

She knew she looked good, legs pouring from under her skirt, the tips of her sandals dusting the floor. She pressed her hand against his chest, felt the pounding of his heart beneath her fingertips.

“We need this to be authentic,” he said as he brushed his lips by the side of her face.

Authentic? Was that the best he could come up with? Her finger trailed across his chest, and she lowered her gaze. My, oh, my. In her fantasy, she continued to play. They reversed positions, she was on top, his hands holding her by her waist, her hair wild and free like the fire in her eyes, but here on the bed, in hard reality she looked at him calmly.

“I understand, Gray. And that’s exactly what I’m concerned about. I just can’t be authentic if I’m wrapped up in…well…in your arms to put it bluntly.”

“I guess that would be a foolish thing to do then.” His reply was curt and to the point. She knew he was seething.

“Yes, it would.” Her hands pulled at the fabric of his shirt, ever so slightly. “I knew you’d understand.”

Grayson stood up and headed to the bathroom nearest him.

“I’m going to take a shower.” He closed the door behind him. Chapelle jumped from the bed, ran to the bathroom and knocked.

“What?” Grayson cracked the door and scowled at her.

“You’re in my bathroom.”

“Your bathroom?”

“Yes, can’t you see the whirlpool tub? That’s mine. Yours has a steam bath. Over there.” She pointed to the next room and smiled.

“Fine.”

He had already removed his shirt and undone the top button of his pants. He threw the door open and grabbed his shirt from the floor. Chapelle watched as he walked into the other room, the muscles in his back tight with tension. If she wasn’t mistaken…no, she wasn’t mistaken, and an impish grin passed over her face.

“You may think you’ve got it all figured out,” she whispered softly to herself. “But you haven’t been dealing with the real Chapelle. From now on things are going to be much more interesting. I’m not the same woman who left Fairmount City.”

She fished her I-Pod from her purse, returned to the bathroom and carefully closed the door behind her. Unlocked. Within minutes she was immersed to her neck in a frothy pool of water and singing along to Diamond Rio.

“One more day. One more time. One more sunset, maybe I’d be satisfied. But then again, I know what it would do, leave me wishing still for one more day with you.”

She hoped he was tuned into that.

This is copyrighted information and may not be distributed. Excerpt from Betrayal by Kathryn Taylor 2005.

© Copyright Kathryn Taylor – Contemporary Romance, Humour and Suspense Writer - Developed by Blue Wolf Design Group