Remorse (Rhodes #0.5) - Rina Kent
Alone. At last.
I weave through the bright hallways, fists clenching in the cloth of my gown. Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto becomes muffled the farther I rush away from the noise, leaving all the pretentious smiles of the party behind.
Finally, I find a patio at the end of the third storey of the mansion and release the hem of my long, dark blue mermaid dress. Courtesy of my father’s assistant – because I need to look my best for his friends’ gathering.
Soft light shines in the vast patio that overlooks some of London’s buildings in the distance. I lean against the marble railing and breathe in the fresh air. Goosebumps form on my bare arms due to the night’s chill.
I missed London, my birthplace, my home and where everything started. I lived here for twenty-four years. Then, after my mum’s death three years ago, I left for New York.
For a damn good reason – like running away from those dark eyes that haunt my dreams.
I returned a week ago because my father’s business is suffering. When I said I would help, I meant using my degree in business management and the experience I gained in Manhattan. My father’s idea of me helping him is apparently parading me around in these gatherings and arranging blind dates with possible investors’ sons.
Today’s candidate kept talking to his mother more than me. Actually, when I told him he looked good out of courtesy, he said, ‘Mother chooses my suits. Of course, I would look good.’
The moment he asked his mother if he should offer me a drink is when enough was enough and I ran here.
It would be so easy to stop this nonsense and go back to New York, but my father is the only family I have left. I already abandoned him when I decided to go right after Mum’s funeral. I was running from many things then, but now, I can’t let him struggle alone.
He always supported me and respected my choices. I have to stand by his side, too, but not through a marriage of convenience. I doubt my father wants that, but in his desperation, getting a rich investor through marriage seems like the most likely choice. Sophie, his assistant, has been organising many blind dates, hoping one of them would be to my liking.
No one will.
No matter how accomplished or good looking they are, they don’t even stand a chance. I was already ruined three years ago.
Then, I fled to the other side of the ocean. As if that would help me forget.
I shake those thoughts away and check my phone for the market’s report then move on to my emails.
Goodness. The financial team’s reports of my father’s company are tragic. It won’t be long before he has to announce bankruptcy. I told him not to invest in that shady stock company, but he has good faith in people and never thought they would scam him.
Even if I have a magic wand, I wouldn’t be able to prevent this. I bite the inside of my cheek until I almost break the skin and taste blood. Does this mean marriage is the only solution?
I love my father too much to see him fall down in his old years.
“Eva.” A low, smooth voice rasps from behind me. Heat radiates down my back, despite the freezing air.
My pulse skyrockets and my skin prickles, knowing it’s him without even having to turn around. A tremor shoots through my limbs, and I clutch the railing in a death grip to remain standing.
What the hell is wrong with me? Why is hearing him say my name in that deep, rumbling voice enough to send my heart into havoc?
He’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’ve written him off years ago.
I purse my lips and turn around, locking everything inside. Since our families belong to the same circle, it was only a matter of time that we meet again. I’ve only been biding my time, secretly contemplating how to run away before having to confront him.
That isn’t an option anymore.
My breath hitches when I meet his intense dark eyes – they’re as pitch-black as the night surrounding us with no break of colour between his irises and pupils. His ink black hair is slicked back, showcasing a sharp jawline and thick eyebrows. Add a tailored tuxedo, and he’s a piece cut from the darkness.
He’s so tall, I have to crane my neck to look at him. Over the years, his shoulders have broadened and his chest muscles have expanded. Despite