Read an extract from my upcoming billionaire enemies-to-lovers romance book: Love Not At First Sight! Coming July 20th, 2021.
“What will you do when Erma catches up to you?” asks Jessie.
Jessie and Ferran laugh and Chloe rolls her eyes.
“You say that now,” Chloe says. “But you’ll see. This is a good thing.”
“Agree to disagree,” I say.
“When you find the one, Vee, it’s the best feeling in the whole world.”
Ferran shakes her head. “What if Erma says her soul mate is some creep? Or a toad? What if he’s—”
“A player,” I say.
The words are like acid in my gut. That’s my worst nightmare. To be in love with a player and not to be able to walk away. To remain in a relationship with a cheating, narcissistic player because of love. If I could guarantee that he wouldn’t be a player…but I can’t.
“He won’t be,” says Chloe.
“You have absolute faith in fate,” I say.
“Of course I do.”
“I don’t,” I say. “Fate has a sick sense of humor and Erma is her maniacal handmaiden…”
I trail off. Jessie shakes her head and Chloe’s eyes go wide.
“She’s behind me, isn’t she?” I ask.
“Uh huh,” says Ferran.
“Hi Miss Erma,” says Jessie.
Slowly, I turn my head and look up at Erma. This is it. Two weeks of running and she’s finally caught me.
“Veronica,” says Erma in a scolding voice. “I never imagined you a coward. Running away like that.” She shakes her finger at me.
My cheeks heat. I’m going to claim it’s the wine making them flush, not embarrassment.
“I don’t want to know,” I say. “That’s not cowardly. I just don’t want to know.”
She throws her hands up in the air and her bracelets clack on her wrists. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” she says. “You can’t run away from this. He’s coming.”
“What?” I ask. The hair on the back of my neck stands on end. I don’t want this.
“He’s coming to Romeo and you won’t be able to run away.”
“Umm, Aunt Erma? Who’s coming?” asks Chloe.
“Her soul mate, dear.”
“When?” I ask. Forewarned is forearmed. I can avoid him. I can…
“Tomorrow,” says Erma.
“How do you know?” Ferran asks.
Erma drops the Romeo Record, the town’s weekly paper on the table. “Because it says so right here.”
On the front page is a picture of the old Reddington Mansion. I scan the article. It’s been sold to a new owner.
“Who bought it?” asks Jessie.
Erma pins me with her shrewd gaze and if I could get up and run, I would. But I feel stuck to the chair.
“Frederick Knight,” she says.
My stomach bottoms out.
“Oh no,” Chloe says in a horrified whisper.
“But…” Jessie says.
“Jeez,” Ferran says.
I stare at Erma, shaking my head in denial.
“Aunt Erma, maybe you’re…wrong?” asks Chloe in a hopeful voice.
Aunt Erma purses her lips. She’s never wrong. Never, ever, ever wrong. She’s been predicting soul mates for decades and she’s never made a mistake. I stare at Erma and my friends in a daze. The room tilts and my mind must be fuzzy from the wine because I thought she’d said…
“Did you say Frederick Knight?” I ask.
Erma smiles and nods. “That’s right, dear.”
I grab the edge of the table to steady myself.
“Jeez,” Ferran says again.
But then, a surge of clarity busts through my mind. Chloe had this misunderstanding too. It could be any Frederick Knight, any Frederick Knight in the whole world, not necessarily…
Erma lifts her hand and points at the flat screen TV hanging over the bar.
“That man,” she says.
Oh. Oh no.
There’s no misunderstanding.
Acid burns through my chest and down to my stomach.
Fate, with her cruel sense of humor, has matched me with Frederick Knight, the most unrepentant, detestable, horrible poster child for players that ever existed.
“Never,” I say. “I will never, ever fall in love with that man. The King of Players. I loathe him. I’ve never met him and I loathe him. He’s reprehensible.”
The King of Players. That’s the press’s nickname for billionaire bad boy Frederick Knight. He’s the idol that all players bow down to and worship.
I watch the TV screen with growing horror. He’s in a hot tub, wearing a panama hat and aviator sunglasses. He’s holding a champagne flute and a bottle of champagne. There are six topless models in the hot tub with him. He laughs as they pour bottles of bubbly over his bronzed skin. One of the models starts to lick his chin as he grins and motions the others over. The clip cuts away.
I make a desperate sound, like an animal in a trap.
“Oh no,” says Chloe. “This isn’t good.”
“Jeez,” Ferran says.
“Your soul mate is Frederick Knight? The billionaire?” Jessie asks. I can hear the worry in her voice.
“It doesn’t matter,” I choke out. My voice is thick with tears.
“Why not?” asks Chloe.
“Because,” I say. “I will never speak to him. Never meet him. Never have anything to do with that…that…player. I will never love that man.”
Available July 20th!
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