Vengence [ CHAPTER ONE UP ]


sarNie OldFart
Starring Ann Thongprasom and Tik Jessadaporn

this is ine of my favorite novel from abby green and i wanted to share it with you guys except that im replacing the characters with ann and tik and hope one day they will play in a lakorn together


sarNie OldFart

Tik Jessadaporn stood for a long moment looking down at the set and

cold features of the dead woman. His baby sister. She was only twentyfour.

Her whole life ahead of her. But not any more. That life had been

snuffed out like a candle in the mangled wreckage of a horrific car crash.

And he’d been too late to stop it, to protect her. What felt like a granite

block weighted down his insides.

He should have followed his instincts and insisted that she come home

weeks ago…if he had he would have realised how much danger she was


That thought made his fists clench as pain and guilt surged through him,

so strong that he shook with the intensity it took to not let it out in front

of the anonymous morgue attendant. He’d been kept away deliberately. A

crude ruse to ensure he didn’t come to check up on his sister. When he

thought of how awfully futile it made him feel he wanted to rant and rail,

to smash something. He fought to regain control. He had to keep it

together. He had to bring his sister home. He and his father would mourn

her there. Not in this cold country where she had been seduced out of her

innocence and led down a dark path to this tragic end. He stretched out a

shaking hand and ran a finger down one icy cold cheek. It almost undid

him. The crash hadn’t marked her face, and that made it even harder to

bear, because like this she might almost be eight again, clinging onto

Tik’s hand tightly. Summoning all his control, he leant forward and

pressed a kiss against her clammy, lifeless forehead.

He stood and turned away abruptly, saying in a voice clogged and hoarse

with grief, ‘Yes. This is my sister. Alin Pholdee.’ A part of him

couldn’t believe he was saying the trite words, that this wasn’t just an

awful nightmare. He stepped out of the way jerkily to let the attendant zip

the body bag back up.

Tik muttered something unintelligible and strode from the room,

feeling constricted and claustrophobic, making his way up through the

hospital, just wanting to get back outside and breathe in fresh air.

Although that was laughable. The hospital was right in the smog-filled

centre of Hong Kong.

Outside, he sucked in deep breaths, unaware of the gaping looks he drew

with his tall, lean body, and dark olive-skinned good-looks. He stood out

like an exotic beacon of potent masculinity against the backdrop of the

hospital in the harsh early-morning light.

He saw nothing, though, but the pain inside him. The doctor had

described it as a tragic accident. But Tik knew it had been much

more than an accident. His fists clenched at the sides of his body in

rejection of that platitude. Two people had died in the crash: his sister—

his beautiful, beloved, irrepressible Alin—and her duplicitous lover,

Andrew Thongprasom. The man who had calculatedly seduced her, with one

grasping hand out for her fortune and the other hand holding Tik

back from interfering. Rage burned inside him again. He’d had no inkling

of Thongprasom’s influence and cunning until it was too late. He knew it all

now, but that information amounted to nothing any more, because it

couldn’t bring Alin back.

But one person had survived the crash. One person had walked out of this

hospital just an hour after being admitted last night. The words of the

doctor came back to him. ‘Not even a scratch on her body unbelievable,

really. She was the only one wearing a seatbelt and undoubtedly it saved

her life. Lucky woman.’

Lucky woman. The words made a mist of red rage cloud Tik’s

vision. Ann Thongprasom. Andrew’s sister. Reports stated that Andrew had

been behind the wheel of the car, but even so Ann Thongprasom had been no

less responsible. Tik’s hands clenched even harder, his jaw so tight it

hurt. If he’d only got here sooner he would have made sure that she had

not walked anywhere until he’d looked her in the eye and made it his

business to let her know that he would make her atone. He’d had to

endure that soul-destroying moment when the doctor had informed him

that his sister had had high levels of alcohol in her system.

His driver, who must have seen him standing on the steps of the hospital,

pulled up in front of him, the powerful engine of the sleek car purring

quietly. Tik forced himself to move and sat in the back. As they

swung away from the front of the grim hospital he had to stifle a moment

of blind panic, stop himself demanding that the car be stopped so he

could go back and see Alin one more time. As if he had to make sure

for himself that she was really dead. Really gone.

But he didn’t. And he willed the awful, uncustomary feeling of panic

down. She was dead. Only her body lay back there. He was aware that

this was the first time in years anything had struck him through the ironclad

high wall he’d built around his emotions. And his heart. He’d grown

strong and impervious since that time. And he had to draw on that

strength now. Especially for his father’s sake. On the news of the death of

his beloved only daughter his father had suffered a minor stroke and was

still in a hospital albeit stable enough to allow Tik to make this trip.

As they entered the Hong Kong rush hour mayhem, his mind seized once

again on the woman who had played her part in causing this awful tragic

day. Her brother was dead. But she was no less accountable than he for

what they had planned to do together. They were a team. She might have

walked free for now, but Tik knew he wouldn’t rest until he had

forced her to feel even a measure of the pain he felt right now. The fact

that she’d walked from the hospital so soon after the crash made the bitter

feeling even stronger. She’d got away scot-free.

He had to wait now for papers to be processed, red tape to be navigated

before he could take his sister home, where she would be buried with her

ancestors far too much ahead of her time.

Tik’s mouth settled into a grim line as he looked out onto the busy

streets, at people going about their everyday business, with not a care in

the world. Ann Thongprasom was one of those people. In that moment

Tik knew he would do his utmost to seek her out and make her face

the fall-out of her devious manipulation


sarNie OldFart

Six days later

‘But, Chen, I’m fine to work, and I’m only going back to Bangkok

tomorrow. It’s hardly the other side of the world.’ Ann couldn’t quite

keep the tremor from her voice, or stop the way she still felt a little shaky.

Her good friend noticed it too, with a sardonic lift of one eyebrow.

‘Right, and I just saw a pig fly past outside. Sit down on that stool now,

before you fall down. You are not working on your last night here. I’ve

promised you your two weeks’ wages, and you’re still owed tips from the


She was about to point out that she wasn’t going to be working two

weeks’ notice, but Ann saw the granite-like expression on his prettily

handsome face and watched as he poured a shot of brandy into a glass

before pushing it towards her across the solid oak bar.

‘Here, I think this is long overdue. You looked as if you were going to

keel over at the funeral yesterday.’

Ann gave up the fight and sat on the high stool. The surroundings were

dark and warm and familiar. This place had been her home for the past

few years, and a well of emotion rose within her at the kindness of her old


‘Thanks, Chen. And thanks for coming with me yesterday, I don’t think I

could have done it on my own. It meant a lot that you and

Simon were there.’

He reached over and placed a warm hand over hers, looking at her

intently, ‘Sweetie, there was no way we’d have let you go through that by

yourself. Andrew’s gone now. It’s over. And that accident was not your

fault, so I don’t want to hear another word about it. It’s a miracle he

didn’t bring you down with him. You know damn well it was only a

matter of time before something happened.’

Yes, but I could have tried harder to stop them…to protect Alin… The

words resounded sickeningly in Ann’s head. She smiled weakly. Chen’s

words were meant to soothe, but they stirred up the seething emotions

that were ever present. The awful burning guilt that she hadn’t been able

to stop Andrew driving that night. She’d gone in the car with them in an

effort to try and be the sober one, the one who would make sure they

weren’t careless…

But Chen didn’t need to know that. She smiled again, a little stronger this

time, hoping to make him believe she was okay. ‘I know.’

‘See? That’s my girl. Now, drink that up and you’ll feel a lot better.’

Ann did as she was told, wrinkling her nose as the liquid burnt down her

throat like a line of fire. Immediately she felt the effect, a warming and

calming in her belly. Impulsively she leant across the bar and pulled Chen

towards her, hugging him. He meant so

much to her. He’d watched out for her for so long. She couldn’t

contemplate how empty and hopeless her life might have been without

him as her friend.

He grabbed her too in a tight hug, before pulling back and kissing her on

the forehead. Something caught his eye behind her and he said, ‘Looks

like the first customers are arriving.’

Ann swiveled to look back briefly, and saw a tall, dark shape through the

gap in the heavy curtains that cordoned off the VIP bar from the rest of

the club. For some reason a frisson of sensation she didn’t understand

raced through her, but she dismissed it and turned back to Chen. Up till

now it had been blessedly quiet. She decided that she’d leave shortly. She

had precious little to pack for going home to Bangkok, but at least she’d be

ready in the morning for when the solicitor came to take the possession of

the apartment keys. Suddenly the thought of going back to that huge,

empty, soulless apartment made trepidation fill her belly as she recalled

the visit she’d been paid last night, alone in that apartment after the

funeral. It was something she knew she was shying away from thinking

about, the past week having simply been almost too much to bear.

Andrew, her brother, had left her with nothing but the clothes she stood

up in. Since their parents had died and he’d been saddled with his sixteenyear-

old sister he’d made his irritation at his fraternal obligation apparent.

But he had quickly turned her presence to his advantage, seeing her as a

live-in housekeeper of sorts. She hadn’t expected anything more, but still

it had been a shock to find out that not only had he had astronomical

debts, but in the same instant that they’d been paid off…

Chen drew her attention back to him and she welcomed it, the knot of

tension in her belly easing a tiny bit. With his chin resting on his hand he

looked past her, saying sotto voce, ‘Honey, don’t look, but that big dark

shape that was looking in here just now is the most divine specimen of a

man. I wouldn’t be kicking him out of bed for talking too much, that’s for


For some strange reason Ann felt that weird frisson again, and also a

little self-conscious in her clinging jersey dress. She’d worn it as she’d

assumed she’d be working, but now she felt herself tugging it down to

cover more of her thighs. She wondered faintly at her reaction, but after

the last few days perhaps it was just sleep deprivation and shock catching

up with her.

She smiled at Chen’s drooling reaction, glad of the distraction. ‘Oh, go

on—you say that about all the guys.’

Chen shook his head, a mournfully reverent look on his face. ‘Oh, no. This

one is…like no one I’ve ever seen before—and unfortunately my finely

honed intuition is telling me he’s as straight as a die.’

He straightened up. ‘Okay he’s coming in here. He must be someone

important. Ann, sweetie, sit up and smile, I’m telling you—a little flirting

and a hot one-night stand with a man like him and memories of that tyrant

of a brother of yours would be all but forgotten. Because one thing’s for

sure—you probably wouldn’t even remember your name. It’s exactly

what you could do with right now. A fresh start and a bit of fun before

you go home.’

And then quite seamlessly, without drawing breath, Chen switched his

attention to the mysterious stranger, whose presence Ann felt beside her,

and said brightly, ‘Evening, sir. What can I get you?’

Little hairs rose all over Ann’s skin, but she tried to ignore the way she

immediately felt the man’s presence so acutely, putting it down to Chen’s

vivid description. She also completely dismissed Chen’s well-meant

advice. She had no earthly intention of losing herself in a night of

passionate abandon with anyone—much less a complete stranger.

Especially the night after her brother’s funeral, and even more especially

as she hadn’t experienced for a minute any kind of passion in her twentytwo

years. Chen, for all his intuition, seemed to have the impression that

Ann was as worldly as she let on. But it was a self-protective front,

something she’d found herself projecting to avoid the worst of Andrew’s

snide comments, and also in the club, to avoid unwanted attention.

With every intention of leaving, she turned to slide off the stool—but

before she realised it she’d turned towards where the man had come to

stand at the bar. She became aware of a pregnant taut silence. Feeling

absurdly compelled, she looked up and came face to face, eyeball to

eyeball, with a fallen angel who was looking right at her. A dark fallen

angel. With eyes that seemed to glow under long black

lashes. And black brows. High cheekbones. A slashing line of a mouth

which should have looked cold, forbidding, drew Ann’s eyes and made

her stop and linger. She had the most bizarre and urgent desire to press

her lips against that mouth, to feel and taste its texture. Something she’d

never wanted to do with any man before—ever.

This was all within a nanosecond. Along with the realization that he had

shoulders so broad they blocked out what little light was in the bar and he

must be well over five foot. From his effortlessly arrogant stance, Ann

knew he possessed the kind of body that made Chen drool. He wore a

heavy overcoat, but underneath the open top button of a shirt gave more

than a hint of skin .

Ann couldn’t understand the hot feeling in her belly, the sizzling in her

blood as their eyes remained locked for what seemed like aeons. Her

breath hitched and she felt dizzy. And she was still sitting down!

From somewhere very far away came a voice. ‘Sir?’

The man waited for a long moment before looking away to Chen. Ann felt

as if she’d been caught high in the air, suspended, and now she was

hurtling back to earth. It was the strangest sensation. His voice was low

and deep. Accented. And before she knew it Chen was sliding another shot

of brandy towards her and gesturing to the man with an unmistakable

look of mischief in his eye.

‘From the gentleman.’

Chen moved away, whistling softly, and Ann cursed him silently as she

started to protest. ‘Oh, no—really. I was just leaving, actually…’

‘Please. Don’t leave on my account.’

His voice, directed straight at her, hit her like a wrecking ball. Deep, with

that delicious foreign accent. Loath as Ann was to look at him again and

have that burning hot reaction, she had to. This time the reaction seemed

to spread to her every extremity, lighting a fire through every vein and

every bit of pulsing blood in her body. And when he smiled faintly the

room seemed to tilt. She was vaguely aware that she was still stuck in a

parody of trying to get off the stool. All of a sudden it seemed easier to

stay where she was.

‘I…’ she said, with pathetic ineffectiveness.

He took off his coat and jacket, revealing the thin silk of his shirt, and the

body Ann had suspected existed was now heart-stoppingly evident. The

broad power of his chest was just inches away.

The hint of defined pectoral muscles. He sat

down easily on the stool beside her, effectively trapping her, making her

attempt to escape awkward. She was fighting a losing battle and she knew

it. Right here, right now, in just seconds, this complete stranger had

awoken her body from its twenty-two-year slumber, and she was no more

capable of moving than she seemed to be of stringing a sentence together.

‘Well…all right. I’ll just have the drink you bought me,’ she managed to

croak out, and sat back on her stool more fully, hoping to put some

distance between them.

He turned and angled his body towards her, and Ann grabbed the small

glass with every intention of downing the lot in one gulp and legging it

before she dissolved altogether. But then he spoke again, making her

brain atrophy.

‘What is your name?’

She held the glass clutched in one hand and took a deep breath before

looking at him, steeling herself not to react. Mortifyingly—especially

considering Chen’s recent words—she had to think for a second. ‘Ann.

Ann Thongprasom.’

He looked at her for a long moment, his eyes enigmatic and unreadable.


She flushed at the way he said it, almost like an endearment, and hastened

to say, ‘Well, actually it’s more like Ann.’ She put the emphasis on a flat

pronunciation, not the rolling way he’d said it, making her feel as if he’d

drawn it like silk over her skin which now broke into goose bumps.

In a small, still functioning part of her bewildered brain she questioned

her sanity and this unprecedented reaction. Was it the shock of the last

few days? Chen’s suggestive words? Her grief? For, while she couldn’t

say that she’d loved or even liked her brother—not after years of abuse

had destroyed those emotions—she wouldn’t have been human if she

hadn’t mourned the best part of him and the fact that now she’d lost her

entire family. But she felt more grief for Alin, her brother’s girlfriend,

who’d also died in the crash.

The man quirked one black eyebrow, giving him a devilish look that he

really didn’t need. ‘You’re from…?’

She welcomed him taking her thoughts away from the pain. ‘Bangkok. I’m

going back there tomorrow. I’ve been living here since I was sixteen, but

I’m going home now.’

Ann was babbling and she knew it. He was looking at her intently, as if

he wanted to see all the way into her head. She knew instinctively that a

man like this could consume her so utterly he’d eclipse anything else. The

minute she thought that, heat bloomed low in her belly. She was drowning in his eyes as he looked at her.

He raised his glass. ‘Well, here’s to new beginnings. Not everyone is

fortunate enough to start again.’

Ann heard an edge to his voice, but he was smiling, scrambling her

thoughts. She raised her glass to his, and the melodic chinking sound

seemed to restore some semblance of sanity. She took a small sip of the

drink, aware of the fact that her previous desire to down it in one had

gone. She felt herself giving in to the inevitability of this conversation,

this man. Some kind of inchoate recklessness was beating through her.

‘And you? What’s your name and where do you come from?’ She winced

inwardly at sounding like a bad impression of a presenter on a TV quiz

show, but he didn’t seem to notice.

He took another long moment to reply, as if he were considering

something, making her nerve-ends stretch unbearably. Finally he spoke.

‘I’m from Myanmer…Jessadaporn. Pleased to meet you.’

His mention of Myanmer had her insides seizing momentarily. Alin had

been from Myanmer. She forced herself to breathe. It was just a

coincidence, but a painful one. He held out a big hand with long fingers,

strong-looking and capable. Ann looked at it and gulped. Reluctantly she

held out her own much smaller, paler one .

Their hands met, his own dwarfing hers, warm and strong, his fingers

wrapping around her hand until she couldn’t see even a sliver of her skin

any more. His fingers rested on the frantic beating of her pulse point on

the delicate underside of her wrist.

Helpless against the rush of sensation through her body at his touch, her

mouth drying, she could have sworn that she felt her pupils dilate in that

moment. He seemed to be similarly caught. Something in his eyes flared

and a fleeting look of harshness crossed his face before it disappeared as

he smiled again, making her believe she’d imagined it. His smile was

slow and sexy and devastating.

Oh, God.

Ann finally pulled her hand from his and tucked it under her leg, telling

herself valiantly that it wasn’t tingling. All of a sudden she needed space

from this intensity. She was not used to it. She was more than a little

freaked out. She scrambled off the stool, her body brushing against his for

a moment, igniting tiny fires all over her skin.

‘Excuse me, I must go to the bathroom.’

On very shaky legs she hurried out towards the rapidly filling club, the

music coming muffled at first through the thick velvet curtains, and then

jarringly loud as she stepped through. She fled to the toilet, closing the

door behind her with relief, and stood at the sink, resting her hands on the

cool tiles. She looked at her reflection, shaking her head. Distance from

that man was doing little to calm her pulse or the hectic flush in her

cheeks. His very charisma seemed to cling to her, his image annoyingly

vivid in her mind’s eye.

Why was this happening to her? Tonight of all nights? She was nothing

special. Long straight dark hair,brown eyes that veered towards hazel,

pale skin. A too-gangly body. No make-up. That

was what she saw. A rush of something went through her then, taking her

by surprise—a kind of weird euphoria. She was finally going home

tomorrow, away from Hong Kong where she’d never felt at home. The fact

that this club and its employees had felt most like home since she’d left

Bangkok after her parents had died said it all.

But then in an instant the awful memory of the crash came back,

slamming into her brain. The color drained from her face as a vivid

picture of the rain-slicked night and that car coming straight for them reran

like a horror movie in her head, along with her inability to stop it, to

call out in time to warn Andrew. And even if she had… Ann’s hands

gripped the counter so tight her knuckles were white. Pain surged anew

and twisted inside her, so acute that she had to put a hand to her belly.

She looked down. How could she have forgotten for a second the

catastrophic events of just days ago? When she’d walked away from the

wreckage of an accident so awful that the paramedics at the scene had

declared it a miracle that she’d survived.

Jessadaporn. Her heart stopped and started again. He’d made her forget for a

brief moment. He was making her forget right now. Ann looked at

herself again sternly, ignoring the glitter of her too-bright eyes. She

wouldn’t be surprised if he was gone when she went back. She knew his

type all too well. He wouldn’t wait around for someone like her. The men

who frequented this club were mostly ambitious city men, out to see who

could order the most expensive champagne, who could pull the most

beautiful women.

Yet, Ann had to be honest with herself, this man hadn’t given that

impression. He seemed far too sophisticated for that. Undoubtedly he was

rich—she could tell that from a mile away—and that thought alone put

him in a place that made her shudder. She’d had enough of millionaires to

last her a lifetime, having grown to despise the power they desired and

wielded, the lifestyles they craved. She contemplated asking one of the

staff to get her things for her, so as to avoid seeing him again, but then

shook off the silly fear. She could handle it if he was still there, or if he

was gone…

When Ann walked back into the VIP section, though, all her recent

words and self-avowals flew out of the window.

He was gone.

Even though she’d half expected it, the disappointment that ripped

through her left her swaying unsteadily. She was still trying to come to

terms with the crushing feeling and what it meant when one of the

barmen, Joe, handed her a note. She opened the piece of paper, it was

from Chen, hastily written.

Sweetie, I’ve had to go—a domestic crisis with Simon has come up. Call

you tomorrow before you go! Chen!

Ann shook her head wryly, even as she had to admit that the pounding of

her heart told her she’d hoped that the note might be from Jessadaporn. Which

was ridiculous. They’d spoken for mere minutes.

Just as she was turning to go she spotted her phone on the bar and went to

retrieve it, grabbing her coat too.

A sound came from behind Ann, then a cool familiar voice. ‘Am I too

late to ask if you’d share another drink with me?’

Intense relief rushed through her. He hadn’t gone! Ann turned around

and looked up into that face. He was even taller than she had imagined,

holding his coat casually over one arm. A zing of sensation rippled

through her, stronger than before, making her forget her vow to leave. All

she knew in that moment, as irrational as it was, was that she didn’t want

him to walk away again. That feeling of relief was too strong to ignore.

All she could manage was to shake her head. She was sinking into those

fascinating eyes again, mesmerized by the harsh beauty of his face. A

couple of people came in, jostling past them, chattering. Leaving them in

their own little bubble. She flushed at how needy she felt, how unsure and

at sea with all these sensations and achings he was causing within her.

How had she ever thought for a second that she’d be able to walk away?

Jessadaporn’s eyes glittered with some intent that made her feel weak. ‘Good.

I’ve organized a private booth and a bottle of champagne.’

Liquid heat seemed to pool in Ann’s groin. She was unable to respond

with any coherence, and Jessadaporn took her by the arm and led her over to

where one of the waitresses was showing them into a plush velvet booth,

half hidden by a thick ornate drape. Ann could only breathe in a jerky

sigh of relief when Jessadaporn took one side of the booth, leaving her to occupy

the other side. He sat back and stretched out an arm across the back of the

seat, causing his shirt to tighten across his chest. Hard flat nipples stood

out against the material and Ann squirmed on her seat.

‘So…’ he drawled. ‘Here we are.’

A sudden tension spiked the air. She couldn’t understand why, even as

she nodded warily. He leant forward then, his face coming into the soft

light thrown by a hanging lamp over their heads. He truly was the most

beautiful man she’d ever seen. Her insides clenched.

‘Tell me, do you come here often?’

The words, usually such a cliché uttered by hapless men, sounded

completely different when he said them.

Ann smiled a small, wry smile. ‘It’s like my second home.’ She heard her

words and saw immediately how they might be misconstrued. She hurried

to clarify. ‘That is, of course, because I—’

At that moment the waitress returned with the champagne, stopping

Ann’s explanation that she worked there. And by the time Jessadaporn had

dismissed the girl and filled their glasses Ann had forgotten what he’d

asked her.

‘Let’s drink to this evening.’

Ann frowned lightly, but clinked her glass to his. It felt cool in her hand,

the vintage wine sparkling in the light with a thousand bubbles. ‘Why this


He took a sip of wine, and Ann was aware of the strong column of his

throat as it worked. ‘Because I think it will prove…cathartic.’

What an odd thing to drink to, Ann thought, and took a sip of her own

wine, savoring the bubbles as they burst down her throat. She couldn’t

quite believe that she was sitting here, in her work clothes, sipping

champagne with this enigmatic man. In all her time working here she’d

never met anyone with even an nth of his dynamism—and some of the

wealthiest men in the world came into this exclusive club. It had been her

brother’s favorite haunt—that was how she’d got her job.

At least her dress was adequate enough, simple and black. Her only gripe

was that it was far too short, but Simon, the manager, Chen’s boyfriend,

insisted on her looking the part as the main hostess of the club. And with

Barney there to protect her from unwanted attention she generally

avoided lecherous situations. Something Simon had been aware of when

he’d hired her, as he’d felt she was too young at the time to work in the

club proper. In the end, he’d kept her on the door.

‘Tell me about yourself, Ann.’

He was doing it again, that subtle inflection, changing the pronunciation

of her name. Something about his expression caught her for a moment,

some sense of familiarity or déjà vu, but she couldn’t catch it. She was so

tempted to do exactly what Chen had advocated—lose herself a little,

allow this stranger to help her forget her pain and sorrow.

There would be time for that in spades when she went home and tried to

start over. At the thought of that, the threat from last night crashed back

into her head. For a second she almost felt overwhelmed with it all, and

had to struggle valiantly to bury the fear again. But just for now, surely

she could pretend with this man that everything was okay—couldn’t she?

Jessadaporn’s eyebrows rose. ‘You did a degree in business and accountancy?’

Ann nodded, still inordinately proud of the degree she’d finally obtained

in recent weeks after a long, hard slog, not sure why he sounded so

incredulous. Perhaps he was one of these men who didn’t believe that

women should get qualifications and work? Yet he didn’t seem like that

kind of man. The champagne bottle stood half empty. She had a

delightfully light feeling in her head. She felt as if she’d been living in

some sort of haze all her life and now everything was crystal-clear.

Despite the fact that she’d only just met Jessadaporn, she’d found him easy to

talk to—and that was a revelation when she’d never done this with

anyone before.

‘But you didn’t go to college?’

Ann frowned, she’d been intent on Jessadaporn’s mouth and now she blushed

which she seemed to be doing every two minutes in his company. ‘Did I

say that?’ That was funny. She couldn’t remember telling him about

studying from home.

‘You’re right, I didn’t.’ She was wondering how they’d got onto this

subject when a beep came from nearby. He excused himself and reached

into the pocket of the jacket beside him to pull out his phone, answering

the incoming call with an apologetic smile, saying something about an ill

father. Ann shooed away his apology and signaled that she would leave,

to give him privacy, but his hand snaked out and caught her wrist, pulling

her back.

As he spoke in Thai he kept his eyes on hers, and his thumb

started moving in little circles on the underside of her wrist. Ann had to

stop herself from groaning out loud. Did the man have any idea what he

was doing to her? But she couldn’t take her eyes away from his either. As

she watched, a hard expression came into them. His hand tightened on

hers fractionally, but he didn’t stop that seductive motion with his thumb.

Ann knew she could have pulled away if she’d wanted to, but for the life

of her she couldn’t. Was that giving him some tacit signal? To her shame,

she knew that she hoped it was. What was this madness?

He ended his conversation and slipped the phone back into his jacket. He

let go of her hand, dropping it abruptly, almost as if he regretted holding

it. Ann’s heart went out to him as she guessed it must have to do with his

father, and she asked hesitantly, ‘Is everything okay?’

She saw his jaw clench slightly. He seemed to be wrestling with

something. He looked at her then, and the intensity in his eyes pinned her

to the spot. And then he said, ‘It’s time to get out of here.’

There was an unmistakable edge to his voice this time, and for a second

Ann fooled herself into thinking that he’d said it in such a way as to

mean for them both to get out of there. And then mortification raced

through her. Why on earth would a man like him have meant that? He

only meant that he had to leave. And so did she.

But, disturbingly, a shaft of pain went through her. She forced herself to

say lightly, as she avoided his eye and gathered her things, ‘I have a busy

day tomorrow. I’d better go too. Thanks for the drinks.’

Jessadaporn had paid already, brushing aside her attempt to give him something.

It was somewhat of a relief, even though she hated being paid for, as in

reality she barely had enough in her purse to get her home. Chen had left

before he’d had a chance to give her her tips, and it would be a couple of

weeks before she got her final cheque.

She let Jessadaporn guide her out through the now busy VIP area and back

through the club. Ann shivered slightly. She wasn’t sorry to be saying

goodbye to the place. It was Barney the main doorman’s night off, and

his replacement was new, so she just said a perfunctory goodnight as they


In seconds the club was behind them and they were out in the darkness

and the cool early spring air. It was almost midnight. Ann shivered

lightly as Jessadaporn helped her into her coat. He caught her long hair and

pulled it free, his hands brushing against her bare neck. Ann’s insides

melted. It felt like the most intimate gesture. Just then her name was

called by someone in the queue, and Jessadaporn dropped his hands, leaving her

feeling ridiculously bereft. She looked to see an actress waving

energetically. She was a regular. Ann waved back half-heartedly and

watched as she disappeared into the club with her entourage, sending up

silent thanks that she’d never have to help carry her out again.

‘A friend of yours?’

Ann turned to face Jessadaporn looking up. Her heart was beating so hard she

felt constricted. She smiled awkwardly. ‘Not exactly.’ She stepped back

and away, finding it harder than she cared to admit to walk away from

him. ‘Look, thanks for everything—and the drinks… It was nice talking

to you.’

With hands stuck deep in his pockets he just looked down at her. ‘Do you

really want to go?’

Ann’s brain froze. Her heart tripped. ‘What did you say?’

‘Come back to my hotel with me.’

It was shocking, and it wasn’t a question. It was an imperative. A calling

that set her blood racing and heart beating fast again. Lord knew she

wasn’t ready for this, on this week of all weeks. Who was she kidding?

She wouldn’t be ready for a man as virile as Jessadaporn in a million years. And

yet even as she thought that, newly awakened awareness flooded her

body, making her believe that he was the only man she could make love

to in the world.

Confused by how strong this feeling was, she backed away, shaking her

head. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t—’ Do that sort of thing.

Her voice failed and the words resounded in her head. She

shook her head again. No matter what her body might be saying, her head

was warning her to run fast in the opposite direction.

Jessadaporn stood under the streetlight, his shoulders huge, his frame lean and

awe-inspiring, his face dark and sinful. Everything about him was sinful.

Chen’s words came back to Ann. Could this man make her forget? For

one night? Even as she was thinking this, her thoughts and belly in

turmoil at what she was walking away from, he shrugged nonchalantly

and stepped back too. The moment was gone. Of course he wouldn’t

insist. It had been a complete mystery to her what he had seen in her at all

in the first place. However, disappointment was crushing, mocking her.

Her tongue seemed to cleave to the roof of her mouth as she realised that

she’d never in her life see this man again. And she suddenly wondered

desperately how it would feel to kiss him. But she reiterated to herself

sternly that this was the realm of fantasy. He was not in her league and

she wouldn’t even want him to be. Didn’t she despise the kind of men

who went into that club? And yet, prompted a voice, didn’t you think he

was different?

As if in accord with the rebellious voice, her newly awakened body was

screaming to walk up to him and say, Wait—yes. I’ll take what you’re

offering. Even though he’d displayed his own indifference to her answer.

Patently he didn’t care. All he had to do was snap his fingers and women

would be tripping over themselves to be with him. She had to focus on

that. There was nothing special going on here.

‘Goodnight, Jessadaporn.’ He hadn’t even told her his second name,

She turned abruptly and walked away, her breath coming fast, her heart

thumping so hard that she feared it might burst from her chest. And,

ridiculously, at that moment she felt more alone than she had at any point

in her life to date. And that was saying a lot. Silly tears pricked the back

of her eyes and she told herself it had to be the result of her fraught and

emotional week. Not the amazing evening that had come out of nowhere.

As she passed the queue of people waiting to get into the club she

overheard one girl say loudly, ‘Look at him…she must be crazy to walk

away from him…’

Ann stopped in her tracks and slowly turned around. Jessadaporn was not

looking at her any more, and if anything that should have made it easier

for her to put this whole night down to some crazy experience brought on

and heightened by grief and shock. But she couldn’t move. She watched

as he said something to one of the other doormen, who whistled,

obviously calling his car round. All Ann could see was his broad

shoulders, that inky black hair, the sheer masculine beauty of his build.

The latent power in his tall proud stance. Something within her was

calling out to be obeyed. Some deep, primal need to forge a connection.

The thought of never seeing him again was causing a panicky fluttering in

her chest.

Ann was unaware of her feet carrying her in one inevitable direction:

back to him. And then she was standing behind him and feeling as though

the world had come back to rest on its axis again. With her heart in her

mouth she tentatively touched his back. Immediately he tensed and turned

around, dark brows coming together over tawny eyes that sliced down

into hers, seeing right through her in an instant.

‘Changed your mind?’

The sardonic arrogance, the something cynical in his expression, couldn’t

impinge on the pathetic weakness that had led her back to him. She

couldn’t answer straight away. She’d never done anything so rash and

impulsive in her life, but the thought suddenly struck her that she’d never

wanted anything or anyone with such a deep visceral need before. There

was protection in knowing that this was it. One night. With this beautiful

man. And then she would allow all the pain and hurt and grief back in.

But just for this night, these few hours that stretched ahead, she could be

someone else. Not the girl orphaned at sixteen; not the little sister bullied

by her older brother, hoping pathetically that he might change; not the

girl working day and night to obtain a degree. And not the girl who had

been involved in a horrific car crash in which she’d been the only one to

walk away without a scratch.

His jaw was clenching again, a muscle working under the skin, and Ann

had the strongest desire to reach up and press her lips there. She wanted

to grasp at this moment in which she could lose herself in him with a

passion that made her shake. Finally she did seize the moment, and

nodded and said huskily, ‘Yes. I’d like to come to your hotel with you.’


sarNie Granny
i feel bad for Ann, to be burden with all of that, and then there's tik, who is seeking to avenge his sister's death. i hope you continue this, the last part left me hanging.