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A Million Different Ways (Horn Duet #1)
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Six long years I’ve been running, hiding, rejecting friendships and intimacy of any kind. Because nothing will stop them from coming after me. Of that, I’m certain. And then I met him. Powerful, broken, and so alone. Life had put us on an unavoidable collision course, one that could destroy us both…
Worlds collide when an illegal immigrant finds herself working for a wealthy American financier. Escaping a scandal that threatens to land her in prison, medical student, Vera Sava, flees to Switzerland in the hope of reinventing herself, and starting a career in medicine. Her plans derailed, she finds employment as a housekeeper, in the one place that will offer her a job without legal documents.
Sebastian Horn is an angry man. After having lost his young wife in a terrible car accident, he’s decided that life isn’t worth living anymore. Crippled physically and spiritually, he spends what’s left of it numbing the pain with booze and pills.
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Hi. I am 6. I can rite becase I have a tuder. Can you make my mom and dad like eech other. thanks
Hi its Sebastian. I live in texas and my parents dont fite anymore. I dont see my dad much. my mom drinks that stuf that smells can you help her?
Thanks you are grate.
My mom is in the hospitol agan!!!!!!! A boy in my class said you are NOT REAL. I really hope he is rong!!!!!!!!! can you rite write me back. I am not going to rite you anymore. I stil still live in texas.
Geneva, Switzerland 2012
Winter had worn out its welcome, dragging its feet well into April, but signs that spring had finally arrived were everywhere now. Daffodil stalks had timidly begun to sprout up from cozy beds of dirt, and a dust of color covered the naked branches of the platanus trees. The banks of the lake were packed with people emerging from hibernation. Their rolled up shirtsleeves revealed skin as bleached as an uncooked baguette.
We sat on an old iron bench that faced the Geneva fountain, the Jet D’Eau, and watched it soar 138 meters into the clear blue sky. A watercolor rainbow appeared in the down-turned arc of the spray.
“You can work at Yuri’s nightclub if you want.”
I glanced at Emilia and found her examining the cheese in her sandwich. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Em––I appreciate the offer,” I said in the most diplomatic tone I could muster. “But I’m not interested in getting out of a bad situation and into a worse one.”
She wrinkled her slender nose at the cheese and picked it out with long pale fingers. I devoured mine. I hadn’t eaten a decent meal in days. On cue, my stomach growled, nerves churned its paltry contents like a wash and rinse cycle. I placed my hand over it but only managed to reduce its angry roar to a low moan. Emilia stared at my stomach. An apostrophe between her brows marked her delicate features.
“How are you doing with money?” she asked in Albanian, our common language.
In an attempt to avoid her scrutiny, I kept my eyes on the bobbing masts of colorful sailboats being tossed about on the windswept water. “Fine,” I replied, a little too quickly. It was an egregious lie and we both knew it. Honesty had become a rare commodity between us the last couple of months. Withholding the entire truth was the only way to be in each other’s company without arguing.
My savings account was dwindling rapidly. I was reminded of it every time I looked in the mirror and saw the sharp angles of my cheekbones protruding, the dark depressions beneath my eyes. I couldn’t afford to pay the rent on the tiny room off the Rue du Berne much longer. Just for a little while, in the span of time it takes to eat a crappy sandwich, I wanted to forget my problems and lose myself in the breathtaking beauty surrounding me.
“Is there any way you can go back to the pub?” Her question caught me by surprise. Salt on an open wound. The burning sensation lingered as the memory of what had happened that evening came back to me in a rush…
It was our turn to close the bar that night and Pascal always seemed to forget something. The last time we worked the late shift together he had forgotten to lock the back door and the manager had threatened to fire us both.
“Did you lock the cash register yet?” I asked––for the third time.
His dark eyes roamed over my rear end in approval. “Oui.”
Pascal was considered attractive––he certainly never lacked female company––but if you asked me he looked like the villain in a bad romance novel. His mouth had a perpetually smug tilt to it, and his black, deep-set eyes were framed by slanted brows that winged up at the ends.
It was past one. Eager to close up and go home, I sat at the bar and divided the tip money while Pascal finished cleaning. It vaguely registered that he had been wiping the same spot on the copper top bar for ten minutes in mindless circles. My gaze nervously drifted from his powerful bicep, stretching the black t-shirt he wore, down to his meaty hand and calloused knuckles––the sight of which never failed to turn my stomach.
“Let’s have a drink,” he announced, his French accent coarse.
I paused from counting my share of the money and glanced up. Before I had a chance to respond, he had already poured himself a shot of tequila and knocked it back. “Let’s not,” I snapped, too tired to even feign an excuse.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and raked me head to toe with a blank stare. A flicker of something indefinable made me pause. All my senses coalesced, focused strictly on him. He moved behind me, to collect his keys from behind the bar, and I felt him purposely brush up against my rear end, his erection jabbing me in the small of my back. Pascal had been making sexual advances for months and had done so with all the girls. It never occurred to me that I was in any real danger.