My latest book has just been published on Amazon! Please find a set of links, plus the first chapter for your reading pleasure below 🙂
Anna glanced past her white knuckles, tightly clenched around the leather steering wheel, to check the time on the dashboard clock. In a reckless overtaking manoeuvre, she raced past a painfully slow motorist on the brow of a hill and pushed her foot more firmly to the floor, grateful of her car’s superior acceleration. She was making good time but every second wasted was another second her mother lay in hospital, alone, afraid and without her family by her side.
Aware of a peripheral noise which sounded too much like a siren to be ignored, Anna glanced out of a side window, attentive to the fact that her outlandish driving could well attract the attention of those enforcing the law. For all sorts of reasons, including her own and others safety, she needed to cool it. Taking a deep breath, she purposefully eased her foot away from the pedal and tried to still the buzzing in her brain, grateful that no police had witnessed her erratic actions on this occasion.
It probably shouldn’t have been a shock to receive a telephone call, informing her that her mother had been rushed into hospital. Anna had spent the last thirty-seven years of her life more than aware that her mother was a loose cannon, in so many respects. Never one to act her age, just the past few years alone had witnessed her doing a parachute jump for charity, abseiling down a building and swimming with sharks on holiday in Western Australia. Most women of nearly seventy would have slowed down, but not Daphne Burrows. Anna could only imagine her mother’s horrified disappointment to be injured in a road traffic accident, given her high octane hobbies.
As she approached the hospital complex, the traffic lights in front of her suddenly changed from green to red. For a wild moment, Anna toyed with the idea of speeding straight through them, before thinking better of it and coming to an abrupt, screeching halt. With a glance in the rear view mirror, a stressed woman glared back at her. With scared blue eyes, wild long brown hair and a flushed neck, Anna looked far from sane. She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel in frustration, aware that she should have stuck to her guns and jumped the lights after all. They were taking forever. When Anna had received a call from the hospital, she had been in the middle of a focussed flurry of excited baking. Her boyfriend, Lee, had been away with work for the past few nights and she wanted everything to be perfect for his return home. That would explain, she thought wryly, as she did a double-take at her own reflection, why she seemed to have self-raising flour smeared across her forehead.
At last, the lights changed to green and Anna accelerated quickly through the box junction and sped into the car park. There, somewhat miraculously, were several parking spaces available. Quickly dumping her car, she was half way towards the main building when the necessity of having to pay for parking suddenly flitted across her mind. Delving into her handbag for some spare change, she rushed towards the nearest payment machine. Unfortunately, in her haste, she wasn’t cognisant of any potential dangers, of which there were several. Out of nowhere, a strong pair of arms wrapped around her, lifting her purposefully off the ground. Anna opened her mouth to scream at her attacker, but was swiftly silenced by the sound of a horn. It was accompanied by the terrifying sound of a car skidding for a short distance across the tarmac, towards her.
‘Look where you’re fucking going, you idiot!’ yelled a man’s voice, before he drove off, engine roaring, loose stones flicking out from the tyres in his wake. Allowing her eyes to momentarily drop down with relief, she observed a large, strong, powerful pair of unfamiliar hands cradling her body. Inhaling deeply, she was almost overwhelmed by the incredibly sexy scent of him; if a near-death experience wasn’t enough to make her legs shake, being in the vicinity of this man certainly was.
Without any obvious rush, the stranger compassionately lowered her trembling frame back down to terra firma, taking some time to ensure she was standing securely on the ground, before finally releasing her. So not an attacker then; quite the opposite, in fact. The definitive gentle giant.
‘Are you okay?’ the man asked in a deep voice which sent the hairs on the back of Anna’s neck into complete disarray. If she wasn’t mistaken, his accent was a unique combination of English and American twang. It’s sexy timbre immediately tested her faithfulness towards her boyfriend.
‘Yes,’ she croaked. ‘Thanks to you.’ Upright once more, she stepped out of his embrace, temporarily bereft of the warmth and safety he had unexpectedly provided. It was probably for the best though. Her skin felt cold and clammy from the stressful drive in; no doubt, she smelt of an attractive combination of stress and sweat. Turning around to face the man who had saved her, she found her eyeline having to rise much further up than usual. At five foot eight, Anna wasn’t short, but this man towered over her. He had to be six foot six, at an absolute minimum.
‘Wow, you’re tall,’ she gasped, in the absence of any other conversation topic coming to mind. Slowly she took in his expensively cut suit, top button opened at the neck where he had previously removed a constricting tie. His dark brown hair suggested a just-out-of-bed look which Anna was shocked to find herself wanting to run her fingers through. If she had to guess, she would say he was in his mid-forties, and looking extremely good with it. In comparison, she knew she rated poorly, not least because she wasn’t entirely convinced she’d brushed the cooking ingredients from her forehead.
‘I know,’ he said, his face breaking out into a warm smile which displayed a perfect set of teeth, along with slight laughter lines at the edges of his hazel eyes. ‘Name’s Mike,’ he added, holding out a hand.
‘Anna,’ she replied, allowing her fingers to be encompassed by his large hand. It was the work of a moment, but she was unable to prevent a shiver from travelling directly up her spine to the base of her skull, thanks to the perfect pressure of his touch. His body seemed to be speaking its own secret language to hers and she found herself readily wishing to converse. Suddenly, Anna remembered where she was…and why.
‘I’m so sorry, but I’ve got to get to my mum,’ she explained in panic, as a bolt of fear overwhelmed her. Inexplicably, as concern for her mother, plus the realisation that she’d narrowly missed being involved in an accident combined, tears started to spill from the corners of her eyes. ‘She’s been hurt.’ Taking a step towards the parking machine, she opened her purse and promptly dropped a handful of coins onto the floor.
‘Hey, hey,’ Mike soothed in his deep voice. As he placed one hand over hers, she immediately froze to the spot. ‘Close your eyes,’ he instructed. Looking trustingly towards him, Anna did as she’d been instructed.
‘Now take three deep, calming breaths,’ spoke his calm voice.
‘I really don’t have time…’
‘Just do it,’ he said firmly. As Anna obeyed, Mike removed his hand from hers, dug around for some coins in his trouser pocket and fed them into the car parking machine. By the time a slightly calmer Anna had opened her eyes once more, it was to find Mike standing up slowly, having collected her money from the floor. With a gentle smile, he placed the coins of various denominations into her hand. Anna opened her mouth to say something, just as the machine next to them noisily spat out the parking ticket.
‘You okay?’ he asked gently.
‘Yeah,’ confirmed Anna with a weak smile. Daring to look directly into his eyes, she felt as though she’d been punched hard in the stomach. This time her reaction had nothing to do with fear for a family member and everything to do with a long forgotten emotion; lust. A lust more powerful than she had ever known. Anna found herself hypnotised by the tiny flecks of gold shimmering in his hazel eyes. It was fascinating, as though looking through a window to another galaxy. Her peripheral vision picked up that his eyes had narrowed slightly whilst she’d been consuming him, probably in confusion at her continuous staring.
‘I must owe you,’ she croaked, realising that he had used his own money to pay for her ticket.
‘It’s nothing. A couple of quid,’ he soothed. ‘Now go to your mom. Go!’ he ordered, when she failed to move. ‘Right now!’
Unsure of how to deal with such a direct dismissal, Anna dropped her eyes slowly to the floor, nodded and raced back to her car with the ticket. Without daring to turn around, she continued towards the main doors of the Accident and Emergency department, trying to put her handsome American protector firmly to the back of her mind.
The hospital building looked like any other British institution built in the nineteen sixties; grey, utilitarian and almost pathologically designed to cause unease and apprehension. Even with the May blossom exploding from the nearby cherry trees, Anna’s heart sunk one notch further as she entered the double doors and was hit by the smell of antiseptic cleaning fluids, cheap coffee, and bodies secreting stale sweat and fear.
Following a brief exchange with a gentleman staffing reception, Anna raced down a characterless maze of never-ending, echoing corridors towards the ward she had been directed to. She could physically feel her heart racing with trepidation at what she might find. Despite her recent re-acquaintance with desire, all thoughts were now firmly focussed on her mother; a powerhouse of a woman, undoubtedly the biggest influence on her life, who she wasn’t ready to lose yet…or ever. As her tears recommenced in earnest, she wiped them angrily away as she entered the ward and willed herself not to cry. This was no time for self-pity.
‘Hello,’ she said breathlessly to a staff nurse. ‘Is Daphne Burrows here? She’s my mum,’ gulped Anna, biting her lip to resist the tightening sensation in her throat.
‘Of course,’ smiled the nurse kindly. ‘Let me take you to her. She’s quite a character, isn’t she?’ A flood of hope surged through Anna’s body; maybe her mother wasn’t too badly hurt if her formidable character was already being exhibited.
‘How’s she doing?’ she asked, scarcely wanting to know the answer.
‘She’ll be fine,’ the nurse soothed. ‘A few broken bones but I’ve got a feeling it would take more than that to dent her spirit?’
‘I hope so,’ snuffled Anna.
‘She just behind that curtain. I’ll leave you to it.’
‘Thank you so much.’ And not just for the directions, thought Anna, without voicing it. But for being such a wonderful guardian of my precious mother, in her family’s absence.
Taking a deep breath, highly apprehensive about what to expect, Anna drew the curtain back to find her mother looking the frailest she had ever seen her. With her eyes closed, a slight tinge of grey overwhelmed her normally ruddy complexion, whilst a bewildering array of tubes and bandages covered her body.
‘Mum,’ croaked Anna, making her way to the side of the bed.
‘Darling,’ said the older woman, her bruised eyes immediately snapping open. ‘How lovely to see you.’
‘Oh, Mum,’ sobbed Anna, trying to contain her emotions as she became aware of a third person entering the cubicle.
‘Mrs Burrows?’ enquired a tall, slender female doctor as she joined them.
‘Hello again, Doctor,’ she replied jovially, although Anna saw a momentary wince of pain as Daphne tried to reposition herself.
‘Your mother is quite a fighter,’ remarked the doctor. ‘It was a miracle she escaped with only a broken leg and a fractured collar bone.’
‘Bloody idiot boy-racer,’ seethed Daphne. ‘My God, if I ever get my hands on him!’
‘Yes….well. That’s for the police to concern themselves with, not you. I just need to undertake a brief examination,’ the lady explained, glancing towards Anna.
‘My daughter can stay,’ instructed Daphne. The doctor nodded and began her work.
‘These bruises…’ she queried, pointing at a range of blue and black marks across Daphne’s ribs, clearly older than her most recent injuries.
‘Blasted horse had the audacity to run out at the penultimate fence last week,’ huffed Daphne in frustration, the incident clearly still terribly raw in her memory. ‘We were robbed! We should have bloody well won that race!’
Anna saw the doctor’s eyebrows arch in confusion and leapt in to explain.
‘Mum was riding in the local point to point the other week. Amateur horse racing over rustic jumps,’ added Anna, as the doctor’s confused expression failed to dissipate. ‘Beloved by rural communities across Britain?’
‘Rii-ght,’ she responded. Anna and the doctor shared a moment’s glance during which so much was said, that would forever remained unspoken.
‘Have you ever thought about perhaps, taking things a little easier?’ enquired the doctor, assessing her patient’s pulse.
‘You can’t take it much easier than sitting in your own car, waiting for the lights to change, can you?’ observed Daphne wryly. ‘And look how well that’s worked out for me.’
‘Touché,’ smiled the doctor. ‘I can see my little pep talk isn’t going to work on your mother,’ she said, smiling at Anna.
‘No,’ she agreed. ‘I very much doubt it.’
‘In that case, I’ll leave her in your capable hands. I’m very happy to report there is nothing seriously wrong with you,’ stated the doctor, although Anna could tell she understandably had some over-arching queries concerning her patient’s sanity. ‘But you’ll probably need to stay with us for a few weeks.’
‘Thank you, Doctor,’ nodded Anna, knowing that nothing she could say or do would ever change the mind of her determined, forthright mother. And, to be honest, she wouldn’t want it any other way.
‘Well, that’s a relief,’ sighed Daphne when they were alone again. ‘Now, darling. You didn’t happen to bring a pack of playing cards, did you?’
Fenella Ashworth is a British author of contemporary erotic fiction. All of her stories are available from Amazon and free for those with Kindle Unlimited access. Her best known novels are ‘To Love, Honour and Oh Pay’ and the Daniel Lawson series.
Fenella also releases stories on BooksieSilk, Booksie, Lush Stories and Literotica, and is often visible in the Literotica ‘Erotic Couplings’ Hall of Fame (Top Rated).
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