Portia Da Costa - purveyor of erotic romance and erotica to the discerning woman since 1994

BELOVED NEMESIS - a contemporary romance

Beloved Nemesis - click for bigger versionA love-hate relationship… a stubborn estrangement… a fiery, reluctant attraction. Where better for a feuding couple to resolve their differences than the most dismal country shack known to humanity?

Rising journalist Florence Trevelyan doesn’t know whether to be thrilled or horrified when she’s tasked to interview a handsome, devastatingly talented actor who’s about to star in a breakthrough role as the dashing lead in a prestigious costume drama.

The thrill is that it’s an interview that can raise her profile and lead to greater things. The horror is that the actor is her adoptive cousin Jacob, who she hates. And while the two of them have no blood relationship, they do have an emotional history. Long ago, they shared a single night of passion and… it did not end well. The pair have studiously avoided each other ever since.

But Florence is a focused professional and she’s determined to get a great interview out of Jacob, even in the face of his extreme provocation and the sizzling chemistry that still sparks between them. An accidental weekend holiday together, in a ramshackle family cottage, could prove a great opportunity to get the job done and perhaps even end their years of enmity… even if ‘roughing it’ in such confined quarters is dangerously intimate.

Will the two cousins finally reach a rapprochement? Will they become friends again… perhaps even a whole lot more? Or will fate throw yet another spanner in the romantic works for Florence and Jacob?

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Drawing in a deep breath, she raised her hand to knock, wishing passionately that she had access—for a moment—to a full-length mirror. Even though she knew that she looked as impressive as was womanly possible. Her hair shone, her make-up was subtle and effective and her chic suit was business-like and yet feminine. It was now or never. She rapped lightly on the door.

‘Come in!’ called out a clear, familiar voice, one that Florence hadn’t heard directed specifically at her for ten years. He sounded exactly the same, as arrogant and cocksure of himself as ever. Taking another deep breath, she opened the door and strode right in. There was no way she was going to defer to her own nemesis!

‘Hello, Jacob,’ she said, pleased that her own voice sounded steady and confident too, even though inside, to her horror, she was all atremble.

‘And hello to you too, Flo,’ replied Jacob.
After ten long years, being in close proximity to her cousin delivered a jolt. A far bigger one than she’d feared. He seemed too much to take in at first glance, and she found her attention skittering over him, observing his face, his hands, the long length of his legs, and again, and yet again, his bright blue eyes. Only yesterday it seemed, they’d been brim full of scorn.

Jacob was lounging on a settee that was placed up against one wall of the huge caravan, and though he was still mainly in his Edwardian dandy costume, his feet were bare, and looked pale and rather vulnerable. Unfortunately, his naked toes were the only portion of his anatomy that did appear less than dominating, even in his horizontal position.

Making another split-second inventory, Florence was grimly forced to admit that Jacob was more handsome even than he’d been ten years ago. Whereas then he’d been just a precocious and rather pretty-looking boy, he was now every inch a mature, accomplished alpha male, despite his fancy frilled shirt, his silky embroidered waistcoat and the fact that he was still wearing his full theatrical make-up. His shoulders and chest had broadened and gained substance, although paradoxically his face was leaner and more hard-looking than it had been when she’d known him at university. He appeared more focused, and more dangerous than ever.

‘Nobody calls me “Flo” these days,’ she lied crisply, steeling herself to meet his gaze, his sharp blue eyes, and not waver. She remained standing too, implying that his manners were poor in not getting up in the presence of a female.

‘Florence, then,’ he said, tossing aside the script he’d been studying and rectifying his lapse by rising gracefully from the settee in one smooth co-ordinated movement. ‘I have to say it suits the new image.’ To her astonishment, he stepped forward and held out his hand, his eyes assessing her just as quickly and thoroughly as hers must have assessed him a moment ago.

Florence hesitated. She wanted to slap his face instead of shake his hand; ten years seemed not to have altered her feelings for him one whit. And that—to her distress—meant all her feelings…

‘Go on. I won’t bite,’ Jacob said, very obviously amused. He grabbed one of her hands, shook it as if it were a puppet’s, and continued in a mocking tone, ‘“And I’m so pleased to see you, Jacob”’

Florence snatched back her hand, half surprised that it wasn’t smouldering. ‘I’m here to do a job, Jacob,’ she said smoothly, resisting the urge to whip out her handkerchief and scrub the area of skin that he’d just touched. ‘And it wouldn’t have been expedient, career-wise, to turn it down. Otherwise I couldn’t bring myself to come within a country mile of you.’ She nodded to the settee he’d vacated. ‘Now, shall we just forget we ever met before, and get this over with?’

© 2018 Portia Da Costa

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Also available from :: Nook :: Kobo :: iBooks

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