Welcome Readers...into my Dreams and Imagination.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hustle Into Love - Chapter Nine, Part One

Hey all,

Are you ready to see who's lurking about in Chantal's apartment?  What does he want from her and why did he break in?  Take a deep breath and read away!  And enjoy!

Hustle Into Love


Chapter Nine

“Don’t shoot!  I’m unarmed.”  

The deep voice stopped her in her tracks and she blinked.  Chantal did scream then.  With delight.

“Eric?”  Forgetting she’d moments before been terrified, she raced over and leapt into the man’s arms.  “Oh, God!  What are you doing here?  I didn’t expect you until next week.”

“You said come…I came.  Found an earlier flight.”  Her faithful bodyguard hugged her tightly.  “I just got in.  Someone said you were performing, so I came up here to wait.”

“Damn it!”  Suddenly she remembered how frightened she’d been.  She punched him in the arm.  “You scared the hell out of me.”  

The big man looked abashed.  “Sorry.  Had my tunes on.” He held up a pair of headphones.  “Didn’t know you were here until you came at me with the gun.”  He looked down at the hair dryer on the floor and snorted.  “In the shadows that damn thing really did look like a gun.”

“But how did you get in?”

Eric shrugged his massive shoulders.  “Security sucks.  I could have picked your door with a fucking toothpick.”

She snickered, so happy to see him she didn’t worry about the pointed reference to her safety.   “I’ll tell Mace.  How is Diane?  And the kids?”  She grimaced.  “Shit.  Is she mad at me for taking you away?”

“I owe her a long weekend in the mountains, but she’s cool with it.  She understands.  Always has.”

Chantal nodded.  “You picked a good woman.”

“Don’t I know it.”

She hugged him again.  “I’m so glad you’re here.  Things have gotten a bit complicated, and I needed someone I could trust.”

He cradled her face in his big hands.  “You know I’m always here for you.  I love you.”

“I love you, too.”  She hugged him again, hard.  “Finally, things will get back to normal.”

Of all the sights Mace had expected to see when he came through the door, it wasn’t seeing his lover, dressed only in her bathrobe, in the arms of another man.  Their surprised faces turned his way, and the man—who was the size of a small mountain—shoved Chantal behind him and curled his hands into fists the size of hams.  

He glared at Mace.  “Who the hell are you?”  

Jealousy, anger and pain fought for supremacy.  Mace took a threatening step forward.  “You son of a bitch,” he snarled.  “Get your bloody hands off her or I’ll do it for you.”

“Mace!  Stop it!”  Chantal pushed away from the other man and stared wide-eyed at him.  “What do you think you’re doing?  Haven’t we had this conversation before?  If I didn’t want his hands on me, they wouldn’t be.”

Her words slapped him in the face, and his rage drained away leaving only pain behind. He stared at the couple across the room as his world crumbled around him. Thoughts scrambled around in his head. Had he been right before? No…he didn’t want to believe it. Could it be he was just one more in a long line of rich conquests? Apparently so, since it was painfully clear she was moving on to someone else. He glanced down at the bouquet of red roses he held and tossed them on a nearby table. “Then obviously I’m interrupting something. Excuse me. I won’t bother you again.”

He turned to go, his emotions already sliding into numbness.  Was this sick and empty feeling what his old girlfriend had experienced when he broke it off with her?  God, he hoped not.  He didn’t wish this pain on any one.  Loving someone hurt.

“Mace!  Wait!”  

Refusing to turn back, he continued towards the door, his heart bleeding…his stomach twisted in knots.  But before he could turn the doorknob, Chantal was there in front of him, her golden eyes flashing with something akin to fury.

“It isn’t what you think.”

Their gazes met and he didn’t see guilt or shame in hers, only anger and a tiny bit of fear.  He shook his head.  “I knocked, but I got no answer.  I see now I shouldn’t have come in.  I just didn’t expect you to have a…guest.”

Chantal stomped her foot.  “If I were you, I’d shut up now.  You’re making an ass out of yourself.”

Anger pushed past the pain.  He grabbed her shoulders, ignoring the other man’s growl of warning.  “I know what I saw.”

“We may be a couple,” she hissed, “but you have no right to act like this.  What you saw was one of my favorite people on the planet—Eric, my personal bodyguard—hugging me hello.”

He stopped shaking her and only stared.  “I beg your pardon?”

She rolled her eyes.  “I hate it when you get all aristocratic with me.  Damn it, Mace.  I thought you’d learned your lesson about jumping to conclusions without all the facts.”

“Wait.”  Mace shook his head, confused.  “Go back to what you said before.  Who is he?”

Chantal jerked away and straightened the gaping collar of her robe.  “He’s Eric Philips, my bodyguard slash head of security.  He’s been with me since I first danced at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.  Almost ten years.  When you got so freaked out about Hui Sun and the security around here, I sent for him.  I know you told me things had settled down and Sun had backed off, but Eric was packed and ready so I told him to come when he could get a flight.  I knew having the extra protection around me would make you feel better.  And—” she walked back to the hulking man waiting by the window, “—just so you know.  He’s married with two delightful daughters of his own.”

“Christ.”  Mace’s stomach twisted again.  This time in embarrassment.  He’d really put his foot in it this time.  But there was relief as well, and with that relief came the shame he’d assumed something so horrible in the first place.  Evidently, he still had some issues about Chantal to deal with.  He cleared his throat.  “I thought—”

“I know what you thought,” she interrupted.  “You should know better.  Haven’t we gotten past all that?  Don’t you know who I really am?”

Now there was hurt in those fabulous eyes, and he felt even worse.  Without thinking about the mountain standing behind her, he strode forward and pulled her into his arms.  “I do know you.  I’m sorry.  I’m a bloody idiot.”  He sighed.  “A jealous bloody idiot.  You know I’m trying not to be a caveman, but when I saw you like that…”  His voice trailed off.  “I am sorry.”

She sniffed audibly.  “I don’t know if that’s enough.”

 Mace glanced up at the cocoa-skinned man who was still glaring at him.  He offered a rueful smile.  “If it helps, you can pound on me for awhile.”

Eric’s brown eyes narrowed, but then he visibly relaxed.  “Naw.  The boss doesn’t like violence.”

“Don’t be too hasty,” Chantal muttered.  “Maybe you can beat some common sense into his head.”

Mace flinched.  It looked like she wasn’t quite over her mad.  “I said I was sorry.”

The big bodyguard laughed.  “We did look cozy, princess.  Can’t really blame him.  A man looks after what is his.”

“And—” Mace chanced dropping a kiss on her unpainted lips, “—at the risk of you ordering a pounding, I will say I definitely consider you mine.”

Chantal glared up at him.  “You think you’re being charming right now, don’t you.”

He nodded hopefully.  “I brought you roses.  Don’t forget that.”

“Damn it, Mace,” she said again.  “You know you’re the only one I want.  How could you think—”

“I didn’t think,” he interrupted, cupping her soft cheek with his hand.  “I reacted.  That’s where I went wrong.  How I feel about you…”  He slid a look at the avidly listening Eric and shrugged.  “Sometimes it overwhelms me.”

Her tense body trembled in his arms.  “It overwhelms me, too.”
Mace brushed his lips over hers.  “Forgive me?  I promise to try harder not to be a caveman.”

She sighed, and his eyes closed in relief when she finally relaxed against him.  “I forgive you.  I really wish he could have pounded you first, but I forgive you.”

Eric snickered.  “Guess you forgot to tell me you had a boyfriend.  Diane will love hearing all about this.”

“Diane’s his wife,” Chantal explained as she wrapped her arms around Mace’s waist.  She looked back at Eric. “And I didn’t have much chance, what with you breaking into my room and all.”

“He did what?”


Oops!  Methinks Chantal should have stopped while she was ahead!  LOL  How will she calm the savage beast that is Mace?  Tell me what you think in the comments below and I'll see you on Thursday for the answer.


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


mamasand2 said...

Another great installment, CJ. I was cracking up over the "He did what".

Chantal appeared to have a bad case of "Foot in mouth-itis" LOL


Carrie said...

Can we say OMG. This installment had me laughing. Can't wait until Mace gets an earful on how secure the rooms are.

On another note. Still no email from freeburner. oh well good thing i have the blog site set in my favorties

CJ England said...

Hey Sandie,

Thanks! This scene was fun to write. I kept imagining how Jonathon would feel walking in on that. LOL

CJ England said...


So glad you liked it. I'm trying everything with feedburner. Haven't received any word back from Google (can we say bad service?) But I posted it on a forum so maybe they'll have some ideas.

I keep trying different things to see what happens. *sigh* I'll keep in touch.

Ashley L said...

OMG!! That was a great segment. Did not expect Eric, I kind of forgot about him. Mace is totally going to go ape when he hears about how easily Eric got into Chantal's room. But I'd laugh about the blow-dryer detail though!

I too haven't gotten an email. Hopefully you can get that fixed soon!

CJ England said...


Glad you enjoyed the installment. *grin* Just wait until the next one. LOL

I am really sorry about the FEEDBURNER thing. I hate google sometimes.


Mannouchka said...

Great work Cj,I really like this entry Mace is very protective for Chantal, I like when Mace I am a
caveman that's so sweet I am waiting for Thursday.
Have a wonderful Wedneday and see you on Thursday

CJ England said...

Thank you, Mannouchka,

As you can see I love writing heroes with "caveman" tendencies. As long as their hearts are tender, that's what counts!

Phylis said...

Ooops indeed! LOL! I think Eric will be the one to calm Mace down on the breaking and entering. lol Great installment CJ. I believe Mace has an Inner Caveman that is going to be hard to reign in.

Susan Bloomingdale said...

Ahhh Mace, wonder how long will you allow Assumptions to rule your head where Chantal is concerned?! Love how his pride had him tossing the roses when he assumed she was being intimate with someone else....argh the man in him!!

Hate waiting on the next installment!! It drives me insane .... Sigh. You have me hooked woman, bring it....

CJ England said...


I think you're right. Mace is one of a kind and luckily Chantal likes that kind. LOL

CJ England said...


LOL I'm glad you're enjoying the read, even though you have to wait.

Have you read the full length ones on my website? There are three you might enjoy. Just a heads up.

SharonJM said...

Oh boy, Chantel reminds me of me when I was much younger. Didn't know then to stop when I was ahead. At least now I am greatful for my front teeth and knowing when to close them.

CJ England said...


LOL That's a hoot. I'm going to remember that one. Closing my front teeth. *snicker*

Susan Bloomingdale said...


I've read those three already :) so now you know why I am anxious!? ;) keep it going woman, it's turning out to be an amazing love story

CJ England said...


I'm glad you enjoyed them. I can't wait to hear what you think of my other books.

You'll probably love Here Comes Peter. It comes out on March 14th. It's one of my all time favorites.