Author: Clarissa Cartharn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: July 16th, 2015
Length: 258 pages
Blurb: When Eric Tanner, an assassin, is targeted to be murdered by his former employer, he seeks refuge in the house of a blind woman, Anne Mullen.
Eric knows how to live in silence. He’s done it all his life. So when he discovers Anne is blind and living on her own, he thinks this would be his perfect hideout.
But then he makes the mistake of his life. He forms an attachment to her. And for a man in his profession, such attachments are a weakness. Now, he must do everything he can to protect Anne from the world he’s come from.
Clarissa is interested in learning new languages and is currently on a quest on conquering Mandarin Chinese.
Reader Group: http://eepurl.com/btEKh1
“Hey, Ricky!” shouted out an eighteen year old boy as he goose-stepped his basketball opponent. “This way! Come on, man!”
Eric dribbled the ball, darting a quick glance at Jamal. He made to dash with the ball towards the basketball hoop and then cunningly shot it over to Jamal. Cries mingled with cheers as Jamal raced over to shoot, skillfully dribbling the ball between and about him.
Eric took deep rapid breaths as he tiredly placed his hands on his hips, watching his friend take the glory of shooting yet another goal for the team. There was something about Jamal that told him he would get far from being just the poor homeboy playing on rugged community basketball courts.
His eyes caught sight of a girl across the courts. Her long golden curls fluttered in the breeze as she stood watching them from the other side of the street. He didn’t think he had ever seen her before. He smiled shyly. He would definitely have remembered her if he had. How could anyone forget those beautiful sharp features and blonde locks? She seemed a dream plucked out of a fairytale book. She didn’t belong to a city like Camden, New Jersey.
Even at a distance, he could feel her eyes peeled keenly on the boys playing on the courts. Who was she interested in? Jamal? A sudden pang of jealousy speared through his heart. It felt strange. He had never been jealous of his best friend. Not even when his school coach picked Jamal over him to play for their school team. Was he being too petty?
He wondered if he should go and talk to her. Perhaps, a conversation with her would heal the wound he felt inside of him. Perhaps, talking with her would lift her mysteriousness. Hell, he might even discover she is unlikeable and just another dumb, blonde chick with too much time to spend on herself and none at all for anyone else.
He threaded his fingers through his hair. Who was he kidding? He needed courage to speak to a girl like her. The way she looked, she could most possibly be the most popular chick in high school. And he, Eric Tanner, had yet to catch the eye of any popular girl at all. The only reason he had even scored dates with Bree Hadden and Diane Farnum was because their friend, Hayley Bradberry needed to double-date with Jamal.
“Hey! Did you see that?” Jamal swung an excited arm over his shoulders.
“What?” Eric asked, hesitantly breaking his gaze away from the girl.
“You didn’t see that?” Jamal said with disbelief. “That thing I did? On the hoops… like this.” He re-enacted his winning shot.
Eric nodded, glancing to and fro between Jamal and the girl. What if she never came back? I would never know. I should take my chance.
“Where are you, man? You ain’t even listenin’,” Jamal complained. “You okay?”
“Yeah, yeah.” He shook his head. He had to face it. He simply didn’t have it in him to strike a random conversation with a strange and beautiful girl. And if he asked Jamal to do the deed, there was likelihood he would lose her to him. Not that Jamal was to blame. Jamal just had that charisma he would probably never have.
“There’s something wrong, is there? Someone do something?” Jamal asked seriously, his brow frowning with concern.
“No, no, I just-” He stopped short, his eyes narrowing, focusing angrily on the three boys gathered around the girl.
“What is it, Ricky?” Jamal asked, noticing his sudden change. He turned to find out what had invoked that anger inside him. “Those boys?”
Eric didn’t answer, observing them closely. His feet moved involuntarily towards the girl. But when she fell to the pavement, he sprinted out of the court with Jamal racing after him.
“Eric, don’t get involved!” Jamal warned.
I already am. He pressed his lips tightly and closed in on the boys. “Hey, get away from her!” he screamed, his fists clenched together with rage.
They looked over at him and laughed.
“Stay out of our business, white boy,” one said with a nasty grin.
Eric glanced down at the girl whimpering on the craggy and dirty pavement and her humiliation incensed him. But they were three boys and he was just one. He needed to be smart.
“Leave her alone,” he said, raising his palms up in submission. “I don’t want any trouble. She’s just a girl. You don’t need to do this, man.”
“Is she your girl?”
“No,” he said cautiously.
“Well then, what are you so worked-up about? We’re just having some fun.”
“Yeah, fuck off,” said another. “It ain’t your business.”
He stepped forward stubbornly. “I’m not going anywhere. Leave her alone.”
“Oh, yeah yeah.” The leader smirked. “I get you. You’re trying to impress the girl. But, you see, I saw her first. So I get to play with her first.”
“You’re such a nasty piece of work, Denzel,” Jamal said from behind Eric. “Does Denzel Washington know you fucking up his reputable name? He might sue you.”
“It ain’t my fault if my momma loves Denzel Washington.”
Jamal clicked his tongue. “Boy, Denzel, if you are as bad as this now, I hate to see you when you’re all grown up.”
Denzel clenched his teeth and made to charge at him.
“Hold on there,” Jamal warned, waving his phone at Denzel. “I just called the cops. They will be here anytime soon.”
“I don’t believe you,” the boy minced menacingly.
“It’s your choice.” Jamal shrugged nonchalantly.
Denzel shifted uneasily and with uncertainty.
“Jamal! Ricky! You guys okay?” one boy called out from the edge of the courts.
A group of young boys had gathered behind him, watching them intently.
“You sure you want to take on all of us?” Jamal sneered.
Denzel backed away. “I’ll see you again, white boy.” He waved his finger threateningly at Eric.
Eric watched him walk away before rushing over to the girl.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
The girl was sobbing, scrambling on her hands and knees.
“Hey, it’s fine now,” he said softly. “They’re gone now. Here.” He offered his hand to help her up but she continued to cry, crawling about the path.
He frowned curiously.
“What’s going on?” asked Jamal, watching the girl with as much inquisitiveness.
“Here, let me help you up.” Eric bent down and touched her back lightly.
She flailed her hands at him, and cowered from him. “Don’t touch me,” she growled. “Don’t touch me!”
Her face was directed at them, but her eyes weren’t focused, wandering aimlessly between him and Jamal.
Jamal crept low and waved his hands before her. She didn’t react.
“She can’t see,” he mouthed silently at Eric.
Eric glanced up at her deep blue eyes. He didn’t care that she was blind. She was beautiful. And her eyes were gorgeous. They were clear as the sea would be on a calm day. He wanted nothing more but to drown in them if he could.
“We are here to help you,” he said softly again. “Those boys who tried to hurt you… they’ve gone.”
“Who are you?” she asked with a tremble in her voice.
Eric paused. He was never easy at introductions. Especially when he was as attracted as he was now to her.
“I’m Jamal,” Jamal said quickly. “And this here… I mean, the guy sitting next to you…”
She let out a snort. “You know I’m blind.”
“Uh…,” Jamal hesitated.
“Is it okay if I touch you to help you up?” Eric asked. “What’s your name?”
“Anne… Anne Mullen.”