Authors: Lydia Rowan
Tags: #contemporary interracial romance
Two Weeks in Geneva: Book Three
Look for the Other Books in the Series
An unplanned trip could lead to unlikely love…
Quinn Jeffries is having a bad week. After a coworker is injured, she finds herself in Geneva, Switzerland with the fate of her architectural firm, not to mention her own job, resting on her shoulders. All Quinn wants is to save her company and go home. Unfortunately for her, nothing is that simple with the rage-inducing, sinfully handsome Alexander Montague around.
Alexander Montague has plans for his company, and he won’t let anyone—including Quinn, the intriguing American whose curves entice him far more than they should—stand in his way.
Focused on what's at stake, Quinn and Alexander try to ignore their growing attraction, but the pull between them can't be denied. For this unlikely pair, can two weeks in Geneva lead to love?
Quinn Jeffries will remember her two weeks with Alexander Montague forever, but now, a year later, she's moved on and put Alexander firmly in the past.
Or at least she thought had.
Like a whirlwind, Alexander reenters her life, this time on her home turf, and Quinn's secrets are revealed. Forced to confront deceptions from the past and an enraged Alexander, whose fierce passion is on the verge of turning into an equally fierce hate, Quinn tries to reconcile her misdeeds.
She and Alexander establish a fragile truce, and the connection between them grows. But a storm is on the horizon, and once it arrives, the future that she has just begun to imagine might be possible may not survive.
Time had stopped, and along with it, Alexander’s heart.
He felt the weight of four expectant gazes heavy upon him, and the air thickened with anticipation, almost as if a living, tangible thing prowled the room, ready to strike at an instant’s notice or fade into the background, a mere blip soon to be forgotten.
And the result hinged solely on Alexander’s response. It was he and he alone who would determine whether the beast struck or was vanquished, and that weight, the knowledge of what he had to do, crushed him.
He looked at his mother, her expression inscrutable as always, not like it mattered. Mother, if not the mastermind of this impromptu family visit, had had a hand, a strong hand, in it. His father didn’t have the guile to conceive such an idea, and even if he did, he wouldn’t dare participate without approval. Taking such drastic action alone might upset Mother, and an upset Mother just wouldn’t do. No matter how much his eldest son had at stake.
Alexander looked at the man, so dignified, so passive, and anger swelled in his chest as the enormity of this event took full form in his mind.
He didn’t even bother to look at Magda. His wife. Legally anyway. Even the thought of that word in relation to her made him nauseous. He knew she’d have that cold, self-congratulatory smile that so often graced her face, natural, he supposed, given the hubris and vanity that were her fundamental traits. He couldn’t fathom what had made her come here. Well, he did have an idea, but she couldn’t possibly believe that showing up here, disrespecting his home, his family, would get her what she wanted. But then, he was underestimating Magda, and not for the first time. Though his mother had undoubtedly hatched this ambush, Magda, who had an admirable talent for seeing only what she chose to, probably even believed that this little display had ensured they could go back to pretending to be the perfect couple they had never been.
The tension in the air thickened even more when Magda raised a hand as if to touch Alexander. He didn’t speak, just looked at her, and the unadulterated rage he knew was flowing from his gaze must have made her think twice. He wouldn’t hit her; it wasn’t his style, but he couldn’t fathom ever letting her touch him again. And more importantly, he had to harness this rage to ensure that appropriate punishment would be meted out and Magda would get her just desserts. Or rather, she wouldn’t get his, anything of his, even those items that had been negotiated for in the prenuptial agreement. He hoped Magda had kept her supply of rich friends. She was going to need them.
His heart thrummed and he changed focus, needing to get a hold of his temper at least until he got them out of here. Lily held Ethan, who seemed totally unaffected by this display, but her gaze was cool, assessing; she looked like she was waiting to decide how to react, and Alexander appreciated the benefit of the doubt.
No more stalling.
Indeed, he finally had to look at Quinn.
“Is she?” Quinn asked in a tiny whisper, one that was as frail and broken as the look in her eyes.
The question was like a pin piercing a balloon. The tension and anticipation popped and, in an instant, morphed to anger and accusation.
“Of course I am. Why would I be here otherwise?” Magda said, sounding as obnoxious as the smile that no doubt graced her flawless face.
“’Tis true. They have been married for fourteen years,” Mother said, her voice sweet as honey, probably at the pleasure of being able to twist the knife in a bit. Mother wasn’t always a sadist, but she knew that getting rid of Quinn was the only way to get Alexander back home and spare herself the “scandal.” As if his personal life was something to be managed and approved, let alone by her. Still, she wasn’t above inflicting a little emotional distress to get her way, probably enjoyed it more than she should, in fact. He’d long ago gotten used to it but, among other things, hated that Quinn had been tossed into this unaware and unprepared.
Lily’s sharp intake of breath rang out, and underneath, even more faint than her previous words, Quinn uttered a near-silent repeat, “Is she?”
Though barely audible, her words held a steel that couldn’t be ignored. Alexander looked at Quinn, the woman he could unabashedly say, without shame or doubt, that he loved, and prepared to destroy her.
“Yes. Yes, she is.”
Alexander saw every minuscule shift in her face as she registered his statement, thought he saw the exact moment when her heart shattered. He expected an explosion, but what he got was far, far worse. Quinn seemed to sink into herself, like she mentally and emotionally removed herself from the situation. Then she calmly walked over to her mother and took Ethan and walked up the stairs, presumably to the nursery or her bedroom.
Her reaction seemed contagious, and Magda was a little less gleeful, his mother slightly less smug, though his father stood as useless as always.
“Get out of here now!” he screamed in French and everyone, including Lily, had the good sense to jump. Even to his own ears, his voice had an almost animalistic quality to it, one that made it clear that he was in no mood for disobedience or discussion. “You’ll be dealt with later. All of you. But you must leave this place. Now!” He spoke without looking at them, focused on the stairwell in the unlikely hope that Quinn would come running down smiling, that this was all some twisted joke.
“Alexander, I think I’ll stay, just in case,” Lily said, bringing him back to the present, the horrible present where a nearly fifteen-year-old mistake might end his future.
He shook his head, attempting to gather his thoughts.
“Yes, Lily, that’s a fine idea,” he said, his voice sounding as distant as his thoughts had been.
He walked up the stairs, heart thudding still, but now out of a profound fear that he’d never experienced, the sound of each beat like a cannon blast in his ears, him knowing that this moment had the potential to define the rest of his life. He peeked into the nursery but didn’t see Ethan or Quinn, so he looked down the short hall to her bedroom door, which stood silent sentinel for what hid behind it. His heart wrenched. This day had started so promisingly, and now, in the blink of an eye, he stood seconds away from losing his family. The tangle of guilt, anger, fear, longing, every emotion he could conceive of clouded his brain, but after a concerted effort he was surprised he was even able to muster, he pushed them all away. He needed his mind clear and his heart open if he hoped to salvage things, or at the very least, lay groundwork for doing so.
Each step down the hall felt like it took an eternity, but soon, he stood face-to-face with the door. He didn’t knock, but when he turned the knob, he found it locked.
“Looks like you figured out I don’t like to knock,” he said, and while his voice was clear, there was a faint tremble in it that wouldn’t be lost on Quinn. If she even cared to listen, that was.
“Quinn, please.” He turned somber. “Open the door. We need to talk.” He followed the words with a light rap.
gone?” she asked, her voice sounding muffled.
“Yes, I sent them all away; you needn’t worry.”
“Oh, out of sight, out of mind, is it? That explains a lot about you, Alexander,” she said, a bitter mix of sarcasm, hurt, and wrath in her tone.
He could feel the situation spiraling, more than it had already, and he needed to do something to get them back on track.
“Quinn, we need to talk, and we can’t do it through a closed door. Open the door.”
His tone was firm, brooked no argument, and to his surprise, he heard her shuffling and then the
of the door being unlocked, followed by the
that it always made when it opened. She didn’t open it fully, though. There was a mere crack, and from his vantage, he could see Ethan lying on her bed, but Quinn was nowhere to be seen.
“Down here, Alexander,” she said with exasperation.
Looking down and to the left, he saw her there, huddled against the door frame as if it were holding her up. Her knees were lifted toward her chest, arms resting primly on top of them. To the untrained eye, she looked serene, but Alexander knew better, knew that the tight bunching of her shoulders, the way she tapped her left foot, and most especially the way she chewed her bottom lip were all signs that Quinn was on the verge. Whether she’d collapse into herself as she had downstairs, or explode like a supernova, he didn’t know. But he needed to act.
He sat down on the opposite side of the door frame, Quinn visible in his peripheral vision and he in hers he presumed, and waited. He wasn’t intentionally stalling, or at least he didn’t think he was, but there was something hypnotic about sitting there silent, each soaking up the presence of the other.
Or maybe it was just the calm before the storm.
In either case, Alexander was reluctant to break the quiet, but it couldn’t be helped.
“How long have you been married to…her?” She spit out the last word with scorn.
He paused for a split second before he spoke, knowing the havoc he would wreak, powerless to avoid it.
“Fourteen years. We married when I was twenty-three, toward the end of university,” he said, looking over at Quinn, who refused to return his gaze.
“How lovely. A rare testament to fidelity and enduring love. Most marriages don’t even last half that long. Congratulations on beating the odds.”
Each word was a dagger tipped in scorn and tossed with the express purpose of wounding him. Based on the sharp sting in his chest and the hot flush of shame that rushed over him, they were having their intended effect.
Still, he fought on. “Quinn, it’s not like that. It never was.”
She turned her head quickly, eyes wide. “What’s it like, then? I’m so intrigued to hear how your relentless cheating on your wife of fifteen years is so different, how turning me into your…
, your whore, was something you absolutely had to do. Please try and justify that.”