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Home, sweet home….
Yeah, this is going to be a long week, I thought to myself, opening the door to my parents’ house. I haven’t been there for five years, and if it wasn’t for my brother’s wedding, I doubt I would go there any time soon.
Last time I was in Axbridge, in South West of England, I was graduating from school, dreaming about my fairy-tale future, and I was crazy in love with one of my classmates. Well, thank God, my life today wasn’t that pathetic. I was a student at the London School of Economics, and I definitely wasn’t in love with anyone.
I didn’t have time for boyfriends, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let any of those assholes that my friends usually dated ruin my life. I hated weddings and everything that reminded me of how easily falling in love could destroy everything that I ever dreamed of.
I knew most people didn’t share my point of view. Including my family, who was sure that being in my early twenties, I needed to think about a husband and kids.
That’s why I didn’t want to come to Owen’s wedding. I knew the members of my family would do their best to drive me up the wall, questioning me non-stop about my personal life, or to be exact — about the absence of such. But I loved my brother too much to upset him on such an important day of his life.
So here I am, standing in the foyer, with a suitcase in each hand; our dog licking my chamois shoes.
Great … apparently no one in this house expected to see me so soon.
“Mom? Dad? Anybody home?” I put my suitcases aside and patted Ginger, our old Rottweiler. Who on earth came up with such a stupid name for her? I had no idea. The dog’s fur was black, and I was sure that the existence of a few light-brown spots on her body wasn’t enough to call her Ginger. Obviously, some members of my family had a sick sense of humor.
“Does anyone want to give me a hug?” I looked into the dining room and the kitchen, but no one was there.
“I would gladly hug you, Sweetheart,” the voice behind me said.
I turned around, frowning. “Oh, really? Well, too bad I don’t hug strangers.” I crossed my arms, giving the guy one of the most evil glances I was capable of.
He smirked at my expression, and leaned leisurely against the door frame. “You must be Megan? A famous, runaway sister.”
Well, yeah. And who the hell are you, smart-ass?
“I’m sorry; I didn’t hear your name,” I said aloud. I wasn’t usually that aggressive with strangers, but whoever I was talking to, was trying my patience.
“My mistake,” the guy said, outstretching his hand. “Aiden Murphy.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said, ignoring the hand. “So, Mr. Murphy, would you be so kind as to explain your presence here? I don’t think I’ve missed my parents adopting a child or anything of the sort.”
The corners of my companion’s lips twisted sarcastically. “I’m sure you would have never missed such a big thing,” he said, devils dancing in his eyes. The guy was obviously enjoying the moment. “And I’m really happy not to be related to you, Megan.”
I raised my eyebrows, rather surprised. How was I supposed to react to his rudeness?
“Being a brother of such a charming creature would be a waste of my time.”
You have a lot of nerve, I thought, staring at him.
Aiden took a few steps closer, and stopped right in front of me. “And yes, these lips are too delicious for brother’s kisses,” he added in a murmur, his eyes flashed joyfully.
I was sure my cheeks turned red, and I desperately wanted to slap the jerk in the face, but I was too shocked to move. Finally I turned on my heels and stormed out of the room, not bothering to find out who the guy really was, and what he was doing in my house. The echo of his laughter followed me to what used to be my old room. I opened the door and slammed it shut behind me, hoping it was enough to show just how angry I was. The poor thing had no idea how furious I could be when someone pissed me off. Not that I turned into a serial killer of course, but I knew how to put people in their place.
He’d better stay out of my way.
And so my first day home began. I waited for about half an hour to go downstairs and then took my baggage. Thank God, Mr. Devil-may-care Charming was nowhere around. Did I just call him charming? Well, yes, I wasn’t blind after all. Aiden was tall and well-built, with a voice to die for, and a smile that promised a lot; he was dark-haired, and had the most incredible gray-blue eyes I had ever seen. He could be a perfect picture for a magazine’s cover, and I was sure he knew that too. Like most men of his sort.
I wasn’t a feminist, but I hated guys like Aiden: damn sexy, arrogant and too self-confident. They always got what they wanted, and the list of women visiting their beds was longer then Oxford street.
When I returned to my room, I unpacked my stuff, took a shower, and was just about to get dressed when the door flew open, and my mom’s warm arms locked around me.
“My, girl! I missed you so much!” she said excitedly, kissing every inch of my face.
“Yeah, I missed you too,” I said less enthusiastically, trying to escape from her grasp.
“How was your flight? I told your Dad to meet you at the airport, but he and Owen went to the church to talk to the priest about the wedding ceremony.”
“No worries. The taxi took me right to the front door,” I said, rubbing mom’s lipstick off my face. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the same with her stomach-turning perfume that I was sure was all over me now. Uh, I needed another shower.
“Oh, Dear! I’m so glad you are here!” Mom said, hugging me again. “We will have so much fun!”
“No doubt,” I muttered.
“The entertainments will start on Wednesday, so you will have a few days for yourself. Go to the hairdresser, do your nails, walk along the beach and forget about Economics at least for a while. It’s the middle of May outside! Girls of your age spend their time dating and enjoying life!”
Oh, no! I groaned mentally. Not that again! “Mom, please don’t start. I’m not like most of the girls of my age, and you know it. I have other priorities.”
“Like what? Wasting your time on numbers and dusty books?”
“I want to become a financial expert! And I will be one. And until then, yes, numbers and dusty books will be my only dates.”
“God, help me! My only daughter is going to leave me without grandchildren.”
For crying out loud! “Of course, not! I will have children. But not now. I’m twenty-two years old! I have a whole life to gift you with grandchildren, mother. Besides, I’m not your only child, and I’m sure that Owen and Mary are planning kids too.”
“Who knows how long I must wait for your brother to think about kids? Do you even know how much he works? I don’t know when he managed to make a proposal. He and Mary haven’t seen each other for months!”
“She lives God knows how far away from here! And you know her parents. They would have never let her live with Owen before the wedding. Her mother almost had a heart attack when she found out about me moving to London right after graduating from school. As if I were going to become a stripper, or worse.” I rolled my eyes.
“Well, I don’t want to judge anyone. All I’m saying is that I’m worried about you and your brother. I want to see you both happy!”
“I am happy, Mom. Happier than you think.”
“Does it mean that you are seeing someone?”
“Dating is not the only thing that makes girls happy.”
“At your age, Dear, it is what makes girls happy.”
“Okay, you win. I will consider the idea of finding a boyfriend. Are you happy now?”
“Very!” My mother smiled, clasping her hands. “There will be many nice boys at the wedding. You could….”
“Mom! I said I will consider the idea. I’m not going to throw myself at the very first guy I see!”
“Okay, Honey. We will not talk about it again. But don’t forget about my words. No matter how many times you say that you are happy without a man, no woman can be truly happy without one.”
That was my mom for you. She always said that woman’s happiness was in man’s hands. Well, maybe she was right, I didn’t know. I never had a serious relationship. Actually I thought I didn’t need such an unnecessary addition to my everyday life. At least not right now.
When my mom finally left, I went over to the bed and sank back against the pillows, closing my eyes. There was a time when I could spend hours lying like that and dreaming about Jeff. He was one of the most gorgeous guys I had ever met. All the girls from our school were crazy about him, including me.
But Jeff never looked in my direction. He flirted with my friends, laughed and asked them out. But I was out of his radar. And I couldn’t stop wondering why?
On the day of our prom I finally decided to talk to him. When another slow song started, I gathered up my courage and asked him for a dance. And to my surprise, he agreed at once. I was too shocked to speak, so he spoke first.
“I would have never imagined that you would ask me for a dance,” he said, smiling.
“Why so? You think I’m not good enough to dance with you?”
“Actually I thought I wasn’t good enough to dance with you?”
“Well, yes. You never noticed me. You never stopped to talk, you always ran away when I came to say ‘hi’. I thought you hated me, although I didn’t know why.”
“I hated you? No, I…” What was I supposed to say? That I had been crazy in love with him since the first grade? No, I wasn’t going to admit it. “I never hated you, I was too busy studying.”
He was obviously wrong about me, but I didn’t try to change his opinion. Instead, I thanked him for the dance and left the ballroom, holding my head as high as I could.
Later that night, I heard him talking to his friends, “People like Megan always get what they want. But in reality, they are nothing without their daddies and money.”
It was like a splash of cold water that turned into tears running down my cheeks. I ran as fast as I could. And when I stopped, I was in my room, packing things and leaving home in a hurry.
I had a cousin in London, who helped me settle down in the big city. My parents called me non-stop, asking me to come back home. But I never did … until today.
I did my best to prove to everyone and myself that I wasn’t just a little girl who couldn’t take care of herself. I enrolled at college, found a job, and rented an apartment in the north-west of London. It wasn’t big, but I could pay for it and leave some earnings for myself.
I never took money from my parents or my brother, who always made sure that my debit card was full. I didn’t use it, but I promised him to keep it just in case anything unpredictable happened. I was proud of my independent life, and I wasn’t going to let anyone take it away from me, let alone break my heart, and leave me crying into my pillow. Maybe now I looked like a real snow queen, I didn’t care. My icy crown was the most comfortable thing I ever wore.
Every day of Megan’s life was carefully planned. Freedom and independence had been her best friends for years. Until one day she met Aiden, whose priorities were so much like hers….
What happens when attraction wins?
What happens when poles apart become equal?
What happens when the flames of passion burn everything in their way?
Is there still a chance to resist the power of magnetism?
The walls of inaccessibility will come crashing down. Everything she thought was unacceptable he will turn into pure pleasure….
Dive into the world of Hate at First Sight to see if hate can become something completely different….
Read a teaser
About the author:
Diana Nixon is a poet and the author of fantasy and contemporary romances. She was born in Minsk, Belarus, where she currently lives. In 2008 she graduated from Belorussian state University. She has a Master of Law degree and speaks several foreign languages, including English, Polish and Spanish.
Official page: http://www.diananixon.blogspot.com/