Th ere was a reason Roland loved his fl ashy red sports car. It was fast. He
sent a silent prayer of thanks upwards that there was no traffi c. It was probably
because of the rain and the late hour. His phone began to ring as he rounded
a bend. He groped for it and it fell to the fl oor of the car. Holy hell. With his
eyes still on the road, he began to feel around for the phone on the fl oor but
couldn’t reach it.
He took his eyes off the road for a second, located the phone, sat up, and
cursed. A few feet away from him a girl was attempting to cross the road. If
he didn’t act fast he’d kill her. He hit the brakes, and his tires squealed and
he brought the car to a stop. His heart pounding, he ran around the car to
check on the girl. “Are you alright?” She was on the fl oor, trying to sit up. He
sighed in relief.
She was alive. Th at was a good start. “Are you alright?” he asked again.
Th e girl turned around to face him and Roland’s heart stopped.
It was her.
Khali winced at the cuss. “Th ere’s nothing holy about hell.” She chided
Roland grinned. Th at was her alright, still high and mighty. He folded his
arms across his chest. “We really should stop meeting like this. You know, the
whole bumping- into- each- other-making-contact-with-fl oor thing. I bet you
thought I’d never fi nd you.”
Khali was getting more irritated by the minute. All the confusing feelings
she had for this guy, which had waned over time, came slamming against her
heart relentlessly. He’d nearly hit her, and now he was standing there, a silly
grin on his handsome face. She moved from annoyed to royally pissed.
“You do realize I’m still sitting on the cold, hard, wet fl oor.” Apparently
the chill in her voice did its job, as the ridiculous smile was replaced by a look
of concern. He extended his arm to help her up.
“I’m sorry. Are you hurt?”
Khali slapped his hands away. “I am capable of handling the simple task
of getting myself off the fl oor, which is more than I can say for your driving.”
For a second Roland was lost for words. Incredible. Th is girl was sitting on
the fl oor and covered in mud, and she was still acting as though she was seated
on the throne in Buckingham palace with a golden crown on her head. She was
going to have to lose the attitude if they were going to make any progress here.
But somehow Roland felt like he should take the fi rst step at making peace.
After all, he did nearly just kill her. He took a step closer, “Listen.”
Khali was not done. “No you listen. You see that?” She pointed to a zebra
crossing a few feet away. People usually slow down when they get to a zebra
“Well you don’t look like a zebra to me.” Roland regretted his statement
the minute he said it. But he couldn’t help it, the more she climbed onto her
high horse, the more he felt like pulling her down.
“Is that supposed to be funny? She yelled. “You nearly killed me.”
Roland winced. He didn’t want to think of what could have happened if
he had not seen her in time. Of course, he would not let her see how much he
cared. Taunting this girl was so much fun. “I’m sorry. I tend to say the most
inappropriate things in the presence of such hostility.”
He realized she was still sitting on the fl oor just to spite him. Which was
really silly. How far would she go just to hold on to her pride? He tried to
reason with her. “You look ridiculous sitting on the fl oor. I look even more
ridiculous having this conversation with you while you sit on the fl oor. Now
let me help you up.”
“Whose fault is it that I’m on the fl oor in the fi rst place? Khali probably
didn’t realize it, but she was pouting. Th is drew Roland’s attention to her lips.
She pouted rather prettily.
Roland’s heart slammed against his ribcage. And he felt a wave of tenderness
he couldn’t place. “I tried to help you. You wouldn’t let me.”
“You asked me once. You didn’t insist. Chivalry is completely dead.”
Roland’s jaw dropped in shock. Now this conversation was getting plain
stupid. “I didn’t… Get up this instant.” He held her arm to pull her up and
“Don’t touch me.”
Roland lifted his hand palms out and watched her lift herself up awkwardly.
She yelped when she got to her feet. Roland’s response was automatic. He was
holding her in his arms before he realized it. He looked at her feet. “What is
it? Are you hurt?” her delay in giving him an answer had him moving his gaze
from her feet to her face.
Khali felt like she had been hypnotized. Being in this man’s arms, felt like
been in a fortress. Only safer, warmer, heavenly. She wanted to trace the lines of
his muscles, throw her arms around his neck, hang on forever. Her gaze moved
to his eyes. And she was lost. Th ey were a sweet shade of brown, like chocolate,
the answer to a woman’s depression. Brown gleaming eyes with fl ecks of gold,
fi lled with something akin to awe, reverence, longing… desire.
His gaze dropped to her lips, and back to her eyes. She was been sucked
into the depths of those gorgeous eyes. He licked his lips, and she was a
goner. Her eyes fl uttered. She felt his lips graze hers. She tasted the promise
of something sweet. And dangerous. Her skin tingled. Because of his lips.
Khali’s eyes snapped open. Good Lord. What was she doing? Th is was
Roland Degraft. Th e playboy, egocentric, arrogant, disrespectful Roland. And
she was nearly kissing him. She was dirty and wet and angry and she still
wanted to kiss him? She pushed him away so suddenly he stumbled.
“Don’t say hell.”
“Heaven.” He fi nished lamely.
Khali stifl ed a smile. She was mad at this guy. Smiling at him wouldn’t
do. God, she’d nearly kissed him. Roland Degraft. Well, she’d deal with her
stupidity when she got home. Now, she had to deal with him. “What was
that?” she yelled at him.
“What was what?” he was grinning again.
“We were, I mean you were.’’
He raised an eyebrow. She was stammering. Apparently he wasn’t the only
one who was aff ected by the near kiss.
“Kissing you?’’ He was goading her
“You assaulted me.”
“Baby, if I had assaulted you, trust me, you’d know.” He began to move
closer to her, his intention was not lost on Khali. He was going to kiss her
“Get away from me’’. She began to limp away. ‘‘And don’t call me baby.’’
Th ere was nobody around. Th e whole neighborhood was dark, save for
the dim street lights. Instead of illuminating the street, they cast shadows
everywhere .Th is place was not safe. It was almost midnight and miss high
and mighty was limping away.
Roland crossed his arms and growled. “Where the hell are you going?”
Without so much as a pause in her limping, she said “Do not swear in my
“Oh I’m sorry your majesty, if I may be so forward and bold to enquire.
Where the hell are you going?” She just kept on limping away. She must be in
pain. How far was she going to go to prove a point?
He still didn’t follow her. She was moving very slowly. A few steps and he
would catch up with her.
“You’ve got to be reasonable. But of course, you can’t be reasonable. You’re
a spoiled little girl who just insists on throwing her toys out of her pram.’’
She gasped and twirled around; managing to do so gracefully despite the
pain she was obviously feeling. “I am not a little girl.”
“At least you didn’t deny the spoiled part.’’
She angrily threw her key at him and he caught it eff ortlessly.
“Such a temper. And here I was, thinking you were a little girl. No. What
you are, is a tigress.’’
She buried her face in her hands and groaned. Would this nightmare
“Come on be reasonable. You can’t just limp around. Th ere’s no one here,
and it’s late. I can’t leave you here.” He sighed. ‘’I won’t leave you here.” Th ere
was no way he would.
He was really concerned about her, and it carried through in his voice.
Khali’s shoulders sagged a little and she looked less angry. Th en Roland said
“Of course, it’s not that I care so much. I just don’t want your blood on my
hands if anything happens to you.”
Th e anger that had dissipated a moment ago came rushing back. She
gritted her teeth. “Don’t worry . If anything happens to me, my blood will
be on the street, not on your hands.” She took a step and screamed in pain,
nearly toppling over.
“Th at does it.” Roland rushed forward and caught her before she hit
the fl oor. He threw her over his shoulder and Khali began to yell at him
“Put me down. Let go of me, you Neanderthal . You’re behaving like a
caveman.’’ Khali gasped in shock when he smacked lightly her on the butt and
said, “Oh do be quiet.”
“How dare you. Put me down.”
He set her on the front passenger seat of his car and shut the door. She
began to open the door. Roland mimicked his mother’s tone and managed to
school his expression into a threatening look. “So help me if you open that
door…’’ he smiled triumphantly and sent a silent thanks to his mother when
Khali closed the door and settled down in her seat.
He run round the car, got in and started it. Th ey both remained silent for
about fi ve minutes . Roland slanted a sideways glance. She really was beautiful .
And so damn stubborn. He focused on her lips, remembering their almost kiss.
She’d been so pliant in his arms.
Looking at her now, he couldn’t believe she’d almost kissed him. He was
going to have fun taming this one. He cleared his throat. “What was that you
pulled at the airport? More to the point, why did you do that?
“Because you are an arrogant pig, you’re rude and disrespectful and you’ve
got an ego the size of the Sahara.”
He feigned shock. “What the hell are you talking about?’’
“Again with the swearing, you add something new to the list every day.’’
“What list? I’m afraid to ask.”
“Th e list of things that make you a jerk. Th is is the fi rst one.’’ She mimicked
his English accent. “I am Roland Degraft, I am God’s gift to women. Chicks
Roland laughed. “Th ey do.’’
She wrinkled her nose. “Well I most certainly do not.”
Roland snorted. “Of course you don’t. Th at’s why you’re wearing my face
on your …’’. He searched for a euphemism, since he thought she’d fi nd him
using the word breast off ensive. He settled for bosom. He stared at the body
part in question. “And that’s really quite impressive.’’
“Don’t fl atter yourself’’ he told her when she wrapped her arms around
herself. “I was referring to my face in the shirt.”
She opened her mouth to respond, and then suddenly realized they were
in a part of town she didn’t recognize.
“Where are you taking me?’’
“Th e hospital.’’
“I don’t want to go to the hospital, I want to go home.’’
“Relax baby, are you afraid of needles?”
“Don’t call me baby.’’
“Fine, you got a name?”
“Yes.” He waited for her to tell him. He glanced at her. She obviously wasn’t
going to tell him.
“Well, are you going to tell it to me?”
“It’s none of your business.”
He rounded a bend. Th e drive way of the hospital appeared
“Nice name. I’m taking you to the hospital and that’s fi nal.”
“Don’t talk to me with that tone of voice. I’m not a child.”
“Ha, you could have fooled me.”