Read an Excerpt
Lovers Not Friends
By Helen Brooks
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. All right reserved. ISBN: 0-373-80539-X
Chapter One"You know I'll never let you go, don't you? I'd rather kill you than let anyone else have you."
"Don't Blade me! You're mine, Amy, you'll always be mine - one way or another."
"You're crazy -"
"About you? Maybe -" the glittering black eyes were merciless "- but you know me well
enough by now to know that I'm not in the habit of making idle threats. You'll pay for what
you've done. Believe me, I can make you wish you'd never been born. And when the payment
is over -" the hard handsome face could have been carved in stone "- you'll still be my wife,
my wife, Amy."
"No!" The tortured scream that was wrenched from her throat brought her awake in one violent
movement as she jerked upright in the small narrow bed. It was a dream, just a dream ... She
brought her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms round her legs as she let her pounding
heart slow into a more normal rhythm. He wasn't here, he hadn't found her ... yet. The dream
was still too vivid to let her keep back the fears she held at bay in the clear light of day. He
would find her. She shook her head with a little moan as the silky sweep of soft golden hair
covered her damp face. She had been mad to run away like that; she should have thought it out
properly, made plans. No one crossed Blade Forbes and got away with it, no one, let alone his
young wife of six months. His power and influence stretched long tentacles everywhere; what
could she do?
Nothing. She climbed out of the bed wearily, padding across the small square room and flicking
the switch on the coffee-maker with a long sigh as she glanced out of the high, narrow window,
her gaze moving past the old stone wall holding the overgrown garden in check, and out over
the green fields rising steeply into the distance. The cold grey light of early morning was filling the
small room with a dull glow, but outside the harsh sweep of sky was swept clean in readiness
for a new day.
Blade. She wrapped her arms tightly round her waist as she let herself think, really think for the
first time in weeks. Blade Forbes, American business tycoon extraordinaire, hard, dynamic,
with a reputation for ruthlessness that bordered on the extreme, and yet ... She shut her eyes
tightly as her thoughts sped on. With her he had been gentle, tender, loving, displaying an
understanding that she had never dreamed possible in such an arrogant, masculine man. She
swayed slightly as the agony that filled every waking moment with a dull ache swamped her
afresh, racking her slender body with physical pain. They had been so happy, so in love.
"Stop it, Amy." She spoke out loud into the empty room, her beautiful delicate face white with
strain. These endless post-mortems would do no good; it was over, irrevocably over. Loving
him as she did, she had had no choice but to leave, and nothing had changed.
As she got ready for work later that morning, the dull, damp start to the day had changed with
the mercurial capriciousness of English weather into bright sunshine, a fragrant wave of fresh
Yorkshire air filling the small room with the scents of thick moorland turf and wild flowers from
the hills beyond, reminding her that summer was just around the corner. This would have been
her first summer as a married woman ...
The thought was still with her as she arrived at the small restaurant just after one but, within
minutes, the hectic bustle in the tiny kitchen had reduced the gnawing pain to the familiar
She had been lucky to find this job, she thought quietly, glancing round the shining room that
was filled to capacity if more than a few people had the misfortune to be in it at the same time.
When she had arrived in the Yorkshire Dales three months ago, stunned and shattered at the
enormous step she had taken, she hadn't had any definite thought for the future beyond hiding
for a few weeks out of Blade's reach before maybe trying to make her way abroad.
But then the calm, slow peace of the place had worked its spell on her sore heart, and when her
money had run out she had heard about this job from the motherly landlady of the tiny guest- house where she was staying. She didn't want to use a penny of the vast bank account Blade
had set up for her; that part of her life was over with for good, and so it was essential she
provide for herself.
The previous assistant cook, waitress and jack-of-all-trades had up and left with a visiting
salesman, leaving her husband and children in the process. "A flighty piece if ever I did see one,"
Mrs Cox had grimaced disapprovingly, nodding her grey head like a plump, well-fed little
pigeon, and the owner of the restaurant had welcomed Amy with open arms even before he had
heard about the three-year course she had completed at college in catering economics.
And so she had stayed. As she ladled thick meaty homemade soup into squat earthenware
bowls, she reflected on the intricacy of the web of life. It had been her job that had first brought
her into Blade's life and now it was the means of allowing her to survive away from him. She
needed the long hours and hard work more than her employer would ever know.
"All right, Amy?" She came out of her reverie to find Arthur Kelly watching her mildly, his blunt
Yorkshireman's face enquiring. "Feeling under the weather, lass?"
"No, I'm fine, Arthur. I'm sorry, I was just daydreaming." She smiled quickly as she placed the
bowls on the tray and prepared to leave the kitchen for the dining area beyond. Arthur was
typical of the average Yorkshire native, kind, forthright, but holding to the principle of minding
his own business, for which she was supremely grateful. Both her landlady and employer must
have wondered at her abrupt arrival into their little community, but they had asked no questions,
either directly or indirectly, even when at times the deep mauve shadows under her eyes must
have spoken volumes.
She had just placed the two bowls of steaming soup, along with a basket of freshly baked bread
rolls, in front of the young couple who had ordered them when the old traditional bell on the
front door jangled a new arrival. She felt no presentiment as she turned, no apprehension or
sixth sense to warn her that her fragile equilibrium was about to be blown apart.
"Hello, Amy." His voice was quiet, too quiet, and the narrowed eyes were deadly.
"Blade ..." As her face drained of colour she was conscious, for one piercing moment, of a rush
of fierce joy at seeing him again, which was quite ridiculous in the circumstances, and then, as
the full horror of the situation swept in on her, she thought for one desperate moment that she
was going to faint.
Excerpted from Lovers Not Friends by Helen Brooks
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.