by Alison Brodie
Ruthless, stubborn and loyal.
Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.
When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters, and shotguns.
Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!
Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill or be killed.
As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:
How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?
And is Zenka really who she says she is?
At ten o’clock, the doorbell buzzed. Nicholas padded down the stairs, smiling grimly as he imagined the battle-ax standing on the doorstep, a battle-ax who would storm into Jason’s room and order him to get his lazy butt out of bed and tidy up his mess.
Nicholas opened the door to see the top of a dripping blue umbrella. He saw it lift slowly to reveal a face. The small pointed chin and full lips belonged to a little girl, but the slanted green eyes belonged to a porno queen.
It took a moment for him to find his voice. ‘Can I help you?’
‘I am Zenka.’ Her accent was Eastern European, her voice husky. She smiled and held up a pair of yellow Marigold gloves.
Her smile was blinding. It took him a moment to drag his eyes from her to the Marigold gloves. He looked at them. He looked at her. Somehow, it seemed, they were connected.
A cloud of anxiety moved over her face. ‘You not vant me cleaning?’
‘Cleaning?’ He felt a jolt. She was the cleaning lady!
He quickly collected himself. ‘Come in, come in.’ He snatched the umbrella from her. ‘I’m upstairs. It’s not very big. It shouldn’t take you long. You might need a hand … you know … with-’
Stop babbling! he screamed inwardly.
As she threw off her hood, long red hair cascaded down over her shoulders, alive and bouncing, and screaming to be touched.
He clapped his hands vigorously. It made him think of a scoutmaster summoning his troop. ‘O-kay! Let’s get to it!
He led the way, his nerve-ends alive to her presence, every male testosterone and mating instinct flashing on red alert. At the door of the flat, he stood back to let her enter. The shy look she gave him from under her black lashes made him catch his breath, and for the first time in his life, he was aware of his heart.
‘Your home is so pretty,’ she exclaimed, looking around. She handed him a leaflet. ‘I saw this on doormat. Thai boxing. That for you?’
He barely glanced at it. Everything about her was sensual; her little nose, the way she moved her lips to speak, and her eyes, oh God, her eyes, sliding to look at him from under thick black lashes, seeming to say: “I want to be friends with you, if you want to be friends with me.”
Nicholas, mesmerized, watched his beautiful visitor inspect the ornaments on the mantelpiece. Suddenly, she looked back at him and smiled. His reaction was instantaneous. It was the quickest, widest smile he had ever given.
‘Ver do you want me to start vith you, Mr. Jaffrey?’
‘Nicholas.’ He couldn’t get the word out fast enough. ‘Call me Nicholas.’
She tried his name, speaking delicately, as if caressing the air with her breath, the “o” sound puckering those beautiful lips: ‘N-i-c-h-o-l-a-s.’
He sat down to hide his erection, thankful that she had gone into the kitchen. He felt the grin spread across his face. Oh, Jason, Jason, you stupid twat. Look what you’re missing. Nicholas was not prepared to share Zenka with that Neanderthal. Thankfully, Jason held his Saturday morning lie-ins sacred, and would never meet her.
Zenka stood in the doorway of the kitchen. She had removed her raincoat and now wore a little French maid’s. She held up the bucket and mop. ‘I begin,’ she announced. As she pivoted into the kitchen, he glimpsed frilly white knickers. He got to his feet and followed.
‘Let me help you,’ he offered.
‘Frankly, Nicholas, I’m not impressed.’ It was twelve-thirty and Jason had just woken up, bleary-eyed and cantankerous. He inspected the kitchen sink. ‘Bloody hell, it’s filthy! Look at the crud. And the cooker!’ He ran a finger over it and held up a greasy fingertip in evidence.
Nicholas smothered a laugh. Jason was behaving like Lady Davenport-Tewksbury. ‘When did you get so house-proud?’ Nicholas asked, putting away the cleaning products.
Jason stiffened, outraged by the slur. ‘I’m not house-proud for your sodding information, but I know when some tit has been ripped off. And you, mate, have been royally ripped off.’
‘I’m happy with what she’s done.’
‘What?’ Jason swung wildly. ‘What has she done?’ He pointed to the window. ‘Look!’ Squinting, he inspected the glass, ducking from side to side as if dodging bullets. ‘Look at those smears. They weren’t even there before!’
Nicholas sighed contentedly. He had spent two glorious fun-filled hours with Zenka; his only regret was that – because of the agency’s strict rules – she couldn’t give him her phone number. They’d giggled when she hoovered up the duster. He had physically melted when she tapped a puff of Fairy Liquid foam on his nose. He had blown up the Marigold gloves until they looked like udders and proudly displayed them on his chest. He had shoved two chopsticks up under his top lip and hopped about the kitchen like a rabbit, making her buckle up against the fridge in helpless laughter.
They had talked … well …. he had bombarded her with questions. She was Hungarian. No, she didn’t have a boyfriend. She told him she was attracted to men who were brave and strong. ‘I want someone who can protect me,’ she’d kept insisting. ‘A man who is not scared to use his fists.’
He knew, at that moment, he would become that man … whatever it took.
Alison Brodie – Bio
Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side.
Alison Brodie is an international best-selling author. Her books having been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland).
BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review
THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.
ZENKA will be releasing on Nov 6, 2017.
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