Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers!
by Jenna Jaxon
Hal stood in the middle of the room, his even-featured face hardening. His hand clenched on a small, brightly wrapped box Tess noticed only when the paper ripped under the strain. Oh, shit! He did get her a ring! I’m going to kill the bitch myself.
He must have seen her eyes on the present because he gave a sharp laugh and thrust the box at her. “Here, Tess. You take it instead. Payment for services rendered.”
Hands trembling, she took the small box. “I can’t take this, Hal. You should return it.”
“Open it.” The command was harsh.
“I’m really sorry she did this to you, Hal.” She looked at his face but it had been wiped clean of emotion.
“Open it. Please?”
Tessa finished tearing the red and white striped paper away, and exposed a small, burgundy velvet case. She raised the lid of the clamshell to reveal diamond earrings. A match for the necklace he had given Janice. “Oh, Hal. They’re beautiful.”
“Do you want them?”
The words staggered Tess, constricted the air in her lungs. Those earrings could be sold, maybe help her to live until she found a real job. She raised her face and swallowed. “I can’t take these, Hal.”
“Not even for services rendered?”
Her heart took off like a racecar. “Wh…what do you mean?”
The dark eyes glittered wickedly. “For delivering your sister’s message.” She sucked in air, able to breathe again. “Though there is another service you could do that would put paid to the account.”
Tess stared at him. Her pulse raced and her mouth turned dry as he pulled his shirt out of his pants and started to unbutton it. She glanced down at the diamonds in her hands then raised her chin. “What do you want me to do?”
That’s installment #3. Find out the end of the story tomorrow! Hope you have a safe and happy Christmas Eve. Happy Holidays!