Author Spotlight: Anthina Paris & Giveaway

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**Special Offer!**RockHill Publishing is offering a 50% discount on ALL eBooks direct from their website!Enter the discount code RHP50 (not case sensitive) when you checkout here: https://rockhillpublishing.com/the-bookstore.html#!/Virtual-Library/c/35567162/

When Dani Smiled by Athina Paris Genre: Romantic Suspense

Stranded on the side of a highway, Dani, a young fashion designer and IT expert, calls to reschedule an important interview, only to discover that her future boss is in the hospital. Nicholas, playboy and heir to Galfrey’s, can’t help but be intrigued by the young woman’s voice on the phone and races to her rescue. Attraction is immediate and mutual, but whereas Nicholas has never waited for anything in his life, Dani quickly dampens his enthusiasm by refusing to be rushed into a casual liaison. Sams is handsome, ambitious, and rich, but also self- centred, with huge self-entitlement issues, manipulative, and believes Dani belongs to him. A master programmer, he is also no fool and realises that he is about to lose what he has never had; Dani, and so begins a dangerous stalking game. It is up to Dani not only to outsmart Sams, but also save Galfrey’s and herself, as Sams is the keeper of a secret, which he hopes will coerce her into submitting to his twisted desires. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Rock Hill Publishing

Love & Madness by Athina Paris Genre: Romantic Suspense

Benjamin Powell believes he has begun an empire. He has three sons and owns the most successful construction company. But it all begins to crumble when he chooses to manipulate their lives. Twenty-seven years later, the consequences of his decisions are still being felt. Three women enter this world and fall in love with the Powell men – Sofia, Christie, and Gloria – they will suffer, fight, win, and lose. Can one or all find their way back to happiness; whether with the man she loves, or with someone else? Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Rock Hill Publishing

Knight Kisses by Athina Paris Genre: Contemporary Romance

After losing her mother to cancer, Gabrielle swears off love. Because loving hurts too much when things go wrong. Then, she travels to Africa to meet her father – a man whose existence she was oblivious to. Before long, there is also a baby sister to look after, and intuitively she knows that she needs to protect her. Promptly, there is another tragedy, and more than ever, Gabrielle realises how wise she is to lock away her heart. But that was before she met Jonathan Knight, a man who amuses and confuses her, and Paul, his best friend, who is just as smart and funny. Through an unfortunate sequence of events, she finds herself in a troublesome situation, but being who she is, she tries to handle it alone, unwittingly sinking into a morass of danger. A solution comes in the form of Paul, who makes a harebrained suggestion, which Jonathan – for reasons of his own – grabs and presents her with the providential arrangement. Instinctively, she declines the proposal, but Jonathan is persuasive and paints a wonderful picture of security. She accepts out of need, but soon, Jonathan’s ulterior motives unravel, and nothing is as it should be. But she can’t disclose the truth, for her secret could undo the safe future she is trying to create for her little sister. Add to Goodreads Amazon * Rock Hill Publishing

All I Ever Wanted: Jessie by Athina Paris Genre: Contemporary Romance

When Jessie meets John at college, they begin a friendship that should have never happened, for the Stevens and Barrymores parted ways 60 years ago, under acrimonious circumstances. Then, John complicates things further by taking her to the family home and hiding her identity from his family. She meets his three brothers, and soon finds herself embroiled in four very different relationships. Which one will be the love of her life? James, the heir to the Barrymore fortune. Mathew, the heartbreaker. Mark, the one who gives her sleepless night, or John, her best friend? But can anything meaningful come out of these fateful encounters, when it has all been started on the shaky ground of subterfuge? Add to Goodreads Amazon * Rock Hill Publishing **Special Offer!**RockHill Publishing is offering a 50% discount on ALL eBooks direct from their website!Enter the discount code RHP50 (not case sensitive) when you checkout here: https://rockhillpublishing.com/the-bookstore.html#!/Virtual-Library/c/35567162/

Athina Paris lives in South Africa but spent her formative years in Mozambique, where she was born and went to school. Years in convents and boarding schools prompted a deep curiosity and the need to liberate her mind, which quickly developed into an avid interest in reading and storytelling and led to a lifelong obsession with the written word and books. By fifteen she had read most of the classics, discovered ancient civilizations and became fascinated with various mythologies; a love she has kept to this day. Raised in a culture where meddling is seen as ‘caring’, she became a spectator of human nature. Quiet and shy, she preferred recording conduct rather than participating in what she calls familial mass hysteria, and so built a treasure-trove of relationship observations from which she eventually drew backgrounds for the characters in her romantic novels. She studied Interior Design, but soon felt the pull of her dormant talent and turned to Creative Writing, as she realised the significance of those notebooks packed with ideas. She soon followed it with Scriptwriting. Set in faraway and exotic places, Athina’s epic romantic work takes her characters on voyages of self-discovery while dealing with catastrophic love lives and an imperfect world. A stint as a high school English teacher polished her skills. However, she has recently vacated the position to concentrate on her professional goals of writing, editing and proofreading. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

When Dani Smiled

CHAPTER ONE

Dani clutched the portfolio pages tightly to her chest as
she stepped out the door and glanced at the January sky. It
was clear in the east but ominous clouds gathered in the
west, broadcasting a possible downpour. Typical
Johannesburg weather, surprises every other hour. She
held the drawings closer, not prepared to lose years of
hard work to potential torrents. Better rush too if she
planned to make it to the art shop before ten; had to look
professional at the interview.
She gazed at her Jack Russell sitting on Mrs. Brown’s
windowsill, glad the kind woman had offered to look after
the little rascal whenever she was out. She tapped the
glass and there was an instant pricking of ears and
wagging of tail. She smiled at the furry face staring back at
her, ‘Coco, go play.’ Instead, Coco hopped around, pawed
the pane, and licked it. Poor Mrs. Brown, another
slobbered window to clean.
Coco had been a gift from Sams, and generally, she
regretted accepting anything from him, because every
time she did, he felt entitled to some part of her life. She
was convinced Sams was a freak of nature, because he was
that one thing so many men wanted to be but were not,
and she could not remember a time when he had not been
number one at just about everything he had put his mind
to throughout their school years. As far back as she could
recall he had always been good-looking, smart, charming,


and excelled at sports, especially rugby. A lot of idolatry
had flown around that school. He thrived on it, she found
it disturbing.
Her heart dropped as she reached her car, there was a
deep dent and crack on the Beetle’s front bumper. She
peered at it, poked it, gave it a kick then looked around;
trying to find someone who might explain it, but there was
no one in sight. Now, when exactly did this happen, here,
or at some parking lot? Her father had bought it just two
months previously.
‘Ugh,’ she uttered. It was a new car with a scar and she
with no idea how it had been inflicted. She felt like crying
but what would that accomplish? She should have known
then that this was not to be a normal day but ever the
eternal optimist she set forth into it as if it were an
adventure.
The damaged bumper returned her thoughts to Sams.
Once, when they were still learning how to drive, he had
taken his mother’s car without permission and gone over
to her house. She hated it when he turned up
unexpectedly because he was constantly looking for things
she did not intend giving him.
He sort of kissed her… She labelled it sort of, because
she had been unresponsive. However, when he forced his
tongue into her mouth, she became responsive, by
pushing him away and locking herself in her bedroom.
Sams did not understand or accept rejection easily and left
in a huff. She should rephrase that, he tried to leave in a
huff but proceeded to scratch a long ugly line all the way

When Dani Smiled
down the car’s side as he drove past the gate, so instead,
he left in a furious mood.

Something curious happened to Sams that particular
January morning. Just as he was about to sit down to write
an exam, he had the overwhelming urge to call Dani, not a
mere flicker of an idea, but a burning anxiety to contact
her. He glanced at the time. Nothing doing, that call had to
wait until he was done here, and that was at the very least
two hours away. Yet, the urgency persisted. He glanced at
the clock again then shrugged; there was nothing he could
do about it now. Slowly, the feeling waned, then,
vanished, having lasted a total of two minutes.
Sams was not to know that two powerful forces were
at work that morning; the first endeavoured to give him
another chance at attaining what he wanted, and the
second conspired to give Dani what she needed.
He was not to know that had he given up writing that
exam and called her, the selfless gesture would have
finally shown him in the light he wished to be seen, and
worked favourably in his pursuit of Dani Marie Creswell.
For at that very moment, she stood on the side of a
highway, cursing the damaged bumper that had come off
completely. She had ridden over the mangled mess and it
was now stubbornly stuck under the Beetle, with a sharp
edge dug deep into the front right tyre, which leaned at a
strange angle in shreds to the right.


Now, did she call to announce that she would be late for
her interview, get a tow-truck, inform insurance, or her
father? Safe was probably the best way to go about this.
‘Galfrey’s, good morning,’ said a prim and proper
voice.
After a quick greeting, she stated her business. ‘…I
have an interview with Mr. Ridley at eleven, but I would
like to speak with him first, if possible.’
‘One moment please.’ Prim and proper checked the
schedule. ‘Are you sure it’s today?’
‘Yes.’
‘Why are you calling?’
Did people not listen? ‘I have an interview but I’m in a
bit of a situation.’
Prim and proper glanced at the schedule on the
computer screen. She was here three days and did not yet
understand all the lists, rolls, rosters, appointments,
interviews, and consultations. And the name Ridley… now
what was it that she was forgetting? ‘Miss Creswell, what
are you coming in for? I don’t have a Mr. Ridley on my
register.’
‘I’m coming for…’ What was that absurd title?
‘Creative Virtual Assistant,’ she didn’t think it had anything
to do with fashion, but Mr. Ridley had called because her
former lecturer, Julia Morris, had referred her. He had not
divulged much else either, except to mention that he was
from Galfrey’s IT Department, as he had been in a rush to
get somewhere. The mere fact that he was from Galfrey’s
was exciting enough, but she would have preferred it if
one of the designing department heads had called.

When Dani Smiled
‘Now I know where to look.’ Prim and proper said, but
she didn’t. Removing the earpiece, she pressed
speakerphone on, so she could talk as she wheeled herself
to the other computer.
A man sauntered over to the workstation and stopped,
seemingly having something of importance to impart.
Becoming aware of his presence, prim and proper
blushed. Who could concentrate with a man like him
standing around? Besides, she had no clue what to tell the
young woman at the other end where her interview was,
or where to find Mr. Ridley. She pressed a few keys, but
unable to find the required information, glanced towards
the man.
Seeing she was flustered and in some quandary,
Nicholas decided to step in. ‘Is there something I can help
you with?’ He asked and focused on the name tag on her
breast. ‘Simone.’
‘Sorry sir, but I can’t find Mr. Ridley on my roster.’
For a moment he didn’t know if he should find it funny
or simply a lack of professionalism, then realising this was
the new receptionist, who had started mere days
ago—without receiving much training as the previous one
had simply left for who knew where or what reason—he
accepted that she was probably not aware of much yet.
‘Simone, Mr. Ridley is in the hospital, he was involved in a
serious car accident five days ago.’
Prim and proper gasped, that’s what she had
forgotten. But she heard of it on her very first day, while
trying to assimilate all that was going on and, well… ‘Miss
Creswell, I have terrible news.’

[Type here]
Dani caught prim and proper’s gasp loud and clear, just
been unable to follow the discussion that preceded it, so
resigned to disaster for the rest of the day, she retorted
annoyed. ‘Well, what can you do, just give them to me.
Can’t be worse than what I’m looking at.’
Nicholas grinned at the sarcasm and leaned against the
granite counter. Now this he had to hear.
‘Mr. Ridley had an accident and is in hospital. When his
PA called to ask for the list, I emailed it back, so I don’t…’
She opened a file on the PC and clicked a few times. ‘Oh
bother, there were three pages, the first only had two
names, the second was blank, so I didn’t see yours on the
third.’ She muttered.
Dani was upset. If they had checked their
appointments properly, they could have called and
avoided all of this. ‘What am I supposed to do now? I’m
stuck, and alone. Are you coming to keep me company?’
Prim and proper’s face turned red. ‘Excuse me?’
‘I am stuck on the side of the highway, on my way to a
place I shouldn’t have been on my way to, some careless
person damaged the front bumper, so it has now fallen off
and become lodged under the car, there is a punctured
and destroyed tyre, and I can’t do anything until a tow-
truck gets here. I also need to call the insurance. I just
thought I should let Mr. Ridley know first.’
Intrigued by venting lungs, Nicholas decided to step in
again. ‘Who is that?’
‘Please hold,’ Simone muted the line. ‘Miss Creswell,
sir. She was supposed to see Mr. Ridley today, but her

When Dani Smiled
interview wasn’t cancelled… so this.’ She made an
apologetic gesture and pointed to the phone.
‘Ask her where she is and we will send someone to
pick her up and take her home. It’s the least we can do.
Then, check with Mr. Ridley’s PA to reschedule the
interview.’ He advised.
‘Miss Creswell,’ she repeated Nicholas’ message.
‘But… you don’t understand. When will they come,
before or after the tow-truck gets here? And what if I have
to wait until dark? You know people do whatever they
want, when they feel like doing it nowadays. I don’t want
to waste anyone’s time, I can’t take the chance of
someone stealing my car, and I definitely cannot loiter
around here alone for an entire day either. I need to call
my father. Ugh daddy, you are so busy… Drat it.’ Dani
continued talking to herself.
Nicholas smiled. When last had he heard such a mild
curse, or a woman who wanted to call her father? And
now that annoyance had transformed into worry, he could
hear the warm tones in her voice. Without thinking and
forgetting why he had stopped there, he asked for a
connection to another phone. ‘Let me take care of this.’
‘Thank you, sir.’ Simone sighed with relief.
‘Miss Creswell,’ Nicholas began.
‘Yes,’ the male voice surprised her.
‘Where are you?’
‘Huh.’ Dani looked around. ‘Almost across Melrose
Arch, facing south. I came down Grayston Avenue.’ Why
she had gone to Benmore Gardens for the few items that

Athina Paris


were hardly necessary then headed for the highway, she
didn’t know either.
‘I know where that is. Are you safely off the yellow
line, cones set out, hazards on, etc,’
‘Yes. What a horrible morning.’ She sighed deeply. ‘But
wait, it could be getting worse.’
‘What is wrong now?’
‘There are three men walking towards me.’
‘Miss Creswell, get into your car and lock yourself in,
I’m on my way.’
‘But…‘
‘Give me your cell number, and I’ll call you right back.’
He wrote quickly, grabbed the paper, and dialled from his
own phone, as he made his way back to the lift.
‘Hello,’ Dani answered.
‘There you are. Where are the men?’
‘Still walking.’
‘Are you safe?’
‘I think so.’
Reaching his floor, he went into the office, grabbed his
jacket, and car keys. ‘Are you scared?’
‘Not really.’
Thank goodness. It would be so much worse dealing
with a fearful or hysterical woman. ‘So, how long have we
been chatting and we still haven’t been properly
introduced?’
‘Ten.’
‘What?’
‘You asked how long, ten minutes.’

When Dani Smiled
‘Miss Creswell, are you trying not to give me your
name?’ He grinned, thinking he felt her smile.
‘But you have been calling me Miss Creswell all this
time.’ She pointed out.
‘Yes,’ he agreed, but the point was to make her feel at
ease until he got to her. ‘I meant your name. We don’t
have to continue so formally.’
‘It’s Dani.’
He liked it instantly and imagined a tomboy. She
probably loved pants, short hair, male sports, and had
climbed trees as a child. ‘Short for?’ He asked as he got
into his car.
‘Nothing, it’s Dani Marie Creswell. Mom liked Kylie and
Dannii Minogue when she was younger. I think she said
she flipped a coin, so there it is.’
He laughed, a happy laugh, as if he were having a
conversation with an old friend. ‘I like it.’
‘Thanks.’ She couldn’t see him but she also liked the
way he sounded.
‘Marie?’
‘My grandmother’s name. What’s yours?’
‘Nicholas.’
Her first image was of Saint Nicholas, and she wanted
to giggle as she imagined a man in a red suit pulling over
on the side of the road in a sleigh. ‘Do you like it like that,
or another version?’
‘You mean Nick or something? No, just plain Nicholas.’
‘Oh no…’
‘What?’


‘The men stopped to see what is happening.’ She
opened the window. ‘I’m…’ she began.
She must have either dropped the phone onto her lap
or muted it because he couldn’t hear the rest. He might
not know her but suddenly, he was concerned for her
safety.
She took a few seconds to return to the call. ‘I’m back,’
‘Dani,’ he exhaled with relief and realised that saying
her name gave him a rush. He wondered if this was what
men felt when they called those hotlines late at night,
where the voices held so much more promise than looks
ever would. ‘Are you okay?’
‘Yes. They were concerned about me sitting here
alone, and offered to change the tyre, until they saw what
it looks like. They moved on when I told them someone is
on their way.’
‘Nevertheless, stay alert. By the way, what do you
drive?’
‘A Beetle,’
In his mind’s eye, he saw fading yellow, a brighter hue
on a door, pink daisies on the bonnet and side, and an
accompanying incredible racket. No wonder the thing was
falling apart.
‘Nicholas,’
It felt as if she had wrapped his name in silk and slowly
unwrapped it again. He couldn’t wait to see what she
looked like. A silence followed.
‘I forgot what I was going to say.’ She admitted. ‘Oh
yes, what car should I expect?’

When Dani Smiled
‘A white Audi,’ he gauged traffic, trying to figure out
how long it would take to get to her. ‘Are the men gone?’
‘Yes. Have you ever been stuck?’
‘I think twice.’
‘Recently?’
‘No, when I was a student.’
‘Who helped you?’
‘My friends,’
‘Are they still your friends?’
He could not understand why this felt like the best
conversation in the world. ‘Two of them are, Andrew and
Leon,’
‘It’s funny how that happens. Nicholas,’
She had to stop doing that. ‘Yes,’
‘About the insurance and tow-truck—‘
‘Just hang on, I don’t want to disconnect. And we’ll
decide what to do when I get there.’
‘That thing is wedged tight and I’ll damage much more
if I ride over it again. Never mind that, the tyre is not only
flat, but beyond repair, and I doubt changing it is the
solution anyway, the rim looks twisted and bent. Do you
know how much longer you will be?’
He glanced around, getting his bearings. ‘I’m on
Katherine Street; so it could take fifteen or fifty minutes.
It’s not as if I can drive at two-twenty.’
‘No, you can’t do that.’
‘Did you ever get a speeding fine?’
‘Not for speeding. But I did get a ticket for failing to
stop at a stop sign.’

[Type here]
‘Why on earth would you do that? Was anyone else at
the intersection at the time?’ He asked curiously.
‘Not driving. But the van that made me get the trick
ticket.’
‘The what?’
‘There was never a stop there. So in the morning I
drive, nothing. In the afternoon, I never saw the new
painted line or the sign because of the parked van.’
He grinned. ‘Oh, I see. Did you complain?’
‘I did, but paying less wasn’t what I was after. I wanted
to explain that it was unfair to catch people like that.’
‘And you know where fair lives.’ Goodness, but he was
enjoying himself. ‘Sorry about your day, it shouldn’t have
turned out like this.’
‘I needed to know the thing was going to fall off, so I
guess today was as good a day as any other.’
‘How did that happen?’
‘I don’t know. When I got to the car, I noticed
someone had bashed it. I just didn’t realise it was that
loose. I have no idea if it happened where I live or
somewhere else.’
‘Was there a note?’
‘No, and that is what really upset me. Whether they
can pay or not is beside the point, I have insurance. I just
wanted someone to say sorry.’
‘Are you big on apologies?’
‘Sorry is a wonderful word, it fixes many things,
especially when meant sincerely.’
‘And people lie all the time.’
‘A cynic, huh?’

When Dani Smiled
‘Not about everything, but I know many liars.’
‘Sadly, so do I,’ and how was it possible that she was
having such a natural conversation with a complete
stranger? ‘Ugh, imagine this on Oxford, Corlett, or Nelson
Mandela Drive… during rush hour. The nightmare I’d have
caused then.’
‘You would be famous, but more likely infamous,’ he
grinned. ‘During the traffic report. And get many evil eyes.’
She laughed. Looking in the rear-view mirror, she
noticed the lanes emptying of traffic, except for a white
spec in the distance. ‘I see a white car coming towards me,
is that you?’
‘Yes, that’s me.’
Her face scrunched up in surprise as the vehicle
approached. That was no sleigh, and what were people
earning at Galfrey’s?
‘Oh,’ he said as he peered into the distance and
realised it was a recent model Beetle, not a 1960 battered
jalopy. ‘Do you want to wait in the car or get out and
stretch your legs?’ What nonsense, he was debating how
he wanted to meet her.
Dani decided. Getting out quickly, she then ducked
back for her handbag. Say he’s a weirdo, pervert, or
psycho? She wondered, but somehow, didn’t think so.
Then taking a deep breath, she readied herself to meet her
rescuer.
Nicholas turned the Audi’s hazards on and pulled up
behind the Beetle. All he could see as she leaned into the
car was a pretty ankle-length summer dress, dainty flat
sandals, and light brown hair tumbling over her left side;


so much for the tomboy idea. Alighting from the car, he
grinned and took a few steps.
She straightened her back, turned and smiled. She had
learned early but specifically around her teenage years,
that she possessed two smiles. Number one was a
somewhat pasty grin for strangers. And two… there was
something about that smile that made people, but
especially men, lose their heads. Now, relieved that he
was here, she forgot about such things and simply
expressed her gratitude.
The grin disappeared from Nicholas’ face. What was
this walking towards him? He could half-see and the rest
imagine as a breeze toyed with the delicate fabric of her
dress and light brown hair. She was on the short side, but
had the nearest to perfect face he had ever seen. He
gulped as his heartbeat scaled a wall, must be an erotic
hallucination because he had never seen anything as… a
bunch of adjectives flew through his mind and he
discarded every one. Somehow, and he could just tell, she
was neither a dish nor a possession, definitely no bird and
much less a sport. What she was, was just right, and he
felt like falling to his knees at her feet.
Dani was having a similar experience, just not as
carnal. She had imagined Nicholas to be a regular office
guy—and he might still be that guy—but there was
nothing regular about him. His clothes were impeccable;
light blue cotton shirt, well-cut blazer, and a pair of jeans
that sat perfectly. That is why we designers bother, she
thought. But clothes were secondary, he was well-defined.
Insipid word; he obviously looked after himself, had dark

When Dani Smiled
hair, an expressive face, brown eyes that danced, and a
friendly smile. How apt, she thought. Why shouldn’t a
knight rescuing a damsel in distress look like a knight in
shining armour? Now, how did they greet?
Nicholas made that decision. He offered his hand.
‘Dani,’
She took it willingly and smiled again. ‘Hello, Nicholas.’
He couldn’t help himself and simply stared, then,
shaking himself back into reality, he turned to look at the
damaged vehicle. ‘So, this is the dilemma.’ He walked the
short distance, bent down, and peered under her car. ‘Yep,
you have it quite right.’ Then he went to the front of the
Beetle. ‘Bummer,’
‘Don’t you mean bumper?’
He laughed.
‘So, what do we do?’
‘As you said, we can’t touch this car again. Okay,
what’s the tow-truck’s number? I’ll call them and you deal
with the insurance.’
She searched for a card and gave him a reference
number to quote.
‘Right,’ he walked towards the embankment, then
returned a few minutes later. ‘They’ll be here shortly.’ He
announced. ‘Or so they said. Grab your things and put
them in my car.’
She realised then that she had not thought this thing
out properly, because now, she was at his mercy. Perhaps
she should have called Sams… Her eyes returned to
Nicholas in a flash, willing to take her chances with him.

Athina Paris

[Type here]
Besides, he didn’t look dangerous. Actually, he did, but it
was a different kind of danger that he presented.
Seeing her expression, he knew where her thoughts
had gone. ‘I’m not going to attack you.’
A blush rushed up her face.
When last had he seen one of those? Then again, the
women he mixed with were world wise, sophisticated, and
classy. This… this was a wondrous woman child who was
doing strange things to his senses. He wondered how old
she was. ‘Can I help you?’
‘There is only my portfolio.’ Returning to the Beetle,
she realised that she had been holding her breath. Was it
even normal to get butterflies when looking into a strange
man’s eyes? Glancing at him through the rear-view mirror,
she wondered what he was thinking, or feeling because he
seemed to be going through something himself.
Never in his thirty years of life had he imagined that he
would meet someone who looked like her, and for him,
there were no two ways about it. Who cared about
magazine perfect? That she wasn’t tall enough? In his
eyes, she was perfect. And those green eyes… forget
about blue ponds, lakes, rivers, and seas where men
drowned themselves. These were a meadow, soft and
gentle, with the promise of life.
She clutched the loose pages carefully. ‘Drat,’ she said,
half talking to herself, and half to him. ‘Now, I can’t go to
the art shop.’
‘Is that where you were headed?’ He asked as he
opened his car’s door.

When Dani Smiled
She nodded as she placed her things neatly down.
‘Coco, my Jack Russell, ate my folder and I wanted to get a
new one before the interview. To look professional. Not
arrive with piles of stuff in my hands.’
‘Your dog ate your bag?’ He asked amused.
‘Well, she didn’t eat it all at one go, but she sure
chewed every corner, handle, and strap. Which is funny as
she never touched anything at home.’
He didn’t understand something, if she was seeing
Adam Ridley, who was in IT, why was she carrying her
portfolio around? ‘Right,’ he said as he glanced at the top
page of her work, which was an interesting take on the
military look. ‘You mentioned dad before, is there also
mom, boyfriend, anyone?’
It was possible she was in the presence of the fastest
moving playboy in Johannesburg, or… sneakily she darted
her gaze to his left hand. Okay, no ring, but that didn’t
mean he was single. ‘Yes.’ She told him ambiguously.
‘Then pick a number and let someone know you are
safe.’
She was travelling in the clouds, better come down
fast. ‘Thank you for reminding me.’ She dialled.
‘Hi honey, how did it go?’
‘It has been postponed.’ She imagined they would do
that much since Mr. Ridley was in hospital. ‘Mom,
something happened to my car…’ and she explained.
‘Then what are you doing now?’ Carol asked
concerned.
‘Waiting for a tow-truck,’

[Type here]
‘Alone, on the side of the road… do you know where
you are?’
‘Mom, I’m fine.’ Dani assuaged as she noticed Nicholas
watching her. ‘And a friend is here with me.’
‘Sams?’
‘No, Nicholas.’
Carol’s interest was instantly pricked. ‘Who’s
Nicholas?’
Dani pressed the mute button and asked. ‘Who are
you? My mom wants to know.’
He had wondered whom she would call. ‘May I speak
to her?’
Dani was surprised but said, ‘sure,’ and gave him the
phone.
‘Mrs. Creswell,’ he began politely and walked away for
a few minutes, then came towards her again. ‘Don’t worry
Mrs. Creswell, and I’ll see that she is not stuck without
transport. And if she needs to see you before her car is
repaired, I will either take her myself or let her borrow
mine.’
Dani stared at him. Was he serious? Then she stared at
the car. Was he mad? She did not have to know much
about cars to know that that model was obscenely
expensive. She definitely could not chance getting
anything stuck under there. So it seemed as if there was
only one way she was seeing her parents in the near
future if she wanted to. She looked at him again. Was it
okay to like the idea so much?
‘Goodbye,’ he handed the phone back. ‘I think she’s
okay about me. I don’t blame her, so many ugly things can

When Dani Smiled
happen on the side of a road.’ He shivered, relieved that
he was the one standing here. ‘Are we going to stand
outside until we bake, or can we at least sit in my car while
we wait?’
Right behind her, he opened the door so she could get
in. As he did, she turned around and it was as if she were
in his arms. He restrained himself from reaching out.
‘Thank you, Nicholas.’
He could smell her; perhaps jasmine, but subtly
diluted. He leaned in to test if the scent became stronger,
but no, it stayed in that alluring plane. He felt lecherous,
but imagine a creepy man here… No, he couldn’t leave her
alone; especially while she was without a car.
Dani watched his face as something was obviously
going through his mind, as if he were planning something
quite complicated but also stunningly simple. And how
was it possible that one could become attracted to a
stranger in so short a time? She had never felt anything as
acute as this. Was this what Sams felt? Then she felt very
sorry for him because it would never be reciprocated. Her
eyes found Nicholas’, if he moved another inch, he could
touch her. Her heartbeat accelerated, making her feel
dizzy.
‘Have we met before?’ He asked unexpectedly.
She shrugged, uncertain, also thinking there was
something vaguely familiar about him. ‘Maybe we have
walked past each other at a fashion show.’ She suggested.
‘Maybe,’ he told her but was unconvinced. ‘Oh, look,
they actually kept their word. Then again, they are never


far from calamities.’ He said as a tow-truck rolled out in
front of the Beetle.
The man was helpful and friendly and had the car
ready quickly. After having her sign the required papers,
he climbed back into the tow-truck, waved at them, and
drove away.
‘So,’ Nicholas said as they watched the Beetle
disappear. ‘Where to my lady?’
She smiled. ‘Am I not holding you from something
important?’
‘You don’t want me here?’
‘You were busy at work and now you’re not.’
‘I was leaving the office when this exciting episode of
Johannesburg life happened. I also heard you tell Simone
to give you the bad news and then asked her if she wanted
to come keep you company. It made me curious.’
‘I spoke that loud?’ She asked embarrassed.
‘The entire reception area heard you.’
Colour suffused her cheeks.
He grinned. ‘I’m teasing, the speakerphone was on and
no one else was around. So, where is this art shop?’
‘Is it really okay for you to be here?’
‘Absolutely,’

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About Angie

I'm a wife and a a mom of 4: 3 boys and a girl. I also have 3 fur babies, cats named Soleil, Luna, and a Savannah cat name Malkia. I work part-time outside my home as a COTA/L at a local hospital. I cover Johnstown, Altoona, and Pittsburgh areas. I love to do reviews and host giveaways for my readers. Contact me: angwith4 at gmail dot com if you would like a review.

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