Definition of Redemption by Lia Peele
Definition of Book 3
Published October 2, 2018
They were the perfect couple until the day they became the perfect survivors ...
Six years after suffering two devastating losses Scarlett is on the road to taking her business to another level. For all the things that are going well in her life, her intimate relationships haven’t moved to a level that satisfies her physical and emotional needs.
Putting it simply her personal life sucks. There’s nothing wrong with it, exactly. On the surface everything looks cool but appearances can be deceiving. In Scarlett’s case, they definitely are.
Walking away from the love of his life shatters Dev into a million pieces. Forced to examine his lifestyle, he transforms his attitude and rebuilds himself from the ground up. Opting to live outside the glare of the spotlight, fate intervenes with an early morning phone call that changes the direction of his life yet again.
Scarlett and Dev exist in the separate worlds they created to recover from their obsession with each other. It hasn’t been easy but it works for them.
Everything changes the day a lucrative business contract with a not-yet-revealed financial source complicates the deal of a lifetime for Scarlett and her organization.
When she discovers who’s behind the life-changing opportunity, her worlds collide and force her to confront what she thought was long gone.
Can she find a way forward? More to the point, does she want to?
** Definition of Redemption is book three in the Scarlett and Dev saga and it should be read after Definition of Craving. The Definition series has its roots in the contemporary erotic romance genre. It therefore contains sex and adult language. You've been warned ... just saying! ***
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/Definition-of-Redemption
After Scarlett/March 2012
A loud groan wakes me with a start,
launching me into the day with a ‘Hell, yeah,
get the fuck out of bed’ kind of attitude. It was just me groaning. Nothing new
there. My sleeping-self insists on a vicarious existence, remembering
everything my lucid-self needs to put behind him for the sake of his sanity.
Nothing good has ever
come of looking back. Until Scarlett, that was my mantra. Today though, I’ve
got a feeling that my subconscious is way ahead of me. That’s why it woke me
from a sleep I wasn’t enjoying.
Turning onto my back,
I stretch my full length in the King-size bed, smoothing a hand over the empty
space beside me. Scarlett’s place. Or it was until I fucked everything up just
by being me.
Twelve months ago
today we reconnected after a six-year
break. Only the break wasn’t from me, it was from my dad. May as well have been
me though, because she never knew I loved her back then.
The sound of my
ringtone interrupts my meandering thoughts. I’m grateful it did because they
were on the verge of taking me back to that place and I can’t let that happen.
Not when I’ve spent the last six months recovering from the stench of Demeter’s
Squinting at my phone,
the lit up screen reveals it’s just after 10 am and I didn’t get to bed until 3
am. That’s one of the drawbacks of managing a club.
“Yeah,” I croak,
wanting to stick my head under the covers and get back to sleep.
“Hello, is that Mr Dev
Jackson?” the female voice on the other end of the phone asks.
This’d better not be a
call centre. I wanna say, “You’re ringing me, shouldn’t you already know who it
is?” but instead I play polite, answering, “Yep. How can I help?”
“I’m calling from the
Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Mr Robert Taylor was brought in earlier
this morning and your contact details were found in his wallet identifying you
as his next of kin. You need to come here right away, Mr Jackson.”
She pauses while I
hold my breath in my throat, my heart galloping in anticipation of her next
“Hold on, please. Let
me get this straight. Bob is in hospital
and … what’s the matter with him?”
“I’m afraid I can’t
discuss the situation over the telephone, but if you come to Intensive Care, we can
Panic grips me and
shakes my shoulders. “Whoa, hang on a second. I’m in Brighton, so I’m hours
away. What’s wrong with him? Can’t you tell me?” Switching the phone to speaker, I dash through to the bathroom and turn the shower on.
She ignores my
question and instead asks another, “How long will it take you to get here?”
Soaping down, I shout over the sound of the water, “I’m not sure. I’ll have to check the train timetable.”
“I see. All I can tell
you is that he’s comfortable, but do whatever you can to get here as soon as
I know she isn’t gonna
give me anything else so I click off, soap off, and dry off.
What the hell? He
looked fine when he stayed with me last month. We went for a walk along the
pier and he managed that just fine. Yeah, he looked tired when we Skyped a
couple of days ago, but when I asked, he brushed it off.
Fuck. I should’ve
pressed harder, put more pressure on him. This sounds bad and it has my heart
battering against my ribs.
Teeth cleaned and a
zap of deodorant later, I quickly stuff my essentials into a small suitcase.
Looking around the
small flat, I take a second to gather my thoughts. First thing I need to do is
to call my deputy manager. I’ll need someone to cover for me.
“Jeez, you’re up
early, Dev. S’up?”
“Hey, Ash, need a
favour, mate. I’ve had some bad news. Gotta go back to Newcastle. My grandad’s
ill.” He doesn’t need to know Bob is my ex-upstairs neighbour.
“You need me to fill
“Yeah, not sure how
long I’ll be, but it sounds bad. The hospital wouldn’t tell me.”
“Just go Dev. Taboo’ll
be fine. You know that.”
“Yeah, I do.” I glance
at my watch. “Catch you later. I’ll be in touch.”
I hang up and check
the train timetable on my phone. There’s one in thirty minutes so I lock up and
almost run the ten-minute walk from Taboo
to the train station.
It’s a five-plus hour
trip so I’ll have plenty of time to persecute myself for not insisting Bob
should visit the doctor.
To think that all I
wanted to do today was place the booze orders and spend the afternoon at the
gym in an effort to knock Scarlett out of my head. I wonder if she remembers
it’s been a year.
Even if she does, she’d
probably rather forget.
I squeeze his hand, hoping he can hear me.
“Remember that time you, me and Ethel went to Whitley Bay for ice cream? We
queued for ages, didn’t we? When we eventually got them, there was so much
pecan ice cream on Ethel’s cornet it fell on the pavement and she stormed off
in a huff.”
He can’t answer me.
He’s unconscious, hooked up to a machine that’s keeping him alive. It’s fucking
terrible seeing him lying in the hospital bed looking so frail and grey, with a
body that’s shrunk in on itself. It’s as though it’s rehearsing for imminent
When I arrived, they
told me he’d had a heart attack in the Post Office. I was thankful he was
surrounded by people when he collapsed. If it’d happened at home, he could’ve
lain there for days on his own.
I explained that I’m
his pseudo-grandson and not his next of kin. After travelling practically the
length of the country with just my thoughts for company, I showed them my ID
and they finally let me in.
Watching him now,
machines helping him to breathe and tubes down his throat, I feel helpless.
They said he hasn’t got long. Bob’s life can be measured in minutes but I need
more than minutes to tell him everything I wanna tell him.
When I was a
raggy-arsed nineteen-year-old I bought the flat downstairs from him and Ethel,
with no budget to renovate it. Bob taught me patience and a few DIY tricks.
Ethel fed me home cooking.
He instilled integrity
into me and showed me how a gentleman
behaves around women. Ethel used to say she fell in love with Bob when he stood
up to give her his seat on the bus.
His shoulder was the
one I needed when I fucked everything up with Scarlett.
He did all that, and
so much more, for me and I never even told him how much I loved him. Not
properly, anyway. I should add selfish fucker to my never-ending list of
Swallowing the lump in
my throat, I wrap my hand around his and lift it to my face. He’s freezing.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you, the way you were for me. You know I love you
and Ethel, don’t you?”
Bob also taught me
that real men show their emotions and I should never be ashamed of shedding a
few tears. He’d be proud of me now
because they’re streaming down my face.
“When you get better,
you can take me to the tea dance at the British Legion Club and show me your
moves. What d’you say to—”
The alarm sounds on
the monitor and it seems like the entire hospital rushes in. I stand back while
they work, but I know this is it for Bob.
It’s the first time I’ve
seen someone die and it’s fucking horrific.
Lia Peele is a British author from the North East of England.
She’s my alter ego; a creation of my imagination. I resigned from my job so she can write steamy adult contemporary romance. This means I can hide behind her, and she’s given free rein to set my smutty thoughts free.
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