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Book 1 of Decisions Duet

Cover art of Bad Decisions. Man tilting woman back to kiss her neck

What's The Inspiration?

I wanted to play up this bad boy, trying to be suitable for the girl that changed his life. The wrong side of the track, Romeo and Juliet inspired concept.

I've fallen in love with mafia romance stories written by other authors and knew I couldn't write anything like that, but I wanted to add a taste of it to this story.

I also love nail art and wanted to put a small piece of myself, like I do in all my stories, into this one, too.

I had fun writing it, and I hope you enjoy it too

Excerpt

Part of Chapter One

“Have a nice day.” I smiled as my client paid for her nails.

 

I love it when clients leave happy. Especially when they are new. Turning to Lexi, I leaned over the counter, feet off the ground, to look at her computer screen.

 

“Who’s next?”

 

“Mrs. Ruth.” She stated, not even bothering to look at the computer. “She’s here for her two-week fill.”

 

Lexi pushed at my forehead with her index finger until my feet were planted firmly on the ground. I laughed as I turned to the waiting area, taking the three strides before calling out to my next client. Mrs. Ruth, the first client at Dagger Designs, sat in the cushioned chair chatting away with another waiting client. The elderly woman smiled warmly when I called for her. She lifted her purse off her lap and followed me to my station. Once seated, she repeated what she’d like done at today’s appointment, then struck up a conversation.

 

Mrs. Ruth is a grandmother of five granddaughters and loves to tell me stories about them. She practically vibrated as she spoke of them, proud of her grandchildren and their parents. Mrs. Ruth isn’t one of those stereotypical grandmothers with grey hair who prefer to knit while sitting in front of the TV. Nope. She loves to travel and go on adventures with her family. Her hair revealed a few silver strands weaved among the brown, and she dressed to impress. The woman knows how to live her life like there’s no tomorrow. That’s how I’d like to be when I’m closer to her age.

 

Mrs. Ruth was telling me about the trip she’ll be having with her eldest granddaughter this coming weekend when the door to my salon flew open. It slammed into the half wall that separated the waiting area from the entrance. The wall stopped the door from hitting a client who sat waiting for her appointment. I looked up from my work at the sudden loud noise to see three people walk in.

 

I frowned as I took in the two women. The third person remained partially hidden from my view. The leading woman held her head high. Her tall, thin frame, accentuated by her high heels and body-hugging clothing, screamed high maintenance. Her brown hair was draped stylishly over her shoulders, and her makeup looked movie-star perfection even from this distance. I took in the other woman. She had short, straight pink hair, and her makeup was brighter but still sleek. She was a head shorter and a few pounds heavier than the first woman, and her clothing showed off her curves proudly. I suspected they were used to getting whatever they wanted.

 

“Good day.” Lexi greeted politely, her voice carrying across the salon.

 

“How can I help you?”

 

“This is a nail emergency!” The brunette slammed her hands down on the counter.

 

“I'm sorry, but all of our nail technicians are currently with clients. You're welcome to have a seat and wait for someone to become available.”

 

“How dare you make us wait!” The pink-haired woman’s voice was shriller in pitch than the brunette’s.

 

“Would you like to make an appointment instead?”

 

“I need new nails.” The brunette paused.

 

“NOW!”

 

“Then I suggest you find another salon to assist you better with this time-sensitive matter.” Lexi responded sweetly.

 

I couldn’t help the small smile as I continued working on Mrs. Ruth’s nails. Lexi — friend and receptionist extraordinaire. She has the patience of a goddess when behind that desk. We met in college, both of us taking a business course as an elective. When I talked about opening up Dagger Designs, she excitedly wanted to join me on the business adventure as my first hire. I wanted her as a business partner, but she didn’t want that role. It didn’t take me long to learn that behind her façade of patience, she has no tolerance for rude, obnoxious, or demanding people. When she’s behind that counter, she is nothing but professional. Lexi can handle this.

 

“Either get me your boss, or you'll have to find a new job!” The brunette threatened.

 

“Have a seat.” Lexi told her coolly. “She's currently busy with a client.”

 

“NOW!” The woman exclaimed.

 

Hell no. No one treats my staff so rudely.

 

That was the second outburst and the last straw. Compared to Lexi, I have zero tolerance for demanding people. I could hear murmuring from both clients and employees alike. I couldn’t pick out their exact words, but I could guess what was being said. This woman’s tantrum will go on no longer. Apologizing to Mrs. Ruth, I excused myself from her nearly finished nails. She waved me off, telling me to do what I must do.

 

Rolling the chair away from my station, I stood. I could feel the eyes on me, wanting to know how I’d handle the situation. Casually, I made my way to the front, halting at the little half-step between entry and the salon floor with my arms crossed. I sent Lexi to finish Mrs. Ruth’s nails for me. All she needs is a topcoat.

 

I kept my gaze on the brunette. “You’re being disruptive.”

 

“Do you know who I am?” She placed long fingers lightly on her chest as if she was insulted that I didn’t treat her like royalty.

 

Honestly, I don’t care who she is. I kept my mouth shut, keeping that remark in my head. When she walked into my salon, she was just another client. Now that I was up close, a niggling sensation in the back of my mind told me that I’d seen her before, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint from where.

 

“Princess, if you want any work done here, you'd better reset the attitude.” I finally answered.

 

“How dare you.” Her voice went up an octave, definitely insulted.

 

“How dare I?” I repeated, insulted myself. “You come barreling into the salon with such force that the door hit the installed safety wall. You demand service, and you yell at employees. Do you honestly expect to be served?”

 

“Where is your boss?” The pink-haired woman stepped forward, jabbing a finger into my shoulder. “I’ll have you fired.”

 

At that moment, my brain clicked in. I know exactly who they are. Candi, a social media influencer and her pink-haired friend Brina. They are well known for making and breaking businesses here in Frostham. If businesses don’t please them, they are dissed online and lose many customers. On the flip side, if Candi and Brina rave about a company, those businesses see an influx of customers. Lately, they’ve been focussing on nail salons. It was only a matter of time before they reached mine.

 

“Reset the attitude.” Pointing to the door, I continued. “Or get out of my salon.”

 

“Your salon?” Candi let out a single bark of laughter. “So, you’re the owner.”

 

“We can ruin you.” Brina added proudly.

 

“I'm aware of your influence, princess.” I intentionally spoke directly to Candi.

 

Brina isn’t a real threat. She is only famous because she’s friends with Candi. It didn’t matter who spoke the threat, though. I wanted to slap them both and kick them out of my salon. Mrs. Ruth touched my arm lightly, drawing my attention to her. During my stand-off with Candi, Lexi finished Mrs. Ruth’s nails and collected the payment. She slipped past the two women and out of my salon.

 

“Let me rephrase my earlier statement.” I repositioned my hands to my hips. “If you want your nails done in my salon, you will apologize to my staff for your outburst.”

 

“I will do no such thing.” Candi countered. She turned to the third person who came in with them. “Do you hear how she’s speaking to me?”

 

I shifted on my feet to get a better look at the person. My breath caught. The man who leaned casually against the vertical window beam had to be pulled out of some wet fantasy. He’s tall, lean, and oozing sex appeal in his tailor-made black suit. The top two buttons of his dress shirt were undone to reveal his tanned skin. Our eyes met, and a heat wave flooded my body that pooled south. His dark gaze spoke of a domineering promise that had my knees wanting to buckle under the intensity. With that one look, I knew he could give me — or any woman — the best night of their life.

 

The man shifted his gaze to Candi. “Apologize.”

 

His deep, smooth voice rumbled the order. I resisted the urge to close my eyes and moan. Damn it! His voice alone held so much power. It took all my willpower not to melt where I stood. Candi took a tentative half-step back.

 

“I’m sorry.” She whispered.

 

“Not to me.” His tone darkened dangerously. “To her.”

 

“I'm sorry.” Candi turned back to me. She then turned to Lexi, who watched the interaction from behind her desk. “I'm sorry. My attitude was unbecoming.”

 

Lexi took a moment to consider the apology, then nodded, a soft smile gracing her lips. “Apology accepted.”

 

I held out my hands with a sigh. “Let me see this emergency.”

 

Candi quickly placed her hands in mine. I shouldn’t be indulging this princess, but I'll also accept the apology since Lexi accepted it. I scrutinized each finger. The build is too thick, the shaping is uneven, and the polish is streaky. Why did she allow the tech to go this far? Candi didn’t have to tell me where she had her nails done. I knew based on the colour of the polish used. Only one salon in Frostham uses this specially blended shade.

 

For personal reasons, I decided to give Candi a new set of nails. I took a quick picture of her nails before taking her to my station. The first step is to remove the horrible build before starting this entire process from scratch. Mr. Suit pushed off the wall to hover over Candi while I shaped her newly made nails. His tall frame cast a shadow across my workstation.

 

I looked up at him. “Can I help you?”

 

“Not at this moment.”

 

“Then either pull up a chair to watch or return to your post.” I ordered, bending my head back over Candi's nails. “You're blocking my light.”

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