He snickered and spread warm kisses across my face. His kisses started softly and slowly gained passion. He held me tighter against his body. His warmth invaded mine and I giggled nervously. I fought to control my urges, as my mother-in-law was just a few feet behind us cuddling her grandson.

“You really shouldn’t go tonight, babe,” I pressed my lips against his ears and whispered. I pleaded to him to cancel his business trip to France. I kissed the corner of his mouth and whispered again, “Please babe, please.”

He stopped and smiled, “You know I can’t cancel. It’s important, besides it is only for a couple of days. I’ll be back as soon as the meeting is over.”

“Sometimes, I wish you were just a regular employee of a small company,” I frowned and he laughed.

“No, you don’t.”

“Of course not,” I chuckled.

I stayed in his arms and he cuddled me gently. We remained engrossed with each other, we failed to acknowledge Aunt Rosaria’s presence.

“Alright, love birds; I believe the servers are ready,” she announced as she took Stefan from Cosima. I watched them closely and it warmed my heart to see how much my son was loved. I suddenly missed home, although this is my family now, the thought of my father and how much we have grown apart broke my heart. I had to sacrifice that relationship to be with the man I love. I hope he forgives me someday.

“Come on, babe, I don’t have much time,” Tristan pulled me from the couch.

I took his hand and strolled into the family dining room. We settled in the seat next to Gianna and Tristan of course next to his father. We started with a toast by Cosima and Gianna welcoming me to my first family dinner. Gianna and I have become close these last couple of days, which made quite a difference in my approach. I felt much happier versus isolated. We made plans to spend more time together while Tristan discussed business with his father.

After the hefty meal, the servers walked in with some enticing strawberry chocolate mousse cake. I touched Tristan’s hand under the table in order to gain his attention.

“Try this,” I took a piece of cake and fed it to him. I kissed him to get a piece off his lips. I giggled like a teenager when I realized Agostino watching us with a smile across his face.

“Young love,” Cosima said across the table. I smiled shyly at her and Tristan’s expression as usual was nonchalant. Luca, his business partner walked in shortly and nodded at him.

“Excuse me, babe, I’ll be back,” he said and stood up.

I held his wrist and he looked down at me, “You are not leaving now, are you?”
He shook his head, “not yet babe, but in a few,” he walked away and into his father’s study.

“Get used to it, Kenny.” Gianna whispered to me.

“Will I ever?”

Unraveled will be available on Amazon on November 10, 2017.




Tristan finally inherited what he alleged was rightfully his. It came at a very high cost. The loss of a loved one changed him drastically. He believed the family had seen its last days of violence after he had his revenge against an enemy who lived to destroy the Morettis, but what he did not know was his darker days were before him.
Kennedy secured her future as Tristan’s wife amidst all her insecurities and reservations. She convinced herself it was for the greater good. When she least expected, the return of her nemesis shook the foundation she laid. Will Kennedy and Tristan’s love be strong enough to survive the hurdles? Find out in this astounding tale of despair, love and hope.


Book 1 Life Intertwined has been rereleased with a new look in anticipation of its sequel Unraveled. It is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and any ebook store worldwide.


a classic story of a good girl gone bad. A conservative Civil Engineering student from Central America travels abroad to complete her studies. She encounters a new world, the underworld, when she falls madly in love with a prominent young man from a wealthy crime family. Kennedy soon discovers how impenetrable Tristan is. His standoffish nature makes it hard to love such a man. But this does not stop the conventional beauty from fighting for what she desires, even through discovering underneath his charm and wealth lays a very dark and dangerous world.







This story is by Frances Paul and was part of ‘short fiction break’ 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.

CASEY GAZED at him with repugnance. Again, Judge Musgrave had refused to allow in crucial evidence she’d uncovered to help exonerate her client. He hastily overruled all her objections. She could feel her first loss coming. She couldn’t afford to lose this case at this crucial time when she’s being considered for junior partner at her firm. She was representing the son of an important client in this trial and the outcome could determine the fate of her career.

She’s been with the firm for twelve years and through three name changes. She began there as a paralegal and through law school. As she sat there in horror, witnessing her case fall part, various thoughts raced through her mind. Should she be satisfied? Is she pushing the envelope too hard? Why did her supervisor give her this case at this critical point of her career? Was this to test her or devalue her? She took a quick glance at her client’s reaction and he had an expression of displeasure and defeat, probably cursing his father for hiring such an incompetent lawyer.

Quickly relinquishing the self-pity, she rose to her feet, “your honor, you must recuse yourself immediately from this trial.” Her heart raced as she noticed blood slowly draining out of Judge Musgrave’s face. He stared at her repulsed. He quieted the whispers in the court room with his gavel.

“On what grounds?” He inquired.

“Prejudice and bias against my client,” Casey responded unfazed or intimidated by his authoritarian conduct.

“What are you doing?” Her client leaned in and whispered. She ignored him as she intensely studied Judge Musgrave.

“Bias?” Judge Musgrave asked.

“Your conduct indicates a clear bias against the defense. You previously convicted my client’s father, and regardless of his family ties my client deserves a fair trial. Recusing yourself will preserve the appearance of impartiality.”

“Your motion is denied, Ms. Ashworth, I suggest you take a seat immediately or get fined.” Casey began to realize the Hail Mary she just threw to save her case was about to backfire, but she refused to yield. She knew their chances of coming out victorious had shifted from likely to very slim due to her sudden outburst. Casey now wished for a mistrial to save face. Judge Musgrave turned his attention to the ADA and instructed him to continue with his questioning. Casey remained standing to affirm her unwillingness to cooperate. The atmosphere in the courtroom grew restless due to her conduct.

“That’s it Ms. Casey Ashworth, I am holding you in contempt of court and sentence you to a night in lock up and a five thousand dollar fine.” The court officer stepped forward to escort her out of the courtroom. Judge Musgrave struck his gavel, “this court is adjourned until Friday,” and stormed out.

The entire night in lock up she thought about Matthew, her supervisor, and what his reaction would be. He is a senior partner at the firm who believed in Casey and recommended her for junior partner.

“I cannot believe how bad you screwed up….” Casey sat in silence as she listened to Matthew, go on about her incompetence. “You have been placed on leave effective immediately.”

That statement didn’t come as a surprise but it made her question if she made a mistake throwing the case. Perhaps that was her way of accepting defeat. “The case has been assigned to Chris and his team.”

“Of course,” she mumbled. Chris, a competitor in the running for junior partner, my fate is evident, she thought as she smirked at Matthew. There was no need pleading, she left Matthew’s office in acceptance of his decision. It could be worse. She sat awake all night thinking of what to do with her involuntary time off. Thoughts of exotic getaways came to mind, from Fiji to Bali, but it seemed pitiful to go solo on a trip best suited for couples. Maybe she could have an eat pray love experience. She researched all night and considered the dangers, such as kidnapping and murder. The next morning as she watched her neighbors drive off a thought came to mind.

IT WAS MID-OCTOBER and the weather began to change. Casey’s favorite season, she referred to as pumpkin season. Despite the fallen rustling leaves and morning birds chirping away, nothing beats the beauty of autumn. The air is cooler; the skies are clear in beautiful hues of blue and white and the trees start to exhibit stunning kaleidoscope of colors. As she drove off in a rented red Chevy Camaro, Casey began to appreciate the liberty she felt in making such an impulsive decision. She’d no idea where she was headed. She just packed a bag and took off. Her entire life had been strategically planned, from a toddler in ballet recitals to graduating law school. She pleased herself with the beautiful sights of Portland, St. Helen, and old Oregon until she arrived in San Francisco after driving for nine hours.

“IT’S BEAUTIFUL UP here in the fall and our busiest season…” the owner of the bed and breakfast she spent the night attempted to initiate a conversation with her as she read through the menu.

“Any recommendations?” She asked, without acknowledging him.

He judged her manners, a successful girl, probably on her way to a business seminar, “with the food or sights?” He responded politely despite her aloofness.

She finally took her head out of the menu and was unexpectedly dumbfounded by the man who stood before her. They locked gazes, his intense blue eyes bored through hers. She cleared her throat as she struggled to find her voice, “mm…hmm both,” she replied.

Thrilled by Robert, the owner, she smiled and accepted his offer to be her tour guide. Not that she was interested in sightseeing but to get to know the handsome stranger who seized her attention.

From cafes to five start restaurants they wandered for two days enjoying each other’s company. This was supposed to be a quick stop, now, not knowing what she really wanted from this journey or him, she decided to extend her visit. She wondered if he felt any connection between them like she did. They just met, yet all their time spent together felt right. She felt a rush of excitement anytime his body brushed hers. It’s been awhile for her and this feeling felt astounding.

ON A FINE beautiful fall morning, the new friends decided to take a stroll to appreciate nature. Casey elated by the idea, decided to use the opportunity to get personal and closer to him. She listened to him keenly as he spoke fondly about the town. Desperate to change the subject she interrupted him, “So, tell me, why bed and breakfast?” He smiled, intrigued by her sudden interest in him, “my parents owned this place. They passed a few years back and I thought it would be a wonderful idea as my mother loved to entertain. This was my way of preserving her memory. Why law?”

“I love the idea of defending people who can’t stand up for themselves. It started out that way anyway but I soon found out nothing is as it seems.” As she displayed her true passion and anxieties, Robert appreciated her more and regretted initially judging her. They realized at the end of the evening they had a lot in common. Casey loved his laid back attitude and his desire for a fulfilling life and none for this material world. On the fourth day, she received a phone call from her law firm confirming the date she had to return. That moment she utterly considered quitting and following her desire to write. Something she’d dreamt of as a kid. She was inspired by a man she’d only known for a couple of days. His energy and noble personality made her fall in love with a stranger. What she did not know was her splendor and intelligence had raised a cloud of desire for her that tormented him.

SHE SMILED at the reminiscence of the time she spent with him and settled for what now fascinated her intensely and exclusively. “Do you really want to go back to a job you despise?” He said softly behind her. He spent the night before pleading and reassuring her she would be much happier if she stayed in San Francisco with him. She thought it was way too quick and too hasty a decision to make after knowing him for only a week. “It takes a lifetime to know someone, we might as well get a head start,” he joked.

“Unfortunately I do, but I promise I will be back before the season ends,” she said. “Would you like to kiss me now?” She whispered and glanced up into his striking blue eyes. He slid his arm around her, gently pulled her in and softly planted a passionate kiss on her lips. His kiss intoxicated her as she thought, what a beautiful season to fall in love.