Under the Influence Read Online Karina May

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 93
Estimated words: 88232 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 441(@200wpm)___ 353(@250wpm)___ 294(@300wpm)
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Expert:

Blake Goldfield is ‘the guy who broke Tinder’ while raising funds for his overseas charity. High-flying banker, Louise Lane, isn’t buying his hot, eligible philanthropist act. In fact, it’s dislike at first sight when she encounters Blake working the bar at her office Christmas party.
Both are at a life crossroads: Blake has begrudgingly left his not-for-profit to deal with Goldies, his family’s embattled restaurant; Louise has just split from her perfect-on-paper fiance.
Blake may be in control of the drinks, but Louise has the power to reject the loan necessary to keep Goldies open…
As Blake and Louise watch their lives unravel, their paths seem to be inextricably tangled. Torn between the weight of expectation and her heart’s desire, Louise searches for a fresh perspective in Peru. First stop: Machu Picchu. Final destination: Love?

Full Book:

Chapter 1

Bloody hell, Jude!

Louise pulled her big toe back from the hot-as-lava bathwater and stamped her foot down on the cool bathroom tiles. There were easier ways to get rid of your fiancée than boiling them alive. But no matter how stale things got between them, Louise knew Jude would never end it. He would leave it to her to call time on their almost three-year relationship, and Louise had far too much on her plate to deal with that right now.

But what exactly was he playing at? She eyed the rose petals sprinkled among the suds. Was that lavender bath salts she could smell, too? Her mother had given them to her last Christmas, paired with a not-so-subtle message suggesting Louise and Jude spend more time ‘relaxing’ (read: making grandbabies). They had remained in the bathroom cupboard unopened. Until this evening.

Earlier, when Jude had popped his head around the study door to inform Louise that he’d run her a bath, she’d been in the middle of clearing out her inbox. She liked to spend her Sundays getting a jumpstart on Monday’s emails. Especially now that there was only a handful of working days left before Christmas, Louise wanted to ensure that she was on top of everything before the break. Not that she was planning on much of a holiday.

Shit! She’d forgotten to answer Rick’s earlier email about the Lovedale Nursing Home project. Her boss used email like a pager and always expected a prompt reply.

She reached for a towel and wrapped her body. As she turned back to the study Jude appeared in the doorway, a towel tucked around his waist.

‘Where are you going?’ he asked. ‘I just went to grab this.’ He held up a lighter.

Louise swallowed down her surprise. She hadn’t realised he’d planned on joining her.

‘Sorry, I just remembered I had to get back to Rick about something …’ She trailed off and waited for Jude to roll his eyes.

‘Can’t it wait?’ he asked on cue. There was no mistaking the warning in his voice.

‘Of course.’

Placated, Jude bent down to light the candles arranged in a neat row along the edge of the bath. Louise hadn’t even noticed them.

Once the last candle was ablaze, he turned to face her. ‘Are you going to hop in?’ But there was no eye contact. Louise couldn’t remember the last time he’d really looked at her.

‘Sure. After you,’ she said.

‘Oh, you want to join me?’

‘I—I … isn’t that what you wanted?’

‘I was actually off for a dip,’ he said sheepishly, then dropped his towel to reveal a pair of swimming trunks. They were bright yellow and covered with tiny palm trees.

‘But it’s raining!’ Louise tried to disguise her embarrassment at assuming the bath was a scene of seduction.

‘Yeah, just some evening laps at the aquatic centre. To help clear my head. I thought you’d appreciate the space.’

They’d kept their distance all day, Louise holed up reading in their bedroom, while Jude watched Netflix in the living room. She’d thought she was the one giving him the silent treatment after this morning’s fight, but considering he now intended on extending their time apart, he’d clearly felt the same way.

‘Unless you wanted me to join?’ Jude offered, his voice jumping up an octave.

‘I’d love that,’ Louise said, too enthusiastically. ‘We never do this kind of thing anymore.’

‘Okay, amazing!’ Jude said, swinging a leg over the lip of the bathtub.

‘Wait. Are you going to leave those on?’ Louise gestured to Jude’s swimming costume.

Jude looked down and forced a laugh. ‘Whoops!’ He pulled his leg from the tub, hooked a finger over the elastic at his waist and whipped them off.

They were playing a game of chicken, Louise realised, going through the motions until one of them called the other’s bluff. Wasn’t that how they’d gotten here in the first place? Why they’d even started trying for a baby?

Jude’s ballsack dangled dangerously close to the flames as he crammed his six-foot-four frame into their claw-foot tub. He’d recently taken to shaving the entire area—in addition to his chest. The spiky regrowth irritated her thighs and stomach, especially the spots where she’d been injecting her fertility drugs.


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