Black Kiss(Obsession Inc. Book 1)

By: Dori Lavelle

A Dark Romantic Thriller

(Obsession Inc. Book 1)

Chapter One

My head emerges from the cool water, and I snatch a deep breath, eyes still closed as I hang on to my moment of freedom wrapped in the smell of chlorine. When I open my eyes, I spot my sister, Christa, standing on the edge of the pool, hands on hips. Her cheeks are flushed as they always are when she’s pissed off.

In a few smooth strokes, I swim to the edge of the pool to join her, offering up an innocent smile. “Morning, sis.” I blink the water from my eyes. “What brings you to the pool?”

“That’s the question I should be asking you.” She shoves a frustrated hand through her chestnut hair, the same color and short length as mine. “I can’t say I’m surprised to find you here.”

“There are disadvantages to you knowing me so well.” I lift myself from the water, droplets trailing down the curves of my body, then I pull myself onto the lip of the pool and swing my long legs onto the slick, white tiles.

“I mean it, Emma. You have to stop doing this.”

I shake my head from side to side, sending water flying in all directions. Christa steps away to prevent herself from getting hit. “I don’t get why the Baroque Hotel and Spa employees are not allowed to swim in the pool during the hottest July in years.” The Baroque is a beachside hotel frequented by tourists.

“Because it’s reserved for guests. And you’re not one of them,” Christa’s voice is a loud whisper even though, aside from the two of us, the pool area is deserted.

I don’t answer as I get to my feet. Careful not to slip on the tiles, I tiptoe to one of the beige lounge chairs, where my faded, magenta towel is resting in a heap. At least I bring my own towel instead of using those belonging to the hotel. “Look,” I run the scratchy towel over my hair, “it was just a few laps. What’s the big deal?”

“The big deal is, if Heidi finds out, you could get fired for this. You already have more warnings in two weeks than someone who has been working here for years.”

I lift my shoulders and let them drop again. “Heidi should really give us more freedom. Doesn’t she understand that when employees are happy, the guests will be happy?” I grab my printed canvas tote and head to the changing room with Christa hot on my heels. As soon as we enter the bright, airy room, she grabs my arm and spins me around to face her.

“Emma, if you want to keep this job, you have to respect the rules.” At twenty-seven, she’s only a year older than me but she often acts like my mother.

A small smile tips the corners of my lips. My sister, the rules follower. We are so different. Since we were kids I’ve always been the one to rock the boat. It drove our mother crazy. But mama is no longer here. She has been gone for five years. Now I can be the free person I’ve always wanted to be. At least I try.

There are already so many restrictions in Mistport, Maine. Everywhere you go, everybody is pretending. They pretend to be happy and content. If you dare show any sign of dissatisfaction with your life, people start judging you, calling you ungrateful. We should be grateful for what God gave us, they keep preaching. It’s a sin to want more than you have. I guess that makes me one of the biggest sinners in town.

Since the day I dropped out of high school, two years before graduation, I’ve felt the driving urge to leave town.

When mama died, my desire to escape became even stronger. But as I was making plans, Christa was diagnosed with breast cancer, the same kind of illness that stole mama. It felt selfish to walk away from her then. She’s my sister, the only family I have.

Now here I am, still unhappy with my life, still breaking rules where I can in order to feel alive again. Now that Christa is free of cancer, I keep asking myself every day when my chance will come, when a door will open to allow me entry into a more exciting world. But so far nothing has presented itself.

“I do want this job. You know that.”

“Then you have to act like it.” Christa releases me and crosses her arms in front of her chest. “Heidi was looking for you and I had no idea what to tell her. It’s only a matter of time before she figures out that you are at the pool every morning.”