Book cover of “Her Strength, Her Bane“ by Laramie

Her Strength, Her Bane

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Language: English
  • Author: Laramie
Joslyn Patel met a man her best friend described as “sex on legs.” Similarly, Gabriel Reid met a woman whose smart mouth he'd hoped was as good at blowing as it was at retorting—it had been better than he'd imagined. Sparks ignited, their intertwined fate was set in stone, and they had a night to remember. Two years later, Gabriel now has a girl... 

Chapter 1

PROLOGUE

“You are my best friend's boyfriend, Gabriel.”

“Ex–boyfriend,” he corrected.

“Whatever. It still changes everything,” she wrapped her arms around herself, suddenly feeling tiny underneath his scorching gaze.

“It changes nothing, Joslyn,” he took a step closer to her. “Nothing at all.”

She looked up into his eyes, sweet honey orbs colliding with the coral combinations of greens and blues. The colour harmony couldn't be more explosive.

Clearing her throat, she looked away from his captivating imprisonment of a gaze before straightening her posture to match one of confidence and determination, a total contrast to the tornado of feelings overwhelming her insides. His proximate presence was making her feel weak in the knees.

“No matter what, I refuse to betray Sigourney. It is an unspoken rule between best friends to not have anything to do with each other's exes. You're off limits, Gabriel.”

“Fuck such rules! Whether they're ‘unspoken’,” he gestured in an air-quote, “or in the fucking constitution, I don't give two fucks about that bullshit. And I am not off limits, Jos. Lapointe can not decide that. Only I can.”

He moved impossibly closer, backing her up against the frigid marble top of the kitchen counter. “I want you, Joslyn. And I always get what I want,” he muttered, his voice turning husky.

“That doesn't apply to me.” Her voice quivered. She struggled to keep her voice within the range of normalcy, only to amount to naught.

“I always get what I want,” he reiterated firmly. At this rate, he was all up in her face, completely violating every goddamn rule regarding personal space. 

“Why bother fighting it?” He lifted his hands to caress her face slowly, sweeping her short silver hair behind her ears so he could feel her smooth and silken skin tingle under the mercy of his mere touch.

“Your eyes, your lips, your entire body, begs for my single touch.” He ran his other hand up her naked arm, feeling the goosebumps surfacing on her skin.

“Admit it. You're just as attracted to me as I am to you. You want me as much as I want you. Maybe even more,” his warm breath fanned her face, making her eyelids droopy.

His baritone voice was just the right amount of deep and husky. His voice was alluring. Like the melodies of a siren flowing into her ears, like the devil resting on her shoulder, whispering sweet words into her soul, Gabriel tempted her. His entire body screamed temptation. And she was falling gradually.

“I don't,” she croaked before clearing her throat. Gabriel smirked, knowing too well the effect he had on her. “Did I ever tell you that?” she retorted, squirming internally as she was well aware that her arguments and denials were all pointless.

“Your lips,” he fondled her bottom lip with his calloused thumb, tracing the very line that defined her Cupid's bow shaped mouth, his gaze riveted to the mesmerizing sight, “need not speak the words your eyes vividly portray, love.”

***

C O P Y R I G H T

This book is solely a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, incidents and/or occurrences are products of the author's imaginations, and have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual person(s), living or dead, places or events is purely coincidental.

Her Strength Her Bane © 2023 by Laramie.

Published by O. A. F., writing under the pseudonym, Laramie.

All rights reserved. All parts of this book/publication are restricted to being reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form(s) or by any means — including but not limited to electronic, photocopying, mechanical, recording, or otherwise — without the prior written permission of the author/publisher. The only acceptable exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

A B O U T

Her Strength, Her Bane is a romance book set in the contemporary world (sited as the city of Vancouver, Canada), between a billionaire CEO, Gabriel Nicholas Reid and the flight attendant, Joslyn Leann Patel, who he'd been chanced to meet at a club one night. 

The story takes effect as a one-night stand trope kinda book but it advances into something more when the fates of both leads are woven in more ways than one and subsequently, later in life, they're set to meet more times. 

I N F O R M A T I O N

Her Strength, Her Bane is set in three timezones namely: two years before the present (that is, the club night), a year before the present (that is, Gabriel and Sigourney dating and Joslyn's and Gabriel's official introduction to each other courtesy of Sigourney) and lastly, the present times which spans the rest of the book.

It is imperative that insights on their past is given, therefore it had to be written before the book officially begins and I hope that by this explanation, clarity is brought to the readers, so as to prevent any instances of confusion. 

***

CHAPTER 1

[Three Years Prior To The Present]

Being an air stewardess was very thrilling and exhilarating for someone as adventurous as Joslyn Patel, but unfortunately, as exciting as it was, it also bagged a lot of stress, lots of legwork, i.e. standing and walking around, lots of sweet smiles (whether faux or genuine, but mostly, faux) and lastly, lots and lots of jet lags.

The belief that if you continued to do something perpetually, you would eventually grow accustomed to it, was a lie. A big one at that and Joslyn was a living witness. No one ever grows accustomed to jet lags. 

So, imagine the magnitude of irritation she truly felt when her best friend, Sigourney Lapointe, had tenaciously dragged her jaded and jet-lagged body down to the clubhouse, two hours after she had landed from a 50hr+ flight to and from Kathmandu, Nepal.

Joslyn groaned loudly when the words, The Airliner, illuminated in neon lights at the entrance of the club blared in her line of sight. She had had enough of airplanes and anything air for one day. But unfortunately, as much as she hated the word 'air' right now, she still had to breathe.

'Well, at least I'm breathing in oxygen, not air,' she tried to justify herself.

'Oxygen is one of the constituents of air,' her subconscious retorted.

'Eh...' She had no counterattack. Somehow, her subconscious had always seemed smarter than her, so dejectedly, she could only grumble in response. She had lost to air and to her Einstein of a subconscious.

Displaying their IDs, they walked past the security guard at the entrance, Joslyn trailing begrudgingly behind her best friend whilst hoping that she would just forget about her existence somehow, but that was too farfetched a wish. Unfortunately, her friend was on a mission to get her laid tonight.

"Oh, come on, Jos," Sigourney finally stopped walking and turned to face her glowering friend. "Stop with the grumblings and scowls. You're gonna chase away all potential fuckers," she smirked, placing her hands on both her shoulders, causing Joslyn's scowl to house a new neighbour-a grimace.

Her best friend could be quite vulgar when she wanted to be and Joslyn was already used to that character of hers, but having sex tonight was far far away from Joslyn's plans. 

All she wanted to do was soak her fatigued body in warm vanilla-scented water in her abnormally colossal-sized bathtub—where she had been before Sigourney had barged in with a Cheshire smile like a madwoman who had just escaped from the mental asylum—then sink into her cloud-soft queen-sized bed. Being an air stewardess had its perks; with the generous salary, also came other bounteous perquisites.

But here she was, in the anteroom of a club named after her present worst enemy—airlines. What else could possibly go wrong?

"You have absolutely no choice but to wipe that expression off your face if you don't want to spend the night alone, Jos," Sigourney chastised with her left hand resting on her hip, one of her eyebrows raised in disapproval.

"How will I spend the night alone when you're going to be here with me, Einstein?" Joslyn spoke for the first time tonight, her tone laced with boredom and palpable disapproval. 

"I will only be with you for a few minutes tonight. Say," she looked at the Chanel wristwatch wrapped around her right wrist (yes, Sigourney was weird like that) before continuing, "for the initial ten minutes."

At her friend's words, Joslyn's eyes zeroed in on her figure and narrowed dangerously, her gaze turning sharp. "And why's that?" She asked lowly. "Don't tell me you dragged me all the way here just to ditch me?"

She thought of how she could've been asleep in her bathtub with warm water cocooning her body by now, or how she could currently be parading the land of dreams with much-needed peace and quiet, or how she could presently be stuffing her face with peanut butter; the ethereal sensation she always derived from that crunchy kaleidoscope of sweetness was inexplicable.

Anything, just about anything, other than being on another flight, would be better than being here.

"No! That's not it," Sigourney tried to pacify her friend's anger. Wringing her hands against each other in nervousness, Sigourney mumbled sheepishly, "I invited Wesley," unable to meet Joslyn's eyes.

"Ugh," Joslyn groaned in annoyance again, rolling her eyes as her hands instinctively flew to her hair, ready to grip them tightly (a bad habit of hers that always surfaced whenever she was stressed, angry or in pain) but Sigourney was quick to slap her hands away, preventing them from ruining her 'killer hairdo'—Sigourney's words.

"You shouldn't have brought me along, then. You and Wesley could have had your perfect date and I wouldn't be here, third wheeling." Her hands itched to grip something, hard, so she pulled Sigourney's hands into hers and held tightly, watching her wince slightly. Good, that was her punishment.

"Stop acting like such a loner and live a little, Jos. How could I have fun and leave you alone to yourself in that huge condo of yours? What kind of best friend does that make me, uhn?" She winced again, shooting Joslyn a glare.

"I don't know... a smart one, maybe?" She winced when Sigourney also pinched her in return. "And I'm not acting like a loner, Sig. I am a loner and I'm perfectly happy with it because it ensures my peace of mind. Plus, I've had just about enough fun to last me a lifetime. I have traveled to basically every country out there, Sig." She pinched back.

"Yes, you have. But besides work, do you actually explore these countries for your own personal pleasure before returning?" Sigourney pinched again.

"Of course, I do. I explore the interiors of whatever hotel and resort we cabin crew stay at. I get you souvenirs from their purlieus, remember?" The battle of the pinches continued, each woman wincing and glaring at the other while passersby looked at them weirdly as they let out series of 'ow's and 'ouches'.

Sigourney rolled her eyes, "And that is only because everytime, I threaten to disrupt your peace and beauty sleep if you return without a keepsake. I don't know, have you ever tried planning an itinerary for maybe when you visit your dream country or city?"

Yes, she had done that countless times when she had first started the job but she hadn't been able to follow up with them. However, her friend didn't have to know that.

She opened her mouth to reply but Sigourney interrupted, "And actually follow up with it?" She gave her a knowing look that clearly indicated that she couldn't lie her way out of this.

"Fine. I'll stay in the stupid club. Like I had a choice anyway," she pinched her friend for the last time and slapped her hand away.

"Good," Sigourney smirked and pulled her into a hug before whispering into her ear, "In your wildest dreams if you think I'd let you have the last pinch."

Sigourney didn't give her time to react before she began tickling Joslyn mercilessly, eliciting hysterical laughter from her. She giggled as she watched Joslyn squirm, her hands on her knees as she tried to keep herself from falling to the ground.

"P-please, s-s-stop," she tried slapping Sigourney's hands away but to no avail. "Enough!" Joslyn shouted as she pushed her away and shot her an unamused glare. "Never. Do. That. Again," she gritted and burst through the double door entrance of the club, leaving a laughing Sigourney behind.

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