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Feature & Excerpt: Red by Nadine van der Merwe – ReadingDiva's Blog

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Feature & Excerpt: Red by Nadine van der Merwe

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Then this morning came jumping back into my head. Her face when she saw my torso after I spilled my coffee. It was priceless and I had to laugh a little. She was blushing so adorable. Then I almost asked her out. I thought as I washed then dried off. I got into my black tuxedo pants, white fancy collar shirt. I sat on my bed getting my socks and shoes on. I walked back to the bathroom and splashed on some of my ‘Hugo Boss’ after shave. Walked back out of my en-suite bathroom to my full-length mirror. I got my black bow tie knotted. There was a knock on my room door.

‘Come in.’ I answered as I turn back where my white tuxedo jacket hung over my rack. Please let it be her. In step Kevin.

‘Sir, it’s time to go or we will be late.’ Kevin let me know.

‘Yes. Is Jasmine ready yet?’ I asked getting into my jacket.

‘It would seem so sir. I am so worried about her condition sir.’

‘Yes, me too. I can’t force her to stay at home.’ I picked up my wallet and phone from the dresser. ‘Can I ask you, boys, to keep an extra eye on her while I’ll be making the rounds.’

‘Of course, sir. As usual, we will.’

‘Thank you, my friend. She became so important to me in such a short time span. I don’t want anything to happen to her.’

‘When are you going to tell her, Daniel? She already thinks the world of you as well. One of you two need to make the first move.’

‘Yeah, I guess. I’m working on it.’ We finally head out and we met up with Jasmine in the lounge. She looks stunning in her evening gown but she’s so pale. It scares me shitless.

‘Miss Thompson, you look absolutely stunning.’ I smiled at her.

‘Thank you, sir. You both can give ‘James Bond’ a good run for his money in these tuxedo’s you have on.’ She complemented us.

‘I do? It doesn’t make me look fat at all?’ I joked around to make her smile and it worked.

‘Of course, not.’ She replied. We all head down to our limo. She gave me, my speech she has written for the

gala tonight. We reach the basement and got in my short limo. I read through it while we’re driving and it is her best work yet.

‘This is the best speech you’ve written yet, Miss Thompson. Thank you for this.’ I smiled her way.

‘You’re welcome, Mr. Clarke. Well, I wasn’t in the debate club for nothing.’ She smiled a warm friendly smile my way. I saw her watching me from the corner of my eye. I finally focus on my speech she’s written for me. Oh, before I forget completely I will have to let her know about my mother.

‘Oh, a heads up, my parents will be attending this gala.’ I finally spoke up.

‘Yes, Mrs. Clarke called while you were in your twelve O’clock meeting to confirm tonight’s gala.’

‘I’m very sorry for the way she’s towards you. I don’t know what she has against you but for what it’s worth Jasmine. I’ve never in my wildest dreams thought that day you first showed up for your interview with your high school uniform. That it will lead to all this.’ I confess.

‘Likewise, sir. I genuine love working for you and I fell in love with your company. The way it advances people’s lives, it’s mind boggling sometimes. Being in the front seats of the cutting-edge technology of the world. It sometimes leaves me speechless.’ My heart melt as I hear her say all these things.

‘I’m not giving you boring work then?’ I asked looking straight at her beautiful blue eyes.

‘No, not at all sir. I love every gram of work you give me.’ I was on the verge of jumping her and cover her with all my kisses. When I remind myself it’s not very gentlemanlike showing this type of affection.

‘Good. Good, I’m glad you like working for me so much. To be quite honest Miss Thompson, I don’t think I could even imagine my life without you now. The way you organize my days and files it’s very rare to have found such a diamond.’ I could see I knocked her feet out from under her by the mere look on her face.

‘You’re welcome, Mr. Clarke. You are a fantastic boss.’ She smiled then looked at her hands that’s shaking. She screws her eyes shut and took a calming breath. I don’t like this.

‘Everything okay?’ I asked very concerned.

‘I’ll be alright.’ She looked up from her hand in her lap with a warm tired looking smile for me. Why does she have to push herself so much?

‘You sure, I can have Kevin drop you off at home if you don’t feel well.’

‘No, I’ll hang on until this long day is over.’ Oh, please angel. Don’t do this to me.

‘Very well, then.’ I can’t force her. We finally arrived at the gala. I got out and walked around the car to help her out of the car. I caught a glimpse of mom and dad arriving behind us. Oh, please dear God let mom behave herself tonight, please. The valet let mom and dad out on the Red carpet. Jasmine straighten her dress when she stood back up mom were at our side.

‘Hello, darling.’

‘Mother.’ I greeted not to be rude to my mother.

I kissed her cheek and shook dad’s hand. Dad looked over to mother and I followed his line of focus.

‘Good evening Mrs. Clarke. You look lovely.’ Jasmine smiled as she complemented Harriet. Guess what mother did. She stepped back looking Jasmine up and down like she’s a dirty hobo then walked past her. Dad saw this and jumped in.

‘Jasmine sweetheart, hello.’

‘Oh, Mr. Clarke. Good evening.’ Dad gave my girl a warm hug and peck on her cheek.

‘Don’t mind the old one. You know how she gets at parties like this.’

‘Yes, sir all too well. I’m afraid.’ We all started to make our way down the Red carpet with media camera flashes going off all around me. All the pointless questions started the journalists would ask me or more yell my way. Questions like who my date is? Or what am I wearing? It is all quite irrelevant and pointless. I keep an extra sharp eye on Jasmine, you can lose her so quickly in a tall crowd like this. Groups of journalist stopped me for more photos and more stupid questions. I caught a glimpse of Jasmine and she doesn’t look so good. After the last photo, we finally head inside and made our way to our table. On our way there without knowing it, I took Jasmine’s hand. A group of doctors stopped me from getting to my girl to sit her down at our table. I had to bite my cheek and talked to them. Jasmine walked ahead to our table and got our things to our assigned seats. I looked to my side a second later and she stood in silence next me wanting to take my coat from me. I hand it to her. I finally got

away and we walked over to our table. I saw dad at our table but couldn’t find my mother in the crowd for some reason.

‘Where is my mother?’ I asked Jasmine and she pointed out to me. ‘Oh, good grief. She clearly has no shame. Does she?’

‘Not my place to say such things, sir.’ She replied then hand me my speech she’s written. I keep all her speeches she’s written me over the past five years. I have a shoe box with all my speeches she has written. I’m very sentimental.

‘You’re something else, Miss Thompson. Thank you for the great speech. I’ve read it a couple times already and it is well thought out and to the point.’ She blushed at my praise.

‘You’re welcome.’ She gripped the edge of our table to hold herself steady. In a split second, she gone even paler.

‘Jasmine?’ I move to her side and put my arm around her. I don’t want her to fall. We need to get her home and now. I sat her down in her seat and dad walked over to us. I held her wrist to feel her pulse.

‘I’m so sorry. The whole room is spinning out of control. My heart is beating so fast.’ I finally kneel down in front of her and her pulse is racing. I don’t like this one bit.

‘Jasmine, honey you look so pale.’ Dad spoke from our side looking as worries as I am at my angel girl.

‘Gosh, your heart is racing, and you’re shaking.’ I felt her pulse once more.

‘I’ll be fine.’ She didn’t convince me one bit and all I

know I want her taken care of. Her response is so like her. Not complaining or making waves or having mood swings. Oh, my special girl.

‘I can have Lance escort you home if you don’t feel well.’ I offered again.

‘No, I’ll stay as long as I can and if I don’t feel well enough then I’ll go home.’

‘As you wish Miss Thompson.’ I finally stood back up as the hospital chief walked over to greet me. We talked about the evening’s agenda then he left. Dad must have gone of to buy Jasmine a bottle of water. He handed it to her when I turned back to her.

‘Thank you, Mr. Clarke.’

‘You’re welcome sweetheart.’ Dad sat in my chair while someone else engaged me in more small talk. I have mastered small talk a few years back. Finally, the master of ceremonies opened the evening and we all took in our seats. The crowd finally quite down. We had a bit of fun and games first before the speeches start. The hospital chief gave his speech then after what felt like an eternity hand the microphone over to me. I deliver Jasmine’s speech, she’s written. I started and flew through it. I personally love the little jokes she wrote in it and gave me a few laughs or two myself. I went in for the kill and nailed it in the end with a standing applause. People still applauded when I got back to our table.

Being polite I took a slight bow and everything commenced. I got Jasmine’s attention and lean in to whisper to her.

‘See, I told you, your speech was great. Thank you.’

‘You’re welcome, sir.’ The waiters carried out our starters. It’s a shellfish cocktail. Shit, my girl can’t eat this. We found out three years ago at a function like this one that Jasmine has a very bad shellfish allergy and she almost died. She’s not eating it. Good. I finished my shellfish starter and swap my empty glass for hers. I don’t want her in hospital again. It almost killed me back then. She’s watching me eat while she drank some more water and looked at me amused. After our starter. A pallet cleanser were brought out next. A cold soup. I am really glad she has something in her stomach. She walked off to the bathrooms and I had Lance walk behind her to make sure she’s alright. She got back to our table and dad asked her to dance. Attention seekers came my way as I caught Jasmine and dad sway across the dance floor in a waltz. Mom stepped to my side and hung on my arm. I later got her to let go while I kept talking to the building crowd. Saw Jasmine and dad talk while they dance. I sometimes wish I could have been a better dance teacher to have taught her like dad did. When they started out she had two left feet. There were a group of people at our table and mother hung off my arm again. When I stopped giving attention to her. She found her way back to the duke.

I can’t invite her to anything anymore and the look on the people’s faces around her screamed odious. I think I will do a lot of people a favor not inviting her to anything ever again.

I shook my head at the sight of my mother then made my way to my dad and my special lady on the dance floor.

‘Who needs all this gratification?’ I asked standing next to my father. Smiling from ear to ear.

‘Jasmine, I was complimenting her for taking such great care of you.’ Dad explained. I smiled at them both.

‘That she has. May I cut in dad?’ He gave a short bow and I returned his bow. Dad walked off. Jasmine curtsied gracefully. I got us to turn a few times about the dance floor I looked at the wonderful woman in my arms.

‘You look even paler now than when we got here. Are you feeling okay?’ I asked her cupping her face in both my hands while we still dance.

‘I feel so dizzy, now.’ She admitted and I took her outside for some fresh air. Only realizing now that it is snowing. I found a snow free chair in the corner of the balcony behind the band.

‘Come, sit down.’ I helped her sit.

‘Thank you. I’m sorry I’m being such a bother tonight.’ She looked close to tears and I came and knee in front of her.

‘You are not a bother at all Jasmine. How are you feeling?’ I for one feel panicky I don’t want anything to happen to her. She is my whole world all four feet of it.

‘It feels like I could faint at any stage.’ She confessed. I want to get her out of here and back at home. Most of the evening’s duties are done but there are still one or two formalities that still need finalizing. Maybe she’s

having a bad allergy.

‘You haven’t had any shellfish tonight have you?’

‘No, not at all. You ate my cocktail remember, I only had the soup. It was wonderful.’ I sigh in relieve.

‘Yes, it was. That’s it I’m getting Lance to take you home now.’ I got back up and reached for my phone in my pants pocket.

‘Very well Mr. Clarke. As you wish.’ She breathed holding her head in her hands.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As former hairdresser, I got tired of the industry and decided to make a 180 degree change, pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming an author. I’m also a cat lover, camping girl, gym fanatic and fan-fiction writer based in the hot suburbs of Eastern Johannesburg, South Africa. Since April 2007 my life has taken a fantastic turn. I started to grow as a writer part-time while managing a full-time career. I’ve started to write ‘Fifty Shade’s’ fan fiction along with a few other titled fan-fiction categories. It was such a hit that it propelled me to become a better writer. I love the Romance genre with a dark twisted caramel center of some naughtiness. I have since mastered my trade in this field for the past 10 years. October 2016, I’ve started working on Red and I’m planning a series around it. I love to write stories I would love to read myself and in it I hope other wonderful souls will love it to.

Contact the author: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Reader, book reviewer & blogger, love books and most genre: contemporary romance, fantasy, paranormal, mystery & thrillers, new adult & historical romance. When not working, I like spending my time reading, watching tv with my husband and socializing with my friends.

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