Excerpt of Spiral by D.U. (Davina Uchenna) Okonkwo
Nina slipped her passport into her tan leather cross-body bag and zipped up her roller bag. The sharp slide of the bag’s zip punctuated the tense silence of the living room. After a moment’s hesitation, she flicked a glance at the man sprawled on the long cream sofa three feet from her.
In ripped blue jeans and a too-tight white polo shirt, his gray-socked feet hanging over the arm of the sofa, Alex Riley raised his light brown eyes from his latest issue of Classic Cars, his eyes clashing with her blue ones.
They eyed each other for several seconds. Alex eventually broke the stare, his eyes dropping resentfully to her luggage. “All ready then?”
Though her lips thinned at his tone, Nina nodded and buttoned her sky blue ski jacket over her red wool jumper. “Yes, but, Alex–” She broke off. No, she would not succumb to another argument about this trip.
“It doesn’t bother you at all, does it?”
She tightened her dark brown ponytail. “I can’t let it bother me, Alex. Like I’ve said, this is a business networking trip. How could I ask to bring my boyfriend along?”
“You could have asked Neil.” Bitterness laced his words.
Her teeth ground together. “This isn’t Neil’s trip; it’s Parker Drayton’s. You know he’s our biggest client. Besides, you don’t even like him or his two sons that he’s bringing along.” In all honesty, she wasn’t crazy about Justin and Hugh Drayton either, but Parker himself was fine. At ages twenty-nine and twenty-seven respectively, Justin and Hugh Drayton held senior positions within their father’s chain of hotels. As a solicitor and partner with the law practice she had set up with her two friends Angela Akura and Neil Vaska, Nina was proud that their firm gave legal expertise to well-known clients in the leisure industry such as Drayton Hotels. They had a good working relationship with Parker Drayton himself, but his sons Justin ad Hugh? Not so much. For some reason both Justin and Hugh communicated poorly with their father. Whether there was a power struggle going on or a private family conflict she didn’t know, but Justin ad Hugh often failed to return her messages, failed to get contracts and affidavits signed by Parker on time, and Hugh, whose struggle with alcohol was well known, was the worst. It often made for uncomfortable conversations with their father.
“Why must I like them?” Alex asked as he flipped a magazine page with a flick of his wrist. “While you network, I could be on the slopes. You said Parker’s rented a ten-bedroom chalet. Good enough for me. I don’t have to talk to him or his idiot sons.”
Genre: Literary / Adventure
Left to raise her three younger siblings at the tender age of seventeen, Nina Bishop is accustomed to solving problems. Now that she and two friends run their own law firm, she gets paid for solving other people’s problems. And as a businesswoman, she can always smell a great opportunity. So when her biggest client, Parker Drayton, organizes a networking ski trip to Salzburg, Austria, she is the first to board the plane. There’s only one drawback: Parker is bringing along his two notoriously difficult, grown-up sons, Justin and Hugh.
Even before take-off the tension between Parker and his sons is palpable. But when Hugh causes their small jet to crash, plunging them all into unforgiving back country, the networking trip goes from tension-filled journey to living nightmare.