Instead her hand brushed against something seductively soft and she pulled out the whisper of midnight-blue silk she had packed, in case ‘something happened’ with Johnny.
Her breath caught in her throat as she remembered the moment when she’d seen it in the shop.
She’d wanted to look cool and confident and sexy. That was who she was, after all. A stone-cold, red-hot fox. Or at least it was who she was pretending to be. In reality, she felt anything but.
Throat tightening, she closed her fingers around the flimsy fabric.
She might as well wear it. Who knew when—if—she would have an opportunity to do so again?
Wriggling under the quilt, she gazed up at the heavy draped tapestry curtains. She felt as if she was in a fairy tale. If only Johnny were here with her, it would be perfect.
But he wasn’t.
Grabbing one of the pillows, she hugged it close to her body.
Life was not a fairy tale—at least not her life, anyway. And her supposed prince would be on the other side of the ocean by now.
Reaching over, she switched off the light.
Instantly the empty house creaked into life. Pipes hummed, windows rattled, and there was a distant thump like a door slamming.
Rolling onto her side, she yawned. The sound of the rain was making her feel sleepy...
And then she heard it. The sound of footsteps.
She sat upright so fast she thought her spine would snap. Her pulse was racing, her heartbeat bouncing off the walls.
It’s just your imagination, she told herself, feeling the hairs on th
e back of her neck stand up.
Except the footsteps were getting closer.
Her ears pricked, she groped frantically in the darkness for the cricket bat—and then almost jerked out of her skin when the door clicked open.
There was a crash, and then a thump, as someone—no, not someone...a man—collided with something solid in the darkness and she heard him swear explosively.
She felt a jolt of panic. Her heart was thumping uncontrollably, her fear so intense that she was shivering all over, and then sudden light blinded her.
Blinking, she stared across the room.
Her suitcase was lying on its back, rocking from side to side like an upended turtle. A man was standing next to it, his huge shoulders filling the doorway, his face shrouded beneath a hood, a bulky-looking dark leather bag in his hand and a dog quivering beside him.
Terror doused her like a bucket of cold water as he dropped the bag and took a step forward. Edging back against the headboard, she held the cricket bat out threateningly in front of her, tension bunching her muscles.
‘Don’t come any closer,’ she managed.
There was a silence, and then the man reached up and pushed back the hood. Eyes the colour of the storm clouds outside locked onto hers.
His voice sounded as if it was rolling across shingle.
‘Come closer and you’ll find out,’ she said hoarsely.
He leaned almost casually against the doorjamb, his lips twisting into something halfway between a smile and a sneer, so that she caught a glimpse of straight white teeth.