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About the author:
Louise has been published by Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins and Pan Macmillan. She writes about intrepid women entering worlds that are new and strange to them – Strangers in Strange Lands – whether that’s an everyday woman from our world traversing a portal into a sepia kingdom, an amorous mermaid stranded on dry land, or a reclusive oyster farmer who must face the modern world when a geek arrives on her doorstep. Louise also works with computer game companies to develop fantasy and sci fi world-building. As an avid reader, however, her first love will always be books.
What inspired you to write your book?
I live by the ocean and have long been fascinated by the idea of what’s beneath the surface, looking out at us when we can’t see it/them. I think about that every day while I walk the esplanade. All that wondering mixed up in my mind with the idea of a poor little rich boy who’s romantically challenged, and who can’t see that the perfect girl is right in front of him! I had SO much fun writing this book, laughing, crying and sighing with the characters as they bumbled from one disaster to the next. And I was so very glad when each of them found their happily-ever-after, although not with the person you’d expect!
Here is a short sample from the book:
“… stay in your room, Dad. I mean it,” Baz said, struggling to pull the old man’s bedroom door shut with trembling hands. “I’ll sort this out.” But Ted was pulling it open from the inside and he was remarkably strong.
“What’s that smell on your clothes,” he said, starting to get agitated. “What’s going on? Why haven’t we had breakfast?”
“You’ve got an emergency stash of muesli bars in your bedside drawer.” Baz tried to sound reasonable but every nerve in his body was screaming for him to stop this and get to the girl. “I’ll call you for lunch.”
“What do you expect me to do in here?”
“I don’t care,” Baz snapped at him, wrestling the door. “Read a book. Watch tv. Have a nap. Just let go of the door. Now, Dad.” The pressure abruptly released and Baz yanked the door shut and turned to rest his back on it. Then he forced himself to wait. Twenty seconds later the television started up but it was another ten seconds before Baz stepped away from the door and stood by the opposite wall, watching to see if his father was just pretending obedience. Two endless minutes passed while Baz listened to the thundering of his heart before he felt confident to walk away, then he ran. Down the corridor to the guest suite where he’d put the girl, and after letting himself in he locked the door in case Ted decided to get curious. He sure as hell didn’t want his father walking in on… whatever was about to happen.
Baz took his hand off the doorknob and looked at it. Still trembling. An hour since he’d laid eyes on the girl and he was still shaking. He sucked in a ragged breath. I’ve got to calm down.
From the moment the girl had breathed on him and lapsed back into unconsciousness Baz had been acting like a lunatic, and all he could assume was that the glittering substance he’d inhaled was some sort of drug. The only thing he’d ever experimented with was marijuana, so he had no idea what cocaine or heroin did to you, although he’d always imagined them to be more of a head rush. This sensation was like a body rush, and unfortunately it was focusing 99% of his brain function on his libido, leaving only 1% available for acting normal. It wasn’t Viagra because he knew from overhearing conversations at school that its effect was localized. This felt as if his whole body was throbbing, and not just for any woman. He was completely focused on the girl from the beach, as if she was the only desirable woman in the world and he had to have her right now!
The drug had unhinged him from the moment he’d breathed it in. He’d completely ignored Matt to put the girl on the back seat of the Range Rover, then he’d left the poor cowboy with the horrible half of his brother that the shark hadn’t eaten. Not even bothering with his seat belt, Baz had driven away without a backward glance. The police would assume he’d whisked her away for medical treatment, but nothing could be further from the truth. Baz had abandoned poor Matt, simply to keep the girl to himself. It was a shocking thing to have done — utterly unconscionable, and looking back on the memory now, Baz felt as if it had been someone else inhabiting his body. Controlling it. Because that behavior certainly wasn’t any version of himself that he recognized. At the time, he had rationalized it in his mind as prioritizing: protect the girl. She was the one who was still alive.
But how was he protecting her by denying her medical assistance? He wasn’t thinking, well not with all the blood in his brain drained down into his… The very thought of a male doctor even looking at her, let alone touching her, had caused him to tremble with a mixture of fury and violent jealousy. So he’d taken her away before the police could so much as glance at her.
Because they were probably men too.
Besides, she’d said she didn’t want to go to hospital so he’d run with that, literally, somehow managing to get her back to Saltwood without crashing the Rover in his haste, and then the most incredible feat of all — he’d put her in the guest suite bed and backed away before anything… foolish had happened.
And here he was, about to face her again, to find out who she was, not to mention: why she’d been naked when he’d found her, and what the hell she’d breathed on him. Baz had seen no other belongings on the beach apart from Matt and Steve’s swags. Did she have a bag somewhere else, further up the beach? Relatives he should be notifying?
His hackles rose at that thought and he quickly steered his mind away from it to concentrate on her ‘Don’t let the authorities take me’ line which needed to be explained. What had she done? Something criminal? She might not be the girl who’d stolen Steve’s wallet, but she’d had drugs in her mouth that she’d sprayed on him and that wasn’t a good start. He needed to talk to her and find out some facts, but as he stood in the foyer of the guest suite, hopelessly overheated, he felt more concerned with his own self–control. He had a moment of thinking he shouldn’t go near her, especially while she was naked, but the police were coming. They’d rung to confirm she was at Saltwood so they could interview her, and Baz hadn’t had the composure to lie.
Her bedroom was on his left, the bathroom in front of him and a sitting room to the right. There was a bar fridge in that sitting room where he could get a cold drink, and a comfy lounge he could sit on until she woke up. That would be far more sensible than going into her bedroom while she was still naked and he was unable to think of anything other than sex. With her. But he had to do something. Police were authorities and she’d been quite clear about not wanting to be given to them. So was she a runaway? What if the police took her home and it was a bad situation? Baz had seen kids come to school with black eyes after a family party where dad had drunk too much. She definitely shouldn’t have drugged him, but he didn’t want to see her hurt.
In fact, he didn’t want to see her touched by another man. If he’d been smart, he would have told the police she’d run away. Then he could have kept her all to himself. Until he worked out what her situation was. And he could still do that. He could…
Slow seconds ticked over as he blinked at the bathroom door in front of him.
Why was he imagining that he should lie to the police? What was happening to him? What the hell was in that drug? He needed to get into that bedroom now and sort this out, and perhaps more importantly, before the police arrived, he had to make sure he could be around her without doing something criminal himself!
While she was unconscious he appeared able to stop himself jumping on her, but when she opened those unnaturally large eyes, how would he cope? At the beach, straight after she’d breathed on him he’d been crazed with lust, and if she hadn’t lapsed back into unconsciousness, God only knew what the police would have found when they’d arrived.
It was beyond intense, and even in a drugged state that didn’t feel like normal psychology. Baz had done a couple of units of psych at uni because it had fascinated him, and he knew that out–of–character reactions often had their basis in childhood trauma. He also remembered that the girl had looked familiar to him, before he’d gone all Hugh Heffner. Had that familiarity set him off? If she reminded him of someone, some suppressed memory, maybe some friend of his mother’s, could that explain why he was over–reacting? Maybe twenty years ago he’d walked in on a naked visitor and found the situation erotic?
Baz frowned and shook his head. When he was eight? How likely was that?
“Mm … Oh! Starfish!”
Baz turned to the bedroom on his left. Was she awake? Instinct set his feet moving and he tentatively crossed the marble entry tiles to the bedroom door. It was still open as he’d left it, with the timber window shutters drawn, so the room was in semi–darkness. He had to take another step forward to stop blocking the entryway light so he could find her on the four–poster bed. Then he saw where her hand was and spluttered, “Shit!”
One minute she was half–drowned and the next…
“I found my clitoris,” she said.
Baz jerked his head away and tried to think over the thundering of his heart. “Was it lost?” he asked, then winced. Good opening, Wilson. But at least he’d said something. And despite the fact that he was giving the beige walls a very close inspection, his imagination was replaying her pleased smile and the matted honey hair sprawled across her white pillow. Not to mention that athletic body, those huge eyes, and her hand…
Was it possible for a penis to swell so much that the skin burst? Baz had never been this hard in his life, and he wasn’t even touching her! Oh God, that thought pushed him dangerously close to the edge.
“I had no idea that would feel so good,” she said, and from the corner of his eye he saw her push herself up against the pillows. “But I feel dizzy now.”
You and me both! “Maybe you have sunstroke,” Baz said to the wall, telling himself to step away from the bed, but not managing to comply. “I could look that up on the Internet. How to treat it. I’m sure it’s just a mild case,” he added, because he still wasn’t taking her anywhere outside the guest bedroom. Which was seriously crazy. Injured girl, he reminded himself. But he could smell her distinctive salty fragrance and that only made the throbbing worse.
The antidote. I need the antidote for the drug. Fast!
“Where am I?” she asked.
“At my father’s house,” he said, because that sounded less like he was a lone sex fiend and more like she was in a nice safe family home. “You said you didn’t want to go to the hospital.”
“No. I must avoid the authorities,” she replied, and even her voice was sexy, husky and with an odd accent. Was she a European tourist? An illegal immigrant? He risked a glance at her and saw that her enormous eyes were slightly tilted down and she had high cheekbones. Cheekbones he could easily imagine licking on his way to her neck.
“Are you available for sex?”
Baz blinked in shock and snapped his head back to stare at the wall. For a terrible second he though he’d said that, then he stopped breathing.
“Pardon?” he croaked.
“I have genitals and I like the pleasure they give me. I want more.”
Baz felt pressure building up then, like a jet engine revving for take off. Jump on her, you idiot. Say ‘Yes please’. But instead he blurted, “The police rang,” and jerked a step away, back toward the door. “They’re coming here to interview us both at four. That’s in two hours. You should clean up. Get dressed.”
“The police? They’re authorities.” He could hear the tension in her voice. Then, “Why aren’t you looking at me?”
Baz waved his hand in a pulling–up motion. “The sheet. Could you cover yourself?”
Movement from the bed, then, “I am covered.”
Baz took a slow breath, then turned to find she’d pulled the sheet up to her waist. Even in the shadows he could still see her pert breasts exposed. He knew they would be dusted in sand and would therefore taste salty and delicious. In fact, so strong was this conviction that Baz actually wavered forward with his tongue coming out to wet his lips. Somehow he managed to keep his feet in the same place. “Higher,” he croaked, and waved a hand frantically in her direction.
She frowned and pulled the sheet up to her chin.
Baz turned to her and nodded his thanks, not trusting his voice until after he’d swallowed several times, then he said, “You breathed something on me at the beach.”
“An attractant,” she replied.
What? Baz shook his head. Was it some souped–up version of Spanish Fly? “Well it worked,” he snapped, trembling again. “How long until it wears off?”
They looked at each other, then she said, “I am here to get pregnant. Will you assist me in that?”
She looked entirely guileless, as if she’d just asked him for directions to the train station, but cold reality washed though Baz’s entrails like an icy enema. “No,” he said, and then shook his head to add power to the refusal. “Is this some sort of Green Card thing?” Jesus, did she jump off a cruise liner or something? Was that why she’d been in the water?
She frowned. “But I have used my attractant on you. I only had one dose.”
“Then you wasted it,” he said, wondering if this was Scam Wilsons Week and he hadn’t been told.
“Are you sure?” she said, and stripped the sheet back to expose herself.
Baz had been hard the whole time he’d been talking to her, but the sight of all that bared flesh jolted him into a pounce–ready state where even his fingernails seemed to be throbbing. He couldn’t stop himself leaning forward. “No,” he said, staring at her breasts, unable to work out whether he meant No I don’t want you or No I’m not sure. The 1% brain function was fading.
She opened her legs.
Baz was at tipping over point: wanting to rip his own clothes off and dive on her from a height, but also wanting to go back in time to before he’d met her so he could not be the person she’d breathed that drug onto. He was so far beyond confusion he wondered if he should have left a breadcrumb trail, because at this point it seemed highly unlikely he’d ever find his way back to who he had been when he’d woken up this morning. Still, some relentlessly good part of him was forcing him to try.
“The police are coming,” he breathed, which reminded him that Matt had been helicoptered out to Bundaberg with the mutilated remains of his beloved brother. This was not a good time to be lusting over a complete stranger, even if he had been drugged. It was inappropriate and selfish and … the most exhilarating sensation he’d ever experienced in his life.
Commonsense felt a sparrow flying into a cyclone, but he had to try. “They want to ask questions about what happened in the water.” Then he gestured at the sheet again. “Up. Please.”
She sighed and dragged the sheet back up over herself. “I am here for such a short time,” she said. “If you will not provide me with a baby, can you recommend someone who will? Someone safe,” she said and then shuddered as though remembering something unpleasant.
She was sounding more like an illegal immigrant all the time, but there was no point in her outright, because why would she tell him the truth? “So where are you going when you leave here?” he asked, focusing on the pillow beside her head because when he looked at her face he kept getting distracted by her mouth which was wide and luscious and —
“Home,” she replied.
Baz could see her breasts rising and falling underneath the sheet and it was incredibly distracting. “Where is home?” he asked.
She said nothing and Baz looked back at her face. She was frowning. “I cannot say,” she replied, and “Why are you asking so many questions? My sisters who have come before me have encountered no such problem. Are you same–sex oriented?”
“No!” Baz said far too loudly. “I’m straight, but that doesn’t mean I have sex with random girls… who…”
She was pulling the sheet down again and Baz suddenly realized he couldn’t cope with this. If he didn’t get away from her — soon — he’d be eating his words. Among other things.
“I’ll get you water to drink while you have a shower.” He managed to take a step back, closer to the door. “There should be a bathrobe in the cupboard,” he said, and pointed at the nineteenth century silky–oak monolith in the corner, then decided he’d better not leave that to chance. Unfortunately, when he walked over to the cupboard it was bare. “I’ll get you clothes,” he said, imagining he’d have something she could borrow, and trying not to think about the clothes he’d worn caressing her naked body. It was so intimate, so …
“I feel uncomfortable,” she said, the husky accent more pronounced now, convincing him she was definitely foreign. Then, “Perhaps I need to urinate.” She sat up and the sheet fell away.
“Sure. I’ll …” He pointed toward the door but she wasn’t moving off the bed, although she had managed to wriggle to the edge of it.
“I can’t …”
“Oh. Wear this,” he said and pulled his T–shirt off over his head. He held it out as he edged closer to her, averting his face.
She took it out of his hand but otherwise didn’t move.
“Can you get up?” he asked. Maybe she was dizzy or sick.
Then why the hell had she been masturbating?
“I’m not sure I can walk,” she replied.
“And I want to use the toilet.”
Baz knew modesty had to be set aside when other needs were paramount, and it wasn’t as though he’d get all hot and horny over her while she was taking a pee.
He turned back to find her frowning at the T–shirt in her hands. “Here, I’ll help you with that,” he said, using his best teacher’s voice. Then he stepped warily closer, took it off her and gingerly pulled the neck of it down over her head, being careful to avoid scraping over the dried blood on her scalp. Not so difficult, Baz. He waited, and when she made no move to take over, he steered her arms into the holes and pulled it down over her body. But not before he’d seen her very nice breasts rise and fall.
That isn’t helping, Wilson.
He swallowed. Hard.
“Put your arm over my shoulder,” he instructed, trying to sound business–like when his voice was trembling. “I’ll help you up.” It was a bad suggestion considering the state of Baz’s shorts, but the alternative was to let her pee in the bed. He didn’t think either of them would appreciate that.
She did as she was told and Baz was careful to put his hand under her armpit in such a way that his fingers weren’t touching her breast. Up–close, she was completely irresistible – the wide eyes, the tousled hair, the delicious salty smell of her skin. His body physically ached to be pressed against hers, and the throbbing was so loud Baz could hear it inside his ears, but her predicament kept him on track.
He maintained a careful distance between them as he pulled her upright, then she wobbled momentarily before following his lead to put one leg in front of the other. It was an odd stilted gait, as though she wasn’t sure how much pressure her feet could take. But by the time they were into the bathroom he could feel her taking more of her own weight, and when she asked to be set down on the side of the marble bath, he was fairly confident she’d be able to manage herself from there. Which was good. He didn’t particularly want to watch her pee. Although, truth be told, he imagined that would be sexy too. She just had to frown at him with those sea–blue eyes and…
“I’ll leave you to it,” he said, and started to back out.
“I have pretty feet.” She was gazing at her toes which seemed to be painted with a blue–green shiny nail polish, like her fingers. The color matched her eyes.
“They’re beautiful,” he replied before he could stop himself, but she merely nodded in agreement. Clearly not the type to be embarrassed by compliments. “I’ll be right outside.” He backed into the hallway, arms wrapped around his bare chest, as though trying to hold his heart in. “Call me if you need me.” He shut the door, then forced himself to walk away, into the sitting room where he paced around the lounge, took a beer out of the bar fridge then remembered the police were coming and put it back in.
The bathroom door remained tantalizingly shut.
Who was she?
A name would have been a good start. And he hadn’t introduced himself either. Damn, where were his manners?
Well, left on the bedroom floor with his tongue most likely. It wasn’t every day you walked in on a naked girl masturbating. He should cut himself some slack. It was a marvel that he wasn’t a blithering idiot by now.
At last he heard the toilet flush, and gave her a moment longer before he went back to the doorway and called out, “Need a hand?”
“Yes,” she replied and he opened the door.
She was back on the side of the bath next to the toilet, and the tap in the basin was running. He turned it off.
“I washed my hands,” she said, “But wasn’t sure if I should have washed my genitals as well. I am producing a lot of bodily fluids, not all to do with elimination.”
Baz blinked several times before he found his voice, which came out hoarse, “You can have a shower if you like.” He pointed at the glass–sided cubicle and registered, unnecessarily, that it was big enough for two.
“I’m not sure how long I can stand up,” she replied.
“A bath then.” He nodded. “I’ll run it for you if you like.”
“I think pleasure produces bodily fluids,” she replied. “Far more than are necessary for the purposes of lubrication.”
Baz felt his shorts get that little bit tighter. “Do you like it hot, or just warm?”
The words hung in the air between them and Baz wanted to blurt out, The bath. I’m talking about the bath! Only, that would tell her his mind was on something else, which wasn’t a good idea. She was an illegal immigrant who was after a baby so she could gain Australian residency. Like her sisters. Baz had to keep remembering that, but it was such a challenge when those endless legs were spread out in front of him.
“The same temperature as the ocean would be good,” she replied.
“Cool it is,” Baz said, pleased that the nursie routine had dampened his libido enough to retain some self–control. Although he knew he should get out of the bathroom before that tee shirt came back off or he’d be in serious trouble.
He leant over and turned on the taps, adjusting them to the right temperature before putting in the plug. She sat quietly as the bath filled and the lack of conversation was suddenly oppressive. Baz turned to get her a towel and some soap. When he turned back she was struggling with the T–shirt. It was half off her head but she had one arm stuck. He put down the towel and the soap and said, “Need any help?” Then he waited, his heart pounding so loudly he could hear it in his ears. He really needed to get out of this room.
“I … yes,” she replied, and stilled while he gently untangled her, the process hampered by Baz’s shaking hands. But when her head turned he saw the brown patch of dried blood on the back of her scalp. That helped calm him down.
She was injured. It was the perfect reason to stop picturing her wrapped around him slippery and naked, and once he’d allowed himself a calming breath he felt marginally stronger. She held out an arm and he steeled himself for more close contact, this time easing her into the tub. She settled into the water and lay back to look at him, pensively. “You do not touch me unless I ask you to.”
Baz wanted to say, and you have no idea how much effort that requires, but instead he said, “I’m a gentleman,” wondering if he was. It certainly sounded good.
“Then a gentleman would never hurt a woman,” she replied, with an odd testing tone in her voice that set his radar off.
“God no!” he replied instinctively, but part of his brain was wondering why she was asking that. The police were coming. Was she setting him up for some sort of sexual harassment accusation? His father was rich. Maybe she thought they’d settle out of court. It happened to people. She could be —
Baz cut himself off in mid–thought.
The girl had almost drowned. Another man had died trying to save her. Add to which, she couldn’t have known it would be someone wealthy like Baz who would come to the beach to rescue her. She wasn’t a criminal mastermind. She was just a beautiful girl on the run with a lump on the back of her head who was clearly exhausted by her ordeal.
Well, not too exhausted to masturbate and ask for sex.
Jesus, Wilson. Get up and go!
Baz turned off the taps and said, “I’ll leave you to it then,” and forced himself to stand.
She looked up at him with a confused frown. “I do not understand how my sisters have been successful when I cannot. But perhaps when I am clean you may find me more attractive. Then you may want to make a baby with me.”
Baz suddenly felt like the worst sort of bastard on the planet. “No, it’s… you’re beautiful,” he told her. It’s not you, it’s me. But he couldn’t bring himself to say that out loud, so he added, “I do want babies but … you’re a stranger and —”
“I didn’t realize that familiarity was required. I am only here for a handful of days.”
She definitely came from somewhere far away.
“It’s not… familiarity isn’t required for sex,” he said, then weathered a blush that made his ears hot. “But making babies is serious. You don’t do that with a total stranger. Well I don’t.”
“Then if I hadn’t told you about the baby, you would have made sex with me?”
Baz stared at her unblinking eyes and was completely unable to say I’m not like that, because maybe he was. Certainly the drugged version of Baz had thought about it. If she’d just opened her legs and kept her mouth shut they might well be…
Seconds ticked over silently, incriminating him. Finally he swallowed down a lump of guilt and he said, “I’m just going to get you some clothes and a drink of water,” then he backed out of the bathroom and shut the door.
He looked down at his hand on the doorknob and it was still trembling. Strangely, this time it calmed him down. It was just the drugs. He wasn’t himself. She’d told him the effect would wear off, and he could only hope it did before the police arrived, or he was in serious trouble.
But first he had to get her ready, so he let himself out of the guest suite and went to check on his father, padding down the hallway to his father’s room which, predictably, was empty, then on around past the front door and down the other side of the U–shaped hallway looking in each room until he got to the library where Ted was snoring in a leather recliner. So far so good. Baz left his father to sleep while he set off down the hallway to retrieve a pair of drawstring shorts and a tee he’d shrunk in the wash and put in the bag by the poolside cabana for the cleaning lady to take to the charity shop.
He passed through the kitchen and out the back door, crossing the veranda and loping down the steps into the back garden he’d run through earlier with Matt. But instead of turning sharp left, through the hedge border and into the garage complex, Baz took the path straight ahead through the roses as if he was heading for the stairs down to the beach. Just short of them he turned right and passed through the other hedge border into the pool area. Afternoon sunlight warmed his bare shoulders and glistened off the chlorinated water. The terracotta tiles surrounding the pool were swept clean, which meant Carlos had been busy.
Beyond the poolside cabana, another hedge hid the fragrant herb garden, situated behind the old weatherboard servant’s quarters which had been deserted when Baz had been a child. He’d thought the old dormitory creepy then. Now it reminded him of the boarding school he’d been sent to when he was eight. Unhappy memories there.
He went around the back of the cabana and pulled the canvas drawstring bag up from the storage box under the eaves and ratted through it until he had the shrunken clothes. In the distance he could hear Carlos mowing, probably the orchard behind the garages, but as Baz stood and gazed down at the marigolds, sweet basil and cherry tomatoes growing over the tops of each other in the herb garden, their scent took him out of the present and cast him back in time, to a world of long hot afternoons, homemade pineapple cordial, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and sleeping kittens curled up under cane chairs. Baz breathed it in, closing his eyes to remember what it had felt like with his head in her lap while she’d read to him, as if they were the only two people in the world.
That’s what it had felt like. Safe and loved. Such distant memories.
Sweet, achingly distant memories, with nothing since that compared.
Baz sighed, trying hard not to feel sorry for himself as he retraced his steps toward the house, but talking about babies earlier had made him feel sad, as if he’d never have a family of his own. When he reached the kitchen he went to the designer–white ‘heritage’ sink to pour a large glass of water for the girl. The gold tap felt incongruous under his hand, and the nostalgic part of him longed for the kitchen of his childhood with its chrome–and–copper sixties plumbing and linoleum floor, but the interior designers his father had employed had gone to pains to replicate the original 1820’s style. So the timber flooring had been uncovered and polished, and the burnt–orange laminex bench tops had been replaced with oiled oak slabs. Everywhere you looked was timber, exactly as it would have been in the original, only now it disguised the most up–to–date plumbing and electricals available.
The kitchen, of course, was only the tip of the iceberg. A cable TV dish hidden between two chimneys on the roof and a concealed widescreen projector in the disused gentlemen’s smoking room had turned it into a home theatre. The governess’s quarters and adjoining schoolroom had become the guest suite where his naked stranger now bathed, and the nursery where Baz had spent the first eight years of his life was now two bedrooms with an ensuite between them.
It was in those two separate bedrooms, one blue and one pink, that he and Beth had spent their wedding night. Apart. He should have guessed that Beth’s relief to be ‘alone at last after such a hectic day’ wouldn’t bode well for their marriage. But no, ever the optimist.
Baz sighed for the second time in ten minutes, and turned off the tap before glancing at the old wrought iron clock on the paneled timber wall.
Shit! Only forty–five minutes until the police arrived. He snatched up the water and the clothes, detoured past his own bedroom to throw a tee shirt over his own bare chest. Then he headed back down the hallway to the guest suite. Only, when he arrived there he found the door open. Baz blinked in shock, then he walked inside and looked through the rooms methodically: sitting room on the right, bathroom straight ahead, bedroom on the left, but from the moment he’d stepped into the suite he’d known she wasn’t there.
You dreamt her.