Savage Seduction

By: Sharon Kendrick
CHAPTER ONE


‘OH, HELL!’

Jade made the husky imprecation as she emerged from the gin-clear water, to see that the two would- be Romeos from her home city of London had none too subtly moved themselves even closer to her towel. She shook the droplets of water from her long hair, feeling decidedly disgruntled at the prospect of having to tell them politely to go away. Again.

The droplets of water had already begun to dry on her skin. The sea had been the temperature of warm milk and as soon as she’d left it the relentless heat of the sun had started beating down on her without mercy. But that was Greece for you.

The most exquisite place she’d ever visited—with sky which was bluer than a denim shirt and sand the colour of cream and the texture of caster sugar. Add to that the heady scents of lemon mingled with pine, the wine-dark sea and the drowse-inducing mass chorus of the cicadas, and you could under- stand why when people discovered Greece they felt they’d stumbled on Paradise.

If only it weren’t so darned hot!

She picked her way over the burning sand, and one of the Romeos sprang to his feet, the sun glinting off his fair hair.

‘Hi, there, beautiful,’ he said, somewhat unorig- inally. ‘Can I get you a drink?’

‘No, thanks,’ answered Jade coolly, wondering what it was about some men which made them so dense in picking up the distinctly negative vibes she was sending out.

‘How about—’ He raised his eyebrows sugges- tively, as his glance strayed to her sopping bosom, and Jade felt a sudden stirring of apprehension as she picked up her sarong to cover the tiny yellow bikini she wore.

His leer increased. ‘—if I rub some sun-cream into your back—?’

‘How about,’ came a deep and softly menacing voice from behind Jade’s back, ‘if you left this beach and never returned?’

And Jade whirled round to see the man from the restaurant, her throat immediately drying with the powerful impact of his darkly rugged good looks.

The Londoner was foolishly attempting resist- ance. ‘What’s it to do with you?’ he demanded belligerently.

‘Move away from here,’ came the flat and delib- erate statement, ‘before I am forced to remove you myself.’

There was something in his dark eyes which brooked no argument, and the two men blanched beneath their tans. Jade watched while they gathered their few possessions up into their arms and crept away like chastened dogs.

She stayed watching them go, unaccountably ex- cited by the man’s presence, yet oddly unsure of what to do next, and it was a moment or two before she could bring herself to look up at her rescuer, who stood silently surveying her, as though it was his every right to do so. He was a stranger, yes, and yet she recognised him instantly. A man once seen, never forgotten—with the kind of fiercely dominant presence which would imprint itself on any woman’s psyche, as it had on Jade’s. And yet they hadn’t even exchanged a word when she had seen him at the taverna yesterday…

Jade had walked into the local village to buy her provisions, and as usual it had been baking hot, absolutely baking. She had scooped her hand back through her thick fair hair as she’d looked over longingly at the shady canopy of lemon trees in the taverna. Through the air she could scent the lamb smouldering on the barbeque with its big bunches of thyme strewn all over it. She saw the tentacles of the octopuses dangling over a line, awaiting their ritual dousing in lemon juice before cooking. She wasn’t fond of eating alone in the restaurants where tourists abounded, but this one looked full of fam- ilies, and, more interestingly, full of Greeks. It must be good, she’d thought as she made her way to a shaded table.

She had ordered Greek salad, a beer and a plate of olives and was sitting enjoying them until when a small child, all dark curls and heart-shaped face, waddled over to her table. The mother called the child back in Greek, but Jade turned and shook her head, smiling, and starting to play ‘peep-bo’ with the toddler, who eventually climbed on to her lap and began to pick up a strand of her blonde hair in wonder. Jade pulled a funny face at the little girl who immediately giggled back as she continued to play with the blonde hair. The feeling of having the child in her arms was a new and rather enjoyable experience, and Jade couldn’t help hugging her, delighted when the little girl nestled back quite happily.

Jade had sensed, rather than seen, that someone was watching her. Well, in fact, most of the res- taurant were. They were enjoying the little inter- play between the child and the young tourist.

But this sensation was different… Little hairs at the back of her neck began to prickle with some nebulous excitement.

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