“Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure. Men love in haste but they detest at Leisure.” Lord Byron
In this thrilling contemporary romantic suspense by author Margaret Blake, Viola is hiding her true identity but the man who hates her is on her trail. Strange things are happening. Her life is unravelling and there is little she can do about it. Viola has lived in fear and deceit but then Jed tries to make her see life doesn’t have to be like that. Can she believe him when his family is involved with the man determined to ruin her?
Published by Whiskey Creek Press
EBook formats ISBN: 978-1-61160-237-1
Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-61160-356-6
Excerpt – The Longest Pleasure
The shutters shook, rattled, and clattered. Branches from the huge tree outside scratched along the warped wood sounding like the unnaturally long nails of a vampire.
There was noise everywhere. Terrifying. A creak of the stairs. Groaning furniture. Somehow the wind had found a way in and whistled along nooks and crannies.
Crouched in her bed, she folded herself up as if this would make her disappear. She burrowed in the duvet and then cast it off. Someone was in the house; she could hear their footsteps as they climbed the stairs.
It was no good being vulnerable like this, a weapon of some sort was needed. Being frozen in terror here on the bed, she knew, made her more of a victim. Her courage had fled and she wanted it back. Would she really have to die for him to be truly at peace?
Something rolled and clattered down. Whoever was in the house had knocked something over. The lights had gone out hours ago. At first she had assumed it was power lines down, this was one ferocious storm. Now she was certain that the power had been purposely cut off.
“You will never hide from me. I can always find you.”
Why had she not minded her own business? Interfering in his life had brought him back into hers! Now she would have to face the consequences.
Stealthily, she slid off the bed. Pain shot up her leg; it was hard to straighten her body, having held herself in so cramped a position had made her limbs stiff. Still draped in the duvet she dragged herself towards the door. Falling to her knees she peered through the keyhole. A gust of wind blasted her eye; jerking back she blinked away the wetness.
With care, she wrapped a hand around the doorknob, turned it and opened it just a little.
A sliver of moonbeam danced across the corridor, it came from the skylight. A quick glance in the brief illumination showed her the corridor at least was empty. Sneaking around the door, she sped bare footed along the corridor, slid into the bathroom easing the door closed behind her. The benevolent moon was here too, it snaked in through
the patterned windowpane. It was all too brief, a black cloud came scudding across and in seconds she was once more in darkness.
Fumbling under the sink, she felt the cool plastic container against her hand, gripping it she dragged it out, managing to ease off the top. Bleach. Half full. If she chucked that on him it would give her a chance to get away. She was not defenseless after all.
Shrugging herself out of the duvet she thought for one mad moment she should sneak back to her room for shoes and a jacket. How sensible, yet how idiotic. She had to get away while she could.
Urgently she flew from the bathroom, raced towards the stairs. Aware the stairs creaked she went down at the far side rather than the centre. But with the noise of the wind and the rattling shutters, the creaking furniture, it would hardly matter. A little bleach sloshed out as she moved swiftly down the stairs. She thought of the lovely green and gold carpet, it would be ruined – but it did not matter. Carpets could be replaced.
The back door was locked. Frantically her hands ran over the panels, the key was there, she turned it. It made a kind of gurgling noise, the door swung open, pushed by the ferocious wind. The wind hit her face; it was coated with salt and dampness from the sea.
Under her feet the gravel cut into the soft flesh but she ran, leaving the door swinging backwards and forwards until eventually she heard it slam shut.
In the garage there was just her little car. The garage was small, just room for two cars and there was an empty space next to hers. He would not park here. He would park on the drive, or beyond in the lane.
For once she was glad she had left the keys in the ignition. She turned over the engine, relieved at the satisfying purr. Before closing the door she threw down the bottle of bleach and then, pulling the door close she released the handbrake.
There was no rain, just wetness from the sea in the air. There were no lights on anywhere. From the end of the short drive she could look down on the village but not a light glowed in the blackness. It was a power-out then.
“Where to?” Her mind rapped out the question. “Where can you go now?”