Forbidden Surrender

By: Carole Mortimer



CHAPTER ONE


‘MARIE! How are you?’

Sara blinked up at the tall attractive man in front of her, smiling her regret. ‘I’m sorry,’ her American accent was very noticeable against his English one, ‘I’m afraid you have the wrong person.’ She turned away with an apologetic smile, wishing that she could have been the absent Marie. This man was very good-looking, possibly in his mid-twenties, and by the expression in his twinkling blue eyes he looked as if he could be fun to be around.

He took hold of her arm, stopping her from crossing the road. ‘Hey, I’m not going to tell Nick that you were wandering around Soho on your own.’

Sara frowned, her deep brown eyes puzzled, a startling contrast to her long golden-blonde hair, hair bleached by years under the Florida sun. Having lived in America most of her life she had been curious to see the country she had been born in, the country she had lived in until she was a year old, taken to start a new life in America by her mother after the untimely death of her husband.

‘I’m sorry,’ she repeated to the young man, ‘but you really are mistaken.’

He remained unconvinced. ‘I love the accent,’ he grinned, ‘but I know you too well to be fooled by that.’ He put his arm about her waist, his fingers spread dangerously close to her breast.

Sara stiffened, revising her opinion of him. He was obviously a flirt, and he sounded as if he and Marie were more than just casual acquaintances.

She gave him a cold stare. ‘Would you kindly take your hands off me?’ she requested haughtily, flicking her long hair back over her shoulder.

He frowned down at her but made no effort to let her go. ‘There’s no need to be like this, Marie. I admit I’m a bit sore about the way you ended things between us last year, but Nick—’

Sara squirmed away from him. ‘I don’t know any Nick, and I don’t know you either. And if you don’t let go of me I’ll call a policeman!’ She looked around for one, never having thought a man would try to pick her up so openly. It was the middle of the afternoon, she had got lost during a sightseeing session, and she certainly hadn’t expected to be accosted like this.

‘Okay, okay,’ the man grimaced, ‘there’s no need to get nasty. If you want to keep up this pretence of being an American tourist then that’s all right with me.’ He shrugged.

She wasn’t pretending to be anything, an American tourist was exactly what she was, although this wasn’t a very high class area to have got lost in. She only hoped Aunt Susan didn’t go home without her. Only having been in this country a couple of days herself she had no idea of the way back to Aunt Susan’s house.

‘Maybe I could be your guide?’ The man gave her a sideways glance. ‘Hey, that could be fun, Marie. We could—’

‘I already have a guide,’ she interrupted him, annoyed by the fact that he still believed her to be this other woman. It would seem he knew Marie very well, which made his obstinacy about her identity all the more surprising. Unless this was the way he usually picked his women up!

‘Oh, I see,’ he smiled bitterly. ‘I bet Nick doesn’t know about this—and I wish to God I didn’t!’ He bent and kissed her briefly on the mouth. ‘See you at the weekend,’ was his parting shot.

Sara stared after him dazedly. She wasn’t a prude, she had been kissed before, but never by a complete stranger. And he had been so respectable to look at too, his black pinstriped suit and snowy white shirt immaculate.

‘Sara!’ Her plump. Aunt Susan arrived breathlessly in front of her. ‘Thank goodness I’ve found you!’

Sara turned, the flirtatious stranger already swallowed up in the crowd. ‘I must have lost you in that last shop,’ she smiled her apology.

Susan Ford was a pleasantly plump lady of forty-eight, her blonde hair kept the same gold as Sara’s by a light tint every couple of months, her face still youthfully smooth and attractive. She was Sara’s mother’s sister, and although the sisters had been parted for the last twenty years their letters to each other had been numerous, so much so that Sara felt as if she already knew her aunt when they had met two days ago, had found herself instantly liking her aunt.

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