A Stranger's Love

A Stranger's Love
О книге

You may be sweet, but you're not innocent!Bethany told herself she didn't care what Chad Alington thought of her. He was a perfect stranger–too perfect, in fact–a tall, dark, handsome millionaire with a stubborn streak which matched Bethany's. So who would win the battle of wills? Bethany had tried life as a rich man's plaything, and now she was determined to live the simple life. No frills or fuss, and definitely no men! But Chad had other ideas….

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“Chad...please...don’t do this to me!”

His mouth possessed the soft contours of her lips with lingering passion.

“I can feel the desire, Bethany, the need for more. Why the persistent denial?”

“I just know it would be a mistake.”

“A mistake?”

“I can’t handle it....”

“Handle what? Handle the fact that there is

something good waiting to happen between us? Handle the fact that you’re a woman and I’m a man?”

Laura Martin lives in a small Gloucestershire village in England with her husband, two young children and a lively sheepdog! Laura has a great love of interior design and, together with her husband, has recently completed the renovation of their Victorian cottage. Her hobbies include gardening, the theater, music and reading, and she finds great pleasure and inspiration from walking daily in the beautiful countryside around her home.

A Stranger’s Love

Laura Martin



BETHANY wasn’t sure exactly how long she had slept, but instinct told her it had been too long even before she opened her eyes. The rock was no longer warm now, no longer welcoming. She shifted her position a little and tried to regain the feeling of sleepy security. She was tired, far too tired to wake up. The previous night had been long and arduous—defending her chickens against the cunning fox that prowled their coop was rapidly becoming an obsession; Bethany simply couldn’t afford to allow any more to escape down his greedy throat, family or no family, and she had barely got any sleep at all...

Lazily she stretched out her hand and felt a fine wetness feathering across the tanned skin of her bare arm. Immediately the first stirring of real fear prickled at her consciousness. Bethany sat up and stared, her clear green eyes wide with a mixture of amazement and horror. It surely couldn’t have happened! She surely couldn’t have allowed herself to be so stupid!

She had. The sea, still blue, still beautiful, was lapping hungrily around the large circular rock on all sides.

It was a secluded spot. The beach, no more than a minuscule patch of sand at this time of day, protected by craggy grey rocks that towered high above the sea, was always empty. No cars could traverse the narrow paths, few people dared to trespass across acres of fields that proclaimed immediate prosecution. It was a tiny piece of paradise and ever since Bethany had discovered it, ever since she had crossed the strip of land which belonged to the big empty house and bordered her own far more modest smallholding to negotiate the steep, difficult climb down, she had been in seventh heaven...

But not now. Bethany scrambled to her feet and gazed at the tartan blanket she had been lying on in disbelief, watching as the salty water encroached, soaking into its fringed woollen edges.

What on earth should she do? Bethany closed her eyes for a second in absolute despair and then opened them swiftly again. She had to think quickly. This rock, the last in a craggy chain now hidden by the swirling, heaving waters, was large but it wasn’t that large.

She spun around wildly, her long blonde ponytail whipping at her shoulders. The sea looked dreadfully deep. Should she risk it? A ten-metre swimming badge hardly gave her the confidence to strike out in a daring bid for the shore. But what choice did she have?

Bethany wrapped the thick white towel that had been her pillow close around her skimpily clad body. ‘Calm down,’ she whispered to herself. ‘Don’t lose your head. Just calm down and think sensibly.’

She tilted her head and shouted. Over and over, her eyes glued to the cliff path up above, trying not to allow the thought that it was just hopeless, that she was simply putting off the inevitable...

After twenty minutes her voice had weakened and her body had become cold and weary. The evening sun had dipped low over the horizon and lost all of its warmth. Ten more tries she promised herself; after that she knew she would have to enter the sea whether she liked it or not.

And then, on the ninth call, with the salt water lapping around her ankles and the tartan rug lost for good, an apparition appeared.

She blinked several times, afraid that she was hallucinating. But no, the figure seemed real enough, more than real. Even from here she could feel the vitality, could sense the command, the presence of the man.

He had already assessed the situation. She watched with bated breath as the athletic figure traversed the cliff path with consummate ease, standing on the small strip of sand just below the craggy rock-face, legs a little apart, dark head tilted back, looking at her. Then he cupped his hands to his mouth and she heard his voice, strong and deep, heavy with a sarcasm that seemed to make a complete mockery of the terror Bethany was experiencing. ‘Don’t tell me—you can’t swim!’

Bethany released a breath. He was no apparition. She would never have conjured up such an arrogant member of the male species to be her knight in shining armour. Besides, knights didn’t wear cut-off jeans with frayed edges, or dark, dark sunglasses that were at this very moment being tossed aside on to the shingle at his feet.

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