Act Of Betrayal

Act Of Betrayal
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Mills & Boon proudly presents THE SARA CRAVEN COLLECTION. Sara’s powerful and passionate romances have captivated and thrilled readers all over the world for five decades making her an international bestseller.She had reason to distrust himJason Wingard's sudden reappearance in Laura's life proved how little she knew about her ex-husband.Three years ago when she'd fallen in love with him, she'd believed him to be a struggling artist-not the kind of man who'd marry her for her money and keep a mistress on the side. But her uncle's detective had proved her wrong. Now Jason was being introduced as the construction king who would save her uncle's business….Surely, only a fool would believe the past could be brushed aside where a man like Jason was concerned!

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Act of Betrayal

Sara Craven

Former journalist SARA CRAVEN published her first novel ‘Garden of Dreams’ for Mills & Boon in 1975. Apart from her writing (naturally!) her passions include reading, bridge, Italian cities, Greek islands, the French language and countryside, and her rescue Jack Russell/cross Button. She has appeared on several TV quiz shows and in 1997 became UK TV Mastermind champion. She lives near her family in Warwickshire – Shakespeare country.

THE traffic was heavy all the way, but that was how it always turned out when you were in a hurry, Laura thought, drumming her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel.

She was running late already, but perhaps the meeting at the works would go over time. It was certainly important enough to do so.

She glanced at her watch, with a brief sigh. She wished Uncle Martin had given her more notice, but from his secretary’s agitated call, she’d gathered he’d had very little warning himself. And supplying delicious lunches for important clients at the works was part of her job, as well as a challenge, so she couldn’t complain. Besides, she remembered herself drily, clients rarely came quite as important as Tristan Construction.

The traffic lights changed, and she let in the clutch and drove on towards the industrial estate where Caswell Carpets had their main works and offices.

She ran through the menu in her mind as she drove. Watercress soup to start, followed by pheasant in a red wine sauce, all plucked from the freezer and packed in cartons in the boot. To follow, the strawberries she’d just collected from the local market garden served with crème Chantilly.

She hoped the Tristan directors would be suitably impressed. She also wished they’d chosen some other day for their visit. She’d had plans of her own, including a visit to the hairdressers, she thought, giving herself a swift disparaging glance in the driving mirror. She could probably have managed it too if Celia had only agreed to give her a hand with the lunch, but she had learned a long time ago that her cousin’s model-girl prettiness concealed a selfishness which more than matched the charm she worked at so determinedly.

Clad in brief shorts and a minimal suntop, Celia had been bound for the garden to sunbathe, and she’d refused, smilingly but totally, to accompany Laura to the works instead.

‘Honestly, sweetie, I’d be less than useless,’ she’d protested. ‘That microwave oven you persuaded Daddy to install frightens me to death. Anyway, you were only going to have your hair trimmed, and you can do that any time.’

‘Of course,’ Laura said without irony. ‘I just thought you might want to help, as there’s a panic on.’

Celia waved a languid hand. ‘There’s always a panic on.’

‘Perhaps,’ Laura said rather drily. ‘But this time it’s Tristan Construction.’

‘Am I supposed to know who they are?’

Laura gave her a resigned look. ‘I think you should,’ she said crisply. ‘They’re only the customers who could stop Caswells sliding any further into the red this year. They’ve got two major building projects in this area—offices and flats—and the carpeting contracts are up for grabs. Naturally, your father wants first grab.’

Celia’s lack of concern about the fluctuating fortunes of the company never ceased to surprise her. Or was her cousin deliberately closing her eyes to the present difficulties Caswells was suffering, she wondered. Celia didn’t like unpleasant facts, and never had. To her Caswells was as firm and unshakable as the Rock of Gibraltar, and she preferred to ignore the fact that other companies, many of them older established than Caswells, and leaders in their fields, had gone to the wall in the present recession.

Laura supposed her cousin couldn’t wholly be blamed. She had always been encouraged to think of herself as a rich man’s daughter. Uncle Martin had indulged her since the day she was born, and the only thing she had done since leaving school that even approached work was redesigning the interior decor of the large house they all lived in. Celia’s tastes leaned towards the opulent, to Laura’s regret, but Uncle Martin regarded his home as a showcase for the company, and seemed well pleased with her efforts.

‘Then I hope he gets it,’ Celia yawned. ‘Feed them well, won’t you, darling. Oh—and Laurie, you will change, won’t you? Put on something decent?’

‘I don’t actually wait on table, you know.’ Laura felt a little curl of anger deep inside her, as she glanced down at her simple denim skirt and short sleeved top. ‘I’m not on public display to the customers. I spend all my time in the kitchen.’

Celia gave a graceful shrug. ‘Just as you please. But isn’t it enough to behave like a drudge? You really don’t have to look like one as well.’

Her words still rankled with Laura as she turned into Caswells main gate, returning the salute from the security man.

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