Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers
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This was what she'd been waiting for all her life. This stranger was her destiny!Olivia had never dreamed that, on her first night in her new home, she'd sleep with a perfect stranger! But Jake knew–men like Jake Savage always knew when women found them irresistible. Olivia had fallen in love with Jake at first sight. He was perfect for her. Now if Olivia could just convince him that she was the perfect woman for him–

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Jake glanced across at her. “You’re nervous—why?”

Olivia lifted her head and stared defiantly at the assured, handsome face. “I’m...” She had been about to deny it—pointlessly, of course, because they both knew she was nervous. “I...don’t know you.” She shrugged awkwardly. “And yet I find myself drawn into deep conversations that...disturb me...and...” She closed her mouth abruptly. What on earth had possessed her to be so frank...and to a perfect stranger?

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, theater, music and reading, and she finds great pleasure and inspiration from walking daily in the beautiful countryside around her home.

Perfect Strangers

Laura Martin


THE journey had tired Olivia more than she had anticipated. She had been craning her neck over the last few miles, like a child on a day trip to the sea, waiting and watching for that first magic glimpse of the cottage. She smiled to herself. Mad. But then, it was a good sign. It meant that her dream hadn’t palled in the intervening weeks. It meant, surely, that she was still doing the right thing.

She forced herself to lean back in the taxi. The countryside was as wonderful as she had remembered on her fleeting visit a few weeks ago. Still green and lush. The daffodils hadn’t been properly open then. . . now they seemed to be everywhere, so bright and cheerful; yellow bunting welcoming Olivia to her new home.

The taxi driver was youngish with sandy hair. Something about the back of his head reminded her of Paul. Olivia’s eyes rested unseeing on the tanned neck and slightly wavy hair, and for a moment her thoughts spun the one hundred miles or so back to London. This time last week, she thought, I was sitting at my large glossy desk, wearing my high-powered suit, playing executives. Being someone else. Pretending. Trying desperately not to think of Paul as a husband—somebody else’s husband. . .

She had broken her first rule—no thinking about Paul, or London, or the life she had left behind.

Olivia shook herself mentally and focused on the passing countryside, glancing anxiously up at the patchy sky because there were dark clouds looming on the horizon.

‘Do you think it will rain?’

The stocky denim shoulders in front lifted slightly, surprised maybe at being addressed. ‘Don’t know, love; maybe. Those clouds don’t look too promising, do they?’

‘Do you live near here?’ Oliva asked, determined to strike up a relationship of sorts with someone local. That was one thing she had promised herself. Integration with the community. She would be no commuter, living in the country, working in the city—not that she had a job at all now. She took a deep breath. Eight years of working her way up the ladder, reaching the top rung and then throwing herself off into the abyss of unemployment below.


It wasn’t much of a start. The taxi driver swung the rather aged car around a bend too quickly and with not a lot of finesse.

Almost there.

She blinked and the village with its pub and school and tiny shop had been passed. Just a few more minutes and she would see the cottage, her cottage; thatched and quaint, with little leaded windows and roses around the door—well, maybe not exactly roses, she amended swiftly, more likely weeds, but still looking wonderful, still hers. . .

Olivia leant forward and offered the directions, written down by the estate agent on her first visit at the end of March, to the taxi driver. ‘Perhaps it’s best if you look at them,’ she murmured. ‘I never was very good at navigation and there are so many different turnings around here.’

They were travelling along a winding lane with high hedges on either side now. The car was flung around another bend, and then the taxi driver glanced down, just for a second, and in that moment, seemingly out of nowhere, there appeared a large, immaculate black Range Rover.

It all happened so quickly. Olivia, already perched on the edge of her seat with her crumpled directions, was jolted forward as brakes squealed, the car swerved and a slow-motion impact took place. She winced as the side of her face came into contact with the vinyl-covered seat in front and spent a moment or two in dazed disbelief, aware of a stream of curses spewing forth from the taxi driver’s lips.

Olivia released a shaky breath, rubbing gingerly at her sore cheek, and watched miserably as the taxi driver wrenched open his door and marched aggressively over to the other, far more opulent vehicle.

The door of the Range Rover was opening. Tinted windows gave it a somewhat mysterious air as well as keeping out prying eyes, and it was a few moments before the other driver emerged.

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