At the Brazilian's Command(6)

By: Susan Stephens


ANNIE, THE HOUSEKEEPER at Rottingdean, was waiting for them at the front door.

‘Chico told me what happened,’ Danny heard Annie inform Tiago discreetly as the housekeeper ushered her away. She saw him nod briefly.

‘Before you go,’ he called after her. ‘Here’s my card. If you need anything...’

‘Your card?’ She smiled at the incongruity of a barbarian carrying a card, but took it and studied it before looking up. ‘I won’t need anything, but thank you again for tonight.’

Tiago ground his jaw. He wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of a rain check, she guessed as he turned to rejoin the party.

She scrubbed down in the shower, turning her face up with relief to the cleansing stream. So what excuse did she have for being in the stables on her own at night, in the middle of Lizzie’s wedding party?

She’d been having a moment, Danny concluded. She had needed some quiet time to contemplate her life going forward now her best friend was married. The stables was where she had always sought sanctuary, even as a child. The horses were so quiet and mild they had always been a relief—a release from her troubled home life—and tonight had seemed a good time for her to re-evaluate in that quiet place.

The last thing she had expected was for a nightmare like Carlos Pintos to reappear. Thankfully, he would be locked away for a very long time now. The police had told her this. It turned out he was a wanted man, who had stalked and attacked several women.

So all she had to worry about now was Tiago Santos.

Oh, good, Danny reflected wryly, wondering if she would ever get Tiago out of her head. While he was close by she could think of nothing else.

But where was she going with this? Shouldn’t she toughen up and forget about men? Wasn’t that safer? She would have to if she was ever going to give herself the chance of a career. And what was she waiting for as far as that was concerned? She had a prestigious diploma from Chico’s training school in Brazil, as well as a lifetime of experience with horses. It was time to make that count. It was time to start planning for the day when she had her own equine establishment.

With an impatient laugh she turned the shower to ice. Maybe that would wash some sense into her. She was a few hundred thousand pounds short of the start-up cash for her own place, with very little prospect of getting hold of such huge amounts of money.

‘Danny?’ Annie was calling from behind the door.


‘There’s someone here to see you, hen.’

The familiar Scottish endearment made Danny smile. ‘Just give me a minute and I’ll grab a towel—’

It would be Lizzie. She would play down what had happened. She would change the subject and make Lizzie laugh. It was her best friend’s wedding day, when everything had to be perfect. And it would be if Danny had anything to do with it.

‘I can tell him you’d rather not see anyone if you’d prefer that, hen?’


‘He’s very concerned about you...’ Annie waited, and then, receiving no reply, added, ‘I think you should at least see him to reassure him that you’re okay...’

Danny’s heart went crazy. She was actually trembling. There was only one man who knew what had happened in the stable. And she had just vowed to cut him out of her life.

‘I’ve brought you a clean dress. I’ll just leave it on the bed, shall I?’ Annie suggested. A few more seconds passed and then the housekeeper called out with concern, ‘Are you okay in there, Danny?’

‘Yes. I’m fine.’ She put her resolute face on. ‘I’m just coming... Could you ask him to give me a few minutes?’

‘Will do, hen.’

And now there was silence. Was Tiago standing outside the door, or had he gone downstairs to wait for her? She stood listening, naked and dripping water everywhere, with the towel hanging limply from her hand. Wasn’t it better to face him, talk to him, reassure him as Annie had suggested? Then she could finally put an end to this horrible episode. Tiago must understand that she was very grateful to him but that she didn’t need his help going forward.

Securing the towel tightly around her, she firmed her jaw.

* * *

She was keeping him waiting. No woman had ever kept him waiting before. He had to remind himself that tonight Danny was a special case. She’d had a shock and he was supposed to be playing the role of understanding friend. At least that was how the bride had described him when he had passed on Danny’s message. Chico had already told Lizzie what had happened, so obviously the bride was full of concern for her friend.