Forbidden Surrender(3)

By: Carole Mortimer


'Hi,' she greeted huskily, giving him her most dazzling smile. 'I'm Sara, and you must be Eddie.' She held out her hand politely.

He took her hand, seemingly reluctant to let it go again. His own hand was strong and work-worn, the nails kept short and clean. He was a man possibly in his late twenties, his hair sandy-blond, his face attractive, his dress casual in the extreme, his denims faded, his shirt unbuttoned partway down his chest.

'Nice to meet you,' he gave a wide appreciative smile. 'Uncle Arthur didn't tell me how—Well, he didn't say— You're gorgeous!' he grinned.

Sara gave a happy laugh, at last managing to release her hand. 'Thank you, kind sir,' she curtseyed. 'Uncle Arthur wasn't too descriptive about you either,' she admitted, instantly liking this man.

Eddie nodded understandingly. 'You expected me to be wearing an overall, with oil under my fingernails,' he derided,

'Something like that,' she gave a rueful smile. 'Although Aunt Susan assured me you didn't actually work in your garage.' Her eyes twinkled mischievously.

'Charming!'



She burst out laughing at his disgusted expression. 'I'm sure she didn't mean it the way I made it sound.' Her aunt and uncle had taken advantage of Eddie's visit and gone to visit some friends for the evening.

'Hey, you're all right,' Eddie smiled at her. 'Fancy coming out for a pint? A beer,' he explained at her puzzled expression.

'I'd love to,' she accepted eagerly.



She had never been into a 'local' before, had never even been into a bar. Her mother and stepfather were quite protective of her, vetting most of her friends, and keeping her close within their own circle.

She loved the pub they went to, loved the beer Eddie made her try, loved the friendly, warm atmosphere, and most of all she loved the people. She was instantly accepted into Eddie's crowd and persuaded to join in a game of darts, a game she was totally hopeless at. But she had a lot of fun trying, and no one seemed to mind her inability to hit the board twice in a row.

'That was fun!' She gave Eddie a glowing smile on the drive back to her aunt and uncle's house.

'Glad you enjoyed it. Care to come out with me again?' He quirked one eyebrow enquiringly.

'I'd love to!' Sara's face glowed.



'Tomorrow?'



She looked uncertain. 'I'm not sure what plans Aunt

Susan and Uncle Arthur have for me. You see—'

'It's okay, Sara,' he cut in dryly, 'I realise I'm not the sort of man you usually go out with.'

She blushed at his intended rebuke. 'I didn't mean that.'

'But it's true, isn't it? You were like a child tonight, enjoyed each new experience with eagerness. Uncle Arthur told me you were a rich kid, in the executive bracket.'

Sara bit her lip, knowing she had hurt him. 'I did enjoy tonight, and I—I'm sorry if I embarrassed you with my enthusiasm. I didn't mean to.'

Eddie sighed. 'You didn't. You were a success, you know you were. Maybe that's why I'm so annoyed—I was jealous of half the men there tonight.'

Sara relaxed somewhat, back on territory she could handle. 'You had no need to be. I always remember who took me on my date, and I always make a point of leaving with that person.'

'So it's still on for tomorrow, if Aunt Susan and Uncle Arthur don't have any other plans for you? And this time I'll take you somewhere I can have you all to myself.'

She wasn't so sure his single-minded interest was a good thing. She would be going back to the States soon, two or three weeks at the most, and it wouldn't do for Eddie to become involved with her, not deeply involved. When she got back home she intended concentrating exclusively on her career, there would be no time for romantic involvement.

'Sara?' Eddie prompted.



'I—er—What did you have in mind?'



He shrugged. 'A meal and then on to a club?'



'It sounds lovely,' she accepted, deciding she could deal with Eddie's interest in her if and when it started to become serious. She liked him, he was fun, and there could be no harm in them going out together. 'What time shall I be ready?'

'Oh, about eight.' He stopped the car outside the house.

'Like to come in for coffee?' she invited.

'Not tonight, thanks. If I know Aunt Susan and Uncle Arthur they'll have gone to bed long ago; and I wouldn't want to disturb them. You'd better ask them for a door key for tomorrow, we could be late.'

'Not too late, I hope,' Sara frowned. 'I need my beauty sleep,' she added lightly.

'I hadn't noticed,' he teased.



She smiled. 'I really don't want to be too late. I—I don't keep late hours any more.' Since leaving the hospital she had taken life at a slow pace, retiring early and rising late.

'Okay,' Eddie sighed. 'I'll have you home by midnight—Cinderella. But I should still ask for a key, they're usually in bed by ten.

She knew that, and for the last two nights she had done the same thing. 'I'll ask,' she promised. 'And thanks once again for tonight, I had a great time.'