Forbidden Surrender(8)

By: Carole Mortimer

London was interesting, there was certainly plenty to see, but she was well aware that there was a lot more to England than its capital. Her mother had never forgotten the greenness of the countryside here, it had been the one thing she really missed by living in America, and Sara was determined to see some of it before she left.

'As long as it isn't another casino,' her aunt shook her head disapprovingly.

Sara laughed. 'It was quite an experience.'

'Not one I'd like to see repeated,' Aunt Susan said sternly. 'I gave him a piece of my mind last night after you'd gone to bed. Taking you to a gambling hall, indeed!' she added disgustedly.

'You make it sound like a den of iniquity,' her husband teased.

'I'm sure Rachel wouldn't have approved of Sara going to such a place, and I don't either. And Eddie introduced Sara to that mad friend Pete of his.'

Uncle Arthur smiled. 'He isn't mad, Susan. A bit of an extrovert maybe, but there's no harm in him.'

It wasn't like her aunt to be bad-tempered, and Sara could only assume that breaking the cup had upset her more than they had realised.

She managed to find a replacement that afternoon, although she seemed to have walked most of London to find it. Her aunt was suitably pleased with her purchase.

'Eddie telephoned while you were out.' Her aunt put the cup with the rest of the set.

Sara looked up. 'Did he happen to say what he wanted?'

Her aunt smiled. 'He didn't "happen" to say at all—I asked him. He said something about a party tonight.'

'I see,' she bit her lip. 'He'll be calling back, then?'

'Mm. Soon, I should think.'

Ten minutes later a call came through, only this time it was Pete. 'Do you fancy going to a party?' he asked her.

'I think Eddie intends inviting me to one,' she refused.

'On my behalf. I'm the one who wants to take you to the party, Eddie has to work.'

Sara bristled angrily. 'I went out with Eddie because he's my uncle's nephew, I don't expect to be passed around to Eddie's friends!'

'Hey,' Pete chided, 'that isn't the idea at all.'

"Then what is?' she snapped.

'I suddenly realised why I thought you'd worked in this country before, and I wondered if you would like to meet your double.'

'Double ...?' she repeated dazedly.

'Mm, you look exactly like Marie Lindlay.'

Sara frowned. Again someone had noticed the similarity. Her curiosity was aroused once again. To be able to see this girl, to see exactly what their similarity was, would be fun, even if this apparent likeness turned out to be a myth in the end.

'What sort of party is it?' she delayed making a decision.

'Given to amuse the idle rich,' he scorned.

'Then how did you get an invitation?' she teased, her anger leaving her.

'Naughty!' Pete chided. 'Actually I'm a friend of a friend, and I have it on good authority that Marie Lindlay is going to be there, with her fiancé, no less.'

Dominic Thorne. It would be interesting to see his face when he saw her, and at least she would be able to prove to him that his fiancée was telling the truth when she denied being at the club the evening before. Besides, she just wanted to get another look at him, to see if he really was as good-looking as her imagination told her he was.

'Okay,' she agreed. 'What shall I wear?' She didn't want to turn up wearing completely the wrong outfit.

'As little as possible.' She could almost hear Pete grinning. 'To tell you the truth, I usually take one of my models to these parties, and she wears the most shocking clothes. I like to make an entrance,' he added with homour.

Another one! 'Right.' Sara knew exactly the dress she was going to wear. 'I'll be ready at eight.'

'Make it nine,' Pete advised. 'These parties rarely get going until at least ten-thirty.'

'And the later we are the more of an entrance we can make,' Sara guessed dryly, knowing this from her experiences with Barry. 'Okay, nine it is.'

She was searching through her clothes in her wardrobe when her aunt came into the room. She had just found the gold dress and matching cape, and she quickly buried them beneath her other clothing. Aunt Susan would certainly not approve.

'Dinner's ready,' her aunt told her.

'So am I,' Sara smiled. 'I'm starving!'

She mentioned the party as they were eating their meal, and her uncle talked down Aunt Susan's objections.

'Let the girl enjoy herself,' he said affectionately.

'Lord knows she'll be leaving us soon enough.'

'But, Arthur '

'Stop fussing, woman!' Sara's usually mild uncle spoke very firmly. 'Sara's quite old enough to know what she's doing. Pete may seem a little on the wild side to us, but to Sara I'm sure he seems a lot of fun.'

'He does,' she grinned, agreeing with her uncle. There was no harm in Pete, he was just a joker.

'Then that's all that matters. Are there any more potatoes, Susan?' He quirked an eyebrow at his wife.