Forbidden Surrender(9)

By: Carole Mortimer

She gave an impatient sigh. 'I thought you were starting your diet today?'

He grinned. 'It can wait until tomorrow.'

His wife gave a reluctant smile. 'I thought you might say that, which is why I did the normal amount of potatoes.' She went into the kitchen to get them.

Sara's uncle turned to wink at her. 'After thirty years she knows me better than I know myself.'

Sara hoped, if she ever got married, that she and her husband were as happy together after being married the same number of years.

She was glad of the cape top when she was at last dressed in the gold dress, it served to hide the scantiness of the gown's bodice. The material barely covered her naked breasts, completely strapless, the sheath of material clinging to every smooth curve of her body. With the cape about her shoulders, covering her naked shoulders and partially revealed breasts, the gown was still daring, but not as much as when the cape was removed.

When she heard Pete at the door she put her head around the lounge door and made her hurried goodbyes, dashing outside to join Pete before her aunt and uncle could see what she was wearing, not because she was ashamed of the dress but because she knew they wouldn't understand why she was wearing it. A dress like this would be perfectly acceptable in the company she would be mixing in this evening, in fact she had attended a party with her parents in it, but she was sure her aunt and uncle would be slightly shocked by its daring.

Pete wasn't so much shocked as delighted. 'Beautiful,' he murmured appreciatively.

Sara gave a happy laugh. 'Stop drooling and drive,' she ordered.

He did, driving to the more exclusive part of London. The cars in the driveway they finally arrived at were all in the expensive Rolls-Royce and Jaguar bracket. Pete's car was a Jaguar too, a vintage model, so it wasn't in the least out of place.

He grinned at her appreciation of it as he locked the doors. 'I bought it cheap. It was a wreck when I found it,' he explained. 'Eddie did it up for me.'

'Nice to have a friend who can see to your cars for you,' she teased.

'A friend who doesn't mind me taking his girl out for the evening,' he raised one eyebrow questioningly.

Her smile faded. 'I'm not his girl, Pete. We're just friends.'

'I know,' he grinned. 'Eddie told me he'd been politely but firmly warned off. Don't worry, Sara,' he said at her frown. 'He doesn't mind. Eddie isn't into serious relationships either.'

'I'm not into any sort of relationships!'

He quirked his eyebrow again. 'Bad love affair?' he asked softly.

Sara gave a scornful snort. 'No affair, and no love either. What it was was just bad.'

'And it's over now?'

'Very much so,' she confirmed vehemently.

'Right, then let's go in and dazzle the crowd.'

'In that case I'd better take this off first.' She whisked the cape off, and her blonde curls cascaded down one shoulder and over the breast, pinned by a comb at the nape.

'Wow!' Pete gasped his appreciation. 'Dazzle is the right word. Come on,' he took her arm, 'I'm going to enjoy this.'

Sara walked beside him into the entrance hall of the house. 'Do I really look like this Marie Lindlay? My aunt and—no, just my aunt, she thinks that it's probably just superficial.'

'Well, I hope you don't have Marie's nature. She can be a bit of a flirt on occasion, or so I've heard. But as far as the face and body are concerned you're identical.'

She shook her head. 'It's hard to believe.'

'But true. I looked out some photographs of her today.' He shook his head. 'It's unnatural. Let's go inside, then you can see for yourself.'

The long room they entered was crammed full of people, all of them talking in loud refined voices, and sparkling with diamonds. Several people turned to look at them as the butler showed them in, and a tall redhead broke away from the crowd of people she had been talking to and made her way towards them.

'Our hostess,' Pete had time to mutter before the woman descended on them in an expensive cloud of perfume.

'Peter darling!' she cried before hugging him, kissing him lightly on the cheek. 'And I see you've brought Marie with you.' Her tone cooled somewhat. 'What have you done with Dominic, darling?' she spoke to Sara, her blue eyes hard.


'This is Sara Hamille, Cynthia,' Pete interrupted.

The blue eyes became even harder, the beautiful face assessing. 'What game are you playing, Marie?' she finally asked.

Sara looked confused. 'No, really, I—'

'A change of accent doesn't make you any less Marie Lindlay,' the woman scorned. 'And Dominic is going to be furious when he arrives. Oh well,' she said dis-missively, 'it's your funeral. Drinks are over there,' she waved her hand vaguely in the direction of the bar. 'Help yourselves to food.' She moved gracefully back to the people she had previously been conversing with.