Welcome back to Mid Week Tease! Here’s another snippet from Duty Bound – a reverse harem collection featuring stories from myself, Felicity Brandon, Katie Douglas and Lily Harlem. You can buy it or read it as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription. I’ll be sharing a few snippets from my story, Chasing the Chambermaid.
I wouldn’t? She hoped she’d stifled her surprise. Guess I’m determined to protect myself, even when I’m totally out of it. “I, uh,” heat bloomed in her cheeks, and she shifted uncomfortably beneath the bedclothes, “I’m feeling okay, I guess. Tired, and I ache all over, but it could have been worse, all things considered.”
“Aye,” Frances replied, sterner now. “It could have. You could have been suffering with hypothermia. You’ve been incredibly lucky. So, what’s your name, honey? And why are you so petrified of doctors?”
Petrified of…? The penny dropped. Of course—that was the conclusion they’d drawn when she’d insisted she didn’t want to go to hospital, or see a doctor. Still, it was better to let them keep believing that than have them know that, technically speaking, she was on the run and was desperate to keep her identity, her location, a secret.
And she was desperate. She didn’t want him tracking her down, trying to persuade her to go back home with him. She wanted him out of her life for good, having put up with his shit for far too long. He’d find her eventually, she was sure, but she’d be stronger then, after some time away. More able to stand up for herself. To tell him to get lost and leave her alone. If she could just keep her identity under wraps, not leave or create any kind of trail leading to her, for as long as possible, everything would be all right. It had to be. She couldn’t go back to how things were.
She forced herself to respond before she aroused their suspicions—if she hadn’t done that already, that was. “My name’s Connie Smith.”
The first name was accurate, of course, and she wasn’t carrying any documents which proved the surname to be a lie. So they could either believe her, or not. Their choice. “And the doctor thing… well,” she let out a humourless laugh to buy herself some time to come up with something, “let’s just say I had a traumatic experience as a small child, and I’ve never quite got over it.” They were total strangers, surely they wouldn’t press her for any more information than that? She hoped not—the more complex lies became, the easier it was for them to trip you up. The key to getting out of the other side of this situation was keeping it simple.
Frances’s pretty face creased into a sympathetic expression. “Oh, I’m sorry, honey. Connie,” she corrected herself, “that must have been so awful for you. Of course you wouldn’t want to see a doctor. Anyway, enough of that—you seem much better now. Out of the woods, as the saying goes.”
“Yes.” Connie nodded emphatically. “And I’ll be out of your hair as soon as possible.” She looked around, taking in more detail of the small room, and the fact the light filling it was artificial. The curtains were tightly closed, without a smidgen of brightness shining through or around them. It was night time, then. Shit. She couldn’t very well take off in the dark—not unless she wanted to end up in this situation yet again, but perhaps without anyone finding her. Or someone dodgy finding her, or even someone unsympathetic to her plight and eager to turn her in to the police, who could well be looking for her, if he’d filed a missing person’s report. Hopefully he hadn’t. Hopefully his stupid masculine pride wouldn’t have allowed it. It would mean people finding out she’d left him, after all. “Um, what time is it? What day is it, actually?” She scratched her head, immediately regretting it when she felt the state of the bird’s nest which used to be her hair.
Will laughed, but not unkindly. “Bless ye, hen. Ye’ve had a bit of a time of it, haven’t ye?” He pushed up the cuff of his well-worn sweatshirt and checked his watch. “It’s almost half past eight. At night,” he added, a twinkle in his blue eyes. “Ye cannae go anywhere now, lass. And it’s Friday. I found ye on Wednesday. The Wednesday two days ago, that is.”
Connie gaped at him. “Two days ago? I’ve been asleep for two days?” No wonder I’m dying for a pee.
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