Season of Desire: Complete Edition (8 page)

BOOK: Season of Desire: Complete Edition
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While he’s outside, I do what I need to into the bucket.

God, this is revolting. I could manage here so much better if it weren’t for this awful, humiliating excuse for a toilet. Lucky Miles only has to go outside.

I imagine him waiting for that huge erection to subside. I picture the cold air doing its work and close my eyes against the image in my mind. Just thinking about his cock is sending my breath crazy, and my sex is tingling hard.

What’s wrong with me?
I wonder if it’s the brush with death yesterday that has fired up my desires so strongly. After all, they say that a normal response to a funeral is to want sex, to prove that you’re still alive in the presence of death . . .

I think I’ve got control of myself by the time Miles comes back in, his cheeks flushed with the icy wind outside.

‘The storm’s over,’ he says cheerfully. ‘That’s the good news. But I think there’s more in the offing. And you can be pretty certain that all traces of our crash have completely disappeared.’

‘What are we going to do?’ I bite my lip anxiously. ‘I just don’t know how long I can stand this.’

‘I know.’ He looks sympathetic. ‘It’s tough. But we’re alive and they’ll be looking for us by now. So here’s the plan. I’m going to get the fire going again, make us some coffee and something to eat, then I’m going to put a marker out so that they can find us.’

‘How? What kind of marker?’

He nods over at the fireplace. ‘We’ve got some burnt wood there. I’m going to use it to make a mark on the roof of the cottage – it’ll be like pen on white paper. They’re bound to spot it if they fly over.’

I cheer up. This seems like a good idea. Then I’m bleak again. ‘It would be so much simpler if we just had our phones with us.’

‘I know. Of course it would. But sadly, they’re buried in the snow with the remains of the car. So we’ll need to think of some old-fashioned solutions, that’s all.’ He gives me a knowing look. ‘When you start getting gloomy, it’s usually a sign that you need something to eat. I’ll get on with breakfast.’

‘Amazing how well you know me after less than twenty-four hours,’ I say sardonically but I don’t have the usual bite in my tone.

Miles ignores me, and starts work on the fire. I can see now that it hasn’t entirely died, but that he carefully damped it down with logs the night before so that the glowing heart would be kept alive and it could be easily rekindled in the morning. In only a few minutes, the fire is up and crackling hard around fresh wood. He pours half a litre of water into the kettle and hangs it over the flames on a hook that I hadn’t noticed before now. There are no cups, so he swishes out the tins from the night before, tossing the dirty water out of the cottage door, and spoons some freeze-dried coffee granules into the tins. Within quarter of an hour, we are holding hot tins of black coffee, and beans are bubbling in the saucepan, mixing with the remains of the previous night’s stew to create a temptingly savoury aroma.

‘Don’t say I don’t treat you to life’s little luxuries,’ Miles says cheerfully, and I laugh. Anyone who knows me would be amazed at the sight of me sipping black coffee from an empty tin and waiting eagerly for a breakfast of a mess of beans, to be scooped up on a tin lid.

After we’ve eaten, Miles goes outside armed with handfuls of black charcoal and the beans tin full of ash in his pocket. I hear him moving about, finding a way to scale the cottage wall and get onto the roof. I only hope it can bear his weight. A hole in the roof would be an unpleasant addition to the cottage’s amenities. Meanwhile, I look through one of the boxes and find the visitors’ book, just a plain school exercise book with scrawls in many different hands, some long and detailed, some just recording a date and a name. There have been plenty of travellers who’ve passed by here, some evidently extremely grateful for this little piece of community shelter and the provisions left here for those who need them. Thanks are expressed in French, Italian, German, English and other languages. The most recent stay was a few months ago, a trio of climbers who used this place when one of them was injured and they needed to wait for help.

Easy enough when you just phone the rescue centre and explain where you are. Not so easy when you can’t do that.

There is a little cash box for donations. It’s locked but there’s a slot in the top to insert notes and coins. I decide to leave a large amount before I realise that I’ve got no money on me at all. I’ll have to remember this place, make sure someone comes back to leave some money. Or maybe I’ll have mattresses, duvets and pillows sent down, so that no one else has to suffer those gruesome sleeping bags. I’ll provide pots, pans, plates, cups and cutlery. Perhaps I’ll even have running water put in, a proper bathroom with a loo and a shower . . .

I’m lost in fantasies about how I can transform this place into a luxurious little chalet where weary travellers can enjoy a spa bath and perhaps a sauna before opening a hamper from Fortnum and Mason for a delicious feast and a bottle of good wine, when the door opens and Miles comes back in.

‘All done,’ he says. But his expression is grim.

‘What’s wrong?’ I ask nervously.

He makes a face, evidently reluctant to say too much in case it worries me.

‘Come on. I’m a big girl. I can take it. Don’t treat me like a baby.’

He nods. ‘You’re right. I’m sorry. It’s just the weather out there doesn’t look good. Not at all. There’s another storm coming and visibility is extremely low. I doubt they would see the mark on the roof unless they were right overhead and I can’t see any signs of helicopters.’

I gaze at him, stricken. ‘You mean – they’re not out looking for us?’

‘To be honest, I’ve no idea. The way things are, they could be close and we’d neither see nor hear them.’

‘Oh, God.’ I sink down on to the nearest plank bench. ‘How much have we got in the way of supplies?’

‘There’s enough for a few more days, as long as we ration ourselves.’

I gaze up at him. ‘What if we’re stuck here for weeks? What if it’s like this for the rest of the winter?’

He stares back, his expression grave. His lips have tightened in that way I’ve already learnt means he’s serious. We both know it’s not impossible for us to be stranded for a long time. If bad weather really sets in, we could be snowed in for weeks. People around here are usually prepared for such occasions, with well-stocked larders, snow chains for their car tyres, and snow ploughs for the roads. But this place isn’t designed for that. Miles comes over to me and crouches down in front of me, taking my hands. ‘I’ll get us out of here, I promise. We’re not going to die here. I won’t let that happen.’

I stare back, my anxiety turning to frustration. ‘Really?’ I say icily. ‘You weren’t able to stop the crash from happening. You didn’t prevent us falling off the damn mountain. Why should I trust that you’re able to stop us starving and freezing to death in this bloody hovel?’

He flinches as though I’ve slapped him. His blue eyes turn flinty and he lets go of my hands. ‘You know that the accident was out of my control. I like to think that I actually prevented us suffering a much worse outcome. I got you out of the car before it fell.’

‘Remind me to arrange a medal,’ I say sarcastically. I can hear myself and I don’t want to be like this, but my panic is coming out as anger and vindictiveness. I need Miles, desperately. I want him to like me. This morning I was curdled with desire for him, and now I’m treating him with cold contempt.
What the hell is wrong with me? Why do I do this?

‘Listen,’ he says, his voice furious. ‘I didn’t want to take the damn car out at all in those conditions. I advised against it. But my orders were clear. Freya Hammond wants to get to the airport and what Freya Hammond wants, she
gets. No one is going to tell that pampered madam to take her head out of the fucking Gucci-styled clouds and see the world as it really is.’ He looks at me with scorn. ‘Did you really think that you can make the weather obey you? That your money can buy control of the elements? Well, it can’t. You’re going to learn it the hard way, and unfortunately, so am I. Your stupidity could get both of us killed – and God knows what will happen to the poor saps they send out to look for us. You’ve put plenty of other lives at risk, besides your own pointless, cossetted existence. I hope you’re happy. You’ve got your own way. If it kills you, it’ll be your own goddamned fault.’

I gasp. No one –
no one
– speaks to me like this. I can’t stand his expression of contempt or the vile things he’s just said to me. I draw back my hand and go to slap his face but as I fling my palm towards his cheek, he grabs my wrist and twists it away.

‘How dare you?’ I shriek, trying to wrench my wrist out of his grasp. ‘You can’t speak to me like that!’

‘Who’s going to stop me, you little vixen?’

I go to scratch him with my other hand and he grabs that wrist too, twisting his face out of the way of my nails. He stands up, yanking me up on my feet as well. I’m vaguely aware of the pain in my chest but my fury has grown into a full-blown attack of hysteria. I’m losing control and I don’t care. I need to express all the fear and anxiety and helplessness I’ve experienced over the last day and Miles is the only thing I can turn my emotions on. I begin to struggle, trying to bite his hand to make him release my wrists so that I can pound my fists on his chest and punish him for everything I’m feeling, but he easily evades me. He’s immensely strong and with only a small amount of exertion, he holds me away from him while I shriek and flail, helpless against his superior strength. I’m simultaneously frustrated and excited by my vulnerability. I know he won’t hurt me. I can express my pent-up emotion and, I realise somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m getting a little taste of the physical contact I’ve been longing for since the dark hours of the night. His presence is driving me wild and I have to let it out. I’m enjoying the tight clasp of his large hands around my wrists, and the way he’s controlling my struggle with ease.

‘What the hell is up with you?’ he demands through clenched teeth. ‘You’re going crazy! Calm down, for God’s sake!’

I stop struggling, and stare up at him, panting. He’s frowning at me in bewilderment.

‘That’s better,’ he says, releasing his grip on my wrists. ‘What’s the matter, Freya? One minute we were fine, and the next—’

I ambush him, taking advantage of his being off guard, and run at him. He grabs me and shouts, ‘That’s enough!’

The next moment, he’s wrestled me down onto the plank bed, holding me down there with my wrists above my head. Our faces are close, and we glare at each other, his blue eyes staring into mine, and we’re both panting with the fury of the last few minutes. Suddenly, the atmosphere is highly charged and my stomach whirls over in an intense somersault of excitement. I can’t stop my gaze dropping to his mouth – those handsome lips that are so close to mine– and my own lips fall open in an unconscious invitation. I look back into his eyes and his expression is changing. The baffled anger is becoming a kind of wonderment and a startled realisation is coming into his eyes.

Does he feel it? Surely he must. I can’t be the only one sensing this extraordinary electricity.

His gaze is raking my face. He’s staring at my eyes, my lips, and then at my prone body, the rise and fall of my chest as I pant. I’m defiant but also signalling what I want from him, and he must understand that now.

We’re poised there, occupying that space between desire and action for what feels like a long, beautifully agonising minute. My body is alive with need, delicious sensations firing everywhere as I revel in the touch of his hands, the closeness of his body, the fluttering feel of his warm breath on my face and the overwhelming effect of his masculinity. I can remember the promise of that long hard shaft pressed against my back this morning, and I’m hungry for it. I need it like I’ve don’t think I’ve ever needed sex before. Everything about this man is fuelling my desire: the complexities of our relationship and the mad situation we’ve found ourselves in have acted like petrol on the flames of lust. I’m more desperate for his touch than I’ve ever been in my life for anyone. My desire for Jacob now seems like a childish and pointless infatuation compared to this elemental need. It doesn’t matter that Miles is my bodyguard, an employee, a person whose past I know nothing about, and who is a stranger to my world of wealth and idleness. All that matters is that he is a man, hard and muscled and utterly masculine, and I want him.

He knows. I can see that. We are both still panting but our breathlessness is less from our recent struggle than from our growing excitement.

‘Miles,’ I whisper, gazing into his eyes.

‘Christ, Freya . . . I don’t know . . . I . . .’ His expression is becoming fierce, not with anger but with his desire for me. But I can see the struggle there. Should he give in to it? What about his duty to me? Could this backfire on him? Am I in a state to know what I’m doing?

‘I’m not crazy,’ I say, and I smile. ‘I know you’d think that from the way I’ve just acted but it’s only because you’ve been driving me wild.’

He looks startled. ‘Me? Driving you wild?’

I nod. ‘Yes,’ I whisper, looking longingly at his mouth. Suddenly I can’t resist a moment longer. I raise my head and press my lips on his, feeling a sort of fevered relief that at last I’ve been able to answer my overwhelming need. His lips are soft and cool and for a moment he doesn’t respond, and then his own desires take possession of him and he begins to kiss me back, hard. I let my head fall back on the wooden bench, opening my mouth to him, wanting to drink him in. His tongue presses into my mouth and we’re kissing furiously, all the emotions we’ve felt in the last twenty-four hours focused into this desperate passionate kiss. We want to devour one another, it’s as if we can’t get enough. My hands are still pinioned over my head as we surrender to the ferocious needs possessing us. He tastes divine, a sweet but masculine taste that makes everything in me burst with need. I can feel myself swelling between my legs as the blood courses through me, engorging me and setting all my nerve ends on fire. There’s only one way I want this to end. I need him now – hard and strong. I have to have him or I’ll explode with longing.

BOOK: Season of Desire: Complete Edition
7.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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