Holiday with the Millionaire(2)

By: Scarlet Wilson



‘Vodka,’ Lara groaned. It might only be three o’clock in the afternoon but after the day she’d had she wanted to cut straight to the chase. She pointed over at the one in Addison’s left hand. ‘Caramel.’

Addison poured a healthy amount of pure sugar syrup into the latte before adding the tiniest dash into her own.

She looked Lara straight in the eye. ‘What are you going to do about your holiday?’

The holiday. Of course. Lara pressed her head down on the counter worktop. ‘Oh, no.’

Addison reached over and squeezed her hand. ‘You’ve been looking forward to this all year. Don’t let him spoil this for you. You deserve a holiday. You need a holiday. Spend the next two weeks sorting yourself out, then go and lie in the sun. Relax. Chill out.’

‘By myself?’ The holiday she’d been looking forward to for months had instantly lost its shine. There was something really wrong about going on a cruise on your own. Talk about awkward.

Addison’s glare had a steely edge. ‘Yes, by yourself. Why not? You don’t need a man to determine who you are in this life. You’ve saved hard for that holiday. Go and enjoy it.’ She picked up her latte. ‘Now, I need to finish packing. Will you be okay?’

Lara shifted on the stool. She really needed to get out of these rain-soaked clothes. Her stomach was churning. She could sense the tension in the air around Addison. It wasn’t like her to say something so direct. She usually kept all her cards played safely close to her chest. Still, it wasn’t her place to say anything. The line between employer and employee still existed and she shouldn’t cross it. Her only concern should be Tristan, and from all her observations he was a happy, healthy little boy. Whatever was going on between the adults was up to them to solve.

She nodded her head in grateful relief. ‘I’m not right now, but I will be. Thanks, Addison. I promise I’ll take good care of the place.’

‘I know you will,’ Addison replied, with the quiet reassurance she always possessed. She paused for a second, ‘I won’t be able to call or email you. The place we’re going—it doesn’t have a phone line or internet.’ She paused and gave a sad kind of smile. ‘You’ll be fine, Lara. You don’t need him. He didn’t deserve you—not at all. It’s amazing how strong you can be on your own when you need to be.’ She held Lara’s gaze. ‘The world needs good people like you. Look after yourself.’ She gave a nod of her head and disappeared out into the hall.

Lara sucked in a deep breath, looked around the immaculate show kitchen and put her head back on the counter.

Two weeks to sort herself out. Perfect.

* * *

It was almost midnight. Reuben fumbled with the key in the lock yet again and swore under his breath.

Maybe he shouldn’t have had that extra drink but his flight had been delayed six hours, jet-lag was kicking in and he’d decided to stop to try and get something to eat before he got back to the house.

Only something to eat had turned into something to drink. The takeaway hadn’t looked too appetising and the pub across the road had stopped serving food at seven p.m. So he’d just had a drink. That had turned into another. And then another. Watching a football match in a pub had that effect. After five minutes everyone was your best friend.

The key finally clicked into place and he shouldered the door open, falling over the front step and landing in a heap on the hardwood floor. The entrance hall was so big the noise echoed around him.

He picked himself up and tried to feel his way along the wall, seeking a light switch. When was the last time he’d been in Caleb’s house? Must have been over a year ago—Addison wasn’t exactly welcoming. She didn’t seem to like her husband’s bad-boy friend.

The light switch wasn’t beckoning. All he felt was the flat walls. His eyes tried to adjust to the dark. If he remembered correctly the kitchen was to the right and the living room to the left, looking out over the exclusive London street.

He sighed and headed towards the living room. He’d collapse on the sofa and watch TV for a bit.

He froze in mid-step. What was that? Was that a noise?

He held his breath for a second. Caleb, Addison and their son should be on holiday. Caleb had said he could stay here for the next few weeks while his house was getting roof repairs. He tipped his head to the side and listened again.

No. Nothing.

He dumped his bag at his feet and walked over to the outline of the door to the living room and pushed it open. All he really wanted to do right now was sprawl out on the sofa.

But everything was wrong. And the jet-lag meant that all the senses in his brain were firing in slow-mo.

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