The Unexpected Mistress

By: Sara Wood

“You told me to live!” she whispered, slipping her tongue between his lips.




“I am living. This is what I want. Love me. Love me!” she continued.

Her own body was so aroused that she wondered how it could still obey her. But then she was operating on instinct. And love.

Cassian tore his mouth away, his face strained. “But afterward—”

“Forget afterward. This is now,” she said fiercely.

The ecstasy in her body was nothing to the joy in her head, her heart and her soul. Cassian would possess her.





She’s his in the bedroom,

but he can’t buy her love….

The ultimate fantasy becomes a reality

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CHAPTER ONE




CASSIAN lounged contentedly on the roof of the large rented house which he shared in typically cosmopolitan style with two English strippers, a Buddhist from Florida, and a Moroccan herbalist. It was late, the sky a dense black scattered with stars, the air warm and still.

He and his literary agent were watching the snake charmers and acrobats performing in the Djemaa el Fna, Marrakesh’s extraordinary market square. His agent’s mouth had been almost permanently open since they’d emerged onto the roof ten minutes ago and Cassian’s dark eyes hadn’t stopped twinkling in gentle amusement.

‘A tad different from central London,’ his agent marvelled with great understatement, goggling at a group of Saharan nomads who were sweeping majestically through the square.

Men in rags, walking like kings, Cassian thought, reflecting on his belief that outer trappings often concealed the real person beneath.

‘Same world. Different values and desire. Life stripped to its bare necessities. The need to eat, to find shelter and love,’ he observed lazily.

Stirred but not staggered by the scene below, Cassian poured coffee from the silver beaked pot and offered his agent a sweet pastry. After living here for a year, it had all become gloriously familiar to him; the huge lanterns illuminating the storytellers, the contortionists, the clowns and boy dancers, and the crowd of Berbers mingling with an incongruous sprinkling of awestruck tourists.

By now his ears were attuned to the din. Drums, cymbals and western music drowned the hubbub of voices—and also, mercifully, the groans coming from the stall of the dentist who was enthusiastically wielding his pliers.

A willing slave to intense feelings and sensuality, Cassian delightedly inhaled the powerful aroma of humanity mingling with spices and the smell of cooking from the blazing braziers dotted around the square. And he wondered curiously where his passion for living life to the hilt would take him next.

‘So,’ said his agent in bright cocktail-speak, clearly uncomfortable with the culture shock he was experiencing. ‘Now you’ve finished the book, I suppose you and your son are both going home for a while?’

Cassian sipped his Turkish coffee, appreciating its richness. ‘Jai and I have no home,’ he said gravely.

And yet… As if to contradict that statement, an image had come unexpectedly into his mind. Instead of the black night and the ochre buildings, the blazing torches and the patchwork of bright colours below, he saw emerald-green hills laced with grey stone walls, ancient woodlands and small stone villages by a cool, rushing river. The Yorkshire Dales. And, specifically, Thrushton.

Astonished, he inhaled deeply as if he could feel the freshness of the champagne air in his lungs. For the first time in his life he felt a pang of longing for a place he’d once known and loved.

That startled him: he who’d spent his adult life passionately embracing a setting, teasing out its darker side to create one of his popular thrillers…and then leaving without regret for new sensations, new horizons.

‘Still, you must have a great sense of relief,’ his agent persisted. ‘You’ve got your freedom back, for a start. No more sitting hunched over a PC for hour after hour,’ he added jovially, attempting to penetrate the mysterious psyche of the man he knew only as Alan Black.

‘I never lose my freedom. If I ever felt it was threatened,’ Cassian replied quietly, ‘I’d stop writing at once.’

‘Hell, don’t do that! We’ve got another film producer offering us an option on your next book!’ panicked his agent, seeing twelve per cent of a fortune vanishing overnight.

But Cassian had stopped listening. His sharp ears had heard an unusual noise in the narrow alley beside the house. Moving to the low parapet, he could see a man there, curled up in a foetal position and moaning with pain. Someone was running into the darkness of the souk beyond. Without making a fuss, he politely excused himself and went to investigate.

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