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First published as Running Scared under the name Caitlyn Nicholas in 2007 with Samhain Publishing
Poised and sophisticated, Julie Marchant lives for her job. Buying gems, she travels the world mixing with the rich, the famous and the sinister.
Throwing caution to the wind, Julie is swept away in a night of passion. When she wakes to find herself alone, she thinks she’ll never see archeologist Mitchell Cartwright again. However, fate has other ideas. She travels to Laos and they meet, just as the country teeters on the brink of civil war. Trapped, they flee together, but their past history and a murderous secret mean the road to safety is complicated and treacherous.
It was much busier outside than it had been earlier. Several other groups sat and chatted at the tables on the lawn. Mitch steered Julie toward a small table tucked away at the side of the lawn, and they sat looking out across the harbour.
The evening breeze had dropped and the still harbour reflected the lights of the city like a mirror.
“So, is that your usual brand of aftershave?” asked Julie. She was usually circumspect when asking personal questions, but the smell was overwhelming. It also broke the silence that was in danger of becoming awkward.
“Believe it or not, there’s a very good reason as to why I’m doused in the cheapest and nastiest of aftershaves. It’s Hope’s fault. She’s my five-year-old niece. It was my birthday last week and according to her mother she chose this for me herself. I couldn’t disappoint her, so I told her it was wonderful and promised to wear it to the ball.”
“But couldn’t you have just said you wore it or something?” Julie asked.
“I would never lie to a five-year-old,” he said in mock offence. “Anyway, I’m staying at my sister’s place, and Hope was helping me get ready. She put it on me herself.”
As Julie listened, she studied his broad, handsome face. His dark eyes glinted in the low light and his short, dirty blond hair fell across his forehead. As he talked and smiled, dimples put in an appearance, softening his high cheekbones and strong jaw.
“And that,” he concluded, “was how I came to be hiding in the shadows earlier. I was just trying to stay downwind of anyone else.”