“It is great to see you smiling,” said Garth, beaming, his straight white teeth flashing in the glare of spotlights.
“Yes, I was not sure I could ever be happy again. You can’t believe the relief I feel,” Alice said.
Cameras clicked, journalists called out questions as the police allowed the happy pair through the throng of eager news reporters looking for an unexpected scoop.
“Please, may I buy you lunch?” asked Garth.
“Now you’ve finished your job, don’t you have to go back to the office?”
“As a new partner in BA Scots and Sons, I can treat myself to a celebratory lunch now and then,” he joked.
“I see, don’t you have to celebrate with your partners?”
“We can enjoy a meal together any evening. Today, I want you to accompany me, is that okay?” asked Garth.
“Is this a date?”
“Treat it as you wish. I’d like it to be the first of many meals we share,” he said hopefully.
“You’ve only seen me in police cells or the courtroom,” said Alice.
“I’ve seen enough to know what I want.”
The lawyer threw his jacket in the BMW’s back seat as he held the door for his freed client. She swept her skirt under her shapely legs as she slid onto the fresh leather seat.
“My guess is, you are starving?” asked Garth.
“Yes, how did you know?”
“Often, defendants starve themselves through worry. When it’s all over, if they have won, they stuff themselves silly,” he laughed.
“A small salad will be great for me, maybe I have more faith in your skills than others,” she grinned.
“Salad it will be, but, I insist at my favourite Italian restaurant, okay?”
They parked opposite Marco’s restaurant and crossed the busy high street.
“Did you kill your husband?” a reporter shouted at her.
“Why did you do it?” bellowed another.
Garth threw a protective arm across her shoulder as he tried to dodge the traffic.
Alice turned and glared at one man. Both journalists stopped in the middle of the road, vehicle drivers tooting and shaking fists at them.
“Goodness me, that look scared them. Do you have lasers in your eyes?” asked Garth.
“Sometimes a certain look is enough to halt over-eager men in their tracks,” she smiled demurely.
They sat and studied their menus.
“I feel champagne will go well with your salad?” said Garth.
“How could I refuse a glass of bubbly from my shining knight?”
“After everything you’ve gone through, you deserve one, or two.”
Alice reached across the table and clasped Garth’s hands.
“Thank you, when everyone was against me, you stuck by me to the very end.”
“It would be blasé to say, ‘it’s only my job’, but I felt we grew closer as the trial went on. I don’t expect to finish up here, I hope to see you regularly. How do you feel about that?”
“Do you mean that?” Alice asked, her dreamy eyes hinted at more.
“Shall we have our coffee at my place?” Garth hoped.
“Only if no reporters are waiting to ambush me,” Alice joked.
“Sexy car, even sexier condo,” said Alice as they arrived.
“Yeah, I worked hard for them. Come in, I’ll get the coffee on.”
Alice loosened her top button, stretching her legs on the padded sofa.
“Make yourself at home,” he called from the kitchen.
“Oh, I will,” whispered Alice.
The mugs chinked against the milk jug as Garth placed the tray in front of his guest.
“Come and sit next to me,” Alice patted the seat.
Garth, confused by his nervousness, did as ordered.
“I uh, I” he started.
“Spill it out. You weren’t like that in court. What do you want to ask?”
“No, I’m not normally tongue-tied, in court or with women,” he smiled.
“Well, what is it?”
Garth leant closer and gently kissed her lips. Gentle touching turned to passion, Alice pulled him closer until they were lying side by side on the settee.
Pausing for breath, Garth held her hands and led her to his bedroom.
“I must shower first,” she whispered.
“If you choose the bath, I’ll join you.”
He now knew he would follow her smile across deserts, snowy tundras, diving into the deepest ocean anywhere she led, he would track her. Certainly into the tub. He smiled at the thought.
Steam filled the brilliant white bathroom, bubbles filled the bath as both eagerly fought each other from their clothes.
He stood with the taps behind him as he graciously helped her step over the side, both twitching with excitement. She guided him lower. He kissed her from shoulders to knees. Her panting increased as he slowly slid his legs between hers and lay on his back. The hot bath-water flicked his ears as he guided her on to his manhood.
His hands grabbed, then caressed, grasping, and sliding across her willing slick flesh.
Something caught his eye, “What is that?” he gasped as his concentration lapsed.
“Don’t stop,” she panted, encouraging him to push harder, faster.
Gasping and finally regaining her breath, she pointed between her breasts, “That is my only tattoo. Do you like it?”
He too needed a moment’s rest. He studied the inking without comment.
“It is the black widow spider. Can you see the little ticks under its body?” she caught her breath, “Every man I’ve slept with, is or will be dead,” she smirked. The thought amused her.
She flashed a full smile. As quick as a cobra, she grabbed his hair and pulled him forward and then like lightening she pushed his head backwards and deep under the water. She needed her full weight to halt his wriggling. Bubbles soon ceased finding their way to the surface.
Alice found a robe, dried herself and dressed quickly. She raced to the living room and found a bottle of Scotch, poured some down his throat and some in his nostrils, ensuring the alcohol joined the lunchtime Champagne in his system. Then emptied the rest into the tub and laid the bottle below his slumped arm. Kitchen scissors were enough to score deeply down his left forearm.
Next, the note. She had received several letters from him while they had jailed her awaiting her court case, giving plenty of time to practise his signature to perfection.
‘I can’t cope’, was all she wrote above his name.
She scanned each room, no sign of her remained. She considered taking the car keys, wisely decided against it.
“I love first dates,” she whistled as she joined the rush of office workers on their way home. “And I must get the new tick tattooed!”
It begins on a dark stretch of highway in northern California. Caught in a blinding glare of headlights, two vehicles swerve and crash—leaving one woman dead, and another in a coma. When the surviving woman awakens, her memory is gone and her face has been reconstructed. Her family tells her that her name is Marla Cahill—but they’re all strangers to her.
Recuperating in her isolated San Francisco mansion, Marla waits for something to trigger recognition. Yet the only thing she’s left with is the unshakable feeling that she is not who everyone says she is, and that something is very, very wrong. Marla knows her life isn’t just different—it’s in danger. And as her fear builds, a killer waits for the perfect moment to strike—the moment Marla remembers . . .
Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.
When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.
As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.