This is the second story that I wrote in the Maybourne sequence – it’s set in an old-world English village with ancient timber-framed structures, a ruined abbey and a few Georgian town houses: the kind of place where everyone seems to know everyone else, with a heroine who’s trying to escape from a dangerous stalker. There are one or two characters here you may recognise who featured in A Close Match.
Here's the story:
Diane Wilson is trying to get over a disastrous relationship and pleads with the boss of her accountancy firm to have her moved to another branch office. When she finally gets her way, she finds herself in the picturesque district of Maybourne, with its old-fashioned houses, the ruins of an ancient abbey... and Arthur, who helps her establish herself in the business community. And with whom she quickly falls in love.
Circumstances change unexpectedly, and her former lover starts stalking her and forces himself on her. How can she escape from her evil Nemesis? And would Arthur take her back if she were to return, knowing what he has done to her? And what is the truth about Arthur's dark past?
I was about to leave, when my phone rang again. I thought it might be Arthur again, with a forgotten postscript to his last call; I merely answered “Hello,” without announcing my name.
“Hello, lovely lady,” the voice said. It wasn’t Arthur. It was that execrable creature, Trevor Thomas.
“What do you want?” I sounded vicious, angry that he was trying to re-enter my world. I had thought I had finally rid myself of him.
“Don’t be annoyed. I heard you’d come back, and thought we could meet up again sometime. How about tomorrow afternoon?”
“I’m working through the weekend. I’m back here for a specific purpose. The sooner I can get finished, the sooner I can get back home.”
“Yes. Home. You’ve got a new home now, haven’t you. I heard about it. A little bungalow in the country, isn’t it?.”
I said nothing. I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t move.
“If you don’t have time to see me while you’re here, then I’ll have to come and visit you down there after you’ve finished your project here. That will be good, won’t it?”
“You stay away from me!” I hissed.
“Oh, come on, Diane. That’s no way to speak to an old friend.”
“I’ll call the police!”
“They didn’t help you last time, did they? Harassment, you called it? They didn’t believe you then, and so why should they believe you now?”
“Please…” I gasped. “Just fuck off, once and for all!”
I hung up quickly, and looked around to see if anyone had heard me. I turned off my mobile phone. I could pick up any messages later, when I had recovered my composure.
Returning to the hotel, I had a quick shower and went downstairs to the restaurant. I tried hard to get that last phone call out of my mind, but it wasn’t easy. I’ve always found confrontational phone calls to be more difficult to handle than face-to-face arguments.
“You hung up on me,” said the voice behind me. “That wasn’t very nice, was it?”
I turned round. It was Trevor Thomas. In person. He had followed me here. Or he had found out where I was staying.
The tension that I had only just successfully cleared away now flooded back and hit me hard. “What are you doing here?” I whispered.
“I wanted to see you again. We have some unfinished business, you and I.”
There's a story that I wrote next - Kate's Return which follows on from Village Accounts - we'll talk about that soon.
email : rc (at) rachelcray (dot) com
Twitter : @RachelCray1