The Alpha's Search (The Craven Trilogy, #1)(7)

By: Natalie Shaw



I needed a drink—something stronger than Coke.

“Finished your book?” Alison asked without looking up from the TV.

I didn't recognise the programme she was watching, but I'd have bet good money it was some reality rubbish. She loved those stupid things. And she had the nerve to criticise my books!

“Not yet. I fell asleep.”

“It's that riveting eh?”

“I had the same nightmare.”

“Are you okay?” She turned to face me.

“Yeah—it's only a dream. But...”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Come on. You have to tell me now.”

I sat on the arm of the sofa. “You remember the guy from Destiny that I told you about?”

“The guy who rescued you?”

“Yeah. His name is Craven.”

“Is that his first name?”

“No. Craven's his last name. I don't know his first name. He came in the shop again today.”

“Why didn't you tell me?”

“That doesn't matter. What matters is that he was in my dream. He was the person in the cave.”

Alison shrugged. “Is that it? I thought this was going to be some big revelation.”

“But... He was in my dream.”

“Hardly a surprise. He saves you from those two thugs. Then he comes into the shop. You've got him on the brain. Do you fancy him?”

I hesitated a moment too long.

“You do.”

“I hardly know him.”

“But you'd like to get to know him. It's written all over your face.”

“That's rubbish.” I could feel my cheeks redden. “I need a glass of wine.”

“Whoops.” Alison looked sheepish.

“What?”

“I kinda finished it off.”

“Kinda? All of it?”

“Sorry.”

“Great! Thanks a bunch.”

Back in my bedroom, I thought about what Alison had said. She was right. There was little wonder Craven was kicking around inside my head given the events of the last few days.

My mind went back to the dream. Who was Louise, and why had Craven called her name?

*********

I'd given Alison strict instructions not to wake me the next morning. What was the point of having a day off work if I couldn't have a lie-in? Even so, I was gobsmacked when I checked my phone and found it was 11.30am. That was one morning I was never going to get back. Alison's dirty breakfast pots were still in the sink—they could whistle. The lazy mare always expected me to clean up after her.

I'd just made myself a coffee when there was a knock at the door. Whatever they were selling, I didn't want any, so I ignored it. Another knock—they weren't going to give up. I nipped into my bedroom and threw on a dressing gown.

“Who is it?” I called through the closed door.

“Parcel for Alison Groves,” a male voice said.

“Leave it there please.”

“I need a signature.”

“Alison isn't in.”

“You can sign for it.”

Alison was always ordering clothes online. She thought nothing of ordering five dresses, and sending four back. She'd even been known to wear one for a night out, and then to return it for a refund. I didn't know how she had the front. She'd kill me if I didn't take the parcel in.

“Just a minute.” I cracked the door open.

“Hello there,” the man said. He had a box-shaped parcel in his arms.

“Hi.” I waited for him to pass me the electronic thingamajig for me to sign, but he just stood there. “You said you wanted me to sign?” I said.

“Could I bring this in? It's quite heavy.”

I was about to wave him in when it occurred to me that he wasn't wearing a uniform. Instead, he wore an immaculate black suit. Tall, middle-aged with grey hair, the man looked as though he should have been working at an undertakers. I'm not sure why, but alarm bells were ringing. What if he was a mad axe murderer?

“Sorry. You can't come in.” I glanced both ways down the corridor—hoping I might see one of the neighbours. There was no one in sight. “I'll sign for it, but you'll have to leave the parcel there.”

“I'm not supposed to do that. If I could just step inside...?”

“No.” I closed the door a little. If he made a move, I'd slam it shut on his face.

He forced a smile, but I could see the anger in his eyes. “I'll come back another time,” he said, and was gone before I could say anything else.

Alison was not going to be best pleased, but I didn't care. I was glad to see the back of weirdy mcweird.

I checked the window. There was no sign of a delivery van in the car parking spaces in front of our block, but it was always possible he'd parked around the back. I was just about to go to the back window when I spotted him. He no longer had the parcel. Had someone else agreed to sign for it? I couldn't imagine who else would. Just then, he stopped and glanced up at my window, so I ducked out of sight. The man gave me a serious case of the creeps. After a few seconds, I risked another look. He was climbing into the driver's seat of a black Jag. What kind of delivery service provided their drivers with Jags?

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