The Alpha's Search (The Craven Trilogy, #1)(8)

By: Natalie Shaw



“Shit!” I almost jumped out of my skin when the phone in my pocket rang and vibrated.

Caller display didn't show a name—just a number I didn't recognise.

“Hello?” I was ready to give a mouthful to anyone asking if I'd considered changing my mobile service provider.

“Jackie?”

My heart sank.

“Michael? I didn't recognise your number.”

“I've changed contracts. Got myself a new IPhone. Great offer—couldn't resist.”

“That's nice.” I tried, but failed, to sound like I gave a shit.

“I called in the shop, but you weren't there.”

“That's cos I'm here,” I said. How rude did I have to be before he got the message?

“Yeah.” He laughed his stupid laugh. It was one of the things I'd grown to hate about him—trust me, there were many others.

Michael had been a mistake. I blamed Candice. In a moment of weakness I'd allowed her to talk me into going on a blind date. I still hadn't forgiven her.

“I wondered if you might like to go out for a drink tonight?” he said. “Or tomorrow, if you're busy.”

“I don't think that would be a good idea,” I said.

“Oh” I could hear the disappointment in his voice. I really thought he'd got the message the last time he'd contacted me. I realised now that subtle wasn't going to cut it.

“I'm sorry, Michael. You and I—it's not going to work out.”

“But...”

“I'd prefer it if you didn't contact me again.”

“Oh?”

“Sorry. Bye.” I ended the call and wondered when I'd become such a bitch. Still, what was it they said? Cruel to be kind?

The phone rang again. Okay—the gloves were off now. I was going to have to be even more blunt. “Michael. I told you I didn't want you to call me again. Now, fuck off!”

“Hello.” The voice wasn't Michael's.

I slumped onto the sofa. It took me a few moments to compose myself. “Mr Craven?”

“You recognise my voice.”

“How did you get my number? Why are you calling my personal mobile?”

“I apologise for the intrusion, but it's essential I meet with you as soon as possible.”

“I'm not working today. I have a couple of day’s holiday. If you call into the shop, I'm sure one of the other staff will be able to help...”

“This is a personal matter.”

“I'm sorry. I can't meet with you. I have to hang up now.”

“Wait. Do you know the name Louise?”

I tried to speak, but words had deserted me. This made no sense. How could he know about the name in my dream? How had he found my number? My breathing was laboured, and I felt a little light-headed.

“Sorry,” I eventually managed to say. “I don't know what you're talking about.”

My finger was hovering over the 'End call' button.

“I think you do, Louise.”

“Why did you call me that?”

“Can we meet?”

“I asked why you called me Louise! Tell me!”

“I will. I promise to explain everything, but not on the phone. Can I come around...?”

“No! Don't come here or I'll call the police.”

“Okay. Sorry. Can we meet somewhere more public? A coffee shop maybe?”

I hesitated. I had to know how he knew about my dreams.

“Do you know The Bean Mill? It's just off the high street.”

“I'll find it. When?”

“One o' clock.”

“Okay...”

I hung up.





Chapter 2


My hands were trembling. What was happening? Who was Craven, and what did he want with me? He'd called me Louise—what was that all about? Maybe he'd mistaken me for someone else. Perhaps I had a doppelganger out there somewhere. That must be it. But that didn't explain why he'd been in my dreams or why I'd heard the name Louise in my dreams. There was another more obvious explanation—one which I was doing my best to ignore. What if he did actually know me? What if he'd known me from before?

Immediately after my incident, I'd almost driven myself insane—trying to remember who I was. The doctors had told me that my memory might return, but it could take months, years, and may never come back at all. Over the years, I'd come to accept it never would. My 'before' life had gone for good. I'd come to realise that I had to make the most of now or I'd spend my whole time looking back—wondering. But maybe, just maybe, Craven did know me. If he did then I owed it to myself to talk to him. Besides, he'd been following me for days—at work and at Destiny. He wasn't about to let it go.

The door opened—scaring me half to death.

“I told them at work that I was feeling ill,” Alison said.

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