The Alpha's Search (The Craven Trilogy, #1)(9)By: Natalie Shaw
“You don't look ill. Are you?”
“Course not.” She grinned. “Just bored out of my tiny skull. Anyway, why should I have to work when you're skiving?”
“I'm not skiving. I'm on holiday.”
“Same difference. I thought we could do some serious shopping.”
“Course you can—grab your bag. We'll go for a drink first.”
“I can't. I'm meeting someone.”
“Who? Have you gone and got yourself a fella?”
“You have! You sly cow. Why didn't you tell me? You've not got back with that loser Michael have you?”
Alison had never liked him.
“No. It's not Michael.”
“Who then? You may as well tell me or I'll follow you and find out.”
I knew she would.
“What? The guy who's been stalking you?”
“He hasn't been stalking me—not exactly.”
“Why are you meeting him?”
“He called me. We're just having coffee.”
“He could be a serial killer.”
“Don't be daft. Anyway, there'll be plenty of people around. We're meeting in Bean Mill.”
As soon as I'd said it, I regretted it.
“Bean Mill? Hmmm.” Alison had a stupid grin on her face.
“No. Definitely not!” I shook my head. “No, no, no!”
“You can't come.”
“It'll be safer if I keep an eye on you. I'll be discreet.”
“You? Discreet?” I snorted. “Some chance.”
“Hey, I can do discreet. I'll keep my distance and observe. If he tries any funny business, I'll Mace his arse. Or his eyes. Probably his eyes would be best.”
Arguing with Alison would be pointless, and anyway, I liked the idea that someone would have my back.
“Is he in there?” Alison had her nose pressed against the large front window of Bean Mill.
“Is this is your idea of discreet?” I pulled her away, and then, as casually as I could, I glanced inside.
“He's over there.”
“Over there—near the loo. You wait here until I'm at his table.”
“Don't sit too close to us.”
“Okay! Okay! Go! Go! Before he gets fed up of waiting.”
Craven already had a drink, so I stopped at the counter and ordered myself a Latte. While I was waiting to be served, I glanced over my shoulder to find him staring straight at me.
He stood up as I approached his table.
“What's this all about?” I said, as I took the seat opposite him.
He didn't speak; he appeared lost in thought.
“Why did you want to meet? I can't stay long.”
“Sorry. I was miles away. Thank you for coming.”
“Why have you been following me for the last few days?”
“What's so funny?” I said a little louder than I'd intended.
“'I'm sorry.” He bowed his head. “It's just that—”
“I've been following you for much longer than a few days.”
“Why? And why did you call me Louise?”
“Look into my eyes,” he said, and put his hand on my wrist. The moment he touched me, I felt it. A surge of energy rushed through my body. I stared into his eyes, and felt as though I was being drawn into their depths. Focus! I had to focus. I pulled my hand away.
“Did you see?” he asked.
“See? See what?”
He looked disappointed.
“Do you know me?” I asked. “From before my accident?”
“How? How do you know me?”
“No shit. Just tell me!”
“We were...” He hesitated.
“You were my mate. You are still my mate.”
“Mate? Do you mean friend? We were friends?”
“No. Much more than friends. We were a mated pair.”
“As in 'had sex'? That's bullshit.”
“You said you couldn't remember anything before your accident.”
“I'd remember that.”
“Your name is Louise. I took you as my mate.”
“Why do you keep saying the word 'mate'? You make it sound like we're animals. Are you trying to tell me we were lovers?”
“Yes.” He nodded. “And so much more.”
“Right.” The man was obviously deranged. “Well that's okay then.”
“Of course I don't fucking remember because there's nothing to remember. You're full of shit. If we were lovers before my accident, why didn't you come forward when I was in hospital? Where have you been for the last five years? What happened? Did you suddenly wake up one morning and notice I wasn't in the bed next to you? Did you think 'I haven't seen Louise for five years' —I wonder what happened to her?”