The Billionaire Bodyguard(3)

By: Sharon Kendrick



While she had been sleeping the snowy landscape had been transformed into one which was now unrecognisable. Night had closed in, and with it the snow. Everything was black and white, like a photographic negative, and it would have been beautiful if it didn’t look so…forbidding. And they were in the middle of it. Of nowhere, as he had said. ‘Why have you stopped?’ she asked.

Why do you think I’ve stopped? ‘Because the fall is heavy here.’

‘Well, how long is it going to take us to get back now?’

Jay shot another glance out, and then looked in the mirror at her beautiful perplexed face. It was clear from her question that she had no idea how bad it was, and he was going to have to break it to her. Gently.

‘If it carries on like this there’s no way we’re going to make it back at all, at least not tonight—we’ll be lucky if we make it as far as the nearest village.’

This was sounding like something out of a bad movie. ‘But I don’t want to go to a village!’ she exclaimed. ‘I want to go to home!’

I want. I want. He supposed a woman like that spent all her time getting exactly what it was she wanted. Well, not tonight. ‘You and me both, sweetheart,’ he said grimly. ‘But I’ll settle for what I can take.’

She let the sweetheart bit go. Now was not the time to get frosty because he was being over-familiar. ‘Can’t you just drive on?’

He pressed cautiously on the accelerator, then eased his foot off. ‘Nope. We’re stuck.’

Keri sat bolt upright. ‘What do you mean?’

What the hell do you think I mean? ‘Like I said, we’re stuck. There are drifts in the road. Snowdrifts. And they’re underpacked with ice. It’s a potentially lethal situation.’

Keri briefly shut her eyes. Please tell me this isn’t happening. She opened them again. ‘Couldn’t you have predicted this might happen and taken a different route?’

He might have let it go, but something in her accusation made his blood simmer. ‘There is no alternative route—not out of that God-forsaken field they chose for the shoot—and, if you recall, I asked you three times to hurry up. I said that I didn’t like the look of the sky. But you were too busy being fawned over by a load of luvvies to pay much attention to what I was saying.’

Was he criticising her? ‘I was just doing my job!’

‘And I’m trying to do mine,’ he said darkly. ‘Which is dealing with the situation as it is, not wasting time by casting around for recriminations!’

Keri stared at the back of his dark head, feeling like a tennis-player who had been wrong-footed. And the most annoying thing of all was that he was right. He might have an arrogant, almost insolent way of expressing himself, but she could see his logic. ‘So what do you suggest we do?’ she questioned coolly.

By we he guessed she meant him. ‘I guess we find some shelter.’

‘No.’ Keri shook her head. What did he think—that she was going to book into a hotel for the night? With him? ‘I don’t think you understand—I have to be back in London. Tonight.’ She eyed his muscular frame hopefully. ‘Can’t you dig us out?’

‘With a spare snow-plough?’ Jay smiled. ‘I don’t think you understand, sweetheart—even if I dug us out, it would only be a temporary measure. This road is impassable.’

She felt a momentary flare of panic, until reason reasserted itself. ‘You can’t know that!’

He wasn’t about to start explaining that he had seen snow and ice in pretty much all its guises. The empty bleached horizons of arctic wastes which made this particular snow scene look like a benign Christmas card. Or swimming beneath polar ice-caps and wondering if your blood had frozen solid in your veins, wetsuit or no wetsuit. Men trapped…lost…never to be heard of again.

A hard note entered his voice. ‘Oh, but I can—it’s my job to know.’ He turned off the ignition, and turned round and shrugged. ‘Sorry, but that’s the way it is.’

She opened her mouth to reply, but the words froze on her lips as she met his eyes for the first time—hard, glittering eyes which took her breath away, and it was a long time since a man had done that. It was the first time she had looked at him properly, but then you never really looked at a driver, did you? They were part of the fixtures and fittings, part of the car itself—or at least they were supposed to be. She sucked in a dry gulp of air, confused by the sudden pounding of her heart, as if it was trying to remind her that it still existed. Lord alive, what was a man like this doing driving a car for a living?

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