The Millionaire's Snowbound Seduction

By: Sandra Marton

Holly, with one hand deep in a bowl of leftover gourmet popcorn, paused and stared at the set.

‘Yes,’ she murmured, ‘how?’

‘By facing them,’ the good doctor replied. He pointed his bearded jaw at the camera, so that his bespectacled eyes seemed to bore straight into Holly’s. ‘Seek out your ghosts. You know where they lurk. Confront them, and lay them to rest.’

Pieces of nut-and-sugar-encrusted popcorn tumbled, unnoticed, into Holly’s lap as she zapped the TV into silence.

‘North Mountain,’ she’d whispered, and the very next morning she’d phoned her travel agent. Was the cabin on the mountain still available? The answer had taken a while but eventually it had come. The cabin was there, it was for rent, and now here she was, about to face her ghosts…or to turn into one herself, if she didn’t make it up this damned mountain.

There! Off to the left, through the trees. Holly could make out the long, narrow gravel driveway. It was still passable, thanks to the sheltering overhang of branches.

The car skidded delicately but the tires held as she made the turn.

She pulled up to the garage, fumbled in the glove compartment for the automatic door opener the realtor had given her. The door slid open. Holly smiled grimly. So much for the old man’s predictions about a power outage, and thank goodness for that. Night had fallen over the mountain and for the first time it occurred to her that it wouldn’t be terribly pleasant to be marooned here without electricity.

Carefully, she eased the car into the garage. Seconds later, with the door safely closed behind her, she groaned and let her head flop back against the seat rest.

She was safe and sound—but what on earth had she thought she was doing, coming to this cabin? You didn’t bury your ghosts by resurrecting them.

‘You’re an idiot,’ she said brusquely, as she pulled her suitcase from the car and made her way into the kitchen.

She switched on the light. There was the stove, where she’d prepared the very first meal she and Nick had shared as husband and wife. There was the silver ice bucket, where he’d chilled the bottle of cheap champagne that was all they’d been able to afford after they’d blown everything on renting this place for their honeymoon. There was the table, where they’d had their first dinner…where they’d almost had it, because just as she’d turned to tell Nick the meal was ready, he’d snatched her up into his arms and they’d ended up making love right there, with her sitting on the edge of the counter and him standing between her thighs, while their burgers burned to a crisp.

The lights flickered. Deep in the basement, the heating system hesitated, then started up again. Holly sighed in gratitude.

What on earth was she doing here? She was an idiot, to have come back to this place.

‘Worse than an idiot,’ she said, in a voice blurred with tears—not that she was weeping with regret. Why would she? Marrying Nick had been a mistake. Divorcing him had been the right thing to do, and she didn’t regret it, she never had. She was crying with anger at herself, at the storm that was going to make it impossible for her to turn around and drive down the mountain…

The lights blinked again. In a moment, the power would go out. She’d never be able to open the garage door without it; the door was old, and far too heavy. The power had gone out for a couple of hours when they’d stayed here years ago, and not even Nick—muscular, gorgeous, virile Nick—had been able to wrestle the door open.

Holly swallowed dryly. She couldn’t, she wouldn’t, be trapped here, with her memories. She had to get out before that happened, and never mind the raging storm and the treacherous road. She could manage the drive down. She’d be careful. Very careful. Nothing was impossible, when you put your mind to it. Hadn’t life taught her that?

‘I am out of here,’ she said, exactly at the moment the lights went out.


BY THE time he reached the turn-off for North Mountain, Nick was almost driving blind.

He had the windshield wipers turned up to high but the snow was falling so thick and fast that the wipers could barely keep up.

At least the Explorer was holding the road. That was something to be grateful for. And so was the gas station, just ahead. The last few miles, the needle on the gauge had been hovering dangerously close to empty.

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