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SUDDEN IMPACT

by
Josie Anders
Chapter Two

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Published by ukher.com
© Copyright ukher.com 2014 - 2019


“Well, what happened? What’s he like? Why were you so long?”
Tina pounced as soon as Kylie let herself into their attic flat. Jumping off the sofa, like an inquisitive, welcoming puppy, she followed at Kylie’s heels through to the kitchenette.
“Richard Sutherland is a smug, conceited, self-opinionated, autocratic....” Kylie paused for breath. “Good looking hunk!” suggested Tina helpfully. “And his ex-wife must have been mad to let him go.”
“She had a lucky escape, if you ask me!” said Kylie, pouring herself some coffee. “He practically ordered me to give him a lift home and under the circumstances, I could hardly refuse. Then he had the nerve to insist on driving the Mini himself! What’s more, he neglected to mention that he lived out of town or that he intended to handle my car like ‘the Stig’!”
“He isn’t a dangerous driver is he?”
“Not if you’re used to a practice circuit of the Manx T.T. course before dinner.” stated Kylie and pulled a face as Tina brought a plate of casserole out of the oven. “I don’t think I’ll be able to eat anything until my stomach settles.”
“Perhaps Mr Sutherland had more of an affect on you, than his driving did?” smirked Tina. “Maybe he’s given you butterflies!”
“Oh don’t be ridiculous.... the way he raced through some of those narrow roads, I was more likely to throw up than fall into a swoon.”
“You have to admit he’s very attractive.” persisted Tina. “A real dominant male.”
“If you like that sort of thing.” shrugged Kylie disinterestedly. “Just because he resembles the tall, dark stranger in every gypsy’s crystal ball, doesn’t mean he has any real depth of character or charm!”
“But when you reached his house, didn’t he invite you in for a drink, to steady your nerves?” asked Tina, studying her friend closely,
“Certainly not... I wouldn’t have accepted if he had.”
“Why?” puzzled Tina in disbelief. “You might have hit it off, if you got to know him better.”
“Not much chance of that, we seemed to wind each other up, right from the word go! He’s used to being surrounded by ‘Yes’ men and women, I usually say exactly what I’m thinking... good or bad.” sighed Kylie.
“It’s not every day you literally run into a handsome, rich and unattached man. Who whisks you up to his office and takes an interest in you.”
“You’re reading it all wrong Tina, he didn’t show the slightest interest. Quite the opposite! I might have made an impact on his precious ‘macho Porsche’, but the only lasting impression I left on Richard Sutherland was a bad one!”
“So much for leaving your mark..” mused Tina.
“Yeah, pranging the boss’s car, wasn’t quite what I had in mind.” Kylie sighed again. “Sutherland’s bound to hold it against me, he’s certainly running out of patience where staff errors are concerned.
His temporary secretary is being replaced on Monday, for losing him a couple of valuable clients.” “In that case, I guess you’re lucky you still have a job with him.” chuckled Tina as they moved back into the small sitting room.
“On the contrary,” laughed Kylie, kicking off her shoes. “Mr Sutherland is fortunate I didn’t tell him where to stick his job!”
“You wouldn’t really resign, would you?” challenged Tina in amazement. “Not after all the hard work you’ve put in?”
“No,” smiled Kylie. “But I intend taking two weeks holiday soon.”
“Why? Because he’s upset you and you want to stay away, until he cools down?”
Kylie shook her head, “Far from it,” she answered, reclining on a pile of cushions under the single, low sash window. “Sutherland doesn’t intimidate me in the least, but my absence will force him to realise just how much of a contribution I make to the company. When problems are anticipated and prevented, it’s very easy to assume that the place practically runs itself!”
“Well, it’s six months since you were put in charge of the laboratory, you got promoted about the same time as I moved in to share the flat. So your holiday is certainly long overdue.” agreed Tina flopping onto her favourite beanbag and pulling idly at the edges. “I just wish you’d taken the same weeks off as me, and then we could have planned a holiday together.”
“Can’t you change your dates, bring it forward?”

“Afraid not, we work on a rota system in our section. It’s too late to swap now, all the other girls have booked something.” said Tina ruefully.
“Never mind, I don’t really think I could afford to go away this year. You know me; I have to budget for everything.” stated Kylie, casting her eyes slowly around the room.
Money had been a problem for awhile, after she’d split up with Greg Lomax. He had shared this same flat with her for almost a year. Although they’d both worked for Sutherland Industries, Greg was a financial whizz-kid in the New Projects Dept and at the time Kylie had been on shift work. Which meant every third week, her hours were an unsociable 11pm to 7am.
A sudden wave of bitterness swept over her at the thought. Greg had used those weeks to his advantage, knowing Kylie was safely out of the way. Safe that was until the inevitable twist of fate which finally opened her eyes!
One night on her way to start the late shift, she’d suddenly remembered leaving the iron switched on, after trying to catch up with a few chores before leaving for work. Greg had gone out as soon as they’d finished their evening meal; so it would have been pointless ringing to ask him to check on things. Kylie had almost reached the gates of the vast water purification plant, before she reluctantly turned back for the flat.
Ten minutes later, she’d parked on Douglas Promenade, stepped out into the cold February night and run across to the three-storey block of flats, which had once been a hotel. After letting herself in through the main door, she
had run up the endless flights of stairs to the attic apartment. A faint strip of light showed beneath the door and she had cursed herself again, for leaving the table lamp on, in her earlier haste to set off for work.
Panting after her steep climb, she had unlocked the door and flown into the sitting room. The first thing she noticed, wasn’t the smell of burning that she’d half anticipated, but a totally unexpected, heavy, almost choking perfume. Then she saw them.... still entangled in each others arms, their naked bodies lying on the rug by the fire.... Greg and the smooth, tanned limbs of another blonde! Kylie had turned away; for a moment she’d thought she was going to be physically sick – then a numb, icy calmness took over from the disgust and revulsion.
“I want you out, Greg!” she’d told him bitterly, “Don’t say anything, just go!”
Walking through into the kitchen after that, she had mechanically poured herself a stiff drink and sat staring blindly into her glass.
Greg appeared in the doorway, dressed and carrying an overnight bag. The anonymous blonde had already left and Kylie was thankful she wouldn’t have to see her face. Somehow the whole awful nightmare of finding Greg with another woman, would be easier to bear if that anonymity was maintained.
“I’ll get the rest of my things tomorrow,” Greg had said tonelessly, “I’m sorry Kylie, really I am...”
“It’s too late for that!” she’d answered without looking up.
“You won’t forgive...?”
“I won’t forget!” she said simply.

She felt him shrug and turn, then he had gone. For a couple of moments she stayed where she was, feeling a terrible numbness. Then, when the restraint buckled and gave way to angry tears, Kylie had run into the sitting room and thrown open the window. Desperate to be rid of the suffocating perfume that still hung in the air and made her want to retch. The thick rug in front of the fire, seemed to shout contemptuously at her, no doubt a silent witness to countless other acts of Greg’s betrayal. Kylie rolled it up and dragged it across to the window.
Greg had just emerged from the flats and was headed towards a red sports car, parked on the promenade; the blonde’s shadowy figure already waiting behind the wheel. Hauling the rug up and out of the window, Kylie sent it plummeting to the ground, a symbol of his blatant treachery.”
“Take that with you!” she screamed at him.
Momentarily, Greg glanced up at the window, then solemnly continued on his way over to the sports car and climbed inside.
Apart from the following day, when he called to collect his belongings, Kylie had not set eyes on him once during the past six months. For some reason, he’d resigned from Sutherland Industries and found a job on the mainland. Perhaps to avoid embarrassing confrontations with Kylie or more likely, to follow his latest flame.
Trying to pay the rent for the flat on her salary alone, soon proved to be a struggle and rather than move into a pokey bedsit, Kylie had decided to look for a girl to share. After that, her luck seemed to change for the better. An advert

for a flatmate, pinned on the staff notice board had introduced her to Tina and they’d become good friends.
Also around the same time, an unexpected promotion at work had given Kylie new enthusiasm and a welcome pay rise. The extra money enabled her to redecorate the flat and replace certain items of furniture, thus successfully eliminating everything that had held memories of her life with Greg Lomax. Now, thought Kylie, making a conscious effort to stop dwelling on the events of the past year – now she was in control of her life again, back on an even keel. She surveyed the room from her comfortable viewpoint amongst the pile of cream cushions. The walls were predominantly white, adding the feel of much needed space. Most of the furniture was seaside shabby chic, the original wood flooring had been stripped back and polished. Two of Kylie’s own watercolours hung unframed, one a subtle sunset reflecting in the sea and the other, a contrasting storm-lashed beach with an angry sky.
Wriggling round on the cushions, Kylie turned her attention to the view beyond the window and again, she felt glad that she’d decided to keep the attic flat. Staying to face the ghosts of her unhappy love affair and finally putting them all to rest. It would have been a real shame to let Greg Lomax deprive her of her favourite view of Douglas Promenade and bay. From here, during the day, she could watch and paint the sea in all its moods. While at night, a different beauty attracted her artist’s eye; for then the crescent shaped promenade was lit from end to end with one and a half miles of colourful illuminations.
It was late evening now and gazing out at the warm summer sky, it seemed to Kylie there was just one cloud on her horizon and that took the shape of Richard Sutherland. Her first encounter with the autocratic head of Sutherland Industries had left Kylie feeling oddly unsettled. It wasn’t merely the aftermath of the car accident or even the fact that her hard work and competence in the laboratories, had so far gone unnoticed. Instead, it was the memory of a brief moment in his office, when he had held her eyes and challenged her to see the fierce sensuality within him.
Perhaps if she had reacted to that unspoken invitation to soften and comply; as no doubt, countless other women had done. Maybe then, he would have shown a different side of his character. However Kylie had chosen to remain aloof and remote, suffering the consequences. Recognising her determination to preserve and not cross over that employer/ employee threshold; Sutherland’s eyes had hardened and grown cold. From then on, his expression was inscrutable.... his attitude mocking and abrupt.



“What on earth are you daydreaming about?” asked Tina, breezing into the room. “You’ve been gazing out of that window for ages!”
Looking up, Kylie was surprised to see her friend dressed for an evening out, she hadn’t even noticed her disappearing to get ready.
“Just admiring the view,” smiled Kylie easily, she didn’t particularly want to discuss Greg or rake up the subject of Richard Sutherland again. Tina was a great friend in many ways, but she couldn’t stop herself from turning personal details into public knowledge. “I might do some painting before the light fades.”
“You ought to find time for a social life,” pouted Tina as she added more lip gloss to her vibrant red lips. “It’s not healthy staying in on a Friday night!”
“Don’t worry about me, I’m just as happy painting as propping up a bar somewhere.”
“Well if you’re not going out, you won’t mind me borrowing your new stockings, those ones with the little bow on the heels.”
“You mean the ones you’re already wearing?” laughed Kylie. “Where are you off to, anyway? Another night on the razzle?”
“Sure am!” enthused Tina and hung her head upside down to shake her dark hair into position. “Ian’s taking me dancing.”
“Good, he’s fine husband material, Tina! You want to hold onto him.” teased Kylie and dodged as a cushion came flying her way.
“He’s okay,” replied her friend slowly, “But just think, there’s over 200 millionaires living here on the Isle of Man and I had to meet a struggling musician!”
“It shouldn’t be the size of his bank account that matters.” Kylie cautioned.
“Yeah, I know, but it wouldn’t hurt if he was just slightly well off.”
As though on cue, the doorbell rang and the maligned Ian arrived to redeem himself, by presenting Tina with a giant box of chocolates. Then after exchanging a few pleasantries with Kylie, he propelled a giggling Tina out through the hall.
“Don’t wait up!” she called over her shoulder, then the door slammed and silence settled once more.
Drifting back into the kitchenette, Kylie sampled the plate of casserole that Tina had kept warm for her. However, she just wasn’t hungry and soon abandoned it… she never seemed to have much of an appetite these days.
Moving back into the sitting room, Kylie put some music on and glanced at her easel and paintbox, but suddenly didn’t feel like painting either. Maybe Tina was right, thought Kylie with a sigh, perhaps she ought to start going out on Friday nights! Normally, she could have spent an enjoyable couple of hours painting or reading, yet tonight, she felt oddly listless. Perhaps a hot bath, was the answer, after all, it would help her to unwind.
She ran the water and left the bathroom door open so she could still hear her music drifting through. Chris Rea’s husky, sexy voice sang of waves and love on lonely beaches, as she lay back and soaked in mountains of bubbles. Then, floating in the sea of fragrant foam and soft music, Kylie felt herself relax, almost to the point of sleep, before a sudden discordant sound broke into her tranquillity. It was after 11pm, but the phone was shrilling out insistently, with a total disregard for anyone considering an early night.
Kylie groaned and felt tempted to let it ring, but then she wondered whether her parents in Manchester were trying to get in touch, it was a few weeks since she’d spoken to them. Climbing reluctantly out of the bath, Kylie wrapped a fluffy white towel around her slim figure and padded through to the sitting room. Whoever hung on at the other end of the line, seemed determined to get a reply. It was still ringing as she reached for the receiver with a wet hand, then unbelievably, just before she lifted it to her ear, it clicked and went dead.
“Damn!” she swore at the offending handset. “Just typical.”
There was no number left or message. After checking, she phoned her parents, to find out if they had rung, but she caught them on their way up to bed.
“No darling, we were going to give you a call on Sunday.” Her mother said softly. “We thought you’d be out with your friends tonight, you should be!” she added and Kylie rolled her eyes skywards, she couldn’t decide whether her mother sounded more like Tina or vice versa.
“Okay Mum, I’ll speak to you on Sunday.” replied Kylie hastily. “Don’t let me keep you up… love to you and Dad.”
Replacing the receiver, she wondered briefly who else could be ringing her so late, then shivered and went to find her bathrobe, promptly forgetting all about the mystery caller.
She dried her long, flaxen hair and twisted it up into a knot, so that by morning it would have a slight wave. Then after a hot drink, she propped herself up in bed and read a magazine for awhile. She must have fallen asleep because when she came too, much later, the bedside lamp was still on and the magazine had slipped from her hands to the floor. What had woken her? The clock radio said 4.05am, perhaps Tina had just come in… but no, there was a sound, an annoying continuous ringing. Kylie sat up and rubbed her eyes, the phone again? At this time? It could be Tina, she thought rousing herself, but if somebody was playing a stupid prank; she’d give them a choice piece of her mind!
Half asleep, Kylie went into the sitting room and snatched up the phone…. to her surprise, the sound persisted. Still drowsy, she realised it wasn’t the phone at all… someone was ringing the doorbell! Moving into the hall, she paused warily.
“Is that you, Tina?” she demanded, expecting to hear her flatmate giggling about forgetting her key.
“No it damn well isn’t!” said a deep male voice, she recognised with a sinking feeling in her heart. “For God’s Sake, open the door!”
Inching it open, she found Richard Sutherland standing before her, like some incredible nightmare she couldn’t wake from. Kylie wondered if there was a chance that she could actually be dreaming? The man appeared transformed, gone was the sleek city suit and sophisticated panache. Instead, he wore faded jeans and a petrel blue, ribbed sweater. There was even a dark shadow of growth around his chin and for once, his thick hair looked unruly.
“What’s the matter? Can’t you sleep?” asked Kylie with sarcasm, meeting his tired, yet ever piercing dark gaze.
“I’m not here through choice, believe me!” he retorted between tight lips.
“Then we need go no further… why don’t we just say goodnight, now?” suggested Kylie moving to close the door, but his arms rose up to stop her and he stepped quickly inside. “Look this isn’t funny,” she snapped. “What can you possibly want at 4am in the morning? I work for you, but that doesn’t entitle you to push your way in here!”
“This isn’t a social call.” He stated, leaning against the doorpost. “I think you should get dressed.” His cynical stare took in her grey silk pyjamas and the soft curves they barely concealed. It was so strange, seeing him in the flat at that hour, her angry indignation had made her temporarily oblivious to her own skimpy attire. Trying to stand up to him in bare feet, didn’t help either, he towered over her more than ever.
“It’s not about Tina, is it?” Kylie queried anxiously, suddenly aware she hadn’t heard her flatmate come in.
“If you’re referring to that tipsy-headed friend of yours,” he drawled impatiently. “No, my visit has nothing to do with her. It’s you I needed to see…”
A peculiar sensation unfurled inside Kylie at those words. “You needed to see me?” she repeated and blinked. “Why?”
“I’ve been trying to get hold of you all night.”
“So it was you,” she stared at him accusingly. “I answered the phone at eleven, but it rang off just as I got to it.”
“You’re one hell of a heavy sleeper…” he stated gruffly. “I’ve been standing out here, pressing your doorbell, for the past ten minutes!”
Maybe she really was dreaming after all? Suppressing a yawn and the urge to laugh at the whole ridiculous situation, Kylie swayed wearily and tried to focus on Sutherland’s grim countenance.
“It’s very flattering to be in such demand,” she replied flippantly, “but you still haven’t told me what you want…. and I’m too tired to listen anyway…. couldn’t you call in the morning, when we’ve both had some sleep?”
“For the love of heaven, woman!” he exclaimed, grasping Kylie by the shoulders and shaking her. “What I want, is for you to wake up, get dressed and come with me to work!”
“Are you crazy?” she was certainly awake now. “Yesterday, you practically hijacked my car and now you want to kidnap me in the middle of the night?” he had released his grip on her, but she could still feel the imprint of his fingers against her skin.
“There’s no need to over-react or look at me like that.” He said with irony. “I’m not trying to compromise you in any way, this is strictly business, there are no ulterior motives!”
“Business!” she scoffed in disbelief. “at 4am?”
“An emergency… a contamination alert in the main water storage tank.” he explained, an unfamiliar note of despair creeping into his voice. “I’ve got to find out where it’s coming from – production stopped as soon as the contamination alarm sounded.” He paused and eyed her keenly. “I need you to analyse the water samples and tell me what’s causing the pollution. I’m well aware it’s the middle of the night and I know it’s the weekend, but this can’t wait until 9am on bl—dy Monday morning!”
“Of course it can’t.” agreed Kylie immediately and saw his guarded surprise. He’d obviously expected to have to argue the point and convince her.
“You’ll come now?” he asked in a more civil tone.
“Certainly I will.” She replied, already moving towards her bedroom. “Just give me a few minutes to change and I’ll be right with you.”

There was no time to think about what she should wear, Kylie just grabbed at a pair of pale blue jeans and a white cotton top. Glancing briefly in the mirror, without make-up and with her hair still scraped back, she looked, she thought ruefully, like a teenager instead of a woman of twenty-five. What did that matter though? She reminded herself, after all, she didn’t care whether Sutherland found her attractive or not, did she?
Scribbling a quick note to Tina, explaining what had happened, Kylie left it in the kitchen by the biscuit tin, which was usually the first thing her friend reached for, when she came home.
“Okay, I’m ready.” she said, rejoining Sutherland as he prowled restlessly around the sitting room.
Everything in the room looked suddenly smaller and more fragile, when confronted by his tall, powerful, invading presence. Even the ceiling felt lower, especially under the window, where the attic roof sloped so much he had to stoop to examine one of Kylie’s paintings.
“Sunset over the harbour at Port Erin.” she told him, as he moved away from the sweeping poppy sky and grey silhouetted masts of large yachts.
“Yes, I know.” he nodded walking towards her. “It’s the view from my window at the cottage!”
Of course, she remembered, his place was set into the hillside overlooking that particular harbour, She had painted the scene from a lower-view point, near the old sea wall, but the effect would be the same as looking down from his cottage.
“My painting must be improving, if you actually recognise the location.” remarked Kylie with a little smile.
“I did have a slight advantage.” he declared dryly.
“Oh?”
“The third yacht along from the left, is mine!” he laughed gently. “Don’t be too disappointed though, it’s still a good painting.”
The unexpected sound of his praise and laughter, made Kylie wonder whether he’d decided to call an end to their hostilities? Now that she had shown concern for his Company and a genuine desire to help him, perhaps they were on more equal terms, with a common objective.
Draping her old leather jacket around her shoulders, they left the flat and made their way quietly down the stairs. Outside on the promenade, the air was cool and damp, but the sky was growing brighter by the minute, preparing to give way to dawn.
A nearby car door flew open and a rather red-faced Tina climbed out, trying to straighten her dishevelled hair.
“Kylie,” she gasped awkwardly. “I was just coming in – you weren’t mounting a search party or anything, were you? I said I’d be late and….” she stopped, realising the casually attired man at Kylie’s side was Richard Sutherland and her eyes widened incredulously. “Gosh, what are you doing here?”
He raised an eyebrow in mild surprise, unused to having his movements or motives questioned.
“I’ve left a note for you upstairs.” announced Kylie hastily.
“There’s an emergency at the Plant, Mr Sutherland wants me to run some tests for him.”
“That’s a new approach,” whispered Tina. “Where are you really going? Back to his place?”
“We’re wasting time.” declared Sutherland in exasperation. “If your friend wants to engage in fantasy, it hardly matters what she believes. The reality will hit her soon enough, when she’s laid off work because we can’t re-open the Plant! And unless the source of the contamination is found and eliminated, that’s exactly what’s on the cards.” he strode off towards a green Rover and slammed the door impatiently.
“I’ll talk to you later Tina, I’ve got to go!” said Kylie and walked quickly over to her Mini Cooper.
“What the devil are you doing now?” demanded Sutherland leaning out of his window.
“Driving to the Plant.” she replied sweetly.
“Why do you suppose I’m sitting here, waiting in a hire-car?” he snapped. “If not to take you there?”
“Thanks, but I prefer to drive my own car.” and arrive in one-piece, she muttered under her breath.
“Please your bl—dy self!” he swore emotively and drove off without another word.
“You can take this Women’s’ Lib thing too far, you know.” Tina called over.
“When you refuse a lift from Richard Sutherland,” answered Kylie cynically. “It’s known as self-preservation!”
With a wave at her flatmate, she set off along the deserted promenade towards the sea-terminal. On her right, she passed an almost unbroken line of hotels and holiday flats. They ran the length of the crescent shaped promenade and their gaily coloured facades were slowly stirring into life. While on the left, a grey stone sea-wall gave way to a sandy beach and a glistening Douglas bay.
Kylie followed in the same direction as the tramcar tracks, along which horse-drawn trams trundled throughout the day. Then she turned off at the far end of the promenade near the sea terminal, where an enormous overnight ferry had just slipped into the harbour and docked. However, its cargo of passengers and vehicles would have to wait until 6am, before they could disembark and disturb the silence of the sleeping island.
Several minutes later, after taking the road to Douglas Head, Kylie drew up just inside the gates of ‘Sutherland Industries’. They had been left open for her, but Sutherland himself, was nowhere to be seen.
Despite the additional illumination provided by security spotlights, set on top of four towering, narrow gantries; the huge factory plant looked like something out of a futuristic film. Outlined in the eerie stark light between night and daybreak. Even the roof of the main building and upper rims around the colossal storage tanks, were permanently ringed with lights, as a warning to low flying aircraft. Visibility could deteriorate within minutes on the island, when sudden mists rolled in off the sea or cloud banks became snared on nearby jagged mountains.
Reaching the main reception area, Kylie found the night watchman preparing to go on his rounds. “Morning Miss, sure didn’t expect to see you back here again so soon.”
“Neither did I!” admitted Kylie with a sigh.
“The Governor seems to be having a spate of bad luck just lately.” said Jack scratching his grey head.
“What with his divorce and his car getting damaged and now this contamination business… I’m thinking maybe he doesn’t say ‘Hello to the fairies’ like I told him!”
“Sorry, you lost me somewhere…” puzzled Kylie.
“The Fairy Bridge” in the south of the island,” explained Jack earnestly. “Every time he crosses it on the way to and from work, he ought to greet the fairies or else they’ll bring him bad luck! It’s an old Manx custom; these newcomers don’t have any respect for things like that.”
“You’ll have to have a word with him about that.” advised Kylie smiling to herself, trying to visualise the suave, impatient Sutherland discussing the subject of ‘fairies’ with the old night watchman, after a hard days work. It would be worth seeing… “Where is the Governor?” she asked. “I’m supposed to be running some tests for him.”
“Oh yes of course, sorry Miss, here’s me prattling on… he said he’d meet you in the laboratory.”
“Right, thanks Jack – I’d better make a move.”

The strip light was on over the workbench, as Kylie approached the laboratory. Sutherland was bending forward, labelling a row of small bottles. His outline looked lean and distractingly male in the slim fitting jeans and sweater.
“I was beginning to think you’d changed your mind about coming.” he said. He had heard Kylie enter, but spoke without turning to face her. His voice sounding deep and hollow in the vast laboratory. “Wouldn’t blame you if you
had,” he continued and straightened up. “I don’t make a habit of swearing at women or losing my temper… but this contamination thing is a real headache.” he paused, then added. “You and I set off on the wrong foot, but the way I see it, if neither of us mentions cars or each others driving, we should be able to form some sort of reasonable working relationship.” “Suit me.” she nodded stiffly, unsure whether he’d just offered an apology or skilfully manoeuvred his way out of one.
Sutherland was studying her with quiet amusement.
“Let’s start over again, shall we?” he suggested extending his hand. “I’m Richard Sutherland. I run this organisation and on occasion I find time to go sailing at weekends!”
“Strangely enough, I work for the same Company, my name’s Kylie Adams.” she smiled holding out her own hand. “And I used to have time to paint at the weekend!”
His fingers closed firmly around hers, his touch making her gasp slightly. His eyes met hers and didn’t waver as he kept hold of her hand for a deliberate moment. Again, Kylie felt that inexplicable sensation uncurl deep inside, just as she’d experienced back at the flat. It was a dangerous awakening and she quickly pulled free of Sutherland’s strong, warm fingers.
She had the sudden feeling that he had just completed the first test analysis of the morning, using her as the unsuspecting subject! His faint smile told Kylie that her unconscious reaction to his touch, had both surprised and pleased him.

Chapter Three coming soon >

 

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