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Carole Mortimer - Subtle Revenge

Carole Mortimer - Subtle Revenge

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Published by luvmena

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Published by: luvmena on Nov 25, 2012
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11/11/2013

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Subtle Revenge
 A novel by
CHAPTER ONE
Lori fought against the darkness, knowing what it would bring, knowing she couldn't facethe nightmare again tonight. But it came anyway, bringing with it the desolation and loss she hadnever been able to accept.The blackness cleared, giving way to a hazy greyness, as she saw her father's anguishedface, her mother's grief, and finally Nigel's contempt.'You should have told me,' he accused, his handsome face flushed.Then came her own voice, crying out to him, pleading with him not to condemn her forthe past.He looked at her with cold blue eyes, his suit superbly tailored, his blond hair neatly
 
styled. 'You know I can't marry you now.''No!' This time she cried out in earnest, thrashing about in the bed as she tried to reach theman in her dream, the man she loved. 'Nigel, I love you,' she begged. 'Don't leave me. Everyonehas left me, my father, my motheryou can't leave me too!''Watch me,' he said in a chilling voice. 'Watch me walk out of the door and never look back. And next time you aim for respectability make sure you tell the man involved the truthabout yourself. Because if you don't, I will.''No! Nigel, please,' she clutched on to his arm, feeling him flinch with the disgust withwhich he now held her, shaking her off. 'Nigel, you love me!''I
loved 
Lori Parker, not Lorraine Chisholm. I could never love Lorraine Chisholm.Never!' he added vehemently.She fell at his feet, sobbing, clutching at his legs as he tried to walk away. 'Nigel, don'tgo!' she sobbed.'I have to.' He shook her off as if she were no more than a wearisome dog. 'No decentman in his right mind would want to have you as his wife.'No decent man, no decent man ... As his wife, as his wife ...'Lori, wake up!' Someone was shaking her shoulder. 'Lori, open your eyes. You're havinga bad dream. Lori!' Again the shake on the shoulder, harder this time.She forced herself through the realms of sleep, opening her eyes with effort, the greynessfading to give way to bright sunshine, the concerned face of her flatmate, Sally, gazing down ather worriedly.'Are you all right?' Sally frowned. 'You were screaming so loud I thought someone wasattacking you!'Lori raised herself up on her elbows, pushing the red-gold hair back from her face,blinking long lashes over shadowed brown eyes. 'I should be so lucky,' she said ruefully. 'Just anightmare.'Sally moved back with a shrug, sitting on the single bed across from Lori's. 'It soundedreal enough to me.''Nightmares always do,' Lori threw back the covers and swung her long legs to the floor.'They always seem very real too, that's why they're so frightening.'Sally stood up, a small, slightly plump girl with straight blonde hair down to hershoulders. 'This one sounded a real horror story,' she grimaced.'It was.' Lori stretched with feigned nonchalance. 'But I've forgotten what it was aboutnow,' she lied, knowing that particular horror would never leave her.'You have?' Sally seemed doubtful too.'Mm.' Lori stood up, padding over to the dressing-table to take her clean underwear fromthe top drawer. She was a tall girl, five feet eight inches in her bare feet, and the masculinepyjamas made her look slimmer than ever, and if it weren't for the rich cloud of red-gold hair thatframed her beautiful face she could almost have looked boyish. Without her make-up she lookedyounger than her twenty-four years, her lashes naturally long and dark, her eyes a deep richbrown, her nose small and straight, her mouth a perfect bow, although she smiled little. She wasaware of the fact that men were attracted to her combination of fiery appearance and icy manner,although very few of them ever got further than the first date.'Then you won't remember who Nigel is?' Sally queried softly.'Nigel?' She froze, then quickly regained her composure, concentrating deeply on findingthe green bikini briefs that matched the bra she had already found. 'Nigel who?' she mumbled.
 
'I was hoping you could tell me that.' Her friend and flatmate eyed her curiously. 'Youkept calling out his name in your sleep.''But I don't know anyone called Nigel.' She had found the bikini briefs now, but her benthead afforded her a certain amount of protection against Sally's curiosity.'Maybe you do, maybe you just think''Sally!' she slammed the drawer shut with force. 'I'm sure I would know whether or not Iknow anyone called Nigeland I don't!''Sorry.' The other girl looked abashed.'No,' Lori sighed deeply, 'I'm the one who's sorry. I thinkI think the nightmare musthave upset me more than I realised.' She looked at the other girl pleadingly.'They do take it out of you, don't they,' Sally agreed eagerly, as anxious as Lori to forgetthe subject now that she had seen how much it was upsetting her to talk about it. 'It was probablythinking about Nikki's wedding that made you sleep restlessly.''Yes,' she said dully. 'I-I'll use the bathroom first, shall I?''Go ahead,' the other girl invited goodnaturedly.Sally couldn't know just how right she was, it
was
Nikki's wedding that had brought onthe nightmare. The three girls worked together in a law firm, not actually together, but they spentmost of their breaks together. Today was the day of Nikki's wedding to Paul Hammond, the junior partner of the firm, and also Nikki's boss, and what no one else could possibly realise wasthat five years ago next week should have been Lori's own wedding day. If Nigel hadn't walkedout on her!Nigel Phillips, heir to the Phillips fortune, junior partner in his father's law firm whereLori had been employed five years ago. His father had bitterly disapproved of Lori from the start,and it had been he who supplied the information that had driven Nigel and herself apart. She hadbelieved that after all that time her past couldn't catch up with her, but as soon as Nigel learnt thetruth about her he had broken their engagement, had cancelled the wedding. She had never fullyrecovered from the way he had let her down, and even though five years had passed August wasstill a traumatic month for her.When Nikki had told her the date of her wedding and asked her to be a bridesmaid, herfirst instinct had been to refuse, and then her pride had made her say yes. Nigel might have madeher wary of men, of becoming involved, but she couldn't let him influence her life in any otherway. Nikki would have been deeply hurt if she had refused, but she had paid for herdetermination to go to the wedding with a series of the recurring nightmares that had plagued herthe last five years. Last night had been the worst, though, refusing to be shaken off as shesometimes managed to do. Poor Sally must have wondered what on earth was happening!'It's all yours.' She came out of the bathroom ten minutes later, a towel wrapped aroundher wet hair. Nikki had offered to take her to the hairdressers' with Sally and herself, but as herhair always reverted to the fluffy red-gold cloud she had known it was a waste of time and effort,preferring to wash and style it herself.'I'm off now,' Sally called out a few minutes later, dressed in casual denims and a blouse,the pale green dresses they were to wear at Nikki's parents' house. 'I'll see you soon.''Okay.' Lori went through to the lounge, similarly dressed, her hair partly dry. 'And don'tlet Nikki get nervous and change her mind,' she teased, still looking a little strained.'Are you joking?' Sally grinned. 'It took her months to catch the poor unsuspecting man.'It was true. Nikki had mooned about over Paul for almost six months before he hadplucked up the courage to ask her out. His proposal had been a little quicker in coming, only four

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