Read 31 Days of Winter Online

Authors: C. J. Fallowfield

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Humorous, #Mystery, #Romantic Erotica

31 Days of Winter (3 page)

‘Really?’

‘Come on, Ellie,’ she sighed, looking at me like I
was stupid. ‘What’s in your joint savings after three years? The job he’s doing
he could easily save enough to have bought a bloody mansion in the country by
now, let alone the sort of cottage you’ve always wanted. Here, have more wine
while I grab the takeout menus and phone from the kitchen.’ She smiled as she
topped me up.

‘No need, you know what I’ll have wherever you
order from, just do it quick, at the rate I’m drinking I’ll need something to
soak it all up with.’ I gave her a sad smile as she disappeared. Was Brooke
right? Was I really never that in love with Zac in the first place? And was he
never intending on following through with our plans? She had a point with the
money, now that I thought about it. He’d buy a new car outright with cash each
year, if he could do that we should definitely have more than £60K in our savings,
especially when I’d put £15K of it in there myself. I suddenly sat up, grabbed
my bag, switched on my iPad in a panic and logged into my online banking and
scrolled down to the bottom of the screen. My heart sank as I looked at our
joint savings account balance. It was empty.

‘Ok, Thai’s been ordered and will be here in half
an hour. O God, what’s happened now? You’ve gone really pale.’

‘He’s emptied our savings account,’ I said quietly
and looked back at the screen still not sure I’d seen the balance correctly.

‘How much?’

‘The entire sixty grand.’

‘In one go?’ she asked. I clicked on the
statement.

‘No, he started taking it a bit at a time a few
months ago.’

‘What are you going to do?’

‘What can I do?’ I laughed, almost hysterically. ‘It’s
a joint account, the bank will say legally he’s done nothing wrong. If he
needed our savings he must really be in trouble though.’

‘He’ll have to take a mortgage out on his
apartment and pay you back.’

‘If he hasn’t already taken a mortgage out for the
full value. I mean he had to know I’d see the joint account balance at some
stage, right? If he didn’t want to get caught that was a last resort to take
that. What the
hell
has he gotten himself into?’

‘Don’t worry about him, he made his own bed. What
about you?’

‘What about me?’ I asked as I looked at her,
feeling totally defeated.

‘You need a serious change of scene, babe. You
hate your job and your relationship sucks ass. Time to wipe the slate clean and
start afresh, what do you want to do?’

‘I don’t know,’ I shrugged.

‘Don’t give me that bullshit, you know exactly
what you want to do, you’ve told me often enough what your dreams are. You’re
going to walk into Captain Crank’s office on Monday morning and quit, you have
enough of your own money to not work your notice, right?’

‘Yes, but …’

‘No buts, babe,’ she interrupted. ‘You want to
write, so without a job you’re going to have time to write. Hand me that iPad.’

‘Brooke, seriously?’ I asked with a shake of my
head as I handed it over. She was talking crazy.
Wasn’t she?

‘You said if money were no object, and you were
single, you’d buy a little boathouse on a lake somewhere secluded, so you could
sit at a desk overlooking the water and write your novels. Well you may not
have the money to buy one, but if you quit your crappy job you can take at
least a month out of your life, rent one and give it a go. A month’s long
enough to write a book, right?’

‘Yes,’ I nodded.

‘Stop right there, you have but face again, well
not quite how it sounded, you looked as if you were about to say “but”.
No
buts, babe. If it doesn’t work out you go and find another job, no problem with
your reputation in the industry. Zac’s done you a favour, get out of dreaming
what your life with him should be like and live the life
you
dreamed
about. Here, I’ve done a search and already come up with a list of holiday lets
and I’ve found you a boathouse in less than two minutes.’

‘Over Christmas? How bad is it that no one wanted
it?’ I laughed taking the iPad back off her. ‘O my God, it’s adorable,’ I gasped.
The pictures showed a fir tree covered island in the middle of a loch, with a
white painted boathouse with decking overhanging the water and a jetty
stretching out into the loch. It had a mezzanine platform on which the bed was
situated in the eaves, and down stairs was an open plan cosy kitchen and lounge
with a log burner, a large sofa and a small bistro table and two chairs. The
pictures also showed a modern wet room and small utility and cupboard at the
back. It had been done in Scandinavian style, all whites and reds. Straight
away I had visions of me tapping away on my computer at the table with the log
burner going and a small twinkling tree in the background as I sipped on hot
mulled wine. ‘It’s perfect.’

‘It says it’s available for the next two weeks,
but doesn’t mention Christmas. Email the owner and see if you can get it for
the month, then book your flights for Monday afternoon. That gives you tonight
to get hammered with me, Saturday to recover from your hangover, Sunday to go
and pack up your big case, Monday you hand in your notice and I’ll take you to
the airport. Voila,’ she announced with a flourish of her hand. She made it all
sound so easy.

‘You don’t have work?’ I asked, trying to slow her
down. What she was suggesting would be amazing, but seriously? This morning it
had been life as normal, was I ready for so many changes in the space of one
day?

‘I’ll call in sick,’ she grinned. Brooke was a
beautician at one of the top hotels in London. She did nails, facials,
massages, waxes, the works. ‘And what are
you
doing cheating on
me
?’
she asked as she nodded at my short black nails.

‘Sorry, we didn’t have plans for this weekend as
it was your time with Steve. It was a spur of the moment decision to take the
day off and get preened and pampered, so I could try and seduce Zac for his
birthday tomorrow.’

‘Let’s hope you meet some hot well hung Scot while
you’re up there who’ll fuck some sense into you and make you forget all about
Zac. Have you booked that boathouse yet?’

‘I just need a minute Brooke, this is a serious decision
to pack up and go just like that.’

‘What better time? You need space away from shit
head, Captain Crank’s never going to improve and Christmas is quieter in most
industries. Perfect timing to get away and re-evaluate.’ She nodded firmly at
me and I sighed, but when I looked back down at the boathouse I felt a flutter
of excitement in my stomach. Maybe she was right, it wasn’t like I hadn’t
already thought about quitting my job to try writing and I
did
need some
space from Zac. I needed to really decide if I was still in love with him, if I
ever had been, before I even thought about whether I wanted to give the
cheating, stealing, druggie bastard another chance. Putting it like that, so
blindingly obvious in my head, made my mind up straight away and I requested the
available two week booking, with an additional note asking if I could have
another two weeks taking me through to just after the New Year. I was a little
surprised at some of the detailed information I had to provide to secure the
initial two weeks, but I was suddenly too excited to object. I got an email
immediately saying that the owner would double check availability and someone
would get back to me within twenty-four hours to confirm.

‘Holy shit,’ I muttered as I looked up at Brooke.
‘I’m quitting my job and going to Scotland for potentially a whole month.’ She
laughed and held up her wine glass and clinked mine.

‘To fresh starts, babe.’

‘Fresh starts.’

Day Two

Ellie

 ‘You’re joking, right?’
groaned Brooke as I grabbed her hand and yanked her off the sofa, where we’d laid
all morning trying to get our hangovers out of our systems.

‘No, I need something bigger than my iPad mini if
I’m going to be writing a novel. I need a laptop to take with me and I’ll need
some winter appropriate clothes for up there. Come on, we’re going shopping and
I’ll treat you to something nice for looking after me so well.’

‘It better be some seriously sexy underwear for
making me get up when I feel like this,’ she grumbled.

‘I’m not paying for designer underwear Brooke, not
when Steve literally rips the knickers off you within seconds,’ I laughed. She
grinned at me happily.

We’d been best friends for six years, the absolute
best of friends since we’d met in that casino. She was only five foot four and
had even paler skin than me, with a mane of fire engine red curly hair with
freckles all over her face. She also had piercing green eyes, just like mine,
and loved to dress her curvaceous petite body in clothes that showed her off at
her best. One thing Brooke wasn’t lacking in was confidence, there again she
was twenty-eight and had a couple of years on me. She had an endless string of
boyfriends, most of whom she met at the hotel while giving them massages. Being
the sort of wealthy businessmen who frequented a classy place like that, she
was never short of admirers who had the cash to flash and show her a good time.

Steve was her longest run at a guy, three months
and still going steady. He was some kind of heart surgery specialist and he’d
come to London on a conference and had been smitten with Brooke straight away.
He was in his late-thirties and divorced with two kids, so only came to see her
the odd night during the week, then every other weekend when he didn’t have
them. So it was a big deal for her to have given up one of their weekends together
to spend it with me. We hopped into Maisie and headed off to Westfield for some
serious retail therapy.

‘I’m so sorry you’ve missed your weekend of sex,
Brooke,’ I smiled as I handed her a Starbucks takeout.

‘You needed me, babe. Tell you what, instead of
sexy underwear that he
will
rip to shreds, why don’t you treat me to a
new vibrator so I can amuse myself without him tonight?’


Ewwww
, with me in the spare room next
door?’

‘Well you’re welcome to come and join me,’ she
winked, making me laugh. Brooke had been upfront about her bi-sexuality from
the start. She’d dated more men, but occasionally she’d see a girl she liked.
In fact that’s how we’d started talking at work all those years ago. She’d come
to chat me up and despite my lack of love for women in a sexual way, we had an
immediate connection and soon became firm friends. We’d snogged once, when we
were really pissed, I just wanted to know what I was missing out on, and who
better to do it with than my best friend? I’d stopped it when I realised it
wasn’t doing anything for me, but she’d been really hurt and confessed that she
thought she was in love with me and wanted more. It took a while to get our
friendship back on track after that. I was fine about it, but she didn’t want
to be around me for a while, so I gave her the space she needed to deal with it.
She eventually contacted me and we’d met and picked up our friendship as if
that blip had never happened. She assured me that it had been an inappropriate
crush when she was having a dry spell and she was over it. So over it, she
loved to tease me now and again and watch me blush.

‘Let’s get to Ann Summers then and I’ll get you
something that will soon have you buzzing,’ I winked.

‘Tease,’ she giggled and linked arms as we sipped
our coffees and headed to the shop. We started browsing and laughing as we felt
some of them and tried turning them on, checking out the wattage.

‘You know what, if I’m going to be on an island,
in the middle of a loch, in the middle of nowhere, I think I’d better treat
myself to a toy or two as well,’ I suggested as I nodded my approval for her to
put a set of kegel eggs in the basket and some vibrator wipes.

‘You need a mains one, what happens if you run out
of batteries and you can’t get anywhere to buy replacements?’

‘God yes, you know I’ve been hearing all about
these Body Wands that have mains leads, they’re supposed to be insane.’ I
wandered over to the section and nearly screamed as I turned up the dial to
maximum while holding it against my palm. ‘Brooke, you have to try this out, so
much stronger than my rabbit.’

‘Try me,’ she smiled. I looked around to make sure
no one was looking and dialled it up and stuck it on her nipples. She did
actually scream out loud and we burst out laughing as everyone looked around,
so I quickly turned it off. ‘Holy shit, I need me one of those, get me the baby
one as they’re too expensive.’

‘Brooke, I’m on good money, so I can’t buy my
thatched cottage now he’s pissed our savings up the wall, but I can afford to
get you a decent vibrator.’ I put two of them in the basket and a box of
vibrator wipes for me, then bit my lip and put another box in and Brooke raised
her eyebrows.

‘There’s thirty in a box Ellie and they’re like king
sized sheets, so you can cut them in half and get sixty uses out of one box. You’re
potentially going for twenty eight days with
one hundred and twenty
wipes? You’re going to masturbate four times a day?’

‘I’m sex starved and could get cut off from
civilisation if it snows, what else do I have to do?’

‘Christ, I hope you’re not on an old fashioned
coin fed electric meter up there,’ she giggled. I paid for our purchases and
sat on a seat while Brooke went to the toilet. I grabbed my mobile out of my
bag as it rang, but it wasn’t Zac’s ringtone, which I’d changed to
“Hate (I
Really Don’t Like You)”
by The White Stripes. When I looked I didn’t
recognise the number so I picked it up.

‘Hello?’

‘Ellie Baxter?’ My eyes rolled into the back of my
head and my jaw got floor scuffs it dropped so hard at the sound of my name in
the caller’s deep masculine sexy voice. It had just reached places even Zac’s
tongue had never discovered.

‘Yes,’ I virtually whimpered.

‘You applied for a month’s rental in Scotland
starting Monday,’ came that voice again. I cramped up my toes in my heels and
felt my skin goose up and all the hairs on the back of my neck stand to
attention.

‘Yes.’ I barely heard myself whisper, it was an
effort to focus on anything but what his voice was doing to my clit and
nipples.

‘I’m sorry, is this a bad time? You sound a little
breathless.’

‘I … I’m …’ O shit what was wrong with me? I’d
lost ability to function. ‘It’s fine,’ I managed to say.

‘It’s yours if you want it,’ he said.

‘I’m sorry?’ I exclaimed, had he just said “I’m
yours if you want it?”

‘I said it’s yours if you want it. You really
sound rather distracted, are you no longer interested?’

‘Yes,’ I managed to blurt out quickly. I already
wanted to stay there, but if there was a chance of meeting the man attached to this
drool worthy voice, I was more than interested. I was on the verge of an orgasm
from his tone alone. ‘I’m
very
interested … I mean I most definitely
want you … O God sorry, I meant I definitely want it,
really
badly ... O
God no, not “it” as such, I’m not implying that I’m desperate for sex … not
that I’m not desper ... God damn it, this is all coming out wrong,’ I groaned
as I slapped my forehead. I was sure I heard a deep sexy laugh coming down the
phone.

‘If you’re interested, in the
rental,
it’s
yours. I’ll email you the PayPal link for payment. It’s a way from the airport
and taxis normally have trouble finding it, so I’ll come and collect you
myself.’

‘You don’t have to do that,’ I replied as my
stomach fluttered again at the thought of meeting my sexy mysterious caller.

‘It’s no problem, all part of the service, Miss
Baxter.’ I could sense the smile on his lips down the phone and to hear my salutation
rolling off his tongue was … God damn it, if I was getting worked up and wet
knickered over a bloody guy I hadn’t even met, while I was still wearing my
engagement ring?

‘I’ll email you my outward bound flight details
then.’

‘No need. There’s only one flight from London that
comes here a day, I’ll see you Monday evening Miss Baxter, have a safe trip.’

‘But how will I know you? How will you know me?’ I
asked and realised I was asking no one, he’d already gone. I shook my head to
clear my thoughts and looked down at my engagement ring again. How could
something that had felt like my future, suddenly seem so much a part of my past?
I went to take it off, but got it as far as my first joint and sighed. I might
have realised I wasn’t really in love with Zac anymore, but hurt as I was over
his actions I wasn’t ready to let go yet either, not until I had some answers.
I pushed my ring back on my finger and looked back at my phone. Four more
missed calls from him and six texts, I wasn’t ready to read or hear any of them
and shoved it back in my bag as Brooke wandered over with a naughty smile on
her face, then she looked at me shocked.

‘What the hell have I missed?’ she uttered.

‘What do you mean?’

‘You have orgasm face on.’

‘Brooke!’

‘Well, you do. What have you been doing?’

‘Nothing, I just took a call about the boathouse
to say it’s available for the full four weeks and that he’ll email me the link
to pay.’

‘Sounded nice, did he?’ she grinned.

‘Not nice Brooke, seriously orgasmic and I made a
right fool of myself over the phone. My brain couldn’t function, my clit took
completely over.’

‘Age? Accent? Married?’

‘Huh, now you mention it he didn’t have a Scottish
accent, a very well spoken English accent and so deep he’d have given Barry
White a run for his money, so I’m thinking he’s moved into mature male
territory. I’ve no idea about his marital status, exactly how did you think I’d
work that into a rental conversation?’

‘Hmmm, good point. So what is he? The agent, the
owner?’

‘No idea, I didn’t think to ask, but he’s picking
me up at the airport.’

‘Seriously?’ The look on her face confirmed my
thoughts that it wasn’t normal.

‘I know, I thought it was a bit odd, but he said
“all part of the service, Miss Baxter” and said a taxi would get lost. What if
he’s some crazy psycho serial killer and I’m about to be chopped up and fed to
the sharks?’

‘Well I don’t think sharks live in fresh water
lochs for starters. Besides, if he owns it and he advertises on the net
and
has a PayPal account, it’s not like he’s keeping his serial killer identity
under really tight wraps is it?
Oooo, God
,’ she groaned.

‘O no, what else have you thought of?’

‘Nothing, I just flicked the button on the remote
for those kegel eggs again and
damn
… the vibrations are amazing.’

‘You’ve got them in?’ I laughed.

‘What do you think I was doing in the loo for this
long?’ she winked. ‘Can you hear them vibrating?’

‘Not from here and before you ask, I’m not putting
my ear against your vagina to listen any closer, there are limits. Come on I
need my laptop, jumpers, and some seriously cosy socks and thermal underwear.’

‘I’ll come wherever you go,’ she giggled and I
knew she was talking about the eggs and shook my head as we headed off.

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