Authors: Raven McAllan
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
I’m being circumspect and nipping off before the hotel wakes up. You looked so peaceful I left you to sleep. Hope you’re feeling better. See you tonight?
. He wished he’d remembered to get her full name. However, a little bit of sleuthing would work in his favor there. He had the morning earmarked for work in the office so a quick scan of the guest list would be easily arranged.
In the best frame of mind he’d had for ages, Braam showered and dressed in record time. He’d grab a coffee from the kitchen and get stuck in.
His office was his and his alone. As he lived in Hong Kong, the powers that be had allocated a room for him to use if he needed it. It wasn’t much bigger than a broom cupboard, but the views over the rooftops to the harbor and Kowloon made up for that.
Braam scanned his emails and made a note of a few things to follow up. It seemed that someone thought they’d sighted the missing now ex manager in the Bahamas, in one of their hotels for goodness’ sake. Would he be so stupid? On reflection, Braam thought the idiot might well be. After all, to steal that amount of money from a company like Channing with all their power and influence struck him as more than stupid.
He opened a document and set about collating what he had. Soon he was immersed in the trail he’d found—which didn’t go to the Bahamas.
When the phone rang he jumped and his fingers slipped over the keyboard. A sentence of
wasn’t helpful. He deleted it with one hand as he picked the handset up with the other.
Ten minutes later, he ended the call and closed the document. His work was paying off and if everything went to plan, Mr. Embezzler, ex-manager, would be brought to justice.
Something niggled the back of Braam’s mind.
Deb, Deb who?
He pulled up the guest list and scanned it rapidly.
One name jumped out and slugged him hard in the gut. The words wavered and reformed as his eyes clouded over and cleared.
Mrs. Debra Scotburn.
Mrs.? She hadn’t mentioned anything about being married or where her husband was. Okay, she had mentioned kids, but no other half.
Braam shut down the guest list, drank the dregs of his stone cold coffee and resisted throwing the mug at the wall.
Dammit all to hell. What a mess.
* * * *
Debra stood at the bottom of the central escalator that was used by thousands of people every day to get up and down the mid-levels. The lower part of Hong Kong’s famous Peak was residential and almost horizontal. The escalator—in fact six escalators and three moving walkways—was a way to get people up and down to work. As long as you went down before ten a.m. and came back up at least twenty minutes later when the direction of them was reversed every day.
When Debra had visited Hong Kong years before, she’d ridden them to the very top and come back down the series of steps, which ran beside it and created a vibrant busy thoroughfare. This time she intended to take her time going up then meander back toward the hotel via a couple of parks and a tram. If anything caught her eye, she’d step off the escalator and check it out.
A group of teenagers, chattering and making a noise like a flock of parrots, got on in front of her. Their backpacks sported every tiny cuddly toy known to man—or woman—and probably a few besides. One grotesque red and purple bunch of fur that hung from an orange bag was enough to give you nightmares or a migraine. Deb turned away.
Everywhere she looked was busy, different and fascinating. Some of the adverts on the shop windows she passed as she was taken upwards made her giggle. People sat on walls, jostled for position in fast food shop doorways and haggled at the various stalls that lined part of the street. From her position high above street level, Debra saw it all.
The spicy smells of curries and ginger vied with exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke. Adverts were in several languages and people apologized for bumping into each other in several more.
It was fantastic. She rode upwards for several minutes until a shop on one of the side streets caught her eye. Debra exited the escalator as soon as she could and walked down the steps and back to the shop.
‘Wu’s Teas. For every occasion and every ailment. Let us help you’.
I wonder if they have anything for indecision? And a black eye?
She wandered into the tiny shop, to be greeted by a smiling lady.
Half an hour and several cups of tea later, poured out for her in an elaborate ceremony that if she had allowed would have gone on much longer, she emerged with sundry packets of tea and two tiny teapots. Each mixture was made for one specific ailment or occasion. The dark almost black pungent leaves she was told would be right and proper for cuts and bruises almost overpowered her. The sweeter one—for indecision and affairs of the heart—she thought might make her sick, but she’d bought it anyway. You never knew if something like that might come in handy, especially the way she was feeling at the moment.
The third packet the lady had pressed into her hands once Debra had completed her transaction. She leaned in closer, giving Debra the chance to experience the smell of expensive oolong.
“For your man,” the woman said and winked. “So he forgets the day and enjoys the night.”
Deb smiled and said thank you. Once she was away from the shop and back on the escalator, she peered into the highly decorated bag that held the teas. And choked.
In cursive script and Chinese characters, it proclaimed.
For erectile dysfunction owing to stress and overwork. Get it up with Wu’s.
Even through the paper bag it was sealed in it smelled like overripe silage. Debra bit back a giggle and found a plastic bag to put it in to help lock in the smell. She didn’t want people looking at her and wondering why she smelled so noxious.
Bad though it was, the aroma reminded her that she was ready for a drink and something to eat. Debra left the escalator once more and wandered along a narrow road, dodging bikes and barrows and people in a hurry.
Not far down the road, a restaurant with a row of tables outside caught her eye. To eat, drink and people-watch sounded perfect to her.
She levered herself up onto one of the high stools and studied the menu. A tall, elegant Chinese girl with long dark hair, which swung in a plait almost to her waist, came up with her order pad. She was cheerful, friendly and gregarious and according to her name badge, rejoiced in the unlikely name of ‘Shade’. Within seconds of taking Debra’s order, she’d elicited the information that Debra was on holiday and that she was staying at the Channing in Causeway Bay.
She’d make a great inquisitor.
Debra was amused at how easily she’d imparted the information. It wasn’t like her to be so open
. I seem to be doing a lot lately that’s new to me.
“Ohh, the Channing, eh? Lucky you. Have you bumped into Braam Van Meister yet? I hear he’s back in town. What a physique and hot, hot, hot. Mind you, his reputation goes before him. Love ‘em and leave ‘em Van M we call him. A girl in every hotel.”
The animals in the tiny zoo jumped about and screeched at the groups of people standing outside their cages and peering in. Debra was oblivious. How she had found her way to the botanical gardens and into the area where the zoo was, she had no idea.
She’d eaten her steak and salad without tasting any of it and her glass of wine could have been vinegar.
Shade’s words reverberated around her mind.
‘A girl in every hotel. Mr. Love ’em and leave ’em. His reputation goes before him.’
Had Shade looked malicious, or shifty-eyed? Debra couldn’t remember, but why would she lie to a perfect stranger? There was no rhyme or reason to it.
Debra felt sick. In front of her, the ring-tailed lemurs were entertaining the crowds. Tiny schoolchildren, immaculately dressed in tracksuits and baseball caps, shrieked and giggled at the animals’ antics. She merely stared.
Was she purely a statistic? A notch on his bedpost or whatever? Thank goodness she hadn’t told him more than her first name. Whilst he was around, she’d make sure not to be. Days out, food in her room and sadly, unless she was certain it was safe, no swimming, or Victoria Park.
It was a bummer. Deb hadn’t felt as lost or down since her husband died. She knew it was silly to experience such extreme emotions about someone she hardly knew, but who could help how they felt? She certainly couldn’t.
If I do bump into him, I’ll tell him what for and give him it as well. As well as my knee in his nuts and a jab to his cock.
She bit her lip. She could still feel the silky soft skin, with the hard aroused core under it, as it slid through her fingers and he moaned his arousal.
Bastard, I’m not a statistic, I’m a person.
She couldn’t even find any comfort in the knowledge that they hadn’t actually made love, she’d just given him a hand job. Even though she’d wanted to make love, to feel him inside her and come as he touched her and filled her. It had taken every bit of her determination to leave him sleeping that morning. Only the look of exhaustion had stopped Debra waking him up and carrying on where they’d left off.
Now she had to take satisfaction from that.
Eventually common sense restored her humor somewhat. After all, she wasn’t the first person to fall for a corny line or ten and she wouldn’t be the last. Debra was also honest enough to admit to herself that she’d started it all. If she hadn’t come on to him in the first place, none of this would have happened.
Lesson learned, keep your mouth and your legs shut.
With that in mind, Debra intended to enjoy the rest of the day.
After consulting her map, she made her way downhill and past the Peak tram station, until she reached Hong Kong Park.
It was as busy as the botanical gardens, but had a quieter clientele. More older couples strolled between the carp ponds and amongst the flowerbeds and fountains, than school parties walking in formation along the wide pathways.
Debra stopped to take a picture of a deep red flowering bush—she couldn’t understand the label and made a note to check it out on the net later. A tap on her arm made her jump. Her pulse sped up and her mouth became dry.
She turned to see a pretty teenager holding a camera.
Of course it won’t be him. Get a life.
“Please, a picture with you?” The girl smiled. “My friend will take it.”
Debra blinked. She knew some people liked pictures of anyone, but so far it hadn’t happened to her. However, she nodded and stood next to them in turn whilst they snapped away.
The incident amused her. She must tell Lena that someone had thought her mum photogenic enough to want her to pose with them. Debra took several pictures herself—landscape, not portrait—and made her way out of the park and toward the nearest tram. A tram ride to rattle her bones and a visit to the supermarket to get food for dinner before she holed up in her room.
It was annoying to feel she had to, but Debra knew enough about herself to know she’d be best not to meet Braam before her temper cooled down. She didn’t lose it often but when she did, everyone around ran for cover. Therefore the supermarket it had to be.
The trouble was, Debra thought as she wandered up and down the aisles of the enormous basement supermarket an hour or so later, she didn’t know what she fancied, except damned Braam and he was off the menu. She settled for a cooked chicken and a mixed salad. Healthy and nutritious. Then she spoiled all her good intentions with a wedge of gateau smothered in cream and a large bar of chocolate. Sadly she knew the chocolate wouldn’t taste the same as at home, but she’d cope.
She felt like a secret agent—or someone up to no good as she entered the hotel later. One doorman was busy hailing a taxi for a customer and the other was wheeling five suitcases and several suit carriers into one of the lifts.
Debra waited until its doors had closed and called a different one. She got to her floor without it stopping and when the doors opened looked out into the corridor with caution. It was empty apart from a cleaner’s trolley at the opposite end of the corridor to her suite.
she berated herself
. There is no earthly reason why Braam should be lurking on your floor, especially at this hour. Get a grip.
Nevertheless she still made it into her room in record time. And hated herself for scuttling as if she was in the wrong.
Frustrated both mentally and emotionally and getting more annoyed with herself by the minute, Debra poured a large glass of wine and took a long, leisurely shower. It didn’t cool her temper, but it did go a long way to cooling her ardor and her skin. By the time she’d toweled off, dressed in a long, loose kaftan and dried her hair, she was in a happier frame of mind.
Debra sang along—off key—to an old James Taylor song on her iPod as she plated her dinner and sat on a high stool at the kitchen area work surface that doubled as a table. She propped her guidebook up against the pepper mill and plotted her next day’s activities.
She hadn’t been to Sai Kung on her last visit, owing to the distance from the center of the city. This time she had promised herself she would go there. So tomorrow was Sai Kung day via the MTR and a green minibus. Once she’d finished her simple, and to be honest boring meal, Debra worked out her route. There were a couple of options and she thought she might go one way and back the other. Pleased that she’d sorted the next day with an excursion well away from the hotel, Debra opened her laptop.
One of the good things about Wi-Fi was that she could tune in to her favorite radio station from home. Listening to golden oldies and singing away, often with the wrong words, as well as answering trivia questions was a perfect way to pass the time as she wrote her diary—without reference to Braam or Shade’s revelations.
The knock on the door was unexpected and startled her. Debra looked at it as if somehow she could see through the wood and find out who was on the other side. The next knock was louder.