That done, she clambered quickly into the old-fashioned high-framed bed, determinedly closing her eyes and pulling the covers up high around her ears, willing herself to fall asleep before Piers came back into the bedroom.
She almost was, and in fact she was sure that she would have been if Piers hadn’t lingered so long in the shower room that she grew tense and wakeful listening for him.
* * *
Surely Georgia must be asleep by now? Piers decided as he cautiously opened the shower-room door and walked towards the bed. Georgia was lying facing away from the centre of the bed, her body completely still.
A little ruefully Piers looked at her, and then at his own robe-clad body. He hadn’t worn pyjamas since he had left home to go to university and didn’t, in fact, possess a pair, but he could well imagine Georgia’s likely reaction if he were to go to bed nude, which meant that he would have to sleep in his robe or risk her condemnation. The bedroom was low-ceilinged and warm, even with the window open, but, tempted though he was to dispense with the unwanted insulation of his heavy towelling robe, he judged that it would not be a good idea to do so.
Sighing faintly, he pushed back the bedclothes and got into bed.
* * *
Piers was in bed with her. A delicious shiver ran right through Georgia’s body, bringing her out in a rash of sensually sensitive goosebumps.
A delicious shiver? Sternly she warned her thoughts not to even think about tempting her or tormenting her with the silken web of alluring sensuality they were attempting to weave around her, shadowy images of Piers, his body nakedly warm and welcoming, enticing her fingers to explore its every line and plane, his arms wrapping tightly around her, his throat stretching with the urgency of the low groan he made as his need for her overwhelmed him.
Frantically Georgia squeezed her eyes as tightly closed as she could, reminding herself of just how tired she was and of exactly why they were here. It was Ben that she ought to be concentrating on. Where was he? How was he? Ben... Determinedly she forced herself to visualise the dog. Ben...
* * *
Ben sniffed the night air. Out there in the small, protected valley enclosed by the hills he could smell his evening meal. He licked his lips, anticipating the rich taste of fresh meat. A river ran through the valley, which was why he had come here in the first place, thirsty after his day spent searching for food.
He had been watching his quarry for several hours now. Had seen them arrive and had known that he would have to be patient, waiting until he could do what he knew he had to do under the cover of darkness.
It was dark now, his quarry merely unmoving shapes against the darkness of the hillside.
Stealthily Ben made his way down towards them, crouching on his belly, ears and eyes stretched for any sound that would warn him that they had sensed him coming.
But nothing moved.
Ben knew exactly where he had to go. He had not spent the afternoon watching the Cub Scouts making camp for nothing. He knew exactly which tent housed those delicious-looking and even more delicious-smelling sausages he had seen being unpacked. Ben loved sausages. Mrs Latham’s butcher made his own, and she often allowed Ben one for a Sunday morning treat.
‘This is our secret, Ben,’ she’d often told him. Sausages! Ben could smell them now. Breathing deeply, he sniffed the air appreciatively.
Until he had seen the Cubs making camp he had thought that he would have to go back to the farm and run the gauntlet not just of the farmer’s gun but of the collie’s hostility into the bargain. The bark and growl she had given him had made it perfectly clear that she did not consider him to be a welcome visitor.
Glancing over his shoulder, Ben checked that nothing and no one was watching him before sneaking into the tent where the scout master had carefully stored his troop’s food. This was an annual trip to this secluded camping spot, and one which the younger boys always thoroughly enjoyed.
The sausages were in the Calor gas fridge, but the fridge was no deterrent to Ben, who had long ago worked out how such things could be opened. Deftly he opened this one...
PIERS was dreaming about Ben. He had taken the dog for a walk and Ben had brought a stick for Piers to throw, dropping it at his feet. As Piers picked up the stick and threw it across what he had thought to be a vast open expanse of empty countryside, the countryside transformed itself into a hideously busy six-lane motorway.
Piers opened his mouth to warn Ben not to run after the stick, but it was too late: the dog was already racing towards the motorway and certain destruction.
Despairingly Piers called the dog’s name.
* * *