Quickly he reached for her, sliding her the length of his body and then kneeling over her as he kissed first her mouth and then her breasts.

He looked, Georgia thought dizzily, like some Greek god of old, and she felt much as she imagined her mythological female counterpart must have done, her body quivering with longing and awe, her emotions bonding her to the magnificent male she knew, in her heart, she could never hold and with whom she could never have more than this one precious, intimate night—a night that would stay in her memory for ever.

Tremulously Georgia reached out and touched him, running her fingertips along his collarbone and then down the length of his body.

‘Yes,’ Piers urged her thickly when her fingers came to rest in the soft pubic hair that enclosed his maleness. ‘Yes,’ he repeated rawly. ‘Touch me, know me, Georgia. I want...’ And then, almost before her hesitant fingers had had time to do more than merely sketch the shape and feel of him, he was removing them to ease himself very slowly and carefully inside her.

Each careful movement, each deliberately controlled thrust made her gasp in shocked delight, her body convulsing around him, laying claim to him and welcoming him.

Georgia cried out loud as she felt him reach fulfilment deep within her, the hot burst of his release triggering her own white-lightning explosion of pleasure, starburst after starburst of it until she was shuddering in Piers’s arms, crying out his name in between her indrawn gulps of air.

‘Piers,’ she whispered as the grateful tears of release cooled her heated face.

‘Hush,’ he soothed her, drawing her as close to his body as he could and holding her there as he stroked her tear-damp face and kissed her mouth gently. ‘Don’t say anything, Georgia. That was so perfect...so beautiful...so right.’

So right? When he didn’t love her? Despite her physical satisfaction Georgia could feel the sharpness of her own pain. But he was right about one thing: what was the point in her saying anything? Piers obviously thought her desire for him had been motivated by the same physical need which had driven him, and what was the point in adding to her own misery by telling him the truth?

Hungrily she snuggled closer to him. She needed this intimate contact, this intimate closeness with him so much. Her starved senses ached for it so much. Wearily she closed her eyes.

* * *


When she opened her eyes again it was morning. The sun was shining out of an impossibly clear blue sky and Piers was lying in bed next to her. As she looked uncertainly at him, trying not to betray just how potent an effect the sight of his naked torso was having on her, or of the sensual memories it evoked, he moved to her and said softly, ‘Hello, you...’

Hello, you! Two very simple words but, oh, what a sense of intimacy, sharing and belonging they conveyed—what a false sense of intimacy, sharing and belonging they conveyed, Georgia’s aching heart warned her.

Piers felt nothing for her emotionally. She knew that. But she could see he was waiting for her to make some kind of response. Gravely she gave it, returning his greeting with a rather more formal and quiet, ‘Hello.’


Liquid heat suffused her as her body reacted to the sensual urgency she could hear in Piers’s voice when he started to reach for her.

‘We ought to get up and start searching for Ben,’ Georgia reminded him breathlessly. ‘It’s a wonderful day...’

‘Wonderful,’ Piers agreed, showing no sign of doing anything other than tightening his hold on her. ‘Wonderful,’ he repeated as he feathered the lightest of kisses against her mouth. ‘Just like you...’

* * *

At the campsite the boys were already awake and clamouring for their breakfast. On the far side of the river Ben waited expectantly as the scent of frying food filled the air. Last night’s stolen sausages had tasted very good, but now he was hungry again.

Where the boys were camping the river formed a natural pool, quite deep in places, fed at one end where the hillside fell away to create a natural waterfall, and, as Ben had already discovered, the river was quite fast moving, and only really safe to cross at the furthest end of the small valley.

He headed this way now. Under normal circumstances he would have disdained to touch scraps, his preferred diet being the special food Mrs Latham bought for him plus his extra ‘luxury treats’. But right now his mouth was already watering at the thought of the boys’ leftover bits of bacon and sausage.

As he padded down towards the shallowest part of the river Ben paused when he heard the boys being summoned for their breakfast. Two of them, either not having heard or deliberately ignoring the summons, were standing on an outcrop of rocks beside one of the deepest parts of the pool, skimming stones across its surface. Ben watched them, and as he did so one of the boys grabbed hold of the other’s shirt, shaking him as though warning him that it was time to go, but the other boy shook him off, stepping back from him as he told him that he wasn’t ready to go yet.

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