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Golden Fever

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«Golden Fever» - Кэрол Мортимер

Carole Mortimer is one of Mills & Boon’s best loved Modern Romance authors. With nearly 200 books published and a career spanning 35 years, Mills & Boon are thrilled to present her complete works available to download for the very first time! Rediscover old favourites – and find new ones! – in this fabulous collection…Resisting the playboy… Rourke Somerville is bad news! Five years ago Clare learned just how bad. This notorious playboy had a reputation for shattering hearts and Clare could have spared herself a lot of pain, if only she had listened…Now Clare is a confident, internationally famous film star, engaged to a nice, safe man. Yet seeing devastatingly sexy Rourke again brings back vivid memories of their fevered affair… Can Clare resist the allure of the bad boy from her past?
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Golden Fever Carole Mortimer

www.millsandboon.co.uk

Table of Contents

Title Page

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

Copyright

CHAPTER ONE

IT was amazing how Los Angeles airport never seemed to change, just as the people never seemed to change. Clare had lost count of the amount of times she had landed here, and yet each time it looked like the same people milling around, the same engrossed faces, the eagerness of a holidaymaker, the world-weary one of the businessman.

What category did she fall into? She wasn’t a holidaymaker, that was for sure. The days of her carefree youth spent on Malibu Beach were long gone. She was here to work, so that probably put her in the latter category.

And yet she felt as if she had come home. The last five years of living in London might not have happened. She felt like the eighteen-year-old she had been then, just newly left school, the whole world at her feet. Only she hadn’t seen the whole world, only——

No! She wouldn’t think of him. She never thought of him now, or of the time she had spent with him.

‘The baggage!’ Her voice was sharp as she turned to the man walking at her side.

Harvey Pryce looked his usual calm, unruffled self, not at all like a man who had just spent over nine hours on an aeroplane. And why should he?—he had been asleep five minutes after take-off, only waking up in time to freshen up, change his jacket, and leave the plane.

And Clare had spent the same time wondering if she had made a mistake in agreeing to do this film. Of course, when she had accepted the part she hadn’t realised that some of the filming would take place in Long Beach. If she had known that she wouldn’t even have looked at the script.

She was still running away, she knew that. And there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it. Just to think of Rourke made her feel like the gauche innocent she had been then, and considering she was known for her coolness now that was some admission.

‘I’ll get it,’ Harvey answered her statement, striding confidently over to pick up the single cases they had each brought with them.

Clare waited, immune to the admiring glances she was receiving, a tall slender woman in a golden-yellow dress, a wide white leather belt secured about her narrow waist, the straightness of the skirt emphasising the long length of her tanned legs. Her hair hung straight and golden to her shoulders, her face youthfully beautiful, her eyes golden beneath winged brows. ‘Golden Lady’, the press had nicknamed her, and Harvey, as her manager, saw to it that she kept to that image.

‘Miss Anderson?’ A young man stood in front of her, a boy of eighteen or nineteen, his flushed eagerness showing his youth. ‘It is Clare Anderson, isn’t it?’ he asked uncertainly as she remained silent.

She looked at him coolly, the perfection of her face showing no emotion. ‘Yes?’ Her voice was low and husky, naturally so, and not affected as so many so-called friends liked to think.

‘Oh, boy!’ His face lit up. Like so many of his contemporaries he was dressed casually, in faded denims and a tee-shirt, with not a care in the world other than having a good time. And L.A. was certainly the place for that.

Clare envied him, feeling about fifty years old when faced with his youthful enthusiasm. It certainly felt as if she had lived that long sometimes—the constant barrage of work, the different locations, the different fellow actors to work with. And when she wasn’t working she was attending the parties Harvey claimed she had to go to so that she was never forgotten, was always in the public eye.

Only Harvey remained the same, safe, reliable Harvey, who would sell his soul to get his star the leading role, the best publicity. And she was that star!

And she wore his ring, a large chunky diamond that weighed heavily on her long slender finger. The ring had been there a little over a year now, and so far they had made no plans of putting a plain gold one at its side.

‘Can I have your autograph?’ the young boy was asking now.

‘I—Sorry?’ she frowned, too preoccupied to be aware of what he was saying to her.

‘This young man would like your autograph, Clare.’ Harvey materialised at her side, instantly taking charge of the situation, leaving the porter to struggle along with their suitcases, carrying only the briefcase that had accompanied him on the plane. He flicked open the briefcase, and a photograph of Clare miraculously appeared from its depths. ‘Here,’ he handed it to her to sign, censure in his frowning blue eyes.

Clare bit her bottom lip, knowing she was being less than gracious, favouring the boy with a smile designed to dazzle—knowing she had succeeded when he flushed his pleasure.

She couldn’t be more than four or five years older than this lad, and yet she felt miles apart from him, knew that her way of life, the glitter, the falseness, had given her a sophistication that more than matched Harvey’s thirty-five years.

But she was going off at a tangent again, her thoughts constantly wandering today. Once again she smiled at the waiting boy, and took a gold pen from her handbag. ‘Who shall I write it to?’ she queried softly.

‘Nick,’ he said eagerly, watching as she scrawled his name across the bottom of the photograph, accompanying it with her own. ‘Thanks,’ he accepted it gratefully, disappearing into the crowd as suddenly as he had appeared.

Harvey took hold of Clare’s arm, guiding her outside with a firmness that dared even the most ardent fan to accost them, ushering her into the waiting limousine as a crowd began to gather about them.

‘What’s the matter with you? he demanded as the car glided smoothly away from the excited people staring in the windows. ‘You almost didn’t give that boy your autograph,’ he added sternly. ‘A couple of stories in the press of you not appreciating your fans and you’ll have your nickname changed to ‘‘the Golden Bitch’’!’

Clare smiled, with her lips only, her eyes remaining coolly golden. ‘That ‘‘fan’’ walked off with my pen,’ she told him sweetly.

Irritation furrowed his handsome face. ‘You should have stopped him——’

‘And risked my image?’ she taunted softly, the smile still curving her peach-coloured lips. Her make-up was very light, her lashes naturally dark, her skin the colour of honey and glowing with good health. Only the dullness of her eyes showed her dissatisfaction with her life, the questioning of whether, now that she had her fame and fortune, that were all there were to life.

‘The pen was gold, Clare,’ Harvey snapped.

She shrugged. ‘Gold for the Golden Lady.’

‘But I gave it to you!’

Her expression instantly changed to one of contrition, her hand moving to rest lightly on his thigh. ‘I’m sorry, darling. I’ll make my—thoughtlessness up to you later,’ she added provocatively.

His frown told her that this didn’t please him either, the look he shot in the direction of their driver showing her the reason why it didn’t. He firmly took her hand in his, shaking his head.

Clare turned to look out of the window, at the palm trees that grew along the roadside, the abundance of tropical plants. The weather was hot and humid, a smog shrouding the city like a blanket, looking almost like a London fog. Harvey was already beginning to look hot and uncomfortable, perspiration starting to bead his forehead. Of course the grey suit he wore was more suited to an English summer than the humidity of L.A., but then the weather had been cool in England for August.

Clare frowned as the limousine turned on to the all-too-familiar Sunset Boulevard. ‘Where are we going, Harvey?’ she asked sharply, emotion at last etched into her face.

‘Your mother——’

‘Tell the driver to turn the car around, Harvey,’ she ordered stiffly, sitting tensely in her seat.

‘But, Clare——’

‘Now!’ she bit out, her eyes flashing deeply gold.

‘But your mother——’

‘Can wait. And she can go on waiting.’

‘Clare——’

‘Will you tell the driver or do I have to do it myself?’ Her tone brooked no further argument.

Harvey sighed his impatience, leaning forward to issue new instructions to the driver.

Clare watched him with angry eyes. Her fianc$eA was very good-looking in an executive sort of way—blond hair almost as gold as her own was kept short to control its tendency to curl, his eyes were the blue of the sea, his nose short and straight, his mouth thin, unsmiling now, his jaw thrust out aggressively, his body slender, the sort of body that wore clothes well.

Harvey had taken control of her career—and her life—three years ago, and she very rarely opposed him in this way. But about her mother she would remain adamant.

He sat back, still angry with her. ‘I’ve told him to take us to the hotel,’ he told her tightly.

The hotel was the ship Queen Mary, and it seemed strange to think of an over eighty-thousand-ton ship as a hotel. Moored at Long Beach since 1967, it was now run as a hotel. Clare had never travelled on her while she had been in service as a cruise liner, and she was curious to see the huge ship that had been saved in this unique way from being broken up for scrap.

But she couldn’t let Harvey off this lightly. ‘When did you speak to my mother?’ she wanted to know.

‘I called her——’

You did?’ Her eyes widened in exasperation. ‘Why would you call my mother?’

‘She is going to be my mother-in-law——’

‘That’s never bothered you before.’ Her mouth twisted.

He flushed his irritation at this unexpected show of anger from her. ‘It doesn’t bother me now, it wouldn’t bother any man to have Carlene Walters as his mother-in-law.’

Clare could hear the admiration in his voice, and she prickled resentfully. ‘Then maybe you should be marrying her and not me.’

His eyes narrowed. ‘Now you’re being ridiculous!’

She sighed, smoothing the yellow dress down the long length of her thighs. ‘What did you talk to her about?’ she asked casually.

‘You, mainly,’ Harvey was eager to explain. ‘She really wants to see you, Clare.’

‘I’ll bet!’ Her tone was derisive.

‘Clare, please,’ he sighed. ‘It’s been years now——’

Once again she turned to look out of the window, no longer listening to him. She knew exactly how long it was since she had last seen her mother, could have told Harvey down to the last minute exactly how long it was since she had walked out of her mother’s house determined never to see her again—and nothing had happened in the last five years to change her mind about that.

‘Clare, are you listening to me?’ Harvey asked impatiently.

She didn’t even turn. ‘No.’

‘You’re being unreasonable——’

Now she did turn, more angry than she could remember being in a long time. ‘I’ve never tried to interfere in your life, in any way,’ her voice was cold. ‘Now you can manage my career, you even have a say in my future, but my past—and that includes my mother—is none of your business.’

He looked as if she had mortally wounded him. ‘Clare!’ His tone was reproachful.

God, what was wrong with her! Ever since this L.A. location had been mentioned she had been as tense as a coiled spring, and taking it out on Harvey wasn’t going to make the next few weeks any easier to bear.

‘I’m sorry, darling,’ she said warmly, bending forward to kiss him lightly on the mouth, deliberately pressing her breasts against his chest, knowing that he could see their gentle swell as he looked down at her. He was flushed with pleasure by the time she moved to her own side of the seat.

She had known of Harvey’s physical interest in her from the first, but for the first eighteen months they had both ignored it. Harvey had been suffering from a broken relationship with the girl he had managed before her, and she had been suffering emotionally herself. But time had healed both of their raw emotions, and soon Harvey was making it clear that when she was ready for an emotional involvement he would be waiting for her.

And he had been. Eighteen months ago she had given him the green light, and he hadn’t lost a moment, pursuing her relentlessly, only relaxing that pursuit when he had his ring on her finger. They were perfectly suited, and Harvey never demanded more than she wanted to give, despite the fact that he had had a deep physical relationship with Shara Morgan, the girl who had so deeply hurt him. So far their own relationship hadn’t deepened to intimacy, but Clare knew Harvey was waiting for the day—or night, that it did.

They were on the freeway now, well on their way to Long Beach, and the three distinctive funnels of the Queen Mary were visible long before they stopped at the car park gate to enter into the docking area.

She was a beautiful ship, still regal despite no longer sailing the seas she had been designed to sail. They drove past Londontowne, a small replica of some of the older style shops and caf$eAs in London, England, driving up to the entrance of the hotel, an addition to the hotel built on the dockside, a lift just inside to transport guests up to the reception area.

Harvey stepped out on to the pavement as the driver held the door open for them, holding Clare’s hand as she stepeed out beside him. ‘Makes you feel homesick, doesn’t it?’ he grinned in the direction of the red double-decker bus parked at the roadside.

Clare smiled her thanks at their driver before he quietly disappeared, then turned to look at the regality of the Queen Mary, at once feeling the pull of her beauty, a certain feeling of going back in time. Lords and ladies, film stars, and political figures had travelled on her in the past, and it could be felt in her graciousness, in her mellow beauty.

‘I love it,’ Clare said breathlessly, her eyes shining.

‘Like a small part of England, isn’t it?’ Harvey smiled as six young men in Grenadier Guards uniforms marched to the sentry boxes at the side of the dock for the Changing of the Guard, a purely tourist gimmick.

It was like a small part of England, the country Clare now considered home even though her passport clearly stated she was an American citizen. Educated in England most of her life, only occasional holidays spent in California, she even spoke with an English accent. Yes, this was like a small part of England, and maybe the next few weeks weren’t going to be so bad after all; the role of Caroline was certainly an interesting one.

Clare walked beside Harvey with graceful elegance as the porter brought the lift down to take them and their luggage up to the reception area; even the staff uniforms were like that of the British Navy.

The reception was a hive of activity, people checking in and checking out, but nevertheless Harvey was attended to almost immediately, and all the time she was dealing with him the receptionist sent interested looks in Clare’s direction. Clare returned the smile, used to such attention now, although she still found it rather unnerving. The last two films she had made, and starred in, had been box-office hits, making her face known world-wide.

To Harvey her working in California, only miles from Hollywood, was the highlight of her career, and he meant to take advantage of the fact. She had yet to tell him she had no intention of going to any of the parties that would go on there during their stay. She was determined not to see her mother, not even accidentally, and there was hardly a party in Hollywood that her mother didn’t attend.

Another porter had taken charge of their luggage now, smiling admiringly at Clare as he took them to their rooms. Clare had been given the Royal Suite with Harvey’s stateroom just down the corridor.

‘Of course this isn’t all of it,’ the young porter, dressed in a pure white uniform, explained as he unloaded her case from the trolley. ‘This suite used to be five rooms, two bedrooms with adjoining bathroom, and a lounge area, but for practical purposes it’s been divided into two suites with one bedroom each and a small lounge area.’

Clare looked about her admiringly, loving the charm and elegance that oozed out of the original woodwork that had gone into the ship’s building in the early thirties.

‘Some of the furniture is original too.’ The porter saw her appreciative looks.

She smiled at him, unconscious of her glowing beauty her long legs in the high-heeled sandals, the slenderness of her waist emphasised by the wide belt, the latter also showing the fullness of her breasts and her shapely hips. She wore little jewellery, a slender gold chain about her throat, a matching bracelet about her wrist, and of course her engagement ring.

‘But not the television,’ she teased huskily.

‘No,’ he smiled agreement. ‘Although most people expect them nowadays. I hope you enjoy your stay with us, Miss Anderson.’

‘I’m sure I shall.’ She tipped him, closing the door behind him as he left with Harvey to show him his room.

Jason had chosen the location spots, and he had chosen well, she could see that. The film, the story of a couple, an English girl and a German man, who met on this ship during the pre-war years and fell in love, only to meet again fifteen years later, when Caroline was married to someone else, would be better for being filmed on board the actual ship. Of course some of it had been changed over the years, and would have to be mocked up or filmed in a studio, but the majority of filming could be done here, on the Queen Mary, the very ship where the romance was supposed to have taken place.

Jason Faulkner wasn’t just the director of the film, he was also her co-star, would play the part of Gunther to her Caroline. She had filmed only once with him before, when he was the star and she had only a very small supporting role. But even then she had found him unfailingly polite, with a patience and tolerance for his fellow actors that made working with him a pleasure. The preliminary work they had done on the film so far had been made easier because of his complete professionalism.

A knock sounded on her door just as she was considering taking a shower. As she had guessed, it was Harvey.

‘I’ve ordered you some tea.’ He came in without being invited, sitting down on the sofa. ‘Good God, what’s that?’ He looked aghast at the fireplace.

Clare had to smile at his expression. ‘One of the original electric fireplaces, I believe,’ she drawled.

Harvey frowned. ‘Have I got one in my room? I suppose I have. I didn’t take the time to look. Do you think it works?’

‘I have no idea,’ she shrugged, each movement made with unconscious grace. ‘But I doubt if it would ever be needed here even if it does.’

‘No,’ he acknowledged ruefully. ‘By the way, there was a message for you at the desk.’

‘There was?’ she said sharply.

‘Mm. Apparently the whole cast is to meet in the Windsor Room at two o’clock.’

‘The Windsor Room?’

He nodded. ‘It’s two floors down, on R Deck—I checked.’ He shook his head. ‘I can’t get over the fact that this is actually a boat.’

‘Ship,’ Clare automatically corrected.

‘Ship, then,’ he shrugged. ‘Do you know we actually move up and down with the tide? I thought the damned thing would be secured somehow, but I’m told we’re floating in forty feet of water, with a draught of thirty-three feet. I wonder if you can get seasick without even moving …?’

‘Oh, Harvey,’ she burst out laughing at his woebegone expression, ’don’t be silly!’

‘Well, I feel as if I’m swaying all the time!’

‘That’s probably the flight,’ she teased. ‘A couple of hours’ sleep and you’ll feel fine.’

‘No time for sleep.’ He stood up decisively. ‘A shower and a change of clothes, lunch, and then you have to go to the Windsor Room.’

‘You don’t have to accompany me to lunch,’ she excused gently, seeing that he did actually look a little pale. ‘We can meet at dinner time.’

He seemed to hesitate. ‘It’s only twelve now. I don’t like to leave you on your own all that time.’

‘I won’t be on my own,’ she smiled. ‘By the time I’ve showered and had lunch it will be time to go to the meeting. I’ll probably rest myself after that.’

‘Why not rest for an hour now?’ Harvey suggested. ‘You have a couple of hours, and you can get a snack lunch in the Capstan Restaurant later.’

She gave him a puzzled look. ‘You seem to know a lot about the ship considering we’ve only been here a few minutes!’

He gave a sheepish smile. ‘I read up on the Room Service while I was in my room. I happened to see the different restaurants on board at the same time. I thought I might just have a sandwich in my room.’

‘Good idea,’ she nodded. ‘Maybe I’ll do the same.’

But when it came to it she didn’t feel like staying in her room. Her shower had refreshed her, her hair was newly washed and gleaming, her dress a deep shade of pink, off the shoulders, resting provocatively on her uptilted breasts. Her legs were bare, deeply tanned, the pink of her high-heeled sandals exactly matching the colour of her dress. As a child she had hated her height, always being taller than her classmates, but now it was a definite asset. Most of the popular actresses of her generation seemed to be taller than average, a new era in sex symbols.

She hated that description of herself, but was well aware of the fact that the media referred to her as such, that some even compared her with her still popular mother.

The latter she detested even more than being referred to as a sex-symbol, seeing no resemblance between her slender coolness and the kittenish image her mother cultivated.

At times she even managed to forget Carlene Walters was her mother, and she felt sure she had tried to do the same thing. After all, when you had stopped ageing at thirty-six it was a little hard to admit to having a twenty-three-year-old daughter. Her press releases always claimed she had been a child bride, but even so …

Damn! She hadn’t wanted to think about her mother, had studiously avoided doing so on the flight over here. Why on earth Harvey had had to call her she had no idea. No, that wasn’t strictly true. She did know. Her mother was still the undisputed Queen of Hollywood, and Harvey hoped to use her influence while they were here.

She couldn’t altogether blame him, after all it was his job to see that her career reached its highest pinnacle. But she drew the line at asking her mother for anything. She had reached this stage in her career, and she wasn’t being conceited when she knew that she was quite successful, without any help from her mother, and she would continue to do so.

She could hear someone moving about in the adjoining suite, whistling to themselves as they seemed to be preparing for lunch. Thoughts of the latter reminded her that it was almost one o’clock, and it was some time since she had eaten anything but plane food.

The Capstan appeared to be quite busy, but the boy at the door found her a vacant table near the window. The view of the harbour was breathtaking, with ships waiting in line to dock.

Clare had quite a view of Long Beach from the porthole windows in her suite on the other side of the ship, everywhere looking very white and clean from here, the sea a greyish-blue, and several people were out in speedboats when she had last looked out.

A young boy came to take her order, and she looked up and smiled at him, the smile deepening to sympathy as he recognised her and instantly dropped the menu on the floor.

He fumbled picking it up again. ‘I—Sorry.’ He licked his lips nervously. ‘It was just that for a moment you——’ He frowned, shaking his head. ‘You are Clare Anderson, aren’t you?’ he queried disbelievingly.

Maybe she would have been wiser to have eaten in her room after all; she didn’t relish the thought of being on show as she ate. If this boy had recognised her then other people would too.

She didn’t bother to look at the menu, neither confirming nor denying the boy’s statement. ‘Could I have a chicken salad?’ she requested softly, finding the boy’s stares a little unnerving.

‘I’m sure you could,’ he nodded eagerly. ‘Are you here with the others making the movie?’

‘Yes,’ she sighed, realising he wasn’t going to give up.

He nodded again. ‘There are several other people in here that are going to be in it too. I’m David, by the way. If you need anything, just ask.’

‘Thanks, I will.’

She accepted the offered coffee, glad when David at last left. By tonight she was going to be dead on her feet; the time difference would have caught up with her by then, although right now she didn’t feel too bad.

‘Clare!’

She turned with a frown, her tension relaxing as she recognised Rena Dawes. Rena was to play her sister in the film. The two of them had been at drama school together, and Clare had been delighted when she found the two of them were to be working together.

‘How lovely to see you,’ she said warmly. ‘Can you join me?’

‘Of course,’ Rena was a pretty girl of her own age, also blonde, with a mischievous grin never far from the surface. She sat in the chair next to Clare. ‘I was sitting over the other side of the room with some of the camera crew, but their talk got a bit technical for me.’

Clare laughed. ‘It gets too technical for them sometimes!’

Her friend looked at her appreciatively. ‘I don’t have to ask how life’s been treating you—you look marvellous. And where’s that handsome fianc$eA of yours?’

‘Resting. Have you eaten?’

‘Not yet.’

Rena ordered her meal, and the two girls chatted as they ate, recalling old times; the two of them had once shared a flat for a few weeks.

‘Whatever happened to that boy Alan you were always trying to evade?’ Clare teased, relaxed as they drank their coffee.

Rena spluttered with laughter. ‘I was hoping you wouldn’t remember that.’

‘Why?’

‘I married him!’

‘Rena!’ Clare laughed, a low husky sound that had several male heads turning in their direction, obviously appreciatively. ‘Did you really?’ she asked once she had sobered.

‘Mm,’ Rena nodded. ‘I got tired of running.’

‘And?’

Her friend gave a rueful shrug. ‘I love him too much to describe how happy I am, how happy being with him makes me. But then I don’t need to explain that to you, do I?’

Didn’t she? The sadness returned to her golden eyes, the cool haughtier back. She was fond of Harvey, knew that he was equally fond of her, that they would have a good marriage, but they certainly didn’t have the nerve-shattering ecstasy Rena meant. They were comfortable together, shared the same interests, but their lovemaking never gave her such intense pleasure that the rest of the world ceased to exist.

But no, Rena didn’t have to describe those feelings to her. She knew about them, she just didn’t have them with Harvey.

‘Do you have any children?’ she asked now.

‘Not yet,’ Rena grinned. ‘Maybe soon, although we aren’t in any hurry.’

‘Where is Alan now?’

Her friend pulled a face. ‘In England,’ she sighed. ‘He’s a lawyer, a busy one. It gets harder and harder to accept these parts that take me away from him.’

‘Then don’t,’ Clare said simply.

‘It’s this business, it gets into your blood,’ Rena dismissed. ‘One day I’ll know it’s time to stop, but I’m not quite ready yet.’

‘Talking of business,’ Clare looked pointedly at her wrist-watch, ’I’d better go and tidy up for this meeting this afternoon. Jason doesn’t like unpunctuality.’

‘Jason?’ the other girl frowned.

‘Our director, dear,’ she teased.

‘Oh, but he isn’t,’ Rena shook her head. ‘At least, he wasn’t the last I heard.’

Clare frowned her puzzlement. ‘And what did you hear?’

She shrugged. ‘That Faulkner had an accident of some sort, I’m not sure what. They were looking around for another director.’

‘Did they find one?’

‘Well, we’re here, aren’t we?’ Rena grinned.

‘I suppose so,’ Clare agreed slowly.

‘I would have thought they would have told you.’

So would she, which meant she had to talk to Harvey. ‘I’m just going back to my room. I’ll see you later.’

‘Sure.’ Rena stood up, giving a casual wave.

Clare hurried back to Harvey’s room, getting lost a couple of times and having to ask the way, being further delayed as the people she asked recognised her and asked for her autograph.

The feelings of apprehension she had been experiencing since she had accepted the part of Caroline suddenly seemed to loom up black and dangerous. She should never have agreed to come here, should have followed her instinct and stayed far away from Los Angeles.

Harvey took some time to answer the door, and she tapped her shoe impatiently on the floor as she waited. He looked less than his usual immaculate self when he at last opened the door, a robe pulled hastily over his nakedness, his fair hair tousled from sleep.

But Clare cared nothing for this, walking agitatedly into the room and closing the door behind her.

Harvey blinked to clear the sleep from his head. ‘What’s the matter? Shouldn’t you be on your way to the meeting?’

Her mouth twisted. ‘The meeting Jason called—only it wasn’t Jason, was it?’ Her tone was brittle.

‘Oh lord!’ He put a hand to his temple. ‘With the rush of the last few days I forgot to tell you——’

‘Tell me now, Harvey,’ she encouraged sharply.

‘Faulkner had an accident a week or so ago, a fall from a horse, I think. He broke his leg.’

‘So he’s completely out of the picture?’ Clare said with dread.

‘Afraid so,’ her fianc$eA nodded.

‘But I—Who’s replacing him?’ she demanded abruptly.

‘Didn’t I tell you?’ he frowned. ‘No, I don’t suppose I did. Well, it obviously had to be someone who could act as well as direct——’

‘Yes?’ she prompted tensely.

‘They managed to get Rourke Somerville,’ Harvey told her excitedly. ‘A piece of luck really. Normally he wouldn’t have been free, but the film he should have been working on has been delayed several months. I think he …’

Harvey’s voice continued to drone on, but Clare was no longer listening. Rourke … Oh God, Rourke was here, on this very ship, and she was going to be working with him!

.

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