Chapter 3 – The Frying Pan

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Chapter 3 – The Frying Pan

Raine

The sudden deceleration of the vehicle caused my eyes to snap open. Moirai Chalet rested majestically in front of me. William, my driver, opened the door and held his hand out. I accepted it and he gently pulled me out of the car and to my feet. He was handsome and looked about fifty years old with a touch of dignified gray hair and brown eyes. He always wore a polished suit that filled out his surprisingly muscular frame very well. "Do you need me anymore this evening, Miss?" he asked, his tone lilting pleasantly with an English accent. I loved to listen to the sound of his voice, but he was a man of little words.

"No, William, I am done for tonight, thank you."

He nodded without another word, and settled himself back into the driver's seat. I watched the car pull away, before walking around the side of the building and up two flights of stairs to a private entrance. Before stepping inside, I inhaled deeply, letting the sweet smells of pine, timber and the cool northeast breeze wash over my senses. It truly was perfection. Romania was a beautiful country. I had always held a peculiar fascination toward its people and culture. So much so that I had studied the Romanian dialect in depth. Language in general fascinated me, and I was fluent in four: English, Romanian, French and Russian.

I slowly released my captive breath, a deep calm settling into my bones. As I stepped over the threshold, I looked around again in awe at the beauty of the chalet. There was a large picturesque window that covered almost one entire wall, revealing a breathtaking view of the Carpathian Mountains. All of the furniture and interior architectural accents were handcrafted by skilled artisans. Multiple cushions were piled high on the sofas in various deep red, navy and aqua fabrics, creating a startling pop of color against the warm wood background.

I walked through the large expanse of the great room into the master bedroom. There was a king size four poster bed with the softest linens I had ever felt. I trailed my fingers along the edge, enjoying the feel of the fabric, as I made my way to the closet.

Abruptly, I heard a creaking noise in the next room.

I froze.

Adrenaline filled my system as I listened for any hint of an intruder. I knew I was being ridiculous. I had lived alone long enough, not to jump every time the wind caused mysterious sounds. Slowly, my breathing returned to normal.

I walked into the closet, my feet screaming in relief as I stepped out of the red stiletto heels, that I had a little too aggressively, pried them into. I gently flexed to relieve the ache, and curled my toes into the fluffy carpet. Still wound up from earlier, I decided a swim was exactly what I needed to calm my body and relax my overactive mind. The large indoor pool on the third floor was another reason I had rented the entire level, and I frequently made use of it. Eager now to dive into its crystal depths, I shimmied out of my dress and undergarments. I had complete privacy, so didn't bother with putting on a bathing suit.

I padded to the well-stocked linen closet and pulled out a huge white fluffy towel to dry off with later. As I shut the door, the hair on the back of my neck stood at attention. It felt like I was being watched.

I froze again.

That was impossible. I was completely alone. What the hell was wrong with me tonight? This was absurd. I wasn't normally this on edge. I forced my body into motion, stopping by the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. I closed the refrigerator door and yet again, a feeling of foreboding washed over me. Spinning around wildly, I took in every inch of the normal looking room with my eyes.

Stop being so crazy!

Still not thinking logically, I pondered the fact that I didn't have any sort of a weapon, and it couldn't hurt to at least have something on hand to protect myself with, so I snatched a large hanging frying pan from its hook.

I continued toward the pool, and snorted as I realized I was walking through a luxury chalet, perfectly naked, holding a heavy black frying pan in a death grip in one hand, and a fluffy white towel draped over my other. Yeah, not my finest moment, but oh well.

Finally, I walked through the double grand doors into the pool area. The scent of chlorine tickled my nose. The pool itself was magnificent. It was quite large and deep enough to dive into. It was framed with mosaic tiles in various shades of blue, with green lights that glowed under the water. The ceiling was even more magnificent. I couldn't tell what type of material it was from a distance, but it looked like intricately carved copper.

I set down my towel and trusty frying pan. There was no need for the harsh overhead lighting, a much softer ambience would suit my mood so I lit only a few ornate table lamps, before making my way to the edge and dove into the heated water.

It was glorious.

I adored being immersed in the warm liquid, enjoyed the sensation of it tickling every nerve ending of my body. The movement of the water and softly illuminated lamps caused shadows to dance in the room, but now I didn't care. My body was relaxed, no longer thinking, only feeling.

And I felt fantastic.

I swam for about thirty minutes, my body gliding effortlessly through the water as I changed strokes every once in a while. When I was done, I made my way to the edge.

As I came up out of the water, slight movement in my peripheral vision caught my attention. My head snapped toward a dark corner of the room. Even though he was covered in shadow, I distinctly saw the outline of a man reclined back in a chair – Cage!

I stood on the edge trembling. How did he get in? How had he moved so silently that I never even noticed his presence? How long had he been sitting there watching me? Questions swirled chaotically in my brain. I felt my chest expand and a scream released from my lips.

.

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