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No is the Hardest Word to Say

‘Michael’s gone to work, so why do I have to miss my classes?’ Greta stamped her foot. ‘I’m getting unfit. My muscles feel flabby.’

Harriet used the same argument for the third day running. ‘Michael works in an office. If he doesn’t want to see anybody, he has his PA, Cheryl, to stop them bothering him. Nobody could prevent other students from asking you questions.’

Kit muttered in her ear. ‘Or telling her everything we’ve managed to keep away from her.’

She snatched at the lifeline. ‘Greta, the newspapers printed horrible lies about Elspeth. You’d have to listen to them.’

Greta’s face flushed redder than her curls. ‘Then school is where I should be, telling them the truth. Elspeth was a good person.’

Journalists hadn’t got around to saying she wasn’t, though they probably would if the story looked like fading into the background. Murder made a juicy change from the usual celebrity affairs and divorces.

Kit intervened. ‘Greta, Elspeth was one of the best people in the whole world, and that’s what our new musical is about. It hasn’t got a title yet, so tell us if you think of one that would look good in lights.’

Greta’s eyes sparkled. ‘Which theatre?’

‘We’ve only just started plotting the story!’‘

Well, get on with it. How can I tell people to book tickets and find out the truth otherwise?’

Harriet felt her first smile in weeks twitch her lips. ‘We’ll work very hard, promise, and the theatre will be one of the biggest in the West End. Tell people they have to wait a bit because Lisette is having a baby, and we want her to play Elspeth.’

‘Got you!’ Greta too found a smile, a triumphant smile. ‘Now you must let me go to the academy, or how can I tell anybody anything?

’She looked at Kit. It was their decision; Michael had left before any of them were awake.

He shrugged. ‘She has to go sometime, and she’s right about needing to stay fit if we want her to play herself.’

Greta’s eyes rounded. ‘Me on a West End stage?’

‘Why not? We’ll include a ballet scene especially for you. Get your stuff while I call Bob.’

Twenty minutes later, Greta disappeared into the lift with Bob’s partner, Jim; since she’d been kidnapped Michael had employed four bodyguards. She called after Kit, who was making for his keyboard. ‘You do realise we’re stuck with a ballet scene now? How will that show Elspeth as a good person, alive or as a ghost?’

‘I didn’t tell Greta the whole story, Harri. In Act One she’ll appear the way she used to be, a spoiled brat. Michael, the actor playing Michael that is, will suggest she starts ballet lessons. In Act Two, while Greta is dancing, Lisette, as Elspeth, will appear and sing, encouraging her.’ He opened his keyboard and stared at it. ‘Harri, I know nothing about ballet!’

Kit needed to listen to music by great ballet composers he could use as a guide. ‘Greta has dozens of CDs. She won’t mind if we borrow them. Kit, you wanted to write a musical for Elspeth, and this will make a great storyline.’ Worry, buried until Kit had made that unbreakable promise to Greta, resurfaced. Who had the looks, the voice, the talent, the sheer charisma to play Michael, except the Diamond Superstar himself? She smothered a sigh. Michael was proud of the work she did with Kit and the musical they already had running. Fynn Productions, on his instructions, had financed it, and he’d introduced them to Tara Ward, his own theatrical agent, who’d helped them to find the cast. She’d never dreamed of the tall, still-handsome man starring in one of their productions. Dare she even ask him to consider it? If she did, and this was down to her, not Kit the highly-strung creative genius, would Michael agree to return to the stage?

Another worry topped even that one. Five undisturbed nights had passed, and all Kit had done was sleep with his back to her after one unsuccessful attempt to make love. There must be a way she could help, but nothing she’d said had made a scrap of difference. Lady Harriet Allanach had written of that problem in the Book of Hours – She closed her eyes, straining to remember the entry. Gunnson had been teased – Gunnson willst await a son forever. I canst not stop the bed creaking. What the heck had the girl Lisette had named her for done about it? Tonight, a carriage arrived late and Gunnson must bed the horses. Elise sleeps soundly. Durst I leave her thus? It was no use calling Lisette and asking her to look through the papers she’d left between the vellum pages. It was one of the few entries she’d decoded and failed to write down; it hadn’t seemed important. It mattered now, and Lady Harriet had left Elise!

I crept into the hay barn, for hanging the nets wouldst be Gunnson’s last task, and there he found me, naked but for mine shift. His manhood aroused afore I couldst remove it and he ripped the precious garment. Twill be worth the stitching for he took me, and he who taunted him shalt find himself ducked in the water trough come the morn.

‘What’s funny, Harri?’

‘Oh, nothing.’ She couldn’t tell him; the Book of Hours was secret. ‘We’ve got the flat to ourselves.’

‘So?’

She bit her tongue. Telling him it was a chance to make love away from their suite where he’d failed wasn’t the way Lady Harriet Allanach had overcome temporary impotence. ‘I’ll start dinner.’

‘Now?’

‘Not to eat, idiot. Prepare a casserole and stick it in the oven. It won’t take more than ten minutes.’ Pray he got curious and searched when she didn’t appear, or she’d be facing a boring morning and failure. She stayed in the kitchen until he started picking out notes on his keyboard and then made for the door. Would he come looking for her when he saw she hadn’t been cooking? He’d hardly eaten anything for five days either. She removed her jumper, and she might have done that because she was hot. She dropped her tee-shirt and bra on top of it and crept into the hall. Dining room or lounge: anywhere but a bedroom – Michael had left the door to the master suite ajar. Perfect, if she didn’t lie on the bed. She stripped off her jeans and left them outside. Kit couldn’t fail to follow a trail that obvious.

The master suite was the biggest in the flat with two dressing rooms and bathrooms, not just a lounge area and ensuite bedroom. She wandered into the nearest bathroom, Elspeth’s. If Michael had been in since he got home, he’d touched nothing, and she wouldn’t either. She turned in front of the angled mirrors. Kit wasn’t Gunnson, used to the rough ways of men at an inn: briefs might make him stop. She took them off and twirled slowly. Hold-ups with lace tops were sexy. Now, where and in what position?

No blinding flash of inspiration arrived, and her briefs hung from her finger. Footsteps in the hall froze her rigid: Kit or Michael? Either way, there was no time to get out of the bedroom. She tossed the scrap of silk towards the door praying it was Kit and looked frantically for a place to hide in case it was Michael.

‘Harri, where are you? Why the heck are your clothes scattered – Harri.’

Kit clamped his hand on the back of her neck and pushed. The footboard jammed into her stomach and all she could see were carved squirrels, apparently running along branches upside-down. His other hand slid between her legs, playing her the way he did musical keys. Had she done enough to get him hard? She could feel the first orgasm heating her body. Kit thrust inside her, and she used her muscles in rhythm with his, wave after wave of orgasms sweeping through her until he climaxed too. Success! She wriggled free and attempted a celebratory pirouette.

‘Harri, love, you’re a wicked tease.’ He swatted her on the bottom.

Ouch!’ It wasn’t the first time Kit had slapped her, especially if she tickled his feet, but that had stung. She scooted past Elspeth’s bathroom and dressing-room, and into the lounge. Sofa! if she lay on her back, he could do what he liked. Kit stood in the doorway, laughing, and her nipples sprang erect. He was gorgeous. Slim and muscular – ‘What’s so darn funny, Kit Marsh?’

‘You, edging onto one cheek. Turn over, and I’ll slap the other for you.’

‘Huh! You are joking?’

‘Nope.’ Kit rolled her over and applied his hand. ‘You go a pretty shade of red, Harri.’

She spluttered into a cushion. ‘Let me up.’

‘When I’ve got you at my mercy?’

Kicking air, she realised she was helpless. Drat Lady Harriet and her instructions on how to tease an impotent man into action! Feet held too firmly to permit kicking, Kit kissed them, working his way slowly from the soles to her calves, her thighs, and on to her stinging slapped cheeks. Deep inside, an orgasm built and exploded, and another, and another. She moaned, and Kit moved on up her spine and sucked the pulse-point in her neck. Using all her strength, she heaved him onto the floor, and followed him onto the carpet. He was erect instantly. Licking her tongue around the tip, she teased before she swallowed him deep.

Kit cupped her buttocks. ‘I love it when you do that. I love you, Harri.’

After, he cradled her in his arms and they were almost asleep when she remembered where they were, and she spotted a pile of files lying on the coffee table. Suppose Michael came back to fetch them! She ran to find her briefs and jeans. ‘Get dressed, Kit.’

Chuckling, he chased her, so she sat on the carpet. Her hold-ups had given up under Kit’s onslaught – and the rest of her clothes were in the kitchen. Running again, she grabbed her jumper and pulled it over her head. When Kit arrived, dressed, she pushed her tee-shirt and bra at him. ‘Take these to our suite. I’ve still got a casserole to make.’

‘And lunch?’

He was hungry! ‘Thank you, Lady Harriet.’

‘What did you say, Harri?’

‘Ham or cheese omelette?’

‘The lot, with mushrooms and bacon.’

She whisked eggs and heated oil in a frying pan. Lady Harriet wasn’t to know her scheming to arouse Gunnson would get another heiress spanked four centuries later – well, a couple of slaps that had stung a bit for a few minutes. Turning down the heat whilst she sliced mushrooms, she jumped, almost chopping off a finger. Was a rock ballet possible? The music bouncing around the flat, and very likely the one above too, would have Greta performing grand jeté after grand jeté, a joyful scene the world would never forget. She paused – for all their sakes, especially Kit and the young, traumatised, half-sister they both loved, she must persuade Michael to return to the stage.

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Author: authorsarahstuart

Sarah Stuart is an award-winning author whose books are based on her show business experience, her concern for animals, the challenges of her Christian faith, and her passions for history and travel. Sarah's hope is that readers will enjoy her novels as an escape from reality, but be left understanding that fame and fortune often comes at a high personal cost. Also, an increased perception of the threat to animals: those shot in the name of sport for trophy heads, endangered species, many poached for their fur and ivory, and tragically discarded pets.

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