East of the Sun

East of the Sun by Janet Rogers Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: East of the Sun by Janet Rogers Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janet Rogers
Tags: Fiction, Thrillers
questions and anxieties weighing on her, but it had only resulted in a thoroughly chilled body and none of the calm she was hoping for. She was desperate to get into a warm bath, but the sight of the door stopped her in her tracks. What if another message was waiting for her? Or worse, what if someone was waiting for her inside? What if it wasn’t safe?
    She paused to consider the situation.
    She’d already been warned once, so if it happened again, at least she wouldn’t be surprised again. Then there was the fact that she’d been warned, but not hurt. Did it mean that the author of the note, whoever it was, didn’t intend to cause her harm? Or was that wishful thinking? She glanced up and down the empty hotel corridor, not knowing what to do.
    This was ridiculous. Could she really afford to stop in front of her door and agonise over potential threats every single time she returned to it? Weren’t considerations about safety futile anyway? Isn’t that what she’d told Mara? There was no point to her indecision. It wasn’t as if she would let anyone scare her away now.
    What will be, will be. She took a deep breath and reached for the door knob.
    The room was silent and appeared undisturbed. Feeling foolish about her overactive imagination, she nevertheless checked the bathroom, all the closets and the safe that held her documents. Just to be sure.
    She didn’t quite know how to look for more subtle interferences, but apart from a flashing red light on the telephone, everything appeared to be as she’d left it a few hours before.
    Hearing Mara’s voice on the voicemail was a relief.
    Amelia, it’s Mara here. I hope you’re doing all right. I’m calling because I have a small problem and I hope you can perhaps help me out. I’m hosting an important dinner party tonight and I’ve just received word that one couple can’t make it. I really need to make up the numbers and I was wondering if you’re free. You would be doing me a huge favour. Besides, it would give me a chance to see you again and Wilfred is insisting on seeing you while you’re here. Could you please call me back when you get this? Thanks, dear, I’ll speak to you later .
    Amelia smiled at the thought of Wilfred Tshabalala, but groaned at the invitation. It was the last thing she was in the mood for, but both Mara and Wilfred had been so kind to her in the past that making small talk for one night was the least she could do for them. She played the message a second time and knew there was no way out of it without being rude. She would have to go.

    Hours later, however, as she stepped through the door of the South African ambassador’s residence and felt anxiety take hold of her, the evening ahead didn’t seem like such a small favour anymore. She was no longer, perhaps never would be again, an easy socialiser. The days when it had been second nature, an integral part of her daily life, were gone forever. Looking at the room full of well-dressed people, she felt stiff and awkward in her skin, unable to retrieve the easy social persona she’d once been able to summon so easily.
    There were more guests than she’d expected and as she made her way through the press of people, her dread increased. Many of the faces were familiar to her. The silent tide of curiosity that followed her as she passed through the room was almost tangible.
    Some nodded a polite greeting while they continued their conversations, others stared in surprise. After a year, she was still amazed at the level of discomfort people showed around someone who had experienced unexplained, unsolved loss of some kind. To them she was both an object of interest and someone to be avoided, an almost unreal character whose past made her fascinating, yet untouchable.
    With as much composure as she could, she met people’s eyes, smiled and kept moving, certain that she would be approached later, that there would be some who would be unable to stop themselves from asking the questions

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