Monday, June 16, 2008

rottnest romance #2


The next 500-word instalment of Rottnest Romance...hunky Nick and irritable Ashleigh have arrived on Rotto after a delightful ferry trip...our heroine Larissa has met them on the jetty...speed limit for this narrative is five knots...

“God, what a horrible trip that was,” Ashleigh grimaced. “All that rocking back and forth, and all those kids running up and down. Will we fly back, Nick?” she asked, giving her employer a beseeching look.

It was Nicholas Montagu’s turn to be unprepared. He had been gazing at Larissa, studying her light blue eyes, honey blonde hair and golden tan. The sparkle of sunlight off the water picked up the highlights in her hair, which was swept back in a ponytail. She had a fresh and crisp scent and seemed so casual and relaxed in her jeans and white linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

He suddenly realised he’d been asked a question, and groped for an answer.

“Oh, yes, of course. We’ll see.”

Ashleigh didn’t seem satisfied. “Let’s get to a more civilized place as quickly as possible, like our hotel. I suppose there are taxis at the end of the jetty?”

Larissa would have liked to look into those dark eyes of Montagu’s for just a little longer. Distractedly she replied: “I’m afraid not. There aren’t any taxis on Rottnest. Cars aren’t allowed here.”

Ashleigh groaned. “That’s just marvelous. And me in my office clothes. I knew I should never have come to this backwater.”

Larissa gritted her teeth but forced her smile to stay in place. The nerve! This woman had only just arrived and didn’t know the first thing about Rottnest Island.

The tall businessman in front of her smiled. “There’s no need for pessimism, Ash. Let’s see about our luggage, then Ms Kidd might be kind enough to show us the way to our hotel.”

Soon they were briskly striding along the jetty in the summer sunshine. As they made their way past the century-old seawall and historic waterfront cottages, Larissa asked: “Is this your first time on Rottnest, Mr Montagu?”

He flashed her a smile. “Call me Nick, please. Yes, this is my first visit, although I’ve spent a long time studying maps and charts of the island. May I call you Larissa?”

“If you like. Are you here on holidays? Taking a break from life in Perth?”

“I’m here on business,” he replied. “As soon as I’ve settled in and changed, I’ll hire a bike and ride around, looking like any other tourist. But I’ll be working.”

Larissa knew only too well on what Nick would be working. She was having trouble keeping up with his long, energetic strides. She glanced back and saw that Ashleigh was making no attempt to match the pace of her boss. She briefly wondered about Ashleigh and Nick – was he more than just her superior?

“And what sort of business are you in?” She already knew the answer, but didn’t want him to know that.

“I’m a developer,” he said. “I build houses and cottages, especially in recreational locations. I’ve been invited to submit a tender to build cottages at Parakeet Bay.”

“Oh yes…I heard something about that,” Larissa said.

She indeed had heard something about it.

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