‘I won’t tell them,’ Mary promised. ‘Are you sure you’re all right now?’

‘Fine! Would you like to see the shed?’

‘No, thank you, I think I’ve seen enough. Uh…’ Mary hesitated as if she had her mind on other matters, then she said, ‘Is there much interest in the property?’

‘Quite a lot, I believe, although there’ve been no offers yet.’

‘Do you think the owners have much up their sleeve—are prepared to negotiate, in other words?’

‘Look, I’m not sure about that. I did have it originally, but Mike Davies is now the agent in charge, so to speak, only he wasn’t available this afternoon. What say I get him to give you a call?’

‘That would be fine, Maggie. Now you take care! How far along are you?’

‘Roughly two months.’ Maggie held out her hand. ‘Nice to meet you, Mary.’

They parted and Maggie drove home slowly. Although she hadn’t got to the shed, the whole exercise had woken all sorts of memories in her and reactivated all sorts of heartaches to fierce and hurtful from the dull pain they’d coagulated into.

She also knew she would have to make some kind of a decision very shortly. Follow her doctor’s advice or go into hiding and cope with it all on her own?

In fact, there was only one lessening of the tension for her, and that was her growing curiosity about the baby. And the thought that it might fill the gap in her life Jack McKinnon had created.

She showered and changed into loose long cotton trousers and a long white shirt as the threat of rain earlier became a reality and thrummed on the roof in a series of heavy showers.

She made herself an early dinner, a snack really, of toasted cheese and a salad. She was just sitting down to eat it when her doorbell rang.

Her eyes widened in shock as she opened the door and Jack stood there.

‘You!’ she breathed and clutched her throat.

‘Yes,’ he agreed dryly. ‘Let me in, Maggie. It’s wet out here.’

‘Of course.’ She stood aside. ‘But what are you doing here?’

‘Come to see you,’ he said briefly. ‘Brrr… It’s not only wet, there’s a distinct tinge of winter in the air.’

‘Come into the lounge. It’s warm in there.’

He followed her through, then eyed her snack on the coffee-table next to the TV remote.

‘I’m not very hungry,’ she said defensively.

He looked around the lovely room, then his gaze came back to her and he looked her up and down comprehensively. ‘How are you?’ he asked abruptly.

She moved and pushed her hands behind her back because they were shaking. Nothing had changed about him, although he was more formally dressed than she’d ever seen him in a beautiful charcoal suit with a pale grey shirt and a bottle-green tie with anchors on it.

But his clothes didn’t change him. They added a kind of ‘high boardroom flyer’ touch, but they didn’t disguise the perfection of his physique. His streaky fair hair was shorter and tamed, but he still had a tan, and she could see him in her mind’s eyes, aboard The Shiralee wearing only shorts…

She couldn’t read his grey eyes at all—why had he come? Was it to say—I made a mistake, Maggie. I can’t live without you…?


‘I’m fine,’ she said jerkily. ‘Sit down. Would you like something?’

‘No, thanks. Don’t let your supper get cold.’

‘Oh, that’s all right.’ She sat down and pushed the plate away.

He sat down opposite and studied her penetratingly. Then he said quietly, ‘Any news?’

Foolishly, her mind went quite blank. What’s he asking me? she wondered. How can there be any news? He was the one who sent me away… ‘No,’ she said bewilderedly.

His mouth hardened for some reason. ‘I’d more or less made up my mind to buy that property, you know.’

Maggie blinked. ‘The one…?’

‘The one with the shed that was hijacked to house a stolen vintage car and bike; the one you locked us into,’ he said deliberately.

She blushed.

‘But I decided to get a second opinion,’ he went on, ‘from someone whose judgement I value.’

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