Her worries quickly vanished as she approached the table. TC rose up and leaned over to kiss her cheek. Eve smiled as he did this, but inside it felt like a betrayal…a betrayal to Julian, the man she loved with all her heart.
“Sweetheart, I was worried about you,” TC said, grabbing hold of her hand as they sat down. “I know when you called my cell, you said you would be late, but I never dreamed it would be this late…a quarter to seven,” he said, looking at his watch. “My goodness, baby, you must be exhausted from skiing all day.”
“Uh…yes, TC, I am pretty worn out,” Eve admitted, her eyes looking downward in guilt. She didn’t regret what she and Julian had done all afternoon one bit, but the fact that TC believed that she had been up to little more than innocent fun on the slopes tugged at her conscience.
“Well, hopefully a relaxing dinner in the number one dining room at this lodge will revive you in time for tonight,” her husband said, laughing at his little joke, since this was the only place to eat in the entire resort.
“To…tonight?” Eve asked, praying that TC was not hinting at what she feared.
“Well, sure, sweetheart,” he replied, a look of surprise on his face. “You know that every time we come here, we have the best nights imaginable, and tonight, I have it all planned out.”
Eve shuddered. The last thing on her mind was sex, after the day she had had…and if it was more sex she wanted, it certainly wouldn’t be from TC. The thought of being intimate with him churned her stomach. She couldn’t believe she felt that way about her own husband, but she was now completely in tune with her innermost feelings. It wasn’t TC Russell who made her heart jump; it was Julian Crane, the love of her life. At the sudden thought of her lover, Eve’s heart raced. Realizing he should be in the dining area as well, her eyes quickly scanned the room. She didn’t see him. At once disappointed and relieved, she turned her attention to the menu. Although she had eaten lunch in Julian’s room such a short time ago, Eve was completely famished. She just wished she could have shared this meal with the man she loved as well.
“You seem like you’re a million miles away,” the voice rang out.
Startled, Eve drifted back to reality. Wasn’t that what she had said to Julian today in his suite? But this time the words were spoken by her husband, and Eve could only smile sweetly and pretend nothing was wrong. “It’s nothing, TC. I am just not feeling that well. I think I’d like to…” she stood up, turning toward the door, but stopped in mid-sentence. There in the doorway of the dining room stood Julian and Rebecca.
Eve’s heart fluttered. Her eyes met his in an intimate gaze in which only two lovers can partake. She snapped back to reality when TC followed her glance and groaned. “Man, is there nowhere we can go to get away from that creep and his joke of a wife?”
“TC, be nice,” Eve said softly, her eyes still fixed on her one true love. How she wanted to go to him now and throw her arms around him! But alas, she knew that that was impossible at this point. “I guess they wanted to get away, the same as we did.” She sat back down, turning her gaze to her husband. “I…I think I can stay now.”
“Well, I am glad you’re feeling better, Eve, but leave it to the Cranes to give you your appetite back.” He chuckled.
Julian, meanwhile, was staring madly at his lady love as he and Rebecca waited to be seated. Becks followed his gaze and frowned. Wrinkling her nose, she huffed audibly. “So, looks like the local riffraff is allowed to frolic at this resort even.”
“Rebecca, you are not exactly a poster child for Harmony’s elite,” Julian snapped, and then secretly grinned. Riffraff she wasn’t, but oh, there had been some good frolicking going on between him and Eve today! He tried to contain his desire to journey over to Eve’s table and take her in his arms once more. He loved her more than life itself, but knew she needed time…time to tell TC the truth. Soon though, she would be all his. She just had to be!
As the Cranes made their way to their table on the far side of the room, Julian gave a backward glance toward Eve. Realizing that she too was looking at him, his heart skipped a beat. Even though he had just been with her all afternoon, in the most intimate way, he wanted nothing more than to take her to his room and make passionate love to her right then. His fantasy ended when Rebecca called out to him. “Will you quit eyeing that bimbo and sit down, Julian? You’re embarrassing me!”
Startled, Julian smiled at Eve. She smiled back. He then turned his attention toward his not so beloved wife and sat down across from her at the table. “So…what is it you are having tonight, my dearest? Let me guess, something raw with horns. Must be steak!”
“Oh, you think you are so smart with your little looks to your sweet doctor friend over there. You know I could crush her like a bug anytime I wanted.”
“Oh, but then it would be difficult for you to retain your status as Mrs. Julian Crane, would it not?”
“I could always tell the police about you trying to kill Sheridan,” she answered saucily.
“As if they would believe a woman scorned! Even if they did, you have no proof, my dear…and I think you are very much aware of that!”
Rebecca’s eyes became cold as ice. “I wouldn’t try to take me on, Pookie. Your little gold-digging tramp may get hurt in the process. And we wouldn’t want that, now, would we?”
Julian glared at his wife, giving her the oh-so-Crane look that could kill. “Don’t you ever, ever threaten Eve again. Do you hear me?” he snarled through clenched teeth. “Let me make this very clear to you, my dear, sweet wife. If you even harm one hair on her beautiful head…I will kill you with my bare hands. You won’t have time to call the police.”
Slowly, Eve followed TC up the corridor to their room. Dinner had been a nightmare. She had been unable to stop thinking about Julian, wondering what Rebecca was putting him through at their table across the room. He had looked so stressed. And TC kept interrogating her about exactly what she had done on the slopes all day. She hated lying to him, but she was not ready for the secrets to come out yet – not now; no, she would have to prepare herself for that time...if she could ever get up the nerve to do what she knew had to be done. Eve had dragged out her dinner long enough to watch Julian and Rebecca head out. She wasn’t worried about what would go on in his room; she knew Julian could handle his witch of a wife. She was more concerned about how she was going to deal with TC and his sudden desire for affection.
Eve took a deep breath and entered their room. TC shut the door behind them, but not before hanging the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the outside door handle. Eve winced. “TC, please…I told you I was really tired. I just don’t feel like it tonight.” She walked over to the couch and sat down, removing her shoes. “Why don’t we just watch some TV, huh? Let me see what’s on…” She got up and headed toward the remote, which was lying on top of the television, when TC suddenly strode across the floor and wrapped his arms around her. He began lavishing her face and neck with kisses.
“TC, no…I told you no,” Eve cried, freeing herself from his arms and making a beeline for the couch. She threw herself on the sofa and began sobbing.
“Eve, honey, what’s wrong?” her husband asked, for the first time realizing that something was really bothering his wife. He walked over to the couch and bent down beside her. “You always loved it when we made mad love here in this very room - 213. You looked forward to it every year when we came up here, no matter how tired you were from skiing. I remember one time…”
“TC, just stop it, OK!” Eve yelled, covering her ears with her hands. It hurt too much to hear about her past trysts at the lodge with TC. She didn’t want to listen to the details of their incidents of “mad love”…not now, not when she had found true love again in the arms of Julian Crane. It felt like such a betrayal to the love they had rediscovered.
“What on earth is wrong with you, Eve? You have been so moody tonight, so emotional.” He paused, as a thought suddenly struck him. “Why didn’t I think of it before? I know exactly why you have been acting so strangely.”
“You do?” she asked, fear creeping into her voice, wondering if this was it, if she had finally been exposed.
“Oh yeah… It has to do with Crane, doesn’t it? It is that bastard Julian Crane you are thinking of right this very moment.”
“Rebecca, don’t you have some place to be right now? Your room, perhaps?” Julian asked, throwing her arms off of him in disgust. Rebecca had followed him into his suite after dinner, and seemed to be hell-bent on proving a point.
“Now, Pookie, dear, you used to love it when I did this,” she cooed, feigning affection for him in the most disgustingly sweet voice she could muster, as she rubbed up against his backside, placing her hands once more on his chest.
“Thankfully, I have changed, and I certainly wish you would get that into your thick skull,” he sneered, abruptly lifting her arms from his body and moving several steps away from her.
“Oh, Pookie, you are playing with fire; you know that, don’t you? And if you think that that brazen hussy from the wrong side of the tracks is going to leave that deliciously muscled brute she is married to for the likes of you, well, you are in for a big surprise. I know women, dear, and Eve Russell is not the type to make waves. She will never leave TC for you; I don’t care what you promise her. She’s got it made in that boring little life of hers; it’s the ultimate hiding place for someone like Eve, and the last thing she wants is to cause a scene, let alone a huge scandal, the likes of which Harmony has never seen.”
Julian sucked in his cheeks and let his breath out slowly. He knew he would never hit a woman, but sometimes Rebecca made him wish he felt differently on the subject. He grabbed her arm roughly and looked her straight in the eye, venom flashing in his hazel orbs. “Don’t ever refer to Eve like that again,” he said, his icy tone cutting her to the bone.
Rebecca shivered from his voice. “OK, just…let go of me,” she pouted, pulling her arm away from his steely grip and rubbing the red marks his powerful fingers had made. “You may think you are getting it all, Julian Crane, but I am one to tell you there is no gold at the end of the rainbow. I know that firsthand.”
“You reap what you sow, my dearest wife,” Julian sputtered. “I do believe in happy endings, at least where Eve and I are concerned. Your days as a Crane are numbered, Becks dear. I’d be looking for other accommodations, if I were you.”
“Oh, you may think you can beat me at my own game, Julian, and maybe you can, but you won’t top Alistair on this. You know he will never allow a union between you and that woman of, shall we say, a not so lily white complexion.”
“You let me worry about Alistair.”
“Oh, I am sure you are very worried about him, Julian.
I certainly would be. I’d be shaking in my boots about now. He will kill
you when he finds out what you’ve done, you know…that’s if
TC Russell doesn’t off you first for screwing his tramp of a wife all