The Italian House by N/A

The Italian House by N/A

Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Canelo Books
Published: 2016-03-01T05:00:00+00:00


Carrie was aware of the storm in the night; woke once or twice with a dry mouth, thudding head and roiling stomach, then slipped back into the black depths of a deep and dreamless sleep. It was the sun that finally woke her, striking painfully into eyes that for a moment she could barely open. The air was clear and cool after the night’s rain, the sky ablaze with painful light. She winced, groaned, turned over and tried to bury her splitting head beneath the pillow. She was dying. Definitely dying.

She was also, she realised, except for her shoes, still fully dressed.

She lay quite still, trying to focus mind and memory; and for the moment absolutely could not. She remembered climbing into the cart, remembered the feel of Leo’s arms about her, and then – nothing. For goodness’ sake, how had she got here?

As realisation dawned she winced again, mortified. Whatever must Leo think of her?

After a few moments, only too aware that the sun was high and that she could not hide beneath the pillow for the rest of the day she sat up, gingerly swinging her legs over the side of the bed. The room swung unpleasantly around her. She clenched her eyes shut. The world settled a little. She sat very still for a long time before opening her eyes again and carefully standing up. Every movement threatened, it seemed, to crack her skull. She poured water from the jug on the washstand into the basin, gratefully splashed it over her face. Her tangled hair fell about her shoulders, the ends dangling in the water. The image that confronted her when she glanced into the mirror appalled her; her face was pale, her hair a bird’s nest, her slacks and shirt disgracefully rumpled. With a determination born mostly of desperation she set about repairing the damage.

It was about half an hour later that, still moving with a great deal of care, she made her way downstairs to the kitchen. She knew that Leo was there; the smell of hot coffee and toast had been drifting through the house for some time – a smell she would normally have found delicious but that, on this particular morning, was almost more than her delicate stomach could take. Trying to move her head as little as possible she pushed open the door, shading her half-closed eyes against the flood of sunlight, and leaned against the doorjamb.

Leo turned, grinning. ‘Good morning, my love.’ He was heinously cheerful. ‘Feeling good?’

‘Don’t be such a heartless pig.’ She managed to focus her aching eyes upon him; neatly and immaculately garbed in crisply laundered shirt and flannels he looked as fresh as a daisy. ‘You’re disgusting. Why haven’t you got a hangover? I do assume that’s what it is?’

His grin widened. ‘Practice. And yes, that’s what it is. Is it bad?’

‘I’m dying,’ she said, simply.

His smile widened. ‘I’ll get you something.’ He reached for a glass, went to the cupboard. Carrie walked to the table, dropped into a chair, buried her face in her hands.


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