PROLOGUE

I look out across the lake, staring at the cool impassive water. The surface is completely still and glassy. It has been another one of those hot sticky summer days, the air stifling and oppressive. I look out across the water at the changing colours of the elmsalong the shoreline. This spell of sultry weather must be summers' last cry before she succumbs to the cool nights and crisp mornings of fall.

I still can't quite get my head around the fact that he owns this, all of it.

I slip my feet into the water, feeling its refreshing cool swirl between my toes. Breathing in deeply, I can smell the wonderful scent of approaching rain. I lie back on the jetty and close my eyes. Everything is quiet, even the birds have gone silent as if the whole world is holding its breath waiting for the storm the break.

The slightest breeze rolls through the trees and brings a tingle to my skin. Keeping my eyes closed I allow the warm air to caress my body, feeling it soothe my damp and sticky skin.

I have been here for a week on my own, everyday sitting on this jetty staring out across the lake, staring into the depths of the water, to find only myself staring back at me - mocking me. It has been a week since he stood on this jetty facing me with his eyes dark and full of anger, telling me with such intensity that I could never love him, not the real him. That I wouldn't understand, couldn't understand. What did he mean? I had tried so hard to discover what lay behind those sea green eyes, the demons that lay beneath his beautiful smooth skin.

The breeze picks up and billows my cotton sundress and I open my legs a little feeling the air caressing the inside of my thighs. Keeping my eyes closed I slip the thin cotton straps off my shoulders and pull the top of my dress down a little allowing the air to caress my breasts. The breeze against my warm damp skin gives me goose bumps and I feel my nipples involuntarily harden. I rub my nipples gently, feeling them respond to my touch. I have never found my breasts to be an erogenous zone. That was until I met him. Before him, I had never felt my body ache and throb under a man's touch, never lost myself in the moment as if I was in a deeply erotic and sensual dream only to awake and find it was real all along.

I continue gently rubbing my nipples, imagining his lean strong body above me. I look into his deep green eyes and feel myself getting drawn into them. I can feel his fingers trailing up the inside of my thigh so lightly, caressing and stroking me. His touch makes me ache and throb in a way I have never experienced. I feel as if I have dived into an emerald pool and emerged the other side with all my senses electrified.

I arch my back against the throbbing between my legs. I gently run my hands up the inside of my thigh and feel the warmth of my skin. My cotton panties are damp with sweat and my arousal. I gently run my finger along the edge of the fabric, feeling how swollen I am. I brush against my clitoris, feeling it harden against my finger and a bolt of electricity shoots through my body.

There is a close, soft rumble of thunder and my train of thought is broken. I open my eyes and sit up. The storm clouds have lifted a little but the air is still warm and close. The thunder rolls again, further in the distance this time. The birds have all started calling to each other, flying back and forth across the lake.

The spell has broken.

I look down at the water; the still inky surface has become green, just like his eyes. I wiggle my toes, feeling just how lovely and refreshing the water is. I need an antidote to break the spell I was just under to revive me from the hangover that is him. Standing up I let my dress fall around my ankles. I step out of my panties, gasping as I feel the breeze hit my naked skin. Focussing into the distance, I remember the warnings about not swimming during a thunderstorm. However on cue, the clouds seem to lift as the thunder rolls off in the distance.

I gasp as my body hits the water; the coolness of it against my warm skin is delicious. I roll over onto my back staring at the grey clouds. He is coming back tomorrow and I haven't yet decided what I am going to do. It has only been a week since he left and only 3 months since we first met. Since I embarked upon a journey of such experiences and yearning I could never have imagined. However I cannot get his words out of my head. That I couldn't love him - that I wouldn't love him, "not the real me". I haven't been able to stop thinking about that night, wishing that I hadn't decided to surprise him. Wishing that upon not finding him at his house that I had left and not waited for him. Wishing that I hadn't heard the phone message and that my conscience had stopped me from finding out what it meant. He had been so angry, his eyes had shrunk into two piercing black beads and for the first time I was really frightened of him. Frightened of what he was capable of.

Confusion overwhelms me. I feel as if I am standing on the edge of an abyss, staring into the blackness wondering if I am willing to let myself fall, if I would be able to handle the inevitable consequences.

I swim to the ladder on the end of the jetty and pull myself up. I shiver feeling the air on my wet skin. The temperature has dropped and as I pull my dress on the first heavy raindrops begins to fall. He will be back tomorrow and he will be expecting an answer. All I know is that I may not be here to give it to him.