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Harm's Way
by Rhiannon Neeley

Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Education
Description: Leigh Zimmatore is bent on jump-starting her acting career when she lands a part in a film set in the English countryside, just outside the village of Haven-In-The-Glen. The place sounds lovely and inviting?until she learns the name of the cottage she'll be living in during her stay. Stopping at the local pub, The Angel's Wing, she is given the keys to the cottage--a cottage named Harm's Way. She can't imagine why anyone would name their home Harm's Way and the irony of putting herself 'in it', in Harm's Way, isn't lost on her. And not only does the name of the cottage sound a bit daunting, the proprietor of the pub tells her of old wives' tales of werewolves stalking the forest nearby. Leigh refuses to allow this information to shake her resolve. She'll make a splash with this film?as long as she follows the director's instructions. She's never met him but when she does, he seems strangely familiar?very familiar, in fact. Director Adam Colgan, though an American, has roots in the English countryside. Deep roots. He feels at home here, feels able to be his true self for once and is able let his animalistic side rear its head. Meeting Leigh, beauty that she is, only serves to make his deep-seated desire to cut loose and let himself go almost impossible to control. But control it he must--until it becomes too wild to tame.
eBook Publisher: Whispers Publishing, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: February 2012


1 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [34 KB]
Words: 6057
Reading time: 17-24 min.

Chapter One

Leigh Zimmatore arrived in the village of Haven-In-The-Glen at precisely 1:00 p.m. Saturday. The village itself was snuggled into a clearing centered in a massive forest. A picture of time gone by with its tiny houses and one and only pub--The Angel's Wing--she felt she had stepped back in time by a few hundred years.

Odd name for a pub, Leigh thought as she parked the car directly across the lane from the front door. She'd had that same thought when Archie, her agent, had told her to stop there to retrieve the key to the house he had rented for her to stay in while in the village. But then, The Angel's Wing did sound appropriate in a village dubbed 'Haven-In-The-Glen'.

Running her fingers through her hair, combing it into place with her nails, she questioned again the director's choice about filming on location. From the looks of it, Haven-In-The-Glen was not ready for the world of feature films. Leigh would never question the director outright, though. In her line of business, the director was the law and to question his decision was a certain sentence to walk-on parts and crowd scenes.

This was her first starring role in a feature film and she was determined to make it the first of many.

She exited the car and stretched her arms over her head, surveying the main thoroughfare. "Not much going on here," she said to herself. Then she smiled. "Maybe I'm just the one to liven the place up a bit." She reached in through the open car window, snatched her bag off the seat, and strode across the lane toward the pub.

On the stoop in front of the door of the pub lay a large chestnut-colored dog. He looked harmless enough, but Leigh was cautious. She loved dogs, but she also knew not all of them were friendly. "Hello, pooch," she said, walking slowly up to the reclining animal. "Will you let me by?"

The dog raised his massive head and looked at her with eyes of chocolate brown. He tilted his head to the side, then slowly rose to his feet.

Leigh knew it wasn't good to stare into a dog's eyes--they sometimes took it as a threat--but this dog seemed different. His eyes held an intelligence. Almost human-like. Leigh reached out her hand.

The dog raised his head and rubbed it across her palm.

"So silky," Leigh said, her hand traveling smoothly over the dog's head and across his shoulders. "Good boy." She could swear she saw a twinkle in the animal's eyes at her compliment. "I must go inside now." She gave him a final stroke and stepped to the door of the pub. She glanced back at the dog.

He was watching her silently, head tilted as if trying to figure out some unanswered question.

"Good-bye, pooch," Leigh said and turned back to the door.

She entered the pub, stopping just inside the door to let her eyes adjust to the dim light inside. The interior held the scent of ale, aftershave and pipe smoke. A man's place. Able to see now that her eyes had adjusted to the gloom, she noticed the barkeep leaning on the bar and reading a paper. She crossed to him. "How can you read? This light is so dim." She propped her foot on the foot rail that ran the length of the bar.

The barkeep looked up at her. "Help you?"

This one sure doesn't have a sunny disposition. "I'm Leigh Zimmatore. I'm supposed to pick up a key for a rental cottage."

"Humph," the barkeep mumbled, then reached underneath the bar. He slapped a key down on the top of the bar. "The larder is stocked. Told the man who leased it there'd be two riding horses in the stable. They're there. But if you ride, you'll have to saddle them yourself. A boy'll be by to see to the feeding of 'em and such."

"That I can do," Leigh said, reaching for the key. She'd have to thank Archie. What a wonderful surprise to have horses to ride. She didn't think her smile could get any wider. Maybe she could get in a ride this afternoon. Shooting started first thing Monday and she really wanted to enjoy the weekend before beginning the long hours of filming. "Tell me, sir, where is the cottage?"

"Follow the road south for a bit. There'll be a lane on the left. It's the only cottage on the lane."

Leigh tapped the key on the bar. "How will I know if it's the right lane?"

"There's a sign."

Leigh smirked. This is like extracting a tooth. "And...what will the sign say?"

"Harm's Way."

That name definitely did not fit in with Haven-In-The-Glen and The Angel's Wing. "Harm's Way?"

"Yep. That's the name of the cottage."

Leigh laughed. "You mean I'll be staying in 'Harm's Way? That would be a bit daunting, if it weren't funny."

"Yep. Old tales about werewolves roaming the woods thereabouts. Just old women talking. But cottage is named Harm's Way."

Werewolves...yeah, right. "Thanks," she said, pocketing the key.

She turned from the bar and ran directly into a wide, silk-clad chest. Instantly, strong arms wrapped around her, catching her before she stumbled.

"Oh," Leigh said, startled. "Excuse me."

"No excuse needed," a deep voice said.

Leigh took a step back and looked up. Her heart jumped in her breast. Good Lord, is this man good looking or what? In his mid-twenties, his hair was a deep brown with reddish lights through it, complementing his burnished skin. His eyes were a warm brown she could drown in, highlighted with tiny flecks of gold and his smile...wide and boyish, the dimples at the corners of his mouth completing it. A thrill rushed through her.

But his eyes...they were familiar somehow.

"So, you're Leigh Zimmatore," the man said, dropping his arms from around her.

"Yes, I am," she said. "And you are?" Thank goodness she didn't stutter. She was afraid she was going to. In all of her twenty years on this earth, no man had affected her like this.

"I'm Adam Colgan." He held out his hand.

Leigh took his hand. It was warm to the touch, dwarfing her own. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Colgan."

He smiled a devastating smile. "Please, call me Adam. After all, we'll be working together. Why not be on a first name basis?"

Heat rushed to Leigh's face. Of course! Adam Colgan was the director of the film. How could she not have caught that? "I'm sorry," she said, laughing to cover her embarrassment. "I should have recognized the name. You're from America, aren't you?"

"Yes. This is my first trip to England." He tilted his head to the side. "And the scenery seems to keep getting better and better."

Leigh glanced down at the floor for a moment. Was he flirting with her? It was hard to tell. She looked up again. "Well, Adam, I must be going. I have to find my rental." She held up the key. "I'll see you on Monday, then."

"If not before," he said with a grin. "Though this is my first time to England, I do tend to get around."

Leigh bit her lip before she laughed again. He's pretty sure of himself, isn't he? "Good-bye, then," she said, sliding around him and heading for the door.

She stepped outside into the blinding sun and gulped a breath of fresh air. For a film director, Adam sure did have leading-man looks. Along with the boyish smile he exuded a sort of animal magnetism. He sure had gotten to her. But...she wouldn't let on. There was no way she would let a fling between herself and the director get in the way of film production. Especially after what she had read about him in the press. He had a penchant for leading ladies, so it seemed. She didn't want to be just another check mark on his list.

Leigh tapped her lip with a well-manicured fingernail. But, if she thought about it, Adam Colgan could help to liven this little village up a bit, couldn't he? "Stop it," she mumbled to herself as she stepped off the stoop and into the lane.

"You must be professional. You can't let yourself get involved with him. No, no, no." She reached her car, threw her bag in through the window and grabbed the door handle. Turning back for one last look at the pub, she noticed the dog was no longer there. Probably went home for a bite. Leigh shrugged and got in the car.

Time to find Harm's Way.

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