Requiem for Rab
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by Marie Treanor
Description: Rab's dead but he won't lie down. Lili's luck is on the upswing. Her acting career is taking off, she's home in Edinburgh to perform in a high profile Festival play, and romance is blossoming with her famous leading man. The last thing she wants or expects on her first night of passion in two years is her ex-husband looming over her new lover's shoulder, dripping blood on her pristine sheets. Rab, self-confessed hedonist and computer geek, has always been a joker, but surely even he wouldn't go to this length to stop her getting laid--inventing a wild tale of being shot dead and having to track down his own body. Then again, there's no logical explanation for why she's the only one who can see him. Why the police are knocking on her door. And why Rab is still the only man who drives her crazy, in bed and out. All she knows is, it's all still there. The fun and the pain. The feelings that never really went away. She owes it to him to never stop looking--even though finding him could take him away for good? Warning: Contains blood, swearing and hot, spiritual sex.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: July 2009
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [116 KB]
Reading time: 67-94 min.
It's not every day you see a ghost, right? And it's pretty unusual for your ex-husband to loom over your new lover's shoulder, especially when you're in bed at the time. Extraordinarily unlikely, you might think, to encounter both phenomena on the same night, but there you are, they don't call me Lucky Lili for nothing.
So there I lay, stark naked on the bed, having been undressed with exquisite care by the man of my dreams, who stood beside me, ripping off his silk shirt to expose his gorgeous manly chest, the sort of predatory blaze in his eyes that was guaranteed to make a girl squirm with lust.
Menzies was a mature man, distinguished, successful, with all the self-confidence and glamour that normally goes with such qualities. As well as the firm, fit body, he had wonderfully chiseled features, a square jaw, dark brown hair turning to a sexy iron grey at the temples. I was one lucky girl...
This time, this time...
He didn't at once remove his trousers--frustrating, perhaps, but it did imply a certain gentlemanly not-counting-one's-chickens approach. Instead, he sank back down on the bed, resting a hand on either side of me, and began to kiss me while slowly lowering that delicious chest to my breasts. That felt so good, I really did begin to squirm.
"So Lili," he murmured against my lips in that breathless, soul-wrenching voice that could move nations, "will you make love with me?"
As a line, it certainly beat, "Fancy a shag?"
I was enchanted. "Oh yes!"
His hands were on my breasts, mine on his cotton-covered bottom, stroking, reaching between our bodies to get at his zip.
"Impatience." He smiled. "I like that."
Brushing my hands aside, he undid his own zip. The trousers and underpants were scooted down his legs so quickly that I didn't get so much as a glimpse of his tackle. Well, the night was young, and already he was pressing it against me, between my thighs.
"Oh, yes, you want me, you like this..."
I gasped, wriggling to help him find the spot. Yes!
Which is when Rab's face appeared over Menzies's shoulder, looking mildly surprised.
My mouth fell open. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
"Beats me," said Rab with his usual helpfulness.
Menzies was staring at me. "You invited me!"
Thank God. He hadn't yet clocked Rab's presence. I tightened my arms around his neck in a hold that probably resembled a wrestling lock rather than a lover's clinch. All I had to do was get rid of Rab quick and I could still have my long dreamed of night of passion.
"Go away," I mouthed over my lover's naked shoulder.
Rab looked around him, then shook his head. "Nah. Who's the sleaze ball?"
"He is not a..." I broke off, staring at the red drops on my white satin quilt cover. Slowly, I lifted my gaze to the source: a dark, nasty stain on Rab's T-shirt.
"Rab!" I sat up with so much force that Menzies and I banged heads. I saw a fine array of shooting stars, though hardly in the manner I had hoped for at the beginning of the evening.
Menzies rolled off me, swearing. "Who the bloody hell is Rab?" he demanded, pressing his hand over his right eye.
"My ex." I blinked, staring around the room. Rab had gone.
Menzies took a deep breath. "Lili..."
But I was furious. How dare Rab sneak in here--how dare he even still have a key when I'd bought him out?--and drip blood all over my bed just to interrupt my first night of sex in two years, my first night with Menzies, for God's sake!
"One moment," I said grimly, sliding out of the bed. I grabbed my dressing gown from behind the door, flung it around me and tied it with deadly intent, already heading out of the bedroom and into the living room. The lights were still on, but there was no sign of Rab. I tried the kitchen, then the bathroom, but he wasn't there either.
Slightly panicked now, I went back to the bedroom. He wasn't under the bed--which was fortunate for him considering the amount of dust I encountered. Sneezing, I wrenched open the wardrobe door, rummaging among the clothes.
Defeated, I paused and glanced over my shoulder. Menzies stood beside the bed, his trousers back on. He really did have a lovely chest, I thought wistfully. Smooth and broad and muscular, quite without rough hair...
"I don't think you're ready for this, are you?"
"Oh, I am," I assured him.
"Then what just happened here?"
Good question. I swallowed.
Menzies said, "I spoke to Jen tonight. She told me that despite rumours to the contrary, you haven't been in any kind of relationship since your divorce. I think I took you by surprise tonight. And I think it was a mistake to come here to the house you shared with him. You need some time and a different environment..."
"No I don't," I said fervently. "Really, I don't."
Only what was wrong with Rab and why was he bleeding? And why couldn't I find him? Was my mind really playing such cruel tricks?
Menzies walked toward me. He took me in his arms, as if I was precious and very breakable.
"It will be our time, Lili. I won't give up on you."
A quick kiss and he left the room, shrugging the silk shirt on as he went. I had no role to help me with this scene. I just felt plain foolish standing by the front door in my dressing gown and slippers while we said polite goodbyes. And although his smile was warm as he left, I knew in my heart I had blown it with Menzies. Not just tonight, but for good.
I hid behind the curtain, twitching it aside to watch him emerge from the tall building and walk the few paces to his rather swanky car. A bunch of drunks tried to hold him up for an exchange of pleasantries--it's a risk you take on Friday nights in Edinburgh's Old Town, especially as the Festival is about to start--but ignoring them, he simply climbed in and drove off in a cloud of exhaust. He didn't once look up at my window.
Slowly, I sank down onto the arm of the sofa. It had been a long and grueling day. I was tired and disappointed and sexually frustrated. No wonder tears of self-pity began to prickle at my eyelids.
"I'm going to sell this bloody flat," I promised. Then, glaring into the murky corners: "Just as soon as I clean it."
"Get a bod in."
My head jerked round. Rab sprawled on the sofa, his head almost touching my hip. He looked a mess, as he generally did, all shaggy hair, a beard that hovered between definite and merely unshaven, and the same old black T-shirt I was sure I'd thrown out after I poured most of a bottle of red wine over it. He'd been wearing it then, too. Obviously.
Only I couldn't remember it having that awful messy stain that had dripped on my bed. It was still there, oozing.
I glared at it. "Have you been fighting?"
"Only with you, dear."
"Then what have you done? Why are you bleeding? And how did you get in here?"
"I haven't done anything. I was shot. And I don't remember, I just sort of--arrived."
My mouth closed. I leapt off the sofa arm. "You were shot? Jesus Christ, Rab!"
I was across the room before I realized it, rummaging in my bag for my phone. "Only you'd get shot round here!" I raged. "Any other self respecting victim gets stabbed in a pub brawl..."
"I don't see that that's any better," Rab argued. "And it didn't happen here, it was in Glasgow."
I paused, phone in hand, finger hovering as I stared at him over my shoulder. "You were shot in Glasgow? You travelled here like that? Rab, are you pissed?"
"Lamentably sober. What are you planning on doing with that phone?"
"Getting an ambulance or a taxi or something to take you to the hospital! I don't understand how you can still talk with a bullet in your chest!"
"Ah. Well, there's rather more than that I can't understand. But you'd better put the phone down--you can't dial like that anyhow."
He was right. My hand shook like a vibrator on overdrive. I threw the phone down, grabbing my hair instead as if it would somehow impart some strength or even understanding.