You can read chapter 1-4 here
A sudden loud noise from the back of Mandy’s car made a surge of adrenalin going through her body. She slowed the car down and moved to the side of the road. Not having much of an idea about cars Mandy felt an unease bordering minor panic coming over her. She was in the middle of nowhere and it would be getting dark soon. She took a deep breath and hopped out of the car to inspect the rear. Damn! a flat tyre. A real nuisance but at least nothing major. She could fix that if she had to, but she didn’t really want to and decided to call her road assistance Drive America to see if they had any contractors around the area. Probably not likely out here in the country, but worth a try.
After waiting 5 minutes online she finally got put through to an operator who told her absolutely they could help, but it could be a wait up to an hour. Mandy knew from experience that was most likely more than an hour and she really didn’t want to sit around waiting, so she declined the offer to book in for the service. It was now 4.30 and it would start to get dark in another half hour. She really couldn’t waste any more time
She was just about to open the boot and get the spare out when she noticed a car approaching her from behind. It seemed to be slowing and sure enough, it stopped and parked behind her car. Now she was really uncomfortable. Funny how the company of another person in a town or city is fine, but out on a lonely road, it was easy. She gripped the jack tighter , ready to defend herself. It was hard to see who was in the car but the shape indicated a stocky male. Her heart was pounding. Why had she stopped at the winery ? She could have been safe and sound at Lake Haven now instead of in the middle of nowhere with a potential madman.
The door swung open and to her relief, a smiling face greeted her and the familiar voice of the winery owner Ian made her almost cry. “ What have we here, looks like I arrived just at the right time. I forgot to give you back your Visa card and noticed not long after you left. Was hoping I could catch up with you. Looks like this flat tyre did us both a favour.”. He beamed his smile and Mandy melted.
“Thank you, Ian, that is very kind of you to come after me to give me back my card. Silly me for not even noticing”
Ian offered to help and took the jack from her hand. For a split second, Mandy felt vulnerable. The jack had been her only weapon. Don’t be silly she told herself. Ian was being helpful. But in the back of her mind, something was brewing. She couldn’t explain why and decided to take no notice of her internal warning.
Ian had the tyre fixed in no time. Mandy was grateful and thanked him for his trouble. She turned to shut the boot when she felt his arm around her waist. She stiffened, but Ian softly spun her around and took her face in his hands.
‘Dont be frightened Mandy, I’ve been wanting to do this since you walked into my winery. You are a very attractive woman. Don’t you feel the connection we had from the moment we saw each other.?”
Mandy had to agree there was something, but Ian was a lot younger than her and she was not comfortable being alone with him out here in the middle of nowhere. The infectious smile was still there, but now she notices his eyes told a different story. She wasn’t quite sure what she saw when looking into his eyes, but it made her feel uneasy. It was like a fire in his eyes, but it wasn’t the usual passion of chemistry.Maybe it was just under the circumstances. Out here in the middle of nowhere and Ian really a total stranger she had only just met. So she said she was not sure what she felt and really had to get going. He smiled again and this time she felt like a child rather than a desired woman. How quickly your perception of someone can change depending on the circumstance you are in. At the winery she had been totally at ease in Ian’s company, in fact, she had enjoyed it. But here she couldn’t wait to flee.
She quickly thanked him again and hopped into the car. He held the door so she couldn’t close it and looked her straight in the eyes saying “ I’ll let you go Mandy, but I’ll be I Lake Haven over the next week so I’ll look you up and come take you out for dinner “. Mandy realised she had told Ian where she was staying and about the funeral. It would be easy for him to track her down. Why was she always so open and chatty with strangers.
Driving off leaving Ian standing at the side of the road, she made a promise to herself to never be so trusting and open about her life and plans to total strangers no matter how pleasant and trustworthy they seemed.