Incorrigible stepdaughter.

HER upper body was pressed against the steering-wheel, and her dazzlingly pretty face gaped aghast through the windscreen. She had hit something! After several stunned seconds she straightened up in the driver’s seat, suddenly pale beneath the suntan which still lingered from those fragrant weeks in the Greek islands. Strands of golden hair obscured her wide, vividly blue eyes, for her head had jerked forward at the collision. Shakily, feeling faint, she pushed the hair back from her flawless forehead and opened the door of the brand-new Jaguar. Stepping out on long, lissome legs she stretched her lithe young body and smoothed the rucked-up skirt over her slender hips. Then, with tingling nerves and a sick feeling of dread, Alicia Thornfield walked to the front of the gleaming vehicle to inspect the damage.

The wheelbarrow she had driven into lay crushed and splintered on the broad gravel driveway, but this was not what the girl was staring at. The offside wing of the Jaguar was shockingly defaced by dents and scratches, and the headlamp and the blinker were smashed! The awful sight made her inhale deeply, pushing her tip-tilted breasts against the sheer silk fabric of her blouse.

Desperately she turned and looked around for someone to blame for this disaster, for the fool who had put the wheelbarrow there, right where it shouldn’t be, in the middle of the drive into which she had just turned the car. In the distance she observed Rogerson, the gardener, hurrying towards her shaking his grey-haired head; and even then the mettlesome young woman’s full red lips curled with distaste to see how his startled gaze roamed over her bare legs beneath the tight skirt.

‘You damn well ought to know better than to leave your stupid barrow here!’ Alicia shouted, stamping her foot in fury and fright. Even to the unimaginative gardener she looked petite and doll-like, almost unreal in her perfection of feminine shapeliness. It could have been that French actress, Bardot – re-formed and scarcely 21 again – raging at him beside his employer’s distressingly damaged vehicle. The agile figure was daintily trim, little-waisted, with breasts like apples quivering under translucent silk, the trim thighs succulent – her legs smooth, sun-browned stems more lovely than the loveliest bloom in the orchid-house from where he had hurried on hearing the distant crump. To the gardener, she looked rather like a flower herself.


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