It never rains in August.
Angel had lost count of the number of times she had heard this statement since they had arrived at the resort, but the fact remained that, despite the lack of precedent, it was raining and it had been for two days solid. In fact, it had been ever since they had arrived at the island paradise, this paradise they had yet to set foot on.
The delay to the photo shoot had caused tempers to fray and the money men to start muttering. For Angel it was two days she could have been at home with her daughter, not hundreds of miles away.
‘It’s just water.’
Her response drew blank looks. ‘But you’ll get wet.’
‘I need the exercise.’
‘I’m just off to the gym,’ said India, the actress playing her mother in the ad—though the woman was only ten years older than Angel. ‘Come with me.’
‘I don’t really do the gym thing. I’m allergic to Lycra.’
‘No, not seriously, India, she’s joking,’ Rudie, the lighting man, explained.
‘Your hair will get wet.’ The objection was made by the man responsible for making her hair look perfect. He was still recovering from the shock of discovering that, not only was the waist-length ebony hair all her own, but the glossy colour had never been enhanced or altered.
‘It will dry.’
‘What’s that smell?’
‘Me, I’m afraid.’ Angel brought her concealed hand out from behind her back. ‘I can’t resist lashings of onions.’
‘Is that a hot dog?’
Angel glanced at the item that was causing the executive from the cosmetic company to look so shocked. The only person in the room who didn’t seem horrified was the handsome young Greek, Nico. She assumed from his appearance he was one of the Theakis family who owned the luxury resort and any number of others around the world, and probably the shipping line of the same name, but she wasn’t sure what his connection was with the owner of Saronia who he was representing.
‘I really hope so.’
Again the young Greek was the only one to laugh so she winked at him and murmured, ‘Tough crowd to play,’ in a terrible New York drawl.
‘But you had a full breakfast.’ The critical follow-up came from the stylist.
Walking in the rain had clearly not been received well, but she could tell from the general air of disapproval in the room that eating an actual meal was considered aberrant behaviour by those present. But Angel coped with their disapproval by refusing to recognise it.
The same way she had refused to recognise the broad hints earlier that she might be better selecting a pot of low-fat yogurt rather than a full English. She was all for a peaceful life.
‘And it was delicious.’ Angel could feel the woman staring at her as though they expected to see her developing unsightly bulges as she watched.
Her grip on her hot dog tightened as she fought the urge to say something that would make everyone look at her with the opposite of their current disdain. It had taken time, but she had conquered her need to seek approval, recognising late in the day that the one person—her mother—from whom she wanted that approval was never going to give it.
Only very occasionally these days did she find that eager-to-please tendency resurfacing. When it did she quashed it ruthlessly. Needy was just not a good look, and not the sort of example she wanted to set for her daughter.
She lifted her chin and embraced them all with a brilliant smile. ‘Then it’s just as well I’m going to go for a walk.’
The figure who had been hiding behind a newspaper lowered it, revealing the lived-in features of a photographer who was more famous than the A-list people who posed for him.
‘Relax, guys, our girl here never puts on an ounce. Do you, darling?’ His brows lifted as his glance slid down the supple curves of the young woman framed in the doorway. ‘Looking particularly lush this morning.... Purely a professional observation, you understand, Angel, luv.’
* * *
Alex nodded to a gardener whose eyes widened as he recognised the person who had manoeuvred his way past the ladder he had set up against the trellis.
Alex liked to fly under the radar when he could. He had arrived the previous night in a private jet that had landed at a private airport and had made the short crossing alone in the rain that had been falling ever since. It was, according to the information supplied by his spy in the camp, Nico, playing havoc with the filming schedule.
The rain had just stopped and the dampness underfoot was already being turned to misty vapour by the late-afternoon sun. Someone had forgotten to adjust the sprinkler system, which was adding to the moisture, but a few of the holidaymakers had already begun to venture out of the hotel, including a large family group who were playing a boisterous game of cricket on the beach.