Authors: Jo Briggs
|No Strings (Broken Strings)|
BY JO BRIGGS
a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and events portrayed in this book
either are from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity
to real persons, living or dead, establishments, events, or location is purely
coincidental and not intended by the author.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Jo Briggs at
All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce
this book, or portion thereof, in any format whatsoever
Book and cover design by Jo Briggs
The warm aquamarine seawater swished
around Indi’s ankles as she strolled along the secluded beach beneath the villa
she was renting. There was just one other villa that shared the same beach
which much to her delight seemed to be without any occupants. Set against the
coastline of southeastern Sicily, the villa allowed her to enjoy the peace and
anonymity she’d been craving for during the past few months, especially since
her sisters, Lexi and Aimee had flown back to London.
She had enjoyed a week of relaxation with them, but still
felt the burning need for some alone time that had prompted her to book the
trip in the first place. She didn’t begrudge them pushing her into letting
them come too, but she felt an immense sense of relief of not having to talk to
anyone for the next three of weeks if she didn’t want to. After all the constant
police interviews, meetings with the CPS and being cross-examined by the
opposition’s solicitor, she was all talked out. It was a good feeling not to have
the pressure of all that stress on her shoulders now that the verdict had been
With only about a half-hour of light left before the sunset,
she wanted to complete the day with some photos of the sunset from within the
grounds of the villa. Leaving the beach behind her, Indi made her way back up
the spiral staircase to the pool area and hammock terrace beyond.
Moving across the terrace, the maid who came in every day to
clean the villa appeared in front of her. The woman looked to be in her
mid-fifties, she reminded Indi of one of her school friend’s Italian
grandmother who she had stayed with during her fifteenth summer. “Signora, I
have put the food in the cucina,” The woman spoke in broken English, pointing
towards the lit-up kitchen area that could be observed from where they stood.
“Thank you, Signora,”
The older woman nodded and left leaving Indi once again alone
within the vast villa and its picturesque grounds.
Before positioning herself by the pool, Indi hit play on the
music player’s remote control allowing the heavenly tones of Grey Bailey to
serenade her. He was the front man of Fusion, an indie rock band that had set
the music arenas of the world alight for the past few years. Even with her
classical music background, he was her idol and the main inspiration of why she
had started attending to Goldsmiths University in London to study Popular Music
The pool’s tiled surroundings were in perfect alignment of
the half-disappearing sun enabling her to capture the beautiful yellow, orange,
and red hues glistening upon the dark blue-black sea on the horizon. Sunset
was the perfect part of her day, where light and colour merged into the dark
and moonlight. The stillness of a slowed-down world helped her to unwind down
from whatever frantic study schedule she had dealt with that day.
Feeling satisfied with what she’d accomplished Indi began
packing up the camera gear and lenses. As she did so, a shadow moving through
the garden of the neighbouring villa caught her attention. Turning to face the
direction of the movement, the shadow revealed a dark-haired man as the garden
lights turned on, revealing a similar layout to her villa’s grounds. The tall
man glanced her way, his eyes boring into hers, the intensity making the hairs
on the back of her neck stand up as he continued to stare.
Flustered Indi tried to move her eyes away, but could not
resist the gravity pull to draw them back there almost immediately. This time
the man’s mouth had curled into a lazy smile as he nodded an acknowledgement
before disappearing under the covered terrace as quickly as he’d appeared. His
presence had been too fleeting to make much of an assessment of his appearance,
but it was sufficient to notice his broad shoulders and narrow hips, outlined
by the t-shirt and cargo shorts. Blowing out a breath of air she had not even
been aware of holding Indi could not help but think he appeared strangely
Taking her meal outside onto the terrace, she sank into the
soft cushions intent on spending the remainder of the evening enjoying the
refreshing breeze lifting up from the sea while she finished the book she was
The book was one she had not read before so the next few
hours slipped by undisturbed until movements and loud talking from the
neighbouring garden drew her attention up from the printed text once more.
This time, there were two beefy men doing what seemed to be a perimeter walk of
the property. As Indi looked in their direction, they stopped and
observed her for some moments before moving on.
Frowning, Indi hoped her plans for a secluded holiday
weren’t going to be wrecked by constantly being on view by this guy's security
team. She certainly would have something to say if they intruded on hers,
in order to preserve their employer’s privacy.
Having experienced all resemblance of control over her
privacy, now that it was back in her grasp she would never allow someone to
impose on it ever again without her approval.
With the two men out of sight, Indi became conscious of how
chilly the air had become. Marking the place she had reached with her bookmark
Indi shut her book and made her way inside the villa. As she did so, Indi
closed the patio door behind her double-checking that the twin bolts had sprung
across. Since the attempt on her life, she’d made a habit of double-checking
This villa had every security installation you could dream
of. It had come at a higher rental price, but that price was worthwhile, as it
had eased the frequency of her nightmares to a minimum. When she had originally
decided to come to Sicily it was at the executor of her trust fund insistence
that it had to be this villa as he knew the owner and wanted to make sure she
felt as safe as possible. Not that her tormentor was going to sudden rock up
to this place - He was safely behind bars.
After checking numerous doors and windows, Indi punched the
code to set the alarm and moved into the bedroom. After removing her clothing,
she headed into the bathroom for a shower wanting to rinse the days’ worth of
sand from her skin while keeping her mass of curls out of the water stream as
much as possible.
Wrapped in a fluffy towel, Indi set about her routine of
cleansing and moisturising her skin before she slipped between the crisp
Egyptian cotton sheets covering the iron-framed bed.
Getting up early after another nightmare free sleep, Indi
was feeling positive that she had started to turn the corner on keeping her anxiety
Changing into a vivid pink bikini, she headed out to the
pool. Each morning, she completed thirty lengths of the pool, before eating
breakfast. A toned body had never come easy to her, but now that she had one,
she intended to keep it. Indi was never what you would call overweight, but
rather curvy with ample cleavage, slim waist and wider hips.
She liked the way the pink fabric accentuated her newly
tanned skin and clashed with her brunette curls that cascaded over her bare
shoulders and back. Diving into the deeper end of the large pool, Indi slipped
into an easy rhythm of ten length blocks of her three preferred swimming
Towards the end of the final block of ten, she had the ever
familiar sensation of being watched, stopping to catch her breath she glanced
around to determine if it were just her being paranoid.
Noticing the stranger from the day before, standing beside
the low wall separating the two villas staring at her, a sense of fear rose in
the pit of her stomach.
Each time she saw a man looking at her for too long the same
fear started to bubble. Perhaps her anxiety was not under control as much as I
had hoped, she thought. The stalker had made her suspicious of everyone.
“Is there something I can do for you?” Indi asked, unable
to keep the unfriendly scowl from her face as she stared back at him while
remaining in the pool, too self-conscious of her bikini to get out, and
challenge him, close up.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to disturb you. I just wanted to
be neighbourly, and say hello.” The man spoke in a smooth English accent,
clearly from an upper class background. “I’m Grey,” the sides of his mouth
lifted offering a friendly smile.
Indi could feel her heart pounding as she continued to glare
in his direction silently, hesitant to give out her name despite the appearance
that he was innocently saying hello to a neighbour. Offering him a slight nod
of acknowledgement, she could not bring herself to relax enough to tell him her
name. Dread filled her mind that he’d already noticed she was staying in the
“Hey, I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable. Just saying
hello, and if you need anything, I’m next door.” He said casting an
understanding glance her way before moving away from the wall.
Indi couldn’t help but experience a twinge of disappointment
as he walked away from the wall. If only she could let go and just trust people
again. After all not every stranger was like that slime ball. In a past life,
she would have gladly chatted to him without a second thought.
He had clearly noted her discomfort with the situation and
had removed himself. That definitely had to count for something.
Over the next few days, she would catch the occasional
glimpses of him looking her way whenever they were on the beach at the same
time. Although he never approached, he smiled and nodded. His continued
willingness to bother greeting her after the lukewarm reception of his introduction
flattered Indi’s shattered ego no end.
Now that her initial fears about him had lessened Indi
actually noticed how amazingly sexy he was. His inky black curls fell to just
below collar length, framing his square jawbone structure and piercing
silver-blue eyes that even from a distance seem to flow into his soul. The definition
of his stomach muscles played against varying tight t-shirts she had seen him
His presence continually invaded her mind in the days since
then. Something about the way he moved intrigued her. Indi had started to
wonder if he were a celebrity, especially since he’d a security team around him
constantly. She had been in such a tizzy about him watching her by the pool
when she came to try to recall his name she couldn’t even remember it!