So she’d contacted one of her father’s old acquaintances in Boston to buy a fake passport. That cost money.
So she’d taken—borrowed—the money from Vin. She hadn’t touched anything else in his wallet. Not his driver’s license, or his credit cards, most of them in special strange colors that no doubt had eye-popping credit limits. And after she’d arrived safely in Switzerland via ferry and train from Ireland, and gotten her first paycheck at her new job, she’d mailed back Vin’s wallet, returning everything as he’d left it. She’d even tossed in some extra euros as interest on the money she’d borrowed.
She’d gotten the euros from northern Italy, where she’d gone to mail back the package. She could hardly have sent Vin money in Swiss francs, letting him know where she was!
But that was all behind her now. She’d paid everything back. She and her baby were free.
Scarlett took a deep breath of the clear Alpine air. She’d been in Gstaad for over two weeks now, and finally, finally she was starting to relax. She just had to hope when Vin couldn’t easily find her, he would forget about her and the baby, and she’d never have to worry about him again.
Scarlett passed out of the gates of the chalet, if the place could be called a chalet when it was the size of a palace, and turned her face up toward the sun.
It was mid-October, and the morning air was already frosty in the mountains around the elegant Swiss ski resort of Gstaad. The first snowfall was expected daily.
She had her own event to expect soon, too. Her hand moved over her belly, grown so large she could no longer button up her oversize jacket. Only two and a half weeks from her due date. Her body felt heavier, slower. But luckily her new job allowed plenty of opportunity for gentle morning walks.
She’d been lucky to get this job. When she’d fled the shoe store in New York, racing down the alley to hail a cab on Madison Avenue, she’d already decided exactly where to go. Her mother’s best friend, Wilhelmina Stone, worked as housekeeper to a wealthy European tycoon in Switzerland. Though Scarlett hadn’t seen her since her mother’s funeral, she’d never forgotten the woman’s hug and fierce words, “Your mother was my best friend. If you ever need anything, you come straight to me, you hear?”
Since then, she’d gotten only an occasional Christmas card. But when Scarlett had shown up uninvited and shivering at the gate of the enormous villa outside Gstaad, the plump, kindly woman had proved good as her word.
“My boss just asked me to hire a good cook for ski season. The best Southern cook in the US, he said. Can you make grits and fried chicken? Jambalaya? Dirty rice?”
Eyes wide, Scarlett shook her head. Wilhelmina sighed.
“All right, he usually starts coming here in early December, after the season starts. So you’ve got six weeks, maybe more, to learn how to make amazing fried chicken and all the rest. I’ll put you on staff payroll now. Just make sure you learn to cook for groups of ten or more, because Mr. Black always brings friends!”
For the last two weeks, Scarlett had been trying to teach herself to cook, using cookbooks and internet videos. She was still pretty bad. The security guard routinely teased her that even his dog wouldn’t eat what she cooked. It was sadly true.
But she would learn. Being a specialty chef for a hard-traveling, hard-partying tycoon who was rarely around was the perfect job for any single mother with a newborn. She would be able to take a week or two off to heal after the birth, then work with her baby nearby, almost as if this were her own home.
Plus, Switzerland was the perfect place to raise a baby. Scarlett tucked her hands in her jacket pockets as she walked along the slender road. Gravel crunched beneath her soft boots as she took a deep breath of crisp mountain air smelling of sunlight and pine trees. For a brief moment, she closed her eyes, turning her face to the sun. Her heart was full of gratitude.
Then she heard a snap in the forest ahead of her.
She opened her eyes, and the smile dropped from her face.
“Scarlett,” Vin greeted her coldly.
He stood ahead of her, wearing a long black coat, a sleek dark suit and a glower. She saw a sleek sports car and a black SUV parked on the road behind him. Three bodyguards lined the vehicle, an impenetrable wall of money and power.