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Chapter One ~ Pandora's Prophecy ~ Julie Ryan

Chapter One 

Lisa mentally checked off everything on her list: Suitcases packed – check

Passports up-to-date – check

Euros – check

Taxi booked – check

Now if only Mark would turn up on time as he’d agreed, she could relax. Honestly, her husband had no idea of the effort involved in organizing their annual summer holiday. Of course, she was pleased to do it because she knew that if she left it to him, the girls would end up with ten pairs of socks and no t-shirts to wear. She’d never forgotten the first time she’d let him do the packing. It had cost them a fortune at the resort to replace everything he’d left behind and she’d spent the first day wearing his Boxers until she could replace her undies. Naturally, it still didn’t stop him from moaning on the odd occasion when she might have forgotten something.

The very least he could do was to get home on time. He knew how she panicked if they had to hurry. She looked at her watch again. Fifty-nine minutes before the taxi was due. That’s if the taxi turned up on time she thought ruefully remembering the year when they got to the airport with seconds to spare before the gate closed. You really couldn’t rely on anybody these days. She checked the cases for the third time to make sure she’d packed the sunglasses and the sun cream. Her image of beating the rush hour traffic and having time for a leisurely browse around the airport shops was rapidly disappearing. If Mark didn’t arrive soon, they’d be lucky to catch their flight, never mind have time for a pre-flight coffee. It wasn’t as if he didn’t know that rushing around at the last minute put her in a bad mood and was likely to spoil the whole holiday. She looked at her watch again, forty-seven minutes to go. Then she heard Mark’s key in the lock. Breathing a sigh of relief and trying to control her frustration, she gave her husband a peck on the cheek.

“Everything packed, sweetheart? I’ll just have a quick shower and then I’m all yours.”

Lisa groaned inwardly. She’d spent all afternoon cleaning the bathroom so that it would be spotless on their return. She wanted to leave the kitchen and bathroom immaculate if they were going away. Mark always took the mickey out of her as a result. Now she’d have to pick up wet towels off the floor and wipe down the shower cubicle before they left. She couldn’t bear the thought of coming back to the house reeking of stale water.

“Make it quick then, darling. The taxi’s due in thirty minutes. “

It was actually nearer forty but she knew if she told her husband the real time then he’d never be ready. Over the years she’d got used to automatically shaving ten minutes off any appointment they were due to attend together.

She went to check on the girls watching a DVD in the living room and smiled as she saw that for once they weren’t arguing with each other but were singing along to ‘Let it go’ from ‘Frozen.’

“All ready girls?” She asked. ‘”Can we just watch the end?” begged Chloe, the eldest girl.

“Of course, sweetie.” She said.

Wandering into the kitchen, she gave the work surfaces another wipe even though they didn’t really need it, then she dragged the cases downstairs so that it

was one less job for Mark to do. She contemplated taking out his swim shorts. See how he liked wearing her bikini bottoms for a day? Better not, she reflected, it would only put him in a bad mood and she so wanted this holiday to be one to remember.

Little did she imagine that it would be a holiday they would all remember, one which would change their lives, although of course, they didn’t know that yet.

“Honey, have you seen my polo shirt, you know the one I mean with brown and orange stripes, oh and my beige Chinos?”

“They’re already packed,” Lisa shouted.

“Can you just get them for me?”

Padding downstairs to find the suitcase, she grumbled to herself that it was just like having a third child sometimes. She unlocked the case, took out the clothes, locked the case again and went back upstairs.

“There you are,” she said, laying the clothes neatly on the bed as she called to Mark who was still in the ensuite shower.

Mark came out of the shower, shook himself dry in a way that always reminded her of a dog she had when she was little, before toweling off with the tiniest towel he could find. His skin was flushed pink from the heat of the shower and as he went to wrap it round his waist, she could see the beginnings of his arousal.

“Hey, while the kids are downstairs, how about …?”

“We haven’t got time for that — the taxi’s due in five minutes. This time she really wasn’t exaggerating. If he didn’t get a move on, he’d be going to the airport in nothing more than a towel. She picked up the clothes from the bed and almost threw them at him,

“Come on, get dressed, will you, unless you’re planning on going to the airport as you are?”

She didn’t mean to sound so sharp but sometimes she just couldn’t help herself.

“I’m just getting into the holiday mood,” Mark replied with a wink as he pulled her close to give her a kiss.

It didn’t take much to get Mark in a holiday mood she thought resentfully. It would take a stress-free journey to the airport and a couple of gin and tonics in the lounge before she could even begin to feel like she was on holiday. It was all right for some! She started to simmer with resentment that her husband could switch off so easily. It usually took her the first week to unwind and then just as she was starting to relax it was time to come home again. Still, at least this year she wouldn’t be doing any of the cooking. With the girls getting older, she’d booked two weeks all- inclusive to Greece. That was something to look forward to at any rate.

Perhaps she ought to try to get into holiday mode too. While Mark finished getting dressed, she went downstairs to the kitchen and helped herself to a glass of white from the wine box on the counter. It probably wouldn’t taste as good by the time they got back she told herself so she’d better finish it. No point in wasting it!

When Mark finally appeared, fully dressed and ready to go, he was pleased to see his wife’s mood had improved.

“I’m really looking forward to this holiday,” She said, embracing him.

“You and me both,” he replied. “Come on kids, “ he shouted as the taxi beeped its horn outside, “We don’t want to be late, do we?”

Copyright Julie Ryan


Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles.
Jenna's Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. The second book is Sophia's Secret and the third in the trilogy is Pandora's Prophecy. Each book can be read as a standalone.

In a new venture, Julie's latest book is a short rom-com called Callie's Christmas Countdown.

A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.

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