An excerpt from the book
My trunks ballooned with the buffeting of the whirlpool and fizzed when I squeezed them flat. Steam, heavy with the scent of menthol and eucalyptus, rose around me and cleared my head. A few minutes of this and I would be as right as rain. Might even be able to face Diana. I lay back, stretched out my legs and closed my eyes. Christ, she could have injured me—killed me. Was it even safe to go back there? Well, I had nowhere else to go. Even if I had to go down on my knees and beg.
“Room in there for another?”
My eyes sprang open. The guy had left the pool and was coming down the steps into the Jacuzzi, steadying himself on the tubular handrail. I sat up and contracted myself into as small a space as possible while he located the seat beneath the foam and settled down.
“Quiet tonight,” he said.
That accent, what was it? There was a hint of something. What did they call it? Mid-Atlantic?
“Makes a change,” I said, shifting in my seat.
He smiled. I sort of smiled back.
“I’m Attila, by the way.” He leaned forward and offered his hand.
His hand was still cool from the swimming pool, his grip firm. I now noticed the tattoos on both arms, green and orange serpents entwined around swords or daggers. They reminded me of my father’s. How I used to tremble when those arms came towards me, harbingers of pain. I looked away. Time to get out.
“Well,” I said, climbing the steps. “Might see you around.”
He nodded and smiled again. I could feel his eyes on my back as I took my towel and headed towards the door.
The changing room was still deserted, still in a mess. I dumped my wet towel in the bin and took a clean one from the rack, then went into the inner sanctum where the showers, sauna and steam room were. Since everywhere was empty, I took advantage of the steam. I sucked in the hot, moist air a few times to clear my lungs. The only sound in there was the occasional rasp of the steam outlet and the steady dripping of the condensation. Through the misted door I could see that someone else had come through from the changing room.
Attila’s outline was unmistakable as it emerged through the clouds of steam that gathered and tumbled around the open door...