Part 1 of the Jordan-McKeon Trilogy.
From her late teenage years Lady Michaela McKeon faced the trauma of being a single mother, following the tragic death of her young husband. Her second husband had several affairs. She finally finds love in the arms of Bennett Jordan, a self made millionaire and the best friend of her ex-husband Jack. He travels to England to tell her that Jack has died and they finally admit feelings they have had long time. obooko.
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Ben was quickly coming to the conclusion that he was lost. It seemed as if he had been driving for days all though it was, in reality, six hours. The late May day was descending into night. His past experience of driving in England had been to drive from London to the South Coast on a Sunday afternoon. He thought that he would never get used to driving on English roads.
It seemed like a week since he landed at Heathrow Airport, the first stop in his quest to find her. He collected his luggage, went through security and strode through the airport looking for somewhere to hire a car. He looked along the line of desks as he approached and saw the familiar logo of Alamo. Smiling at the young woman behind the desk, he put his suitcase and briefcase on the floor.
"Good morning, Sir!" She said brightly. "How may I help?" "I'd like a medium sized, automatic, please." Ben said, returning her smile.
"Of course! Petrol or Diesel?" "Er.... Petrol, I think?"
"Sorry." She smiled again. "I assumed you would know.
Petrol will be easier for you. How long for?"
"I don't know. It could be three days or it could be three months! I really haven't thought that far ahead."
"Are you staying in London?"
"No, ma'am. I'm going a bit north of Newcastle."
"I see." She suspected the involvement of a woman. "Have you driven on English roads before?"
"Yes, I come over a couple of times a year." "How will you be paying?"
"I've got an account in San Francisco."
Ben proceeded to give his name, address, company and reference number to the woman. She typed the information into the computer in front of her.
"Can I see some I.D. please?"
Ben gave her his drivers licence and credit card.
"Thank you, Mr Jordan. Would you like a map and some directions?"
"Just directions north, please."
Directions given, Ben was shown to the black BMW in the car park. Having been told he could return the car to any depot, he climbed into the drivers seat and did the necessary adjustments. He turned out of the car park and proceeded through the airport exit onto the busy M25 London Orbital. He followed the signs and directions and joined the M1 North bound. After three hours, he pulled into a service area for a, much needed, cup of coffee and some lunch.
He guessed he was about half way. He knew he had to cut across to the A1 near Leeds, which he did with surprising ease.
His journey continued north passed Newcastle and on towards Alnwick. He turned off the main road into a small village, hoping for further directions. When he found the post office and general dealer store, his instincts told him he would find help.
He pulled the car to the side of the road and stopped. He got out and walked round the car to stretch his very weary legs. Reaching into the back seat he removed the thermos flask and poured a cup of coffee. He was grateful for the hot liquid and remembered the elderly lady in the post office who had filled the flask, sold him sandwiches and given him directions. The map was no help to him. All of the little twisting roads looked alike. He felt hopeless. She had given him clear directions, even writing them down.
Ben had left the post office over an hour ago. The signpost for Alnwick he had found. The signpost for Coldstream he had found. Mill Bank escaped him. He opened the map and spread it over the front of the car. The only villages to be seen were Upper
Downham and Lower Downham, both of the names seemed contradictions in terms. The only other signpost was for Millham, which seemed to be set in the middle of a forest.
"Lost!" He said out loud. "I'll never find it! I'll never get used to this country!" Driving off once more he thought that he must come up to civilisation soon. Other wise he had visions of spending the night in the car.
Ben was an easy going man. Standing 6 feet 1 inch tall, his dark blond hair was kept short and neat. His green eyes shone with his unstinting zest for life. He kept his athletic body in shape by horse riding, swimming, tennis and several other sporting activities. Along with Jack, his friend of many years, he had built up a security business from small beginnings to a multi-million dollar organisation that had offices across the United States. Many of his employees were veterans from the Vietnam war, Ben had been a Commander in the Marines and had saved the life of Jack and several other men in his company. He spent a lot of time at charity functions and was known for being in the front line fundraising for children's causes. A loyal man he has had only one relationship since his divorce from wife Caroline. Ever the optimist he will give anyone at least three chances before he decides that he does not like them. Even his patient attitude was wearing thin at this particular moment.
Through the trees that lined the road he saw lights. "Hallelujah!" He said. "People!"
The Fox Hunt Inn stood proudly alone. He parked the car near the door and went inside.
Being the end of May the pub catered mainly for the residents of the three villages nearby.
Ben felt that he had just walked into a saloon in a wild west movie. Everything stopped and everyone turned to look at him as he walked to the bar counter. He was smartly dressed in dark suit and tie. He stood straight and proud.