Love You Dead (Roy Grace, #12) by Peter James Read Online (FREE)
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Tuesday 10 February
The two lovers peered out of the hotel bedroom window, smiling with glee, but each for a very different reason.
The heavy snowfall that had been forecast for almost a week had finally arrived overnight, and fat, thick flakes of the white stuff were still tumbling down this morning. A few cars, chains clanking, slithered up the narrow mountain road, and others, parked outside the hotels, were now large white mounds.
Everyone in the smart French ski resort of Courchevel 1850 was relieved – the resort managers, the hoteliers, the restaurateurs, the seasonnaires, the ski-rental shops, the lift companies, and all the others who relied on the ski season for much of their livelihood. And, most importantly of all, the winter-sporters themselves. After days of blue skies, searing sunshine and melting snow, which meant treacherous ice in the mornings and slush and exposed rocks in the afternoons, finally the skiers and snowboarders, who had paid top money for their precious annual few days on the slopes, now had great conditions to look forward to.
As Jodie Bentley and her elderly American fiancé, Walt, put on their skis outside the boot-room entrance of the Chabichou Hotel, the falling snow tickled exposed parts of their faces beneath their helmets and visors.
Although a seasoned skier and powder hound, this was the financier’s first time skiing in Europe and he had been relying all week on his much younger fiancée, who seemed to know the resort like the back of her hand, to guide him.
They skied down carefully in the poor visibility to the Biollay lift, just a couple of minutes below the hotel, went through the electronic turnstiles, and joined the short queue to the chairlift. A couple of minutes later, clutching their ski poles, the wide chair scooped them up and forward.
Walt pulled down the safety bar, then they settled back, snug in their cosy outfits, for the seven minutes it took for the lift to carry them to the top. As they alighted, the wind was blowing fiercely, and without hanging around, Jodie led the way down an easy red then blue run to the Croisette, the central lift station for the resort.
They removed their skis, and Walt, despite suffering from a prolapsed disc, insisted on carrying Jodie’s skis as well as his own up the ramp to the lift. As a red eight-seater gondola came slowly round, he jammed their skis into two of the outside holders, then followed Jodie in. They sat down and pushed up their visors. They were followed by another couple and, moments later, just before the doors closed, a short man in his fifties clambered in after them, wearing a smart Spyder ski outfit and a flashy leather helmet with a mirrored visor.
‘Bonjour!’ he said in a bad French accent. Then added, ‘Hope you don’t mind my joining you?’ He settled down opposite them as the gondola lurched forward.