The Power of the Legendary Greek - By Catherine George Page 0,1

your name for my father, I take you to the Kalypso.’

She told him she was Isobel James and, by the time she’d downed more water and paid the bill, the helpful Alex was on hand again.

‘It is near enough to walk,’ he informed her and picked up her luggage, but Isobel hung on to the backpack.

‘I’ll take this.’

‘It has your valuables?’ he asked as they walked along the marina.

‘In a way.’ She pulled the peak of her cap down to meet her sunglasses. ‘Some of my drawing materials.’

‘You are artist, Miss James?’

Isobel smiled. ‘I try to be.’

Her escort was right. It was not far to the Kalypso holiday lets, but in the scorching sunshine it was far enough for Isobel to feel very hot and travel-weary by the time they reached a group of six white cottages scattered on the hillside on the far side of the waterfront. Offset at different angles amongst the greenery, all of them had blue-painted balconies overlooking the boats bobbing on the brilliant waters below.

Her guide checked the number on Isobel’s key tag and eyed her doubtfully. ‘Your house is last, high on hill. You will not be lonely?’

She shook her head. Far from it. The peace and semi-isolation of the cottage was exactly what she needed.

The other houses had been left quite a distance behind by the time the young man led the way up a steep path quilted with soft, slippery pine needles. He put the bags down on a veranda furnished with reclining chairs and a table, and with a flourish unlocked the door of Isobel’s holiday home.

‘Welcome to Chyros, Miss James; enjoy your stay.’

She turned from the view. ‘I’m sure I will. One last thing—where exactly is the nearest beach?’

‘Next to the harbour. But down here is one you will like better.’ He pointed to a path among the Aleppo pines behind the house. ‘Smaller, very pretty, and not many people because the path is steep.’

‘Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for your help.’ Isobel gave him a warm smile as she said goodbye and went inside to inspect her new quarters, which consisted mainly of one big air-conditioned room with a white-tiled floor and yellow-painted walls. It was simply furnished with a sky-blue sofa and curtains, two white-covered beds and a wardrobe; and through an archway at the end a small kitchen and adjoining bathroom. Everything was so scrupulously clean and peaceful it felt like sanctuary to Isobel.

Her friend Joanna, her regular holiday companion in the past before her marriage, had disapproved of Isobel’s choice and had urged her to stay at a hotel on somewhere lively like glitzy Mykonos. But Isobel had opted for quiet, idyllic Chyros, where she could paint, or do nothing at all for the entire holiday, with no demands on her time. Or her emotions.

Isobel unpacked, took a quick shower and, cool in halter neck and shorts, went outside on the balcony. She sent a text to Joanna to report safe arrival and sat down with her guidebook, hair spread out on a towel over her shoulders to dry a little in the warm air before she set about taming it. A fan of Greek mythology from the time she could first read, she checked the location of the island of Serifos, where legend said Perseus and his mother Danae had been washed ashore in a chest set adrift on the sea, but decided the journey there could wait until she’d recovered from this one.

Isobel sat back, content to do nothing at all for a while, but in the end balanced a pad on her knee as usual and began to sketch the boats in the harbour below. Absorbed, she went on working until the light began to fade and sat up, yawning, too tired to go back down to the taverna for supper. Instead, she would eat bread, cheese and tomatoes from the starter pack of supplies provided with the cottage, then, with her iPod and a book for company, she would go early to bed. Tomorrow, as Scarlett O’Hara said, was another day.

Isobel lingered on the veranda as lights came on in the boats far below, and in the houses climbing the slopes above them. Music and cooking smells came drifting up on the night air as she leaned back in her chair to watch the stars appearing like diamonds strung across the dark velvet sky. Contrary to Joanna’s worried forecast, she felt peaceful rather than lonely. For the first time in weeks