The sun streaming in through the large windows was soothing on Emma's skin as she sat curled in her large armchair, leafing through her copy of 'Advanced Bridge' for what could easily be the thousandth time. Everything was quiet, everything was peaceful...

No, not quite everything.

Leaving her book carefully open at the right page she got sinuously to her feet and moved over to the open bedroom door.

"Steed, would you please stop snoring? You're positively ruining my morning," she said, straight-faced.

He grumbled in his sleep and shifted in her bed, muttering something along the lines of "Go away.", at which point an irresistible idea occurred to her.

"Steed?" she repeated sweetly, walking towards the bed and sitting on the edge. "Steed, wake's a beautiful day and I'm all on my own..."

His eyes snapped open and he frowned. "Mrs Peel?"

"Yes?" She leaned in closer, a wicked smile hovering on the corner of her lips.

His gaze flickered around the room before returning to her eyes. "Mrs Peel, would you kindly tell me why I'm in your bed?"

"Why do you think you're in my bed?" she asked in a seductive voice, and the worried look that crossed his face made the whole thing completely worthwhile. "You were hit over the head outside my door," she continued normally. "Giving you somewhere to sleep it off was naturally the least I could do."

He relaxed and smiled, then winced. "My head feels as if I've been stampeded by a herd of cattle."

"No, just one man with a particularly heavy briefcase. All dealt with."

"Why thank you, Mrs Peel."

"All part of the service." She stood and eyed him critically. "You look perfectly fine. Just, next time you call on me, don't forget to check round the corner to make sure there aren't any nasty businessmen lying in wait, hm?"

Steed assented with a tip of his head and sat up, relieved to find himself still wearing his shirt and trousers from the night before.

Emma, noticing his expression, laughed airily from the door. "Oh, don't worry, Steed. Your virtue is quite safe with me."

All she got in return was a sceptical raised eyebrow.

She laughed harder.