Mystery/Crime, 380 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud
Penny Jackson is slowly re-building her life after the abrupt end of her marriage, when she falls in love with the charismatic hotelier, Robert Carver. When dark unspoken family secrets start to surface, Penny has to re-evaluate everything and rely on her own wits to stay alive.
With a flicker of regret, Josh turned his full attention to the voice becoming increasingly agitated on the end of the phone. “I understand, Mac, but I can’t interrupt him at the moment. I’m sure he won’t be much longer.”
Josh held the phone away from his ear to avoid Mac’s rant perforating his eardrum. Satisfied Mac had finished, he tried again. “The circus isn’t scheduled for another fifteen minutes. I’m sure he’s aware of the time and he won’t want to keep them waiting.”
Josh struggled to attach his cufflinks with his free hand. “I don’t need to ask him. I can categorically say he will not want a private interview with Wendy Humphries. There’s not a chance of him agreeing to that.”
Josh held the phone against his suit leg to try and mute the sound and listen to the raised voices on the other side of the thin partition wall. “I’ll knock on the door in ten minutes. I will tell him the black widow is here, but he isn’t going to happy about it.”
Josh carried the phone into his adjoining room, opened the first closet and selected a tie. From an early age he’d realised the office was his father’s home and it was the only place he was likely to attract his father’s attention. “If that’s really what you want, I’ll let you know when he’s free.”
He closed his phone and wandered back to the wall separating his suite from the vast expanse of the office next door, making a mental note to improve the soundproofing when he moved in there. He had not seen Sophie arrive, and he didn’t want to see her leave. The noise of something hard thrown with force across the room sent a vibration through the wall. He heard the anger in her voice and reluctantly had to admire her guts. “Absolutely no way—I want nothing to do with you. I’m not interested and never have been. You’re all imprisoned in those expensive dark suits you swan about in. Did you really think I could be handcuffed to a Louis Vuitton handbag?” This was followed by the slamming of the door and silence.
Josh slipped out his phone and speed dialled Mac. “Give us another five minutes.” He counted to ten and checked that his tie and the crease in his trousers were perfectly straight, a habit Josh as a small boy had picked up from his father. Appearances are everything. Josh knocked tentatively on the door to his father’s office and opened the door when instructed. Pulling himself erect, he strode purposefully forwards, his eyes warily searching the elegant frame of his father for signs of fatigue.
Without turning or averting his gaze from the bay below, Robert said, “Sit down, son.”
Josh sank into the deep leather seat and ignored the shattered paperweight on the floor. Then he checked the heavy gold watch his father had presented to him on his twenty-first. “Mac would like to see you before the press conference.”
Robert turned from the window, sat on the edge of his heavy, old-fashioned desk and said, “Stupid girl.”
Josh focussed on his father’s shiny black shoe rhythmically swaying backwards and forwards. “I take it things didn’t go well with Sophie?”