Finders Keepers (10)

It was over. Last night was the final straw. Not least because of the thrown ring which had struck her hard on the temple and the complete lack of remorse shown afterwards. But also because he had not even tried to deny sleeping with other women. Furthermore, his drinking and drug-taking were spiralling out of control. He was living the rock star life style on her allowance and she had finally had enough.

Her father and brother had warned her but she had refused to listen. Her foster brother had also tried to talk some sense into her but again she had ignored the advice.

Soon enough she was going to have to call her father’s attorney and instruct him to begin divorce proceedings, but not yet. She did not want to burden her father with anything else for the time being as he had already had a terrible week with the resignation of her brother, Jonathan, from the family firm.

Jonathan had been caught up in a horrible scandal involving a young woman whom he had supposedly raped and beaten. The incident had allegedly occurred at the country home of another partner of The Firm, Peter Bearing.

Bearing had apparently paid off the girl, buying her silence. He had then promised not to mention the matter again on the understanding that Jonathan resign from The Company.

Even though Bearing supposedly had extremely incriminating photographs that supported the allegations, Elizabeth did not believe a word of it. Her brother was undoubtedly being set up, if not why would Bearing have taken photographs? Besides, Jonathan was gentle, kind and would not hurt anyone.

Elizabeth’s father, Wendel Wallace, also suspected Bearing of orchestrating the whole thing, utterly convinced that it was all a sham, a complete fabrication. Bearing was a snake who had long wanted rid of both Jonathan and him and would stop at very little to make it happen. However, Jonathan was unable to prove his innocence and the mud would stick unless he did the honourable thing for the good of The Firm.

It was a despicable manoeuvre on the part of Bearing but Jonathan and her father had been powerless to prevent it and now her brother was out in the cold. Shamed, slandered and broken. Her father, still reeling from the hostility shown by Bearing and under an enormous amount of stress brought on by the whole situation, also knew that his head was next on the block.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

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Finders Keepers (9)

Prologue: Part 2

San Francisco, California, 2003
Elizabeth slowly raised her head from her pillow, the mascara from last night’s tears still staining her pale cheeks and the argument with Roger still ringing in her ears. The small cut above her left eye where the wedding ring had struck her – which he had flung at her – was sore and stinging. But the gesture itself had hurt more.

Her head ached as she gently touched the tiny strip of broken skin, about a centimetre long, just above her carefully sculpted eyebrow. She winced, “Ouch!” she exclaimed, “Goddamit.” It was going to scar for sure. That son of a bitch.

She was in their bedroom, fully dressed, wearing the blouse and skirt from the night before, having cried herself to sleep after their huge fight. The most violent and vitriolic so far.

Roger had stormed out. He had driven off into the night, drunk, high and angry, the stench of another woman’s perfume still lingering on his clothes. Elizabeth had no clue as to where he was now – probably waking up in a bar or in jail or in the arms of one of his nubile young groupies, she did not know and she no longer cared.

The marriage was not yet a year old but already it was in tatters. Roger’s womanising, his drug and alcohol abuse had fractured it beyond repair and whilst Elizabeth had tried desperately to make it work he had not.

Their romance had been quick, the attraction instant. He was twenty-five with looks to die for, the lead guitarist in an up-coming indie band which was starting to get noticed and she was a twenty-three year old knockout studying fashion and working as a part-time model. A matched couple, at least on paper.

But there had never been true love Elizabeth realised now. Lust and infatuation perhaps but not love. Roger was too self centred, too selfish to commit to anyone and she was too dedicated to her studies and her family to follow him from gig to gig and from party to party. She also realised, much too late, that her family’s money had been a big attraction for him. The upscale apartment they now lived in and the classic Ferrari Daytona he now drove were paid for by her. So was the antique Gibson he now played, which he had begged her for in return for a few more nights at home. But he had welshed on the deal and she had ended up seeing him even less.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (8)

It was midday by the time Jonathan finally awoke. Very slowly he opened his eyes and almost immediately became aware of the pounding headache.

 “Christ,” he thought, “How much did I bloody drink last night?” He was not usually a big drinker, the odd glass of wine with a meal perhaps, a couple of whiskies if he was out with friends, but not much as whisky made him bad tempered and irritable. He was not a good drunk which is why he rarely partook. But he must have downed a few last night because this headache was something else.

He lay there for a few minutes more before attempting to move and when he did the pain intensified. “Jesus!” He groaned aloud. “What the hell was I drinking?”

Still lying flat, Jonathan glanced slowly about him, trying to determine where he was. He was thirty-four but looked quite a bit younger. The strawberry blonde hair and fresh face giving him a boyish appearance, his good nature and friendly personality making him seem even more youthful. He was sharp and intelligent although not particularly worldly, but people generally liked him which greatly helped his acceptance within The Firm. At least with all but one of the board members.

Jonathan blinked, trying to focus, the room he was in was big and modern with large windows and decorated in the minimalist style. Then he remembered. He was at Peter’s Palace. He was there for the weekend, to try and build bridges with his associate whose attitude towards him of late had been somewhat prickly.

Last night there was a party. It was a good one from what he remembered, although it was all very fuzzy.

There was a girl, he thought. Yes, that’s right, very attractive, blonde, very striking and just my type. But what had happened to her? Then it came back, or at least flashes of it did. They were chatting he remembered, she had a lovely smile and a really infectious laugh. They kissed, he was sure of it. They were upstairs in this bedroom, kissing. She took off her dress. He recalled that she was wearing green satin underwear and stockings, very sexy. He could then picture her on top of him, but the image was blurry. He was sure that they had made love, certain of it, yet he could not actually remember.

‘Dammit!’ he thought, ‘Why can’t I remember anything else!’ Then it occurred to him that she might still be there. Maybe she was in the bathroom or downstairs having breakfast. He hoped so as he would really like to see her again.

‘Ah, breakfast,’ he thought, ‘I’d better get up or Peter’s going to think I’m a terrible house guest.’ He lifted his hand to rub the sleep from his eyes and a piece of cloth that had been lying on his arm slipped onto his face. He lifted it up and held it away from him to see what it was and saw immediately that it was a pair of green satin knickers, identical to those that his elusive lady friend had been wearing last night. They had clearly been ripped off and discarded.

‘Wow!’ Thought Jonathan, ‘did I do that?’ He smiled. ‘It must have been a good night.’ However, he then noticed what looked like a spattering of blood on the material and his smile was replaced by a curious expression.

Jonathan slowly sat up, his head banging like a drum, but it was soon forgotten as he looked down at himself, immediately seeing he was actually covered in blood spatters as if he had measles. Dried evidence of the sex he had with the girl was caked and matted in his pubic hair, confirming that they had, in fact, made love. Then he looked around him and saw that the bed was also stained with large red patches, as if a wounded animal had crawled across it.

Then he saw the belt. It was thick and gooey with partially dried blood. The buckle, too, was covered with it. Gingerly he picked it up and it left a thin red stripe on the bedclothes, like a long smear of paint and Jonathan quickly dropped it again, utterly horrified.

What the hell had happened? What in God’s name had he done?

Clutching desperately at straws he thought that maybe the blood was his, perhaps he had been injured in some way, but after hurriedly checking himself he could find nothing and apart from the banging in his head he felt no pain.

Then his eyes fell on the empty whisky glass and he remembered the girl. He thought of how he got when he drank too much whisky; irritable, morose – angry even – but never aggressive. At least not previously. But had the drink made him aggressive last night? Had it made him violent? Had he somehow harmed that poor girl?

His heart started beating faster as the panic he was already feeling threatened to overwhelm him. And then the bedroom door opened and Peter Bearing strode confidently into the room.

“Ah, Jonathan, old man, I see you’re awake. We’re in a spot of bother, I’m afraid, as you’ve probably realised from your appearance.”

“Oh, Christ, Peter, please tell me what I’ve done,” Jonathan blurted, tears filling his eyes, “I haven’t hurt anyone have I? That young girl I was with, the pretty one, she’s alright isn’t she? Tell me, Peter, please – for God’s sake tell me everything’s okay.”

Bearing smiled inwardly, this was going to be even easier than he had hoped.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (7)

The girl hurriedly snatched up her dress and hobbled off to the en-suite bathroom. A moment later Peter heard the shower running. He could also hear her sobbing deeply. After ten minutes, she reappeared washed, dressed and with her hair brushed although she still looked as if she had been in a car wreck; the bruises on her face were now in full bloom and her lips and nose were badly swollen. She was walking very stiffly, with a wide gait, the wounds between her legs and the welt marks on her buttocks caused by his belt had been made sore and angry by the hot water. But she had made herself clean, although she doubted she would feel properly clean ever again.

Bearing sat in an armchair by the window, the curtains open and the bright new morning shining in. She stopped short as she saw him, Jonathan Wallace was still out for the count on the bed and a trickle of remorse seeped into her brain. If Bearing could do what he had to her, what on earth had he in store for that poor soul she thought.

“All done?” Peter said brightly.

“Yes. Thanks,” she said, her manner timid and extremely wary.

“Good, then that’s us done. Off you go – and remember, not a word.”

“I’ll remember. I promise.” She said, then after a pause limped to the door and slipped silently out, thankful to be leaving.

Peter watched from the window as a few minutes later the girl climbed into her little Renault Clio and raced away from the house up the long driveway towards the main gates.

He picked up the phone and buzzed security. “Open the gates, would you?” He said to the guard who answered, “A guest of mine is leaving and she’s in rather a rush, so please do not detain her.”

“Of course, sir,” said the guard as Bearing replaced the handset.

He then turned his attention to Jonathan Wallace who was ridiculously oblivious to all that had transpired whilst he was sleeping and how very different his life was going to be when he eventually awoke.

As Bearing considered this, he smiled.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (6)

As the dawn arrived, Peter finished his work and the girl grew stronger. Along with her strength a little glimmer of courage returned. “You’re a bastard! You know that?” She said hoarsely.

“It has been said more than once,” Bearing replied with a wry smile as he scrolled through the photographs in the camera’s digital view finder, mentally making a note of the most compelling shots.

“I didn’t agree to that,” she continued, her voice heavy with contempt. “A couple of bruises is what we said. A light slap or two. But not that – definitely not that. Look at me!” Her lip started to quiver and her eyes flooded with tears but she held them back. “You’ve destroyed me. My nose is broken, one of my front teeth feels loose, I can hardly walk – I’m a wreck, for Christ’s sake – everything hurts. How can I work? How can I earn money? Who’ll want me now?”

“We had an agreement and you’ve been paid. That’s all.” Bearing did not look at her as he spoke, she was inconsequential and their business was done.

“No!” She said. “That’s not all and not what we agreed. That was over and above what we agreed by a very, very long way. I want more money. Another ten thousand, otherwise I’ll go to the police and tell them exactly what you’ve done. And I’ll have the money in cash, today, before I leave.”

The words were said with force but there was no real conviction behind them, no real intent and it was obvious.

Suddenly she had Bearing’s full attention and his eyes fastened on hers in an intensely threatening manner. “Now, listen, my dear,” he said, his tone as cold as steel. “Listen very carefully. We had a deal for which you have been handsomely paid. You will not receive another pound, not another penny. If you ever – and I mean ever – mention my name or what has transpired here tonight or any part of our deal to the police or anyone then I’m afraid I will not be responsible for what is bound to happen to you. You see, whilst I am just an honest businessman I have associates who are not so forgiving and far less understanding than me. In fact, the gentlemen I refer to are hardened mercenaries who kill for fun and would like nothing more than to track you down and silence you for good. It would be sport to them, nothing more. All I need to do is pick up the phone and ask, do you understand?”

What remaining colour the girl had in her face drained as she slowly nodded. She had no doubt whatsoever that he meant what he said and was more than capable of what he threatened.

“Are you sure?” Bearing asked, as I would hate for anything unfortunate to happen to you.”

The girl nodded again.

“Good,” said Peter, “Then let’s say nothing more about it.”

“Alright,” the girl said meekly.

“Now, with our business concluded, please feel free to use the shower. You must then get dressed and leave. After that I trust there will be no need for us to ever see each other again.”

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (5)

Forty-five minutes later, Bearing, breathing heavily and standing spent and sweaty above the girl, zipped his fly and re-buttoned his trousers. Then, being careful to leave as much blood on Jonathan’s belt as possible, laid it down beside him on the bed.

Only then did Peter move away from the girl, who was trembling and terrified. “Stand up!” He demanded gruffly. But she made no movement and no reply. “Stand up,” he said again, “Or I’ll make you stand up. It’s your choice.”

The girl roused slightly but still did not move. She felt weak, concussed, battered.

Bearing stepped angrily towards her but quickly she held her hands up, “No, please, I’ll stand, I’ll stand, I promise – just don’t hurt me any more, please!” She implored. Her words were thick and slurred, her swollen lips were split and dripping blood.

Slowly she climbed to her feet and stood shakily in front of him, terrified. Her bra was torn, her knickers completely ripped off and her stockings laddered. There were strap marks on her legs, buttocks and arms along with large blue bruises.

“Come and stand under the light,” he ordered and like a foal walking for the first time she staggered into the centre of the room.

Bearing went to the chest of drawers and pulled out an expensive SLR Camera. Then, like a celebrity photographer at a fashion shoot, turned and began taking shot after shot of the girl.

He made sure he got close-ups of every bruise, whip mark, blemish and cut. She had lacerations on her private parts and bite marks on her inner thighs – all inflicted by Bearing himself – but no one would ever know as there would be no swabs made or DNA tests performed as after today the girl would simply disappear.

Yet, with the camera whirring, he photographed it all.

Finally, for dramatic effect, he artfully draped the girl’s ripped and bloodied knickers over Jonathan Wallace’s arm and took a series of lurid snaps which he thought might have particular impact.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (4)

Back upstairs, in the main house, Peter now made his way up the grand marble staircase to the first floor. He was thirty-five, good looking in an intellectual kind of way with brown hair and slate blue eyes. Tanned and fit, Bearing took good care of himself, he did not drink excessively, did not smoke, apart from the occasional cigar and was the product of an excellent education. He had a beautiful family and enough money for several lifetimes but for Peter none of that was enough. He wanted more. Much more.

At the top of the staircase, Peter paused for a moment to listen for the sound of any stray guests who may have escaped his watchful eye but there was only silence. He glanced out of the window, just to double check that the driveway was completely empty and the last of the revellers had actually gone. The only cars still remaining were a Renault Clio and an Aston Martin Vanquish. The Clio belonged to the girl on Peter’s payroll, the Aston to Jonathan Wallace, her companion for the evening.

Peter then carried on up to the second floor and walked along the wide landing to the furthest bedroom. Outside the door he listened again but once more heard nothing. He knocked softly and waited. A moment later the door opened and a scantily clad blonde in stockings and green satin lingerie ushered him in.
On the bed, next to her discarded Vera Wang cocktail dress, lay Jonathan Wallace, lifeless and completely naked.

“I trust he’s only sleeping?” Bearing enquired.

“Like a baby,” said the striking young girl, her voice prim, very English public school. “He’ll be out for hours darling – you could drop the atom bomb and he still wouldn’t wake up.”

Bearing made no reaction. “It all went to plan? No problems?” He asked.

“No, it was easy. I slipped the liquid you gave me into his whisky when he went to the loo and ten minutes later he was dead to the world.”

“Not before—” Peter began.

“Oh, no. He managed that, darling – just – but I seriously doubt he’ll have any memory of it. I certainly won’t let’s put it like that. He collapsed half way through so I just rolled him off and left him where he is.”

“Good.”

“Do we really need to carry on with the rest of it?” The girl asked quietly, “I mean, I’ve done my bit – he won’t remember anything and I know what to say if anyone ever asks.”

“Yes, we do,” Bearing replied firmly. “He’ll need to be totally convinced. To have no doubt about what he’s done. He’ll need to see evidence. You already know that and you’ve been paid very well.”

“Well, yes, I suppose. It’s just a bit frightening, you know. You will be careful won’t you? Like you promised – you won’t hit me too hard – I mean, my face, well it’s the first thing men see – it’s my living darling, my fortune.” She was clearly scared but knew she had entered into a wicked bargain for a very lucrative reward and there was no going back now.

Bearing looked at her. He understood exactly what Jonathan Wallace had seen in her; early twenties, fabulous figure, stunning looks and very upmarket in a really sexy kind of way. When she arrived at the party she could have easily been mistaken for the nubile young daughter of a duke and duchess. Wallace would have had no idea that she was, in reality, a high priced whore.

Peter had paid her enough to keep her in designer lingerie for years. But now she was going to earn it.

Bearing smiled, then picked up Jonathan Wallace’s trousers, which had been discarded on the floor, and slid the soft leather belt from the loops before throwing the trousers back on the ground. He held the belt tightly with his hands about eighteen inches apart and tugged it twice to test its strength, hearing a rewarding whip-like crack in response. It would do very nicely indeed.

Still holding the belt, he walked over to the door and closed it as the girl looked on aghast. “Of course I’ll be careful,” he said, a wicked smile spreading across his face.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (3)

Bearing’s house was magnificent, built two centuries earlier in over three hundred acres of beautiful Berkshire countryside. Its landscaped gardens and lakes were breathtaking with a mile long driveway that meandered its way through the estate from the gated entrance to the grand eighteenth century residence that stood regally at its end. On the outside the house was very much of its period, rich and exquisitely ornate, but on the inside it was a hi-tech, ultra modern palace with every luxury money could buy.

Indeed, no expense had been spared in making it the perfect advert for success, power and wealth that Bearing intended it to be.

The house had become Peter’s after his father, Teddy, passed away seven years earlier. Back then, the place had been just another drab stately pile; an antique-filled throwback to the Georgian era it was built in. But, as soon as Teddy’s funeral was over with, Peter brought in an architect who gutted and completely redesigned the place. The future was what Peter was concerned with, not the past.

But the house was not Peter’s home. He actually lived in a fabulous townhouse in Mayfair that overlooked Hyde Park, with his young, soon to be ex-wife and their three pampered children who very rarely visited the house in Berkshire. Although most of the time Peter, himself, stayed a short distance away at his spectacular apartment in The City, either on his own or with one of a stream of mistresses.

The Berkshire house was primarily reserved for events, such as hunting, shooting and fishing weekends. It was where he entertained business associates, corporate fat cats and visiting leaders from various foreign states who could indulge themselves to their hearts content.

Peter’s Palace, as the house had become known was a discreet place to play and Bearing laid everything on that his guests could ever need. It was not just the facilities or the fabulous food and drink that was on offer but also women, or men too, if that was their preference – in fact whatever they desired.

But this particular weekend was for just one business associate by the name of Jonathan Wallace. Wallace had become a supremely irritating hurdle that stood in the way of Peter’s meteoric rise to power and it was now time to rid himself of that obstruction.

The party guests had been chosen purposely to complement Jonathan; there were none who would outshine him and none he would feel inferior to.

What is more, the girls hired for the occasion had been hand picked by Peter to cater to Wallace’s specific tastes.

Indeed, one in particular, who Bearing knew Jonathan could not resist, had been primed and paid to deliver exactly what was required.

Jonathan Wallace, of course, was completely ignorant to any of this. He just assumed he had been invited for a fun couple of days; a few drinks, some good company and a little party to end the weekend on a high before heading back to The City on Monday.

But he could not have been more wrong.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (2)

The party had not been arranged for fun, not for Peter at least. It had been purely for business, the key part in a plot he had been hatching for several years and tonight’s entertainment had been for the sole purpose of achieving his goal. This was the moment when everything finally came to fruition.

He drank the remains of the glass of water, pressed his right palm against the small screen of the digital palm scanner by the door then, after hearing an approving ‘beep’, punched in his four digit security code. After that, he snapped off the light in the gallery and shut the thick metal door behind him as he entered the wide hallway that ran adjacent to it. He waited a second for the whir of the heavy-duty locking mechanism to kick in. A second ‘beep’ and three short red flashes of the tiny light above the handle told him the gallery was now completely secure.

The hallway was again very sparse with scrubbed wooden floors, plain white walls, conceptual leather seating and abstract sculptures. Very desirable pieces is how they had been described. Ugly monstrosities is how Peter saw them but again, they were highly valuable and greatly sought after, so he liked them.

The head of the catering company, who doubled as the head waiter for the evening, came to collect Peter’s glass. “Nearly done now, sir,” he said, “They’re just finishing off in the drawing room and then we’ll be off – shouldn’t be long.” Peter nodded his approval and the waiter went on his way.

Bearing gave the man and his team a little longer than had been estimated, just to be certain, but after ten minutes he took the stairs down to the kitchens to check that they had finished.

Years ago, the area ‘below stairs’ used to be the old staff quarters but only a couple of the small rooms had escaped the complete remodelling of the lower level when Peter took over the house. The huge kitchen had been entirely redesigned and modernised and now instead of staff quarters there was a full size swimming pool, a luxury spa and a private cinema with seating for over fifty people. The staff quarters, if ever any were required to stay, were now in the converted stable block at the back of the house. Modest accommodation but comfortable nonetheless.

However, Peter only hired staff by the event now and very few ever stayed the night, unless the occasion specifically required it and even then only those who were absolutely necessary such as maids and kitchen staff. However, Peter always hired the same people, from the same agency who had all been scrupulously checked out and who he paid very well to ensure their complete discretion.

The only permanent staff were the husband and wife team who stayed at the house whenever Peter was not using it, just to manage the day to day running of the place and the ten strong security force who had a permanent base in the grounds – even though the house itself had a state-of-the-art security system that made it as impregnable as Fort Knox.

“That’s us done, sir. Goodnight!” Called the head waiter, who now had his white jacket off and his anorak on.

“Right. Thank you,” said Bearing, “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, sir,” hopefully see you next time.” Said the waiter as Bearing locked the door after him.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

Finders Keepers (1)

Today marks the start of a brand new serialisation. As before, this will run for sixty days with a new excerpt posted every day.

This one is from my second novel, ‘Finders Keepers’, which is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller – a synopsis of which follows, together with the very first instalment.

I really hope you like it – if so, please like share and spread the word but, above all else, please keep reading!

Anyway, enjoy – and look out for excerpt two tomorrow.

Finders Keepers (Synopsis)

Jake Sawyer has lost everything; his business is in ruins and he is sinking under the weight of crippling debt and his wife has left him, taking their two children with her.

At breaking point, he is preparing to end it all when he witnesses a fatal car crash. In a futile attempt to save the driver, Jake discovers a case full of priceless diamonds and, immediately seeing his salvation, takes the case and flees to Europe without barely considering the consequences of what he has done.

A worldwide hunt for the diamonds ensues in which Jake has to evade both the police and the vicious mercenaries who are the true owners of the stones. Along the way, Jake will encounter murder, heartache and love as he desperately searches for redemption.

Finders Keepers is a nail-biting, fast-paced thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page.

Finders Keepers (1)

Prologue

Berkshire, England 2003
By the time the party was over and the last of the stragglers had gone it was four in the morning but Peter Bearing, whose party it had been, was still clear-headed and focused. He, sipped a glass of ice cold Perrier as he wandered casually around his private gallery in his enormous home, trying to appreciate the great works that hung on the walls but, frankly, just not getting it. Peter was a refined, articulate and intelligent man but try as he might, art just did not do it for him.

He was killing time as he waited for the staff to finish up and get off home before he went upstairs. Normally he would let them see themselves out but tonight, or this morning as it now was, he needed to be certain that the house was empty. For what he had planned, there could be no witnesses.

The gallery was sparsely decorated with just two very uncomfortable but extremely stylish black leather sofas placed back to back on the polished black marble floor in the centre of the large airy room. It had been designed to allow the ideal viewing experience, lots of open space in which to sit or stand and admire Peter’s priceless collection.

It was comprised mainly of contemporary pieces, or ‘modern art’ as Peter rather disparagingly referred to it, by artists such as Pollock, Lichtenstein and Warhol. There was also a Matisse, which he thought was vile, a Monet, which was just about bearable, and a couple of extremely hideous Picasso’s which Bearing just could not understand. There was a Lowry too which, in his considered opinion, might as well have been painted by a child. Hanging uncomfortably alongside these, and much to the chagrin of Peter’s art advisor, he had a Rembrandt, a Vermeer and a Constable, which he thought of as ‘proper art’. The advisor felt that even though these were masterworks, they did not sit well with the rest of the collection, giving it a haphazard appearance. Peter disagreed, if Rembrandt was considered ‘haphazard’ then the art world really was beyond his comprehension.

In truth, Peter did not really care about any of the paintings or the names of the artists they were painted by for that matter. All he knew was that they were highly valuable, very sought after and, most importantly, his. And it pleased him very much to have things other people wanted.

Of course, no one from the party that night had been allowed into the gallery as this was reserved for only the most influential guests, those who could appreciate the value of the collection or those he was trying to impress. Mostly those he needed something from in return for his hospitality. Only one person fell loosely into that category tonight, but a look at Peter’s paintings or indeed a weekend at his fabulous home would not be enough to secure what he needed from that one. Other, more extreme methods were required for that.

Bearing glanced at the shiny silver Breitling on his wrist and judged that by now, those methods should be well and truly underway.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here