In the meantime here's another excerpt from one of the new stories, "Ways To Break A Good Man, 3":
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DCI Ben Millard noticed the girl with the flame-red hair as he was walking back to the station after lunch. Or rather, it was her perfume he noticed first—a seductive melange of sensual aromas that surrounded her in a cloud. The perfume tugged at his nostrils as he walked past, teasing him with fragments of half-remembered erotic exploits. The scent seemed familiar although he couldn’t place it. Maybe it was a brand Adrienne used to wear.
Millard pushed thoughts of Adrienne aside. Not today.
Even though he was single now, Millard didn’t usually look at other women. Old habits die hard and all that. This girl was hard to ignore. She stood beneath a streetlamp about fifty feet from the rear entrance to the station. Her appearance was as attention-grabbing as her perfume. Her slim figure was hidden beneath a glossy leather coat that extended down to just above her knees. A pair of long lithe legs emerged from the hem of the coat and terminated in a stylish pair of black shoes. Her hands and wrists were covered in a matching pair of black gloves. Lustrous red hair cascaded down onto her shoulders in waves of shimmering fire. Millard thought she resembled a starlet from an old ‘70s thriller. Unusual to see a young woman embrace the old fashions. Classy. Most girls today were either aggressively dowdy or ineptly raunchy.
“That’s a bit of alright,” DI Martyn Ward said to him as they passed her and entered the station.
“Bit young for me,” Millard said.
“Never stopped Berlusconi,” Ward said with a wink.
Considering he was a detective chief inspector in one of the largest metropolitan boroughs, Millard’s afternoon was remarkably incident free. He debriefed the team on the forensics results from the latest murder case. Case was possibly too strong a word. One young lad, Joe Turner, had stabbed one of his mates in a petty dispute over a girl. They had the motive—as feeble as it was—the murder weapon, and both Turner’s fingerprints on the murder weapon and his DNA at the crime scene. This wasn’t one for the casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
Oh, the young lad would continue to swear black was white even when given irrefutable evidence of his guilt, but it would be enough for a jury. Millard was sympathetic to the plight of disadvantaged youth, but—god help them—they didn’t half make it harder for themselves.
And that was mostly it for the afternoon. Millard took advantage of the brief respite to get stuck into his paperwork backlog. No doubt another alcohol-sodden city-centre weekend would leave him with a full plate of work again when he came back in on Monday.
“Hey boss.” Ward popped his head around the door as the hands of the clock swept around to five-thirty. “Looks like we’re all done here. We’re going to have a poker night over at Chris’s. You in?”
Millard pulled a face. He looked at the phone sitting on his desk. There was still one item sitting in his in-tray.
“Sorry, Martyn. Still some work I need to get done. Maybe next time.”
“Sure, no problem, boss. Give us a buzz if you change your mind.”
Millard knew Ward was trying to help. They all were after that . . . business with Adrienne. The frustrating thing was this time he would have come along . . .
He looked at the phone again.
. . . if there wasn’t something else he had to do.
Millard carried on with his paperwork for another ten minutes or so and then got up to stretch his legs. He walked over to the window and watched as most of the staff headed out to either their homes or their local watering holes. He was tempted to say sod it and join them.
He noticed the girl with the flame-red hair was still waiting underneath her streetlamp. Her arms were folded and she glanced left and right along the road. She couldn’t be a working girl, could she? She’d have to be a bit daft to set up a pitch here, not fifty yards from the largest police station in the city. Poor lass must be waiting for someone. No doubt they’d be in for an earful when they finally showed up.
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This one has links with another story in the collection and features a returning character from the last collection (Freedom).
Coming soon (providing I don't collapse from overwork :) ) . . .