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To give you a taste of my book The Unseen, here is an extract from the beginning of Chapter 3.


Traffic jostled for position both sides of the motorway, never allowing Sean to test the five-year-old Mercedes allocated from the motor pool. Cars were constantly swapped between team members so no outside observer knew which vehicle belonged to whom. The front hubcaps were missing, one wing was re-sprayed, but the engine purred to perfection. He allowed an hour from his home in St Albans to the team’s covert operations office in Cricklewood. An hour of thought and contemplation, mostly on his work, but frequently on his ex-marriage and access to his daughters. Camilla claimed her infidelity had resulted from his neglect and constant absence at work. His crime, she insisted, and counter-accused with accusations of his own infidelity. Though innocent, he knew such accusations from an operational view point would be hard to disprove. In the balance lay unrestricted access to his daughters. For certain Camilla stayed determined to play the offended bitch and kept a constant presents by her insistence on Danielle to innocently intimidate and frustrate with French charm, beauty and sensual presence, a temptation from which he stood forbidden; plus her insistence on private education to cripple his finances. The rewards were no legal recriminations, no open court battles to twist his daughters’ love, instead he had them most weekends, had their happiness and the chance to see them grow.

Such thoughts drifted between car noise and the constant ring of his mobile, mostly from his office in Cricklewood, but this time from Cobbart, his boss.

“Sean, have something for you, urgent.”

Sean drove straight to the Serious Organised Crime Agency headquarters in Pimlico. The message had been urgent.

His chief’s office lay in its usual shambles of organised chaos. Files were piled high, the desk littered with notes and computer printouts ready for shredding.

Chief Superintendent John Cobbart sat in an untidy bundle of pinstriped suit, dandruff and half-rimmed glasses, his manner gentlemanly, his expression inscrutable. Sean gave respect to the man, he even liked him, but the divide of seniority always remained.

“How are those girls of yours?” Cobbart asked, waving him to a seat.

“Growing fast.” Sean sat. “One already thinks she’s a woman.”

“Ah, for days of long ago,” he paused. “You remember Superintendent Sammy Sinclair?”

“He had a bad end.” Sean visualised the man, balding, red-faced with a gut bulging from an enlarged liver. He had once lectured when Sean was a cadet at Hendon Police College. The man had shown a sharp-witted brain; drink only kills so much of a person.

His boss pushed the papers on his desk and looked uneasy. “He was a good copper, one of the Old Boys. And that particular club are unhappy with the way he was treated.”

This is Masonic, Sean thought uneasily and said, “Suicide is a lonely, desperate act. The man drank himself to hell.”

“He had his reasons, though I question whether he made his own exit.”

“The coroner said he did.”

Cobbart’s expression changed and for the first time he looked human enough for Sean to realize the man suffered emotions.

“Sammy had a daughter, Lizzie, from a marriage long in pieces,” Cobbart said. “Lovely child.” He shifted in his chair, eyes downcast. “She was my goddaughter. A year ago Lizzie was murdered. I want you to investigate it along with another unsolved murder. At the same time, I want the true circumstances surrounding Sinclair’s death. I’m certain they’re linked.”

“SOCA doesn’t do murders.”

“Not officially, not unless they’re involved with organised crime.” Cobbart cleared his throat. “If you solve the tragedy of the Sinclair family I can guarantee the Old Boys will be forever grateful. Don’t under-estimate that gratitude or their power.”

“I’m a new boy on the block, John. I’m not a Mason, not part of the Old Boys’ network and I never will be. Besides that, I’ve Operation Back Door in progress.”

Cobbart’s big white teeth appeared in the troll smile from which he earned his nickname, a cynical smile edged with devious interpretations. “Operation Back Door is looking at the trafficking of assassins for use by organised crime, correct?”

Sean nodded. The guy knew it was correct.

“Perhaps one of those assassins has been used in these murders.”


“But possible. Therefore I’m letting Operation Poor Girl run in tandem with Operation Back Door. I’ve even managed to get limited funding.”

Sean sighed. He had no doubt of the power and influences that Cobbart and the Old Boys represented. He also had no doubt he was being thrown into crossfire between the politically correct paper fillers and the Old Boys’ Club. From either side he was on dangerous ground. At the same time, Cobbart would not have placed this on him without absolute trust in Sean’s loyalty. Shit.

“What of the other murder?” Sean asked by way of acceptance.

Cobbart’s expression showed brief satisfaction, then darkened. “Like Lizzie, the other woman was attractive and successful. When Sinclair retired on medical grounds, he investigated his daughter’s death and linked both. Each killing was extremely brutal; both women were computer buffs. Both the killings were in London and both are on the shelf. That is totally unacceptable.”

Frontcover of the unseen

For more information about all my books go to my author’s page on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/q2ta3z6



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To give you a taste of my book The Unseen, here is another extract from Chapter 2. Extracts will continue every Wednesday and Saturday.

Extract from CHAPTER TWO

The new warmth of early spring and the tranquillity of the English countryside gave Sarah little comfort. For the first time in her career she was perplexed by indecision; to tell her partners of Richard Caswell’s unscrupulous behaviour in marketing PKL shares, or join in his deceit. Torn between conscience and ambition, even on her walk she found indecision over which path to follow.   Her normal route to the right led through pine and dappled sunlight, the left fork traversed meadowland to Rattlers Wood, a place of dark and heavy deciduous trees, a place never visited.

She chose the left fork. Logic told her it was foolish, she would be late back for her meeting, late back to reveal that for two years PKL had used subliminal psychotic induction to influence sales and make their games the best-selling in Europe. With substantial shares and sale distribution rights, her company had much to lose.

“This way gives me time,” she spoke in whispered excuse as she walked, her hands thrust in pockets, her gaze on distant sheep. Inside her jacket she clasped her mobile, occasionally turning it in her fingers. Why walk to a place she did not know if not to gain time? She put her indecision down to conscience and a desire to escape. Since reaching level ten of the PKL video game and entering Princess Kay-ling’s Garden of Serenity, the compulsion to visit Rattlers Wood had grown steadily. She enjoyed walking into the unknown to explore where the inhibited feared to tread. Like the use of Ben, her young gardener. Why shouldn’t she satisfy the licentious frustrations of a single woman nearing middle age? It kept her slim and conscious of appearance. She desired more eccentricity in her life than addiction to a computer game, even if such addiction had resulted in making her a wealthy woman.   PKL was heading towards becoming the best selling computer game ever; providing they didn’t get caught. She picked up a stick and thrashed the grass.

“How could you be so stupid, so greedy?” she said aloud, as if Caswell was beside her. Five days ago she had felt pride on reaching level ten. The first person ever, the first person to walk through the gate into Kay-ling’s Garden of Serenity. But for the first time also, the screen showed graphics without action. Without the distraction of moving characters, her keen eyes became drawn by the flickering pulse of words which read the same as the constant thought in her mind. Buy PKL shares. Realisation and anger came immediately. Throughout the hundreds of hours playing PKL, Caswell had influenced her to buy PKL shares. She held thirty percent of their stock. To tell the truth would cripple her finances plus those of every shareholder.

Richard’s denial had come with sharp anger.

“Rubbish. Absolute fucking rubbish,” he had shouted. “You’re losing it woman, becoming addicted with visions of fantasy. It’s a game, not real. Maybe we should check your distribution contract for a mental health clause.”

But when she downloaded the following programme, the Garden of Serenity had been overwritten. More suspicions; and still he had not agreed to an investigation.

Ahead of her, at the boundary of Rattlers Wood, raucous crows tussling on the ground caused her to hesitate. Go into the forest or turn back?

Puffball clouds dotted the sky and the air was still, perfumed with the scent of spring. Sheep dotted the meadow. Looking one way she saw the perfect rural setting but looking the other way she found more crows sitting on the wire, all watching her with bright, hard eyes. Those on the ground fought over the carcass of a dead ewe, the victim of some rogue dog. They picked out its eyes, flapping their wings and squabbling while plucking putrid flesh.

Sarah turned away. She wanted the solace of rural England, not its dark side.

A fence post gave support as she braced herself to precariously straddle long legs over the wire, finally hauling herself onto the far side. She had no right to be there. Rattlers Wood was private land, the property of some trust or forestry company. The sort of place she liked to visit with Ben. Sex had always been a favoured indulgence, particularly with someone fifteen years her junior. Sex gave a break from computer games, from the stress of business and money. It gave the woods new meaning and a reason for her to explore new places. Somewhere here was a spot for future use. She had visualised it in her mind, a vision which had been there for weeks, as if in a dream. It was a Kay-ling kind of place, a circle of trees where grass lay open to the sky. A beautiful and secret place, a place of sanctuary.

Without sheep the grass grew calf deep and then gave way to new bracken interspersed with areas of flat leaf mould. The smell of budding foliage grew intense.   Within minutes of moving from the boundary she was totally enclosed by trees. Her sense of isolation became overwhelming, as if the world outside had been severed, her thoughts and conscience free to decide. Accumulation of wealth could not be used as an excuse, she thought. She had morals, ethics.   Children and young people played these computer games. Subliminal psychotic induction had the premise of evil.

She found the clearing within three hundred metres of entering the forest. It was as she had imagined, tall grass and warm sun in a surrounding wall of leaves. She had seen it many times. Where? She thought, how?

“Buy shares, visit Rattlers Wood,” she whispered. “Oh dear God! No.”

A branch cracked and bushes rustled. Sarah stood motionless, listening to a second single crack of dead wood, realising she was not alone. She saw him over her left shoulder, a square faced young man, clean-shaven, his mouth open, his eyes staring, no movement, no expression, as if a wax dummy.

“Knew you’d come,” he said. “The Colonel is always right. I’ve been watching you, waiting days for you to get here.”

“What do you want?   I don’t carry money,” Sarah said, unable to prevent a quiver in her voice. Should she run? She was no longer fit, instead she fumbled for her mobile.

His speed was startling. As he closed the gap between them she screamed, her feet slipping on damp leaves. Next moment she was thrown full stretch on the ground. One of his hands pinned her throat, strangling her voice as another hand unfastened her trousers. He was immensely strong, stronger even than her terror. She thrashed, punched and kicked, her half-choked cries startling crows out of the trees and into the sky. The next moment he twisted her over, her face rubbing into leaf mould as he lifted her legs, yanking her trousers around her ankles.

“Welcome to Zoby’s world,” he said, pressing her shoulders to the ground. She screamed again, screamed to the crows and the empty forest, feeling the brutal pain of him thrusting inside her.

Frontcover of the unseen

For more information about all my books go to my author’s page on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/q2ta3z6



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To give you a taste of my book The Unseen here is an extract from the beginning of Chapter 2. Extracts will continue every Wednesday and Saturday.

Extract from CHAPTER TWO

Her back to the door, Danielle fussed over the kitchen worktop not realising Sean had entered. For seconds he surveyed her trim outline, then joined Rebecca, his hormonal fourteen year old daughter, at the table.

“Hi Dadda,” she said, not looking up while frantically scribbling homework.

“Breakfast!” Danielle called. “Eat now or be late for school.”

“I’ve gained half a pound,” Rebecca said. “I don’t do breakfast.”

“Half a pound for a young woman is nothing, please eat your cereal, it’s slimming.” Danielle placed croissants and coffee before Sean as Rebecca scooped cereal onto a spoon, holding it in the air while still scribbling with her other hand.

This appeared to satisfy both and Sean glanced between the two, his gaze slipping slowly from Danielle, her slight smile, her boyish face and pageboy hair cut always a pleasure to see. At forty he figured maybe he had started suffering middle-aged fantasies, for he never failed to imagine a sensual presence in her eyes, same time he also saw a barrier forbidding him to cross. Something about her stance, her manner and strong will made him suspect. Camilla, his ex-wife, had found Danielle through friends. Sean had no objection, she kept house, cooked his meals, looked after Sophie during the week and both girls when Rebecca visited weekends. Not that male desires had ever nudged him to cross the unspoken line, but he suspected Camilla was vindictive enough to have deliberately set him up to share house with a mature twenty-nine year old PhD student with preference for her own gender. Who cared? She was a great cook. Pity she had handed in her notice, her study time in England having run its course.

Sophie strutted in, posing at the threshold, one hand on her hip, the other against the frame. She wore her new prep school uniform, box-pleated skirt, white blouse and primrose tie. Sean felt pride and love brush the world aside.

Danielle clasped hands. “Oh Mademoiselle, vous êtes elegant et si belle. What style, what poise – please to join us for breakfast.”

Sophie’s model walk was not textbook.   Sean kissed one cheek, Danielle the other.

“So my first week at boarding school,” Sophie said. “But I am taking my computer games.” She drew a yellow play station from her skirt pocket.

Sean placed an arm to encircle her shoulders and Sophie leant her head against him. For seconds he closed his eyes. All Camilla’s demands for private schooling in exchange for unrestricted child access were worth such moments.

“My eight year old little girl is growing up, leaving home.”

“But I’ll be back next weekend, every weekend we’re not visiting Mum. So just watch out.”

“Yeah, well I’m going to be a real meanie. When Danielle leaves, the housework gets left so when you two visit you’ll be scrubbing, washing and cooking.”

“Dadda.” Rebecca looked up, chin on curled fist. “Don’t fib, you wouldn’t do that. You’re the biggest softy going. And we love you for it”

“Children, who would be a father?

“You would Dadda.” Sophie hugged him. “Because we know you’ll get a lovely housekeeper to do everything while you take us to the theme park. But if you really want us to work … but you wouldn’t, would you?

“OK so I get a housekeeper, but who’s going to look after you, my little sweetheart?”

Rebecca shuffled books into a briefcase and stood from the table. “Don’t worry, Papa, she’s got big sister to mind her.” She came round the table, her fitted skirt high over mid-thigh.

“That skirt’s too short,” Sean said, sitting straight.

“Father, get real.” She helped herself to a Ryvita. “I’m wearing 70 denier black tights, they’re the decency item. The skirt’s simply for school rules. Tell him, Danielle.”

“Les filles seront toujours des filles et les pères, toujours des pères. Eat and be happy.   Tomorrow skirts maybe long and computer games a bore.” She sat sipping coffee while the girls ate. Concentration lasted two minutes.

“Dadda, take us somewhere special next visit, please. You know Bradley took us for lunch at the Park Lane Hilton in his new Mercedes, then to the cinema. So you gotta do better.”

Sean grimaced at visions of his ex-wife’s partner, a pink shirt, highlighted hair. “Let’s be original. Let’s sightsee London top of a number 9 bus.”

“Cool.” Rebecca cracked another biscuit and moved from the table. “Can’t wait to tell my friends.”

Danielle stood and started stuffing textbooks into a monstrous shoulder bag. “OK, mademoiselles, we are late. Cases in car. Make sure you have your school work.”

Sean watched his two daughters gather equipment as they hurried from kitchen to hall, assembling coats, cases, sports bags and carriers. He hated this moment. It was Camilla’s method of absent torture. The school was only forty minutes away. Danielle could have fetched and carried, she had time. He rose when Sophie came for her hug.

“Miss you already, Dadda,” she said, clinging around his waist.

“Miss you too, little sweetheart. Have a good week.” She stretched on tiptoes as he bent to kiss her.

Rebecca came next, embracing with both arms, her cheek against his chest. Silence said more than words. Sean kissed her head. “Take care, my lovely. Call mid-week.”

“Rely on it. Bet flash Brad’s never been on a number 9. Love you, Dadda.” She returned the kiss.

Sean watched them depart in Danielle’s ancient Citroen.   He felt sadness. His girls were growing up, soon they would be growing away, vulnerable to what lay out there.

Frontcover of the unseen

For more information about all my books go to my author’s page on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/q2ta3z6



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To give you a taste of my book The Unseen here is another extract from Chapter 1. Extracts will continue every Wednesday and Saturday.

Extract from CHAPTER ONE

Stella lay as left, conscious the blood from a split lip wet her chin, staring at the ceiling, her mind swirled in self-contempt, then loathing and hate for the animal now leaving the house. Tears mixed with the blood, tears driven by all-consuming rage. Wileman had been right. Hate came so easily, hate for the hand which fed her, for the one who had abused her, but mostly hate for herself.

Time passed, she had no idea how long, time meant nothing. Then a face appeared above her, a friendly, female face with motherly concern.

“I’m Diane Hopper,” the woman said. “You’re safe now. I’ve brought a doctor and one of our security personnel. We need to take some DNA swabs and your statement. Need to get that lip cleaned up. Rape is a serious crime. Caswell could spend his life in jail should a complaint be made.”

“You knew this would happen, what this guy would do?” Stella sat, lowering her legs and pulling at her skirt.

“We know nothing, only our orders. So let’s get started.” She beckoned the doctor.

Stella remained wrapped in self-loathing, complying with instructions, signing the sworn statement, allowing treatment to her lip. The clothes Diane Hopper produced from a case represented a full outfit with price tags Stella only dreamt of.

“Welcome, Stella, to the House of Wileman. I’m instructed to inform, you now have a new position, Head of UK Research and Development. Mr Wileman said by now you would understand the need for past events. He also said be careful. Richard Caswell is a very violent and dangerous man. Oh, and Stella, don’t report anything to the police. Starway’s security will handle this.”

When they had gone, Stella dressed, cold to the caress of the expensive lingerie, the silk blouse and business suit. All fitted perfectly, all had been planned. Staring into the mirror she examined her puffed lip, her bruised cheek and discoloured eye. Yes, she understood. She had been used. Wileman now had the threat of a rape charge over Caswell and her hatred of him. Hatred enough to kill. She shivered. If they were capable of doing this just to trap Caswell, what might they do to her if she failed them? Yes, she understood. With hatred came self-loathing and fear.

Frontcover of the unseen

For more information about all my books go to my author’s page on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/q2ta3z6



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To give you a taste of my book The Unseen here is another extract from Chapter 1. Extracts will continue every Wednesday and Saturday.

Extract from CHAPTER ONE

“SPI over computer screens directed at the right people could put our country in the direction we require, indeed, we could influence our whole civilisation.”

Caswell curled his fingers into a fist. “Covert control by the unseen. Money, just think of all that money.”

“Which is why I’m closing you down.”

“What?” He stepped back, sagging, his arms splayed.

Stella sat motionless, teeth clenched, trying not to gloat over Caswell’s demise. What game was Wileman playing?

“Such controversial research is highly volatile. Any connection to my company would be disastrous. Your programme is terminated forthwith and you are dismissed from Starways.”

“You’re kidding me? I’ve proved what we can do.” Caswell raised both hands in bewildered question.

Wileman remained looking out to sea, his expression bland. “At this point, Richard, note the extent of my power over your bank account. Then listen to my requirements.” He paused. “You listen too, Stella, because your research is not dissimilar. WorkWell, our new business and office support application, will soon be ready for integration into the Starways operating system. In England you will set up a company and using what Stella sends over, you’ll develop WorkWell so it accepts coded SPI viruses. In other words, install a facility which will interpret certain coded viruses as updates from a source provider.”

“That would corrupt your own software.”

“You misunderstand. What I want you to develop and incorporate into the WorkWell programme is a means whereby a virus from an unknown source, but carrying the right code, is accepted by the software as legitimate. These viruses will lie in a server or PC as a Trojan horse. They will not damage or cause a problem. Their only function is to send subliminal messages to the terminal user whenever there is screen movement. Within two years SPI, subliminal psychotic induction through our WorkWell application, will influence the world, will influence the money markets and politicians. Think of that, Richard.”

“But why England? Why not here, in America?”

“Starways must never be involved. If we were ever accused of experimenting with SPI it might be interpreted as an intention to influence individual or public opinion. The media would slaughter us. That’s why this meeting is private and witnessed only by Stella, who in turn chooses to prove her loyalty and obedience beyond question.”

“But why go to England?”

Stella felt her breath, sharp and short. She swallowed and watched Wileman turn hard eyes on the Englishman before raising a bony finger. “It is illegal to use SPI on the public. If the government found out they would confiscate our research for themselves. They too would like to influence, the Senate and House of Representatives. Perhaps even now they watch us, waiting to intercept and steal our programme and they would use it, Richard, believe me.” He shook his head. “All done while the courts crippled us with a fine of billions. No, security is paramount, that means out of sight and out of mind, somewhere in Britain.”

“Employees would talk.”

“Not if you pick only those who share your morality and ambition. Pay them well, the same way I do Stella, then you’ll have their silent obedience,” he said and squeezed her hand. “You will start a cover company known as PKL. Starways own the rights on two computer games, Princess Kay-ling and Killing Fields. PKL will pick up those rights very cheaply. You’ll infuse both with the SPI research already developed. Over the Internet you can then send SPI out to these games as a virus and use the British population as guinea pigs. As a British firm, you will also be a listed sub-contractor on the WorkWell application. But the sole purpose of your involvement will be to adapt the application to accept SPI which had been developed through the games. For every other appearance your work is to create an SPI firewall provided as an upgrade.”

“For user safety,” Richard added.

“Diplomatically put. But our insertion must be designed so no-one can trace the source. At all times we must remain the unseen.”

“Starways will fund the whole operation?”

“Starways will have no involvement. Your set up funding is in place via Russian contacts. Thereafter PKL should make enough profit to fund itself.   I don’t want you drawing attention. Use any excessive profit to keep trusted employees silent. Your reward will be waiting here when you return and that reward will be substantial.”

“I have a free hand?”

“Stella will use her research programme to covertly pass you information, otherwise no-one this side will come near you. Insofar as Starways is concerned, you’ll be a minor British non-entity and totally deniable. But there are three provisos. You must stay clean and you must stay hidden. Keep PKL as a family game, that’s where the money lies.”

“You’re on, Mr Wileman.”

“The third proviso is, when finished, you remove all traces of research in the UK, then via Stella you will personally deliver the results of your work to me, here at Casco Bay. On no account must you transfer anything relating to Starways by e-mail or let any other party have a copy. The result of failure in this would be unpleasant for you. Stella will monitor your progress and be your only contact.”

“Have no fear, Mr Wileman, my ambitions will always be at your disposal.”

“Excellent. Go down to the summerhouse and wait for Stella. You may use her as you please. She won’t like it, but she’ll accept. She also has ambition and once she sacrifices her integrity to that ambition, then I will trust her loyalty.”

“Mr Wileman, what’s going on here?” Stella said, watching Caswell saunter down towards the beach. “Listen, listen please. I’m not a whore and I see no logic in what you demand. You already have my loyalty.”

“Do I, Stella? Well, I demand more. I need your hatred of Richard Caswell, your ruthless determination to destroy him if required. I need your anger, your contempt. The path

you have chosen is the building of power for the purpose of self. It is a path without morals and to that end we are all whores. Your mind and body are but a means to an end. Greed has placed mankind on the edge of destruction; only control by the strong will save the human race. Do you wish to be amongst the strong? Because if we fail what will occur over the next hour may well occur every day of your life. I know Caswell, I know his past, his lack of morals, but I chose you to stand with the inner circle, with the unseen.”

When Stella entered the beach house Caswell had stripped to his shorts, the hang of his gut folding over the stretched waistband.

“Can we talk this through,” she said, moving from the door and circling the open plan floor as he came towards her. “Wileman has this notion that if I let you make love, there’ll be some kind of bond.”

“Love, Stella, who’s talking of love? I don’t want love, I want absolute control. I want you suffering and humiliated.”

“Listen Mister, you’re crazy.” She put the couch between them as he crossed the room. “I’m not some floozy and I ain’t gonna let you fuck me like some pig.”

His movement and precision came much faster than she expected from a middle-aged slouch. Stepping on the couch he grabbed her blouse and a handful of hair simultaneously, pulling her over the back so she fell head down to the cushions, her legs flaying the air.

“I don’t intend to love you, Stella. I intend to rape you, to fuck you purely for my pleasure. Have you monitor my progress, some chance. You don’t know half of it. Soon I’ll have power over you as I have power over Zoby, eventually over Wileman, power over everyone who uses a computer.” One hand reached into her skirt, grabbing and yanking at her pants, while the other ripped open her blouse.

“You bastard, fucking get off me. Fuck off.” She thrashed her arms as his overweight body pinned her full length on the cushions. His hands seemed everywhere, ripping, pulling, grabbing. Reaching her nails to his neck, she gouged in primeval retaliation, clawing until the back of his hand smacked hard across her face. For moments her sight fragmented then another blow hit her mouth. In the dazed cloud of pain she laid comatosed, feeling his full weight flop over her, feeling him probe then enter her body, feeling him heave and squirm, then in seconds roll away.

“Bitch,” he said and began to dress.

Frontcover of the unseen

For more information about all my books go to my author’s page on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/q2ta3z6

Next time you switch on your computer are the unseen waiting to enter your mind, or are they already there?


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To give you a taste of my book The Unseen, here is an extract from the opening of Chapter 1.  Extracts will continue every Wednesday and Saturday.


Stella had no defence against Caswell’s gaze on her body, nor his predatory thoughts which she sensed creeping through her clothes with invasive lust. Beneath her business smile came an uncharacteristic tremor of nerves. Familiar with appreciative glances, she occasionally encouraged them, but this guy made her feel like meat. This guy stirred fear.

“If you would follow me, Mr Caswell.” She indicated the stone steps and led him from the terrace of Casco Bay Villa towards a rocky headland on the Maine coast. Looking towards the sea and Atlantic swell, she heard his overbearing presence follow her.

“I expected this meeting to take place at Head Office in New York,” Caswell said.

“Head Office is wherever Mr Wileman resides,” she replied over her shoulder, conscious his eyes now devoured the minute quiver of flesh beneath her fitted skirt.

“Does he always have such good looking young women around him? You must be really useful to him, an old boy like that.”

Stella compressed her lips and continued in silence, trying to distract with thoughts of her boyfriend, of the progress on her thesis, trying to lighten her descent so her breasts did not shiver with each footfall on the hard steps.

“I mean, lot of the top guys I mix with got personal assistants resembling dragons beyond their sell-buy date. But you, you got something else, including one peach of an arse with legs stretching way up. I see you’ve no wedding ring. Fancy dinner tonight?”

Stella squared her jaw and wrinkled her nose. “Thank you but I have a previous engagement. And I am not Mr Wileman’s PA, I am researching for my PhD in computer technology.”

“Brains and beauty, now that I like. You ever need a job, come work for me. I got a special position in mind.”

Stella took a turn in the downward path and allowed silence for an answer, her thoughts finding sanctuary amidst the gulls circling on outstretched wings. The sight calmed her annoyance but did little for her uncertainty as to why Wileman had summoned her, why her instructions included escorting Caswell from the villa. She assumed Wileman wanted to learn about her research. After all, he paid for it. The Wileman Foundation had lifted her from childhood poverty, had schooled her, put her through college and university and now paid a salary while she wrote her doctorate thesis. Wileman had opened all the doors, this had to be important, least for her. She didn’t know about the guy screwing her butt. She just wished he was someplace else.

The path turned to an outcrop of trees, then became lost as it wound down to the beach cove and summerhouse. Wileman sat on a bench overlooking a small cemetery with white picket railings. Sea air brushed his wrinkled face while his gaze remained on the distance, as if lost amidst the sounds of surf and gulls.

“Mr Wileman,” Stella called. “The British executive, Richard Caswell. You said to bring him.” She stopped by the bench and pushed strands of loose hair behind one ear. She sensed her face was glowing and her brow moist.

Oscar Wileman looked between them before offering his hand, only then did Caswell remove his eyes from her. Still flushed she gave full attention to her boss, fingers clasped sedately, hoping for something good. Wileman stayed silent for a moment then indicated she sit beside him. Expensive clothes draped his thin body, his spiky hair standing oblivious to the breeze as he examined Richard from behind rimless spectacles.

“Pretty girl, ain’t she?” he said, as if she was not there, his face without animation, his blue eyes bright and cutting.

“Exceptionally so,” Caswell smirked.

“Stella,” Wileman said her. “I’ve asked you here because your future work will have direct influence on Richard’s project.”

“As you wish, Mr Wileman.”

“Oh I do wish, Stella. You’re a bright young lady with a bright future. I have things planned for you.”

Stella felt relief and shuffled her feet. Maybe this was her big opening.

“She has a Masters in flash advertising on computer screens. It’s there for seconds, then gone, not dissimilar from what you do,” Wileman said. “Her brain and body are wasted here, but I like to have intelligent and pretty girls around me. It’s a privilege of wealth.”   Wileman turned back to the fenced graveyard. “I bury my animals in this plot. Dogs, cats, a bear, even a llama. Plus a few other creatures. This is my pets’ cemetery.”

“To have kept so many you must love animals, Mr Wileman,” Caswell said, Stella loathing the false smile on his round, chubby face.

“No. I amuse myself by training them. I do so by feeding their ambition and greed. In return they give me obedience. As Stella will give. Because of it she will do whatever it is you intend to ask of her.”

“Mr Wileman, please.” Stella sat up sharp, putting hand to bodice. “I will always follow your wishes, but I’m not sure I understand.”

“It’s simple, Stella. I need your total obedience no matter what I ask. And this assignment will be proof of that obedience. When I picked you and others from the gutter, when I educated you, I did so for a reason, for possession of your soul. And I if I say lie down and roll over, I expect just that. You got a problem, you can leave right now, leave my company and my payroll.”

Stella felt her mouth open as she twisted on the bench, felt her gaze drop, felt fear creep to every fibre of her body.

“I … I.” Her eyes closed and moments passed.

“Witness, Richard, the control of wealth. Witness and learn. If you want money, Richard, this is your opportunity, but first, like Stella, judge which is more important, morality or ambition.”

Stella stared between the two of them, hating both, hating her inability to leave, her weakness in not speaking out.

“My morality is yours, sir,” Caswell said, his eyes on her breasts.

“Good, because I’m talking about control of America, control of the financial world and all the power that acquires. America’s vast debt and the infighting of politicians over solving it puts this country and, indeed, mankind on the brink of collapse. If you cannot pay the army and the police, you cannot rely on them. The result, chaos, anarchy, a return to the primeval.”

“I’m with you, boss.” Caswell nodded his head and Stella watched his intrusive gaze give way to self-righteousness. “If you have ability to influence the politicians, you have ability to control the people.”

“And make a lot of money.”

“I assume you refer to my work on subliminal psychotic induction,” Caswell said.

Frontcover of the unseen

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To give you a flavour of my book Global Raider here is the final extract from Chapter 2.

Extract from CHAPTER 2

Sitting in the lead helicopter, Jake hit the immediate action button and sent fifteen ex-Delta Force scrambling for two military Black Hawks. As they clambered aboard clutching assorted weapons, Jake’s luxurious Sikorsky S-76C was already skimming the rooftop of the Humarock beach house.

Jake sensed the surge of adrenalin which caused the glory-bound excitement he had discovered when a a mere captain in Iraq. Direct persuasion, he liked that term. Old man Walsh would have been informed of his daughter’s situation immediately and a helicopter would now be transporting him from Philadelphia to Walsh Towers in New York.

“General, this is Navro.” The man spoke over air transmission. “I just flew past attack point. No accident, no police, no ambulance.”

“I read you, Navro. Trace now passing under the freeway and skirting South Weymouth airstrip. They’re heading for the woods. My guess is, they got a chopper somewhere. Take highway five three. I have a wager we retrieve within fifteen minutes.”

“What’s the situation, Jake?” Wat Walsh’s voice cut in on the general’s headphones.

“Sweetpea now on red six minutes, forty-five seconds. Tracker beam gives a moving target. We have three choppers in the air and closing.”

“Is this code red for real? What the hell’s happening, Jake?”

“It’s for real, sir. It’s the only way my men play.”

Juliet had lost her scream and was losing her strength as she struggled between two women. A third cut the gold chain from her neck.

The bedlam of noise from sirens and the shouted commands of her attackers were joined by the hacking thump of approaching helicopters. Juliet jabbed a bare heel into the stomach of one assailant, causing the woman to stagger. The others began pulling at the tracker bracelet.

With the under-slung searchlights of three helicopters on full-beam, Jake gave orders for each machine to fly parallel either side of the road, ensuring their quarry had no way to escape, holding the ambulance in a cone of moving light. Highway five three had taken them deep into open country. He saw no other traffic; no lights.

“Navro, go forward and use your beam to block the road. The moment they stop, we hit.”

“On my way, General.”

Jake watched the S-76C lift higher and swing forward in a wide, sweeping arc. A mile ahead it hovered feet over the road, both searchlights directed onto a single blinding cone centre of the highway.

Beyond the windscreen Juliet saw the road become a dazzling circle of brilliant whiteness. The driver was screaming out his panic, jabbing the brakes, toppling Juliet into a jumbled heap of sprawling bodies. Moments later she felt the ambulance bounce off the road, its nearside wheels furrowing downwards as it tipped over.

Looking up through the windows from where she lay, she saw the night sky change to an incandescent glow of multi-coloured lights as men abseiled from hovering machines. Within seconds, the ambulance door crashed open and she was dragged out with the others, all of them thrown spread-eagled in the dirt. The noise of machines and shouts rammed into her head, obliterating any rational thought. Hands searched over her body, which was then lifted and bundled between a crush of men who hurried in close order from the ambulance and her abductors. She had no idea if she was saved or caught by others; to live or to die. Everyone was shouting; no one listened to her protests. She could distinguish nobody’s face or make sense of what they did. Against her will she began to cry. Didn’t they realise Lisa was dead? Away from the helicopter they placed her on the ground and left her on hands and knees while the squad of men returned to darkness.

“Hostage secure, sir,” someone shouted behind.

“Twelve minutes, twenty-two seconds. Well done, Juliet.” General Hammerton came out of the shadows and offered his hand. “No need to cry, you’re safe now. My God, you did well. Your papa will be proud.”

“They killed Lisa. They put a sack over her head and shot her.”

“Navro,” the General called on his handset. “Get your ass down here. You got a passenger for New York.” General Hammerton clasped her arm, leading her towards the S-76C as it settled on the road, the downbeat thrashing at her skirt and hair, whipping road dust to sting her face.

“Lucas, what about Lucas?” Juliet pleaded, wiping her eyes.

“Don’t worry, Miss Juliet. We’ll tell Mr Lucas you’re safe.”

Juliet wanted to explain but stopped as the helicopter door slid open. In the flutter of light there was no mistaking the lithe figure who leapt from the interior, running towards her with arms wide.

“Baby, oh my baby. What have they done to you?” Lisa swept her into a hug.

Juliet buried her head against the warm and comforting body, pressing her face and her tears. “I thought you were dead; I thought they’d killed you.”

“No, babe, no, just stunned. Come on, let me get you out of here.”

Arms around her shoulders, Juliet allowed herself led to the helicopter. “Who were they?” she asked. “What did they want?”

“Just don’t worry, Sweetpea. You’re safe now.”

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The next extracts will be taken from my book The Unseen, starting on Saturday 5 September. In the meantime take a look at my author’s page on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/q2ta3z6



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To give you a flavour of my book Global Raider here is an extract from Chapter 2. Extracts will continue every Tuesday and Friday.

Extract from CHAPTER 2

Lisa slowed the Mercedes as it approached the flashing lights of a patrol car and a line of stationary traffic. She reached for her mobile.

“Medensky, where’s that situation report?”

“I’ve cleared you with County Office.” Medensky’s voice came back.

“Cleared us for what? God dammit.”

“Hope no one is hurt.” Juliet leaned forward, caressing the feline warmth of her new pet.

From out of the shadow a uniformed officer flickered a floodlight over the Mercedes’ licence plate and came round to Lisa, kneeling as she lowered the window.

“Miss Walsh?” he enquired.

“Who’s asking?” Lisa’s hand lay on the butt of her Glock automatic.

“Officer Mattlock. Been a bad smash ahead. Road won’t be cleared for an hour but we have a patrol car on the other side waiting to take you home.”

“Why us?” Juliet asked. “Other people are waiting.”

“Orders down from the County Sheriff’s office. You got powerful friends, Miss Walsh.”

Lisa hesitated on her call over the mobile. “What about the Mercedes?”

“We’ll look after it – deliver it back when the road’s open. Mind if I get in, show you forward?”

Lisa shook her head. “You mind handing me your gun?”

“I can’t do that, Ma’am.”

“Then you walk in front. Keep a distance, nice and steady so I don’t get nervous and run you over.”

For seconds the officer’s intended reply was plain on his face. Instead, he breathed deep and said. “Just follow me, Ma’am.”

Juliet clicked her tongue. “Now you’ve upset the nice policeman. Better be careful with your speeding.” She watched the officer move forward and start to pace with the unhurried gait of a funeral director.

Lisa kept the car a couple of metres behind.

“Rules for girls, big and small. Never take sweeties from a stranger and never let a stranger into your car. No matter what he’s dressed like.” She went back to the mobile. “Medensky, who did you speak with at County Sheriff’s?”

“Some guy up top named Driscoll.”

“You arranged some clearance with them?”

“No, they arranged it with me.”

“Medensky, stay on immediate response.” Lisa reached out and switched off the mobile. “Juliet, baby, put down the pussy cat and hold your call alarm. I’m hiking this situation to code red.”

“Oh, Lisa.” Juliet rolled her eyes. “They’re the police. People are hurt.”

“Do as nanny says, or nanny will get cross.”

Juliet winced in despair but hoisted the cat to her left shoulder, leaving her right hand free to grasp the gold alarm pull around her neck.

“Lisa, you’re over-reacting.”

“Over-reacting, nothing. I just saw a flea jump off that mangy creature. For Christ’s sakes, Juliet, until we’re clear, get smart and concentrate.”

Juliet looked from the safe luxury of the limousine to the lights of the stationary vehicles and their frustrated occupants. Once past the police car blocking the lead vehicle, the Mercedes traversed a blind bend and stayed in darkness until turning a second. Ahead, emergency vehicles and patrol cars formed a barrier beneath a single, portable floodlight. Beyond, an ambulance stood in readiness, its doors open, its interior a gleam of brilliant light. Lisa halted the Mercedes beside the officer. Juliet saw hunched figures, police or paramedics. The officer tapped her window, indicating for Lisa to release the central locking.

“You have to walk from here, ladies. Car’s on the other side.” He opened the door for Juliet. Lucas squirmed in her grasp, forcing her to let go the alarm while she tried to calm him. She saw Lisa lift the mobile from the dash and un-holster her Glock, holding the weapon at full drop as she left the Mercedes.

The close proximity of the car bonnets forced them to single file, squeezing them one by one through the gap, the officer first, Juliet behind and Lisa at the rear. The area had emptied of people. Juliet sensed the cat bristle, its nervous agitation triggering her own uncertainty. The tighter she held, the more the animal twisted until the slipperiness of its feline fur shot from her fingers. Momentarily, its paws touched onto a car bonnet, then it leapt through light for darkness beyond. At the apex of its leap, the explosive impact of a single shot pulped its body into a slick of flesh, blood and torn fur, the rear legs extended in flight before it fell to the roadside.

“Lucas.” Juliet’s voice screeched in her own ears, her chest tight with horror.   She twisted back to Lisa and heard her friend’s muffled shout as two men rammed a sack over Lisa’s head and shoulders; a third forced down her gun arm so the neck of the shroud was drawn tight about her waist. Juliet’s second scream was solitary.

Hooded figures appeared from nowhere, crossing the light like animated shadows. The next instant she was thrown bodily onto the ambulance floor, spinning round on her knees as a second shot racked open the night.   Before the door slammed shut, she saw Lisa’s body on the highway, her shrouded head in a pool of blood.

When a pair of arms circled and lifted from behind, Juliet reacted as taught. Allowing her body to go limp she let both arms upwards, slipping in her attacker’s grip, forcing him to bend and change his hold. In those brief seconds, her hand snatched at the gold cylinder secured around her neck. She knew the miniature transmitter sent an instant, but powerful signal to the house at Humarock and Walsh Towers in New York, then changed to a pulsed tracker transmission. The initial signal would be picked up by a dozen different receivers, activating computers which gave a combined cross-reading to locate her position to within three metres.

Juliet squirmed, kicked, punched and clawed as she was lifted onto a stretcher, arching and writhing her torso to prevent strong hands from strapping her down. Her screams were drowned by the wail of sirens while the ambulance turned in the road, its lights flashing past waiting traffic towards the freeway.

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To give you a flavour of my book Global Raider here is an extract from Chapter 2. Extracts will continue every Tuesday and Friday.

Extract from CHAPTER 2

Jake brooded as the Sikorsky helicopter juddered its way towards Cape Cod, its turbulent frame stimulating memories of Iraq and Afghanistan. A time he remembered when a soldier knew his duty, knew the meaning of patriotism and endeavour, a time he considered the most important in any man’s life, a time of war. Ten minutes after his call from the mortuary, he dialled Wat Wash on their personal link. Jake dispensed with pleasantries.

“We have ourselves a situation. Max Crawley’s chief admin officer, Luke Perry, got himself run over by a truck; dead and gone.” Jake listened to the silence of shock, then Wat’s gravelled voice came over the transmitter, no hint of African origins, just moneyed New England.

“Does his family know, does Max know?”

“Nothing out yet. But when the police found Perry’s security pass they called the FBI who called Walsh Securities on account of his briefcase. Inside were copies of classified documents.”

“You check their grade?”

“They originated from somewhere high. Looks like we got enemy in the compound.”

“Shit. Has Max Crawley been informed?”

“I’m about to relay the news.”

“If the FBI are onto this, we need to contain damage. I suggest we put the towers on maximum security.”

Jake imagined the dapper little man pacing his Philadelphian mansion, his fists clenched, his eyes closed as he calculated the cost to his bank balance.

“Negative, Wat. Let’s keep this wrapped. Maximum security would have the media on our ass. I’m putting the doctor and his department under twenty-four-hour close watch surveillance. If we can identify an accomplice, we can interrogate.”

“God damn, this had to happen right near completion. Where’s Juliet?”

“The tracker bracelet puts her heading for Humarock after a visit with Lucas. She’s safe, but I think we need her in deep cover, at least until Raider is handed over.”

“Agreed, but I can’t force her. She’s determined to stay and her liaison with Lucas is important.”

“Kids sometimes need direct persuasion,” Jake said, and looked out into the darkness.

“Get a meeting set up with Max, my office 0800 hours,” Wat said.

Jake listened to the contact go dead and knew he’d torn the great Mr Walsh apart, divided between the safety of his two loves, GR4, unmanned stealth bomber extraordinary and Juliet his daughter, an exasperating female. Jake pressed buttons for Dr Max Crawley, wondering if the little faggot was lying on pink satin.

“Bad news, Doctor. Your chief exec just got himself run over, dead.” Jake smiled down to the scattering of lights two thousand feet below and heard Crawley gasp in disbelief.

“How in God’s name?”

“Tripped on a kerb. Now he’s slabbed out in the city morgue with a head like a pancake.”

“This is awful.”

“Worse, he was carrying classified documents from your department. We got a meeting in Wat’s office at 0800 hours tomorrow. I know you and Perry were close,” he paused. “That will mean awkward questions. I’ll be in my office from 0700 hours if you want to look in, it may save you grief.”

Jake switched off and returned the mobile to his pocket whilst smiling. Across the cockpit, Navro jockeyed the craft through the glow of silver moonlight. “You know,” Jake said. “I think I upset the guy.”

“Are we rolling, sir?” Navro asked.

Jake felt real pleasure in his smile as he looked to his subordinate. Navro was a sculptured mass of muscle who kept the light in his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. Ex-marine captain and expert in martial arts, he was the kind of man Jake trusted. A good soldier, from a good army. Jake took pride in hand picking his men. No one would push Walsh Securities, not even Delta Force. “We will be, Navro,” he said. “I’m just about to apply a little direct persuasion.”

“Stop!” Juliet’s scream came the same instant she saw the flash of feline eyes, then the Mercedes was over it. In reaction, Lisa swerved into the emergency lane, stopping amidst a squeal of brakes and rubber.

“Did I hit something?” she asked. They were stationary beneath a high, concrete rampart. Juliet was out of the car even before it stopped, running from Lisa’s frantic warning.

“For Christ’s sakes, get back into the car. We’re on the fucking freeway.”

Juliet ran twenty metres before she found the cat crouched under a cable duct. It appeared in a state of bewilderment, its belly down flat, its teeth bared in retaliation to fear. She was unable to judge if it was hurt. The animal hissed warning.

“Come on little thing,” she coaxed, keeping her voice gentle, her hand in offering, not touching. “You’re going to get squashed out here. Come to Juliet.” Taking a chance, she tentatively stroked the animal’s head.

“What the hell are you doing, girl? Will you get back in the car!” Lisa came beside her waving a Glock automatic.

“Don’t yell, you’ll scare the cat,” Juliet said, trying to maintain gentleness in her voice.

“Fuck the cat. You’re in a high-risk zone. You want me fired?”

“I don’t think it’s hurt.” Juliet slowly reached and carefully scooped the frightened creature into her hands. Lisa was on one knee, automatic at arm’s length, threatening any passing traffic which slowed.

“Return to the car, Miss Walsh, or God help me, I’ll strap your ass so hard you won’t sit for days.”

“Take no notice of her, she’s only bluffing.” Juliet gently turned the cat to cradle its back. “Maybe it’s sick. Do you think it’s sick, Lisa?”

“Are you listening to me, girl? For Christ’s sakes, move it.” Juliet was grabbed by her arm and dragged upwards. The cat seemed content to remain cradled as both were marched back to the Mercedes. Fifty metres ahead, a second car had stopped, its driver leaning on the roof, looking towards the approaching traffic. In the darkness, the myriad of passing lights flickered his silhouette. Lisa only took her eyes from him during the seconds she checked the abandoned Mercedes and thrust Juliet inside.

“Don’t you like cats?” Juliet adopted her best little girl smile, watching Lisa climb in opposite before slamming her door.

“Don’t you butter me up. You had me shit scared.” Lisa returned the automatic to its holster then swung back into traffic, checking the parked car as they passed. The driver was out of sight. “You might have got run over, snatched, shot. Did you see that guy watching? Jesus, I’m going to give you such a spanking.”

“I think I’ll call him Lucas,” Juliet said.

“It’s probably got fleas. Anyway, how do you know it’s a boy?”

“Because he’s smiling at me.”

Lisa answered with silence, increasing speed, continually swapping lanes and checking her rear mirror for a tail.

“Sorry,” Juliet said finally and touched her arm. “Didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You forget young lady, you’re the most precious thing in your daddy’s life. If he ever hears I let you out on the freeway, my butt will be down the road and you confined in your gilded cage.”

Juliet stroked the cat, not looking at Lisa as she held up the tracker bracelet locked around her wrist.

“I’ve never been out of my gilded cage; not since Momma died.” She heard Lisa’s protracted sigh of resignation and knew she’d won. She stroked the cat and took comfort from its acceptance of her while lights from other people’s lives and houses passed in the night. She let silence calm Lisa’s mood.

A month previously her father had rented a summerhouse overlooking the ocean near Humarock, Massachusetts. It was, he said, a place of her own to entertain friends. But her friends were all hand picked from the empire, approved by security and never allowed to break the rules of conduct. If they did, they were out, whether Juliet liked it or not. Neither did she believe the house was hired for her personal benefit but to allow an exchange of visits between herself and Senator Lucas Kean far from New York’s social gossip.

In truth, she liked the place. The views were magnificent while the grounds were surrounded on three sides by forest. She frequently swam in the ocean, trying hard to ignore the flotilla of ex-navy seals who bobbed around in diving gear or high-powered inflatables. On the estate, ex-Delta men patrolled the woods and hid in the shrubbery when she strolled through the grounds. The only place outside in which she had privacy was an enclosed courtyard containing the pool. To rebel against those beyond the wall she had taken to swimming naked, waving if any patrolling helicopters infringed her air space. She enjoyed the sense of wickedness in deliberately exposing herself to those who guarded her vulnerability. Lisa scolded her, but Juliet just pouted and encouraged her to do likewise. At least Humarock provided a measure of freedom and peace to organise herself. She had space to research, to write her thesis and more important, escape the tension smothering her father and Walsh Towers, tension emanating from Jake Hammerton and his Draconian security.   She kept the rules, stayed obedient under the dark memories of her mother’s death and saw no reason why Jake Hammerton should send her to England. The cat began to purr and Juliet switched on the radio, searching the stations until she found a Mozart concerto.

“Love seeketh not to please, nor for itself to bare, but in another give its ease, and build a heaven in hell’s despair,” she quoted to the cat.

“What? You say something?” Lisa asked.

“William Blake; I was quoting a poem,” she said.

Lisa activated a hands-free mobile over the dashboard then eased the Mercedes off the expressway to a state highway. “This is J one,” she called base. “We’re heading route one hundred, twenty-three, towards Green Bush junction and ocean, ETA thirty minutes.”

“Would you please ask them to ready some milk and a little supper for Lucas.” Juliet stroked the cat, which purred in contented lethargy, its eyes closed, its body snuggled between arm and lap.

Lisa grinned final forgiveness. “You’re some blossom, Sweetpea. Medensky,” she called back over the mobile. “We picked up a casualty. Ask the kitchen to rustle up some milk and fish paste for our return.”

Juliet twisted in her seat as Lisa checked the rear-view mirror. From the darkness of the open countryside the screech of sirens and flashing lights gave shrill and urgent demand to their right of way. Lisa slowed and pulled over, allowing three police cars and an ambulance to pass in a tight-packed convoy.

“Must be a bad one,” Juliet said, calming the cat which had tensed its body.

“The way they’re driving they’re going to cause a bad one,” Lisa said, returning the car to its former speed. She leant to switch on the mobile. “Medensky, give me a situation status, highway one, twenty-three.”

“Nothing on that. Want me to check with County Sheriff?”

“Do that.”

Juliet fidgeted, waiting to speak, feeling she could delay no longer. “Lisa, we’re buddies, we’re close.” She briefly touched Lisa’s hand. “I got to tell you what I’ve planned, because you might be upset. I’ve rented a cottage up in Vermont. When I next see Lucas I’m going to ask him to spend three days there with me, alone.”

“Baby,” Lisa looked across and shook her head. “You can’t do that. Do you know the problems that would cause?”

“Less problems than if I married without doing it. I want him to fuck the hell out of me, see if there’s good sex, then move on to see if there’s friendship and love.”

“Juliet, how do we deal with security?”

“I’ll make him wear a condom. And you can snuggle up outside with his bodyguard. The two of you, deep cover.”

“Sweetpea, that cat will fly before your Papa lets you do that.”

“I won’t tell him. I ain’t going to England, Lisa. I’m going to show Lucas what I expect of him. My question is, do you want in?”

“I’d follow you to the end of the earth, you know that.”

“Thanks.” Juliet lingered with her touch. “I want Lucas to do the same.”

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To give you a flavour of my book Global Raider here is an extract from Chapter 2. Extracts will continue every Tuesday and Friday.

Extract from CHAPTER 2

In the Back Bay district of Boston, USA, Lisa drove the Mercedes away from the elegant, brownstone house Lucas Kean had rented solely for Juliet’s visits. Settling for the long drive Juliet curled both legs beneath her, tugged ineffectually at the hem of her mini skirt and half turned towards her bodyguard. She knew Lisa wanted comment, something to report if questioned by Papa. Papa always wanted to know, Papa had expectations.

“He has nice eyes and a cute butt,” Juliet said finally, rewarding her friend’s patience. “And he kissed me, twice.”

“Eyes for you only, Sweetpea, you have him at your beck and call.”

Juliet shrugged and let the darkness of night hide her grimace. “I’m not sure I want to call. My father sees himself as emperor, Lucas the power. Truth is, I’m just the trinket in between.” She fondled the gold cylinder hanging on a chain around her neck, the metal encasing an emergency pull switch and transmitter.

“Come on now baby, lighten up.” Lisa glanced momentarily from the road, the city lights reflecting over her blue eyes and short blonde hair. “You have yourself a maestro. He’s clean, sharp and flying so fast others burn in his tail fire. He’s in your palm. Number one bachelor of America. Every female socialite wants his name in her diary.”

“But would you marry him?” Juliet asked, twisting the tracking bracelet on her wrist. “A white President with a black wife. I’ll be the symbol of a united America. After the first black President that’s what Lucas is after; and all very noble. But I don’t want to be a symbol, I want to be a woman, a wife and a mother.”

“And First Lady! I tell you, Sweetpea, if I were in your place I’d swallow the guy. But I’m from the wrong side of the track and I ain’t pretty like you.”

“Yes you are. Even Lucas eyes you up. You’re striking, you have presence.” Juliet smiled and touched Lisa’s shoulder, leaving her hand there for reassurance. Lisa was tall with razor cut blonde hair and boyish features. Years of training had developed a solid but statuesque figure, one hundred and twenty pounds of silken muscle capable of flooring three assailants in as many seconds. Sometimes Juliet allowed herself the mental and physical capitulation of being encapsulated by that strength, not the brute power but the essence of domination which lay beneath. It came with tenderness, a touch, a caress, a kiss that lingered seconds too long. Over the years while Lisa had guarded her during time at the university, Juliet had exercised the boundaries of intimacy and friendship in tandem with caprice.   To hide her own uncertainties and to maintain the bond of intimacy, she made frequent play of platonic, sisterly union. She knew this was cruel to Lisa but she did not know how to cope with her own tangle of emotions. She had few people to love and Lisa was her rock in isolation.

“You’re kind, Sweetpea,” Lisa said. “But what I generate is simple lust. You’re different. You have that essential feminine sway, that prettiness which draws men. They want to protect you, yet same time find themselves captivated by your little girl smile. Men see me as fantasy sex.   You’re the girl they want to marry. I watch men, the way they watch you. And Lucas watches you with an open need.   I see it in his eyes. For him, you’re the perfect partner for his perfect marriage.”

“His perfect marriage, Papa’s perfect marriage. But you ain’t got anything unless you’ve got love. And I don’t love Lucas.”

“Love! You’re kidding me, Juliet. What’s love got to do with it? In the perfect marriage, love is what the P.R. men pull out of the package when you go before media. Love is messy. You have to show clean, be snappy.”

Juliet shrugged. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned … husband and kids, a family.” She suddenly wanted to busy herself and found superficial distraction by unpinning her long black hair before shaking it to fullness.

“Come on, Sweetpea, let’s stay real. Love is for dough-heads. Super couples don’t love. They have sex and try not to bite each other.”

“Momma always talked of marriage and love.” Juliet fished a white, elasticated ribbon from the glove compartment and slipped it over her wrist, pulling her hair to form a black, gleaming ponytail which she twisted through the band. She listened to Lisa’s lapse of silence before feeling friendly fingers squeeze her arm.

“’S’OK, baby, I understand.”

Clear of central Boston, Lisa turned the Mercedes up onto the freeway, heading south towards Plymouth and Cape Cod. Juliet did not want silence, she wanted Lisa’s counsel.

“The truth is, I don’t have a choice. I’m Juliet Walsh, daughter of Wat Walsh, richest nigger in America, probably the world. I’m as much a part of his empire as any other commodity. There for use or disposal in securing or expanding the greater whole. But if forced, I want Lucas on my terms, not Papa’s. That’s why I need to stay here this summer I want to know the man I’m expected to marry.”

Lisa’s hand came up over the back of her neck, gently massaged between thumb and forefinger.

“You want my advice,” Lisa said. “You’re right. But you been going with him four months now. Time to take a break and reflect. Listen, Jake Hammerton’s been on the line, he asked if you’ve considered the proposed trip to England. It’ll mean two weeks out of the cage. Also time to look up universities for your PhD.”

“Tempting, but I’m determined to sort Lucas. I have to do this, Lisa. Lucas wants Papa’s money for his campaign. Papa wants a son-in-law who will be President of the United States. Little Sweetpea is the connection. When Lucas asks me to marry, I’m going to face a lot of pressure. I can only handle that if I know we have a chance.”

“And who says romance is dead?” Lisa moved her hand back to the steering wheel, a soft smile on her lips. A sad smile, Juliet thought. She stared to the roadside emergency lane, vision and thoughts lost in the blur of passing darkness and light. Now she felt bitter, her own words having explained her position as the bartered bride. Lucas was charming, kind and courteous, but also fifteen years her senior. He treated her like a child bride in waiting, the pretty princess being groomed for the media. During that evening in their one brief moment of privacy, he had embraced and kissed her, then set her aside as if duty done and courtship satisfied. She would have been happier taking him to her bed, warming him, discovering him woman to man as she had done with other boyfriends during moments of freedom. She wondered if Lucas had ever been a boy, or always a hard-boiled contender for the presidency of the United States.

“You’d think he’d want me in his bed,” she said out of her thoughts. “Any man would want to try the goods.” She shrugged and grinned. “But maybe he ain’t got the balls for it. Next time I’m close, I’ll grab the senator’s jumbo; see if I get a reaction.”

“That’s my baby. You’re beginning to see the light.”

Juliet began to giggle. “As my best friend and confidante, you can have the honour of judging.   I’ll move in close and give a come on squeeze. You watch his face, see if his tongue pops out, then we’ll know he’s for real.”

“Sweetpea, for that show I’ll carry a surveillance camera.”

“And I’ll let you know if the future President has balls enough for the job.”

Juliet laughed, then put her head on Lisa’s shoulder, clasping hold of her arm as she closed her eyes.

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