Outside, Franklin lifted his head and listened. Everything must have been going to plan in the warehouse, it was always a good sign when there had been no shots. But another sound caught his attention. Franklin knew what the sound was, an approaching motorbike. If the whole gang arrived, they would be totally outnumbered. However, they wouldn’t know that there were police there until they got into the warehouse. There was still no sign outside that there was anything out of the ordinary. It crossed Franklin ’s mind, that if he shut the gate, he would not only stop anyone from leaving, but he would also keep any backup out of the warehouse yard as well. But what the hell, they might as well catch all the rats in their trap. He clicked the radio and let Mark know there was at least one more bike coming their way. As he pulled back into the shadows, Franklin saw a bike move slowly through the gate and pull up in front of the warehouse and then just sit there with his bike idling. Fran
He nodded, humbled by her reaction.She took his hand and led him inside. But she didn’t stop in the kitchen or the lounge. She kept walking straight down the hall into the bedroom. Franklin ’s heart thumped in his chest. She turned to face him, and he started to apologise for not being there for her when she put her finger across his mouth. ‘Shut up.’ She pulled him closer and stood on tiptoe to reach his lips. He lowered his head and allowed the feelings to swamp him. And suddenly, he took control. He turned and backed her against the wardrobe door and kissed her the way he’d dreamed of. And she responded exactly how she had in his dreams, but the feeling that surged through his blood was more intense than in the dream. It was pure bubbling champagne in his veins.Later whenever he thought of that moment, he never could figure out how they made it to the bed, but he sure remembered every touch, the taste of her and every movement they made together. It was simply perfect.Lying ther
Mark heard the air hiss from Franklin as he called a warning to Tommie to drop the bat. The boy’s sobbing subsided as he realised help was at hand and he scrabbled away from Tommie’s vicinity. Sobbing turned to a soft hiccupping, and they all looked at Tommie, waiting. No one moved. One person prayed for Tommie to try something, there were now four guns aimed at him. Tommie slowly lowered the bat.‘Toss it away from you, towards the back wall.’ Mark’s voice was soft and dangerous, and Franklin wondered if he too would like to take Tommie down.The bat was tossed and before they could say anything else, he dropped to his knees, putting his hands behind his head. He knew the drill.Two of them moved forward, still cautious while two remained with their guns trained on him. He was handcuffed before Franklin made a move towards Bubba. Tears were streaming down his face, leaving tracks in dirt. ‘I think he’s broken me bloody knee.’ His bottom lip wobbled, and Franklin put one arm aroun
Johnnie leaned over and put it on pause. ‘Yea,’ corrected Johnnie, ‘except for if you’re recording this and you want to get as much detail in as possible.’ He started it again.‘Okay, keep your hair on. Don’t let your shiny new Gold Wing bike go to your head.’ There were chuckles in the background.Franklin had snapped to attention. ‘Play that again.’ They listened to it again and Franklin sat back in his chair. ‘My god, if we can tie him into that bike, we’ve got him.’‘Really? The guy who’s at the back of all this?’Franklin nodded. ‘Where did you say you got this again?’Johnnie lifted one eyebrow. ‘Apparently, I found it on my doorstep tomorrow morning.’Franklin nodded. ‘Cautious aren’t they.’‘Wouldn’t you be? Well, I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll head home to get some beauty sleep.’ Johnnie finished the last of his drink. ‘Don’t say it, I need more than a sleep to fix that.’Franklin walked him to the door. ‘Thanks man, this could be the best link we have so far.
‘Yes, I met her in the coffee shop.’‘Her maiden name was Arbruzzio.’Franklin stared at him. ’She’s his aunt? Arbruzzio’s?” He breathed out. ‘She told me Arbruzzio had helped her. I got the impression that she owed him.’‘You got sucked in, man. She must be good.’Franklin shook his head. ‘Unbelievable, I totally believed her. So is she a part of everything too?’ Franklin felt his world shift. He had hoped that she might look out for the boys but there was a strong possibility that she was in it with Tommie and Arbruzzio up to her neck. ‘Damn it, women aren’t supposed to take advantage of young boys. Call me old fashioned, but it’s just not right.’ He took a minute to take it in, then continued. ‘So, what about the finances? Anything shonky?’‘Other than it seems that the place has an unusually high turnover for a coffee shop that size, nothing really.’‘You think they’re laundering money?’‘Looks like it but the tax office did an audit on them and they were able to explain the tu
‘You deserve that. You did great, Babe. I’m proud of you.’ And he raised his bottle, clinked it against her wine glass and took a swig.She took a tentative sip. ‘Bit early for this, isn’t it?’‘Nah, let’s live dangerously.’ Johnnie looked down, swallowed then looked at her again. ‘I’m sorry Babe. I knew it was bad, but I had no idea…’‘Johnnie, it’s past. Finished. Don’t get upset about it. I’m sorry you had to hear that but I felt he was getting sympathy and that was the only way I could think of that would change the mediator’s point of view.’Johnnie grinned. ‘Did you see the look on his lawyer’s face?’ He took another swig. ‘Just as well Franklin wasn’t there, he would’ve wanted to kill him. I mean I did too, but I’m glad Franklin wasn’t here.’‘Don’t forget, Franklin investigated the stalking at that time and he interviewed David. He was the one who warned me not to meet him for a while and then only in public. He knows what David had become.’‘Are you going to ring him and t
She nodded and walked back towards the kitchen. Some of the boys at the other tables watched her walk past out of the corner of their eyes, but no one made any smart remarks. Not to Maria. None of them were that stupid.Bubba headed home when he had finished his coffee, he didn’t want to hang around while he was carrying his payment on him. He’d got paid and he’d helped Alex and the guys who were trying to find who’d killed Clinton . As he got to the top of the hill at the end of his street, he looked back at the city sparkling below. It looked like a sideshow at a fair, all lit up to tempt you to come and play. But he knew only too well, the kind of playtime this could be. His bruises were healed for the moment, but his scars ran deeper. He looked from the sparkling yellow lights to the clear sky above. Stars were twinkling, some shining brighter than others. Bubba searched the sky until he found one bright enough for what he was looking for. That one. He watched it for a moment, shi
‘Calm down, Babe. He’s requested a reconciliation meeting with you through your lawyer, who is obligated to pass it on to you. You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.’‘Really? I don’t have to?’ Sam dropped into a chair, relief clear on her face. ‘But that reads as if it is one of the steps to the divorce.’‘Yea, well I believe that they like to try to get the couple to reconciliation if at all possible. Tell your lawyer that you are frightened for your life, that meeting him would be traumatic for you and leave it with him.’ Johnnie crouched down beside her. ‘As long as he doesn’t get either your mobile or your address, you’re safe. And besides, you’ve been doing my self-defence course, you’re better placed to protect yourself if the need arises.’Sam shivered. ‘It was horrible. I didn’t think I would have to see him again. But I’ll sound so much like a coward if I don’t attend that meeting. I should go, tell them that there is no way I would feel safe being in the same room