TROUBLE IN CORNWALL
Here are the first 3 chapters of Trouble In Cornwall, and Troubled, Books 3 and 4 of The Trouble series of erotic thrillers. I hope to publish them on Amazon later in 2020. I’d be interested to hear your valuable feedback on these chapters in the comment box at the bottom of my home page on this site.
Chapter 1. Past and Present
A dark cloud hovered over the Sheffield crematorium, only partly due to the biting November weather. Liam O’Sullivan’s funeral was always going to be an awkward affair. Wayne was five when his father disappeared behind a mysterious curtain to be cremated. Even though the child only had a vague idea what was going on, the tension and solemnity in the air made him cry. His ten-year-old brother, Conor, squeezed Wayne’s hand to comfort him, despite Conor holding back his own tears.
As a murderer who’d taken his own life as well as Tiyanna Powell’s, nobody in the congregation had the appetite to stand up and speak on Liam’s behalf. A month before, the Irishman had hung himself inside his cell where he’d been waiting to be sentenced for murdering the friendless Jamaican girl who he’d targetted for destruction. Liam had been hating and controlling women for years, mainly as a reaction to how atrociously his mother, Scarlett, had treated him throughout his childhood.
Nobody except Liam knew why he’d really hung himself. Only Liam knew why he’d felt he had no option. The secret truth was, he’d cut short his life out of fear the spirit of the girl he’d murdered under trees on a hot, summer evening in the Peak District of Sheffield would carry out her threat to kill him. Liam had always needed to be the one in control, so he’d beaten her to it. Taking a leaf out of his father’s book, he’d hung himself in his prison cell, not in the family shed in Dublin like his father, Aidan O’Sullivan, had been driven to do.
Wayne and Conor’s grandfather, Aidan, had never been introduced to the boys because he’d hung himself when Liam was a troubled teenager. Liam had been traumatised by this tragedy, particularly as he’d been the unfortunate person to find his father’s lifeless body. Liam’s weak and ineffectual father had been unable to live with the knowledge his wife, Scarlett, had deserted him and Liam to live with a glorious redhead called Lorna Markham. Liam had never been able to forgive his mother for causing his father’s death. His hatred of his mother instilled a life-long hatred of women in Liam. If Aidan had lived, maybe Tiyanna might still be alive. The innocent Jamaican girl had suffered and died horribly for the perceived sins of the two main women in Liam’s life; his mother and his wife, Jessie.
At Liam’s funeral, Wayne’s brother, Conor, was ten, but he was as equally confused and upset as his younger brother. Jessie had been in two minds whether to attend her husband’s funeral at all. Their relationship had been in tatters for years, and she’d begun divorce proceedings to escape his controlling, abusive ways. On that winter’s day, she looked even more like a pale, blonde ghost as she stood, silent and dry-eyed while the coffin containing the body of the man who’d made her life a misery disappeared behind the curtains to be burnt.
Watching the bully’s coffin travel on its final journey, Jessie thought, Good riddance to bad rubbish. She had good reason. Ever since Conor’s birth, her handsome, errant Irish husband had physically, verbally, and emotionally abused his shy, quietly-spoken, easily manipulated wife. She’d been aware of Liam’s cheating throughout their disastrous marriage, but he’d been too violent for her to challenge his betrayal.
Sitting next to Jessie on the hard pew was Russell Bell, the new love in her life. The tall, handsome Jamaican worked as an illustrator. To give her much-needed comfort and support, Russell clasped her delicate hand in his as they listened to the celebrant’s coldly impersonal eulogy drone on. Her pale hand looked even paler set against Russell’s almost blue-black skin.
Jessie struggled not to stand up and shout, ‘Bullshit!’ in the middle of the eulogy; the portrait of Liam which the stranger facing them was painting sounded laughably inaccurate. She told herself the celebrant was struggling to speak well of the dead. It was his duty to gloss over Liam’s true character.
Russell Bell had seamlessly become integrated into the lives of Jessie and her two boys. When Jessie had met Russell beside a hotel’s pool during a luxury Jamaican holiday with her children, Russell had acted in a more paternal, caring way to her sons than Liam had ever done.
Throughout the funeral, Jessie’s attractive new man tried to comfort both her boys equally as they sat wide-eyed with fear and anxiety during the grim proceedings. From their first meeting in Jamaica, Russell had always been more drawn to Conor because of the Jamaican blood flowing through their veins. It was a happy coincidence that Russell looked like he could have been Conor’s father, even though he had nothing to do with the boy’s conception. He looked more like Conor’s father than Liam ever could have done.
Dwight Reid was Conor’s biological father. The irresponsible Jamaican wastrel had vanished after his drunken dalliance with Jessie while she’d been married to Liam. Their brief liaison had taken place up a dark Sheffield alley while she’d been on a rare girls’ night out.
In his defence, Dwight had been clueless Jessie had given birth to his child; she’d never informed him he’d impregnated her. She’d hoped Liam had fathered the baby growing in her belly, but luck had worked against her. Misogynistic Liam had turned against Jessie completely when, to everyone’s surprise, his wife had given birth to a baby the colour of burnt toffee. As soon as Conor was born, Liam had made Jessie’s and Conor’s life a living hell.
Five years later, when Wayne followed Conor into the world, Liam had treated him better than his older brother, but that’s not saying much. When he’d not been ignoring Conor’s existence, Liam had frequently called him a “little black bastard”. Although Liam had never emotionally warmed to Wayne, at least he’d acknowledged Wayne as his son and treated him more humanely than he’d treated Conor.
A few years after Wayne’s birth, the impoverished O’Sullivan’s family’s luck had changed to the tune of over five million pounds, courtesy of the National Lottery. Six numbers had changed their lives forever, although Liam had selfishly been the main beneficiary of the win. He would probably have frittered away the entire fortune if he’d not hung himself in prison a couple of years after becoming a multi-millionaire.
Liam had bought a sprawling luxury mansion in Sheffield for over two million pounds without consulting his downtrodden wife. When Liam was arrested for Tiyanna’s murder, Jessie and her young boys had fled the luxury property in Sheffield to start a new life in Cornwall. Finding a courage she’d not felt before, Jessie had syphoned off half a million pounds while Liam was incarcerated. With the money, she’d bought a more modest family home in Cornwall, where she’d planned to live frugally, expecting Liam to claim the rest of the lottery fortune. She’d thought losing her hold on four and a half million pounds would be worth it just to be able to escape from living with such a controlling, abusive husband.
As it turned out, Liam committed suicide in jail, so she’d inherited the entire fortune. When the solicitors had sorted out the boring paperwork, Jessie’s humdrum life of penury had changed forever. The five million pound fortune had soon started causing tension in Jessie and Russell’s previously harmonious relationship. Despite having known each other for a only few months, they were living together in Jessie’s new Cornish property. Jessie felt giddy with love for him and couldn’t stand to be separated from him, so had spontaneously convinced Russell to up sticks from his small, rented flat in London and move into her new Liam-free home.
The couple could have managed perfectly well living on the half a million pounds, but a five-million-pound fortune was an entirely different matter; it was serious money. Although she never spoke the words out loud, Jessie began to suspect Russell might be more interested in her fortune than in loving her. There was no evidence for her suspicion. Russell never put a foot wrong, but Liam had whittled her self-esteem down to almost nothing over the years, so Jessie was struggling to believe anyone could love her just for who she was.
The more Russell told Jessie he loved her, the more her annoying inner voice chipped in with, Oh, yeah? You’re only saying that to get your hands on my money. Even though she never said it out loud, Russell read it in her eyes. Despite her concerns, she couldn’t bear to lose him. She believed being alone would have been a worse option. Let him stay in your home, whispered her inner voice, but never take your eyes off him. You owe it to your boys’ futures to be wary.
Chapter 2. Con Artist
Russell’s cynical plan to infiltrate Jessie’s life to con her out of her winnings had been formulated on holiday in Jamaica. He’d learned from his cousin, Shanice, that Jessie and Liam had recently won over five million pounds on the UK’s National Lottery. Shanice was the receptionist at the same five-star hotel in Jamaica where Jessie and Russell had stayed the previous year. Russell could never have afforded to stay there normally, but Shanice had managed to wangle a generous discount for him by pulling a few strings. Her regular clandestine sex with the hotel’s married manager had helped procure the discount.
When Russell had met Shanice one evening after her shift, she’d innocently told him about her day. It had involved a meeting with Jessie when Shanice had asked her to phone DCI Cosgrove who worked in a Sheffield police headquarters back in England. He’d needed to speak to Jessie about Liam’s arrest as chief suspect for the murders of his mother Scarlett, Lorna Markham and her daughter, Amy. In the midst of Jessie’s conversation with Shanice, she’d let slip about her life-changing lottery win.
When Shanice mentioned Jessie’s massive win, Russell’s ears had pricked up. The cogs in his brain immediately started whiring. Lottery win? I wonder how much she’s won, Russell thought as he sipped his mojito beside the pool and watched Jessie rubbing sun lotion onto her pale, English-rose skin. He’d already been drawn to Jessie’s lithe body and long, white-blonde hair when he’d spotted her and her children at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. His attraction to her subtle yet undeniable good looks made him sound convincing to Jessie when he began to court her.
Russell instinctively knew within seconds that Jessie would be his easiest path to a cushy life. She was the solution to his serious financial problems if he played his cards right. Over the past four years, Russell had found himself in a financial downward spiral. He’d been losing money hand over fist. If he’d stayed clear of lavishing money on several high-maintenance women, gambling in casinos, and taking recreational drugs, Russell might still have held onto his delightful house in Swiss Cottage. Two years before meeting Jessie, his financial situation had forced him to move into a depressing rental property in Brixton.
The morning after Shanice had unintentionally set Russell’s plans for his financial salvation into action, he’d ensured he’d be basking on a sun lounger next to Jessie and her two boys. As luck would have it, he’d not had to introduce himself in a cheesy, suspicious way. Conor innocently helped launch Russell’s charm offensive on Jessie by accidentally kicking his beachball into Russell’s lap. Russell had shrieked when the icy mojito tipped over his well-oiled dark skin. Jessie was mortified her unruly child had accidentally drenched the handsome stranger’s well-defined, ebony torso.
Russell let the slim blonde fuss around him mopping up the Mojito as best she could with her beach towel. In her awkwardness, she occasionally brushed his groin with her hand and towel. He lay still, grinning as he let her wipe him dry, hoping she noticed and appreciated the bulge in his damp swimming trunks. He thought, Her blushes aren’t only due to embarrassment over her son making me spill my drink. Yeah, she fancies me. It’s obvious from my hard-on that the feeling’s mutual. I can see her sizing up my package. She’s not to know the bulge happened while watching that hot brunette in the micro bikini over there oiling herself up.
When her towel tellingly gravitated back to his impressive groin, he looked up, still grinning at her. He leant forward on his sun lounger and whispered in her ear so her sons couldn’t hear, ‘It’s not every day that area gets such attention from such an attractive woman.’
Jessie blushed an even deeper shade of red and snatched her hand away from his body as if she’d been scalded. Russell thought, It might not be every day my dick gets attention, but it’s pretty darned close. That double-jointed redhead, Lexie, who I picked up in a beach bar four days ago was exceptionally talented in the bedroom. Hope I don’t bump into that hottie again, or any of the other women I’ve been screwing this holiday. They could seriously mess up my plans for sweet, shy, mega-rich Jessie.
‘You must let me replace your mojito, at the very least.’ Jessie picked up her beach bag in readiness to dash off to the pool bar to buy him a replacement drink.
‘Accidents happen, so you really don’t have to bother. But, if it’ll stop you feeling so guilty, then be my guest,’ said Russell.
Jessie looked determined to have her way. ‘I insist.’
He laughed and shrugged. ‘Only if you allow me to take you and the boys to lunch. You’d be doing me a favour. I’m tired of eating alone.’
Jessie jumped at the chance of having some attractive male company. Russell inwardly rubbed his hands with glee at how well his plan was working. To fill the time before lunch, the couple chatted easily on their respective sun loungers as they watched her children play. When he offered to rub more sun lotion onto her back, he was delighted when Jessie took him up on his offer. After gently smoothing the lotion into her back, he rubbed plenty on the back of her legs, noticing how she didn’t object when he gently parted them so he could rub some of the milky lotion on them. He saw her buttocks tense with delicious anticipation as his powerful fingers worked their way up her white inner thighs.
Feeling her tremble, Russell smiled, remembering how he’d brought Lexie to a shuddering orgasm on her sun lounger by brazenly inserting two fingers deep inside her bikini bottoms while applying sun lotion. It had been late afternoon when he and the redhead had been flirting on the almost deserted beach. Nobody had noticed his bold act.
As he teased Jessie’s upper thighs, Russell knew he’d not get away with fingering the skinny blonde. Much as I’d love to, I’d better resist invading Jessie’s bikini bottoms like I did to Lexie’s, especially with Wayne and Conor playing nearby. Judging by her body language and the speed she’s breathing, I’m certain Jessie wants me to go much further. She never closed her legs when I parted them. Big giveaway.
Jessie wriggled onto her back, hot and flustered. Seeing she was unable to look him in the eye, Russell thought, Oh, yes, she wants it, and she knows I know she wants it. Job done. The sparks of attraction crackling between them were intense and undeniable. The buffet lunch couldn’t have gone better, although young Wayne was whingeing after feeling neglected by his mother. He resented her showing more interest in the dark-skinned stranger than in him.
After sharing a bottle of wine with the attentive Jamaican, Jessie’s tongue was loosened. Without her realising, he’d taken care to pour more wine into her glass than his. Jessie was glowing, her face wreathed in smiles, a rare sight for her sons to see, thanks to their miserable existence with Liam in Sheffield.
As lunch drew to a close, Russell ensured Jessie knew he’d be lounging by the pool the following day. He felt confident she’d want to join him. During lunch, he’d decided not to spend the rest of the day with them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, he thought. Don’t want to appear too keen so early in the game.
Following an afternoon and night of scheming, Russell began taking every opportunity to show up wherever Jessie and the boys were. He took great care to subtly ingratiate himself with Conor and Wayne, aware his heartless plan would be doomed if they felt wary of him. Their mother was oblivious of Russell’s ultimate intentions. If she’d had any concerns about his character, she’d have brushed them under the carpet because her desire for him was too powerful. After the traumatic years she’d spent being controlled and bullied by Liam, Russell felt like a breath of fresh air. Little did Jessie suspect she was being controlled again.
The handsome Jamaican made his move on Jessie sooner than he’d expected. When he walked over to the trio by the pool the day after their first meeting, she looked up at him from her sun lounger and quietly said, so her children wouldn’t hear, ‘Don’t get settled, Russell. I was just about to take the boys to play at Kids’ Club for a few hours before lunch. I’d planned to hang around and watch them, but I’ve decided they’ll be fine to leave with the supervisors, so we can enjoy some peace and quiet.’
‘Sounds perfect to me,’ he said, shooting her one of his wide, winning smiles.
He helped her off the sun lounger and watched her slide a sarong around her slim hips, gather up the scattered belongings and stuff them into her over-sized beach bag.
Russell gently took the bag from her. ‘Here, let me take that. It looks heavy.’
Jessie didn’t resist, neither did she resist his suggestion to drop the bag off at her hotel room so they didn’t have to lug it about with them. They both knew it was a ruse to gain him access to her bedroom and body, but she agreed to go up in the lift with him anyway. An elderly couple were in the lift when Russell and Jessie stepped in, so Russell had to abort his plan to kiss and seduce Jessie in the lift. Jessie’s heart was beating so loud, she feared the old couple might hear and suspect what they were planning.
After Jessie clicked the hotel door behind them, Russell wasted no time. He pulled her close and kissed her, confident his embrace was exactly what she’d been yearning for since they’d met. ‘We only have limited time before the boys must be collected. Let’s make the most of it … only if you want to, of course,’ he said.
Russell was less forward than he’d been with any other woman. Jessie was valuable cargo, so he felt he needed to treat her with more respect than his usual conquests. Even so, they were rolling around naked on the bed only fifteen minutes after entering the luxury suite.
‘That was the best sex I’ve ever had,’ lied Russell. He watched her grin with pride and almost felt moved. His inner voice said, Looks like the daft mare believes me. Lexie could run rings around her. Now, that was what I call sex! But, Lexie isn’t a multimillionaire, so Jessie wins.
‘Ditto,’ said Jessie, still gasping for breath after Russell’s impressive performance. She picked up her mobile phone to check the time. ‘Oh, no! We’d better get dressed pronto. I must pick the boys up in ten minutes!’
‘Shame. I was ready for round three,’ said Russell.
Jessie looked wide-eyed with disbelief at his fully loaded manhood. ‘So I see.’
‘Let me give you the best five minutes of your life. You won’t regret it,’ he joked, flipping her over and taking her doggie-style before she could object, not that she would have.
True to his word, he finished five minutes later. Jessie was ecstatic she hadn’t stopped him. ‘I’m dripping with sweat but there’s no time for a shower. I’ll definitely be taking a dip in the pool after we collect the boys,’ she said.
Jessie pulled on her bikini and threw a scanty cover-up over her tousled head. Bending over the sink, she splashed cold water on her face to freshen up.
Russell still looked immaculate. He handed Jessie her hairbrush. ‘That’s spectacular bedhead hair you’ve got there.’
‘You’re lucky your hair’s in dreadlocks. It’s stayed in place, unlike mine,’ she said.
She tingled as she remembered how the beads attached to the ends of his hair had just tickled her bare skin. Russell was used to dressing at speed having made several rapid retreats from various married women’s bedrooms over the years.
On their race to collect Wayne and Conor from the hotel’s children’s club, Russell said, ‘Is there a Kids’ Club every day?’
‘There is, actually,’ said Jessie with a giggle. ‘Let’s hope my boys enjoyed today’s session and fancy returning. Ah, there they are, sitting on that wall.’
She scooped Wayne up in her arms as he raced towards them with a huge smile almost as big as his mother’s. Wanting to appear cooler than Wayne, Conor walked casually over to them.
Being five years older than Wayne, Conor could sense a change in the relationship between Jessie and Russell. The soppy way his mother was looking at Russell made it clear she was besotted with the black stranger. Something had occurred during the couple of hours her children had been having fun with the hotel’s entertainments staff.
‘Who’s for ice cream?’ said Russell. He knew the way to a child’s heart as easily as he’d found his way into Jessie’s.
‘Me! Me! Me!’ yelled Wayne. Conor politely nodded.
After her steamy session in the bedroom, Jessie would have preferred a swim in the pool rather than an ice cream but she didn’t want to be a killjoy. Admiring the colourful exotic plants, they strolled through the sun-drenched hotel grounds to buy four ice creams. Russell made sure he paid for them, despite Jessie’s wealth.
Anyone who saw them thought they were a family, albeit a blended one. Conor looked so much like russell, he could have been his son. I’m going to do my damndest to ensure Conor and Wayne are playing at Kids’ Club every day of this holiday. That soppy look in Jessie’s eyes tells me she wants me, thought Russell,
Confident his magic had worked on the boys and their mother, Russell inwardly rubbed his hands together as he pictured glittering mountains of pound coins.
Chapter 3. Settling In
Five days had passed since their first meeting by the pool. Sprawling naked with Jessie on the bed in her hotel bedroom, Russell was smug. I’ve played it just right with Jessie; not too keen, not too cool. She’s well and truly tangled up in my web. After what she’s told me about the identity of Conor’s biological father, she seems to have a thing for Jamaican men. Stroke of luck for me. With me being based in London, we’ve every chance of continuing this relationship beyond a mere holiday romance. She’s fallen so hard for me. Look at the doting fool gazing up at me like she’s completely besotted.
It was hard for Russell to hide his contempt for her. During the remainder of their self-indulgent holiday, Russell’s close attention to fulfilling Jessie’s every whim, especially her sexual desires, made her believe she was once again an attractive, worthwhile woman. No longer was she the inadequate drudge Liam had always painted her.
Russell also took pains to make Jessie’s boys believe the sun shone out of his backside. He bought them treats and played boisterously with them at every opportunity. He never came close to disciplining them despite secretly believing Jessie sometimes let them get away with murder. If he’d spoken his mind and commented on the tantrums and squabbles which cropped up between the siblings, Jessie might have taken umbrage and ended it with him, which would never do.
When Shanice was on duty behind the reception desk, she often saw Russell and the O’Sullivan family walk by. It was clear her cousin was enjoying his holiday with them. His seemingly close relationship with them puzzled the receptionist. Jessie was attractive, but not the overtly sexual, borderline trashy women Russell usually went for. Shanice couldn’t recall him ever being involved with a mother. She’d even heard him vow he’d never take on another man’s child.
Shanice’s curiosity eventually got the better of her. Shortly before Russell was due to fly home to London, she sent him a text asking him to meet her for a quick drink and catch-up in Roots Reggae Bar situated along the road from the hotel. He wasn’t thrilled to receive the text; it would cut into his bonding time with Jessie, Wayne, and Conor. He reluctantly agreed to meet up with Shanice when Jessie would be bathing the boys and putting them to bed.
When Russell breezed into the bar, Shanice was already sitting at a table sipping a Caribbean rum punch. The beads at the end of her cousin’s dreadlocks clanged as he sat opposite her. He removed his trendy sunglasses to acclimatise his eyes to the dimly lit bar.
‘Thanks for deigning to join me, cuz,’ said Shanice. ‘Good of you to spare me the time, considering how busy you are with your new lady friend and her kiddies. I thought if I didn’t ask you flat out to meet up, you’d fly home before we had a chance to chat.’
‘Hey, don’t get your knickers in a twist, Shanice,’ said Russell. ‘If you’re going to be sarcastic, I’ll fuck off back to the hotel.’
Shanice laughed. ‘I’ve just been missing the chats we usually have during your visits to Jamaica. Who knows when you’ll be back again, especially now you seem so loved up?’
Russell thought, Mustn’t piss Shanice off. It’ll go against me in future when I fancy another cheap Jamaican holiday. I’ve also missed my usual chats with Shanice, but I needed to devote all my time to wooing Jessie for my plans to work.
He said, ‘Thanks for doing as I asked in that text I sent you the other day. I appreciate you not chatting to me and Jessie whenever we’ve walked past your reception desk.’
‘No problem,’ said Shanice. ‘I still don’t understand why it was such a big deal for me to keep quiet about arranging a discount for your stay at the hotel, unless you’re trying to impress Mrs. O’Sullivan, of course.’
Infuriated by her smug expression, Russell thought, Damn her for hitting the nail on the head. He took a sip of his drink and said, ‘Actually, Shanice, I didn’t want Jessie to know about my discount. Didn’t fancy being embarrassed in front of her. I could scarcely afford the flights to and from Jamaica. I’ve fallen for Jessie and her children are great, too, so I don’t want her to know about my money problems. She might run a mile.’
‘So, Russell, what was it that first attracted you to multimillionaire Jessie O’Sullivan?’ Shanice quipped with a rye grin.
Russell scowled. ‘Oh, ha bloody ha. I was attracted to Jessie before I’d even heard about her lottery win. Is the poor woman destined never to have a man in her life just because she’s rich?’
Shanice’s laugh was laced with mockery. ‘Poor woman? Lousy choice of adjectives, Russell. She has a husband, anyway. Yes, he might have just been arrested for murder, but she’s still married to him.’
Russell stood up, eager to leave. ‘For your information, Jessie told me she’d already made up her mind to divorce him before meeting me. She’s happy with me, so stop pissing on my bonfire. I’m in no mood for any more chat with your cynical self. I’m walking back to the hotel to see Jessie now the kids are in bed.’
Shanice also wasn’t in any mood to argue. ‘Don’t let me stop you. You’ll be pleased to know I’m off work for the next few days, so this is goodbye until your next flight over here. You won’t have to worry about me dropping you in it with Mrs. Moneybags. Can’t promise I’ll be in the mood to wangle a discounted holiday for you when you return to Jamaica, though.’
‘Bye, then,’ snapped Russell.
He stomped out of the bar with his dreadlock beads in his jangling to the sound of Bob Marley’s Jammin which was wafting through the hot evening air. He dived into another bar solely to snort a line of coke in the toilet to prepare himself for performing at his sexual peak with Jessie. As the bitter-tasting powder hit the back of his throat, Russell thought, I can’t afford to give a lacklustre performance in bed tonight, not with so much depending on me convincing Jess I’m the man for her. He made his way along the palm tree-lined, dusty road back to the hotel. It’s lucky Shanice won’t be back working at the hotel before the end of our holidays. I’m sure she’s on to my plan. My cousin knows me too well. She’s kidding herself if she thinks I’ve not noticed her knowing little smirks when she’s seen me in reception with Jessie and her brood. Shanice might not have said anything to her to give my game away, but her body language spoke volumes. Miss Smartarse could’ve dropped me right in it. She’ll regret it when I’m living in luxury courtesy of Jessie O’Sullivan.
While Russell had been meeting his sassy cousin, Jessie had been busy making an extra special effort to look less like the mother of two children and more like a seductive vamp. She was glad she’d packed her sexiest lingerie but annoyed not to have brought a racy dress with her. Holding up one disappointing dress after another, she thought, How was I to know I’d meet someone like Russell Bell on this holiday?
For that evening’s rendezvous, she eventually opted to wear her black satin bathrobe over her most seductive black lacy lingerie. That afternoon, she’d arranged with Russell that they’d risk him staying a few hours in her hotel room that night.
Jessie had said, ‘It’ll be risky. We’ll keep the door to the boys’ room firmly locked while you’re with me tonight. Wayne in particular might wake up and try to enter my room.’
Russell shrugged. ‘If that happens, I’ll leg it before you unlock the boys’ door. Luckily, my room’s on the same floor as yours. I’ll wear my bathrobe to protect my modesty in case I need to escape.’
‘You’ve really thought this out,’ she’d said.
He’d smiled and nodded, thinking, Oh yes, I’ve really been doing a lot of thinking where you’re concerned, Mrs. Moneybags.
That night, Jessie’s stomach lurched with anticipation on hearing the tentative knock on her hotel door. She rushed barefoot to let Russell in before he knocked again and awoken the boys. Jessie’s pale-blue eyes looked up adoringly into his almost black ones and she melted into his embrace. They were soon naked and moving in unison in their favourite sex position. After less than twenty minutes of clandestine coupling, the door handle to the adjoining room rattled, accompanied by the pitiful whineing of Jessie’s youngest child.
‘Quick! It’s Wayne. Probably had another nightmare. Execute escape plan!’ whispered Jessie.
She muffled a giggle at the sight of Russell’s powerful buttocks as he leapt from the bed. During their all too brief steamy session, she’d giggled like a schoolgirl with nerves fearing being discovered naked in bed with Russell. It had irritated him, but he’d hidden his annoyance. He knew he must act the epitome of a caring, chivalrous man until he’d wormed his way into her life on a permanent basis and claimed his financial reward.
Such considerate behaviour was not how Russell usually treated his lovers. He’d left a trail of broken hearts and crushed dreams in his wake. Burying his natural selfish traits was challenging, but the chance of gaining a large share in a fortune made his struggle to appear loving worthwhile.
Swallowing his disappointment over Wayne’s interruption, Russell put on his bathrobe, kissed Jessie goodnight, and exited her room. He’d have much preferred to stay the night with her to continue working his magic. Lying alone in his bed in his hotel room, he thought, Damn Wayne for interrupting my limited time with his mother. There are only a few days of this holiday left for me to convince Jessie she can’t live without me. Don’t want her thinking this is a mere holiday romance. So, no pressure.
His secret cocaine habit had led to increased anxiety levels in Russell, smothering his previous laid-back attitude, one more typical among Jamaicans. He needn’t have worried about Jessie wanting Russell in her life. Four doors down the corridor, she was lying in bed drumming up the courage to invite him to stay with her and her sons in their newly purchased, luxurious Cornish home. Basking in the afterglow of her sexual liaison with Russell, she dreamed of enjoying a wonderful life with him in Cornwall. Blinded by love and lust, she believed living with Russell Bell would be such a blessing following her nightmare existence with Liam O’Sullivan.
Chapter 1. Fears Made Real
On a cloudless early morning in September 2020, pensioner Paul Smythe was walking his labradoodle along the grassy banks of the River Don in Sheffield. Sandy was running off his lead and rummaging in the undergrowth, his tail wagging furiously.
I’m bloody knackered, thought Paul. Burdened with a serious heart condition, he was still convalescing after a brush with coronavirus in May, so was relieved to spot a bench. He sat dozing in the sun listening to the birds gossiping in the trees behind him.
His exhaustion was also due to spending a steamy night with sixty-five-year-old Amy Buckhurst in her chintzy bedroom half a mile from his bungalow. He’d taken advantage of her husband’s stay in hospital following a hip replacement operation. Throughout the previous night, Paul had proved to Amy that there was nothing wrong with Paul’s hips.
As Sandy never left his master’s side, he’d accompanied him on his tryst. Amy hadn’t been best pleased when the hound had stared at their love-making from the end of the bed and run off with the purple vibrator Paul had brought with him. Paul had run naked around her bungalow and eventually managed to wrestle it off his dog. After a quick wash, the dented vibrator had been put to good use. It was safe in his pocket. Leaving it at Amy’s house would have run the risk of Amy’s husband finding it and asking awkward questions.
Reliving the highpoints of their illicit night of lust, Paul was startled back to reality by furious barking. Deciding to ignore his scatty pet, he closed his eyes to dream of Amy’s surprisingly flexible body and wicked mouth. When Sandy refused to stop barking and growling, Paul sighed with irritation and set off to investigate.
‘What’s up with you, you silly sod?’ Drawing closer, he saw that Sandy was barking at a large pale pink object daubed with splashes of red. Paul’s eyesight was so poor, he couldn’t make out what it was. When it soon became horribly clear, he didn’t know whether to quicken his step towards it or run screaming in the opposite direction.
Lying on her back was the obscenely posed body of a naked teenage girl with short red hair. Her bloodshot eyes stared at Paul accusingly. The poor girl must be dead with a wound like that, thought Paul, staring in horror at a long, gaping slash across her throat. The victim’s right hand was raised. A large nail had been banged through her palm and into the tree trunk propping her up. Blood trails ran down the right-hand side of her body and onto the grass.
Paul had been a womaniser all his life but had never seen a larger, more erect pair of nipples or clitoral hood than on the pitiful corpse at his feet. Turning pale, he staggered to a clump of bushes and vomited. He wiped his mouth and fished out his mobile phone from his jacket to summon the police. In his haste, the vibrator he’d used on Amy tumbled from his pocket onto the grass.
Partway through telling the woman at the emergency call centre what he’d found, Paul gasped, clutched his chest and fell headfirst across the girl’s splayed thighs. Sandy sniffed and licked his master’s hand, then lay beside him with his muzzle resting on Paul’s splayed fingers. With the pensioner’s corpse lying beside him, Sandy’s nose twitched as he dreamt of the marrow bone Amy had given him the night before to keep him quiet.
Spotting the purple contraption he’d run off with earlier, Sandy retrieved it from the grass and began chewing it as he lay beside his motionless master. Before his sudden fatal heart attack, Paul had given enough details to the woman on the phone for her to send assistance. Sadly, when the police and ambulance arrived, there was nobody to save except the whining, sad-eyed dog.
DCI Jeremy Cosgrove’s team had been allocated the case. He and DS Theresa Smart parked near the cordoned-off scene and pulled on their protective gear.
Jeremy had become one of Theresa’s close friends rather than just her boss. Their friendship and mutual respect was the result of the nightmare they’d both endured over a year before. Theresa’s niece, Chloe, and Welsh liaison officer, Kate Pendleton, had also been sucked into the nightmare. Jeremy still couldn’t believe his luck that sexy Kate was now his exclusive, live-in lover. At least, that’s what he thought she was. Kate had other ideas on their exclusivity which she hid from him.
The chaos had started in June, 2019 when Kate had been in the process of seducing Jeremy, her boss, in his car in their station’s car park. The almost naked police officers were surprised by Grant Trafford, the station’s security guard, tapping on the car window with a phone to his eye.
After surreptitiously smearing Kate’s vagina, nipples, and rectum with Trouble sexual arousal Cream, Grant had videoed the acutely aroused brunette begging him to relieve her sexual frustration. He’d then proceded to have sex with her, after gaining her videoed consent. He’d then blackmailed Jeremy into performing pornographic acts on Kate while Grant videoed them. Jeremy and Kate naturally hadn’t wanted any of their explicit videos to surface, especially as he was married with children.
Over a couple of weeks, events had conspired that left Theresa, her niece, as well as Kate, vulnerable to blackmail and abuse. Grant’s gang had used the trio’s sex videos to blackmail them into becoming their sex slaves. If they’d refused to comply, or if Jeremy had tried to prevent the gang’s fun, the videos would’ve been made public, leaving their lives and reputations in tatters.
Over a year had passed since their brush with Trouble, yet it still worried the three women and Jeremy to know the images must still exist and could resurface at any time.
On the banks of the River Don, a tent had been erected over the two corpses. SOCOs in their baggy white overalls and protective headgear went about their gruesome task. Alarm bells rang in Jeremy’s brain when one of his older male officers said, ‘The female victim’s nipples are enormous, like something out of a Robert Crumb cartoon.’
‘Who’s Robert Crumb? I’ve never seen a clit that big either,’ said a much younger male officer.
The older man sighed. ‘Crumb drew cartoons of nubile teenage girls in Oz magazine, an underground magazine of my youth.’
Heading inside the tent to see if his fears were founded, Jeremy said, ‘Have some respect, you two.’
What he saw made him want to throw up his breakfast. How could someone do such terrible things to such a young girl? he thought. I’ll catch the evil, twisted bastard who did this to her if it’s the last thing I do.
‘Such a distressing case, sir,’ said Theresa. ‘Worst I’ve dealt with. She’s so pitifully young. Did you clock the vibrator?’
Jeremy nodded, ‘Of course I did. I’m not blind. Had the old guy used it on her, I wonder? The bloody dog’s chewed it quite badly. Doubt we’ll get any of the victim’s DNA off it but bag it for testing. The way she’s been posed is stomach-churning. Does it remind you of anything?’
‘Don’t pussyfoot around,’ said Theresa. ‘You’re referring to the victim’s enlarged genitalia and nipples. As you well know, the same deformities have been inflicted on me, Chloe, and Kate. I recognised the effects of Trouble Cream followed by the use of a suction tube the second I saw the girl.’
Chapter 2. Spreading Herself Thin
Theresa’s mention of Kate made Jeremy’s penis twitch. He’d just spent another energetic night with his beautiful, nymphomaniac liaison officer before attending the murder scene. For the past three weeks, Jeremy had spent most of his time with the Welsh sex addict. Sabrina, had thrown him out of the marital home after his affair with Kate had come to light.
Suspicious her husband might be cheating, Sabrina had discovered Jeremy’s second phone taped to the back of his desk drawer in his den. On it, she’d found hundreds of pornographic videos featuring Kate and Jeremy. With Sabrina’s vitriolic words burning in his brain, Jeremy had packed his precious collection of beige suits and as many other possessions that he could fit in his car, then moved straight into Kate’s house. Divorce proceedings were well underway.
Jeremy was infatuated with Kate to the point of addiction, so he was thrilled with his new living arrangements. Kate wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. Forced to be with Jeremy at home as well as at work compromised her freedom to have sex with whoever took her fancy whenever she chose.
The previous weekend, Kate had made the long journey from Sheffield to Cornwall to visit Brent Simpson. He was the handsome, wheelchair-bound Cornishman who’d been Kate’s only ally after she’d been kidnapped and abused at Hungerford Hall. Her abusers had been elderly twins, Lord Crispin and Lord Monty. Arthur Simpson and his friend, Nigel Berkshaw, had also made Kate’s life a living hell during her captivity.
All Kate’s abusers were awaiting trial, as well as those who’d brutally raped her shortly before and after her captivity at Hungerford Hall. With nobody left at the Hall to look after Brent, carers visited him there daily to tend to his needs. Kate’s weekend visit had cheered up Brent and Kate no end. Each time his carers had left him, Kate had sashayed into his bedroom and administered her special brand of sexual healing. By the end of the weekend, they’d been a little in love and Kate had promised to return as soon as possible.
Living with Jeremy complicated her relationship with Brent. She’d failed to allay Jeremy’s suspicions that there was far more than friendship between Kate and the dark-haired hunk. Jeremy had met him, so he knew Brent looked and sounded like he’d been wheeled off the set of Poldark and was closer to Kate’s age than Jeremy, too. Her boss was attractive, but not breathtakingly handsome like Brent. As far as Kate was concerned, her relationship with Jeremy was a temporary arrangement. Jeremy hoped and prayed he’d be a permanent fixture in her life.
Jeremy and Theresa went about their work at the riverbank crime scene. ‘Hopefully, we’ll soon have a name for the female victim,’ he said. ‘There’s a strong chance the girl could be Gill Updyke who was reported missing two days ago by her foster parents. She looks about the right age and description.’
Theresa said, ‘According to his bank cards, the pensioner’s name is Paul Smythe.’
Jeremy said, ‘If he hadn’t been the one to report the crime, I might’ve suspected he’d murdered her, especially as he was found dead and draped across her body with a vibrator nearby.’
‘But there’ve been many cases where the murderer’s reported the crime,’ said Theresa. ‘Until the autopsy, we don’t know his cause of death. On initial examination, he has no obvious injuries that would’ve killed him. I reckon he’d been using the vibrator on her, sir. Why else would it be there?’
‘I hear what you’re saying,’ said Jeremy. ‘But, we’ve found no hammer or anything that could’ve been used to drive the nail through her hand and into the tree.’
‘Don’t want to malign Mr Smythe, but he could’ve thrown the weapon into the river,’ said Theresa. ‘If he’d used a rock to bash in the nail, there’ll be rock particles on the nail head. A search of the river is about to begin, so we’ll soon know.’
Jeremy scratched his chin. ‘I could be wrong, but I have a gut feeling the girl’s death has nothing to do with the pensioner. What killer takes their dog with them when they murder someone? Mr Smythe’s dog wouldn’t leave his side.’
‘Such touching devotion. He’ll be well looked after, sir.’
Jeremy said, ‘What worries me is the likelihood Trouble Cream’s been used on the girl. We know it’s started to be sold online. The two bastards who used it on Kate after she’d escaped from those perverts in Hungerford Hall had bought Trouble on eBay.’
‘That was around Christmas time,’ said Theresa. We’ve had the global pandemic since then and social distancing made sex with strangers a no-no. There can’t have been much demand for the cream. With lockdown easing desperate, sex-starved individuals have started taking risks and hooking up. There’s now a market for Trouble Cream.’
‘This is what I’ve been dreading,’ said Jeremy. ‘Fenton Nightingale, as Trouble’s inventor, must be behind its distribution. So, do I arrest him and risk the porn videos of you, Kate, Chloe, and me going public?’
‘That’s a tough call, sir. Keeping the material private was why Kate, Chloe and I ended up submitting to Grant and his gang’s sexual demands. Whatever we decide, we must do it soon before Trouble Cream spreads worldwide. Coronavirus bought us some time. We’ve seen firsthand the devastation the cream causes and must think outside the box.’
‘As I recall, you’re an expert at thinking outside the box,’ said Jeremy, chuckling. ‘You played a blinder when you suggested using the skills of renowned homosexual Grayson Hinton to defeat Grant’s gang. I still laugh remembering filming Grayson having his wicked way with all the naked gang members above Jimmy’s pub after Grant’s dea—’
‘Shush!’ whispered Theresa, checking nobody had heard what he’d said. ‘Officially, Grant’s only missing.’
Jeremy winced. ‘Sorry. Slip of the tongue.’
Theresa proudly wore the diamond engagement ring Jimmy Trafford, Grant Trafford’s uncle, had given her two weeks before. Her boss had done a wonderful job keeping Jimmy safe from prosecution for Grant’s murder. No accusing fingers had pointed at Theresa for helping Jimmy to dispose of Grant’s body, or for murdering DS Alan Niles after he’d raped her following his recruitment into Grant’s gang. Theresa had never told Jeremy she’d fatally stabbed DS Niles. Nobody except Theresa and Jimmy knew he was dead, although many, including Jeremy, suspected he might be because Alan Niles and Grant had been missing for over a year.
The day after the two corpses appeared on the bank of the River Don, Jeremy and Theresa discussed the results of both autopsies in his office. The forensic pathologist on duty was Jane Ramsden, a butch lesbian with short, wiry grey hair who Jeremy suspected was pleasuring Kate behind his back. He’d seen how intently she gazed at Kate and had caught them in deep, flirtatious conversations on several occasions. He hated how Jane stroked Kate’s arm or back when they talked.
Theresa said, ‘We’ve just had confirmation of the female victim’s identity, sir. She’s Gill Updyke, as you thought.’
‘Looks like Paul Smythe suffered a fatal heart attack at the scene. He wasn’t murdered and there was none of Gill’s DNA on the vibrator. Apart from Paul’s DNA, there was an unknown DNA present on it belonging to a woman called Amy Buckhurst. We have her DNA on the system after she was jailed for stabbing her first husband. He survived, but only just,’ said Jeremy.
‘Shall I visit her to find out how Paul Smythe came to have a vibrator with her DNA on it, boss? It might help to flesh out his movements before he ended up sprawled across Gill.’
‘Yes, please, Theresa, although the DNA is from vaginal fluid, so it’s obvious how it got there. Mrs Buckhurst might know about Smythe’s movements that day, though. She has a husband, so don’t interview her about the vibrator with him in the room. Don’t want to cause a messy domestic.’
‘Quite so. I’ll be discreet.’
‘Gill was murdered elsewhere,’ said Jeremy. ‘She’d been dead for over twenty-four hours before her body was found. If she’d been murdered by the river, someone would’ve spotted her body. That part of the river is popular, especially in this sunny weather. There was blood on her body but not much on the surrounding ground. There would’ve been far more if her throat had been cut where she was found.’
Pointing to the autopsy report, Theresa said, ‘This is odd. Jane mentions puncture marks around the perimeter of the girl’s nipples. There’s a small hole through the tip. There were still specks of dried blood on them, so the small wounds were relatively fresh. Probably inflicted before the time of death.’
Jeremy said, ‘I spotted the marks yesterday,’ said Jeremy. ‘Jane told me in the canteen how perplexed she was about the victim’s freakishly enlarged nipples and genitalia. I had to plead ignorance, although you and I know damned well what caused the enlargements. Jane added that she’d recently seen similar enlargements in another woman, but didn’t say who. You’ve not been flashing your fanny at Jane, have you?’
‘I should think not, sir. Maybe you should ask Kate. I don’t want to be a tattletale but I caught her coming out of Jane’s office looking flushed and dishevelled last Thursday.’
I knew I was right. Jane’s shagging Kate, thought Jeremy, trying not to show he was seething.
Ignoring Jeremy’s distress, Theresa said, ‘If we don’t do something about Fenton Nightingale’s invention soon, the world will soon see a flood of such body changes if Trouble Cream gets into the wrong hands. Hope it’s not too late.’
Jeremy said, ‘Now that bloody Fenton’s resigned from our forensic’s department and vanished, we must step up our efforts to find him. It’s hard to make decent headway in our search when we’re so busy on official cases. Only hunting him down when we’re off duty isn’t ideal.’
‘We both know what we must do if and when we find the little shit,’ said Theresa with a meaningful look.
With an equally sombre expression, Jeremy nodded and said, ‘I do. It can’t be avoided.’
Theresa leaned closer. Her whisper was so soft, Jeremy could barely hear her. ‘Just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, I was talking about us killing him.’
‘So was I, Theresa,’ he whispered.
Jeremy knew finding young Fenton Nightingale was personal for Theresa. After listening to what Fenton, Grant, and a vile, toothless freak nicknamed Gummy Bear had done to Theresa inside Fenton’s converted ambulance in the station car park previous year, Jeremy understood why his DS detested the brilliant, dangerous forensic scientist.
Theresa’s nipples and clitoral hood still hadn’t returned to their normal size after falling foul of Trouble Cream the previous year. She was too embarrassed to mention this fact to her boss, but her fiancé was enjoying her enhancements.
She knew Jeremy was having first-hand experience of the long-term effects of Trouble because he lived with and was having sex with Kate, whose private parts were even larger than her own. The women had occasionally compared notes in the station’s toilets, stripping naked to examine each other’s affected parts, hoping for shrinkage. It was easier to spot changes in someone else’s body than to check their own. They did so without any embarrassment. Their inhibitions had vanished after their first bizarre liaison in the disabled toilets of Jimmy’s pub the previous year when Kate had asked Theresa to examine her recent enlargements and advise whether she should attend A&E.
Just as she’d done in the toilet in Jimmy’s pub, Theresa had relieved Kate’s sexual frustration while examining her. The younger brunette suffered from more regular and intense waves of arousal than Theresa as the Welsh liaison officer had been a sex addict even before encountering Trouble Cream.
If Jeremy was at work, Kate naturally visited his office so he could give her the orgasms she was addicted to, but her boss was often busy or out of the building working on a case. Theresa had been the only person Kate could safely ask to relieve her.
That was until Jane Ramsden had seduced Kate inside Jane’s back office on the previous Thursday. Kate had knocked on Jane’s door to collect a forensic report for Jeremy. Jane had invited her to sit down while she located the report. The beautiful liaison officer had seemed restless, squirming in her swivel chair as another wave of arousal raged through her. Jane had watched her crossing and uncrossing her legs and wondered why she was so fidgetty.
As Kate had always seemed to welcome Jane’s flirtations and touches, the forensic scientist had boldly said, ‘You know I fancy the arse off you, don’t you, Kate?’
‘You don’t beat about the bush, do you, Jane?’
‘I’d beat your bush any day, love,’ said Jane with a smirk.
‘Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have a bush,’ Kate had said with a smile.
‘Cheeky! Is that report ready? The boss is waiting for it,’ said Kate, desperate to rub herself between her thighs.
‘Is there something wrong, dear? You’re wriggling like an eel. You’ve either got ants in your pants or you’re feeling super-horny. I’d love to help if it’s the latter,’ Jane had said, placing a hand on Kate’s thigh and squeezing it.
When Kate didn’t complain or brush her hand away, the older woman had grown bolder and slowly edged Kate’s black, floaty skirt high enough to reveal her stocking tops and suspenders. ‘I knew it’d be suspenders. Splendid.’
Kate was a sucker for being admired and dominated and hadn’t objected when Jane had pulled Kate’s knees wide apart. Surprised and delighted, she’d seen no panties, just the wettest vulva and largest clitoral hood she’d ever seen, and Jane had seen scores in her lifetime.
Stretching out a trembling hand, Jane had slid two fingers deep inside Kate. As she’d moved them faster and faster, she’d muttered, ‘Girls with no panties and tight, wet pussies are also a favourite of mine. You were right about no bush. Don’t move a muscle while I lock the door.’ When she’d returned, she’d pulled out an impressive black strap-on from a drawer.
‘Odd thing to find in a forensic lab, ‘ Kate had said as Jane removed her sensible skirt and stepped into the strap-on.
‘I hook-up in here every Monday evening with a hot little blonde PC. She enjoys my services and I’m confident you will, too. She says I’m great with my tongue and fingers. Let’s see if you agree.’
Crouching between Kate’s parted thighs, she’d lapped at Kate’s vulva as she’d moaned and mewled. After pulling the fleshy hood back and rubbing the large clitoris, Jane had said, ‘Quick. Undo your blouse. I’ve wanted to suck on your big titties ever since you joined Cosgrove’s team.’
Kate had been used to taking commands for years. After Jane had sucked and licked the largest nipples she’d ever seen, Kate had stripped naked except for her heels, stockings and suspenders and laid back on Jane’s desk with her legs dangling over the woman’s broad shoulders. She’d gasped and blasphemed as she’d taken the full force of Jane’s strap-on. Kate had lost count of the orgasms during her visit. The floor had become so slick with ejaculate, Jane had slipped a few times before wiping it up with tissues.
‘Come back whenever you feel the urge, Kate. Text me first in case I’m carving up a body,’ Jane had whispered an hour later as she’d shown Kate out of her office straight into the path of DS Theresa Smart.
‘Your buttons are done up wrong. I reckon I can guess why,’ Theresa’d said, frowning with suspicion at Kate’s unusually dishevelled appearance.
Undoing and rebuttoning her blouse correctly, Kate had thought her friend looked and sounded like a jealous lover, which she was. Knowing Jeremy was also a jealous lover, Kate had taken care to keep quiet about her lesbian dalliances with Theresa and dominant Jane. As neither woman expected Kate to pleasure them, selfish Kate was only too willing to be used as their plaything if it meant she could enjoy a few more orgasms.
Chapter 3. Kate Makes Enquiries
Kate Pendleton drove over to visit Gill Updyke’s foster parents to offer them support and discover more about the teenager. Her urge to come had been temporarily quelled that day after managing to fit in a quick orgasm with Jeremy, Theresa, and Jane without any of them guessing she’d visited the other two. She hoped the urge to come wouldn’t surface during what promised to be an emotional meeting.
The semi-detached property was in a quiet, affluent area of Sheffield. Kate was led into a cosy living room by Sarah Dawkins, a blonde, pleasantly plump woman in her late forties. She had a pleasant face, although looked like she’d not slept. Jack, her tall, balding, skinny husband hovered in the background looking sheepish and embarrassed, which puzzled Kate. The mismatched couple reminded her of the nursery rhyme,
Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean.
And so betwixt them both
They licked the platter clean.
Gill’s foster parents were in shock, riddled with guilt over how she’d died in the worst possible way on their watch.
‘I feel bad speaking ill of the dead, but Gill was always a handful ever since she came to live here two years ago,’ said Jack Dawkins. ‘Her druggy parents were terrible influences on her. By the time we took charge of her, the damage was done. Gill was an uncontrollable wild child. She didn’t abide by any lockdown restrictions. Did whatever she liked.’
His tearful wife nodded. ‘We tried our damnedest to discipline Gill, but she’d just laugh at us and carry on regardless. She sneaked from the house at all hours of the day and night. Jack often saw a white car pick her up outside here when she thought we were asleep.’
Jack said, ‘I couldn’t make out the driver’s face, but he was a young Asian.’
‘Any idea of the make of car he drove?’ asked Kate. ‘Did he have any distinctive features? Facial hair or glasses for instance?’
Jack said, ‘Possibly a white Mazda. The driver was clean-shaven without glasses, but I wouldn’t be able to identify him in a line-up. I couldn’t see anyone else in the car, but there might’ve been someone in the back. Wish I could be more helpful.’
‘Weekends were a nightmare,’ said Sarah. ‘Gill never did her homework, played truant from school, and was failing badly in her exams. We’d hardly ever see her. Her school couldn’t discipline her either during lockdown.’
‘Sounds like she really put you through it,’ said Kate.
‘Gill was deeply disturbed. Her upbringing was appalling, so it’s not surprising. Her father used her mother as a punchbag and abused their three children. He ended up killing his missus, which is how Gill ended up with us. Breaks my heart to think about what she endured before we took her in.’
‘I’m sure you both did your best to help her,’ said Kate. ‘Please, don’t beat yourselves up about what happened.’
Sarah said, ‘It’s impossible to help some people.’
Seeing Sarah’s bottom lip wobble, Kate put a comforting hand on the distraught woman’s arm. ‘Was there anything unusual about the last time you saw her?’
Jack’s cheeks burned red as he thought of their last meeting. ‘Um, well, it’s too uncomfortable for me to talk about, so I’m going to shut myself in the kitchen and let my wife tell you what happened if it’s okay with you.’
‘That’s fine,’ said Kate.
Jack shuffled awkwardly from the room, thinking, Thank God Sarah will sort it out. I couldn’t possibly tell that beautiful woman what Gill did to me.
Once her husband had left the room, Sarah looked at the floor rather than at Kate. ‘I’m not sure how to say this. We’re still in shock over what happened when Gill returned home at about eight a.m. on Saturday morning.’
‘I assume she’d been out all night again,’ said Kate.
Sarah nodded. She talked fast, wanting the ordeal of relating what happened to be over and done with. ‘I was in my dressing gown making Jack and I a brew in the kitchen. He was in bed having a lie-in. Jack works so hard at the bank. When Gill let herself into the house, she looked badly dishevelled.’
‘In what way?’ asked Kate.
‘She looked possessed, hair all over the place. She was flushed and her mascara was smeared. Gill ignored me and staggered upstairs. Alarmed by her messy appearance and look of panic, I followed her upstairs. I have a bad hip, so it took a while to reach her. By the time I did, Gill had rushed into our bedroom, kicked off her trainers and flung herself on top of our bed. Jack was startled awake, horrified to see Gill ripping off her skirt and top. She begged him to have sex with her, although put it far more crudely. Jack was so confused, poor love. Before we could stop her, she was naked, thrusting her lady parts in his face. All vestiges of modesty had left her. She was like a wild animal. Such a disgusting sight.’
Shocked to the core, Kate thought, Sarah’s account sounds horribly familiar. It happened to me. I’d love to tell her that I know exactly what caused Gill’s crude behaviour, but I can’t. She’d never believe me if I told her what Theresa, Chloe, and I’ve been through. We can’t panic the public by releasing any information about Trouble. Not yet, anyway.
Kate said, ‘I understand why your husband felt uncomfortable about discussing such a disturbing incident with me. You must both be as traumatised about Gill’s brazen behaviour as you are about her death. Pardon me for asking, but were Gill’s nipples and genitalia abnormally enlarged when she tried to seduce Jack?’
Sarah nodded. ‘Well, I’ve never seen Gill naked before, so I don’t know if she was born like that, but I’ve never seen bits and bobs that large.’
‘What happened next?’ said Kate.
Sarah looked pained by the memory. ‘I pulled Gill off the bed and threw her clothes at her. We dragged her kicking and screaming into her bedroom and told her to dress and calm down. We left her to it, but, five minutes later, we heard her leave the house. I went outside and called after her to come back. She ignored me and ran up the road.’
‘Where she was heading?’ said Kate.
‘Towards the town. I told you about my bad hip. I could never have caught her with the speed she was running. An ugly, fat, middle-aged man in a suit was walking towards her. Gill dashed up to him, grabbed his arm and pulled up the front of her skirt. She was a fair distance up the road from me, but I could see she had no knickers on. Gill desperately begged him to have sex with her, just as she’d done to Jack. She was showing him her bits and rubbing them against his groin. The man looked as confused as we were. At first, he tried to pull away from her. Gill is… I mean was, an attractive girl and he soon stopped pulling away. I could see he was considering going along with her demands.’
I can tell what’s coming next, thought Kate, remembering the desperation she’d felt under Trouble’s powerful influence.
‘I couldn’t believe my eyes. The bloke shoved his hand between Gill’s thighs and… how can I put it? Basically, the pig masturbated her, completely ignoring my shouts to leave her alone.’
‘How awful,’ said Kate. ‘Sorry you and Jack had to go through all this. I’m sorry Gill had to suffer it, too.’
‘I was horrified by what the man was doing to my foster child. I couldn’t tell if it he or Gill pulled her top up, but he was sucking her… um… Sorry—I can’t bring myself to describe what he did.’
‘I get the picture, Sarah. Don’t distress yourself.’
‘Jack had dressed by this time and joined me by our gate. He ran up the road to stop the man when all of a sudden, some liquid shot from between Gill’s thighs all over the man.’
Kate thought, Squirting’s another effect of the cream. I was like Trevi fountain with hardly any stimulation. I still gush ages after the cream was inflicted on me.
‘The fat bastard disappeared before I could reach him,’ said Jack. ‘There are CCTV cameras in our street, so you might be able to identify him and bang him in jail. He wore a beige suit if that’s any help.’
Knowing beige suits were all Jeremy ever wore, Kate thought, Beige suit? Surely it can’t be him, can it? Jeremy’s not fat or ugly, but not many men wear beige suits these days. She said, ‘What colour hair did he have?’
‘Dark brown. He had a goatee beard and a thin moustache,’ said Sarah.
Phew! It’s not Jeremy, then, thought Kate. I was just being paranoid. Jeremy’s hair matches his suits and he’s clean-shaven. There’s been so much weirdness in my life, I had to doublecheck it wasn’t him.
‘We’re sifting through CCTV footage filmed over the past couple of weeks, so we’ll hopefully find the suited stranger and the driver of the white Mazda on it,’ said Kate. ‘When you both feel stronger, please visit the station to make a written statement about what you’ve told me.’
Sarah sighed deeply. ‘What Gill did has deeply upset Jack. He’s painfully shy and doesn’t want to discuss what Gill did.’
‘I understand his concerns, but we’ll make it as painless as possible for him. We do need your signed statements.’
‘After Gill came onto him, Jack worried I’d think they’d been having some sort of sick affair. It would’ve labelled him a paedophile because Gill only turned sixteen a couple of weeks ago and she’d been living here for two years. It took me a while to convince him I trust him completely. You can see he’s not that kind of man.’
‘I need to ask you something, Sarah,’ said Kate. ‘You were probably both too confused and startled to notice, but were there any puncture marks around one of Gill’s nipples and a small hole through the tip? There would’ve been some blood.’
Sarah thought a while. ‘No. If there’d been blood on her, I would’ve noticed. Why?’
Kate knew she couldn’t avoid telling her, even though it would further distress the woman. ‘There were odd marks which must have occurred after she returned home. Please, ask Jack if he noticed them. Better you ask him rather than me.’
She was surprised to see Jack return to the living room with his wife. ‘Sorry for being such a wuss,’ he said. ‘Looks like I’ll have to toughen up and talk more openly if I’m going to get through this. The killer might escape if I opt out of the situation. No, I didn’t see any marks.’
‘Thank you, sir. I appreciate your input. You’ll be pleased to know I’m returning to the station now. I’ll be in touch with you regularly to update you. If you think of anything else that might help our investigations, here’s my number to contact me directly.’
Kate handed Jack her card and stood up to leave. The couple looked shell-shocked as they showed her out. Kate’s heart went out to them as she waved goodbye and sashayed to her car, her flippy skirt blowing in the autumnal breeze.
Jack couldn’t tell his wife what he was thinking. It’s odd, but the outline of Kate’s nipples through her blouse looked very similar to Gill’s. Much larger and more erect than any I’ve ever seen, even in porn films. There’s something odd going on that I don’t understand. I’m living in The Twilight Zone.