Hemmie Martin is a crime writer based in England. Her last novel, ‘In The Light of Madness‘, was the first in a trilogy. We are delighted to bring you an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from the next book ‘Rightful Owner’.
Two opulent glass bowls full of numbered pebbles sat on an onyx table. A group of men clothed in black capes and masks stood one side of the room, and a group of women in identical attire stood at the other side.
The glow from the candles dappled the dark crimson walls and reflected in the gilt-edged mirrors. The scent of fresh roses pervaded the air, and soft classical music caressed their ears.
One by one, each member of the group picked a pebble from the appropriate bowl and held it, number side facing the opposite members. As they paired up the matching numbers, the men placed an arm around the women’s waists before moving breathlessly through the panelled double doors and mounting the wide, twisting staircase. One by one, the seven double bedrooms became occupied.
“We’ve not met before,” said the man as they both removed their masks.
“It’s my first time.”
“Your idea or your husband’s?” he asked, pouring two glasses of champagne and passing her one.
“His,” she replied before swallowing two large mouthfuls.
“No need to be nervous,” he said, guiding her towards the king sized bed dressed in Egyptian cotton.
DI Wednesday turned the packet of cigarettes over and over in her hand, disappointed in herself.
“I thought you’d given up,” Lennox said from the office doorway.
She looked up and shrugged before suggesting that they went down to the courtyard for a smoke.
“Good Christmas?” she asked before taking a deep, satisfying draw on her cigarette.
“My folks are social addicts, with an urge to foist me off with a daughter of one of their friends.” Lennox performed a mock shudder making her smile.
“What about your sons?”
“I took them out for lunch a few days after Christmas with my folks; who spoilt them rotten. What about you?”
“A quiet family gathering. Mum’s still a bit fragile and Scarlett is, well, Scarlett.” She gave him a sideways glance hoping to see some reaction to the name. Her attention then turned to the smoke furling towards the dirty sky. “She’s been asking after you.”
It was Lennox’s turn to remain silent whilst blowing smoke rings into the chilled air. “I’m sorry; I’ve been unsociable of late.”
“Well make your mind up soon, Lennox, we’ve still got to work together.” And with that, she stubbed out her cigarette before dropping it into the wall mounted ashtray.
“Did you enjoy last night?’ Craig Whiting asked his wife, stuffing some papers and his stethoscope into his briefcase.
“It was different. Do we have to go again?”
He snapped his briefcase shut and told her that they would discuss it over dinner later. April watched her husband climb into his silver Mercedes and reverse down the gravelled driveway, before returning to clear the table.
Her mind wandered to the tender red marks she found on her body as she showered that morning. She had no recollection of the pain she must have felt. However, she had no time to dwell on the matter as she needed to cycle to the nursery.