Novel Name : Hot Revenge Box Set 2

Chapter 20

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But downstairs in my playroom, Klempner is nowhere to be seen. Neither is he in the laundry, the boiler
room or anywhere else.

Finchby has vanished too.

Michael regards the empty spot. Clicking a thumbnail against his teeth. “There’s only one way he could
have gotten out.”

“Yes, there is. Michael, Klempner knew the tunnel existed. How long d'you think it would have taken
him to find it if he was seriously looking?”

Hissing through his teeth, he marches across to the hidden exit at the far end of the chamber.

A click, the concealed door opens and he vanishes inside.

Re-emerging a minute later. “There’re drag marks where the floor turns to earth. You want to follow

“I don’t think I do. I’m not sure I want to be responsible for whatever happens to Finchby. Besides, I
have more immediate things to do.”

“Such as?”

“I have a hard drive to clean up before I deliver it to the police.”

Michael scratches at forty-eight-hour stubble. “I suspect Finchby may not be our problem anymore.”

“I suspect you’re right. Klempner wanted to question him some more. I doubt he’ll survive the

“And Klempner?”

“He'll be back.”

“You think?”



The following evening, the front door opens and Klempner breezes in as if he had not a care in the

“James, Michael, sorry to leave you so precipitously. I'm sure you understand why.”

He’s changed, wearing fresh clothes which look new and fit him well; trousers, a roll-top sweater, jacket
and shoes. And he carries a pair of bags, offering one to me.

“Yours. Thank you for the loan. I had them laundered of course.”

“Finchby?” I ask, cautiously.

“... Will trouble you no more.” His gaze is direct. “Or for that matter, anyone else.”

“What did you do with him?”

His head inclines. He regards me from under his brows. “You really want to know?”


“I slit his throat. After he’d told me what I needed.”

“Buried him in the woods?”

“No, I want what’s left of him found.” His tone turns savage. “I want it known what will happen to
anyone who makes any move against my family.”

He turns calmer again, his smile sunny. “If someone has a quarrel with me, they can discuss it with

This is Klempner…

And I know what he’s done to some of the people who seriously upset him.

“I'm surprised you stopped at cutting his throat.”

He mellows again. Heaves air. “I didn't want Jenny or Mitch reading something like that in the papers
and deciding they were somehow responsible.”

Footsteps at the end of the hall: Richard, watching, silent.

Klempner regards him. “And how is your friend? Commissioner Stanton?”

“Conflicted, I would say. He blistered my ears before he settled down.”

Klempner scratches his nose. “I can imagine. Here…” He proffers the second bag. “I should have given
you this before, but we were rather busy. It’s Finchby’s half of the money. I think most of it’s there,
minus a… um… finder’s fee to Hickman. I thought that was appropriate. I’ve not recovered Baxter’s
half, I’m afraid, yet.”

Richard stares at the bag. “I assumed I’d never see that again.”

“No?” Klempner cocks his head. “You know what they say about assumptions.”



James and Michael head upstairs. They want to see Jenny of course. Spend some time with her.

And the baby…

Of course…

Haswell’s vanished too. To see his Beth, I suppose.

Alone now, I pace the lounge.

In one corner, a Christmas tree stands, half-decorated. Close by, a cardboard box overflows with tinsel
and paper decorations.

Through the window, fog swirls and inside, winter penetrates. The air is damp with chill, so, for lack of
anything else to do, I make up the fire. It’s not difficult. A wicker basket contains paper, matches and
kindling; the hearth is stacked with logs and there’s already a good bed of ashes, albeit cold ashes.

A couple of minutes’ effort produces a bright flame and I stack thinnish stove-lengths then thicker logs
over it, building it high. A good burn will heat the stonework and then the room.

From upstairs, the sound of laughter and chatter drifts. I can pick out Jenny’s voice, excited and

Showing off her new baby?

James’ much deeper tones rumble down too and occasionally the nurse trots past the door, uniform
crisp, hat starched.

I stand, back to the fire, letting the heat bathe me.

The fizz of activity, the buzz of excitement fades. And depression settles over me.

Now what?

Perhaps I should go?

Let them play Happy Families…

I should be tracking Baxter…

I turn to stand over the fire, leaning with both hands on the mantle, staring down into the flames and
where now, wood begins to drop into glowing ashes.

“Larry?” The voice is soft, mellow… beautiful.

I turn. “Mitch, is Jenny alright? And the baby?”

“Jenny’s fine. She’s caught up on her sleep and she’s having a bath, cleaning herself up properly now.
They’ve put Cara in an incubator, but it’s just a precaution while they make sure everything’s working
as it should.”

“An incubator? Here?”

She smiles. “Richard was busy while he was here. There’s half a medical facility up there. If they
needed to, everyone could be whisked away to a clinic or hospital, but unless it’s an emergency…” She
shrugs. “I think he just kept shoving money at them until they agreed to set up here for the meantime.”

“The joys of having one of the super-rich for a friend… I’m glad everything’s alright.” It sounds trite, but
I don’t know what else to say.

She looks at me long, then moving slowly, she comes close, raising her hand to my cheek. “Thank you
for everything you did.”

“It’s not finished yet, Mitch.”

“I know. But thank you anyway.”

She steps back, holds out her hand. “Come with me.”

I take it, following her. “Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

She leads me from the house, around to the rear and across a courtyard with what look like stables at
one end. To the side of the stables, white-painted walls, set with trellis and roses sprouting at the base.
A door, new and freshly painted, furnished with brass handle and knocker, both polished and bright.

“What’s this?”

“This is where I live.”

“Here? I thought…”

“They need their privacy…” She opens the door, leading me inside… “… And now, so do I.”

She closes the door behind me, then moves close, stands close, rests her palms on my chest. After a
moment she chuckles, pressing her right hand hard against me. “I can feel your heartbeat.”

“I imagine you can. I’m wondering what…”

She surges closer to me, her arms rising, hooking up behind my neck, seeking my mouth with hers.

How could I refuse?

And why would I ever want to?

The moment is the sweetest I’ve known since…

… since before Jenny was born…

Her lips are soft and warm and welcoming, opening under mine as I slide my arms around her, stoop to
meet her. My heart may be banging, but so is hers; hammering through rib and flesh and breast.

She breaks away, her eyes on mine. “Twenty years is too long.”

“Yes, it is.”

I look around, take in my surroundings; classic ‘Mitch’: walls in pale cream painted with flowers, trailing
vines, overhanging trees and of course, butterflies.

I eye-point a door. “Where does that lead?”

“The kitchen.” Her mouth twitches, then she dimples, turning and aiming a finger. “But that one leads to
the bedroom.”

“You know, I never did see inside your bedroom.”

“No, you didn’t, did you.” She takes my hand again. “Let’s put that right.”


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