Novel Name : Masters & Lovers Box Set Three

Chapter 31

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Bech pushes a vending machine cup at Cappelli. “What’s she saying?”

Cappelli hooks a thumb into a pocket “Never gets any fucking better does it? Denying everything of
course. Says she’s being framed.”

Bech barks a laugh. “Of course. Just another victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice.”

“Aren’t they all? Still, looks like that lawyer of hers is going to get her sprung. Bail’s set high but the
judge is allowing it. No previous. And it looks like they share a school tie.”


“Who is he? He looked pretty high-class to be the legal for a hooker.”

“Theo Aldred. Subs for Max Devlin. From Hofferman and Partners…”

“Hofferman’s? The prosecutors on the Romani Family case?”

“Yup. Don’t envy him that one. They’ve got all the wits under protection and the judge and lawyers have
full surveillance.” Cappelli sucks at the coffee, pulls a face. “Stone-cold… You’re right though. You’d not
think he’d turn up for the likes of that one would you?” He tilts the cup at Bech. “I’m going to the
machine for another. Want one?”

“Thanks, but no. I’m off in five.”


So, the bitch got herself sprung…

Back in his apartment, Bech paces, curses, bangs his fist on the wall. Then…

The blindingly fuckin’ obvious…

He checks the card index,

And sure enough…

Maximillian Devlin. Lawyer. Married twice. Son by previous.

One daughter by current marriage - favourite topic of conversation. Likes rabbits and pink. Got a pony.
Gymkhana. Head girl at Ponterbury.



I wake, disoriented for a moment as I take in stone arches and vaulted ceilings, then brain-cells line up
in good order and I remember where I am. Beside me lies Charlotte; eyes closed, breathing soft.

Beyond her, where James slept, the covers are rumpled, sheets thrown back, but when I listen, there is
a faint clatter of movement from above.

Propping myself on an elbow, I take a good look at my Sleeping Beauty. She’s looking better than she
has since we returned from the last visit to Klempner.

Her father…


Her face has lost that sallow hue, and her cheeks are brushed with the palest of pinks.


I stroke over the line of high cheekbones with a fingertip. Her lids flutter, then open…

… and I see Charlotte… my Charlotte…there. Not the stranger who looked out at me for the last few
days, but my beautiful wife; my copper-haired, emerald-eyed, wilful, frustrating, crazy, wonderful wife.

And, reaching to touch me, she smiles. “Hi.”

Still stroking her face, “How are you now?”

Her eyes are soft and watery. “I’m fine. Really, I’m fine now. I’m sorry I…”

I press a finger to her lips. “There’s nothing to be sorry for. I don’t think any of us would have reacted
well to learning what you did.” Tracing a curved brow with the pad of my thumb. “Sometimes life throws
shit at us, knocks us down. There's no sin in falling over. Only in not standing up again.” I replace my
finger with my lips, kiss her softly. “But it’s good to have you back.”

Swallowing, dropping her gaze, she bobs her head.

“And besides,” I continue, “you have to be in a better state than that if you really want to get yourself
pregnant.” Her eyes lift again, widening. “Do you? That’s still what you want? To give James his
daughter back?”

“Yes.” Her voice is a whisper. “Is that alright?”

“Yes. That’s what I said when we talked about it. It’s fine. Just so long as I know. I’ll help however I

I lean in again, feathering my lips across hers. Her hand curves around the back of my head. “Thank
you.” She nuzzles into the crook of neck and shoulder. “I missed you. It was lonely in that other bed.”

“I missed you too. We both did.” I pull away, holding her gaze. “But I never went away. I never will go
away…” She sighs. “And yes, I’ve been looking forward to being back in our own bed too. We’ll sleep
there tonight. All of us. Together.”

Her forehead creases. “You mean you didn’t…”

“You don’t imagine James and I share a bed when you’re not in it with us? He might be my good friend,
but not that good…”

From the doorway comes a chuckle. “Sorry to disappoint you there.” James holds a tray. The scents of
toast and coffee compete for attention.

Charlotte’s nostrils flare and she sits bolt upright. “God, I’m starving. Did you bring plenty?”

James grins. “She’s back.”


Twenty-Six Years Ago

Mitch sits on the cold slab. Eyes red-rimmed, hugging herself, she rocks on the seat.

The door clangs open.

“You…” The officer says no more, simply thumbing out of the door.

Out in the office the lawyer, Theo, stands waiting. Dark-suited, briefcase in hand, he regards Mitch
without expression. “Miss Kimberley.”

The duty officer jabs a finger at a sheet. “Sign.”

Her eyes rise. “What’s happening?”

Theo says, “You’ve been bailed, but you and I need a talk. On behalf of Mr Devlin.”

“Please, I need to talk with Max himself.”

Curtly, “Mr Devlin does not want to talk to you, Miss Kimberley. He is a very busy man. He accepted
your call and assigned me out to assist you. That is the extent of his involvement with you.” He sniffs.
“I’ll not presume to guess why he did that much.” He turns, picks up his briefcase.

“Mr Aldred, please, just call him. I have to speak to him. Please…”

“Is it to do with this case?”

“Yes… No… Yes… It’s not what it looks like. I don’t take drugs. Truly, I don’t. I never have. And I
certainly don’t sell them. I’m being framed.”

He cocks a brow. “It’s a bit weak isn’t it? Why would the police frame a common prostitute?”

Her head hangs. “I need to tell him about something… It’s not just me. There’s… there’s lives at stake.
Young women.” She breathes the words. “I think they’re being trafficked.”

He lowers his lids, considering her. “And why didn’t you say this before? You had the opportunity.”

“Not in the police station. Somewhere private.” He hesitates. “Please. Just ask Max to give me half an
hour. Twenty minutes. Please.”

Something in her tone penetrates. “Twenty minutes then. It had better be good. If I do this and you’re
lying, I’ll be dog meat.”

“And somewhere we won’t be overheard.”

He nods; a short gesture. “Let me make a phone call.”


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