Novel Name : Masters & Lovers Box Set Three

Chapter 33

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Twenty-Six Years Ago

The club is dark and sleazy, like most of its customers; perhaps denizens would be a better description.
Occupied by the lost and those wishing to be so, the unwanted and the unwantable, it caters to those
not wanting to be noticed by the passing world, or those the passing world will perhaps see, but then
look away from.

The bouncer looks askance at the blue uniform, moving from his spot in front of a luridly-coloured
poster of young women of unlikely proportions and appeal. He stands to block the entrance, then jolts
back as he recognizes the face at the top. “Sorry, Corby. Didn’t realise it was you for a minute there.”

“’S fine Pat. Just let me through.”

“You expected?”


“Should I send ahead?”


Inside, Corby grimaces at the mix of sweat, smoke and stale air. Sweeping a view through a blue haze
over the hunched shoulders of solo drinkers, past the gawpers ogling the stripper under the spotlight,
he settles on the shadowed nooks at the far end of the bar.

A figure half hidden in the gloom raises a glass towards him. Bech pushes back his cap then strolls
across, taking a seat at the table. He ignores the startled glances of those he passes. In any case, as
they see who he is sitting with, they look away again.

“Drink?” Enrico Romani raises a finger to the barman who heads smartly across the floor.

The cop lounges in the seat, carefully not touching the scummy-looking table top. “Thanks, no.
Business, not pleasure.”

Romani awards him a cool look, waving the hovering barman away again. “I took that as read… So,
what can I do for you, Corby? You’ve got the wrong brother for your line of work. Guido handles the
women. I’m on the enforcement end of the business. You know that.”

“Yes, I know that. But that’s not why I asked you here. In fact, I have something for you. A little gift that I
think your father will appreciate.”

Enrico cocks a brow, the expression twisted by a scar acquired no doubt during one of his enforcement
activities. “Oh? And what would that be?”

Bech swipes a palm across his chin. “How’s it going at court? Is the prosecutor…. Max Devlin is it? ….
making life difficult for your father?”

Eyes narrowing, “And why would you ask?”

“I’m sure…” Bech continues… “… that you have been trying to access Mr Devlin… during the court

Romani stirs in his seat. “Abso-fuckin’-lutely… No good though. He’s locked down tight. Twenty-four-
seven protection, mirrors under vehicles, whole fuckin’ courtesy-guard on the way to court…”

“I’m sure, yes,” says Bech, smoothly. “So, you would appreciate some leverage? To get him away from
all that… Something to tempt him out to play.” He pushes a slip of paper across the table.

Romani glances down, slides it up and open, then reads… “An address? A school? What’s this then?”

“That is the school attended by the only daughter of Chief Prosecutor, Max Devlin. The father might be
under tight security, but a school of little girls in pink frills won’t be.”

A broad grin dawns across Romani’s face, stretching the scar. It’s not a pretty sight…

Then the grin fades. He sniffs, swipes a finger across his nose. “Not that I don’t appreciate this, but
what’s in it for you? What does Officer Corby get out of this?”

Bech sits back, drumming fingers on the table top. “Let’s just say that the Romani family owes me one.
No doubt I’ll be able to call on your gratitude at some point.”

“Gratitude, fuck. What’s Max Devlin done to upset you?”

“He’s poking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Let’s leave it at that shall we.”

Enrico stares him down. “So, you want my family to do your dirty work?”

“If you like, but I don’t hear you objecting.”

“No, you don’t.” He stands, offers his hand. “Thanks, Corby. I’ll make sure Pop hears about this.”

“I appreciate that.”

Bech watches as Romani leaves, his smile smug.

One less problem to handle…



My Master stands before the mirror, knotting his tie. His reflected eyes pass to me. “I’m going on-site
this morning, Charlotte. You want to come?” He turns, touches my cheek. “A bit of normality again


“I’d love to. What’s happening?”

“We’ll be down by the area of the new bridge…”

“Your bridge…”

He smiles. “As you say, my bridge…”

“So, what’s happening?”

“It’s about a year since the bridge opened so we have real access to the site, but with…” He hesitates,
his dark eyes hovering over me… “with what was learned about the Blessingmoors site after your…
revelations… the work in that area of the site ground to a halt while the police finished their
investigations. That’s done now and so the demolition process will be completed…”

“Completed? But I thought all that…”

“The cellars were re-opened, remember? When you first gave your information to the police. Now
everyone agrees that the best thing is for the whole site to be covered…”

My chest tightens…


My Master inclines his head, watching me in silence.

Forcing out the words. “You never told me,” I say.

He lays the tip of a forefinger on my lips. “And your reaction just now is the reason why. I didn’t want to
say anything until we were ready to bury the site, the Past and everything that goes with it.”

“What’s going there instead?” I pause, running schematics and blueprints through my head… “There’s
nothing on any of the drawings but a blanked-out area.”

“That’s because I didn’t let you see that part of the plans. And…” He taps a knuckle on the bridge of my
nose… “I asked Richard not to let you see anything of it either.”

“But you’re letting me see it now?


“Why now?”

“Because we’re ready to go and I want your contributions for the design.”

“Mine? Master, what’s going over the site?”

“A park. And you’re going to help me put it together.”


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