Authors: Lee Weeks
‘I’ll tell you what I want from you,’ she said. ‘I want to see you when you can manage it. I won’t look for anyone else. I mean, if you can make it down here once a
week – at least once a fortnight – then I’ll make sure it’s worth your while. I won’t ask for a lot – the one thing I will ask for is that I am not part of a
harem.’ She was watching him closely.
Ellerman rested on his elbow, dipped his finger into the champagne, then traced the rise of her breast.
‘Be honest, be loyal. I can wait – no problem. I understand you are still living with your wife. I accept that you can’t leave her and I wouldn’t want you to. It’s
noble and you’ve been honest with me and I respect that.’
He reached down and pulled her to him and turned her round – spooning her. His erect cock pressing into her back. He whispered into her ear.
‘I’ll keep this cock just for you. My mouth, my tongue, all yours. My hands . . . fingers . . .’ He ran his fingertips over her. ‘Trust me,’ he said and then he
felt her tense and draw away from him as she turned and rolled over on one side to look at him again.
‘You have to accept my terms and conditions; you have to tick the “
box” – the one that says you agree to keep our relationship exclusive and that you
will not have sex with another woman whilst you are sleeping with me.’
‘You have to swear it, JJ.’
Ellerman ejected one blast of laughter before he reached for more champagne. He handed her her glass.
‘You going to make me sign an affidavit?’
Megan put her champagne down and took his glass and placed it on the side table. Then she rolled him onto his back and pinned him down by the shoulders as she straddled him.
‘Yes. I’m going to make you write it in blood,’ she growled.
He grinned. ‘You’re a wild woman.’ Ellerman glanced towards his watch, next to the glass of champagne on the bedside table. It was ten minutes to three.
‘Do you have to be somewhere?’ Her eyes had turned cold as she pressed her weight into his lap.
‘Of course not.’ He reached out to run his hands up her thighs. ‘We have plenty of time – till this evening for now, but after that? We have the rest of our
She leant forward and rested her head on his chest and then lifted her eyes to look at him. ‘Can I trust you? Are you real?’
‘Yes.’ He hugged her tightly to him. ‘This feels amazing. So special. I didn’t think for one moment I would feel like this,’ he said, his eyes filling with
Her eyes stayed on his until she was sure he was sincere and then she lay back down, smiling, happy.
‘Come on, let’s go for a walk on the moors.’ Ellerman rolled her off him and got out of bed, ducking to miss the low beam. He turned back to smile at her with a cheeky grin.
‘You can’t have it all your own way.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Some things are worth waiting for. I’ll decide when it’s time for me to pleasure you again.’
She pretended to be annoyed. Then she laughed as she got up and opened a chest of drawers, pulling out a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.
‘Okay. But I need to warn you – this is a tiny village,’ she said as she found a jumper and pulled it over her head. ‘And I’m already looked on as an outsider, so I
don’t want to be labelled a loose woman as well.’
‘Okay – no problem. Let’s drive somewhere.’
She turned to look at what he was wearing. ‘I’d better find you a coat to wear. The weather can change in a second here.’
‘Ah . . . the famous Dartmoor mist again.’
‘It’s shifted now. It will be a clear sunset.’
They drove for ten minutes over the moors and parked below Hound Tor. Ellerman was watching the clouds race overhead. The banks of scrubby moorland fanned out around them; sharp and cold now.
Trees grew bent and crooked. The sky was streaked with cold pale blue. They walked higher to get a good view. The bitter wind sliced into his face as he pulled the windproof jacket, fleecy-lined,
around him and zipped it up.
‘What a place.’
‘Yes . . . breathtaking. Too remote for you, I expect.’ She glanced across at him. ‘You’re used to living in London.’
‘I don’t live in the middle. Anyway, what I want in life has changed. I used to want money, fast cars, big house, but then I got them and now I’m ready to give them
‘And would you trade your wine bars and cocktail lounges for sitting next to a wood burner and listening to the sound of the birds outside?’
‘In a heartbeat. By the way . . . did I tell you I’m renovating a little bolt-hole in Spain. It’s a beautiful old farmhouse. I’d love you to see it. Will you let me take
you there when it’s finished?
She nodded, happy. ‘Sounds wonderful – I have a feeling I’m going to let you take me to heaven.’
DC Zoe Blackman had been guarding Michael Hitchens – Toffee – all night. She’d get back in time to get the boys up and give them breakfast then drive them to
school. Then she’d sleep. She was bad at sleeping in the day. For a fleeting, mad, sleep-deprived moment, she wondered if Simon Smith was the person she was guarding Toffee against.
She looked across at him and thought how odd he looked. He was thirty going on sixty, the way he dressed. Still, there was something old-fashioned and charming about his appearance: dishevelled
posh boy. It seemed to her like he really cared about Toffee. It showed a basically good side to him. She stood up and went over to him.
‘Fancy a coffee?’
He gave an exhausted smile. He was resting his elbows on his knees.
‘I’d love one but do you think that’s a good idea?’
‘Yes. But you have to go and get it – my colleague went home for an hour, family stuff. I have to stay here and guard Toffee. It will give us a chance to compare notes. I’m
white – no sugar.’
He stood and stretched, then smiled at her. She thought how his face was quite good-looking when he smiled. If she were into men who wore old-man sweaters with preppy stuck-up collars, then she
might consider it, but she wasn’t. Her husband had been the gym-animal type but always immaculate in his white T-shirt and perfect-fitting jeans. He took steroids. It made him aggressive in
the end, or it had brought that side out in him – who knows? But she knew it would be a long time till she went down the relationship road again. Now she was a single parent who juggled a
career she loved with the guilt-tripping of trying to give two boys everything and provide a future with money and options in it. Luckily, she had her mum to rely on.
‘Okay,’ Smith said, breaking into her thoughts, then walked off in the direction of the canteen. He came back ten minutes later, carrying two cups of coffee.
‘Of course. Just wouldn’t have volunteered the info if you hadn’t asked.’ He smiled at her. ‘Was hoping to eat the lot.’ He handed her a coffee and then took
two packets of custard creams out of his pocket.
‘Good man.’ Zoe took one and then sat down and put her coffee next to the leg of her chair. She opened her packet of biscuits.
‘Do you mind if I ask you a few questions first?’ Simon asked. ‘Some things I wanted to better understand.’
‘Sure. What do you want to know?’ She prised the top off her coffee cup.
‘What you think happened here?’
‘Here – as in Toffee in here?’ She gestured towards the window.
‘He had a run-in with a train.’
‘Was he chased?’
‘No. He wasn’t chased. He was rescued by Detective Inspector Carter; otherwise, he would have died. He ran straight under the path of an oncoming train and just knelt there waiting
to be hit.’
‘He wasn’t chased under it?’
‘No. Absolutely not. According to the report, both DC Willis and DI Carter agree that they approached him with the intention of asking him some questions connected to the murder case, and
he ran straight in front of the train. He even knelt down and wouldn’t budge. If you believe otherwise then you need to make a complaint. I’m not here for that. I’m here to
protect him. I’m also here to take a statement from him when he comes round. Our main priority is to get justice for the dead woman.’
‘I want that too.’ Simon sipped his coffee and sat back in his chair. ‘It’s a lot more than that. What about the dead woman? Do you know more about her?’
‘I can’t tell you a lot, only that she was forty, professional, single.’
‘Why did she go in there? That’s what I can’t understand.’
‘She probably went in there to meet someone she’d met on the Internet. That’s what we think.’
‘Ah.’ Simon shook his head sadly. ‘It’s a shame people have to go to such extremes looking for love.’
‘I think it was less love, more sex she was after.’
‘Ah . . . yes. Of course. The other side of the dating sites.’
‘Have you ever tried them?’
‘Dating sites? No. Well, maybe I had a look at one . . . but I never signed up.’
‘I’ve tried them. Disaster. I either had dates with men who were too shy to speak to me or men who wanted to kill their exes with their bare hands. . . .’ Zoe flashed an
apologetic look. ‘Not what I was looking for.
‘Anyway, how did you come to be running the hostel – thought vicars just sang off-key and talked about things they’d never experienced?’
‘I am pleased you have such a balanced view of us . . .’ Zoe held up her hands to apologize.
He shook his head and smiled. ‘It’s okay. Actually, I was homeless myself. I was one of those rebellious types who had everything but didn’t want it. I ended up on heroin and
living in a tent; that was until my girlfriend overdosed and died and I just woke up to what I was doing. My family never gave up on me, even when I stole from them. My sister and I are especially
close and she looked after me. She nursed me through the rehab and she was there for me all the way, despite having plenty of her own problems. My parents offered me this chance to pay back a
little to society – doing something that I understand. This was their project. They own the buildings behind here and they fund this hostel. I trained as a minister and here we
‘Bit harsh of your parents to make you deal with these problems every day when you’ve just finished dealing with your own – like a punishment?’
‘Maybe it seems like that – but they think it’s a gift and so do I.’ Zoe shrugged. She didn’t look impressed. Simon smiled. ‘I feel very lucky and very
grateful and I will always help someone if they want to help themselves – only then.’
‘Exactly. It’s very satisfying work; yours must be too. You’re a detective?’
‘Yes. Just qualified. So chuffed. I’ve worked so hard to pass my exams.’
‘Congratulations. Did you always want to be in the police force?’
‘Do you have kids?’
‘Yes. They’re ten and seven – two boys. I’m a single parent.’ Zoe didn’t know why she told him that. It must be because he had one of those faces that said:
‘Tell me your troubles
‘So who’s looking after them now?’
‘My mum helps me loads. I try not to take advantage but she’s my saviour.’ As she said it, she looked at him and blushed. ‘Not literally, of course.’
He laughed. ‘Don’t worry. I know what you mean.’
‘My mum’s religious – she goes to church – well, she did.’
‘I understand. Everyone has busy lives.’ He smiled.
‘No – I mean, she hasn’t since Dad died.’
‘Oh, I see. That’s a pity.’
‘It’s more than that for Mum – it’s a devastation. It’s a massive loss – her faith has just disappeared and exactly at the time when she needed it
She stopped talking as a trolley went past with a patient on it and surrounded by medical staff.
‘It’s busy here – twenty-four-seven, isn’t it?’
‘Yes, organized chaos.’
‘So what do you do every day?’ she turned to ask Simon after the trolley had passed.
‘I get up, shower.’
‘No, you know what I mean. Work-wise. You must be really busy with the hostel. And sermons, I guess?’
‘I have a few staff in the hostel who work really hard, mainly volunteers, who come in to cook, clean, wash up, teach IT, help with benefits applications, housing, health issues, that kind
of thing – the skills related to being able to manage on your own.’
‘Can people access the Internet in the hostel?’
‘Yes. We have free WiFi for them to use. There are only three PCs, so they have to keep to twenty-minute slots and book it.’
‘Did Toffee use the Internet?’
‘Yes, my sister taught him. He’s still at the basic stage though.’
‘A few times. I could ask my staff. We can check how frequently he went on it. Why? You can’t think Toffee was on a dating site?’
‘You said he was a clever man. You also said that even you had looked at one now and again. There’s no reason Toffee was any different. If he could use the Internet then he could
access a dating site.’
‘But he would have had to pay and that’s impossible. He didn’t have any money. He struggled to feed himself. He never had a bank card. It’s laughable – plus,
he’s in love with my sister.’ Simon laughed.
‘Okay.’ Zoe could see he was getting agitated but pretending not to be. ‘We can check what people were looking at. That will clear it up. We’re working our way through
‘Oh, yes. I see.’ Simon became pensive. ‘Toffee is basically a good man, you know. Most days he comes to chat to me after breakfast. He’s articulate, clever. He follows
world affairs. That is – until he starts drinking.’
‘So, would you have expected him to have behaved in this way? We have to presume he had something to do with the woman’s death. He was in that building when she died and he
didn’t come forward with the information – the opposite. He tried to kill himself rather than answer questions. He had her phone.’
Simon turned away. ‘I am surprised and saddened if he did. I think he can’t have been thinking straight to get into such a mess. Maybe he was misguided in his aims or lied to.
Maybe’ – he looked back at her – ‘this was someone else’s doing and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have trouble from the gangs from