Read The Female Charm Online

Authors: Amelia Price

Tags: #romance, #detective, #modern, #sherlock holmes, #international mystery, #amelia price, #amelia jones, #mycrfot holmes

The Female Charm

BOOK: The Female Charm
11.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
The Female




Copyright 2016
Jess Mountifield

Cover Copyright
2016 Elizabeth Mackey


All rights

This novel is a
work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are
either the product of the author's imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locals,
organisations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author.

This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or
it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting
the hard work of this author.




As always, my
husband, Phil, has shown great patience and forbearance while I
write. He's a very practical man to have around and I definitely
have an easier life with him by my side.

A big thank you to
Bear and David, for listening to my issues with the plot and
writing with me now and then. Sometimes I just need someone else
there working as well. You're both invaluable.

To Ella for the
wonderful editing. Somehow you fit my books around your schedule
and always find those commas I forget.

To Elizabeth for
another beautiful cover design. You're amazing at something I suck
at and I'll always be grateful.

To Kate, for
listening and being one of the best friends a person could ask for.
You've always got a sympathetic ear when I feel like I'm swimming
in the deep end and more than a little lost.

Finally, to God,
for knowing what I need to learn and when I need to learn it, even
if I'm sometimes very very slow.




To Sophie. Please
keep being you. You're awesome.



Chapter 1

The sound of the
doorknob turning disturbed Mycroft from his thoughts. An elderly
gentleman followed the sounds into the room. Neither of them spoke
until the door was closed soundlessly behind him. It wouldn't be
wise to make any noise while in the Diogenes club. The regulars had
only just forgiven him for the fuss Amelia had made here several
months earlier.

“Good evening,
Myron,” Sherlock said, using Mycroft's current name. They used them
whenever there was a chance they would be interrupted. It took him
less than a second to remember that Sherlock called himself Edward
on the few occasions that he posed as their father. Mycroft had
chosen the name in honour of Edmond Dantes in the Count of Monte
Cristo. It was just one of many precautions the immortal Holmes
brothers took to protect their secret from the world.

“What brings you
for a visit, father of mine?”

“I've brought that
item you wanted Sebastian to retrieve for you.” He pulled a small
carrier bag out of his pocket. It was wrapped around a journal that
one of his agents had left behind at a house currently in the
centre of a terrorist investigation.

Sherlock, posing
as Sebastian, and taking an interest in helping the police work out
what they'd found, had lifted it before any of them had noticed. If
it had been found it would have made it obvious that the rest of
the evidence was fake and the last two weeks of cover would have
been wasted. On top of that, it would have started an international
incident between Iran and the UK. It might even have led to yet
another war, but Mycroft would never admit that to his brother.
Sherlock had a big enough ego as it was.

Before Mycroft
could reply, or offer any form of gratitude, the butler came in
with tea. If Sherlock had been posing as Sebastian, no one would
have come, but this was their father. A man who appeared to have
been donating large sums of money to keep the place running for a
very long time. Mycroft was the source, of course. Over a hundred
years of running a country, earning a living and investing well had
led to a great deal of wealth.

While the butler
was pouring tea for both of them, Daniels put his head through the
open doorway and put his thumb up to let Mycroft know the task he'd
been given several hours earlier was complete. Mycroft nodded his
acknowledgement, but wished his chauffeur hadn't followed orders
right at that moment. Sherlock must have arrived through the back
entrance or Daniels would have known to send a message rather than
appear himself.

“What was that
about?” Sherlock asked, once they were alone again. He sighed.
Sherlock would have to be between cases and extra curious right
now. “Anything interesting?”

“Not particularly.
Just some training for a new recruit.”

“Amelia, by any

Mycroft fought the
urge to frown but felt his temper flare. He had hoped Sherlock
would forget her slip-up when she confessed the arrangement they
had. After all the years he'd shown scorn for his younger brother
training and, oddly, befriending Watson, here he was now, doing the
same with Amelia.

“I think it's been
good for you. She's improved your temperament.” Mycroft sneered and
didn't deign to respond. “How is she?”

“You don't

Sherlock waved his
hand in admittance of ignorance.

“She's barely
spoken to me since Christmas. Now you're training her she needs me
less. It's not entirely unexpected. Even Watson moved on after
spending several years under my tutelage. I'll see her when I need

“Hmmph.” Mycroft
looked pointedly at Sherlock, hoping his younger brother would
leave. He had work to do and, although he'd never admit it, he
wanted to know how Amelia was going to fare with her next set of
lessons. It was a serious step-up from her previous teachings and
would involve elements of all of them, much like real world
scenarios did. It might even involve a little bit of her usual
female charm, although he hoped it would teach her to use that

He felt she'd
earnt this lesson with the risk she'd taken to get information for
him a few weeks earlier. She'd managed to fool not only a house
full of Russian and Korean terrorists but the Holmes brothers, too,
while acquiring it. The royal family owed her for the protection of
one of their biggest secrets, even if they didn't recognise her
part in saving them. Something not to be belittled, even if she'd
been more than a little foolish with her method.

Thankfully, after
ignoring Sherlock for half an hour, his younger brother took the
hint and left. Mycroft could finally get on with his own work.
Several files sat on the desk in front of him. Half of the four
were official, the other two would be incinerated the second he was
done with them.

The first only
contained a single piece of paper. A simple report that Mr Delra
had sailed to the Caribbean for the rest of the winter due to ill
health, at least according to the rumours. Mycroft threw the piece
of paper into the fire. For now Mr Delra could be left alone. Most
of his agents would be better put to use elsewhere.

If Mr Delra had
acquired a copy of the information Amelia had recovered, Mycroft
would already know about it. Moving to somewhere as neutral as the
Caribbean was an evident attempt at a message of truce. For now, he
wasn't a threat.

The next
unofficial file contained information about all of the evidence at
the crime scene the police would be going over currently. Mycroft
glanced over the details, satisfied to note that the agent
responsible was already in India on his next mission. Sherlock had
already remedied the one mistake and the agent had been
reprimanded. The agent's next task would be easier and less
critical. After memorising the final details, Mycroft added that
document to the fire as well.

Of the remaining
two files, Mycroft already expected the contents of one, so he
dealt with this first. A study of a mysterious illness spreading in
Guinea, Africa, had been directed across his desk for his opinion.
There were less than a hundred people infected so far, but almost
half of them had already died and most weren't expected to survive
the week.

He looked over the
reported symptoms, spread and infection rate before tapping out a
short message to his secretary. It was Ebola and could be stopped
before it continued much further if quickly quarantined. Of course,
the superstitious beliefs in the area might hinder that, but he'd
already done his part and would leave the rest up to the relevant
health organisations.

With all of the
small and expected details out of the way, Mycroft was left with
the most concerning one. He'd been phoned in advance and then given
this folder when he'd made a request for more information. One of
the conservative MPs was receiving some very unusual mail, and had
noticed some other strange events. It was up to Mycroft to decide
what the exact threat was and what to do about it.

A sigh escaped his
lips as he perused the first document. The secretary had been the
first to notice something suspicious, although it had happened
several times before she'd said anything to anyone. A frown fixed
itself to his face when he read that she'd noticed rubbish going
missing, as well as items of stationery moving about her desk while
she was out on her lunch break.

At first she
thought she was just imaging it or being paranoid so said nothing,
but it was now possible that someone had gained access to some
damaging information that should have been kept more secure. Not
for the first time did Mycroft wish everyone in the government
could be taught to be as observant as he or his brother, but he
knew it was a vain wish; even his own little student didn't observe

The next section
of the file contained the original letters sent to the MP that had
also raised alarm bells. They were anonymous and contained no
information other than a few threats about knowing something
important and a request for a problem with a particular village
hall in the constituency to be sorted out. There was something to
do with some vandalism that hadn't been fixed.

Although the
letters were anonymous, it was quite evidently some disgruntled
father who had sent them and given the detailed information about
the village hall in his own village. With the original letters and
envelopes, Mycroft was sure he could track down who sent them with
relative ease.

He wrote down the
ink and pen used, as well as the quality, thickness and likely
sources of the paper before sending the information to the agent he
already had in the area. They would find out who bought the paper
and pen, if nothing else.

The next few
documents in the file were details of what might have been stolen
from the desk. The only definite information was a bank statement
showing money being transferred from a public funds account into
another that could probably be traced to the MP by someone who knew
what they were doing.

It was likely they
two incidents were related and the person sending the letters at
least knew the person who had the information, if they weren't the
same person, but he'd pursue both avenues of enquiry either way.
While probability was usually in his favour, in something so
delicate he would never take a chance. He requested a background
check be done on all the staff who enter or exit the building at
any point, both current and anyone fired in the last three

If the letters
were linked to the missing document, then it would probably be sold
to a reporter soon. The source would be unlikely to know what to do
with something like the bank statement and would seek to enact his
own threats in the letters, especially as his demands would be
entirely ignored.

The fact that
funds were being used privately was nothing new to Mycroft. He'd
approved the removal in the first place, and it wasn't the first
time he'd used public money in a way the general population
wouldn't understand. The public rarely knew what was best for

Even if this one
document was all the culprit had, it would be enough to ruin the
career of the MP, especially ahead of the Scottish Referendum.
Mycroft messaged his recommendation to his assistant.


When thief is
found, use emergency fund to pay him to keep quiet. If doesn't
work, promise to fix hall.


Mycroft resisted
the urge to suggest the man fix the hall himself with the bribe
money. If he cared as much as he said he did, then the logical
response would be to use any bribe money offered to do just that,
but he suspected the man enjoyed making a fuss and criticising the
current MP more than he cared about the broken hall, or anything
else wrong in his village.

BOOK: The Female Charm
11.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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