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Authors: Rachel Green

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White Lies

BOOK: White Lies
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WHITE LIES

Laverstone Chronicles, Book 3

 

RACHEL GREEN

 

 

 

 

 

LYRICAL PRESS

http://lyricalpress.com/

 

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/

 

 

For the polyamorous deviants of the UK leather scene, without whom I would have never felt the sweet caress of leather.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Thank you to DK and Luisa for living with a writer, Tir and the staff of Lyrical Press for all the help, and Stephanie for the constant encouragement.

 

 

Foreword

 

White Lies
follows Meinwen Jones, the pagan investigator from
Screaming Yellow
, but it's not necessary to have read
Screaming Yellow
to enjoy
White Lies.

 

 

Prologue

 

John Fenstone’s eyelids flickered with trepidation.

It was sunny outside. One of those warm, end-of-summer afternoons where all he’d wanted to do was leave the office early, go to the park and lie on the grass. John had done the former, but instead of relaxing in the open air, now knelt naked in this hot attic room where the half-shuttered Venetian blinds left bands of alternating sunlight and shadow across the polished wooden floor.

His breath rasped in the silence, beads of sweat formed across his chest and back, nodules of coolant destined for the sea inching across the broad plates of his shoulder blades and the swell of his pectorals. Every minute or so some would join and make a sudden dash for the floor. He shivered with the sensation. John willed his heartbeat to slow, his breathing to become silent.

There. The soft tread across the floor, the tang of aftershave. Red Morocco, a gift bought for his last birthday. He felt the touch of Richard’s hand against the back of his neck, coarse fingernails scraping the skin as of John’s throat, the lightest pressure against his windpipe. John could feel the beating pulse in his throat. He had to force himself to remain calm. Since there were no restraints it would be so easy for him to move, to resist. He willed himself not to.

“What would you do for me, hmm? What would give me if I asked for it?”

Richard’s voice came as a whisper next to his ear causing John’s skin to pucker with sudden gooseflesh. John answered without hesitation. “Anything, Master, and my life.”

“Anything and your life. Exactly.”

Richard’s fingers around his throat were replaced by a forearm smelling of sweat and the heady, warm-Camembert scent of recent sex. A second arm was braced against John’s back as the choke hold was applied. John fought to remain conscious and not struggle as his blood became starved of oxygen. His vision began to recede as he blacked out, the border between conscious and unconscious drawing ever closer.

The pressure eased off, allowing him to take a gulp of breath. He snapped his eyes open, the lines of shadow across the yellow oak freeze-framing across his lids. Black-white. Light-dark. Love-hate. Live-die. He swallowed, the action catching against the bruise already forming across his larynx. He could feel the steady thump of blood at his temples.

His nostrils flared as the arm tightened again. He had the sudden fear of perhaps this would be it. Perhaps this time the game would go too far. Had he made a will? No space for thought. Just the pressure, pressure, pressure of the game. A simple code–three taps on his master’s arm–would end it. John fought to keep his hand still. The pressure released.

“Good.” Richard’s lips brushed his shoulder. Teeth grazed his flesh. A silent promise spoken directly to his loins. John breathed deeply, calming himself as sweat rolled down his back and into the crevice between his buttocks. Somewhere far away, a dog barked.

John’s cock hardened as Richard applied the pressure again. How near to death could he get and still remain obedient? His heartbeat pounded in his ears.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Jimmy Fenstone paid the cab driver and stepped onto the pavement, reaching into the back seat to retrieve his bag. He closed the car door and gave the roof two quick taps. “Thanks, mate.”

He turned to the house as the car sped away down the road. Fifteen Ashgate Road hadn’t changed in ten years. It was the same door, the same color, the same windows as he remembered. It looked older, though, unkempt, like an old man who’d forgotten to shave. The front yard, such as it was, covered in waist-high weeds with pink flowers, some of them already spreading milk-white clouds of feather-headed seeds. His dad would have hated that. He’d kept the garden regimentally neat.

Jimmy hadn’t lived here since the day of the funeral, when he and his brother John had sent their mam out through the front door into the waiting hearse, following it to the church in a car provided by the funeral company. All the neighbors had taken the shortcut through the park and arrived at St. Pity’s before them. He’d told John at the time they should have done it themselves with a handcart and a black sheet. They’d have saved a small fortune.

He strode up the path and around the side of the house to the back door, surprised to find no lights on. He tried the handle. Locked. There was tape on the outside of the door, stretched between the two sides of the frame. Jimmy knew the stuff all too well and didn’t need the dim light from the street behind the house to recognize it. Blue-and-white diagonals. CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS.

His heart beating faster, he thumped on the door. “John? Are you in there?”

A shoulder push did no good. Age had not lessened the security of the lock. They’d made doors to last in those days.

He was relieved to see the shed still standing exactly as he remembered and dropped his bag on the step. When they were kids, their mam used to leave a key in the shed for them. She never trusted them to have one of their own, tormenting herself with visions of them losing it and being murdered in the night by thieves whenever one of them brought the subject up. It never occurred to her to worry that all the neighbors knew about the hiding place. The shed had a simple bolt on the door and, Jimmy was relieved to find, a light inside that came on when the door opened, like a fridge. The key was just behind the door, where it had always been kept, though the shed bore little sign of use. Cobwebs covered their dad’s prized tools and the stacked bags of peat were drier than dust. John had never been one for gardening.

Jimmy slipped back to the house and tried the key in the door, half expecting the lock to have been changed in the last decade but the key turned and he slipped the door open, pushing his hand through the gap to fumble for the light switch.

“John?” Fear etched his voice as he called out, ducking under the tape and stepping into the kitchen for the first time in ten years. The kitchen was different. It had been green and white when he left. White floor and cupboards and green accents. Kettle, tea caddy and so on. Now it was a light yellow. Butterscotch with a hint of neglect. A small stack of unopened letters lay on the small table. Jimmy flicked through them, Bills from the gas board and the BBC, both addressed to his brother, He dropped them again and crossed the floor to the darkness of the hall.

“John?”

There was still no reply. Jimmy reached for the light switch, finding the right spot without even looking, but despite clicking it several times the hall remained shrouded in darkness. He could see the front door at the end, the semicircular fanlight highlighted by the urine-colored streetlight beyond and a lighter patch of gray where the door to the sitting room had been left open. The illumination from the kitchen splashed only onto the wall to his right, showing the door to the under stairs cupboard where their mam had kept the vacuum cleaner.

Moving slowly, inching his foot forward for fear of falling over something in the dark, Jimmy crept into the hall, his arms held out to either side, his hands brushing the walls. He reached the sitting room without incident, snaking his hand around the door frame for a switch.

Light flooded the room and he stepped inside, releasing the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. A new, hardwearing carpet replaced the swirls of pastel flowers their dad had laid when they were nippers and the walls were no longer covered in diamond-patterned wallpaper but a smooth neutral off-white. A modern forty-inch television hung where the horses-running-through-waves picture their mam had given pride of place. The three piece suite was new, too. Smart red leather instead of half-timbered foam with the holes where dad had fallen asleep and dropped his cigarette. Jimmy looked up. The ceiling had been painted, too, and was now a dusty white instead of nicotine yellow.

The sideboard was still the same. Jimmy crossed to it and opened the door, half expecting Mam’s knitting to fall out but pleased to see one side was still used as a liquor cabinet. He poured himself a generous measure of scotch and downed it in one gulp. He poured a second and took another sip.

“John?” Still no reply.

He left the glass and bottle on top of the sideboard and, emboldened by both the whiskey and the light spilling from the doorway, reached the bottom of the stairs. The light over the stairs worked.

He headed up, one hand on the banister and the other trailing along the wall like he used to as a kid. Photographs of old family members lined the stairs. Aunt Margaret and Uncle George, Nana Beskin, Nan and Granddad Fenstone, their sister Faye the year before she died and, right at the top in a considerably newer frame, Mam and Dad standing in the garden outside. Mam was holding a tiny bunch of sweet peas, and Dad leaned on his spade. A wigwam of bamboo canes to his left indicated a bean trench. Jimmy ran his finger over the glass as if he could bridge the years and stroke his mam’s long, dark hair.

He took a deep breath and turned, seeing nothing changed in the landing. The wallpaper was just the same, though shabbier for the intervening years, still showing twin lines where John had run his toy train along it and cut the paper under its sharp wheels. The carpet runner was threadbare, the boards showing at its edges covered in dust and footprints. He entered the bathroom, pulling on the light and nodding at the familiar cast-iron bath, the heavy taps, the stone sink and above-head cistern. Mam’s creams and lotions had been replaced by shaving soap and men’s deodorant but otherwise he could have been back in the nineties, leaning over the sink to keep his teeth-brushing dribbles off the floor.

The first bedroom used to belong to Jimmy and his brother. They’d had bunk beds at one end and a strict dividing line down the middle, Jimmy’s the side with the door since he was the younger and less deserving of the extra three feet of space. Now it was full of cardboard boxes, most of them sealed shut and labeled with tags showing the contents. Iron Man issues 1-256,
British-issue Spiderman 1992-94, Toxic Comics and so on. Oddly, there was also a set of stepladders.

BOOK: White Lies
7.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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