In case you missed the Readers’ Group Bulletin last week, here is a tasty excerpt from A Violent Heart, Nomads and Warriors Book 2.
Nomads and Warriors book 1 & 2 are complete and the series will launch in mid-October.
Here is the opening to A Violent Heart
Eva Roberts took a long, silent breath and tried very hard not to shake her head. The conversation was not going well. How could it? For days now, their new client had proven himself to a nuisance and a weirdo, and for the last ten minutes he had been using Eva as a remote control, trying to direct the movements of her partner Dan Bradley from a distance of six miles. Tactics like those weren’t going to make anyone happy. The client raised a finger, his voice rose another octave, and his bright little eyes blinked at her from behind his thick spectacle lenses. Eva held her mobile phone across the desk, the mic end turned towards the client so that Mr Walter Snickett could aim his words directly at Dan.
“Look – I’m telling you that’s the van. If that van has a red stripe on the side and the driver looks like a mean-faced son of a bitch with at least two days’ worth of stubble, then it’s him. That’s the scumbag who took my haul. He’s the only delivery guy that firm ever send me, and it was his van outside my lock up. But if you still don’t believe me, just pull him over and check inside the van. I’m telling you it’ll all be in there. Come on! Just do it!”
There was definitely something off about Snickett, something strange enough to make most of what he’d told Eva seem at least slightly unbelievable. But, after checking him out, Eva couldn’t dismiss the man’s credentials. She’d seen Walter Snickett’s website – a place where buyers could choose from an eclectic mix of jewellery, home furniture and obscure ornaments, all imported from the East. And Snickett himself had made sure to show Eva an endless stream of photographs of his over-stuffed warehouse, photographs which he kept on his phone, much the same as any proud parent keeps photographs of their beloved children. But kids didn’t seem to be a concern for Snickett. His missing jewellery collection seemed the most pressing issue in his life.
Eva lifted her mobile phone. “Dan? Did you get that?”
“Yep. I all of it,” came Dan’s reply. Even across the distance, Eva could hear the irritation in his voice. Beyond the sound of his scepticism, she heard the sound of rushing wind and loud traffic at the other end. On Snickett’s advice, Dan had been dispatched to an area close to Southend airport. It had been a rush job, an action-stations expedition to find the right delivery man. But since Snickett was a new client, so there was no way of knowing how much of his problem was real or imaginary. It seemed they were about to find out.
“Well? Does the van have the red stripe on it?” demanded Snickett. He leaned into Eva’s space so he could talk into her phone, dragging a hand back through his thick dyed black hair. The black hair dye disguised his age by no more than a few paltry years, and Eva had also the feeling he used a lot of beauty product to bury the accompanying wrinkles. But his hair… wow. It was solid black. There was just no way that colour was genuine.
“Yeah,” said Dan, sounding tired even though the day had just begun. “The van has got a red stripe. It’s also got four big black tyres and a see-through windscreen. Anything else you’d like to know? What about the windscreen wipers?”
Snickett gave Eva an irritated look. “What I’d really like to know is if it has my jewellery inside. This might be small beer to you people but getting two hundred and fifty grand’s worth of my gold stolen is enough to sink my business. That’s more than a bad year. That’s the end of the line. I need that stuff back now. And I mean all of it.”
Dan’s sigh was louder than the traffic.
“Jess,” said Dan. “For the client’s benefit can you confirm that this van has a red stripe.”
Jess’s voice came on the line. These days Jess was just as no-nonsense as she was sassy. She barked out the van details in a near military fashion.
“It’s a white van, long wheel base. It’s a Mercedes Sprinter, and there’s one long red stripe painted on the side, with a small Mercedes circle logo stencilled above it. It’s a 2016 plate. The guy driving has just parked up and has gone to a burger van to grab a coffee or something. He’s dressed like a delivery man and he’s not clean shaven.”
Snickett nodded eagerly. “See?! He’s a delivery man. Now, is he wearing a black bomber jacket?”
“Yes,” said Jess. “It’s a black jacket with a business logo on it.”
“That’s him! You need to get those van doors open and see what’s in there. And you have to do it before he gets away. The robbery only happened last night. My stuff might still be in there.”
“But hang on,” replied Jess. “This man looks like a typical run-of-the-mill delivery driver.”
Snickett shook his head. “I told you people, this guy probably is an ordinary run of the mill delivery driver. But he also robbed me blind.”
“This van is probably stacked full of nothing but internet deliveries,” said Jess.
Snickett looked at Eva across the desk. The older man’s brow creased in a way which revealed a few more years than he might have liked. “Tell me, Miss Roberts, do these people actually work for you, or do you just keep them around for light relief?”
Eva tried to force a smile. It didn’t work.
“Light relief,” said Jess, answering for Eva. “I sing and dance, but breaking necks is my speciality.”
Eva raised her eyebrows while Dan chuckled at the other end of the line.
“I think we’d better try that van, don’t you?” he said, finally. “At least that way we can rule it out.”
“Rule it out?!” said Snickett. “That’s the van, I’m telling you, and that’s the man. He’s got my gear!”
“Fine,” said Dan. “If that’s what the client wants, that’s what he gets. But I’ll need to get off the line now, Eva. Holding a four-way telephone conversation is beginning to stretch my mind a little too far.”
There it is, and with Dan about to break into a delivery van, the excitement is just about to begin…
More updates soon, as we gear up to the launch of the new series Nomads and Warriors, out next month.