Chapter 49

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Although Captain Varga of the Wallaroo police force was in charge of the murder case, she knew Captain Martinez on Capella was investigating Pearce and his activities with a view to prosecution. She hesitated a while before contacting him, after all, no police Captain ever wanted to hand over control of their most high profile case for the year, but it didn't take her long to realise it made good sense to at least co-ordinate the two investigations.

Martinez was diplomatic. "I appreciate your call, Captain Varga. I expect we'll be able to help each other out considerably. Naturally, you are in charge of the murder enquiry, but I have a fair bit of information you may find useful. In return, I'd appreciate being informed of your progress. It's quite likely you'll come across information that would be relevant to my investigations."

Martinez quickly scanned his console unit. "I'll send you some key reports now," he advised, suiting his actions to the words. "Please let me know if there's anything else you need."

"Thank you, Captain, I'll be in touch as soon as I have the preliminary report. All I can tell you at the moment, is that the body in the house is definitely that of Ser Ron Pearce. There were also two unconscious men outside in the grounds, private security guards."

"Unconscious? That's interesting, that they were left alive, I mean."

"Yes. I think it's quite clear Pearce was the intended victim. At first glance nothing appears to have been taken; I suspect the objective was murder, pure and simple."

"I think you're right, and if that's the case you won't be short of suspects!"

Varga looked sideways at something to her left. "Sorry, but my flier is here. I'll be in touch when I get to King's Island, Captain." She signed off.

It wasn't long before she was back in touch with him. "Martinez? There's a possibility we had two perpetrators."

"Oh?"

"The kitchen window has been forced from the outside and the doors were opened, but not only that, part of the skylight above the study has been removed. Why do that if you'd come in by the window?"

"I see what you mean," agreed Martinez.

"It's possible there's another explanation but I can't think of one at the moment. One more thing, the guards were stunned but Pearce was garrotted. Again, two different methods. Why break his neck if you could have used the 'kill' setting on the stunner?"

"I agree, it's not conclusive of course, but I think you're on the right track." He paused a moment. "I'd like to come down there myself for a couple of days, if that's alright."

"Of course, Captain." Captain Varga had liked what she had seen so far of Martinez, she appreciated that he hadn't tried to take over from her. She extended an invitation. "Actually I'd be glad of your help. My Lieutenant is on leave for a week, and I'm a bit short handed for a case like this."

XXX

Robin Lang looked sideways at the elegant woman seated at the bar next to him. Perhaps she was a little too well-dressed for a beach resort, but her face was beautifully made up and her hair artfully arranged to fall down her back in a golden waterfall. And he felt absolutely nothing. Well, nothing other than an aesthetic admiration. Rather desperately he looked at another pretty woman two seats down, who was about ten years younger with short black hair, casually dressed in a flowered sarong and flirting happily with the barman. No, nothing.

He turned back to the first woman, who was smiling tentatively at him. Maybe he would warm up if they got to know each other a bit better. She accepted his invitation and followed him over to a small table. He could almost feel her eyes on his body, checking him out. Evidently she liked what she saw because she stayed with him for an hour, laughing and drinking, and then she propositioned him. By that time he was feeling rather happy himself.

"All right." They went outside together.

"Your place or mine?" she asked huskily.

"Yours, if you don't mind."

A touch of unease grew as they walked to her cabin through the cool night air. He wasn't exactly revved up for this, maybe he'd had too much to drink. She ushered him inside the cabin, dimming the lights as she entered and then turned towards him for a kiss. Robin kissed her, now he would feel something. He shut his eyes. Her lips felt like plastic, her tongue sliding into his mouth felt like wet rubber. What on Earth was wrong with him? He didn't need to be a rocket physicist to tell this wasn't going to end well. He broke away fast, apologising profusely.

"I'm so sorry! I can't do this, I've had too much to drink. I'd better go, sorry." He was out the door before his companion could protest.

God, that had been embarrassing! Definitely too much to drink. Safely back in his own cabin he poured himself a large glass of water and went to bed.

Fingers played in his hair. Dark brown eyes smiled up at him, warm full lips opened beneath his as he entered their mouth, sucking and licking. More, he wanted more. He was almost painfully aroused, he could hardly wait to get Juan's clothes off him ... Him? He awoke with a start, eyes wide open in the darkness, memories from the missing two weeks flooding back. Oh my god.

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