Home > Deadly Fate (D.I. Kim Stone #18)

Deadly Fate (D.I. Kim Stone #18)
Author: Angela Marsons





Sandra Deakin allowed herself a low groan as she entered the graveyard. The usual group of men were late going into the church tonight and at least two of them looked her way. Normally, she timed it so that she didn’t have to see them.

Father George’s gaze swept over her. It was fleeting but full of disgust. She stuck her chin out, even though her heart rate increased as she remembered the force of his hands on her body. His actions had left her in no doubt as to how he felt about her. But he couldn’t stop her coming to the graveyard to walk her dog. Her hand involuntarily tightened on the lead in her hand. Pickles was a typical Labrador who would sell her out for a handful of treats, but they didn’t need to know that.

Terence Birch was last to enter the church, and he stared at her for a good minute after the others disappeared from view. She held his gaze and allowed her true feelings for the creep to show on her face. She knew all about his despicable antics as well.

Despite her bravado, she still breathed easier once they’d both entered the church. As strange as it seemed, this was her place to refresh, to clear her head; and after the last few days, she needed it.

Only hours ago she’d received another one of those poisonous emails. She’d read it and filed it away, telling herself that it was just another nutter who didn’t like the job she did. There were plenty of them. She ignored the fact that this particular hater had been contacting her for years. Perversely, she used that same fact to reassure herself that he’d never acted on his threats, but she also had to admit that the messages were becoming more aggressive, more vocal. She had recently considered telling her husband, but she knew he’d make a fuss and insist she involve the police.

She moved slowly among the headstones, reflecting on the week. It hadn’t been a good one. A disastrous dinner party and two meetings that had got her nowhere.

She still cringed as she remembered the dinner party from hell a few nights earlier. A fun evening of light entertainment, they’d said. That wasn’t what she’d got. Instead she’d been faced with a group of women who had wanted much more from the evening than any of them had let on. Not one of those ladies had been happy with what had come out of her mouth. Add in the incident with a hostile and aggressive husband and the evening had been both ugly and unsettling.

And then there were the meetings. It was because of the first one that she’d been forced to subject herself to being the after-dinner entertainment of frivolous women who couldn’t handle the truth. If only he had seen things her way and agreed to hold off on his plans. She wouldn’t now be scratting around for work and accepting every engagement that came her way, to pay the bills.

The two of them didn’t even operate in the same circles, but he wanted to silence her anyway. It made no sense for him to be trying to put her out of business. She could only imagine he was motivated by some kind of professional jealousy. Her body gave an involuntary shudder when she remembered his last words to her. Jealousy in the hands of a narcissist was not something to be taken lightly.

She paused at a crypt in the middle of the graveyard and placed her palm on the stone. Her issues with that insufferable man weren’t going to be resolved with one evening dog walk. Maybe she’d talk to her husband, Will, about that too.

She resumed walking as Pickles got the scent of something ahead.

And the other meeting, well…

The snap of a twig sounded behind her, cutting short her thoughts.

She turned.

Instant heat filled her as confusion shaped her face. The moisture dried up in her mouth as she tried to make sense of the chilling sight before her.

‘You,’ she whispered as the dog lead fell from her hand.






Unlike most people, Kim didn’t hate the last few hours of Sunday. For many it was a time of forced acceptance that another weekend had flown by and that the beginning of another long working week was inevitable, but for Kim it was a time to reset, to refresh and prepare for whatever challenges lay ahead.

For once she’d had the pleasure of a whole weekend without incident. She and the rest of the team had left work at a reasonable time on Friday, and although she’d been on call for major incidents, the criminal fraternity of the Black Country had seen fit to allow her a whole two days to herself.

With as much time spent on housework as she was prepared to commit, and Barney exercised in the garden before his late-night walk, Kim had ring-fenced these last few hours to devote to the other great love of her life: the Vincent Black Shadow.

This particular bike had always been her dream project. Her foster father, Keith, had shown her pictures when she was twelve years old of the motorcycle produced by Vincent HRD in Hertfordshire from 1948 to 1955. She had waited months for an authentic frame to become available, and it had been over a year since she’d taken possession of it. Since then she’d painstakingly combed the internet tracking down genuine parts for the machine. Some components would need to be fabricated to specification, but she had enough to make a start.

Every single time she’d earmarked a day to get started on the project, something had diverted her attention: a new case, late nights, a near-death experience with a psychopath from her past.

But not this time. The coffee pot was full, her iPod was charged and the Sunday night lull had fallen outside.

‘Okay, boy, come on – you know where we’re going,’ she said to Barney, grabbing her mug of Colombian Gold and opening the door that led into the garage.

Instantly her spirits rose at the sight that greeted her.

It had been a couple of weeks since Bryant had helped her revert the space from the temporary gym she’d used to regain her strength after being almost beaten to death.

Yes, she could have used a spare bedroom for the exercise equipment. She could have left her bike restoration area as it was. But she now realised that clearing away all her stuff had been her way of saying that she didn’t have the mental capacity to be herself for a while. She had to push the pause button, put herself on hold while she had single-mindedly focussed on getting back her strength.

But she was ready now, she thought, placing her mug next to the iPod.

She switched it on and the sound of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ filled the garage.

A feeling of contentment stole over her. This was her happy place. Amongst her tools, inhaling the aroma of grease and oil, good coffee, Barney by her side and twelve hours between now and the beginning of her next shift. She could feel total immersion heading towards her.

She rubbed Barney’s head as he waited by her side for direction.

She lowered herself onto the dust sheet that held all the parts she’d sourced for the Vincent Black Shadow. Barney hesitated in coming to join her and remained in the doorway.

‘I know it’s been a while, buddy, but we’ve got all night to—’

She stopped speaking as the ringing of her phone rudely interrupted her.

‘You have got to be bloody kidding me,’ she said, seeing the caller’s name.

She pressed the answer button.

‘I’m sorry but the person you’re calling is currently—’

‘Annoying as hell,’ Keats finished for her.

‘You’d better be calling to congratulate me on an uneventful weekend,’ she warned.

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