“You’re looking well, love,” she said, turning back to the bar.
The White Boar had served Balthazar well over the years. He knew he could carry on with his work here without being subject to prying eyes and curious glances. Neither did it hurt to have a place where certain kinds of people looking for him could track him down. There were some people, however, who he preferred not to be tracked down by at all.
The office he had just left behind was held in the name of a former client, one Berthold Rafferty. He’d solved a little problem for Rafferty a few years back and had heard nothing further from him. His intermittent use of the office required no communication between them and besides, a small place in an undesirable area of the city would hardly merit a second thought from a man of Rafferty’s means. However, the afternoon’s unexpected discovery brought him to consider his connections to the man and stirred up memories of the last contact they had had.
He had been spending a few days at Rafferty’s mansion in Monaco, finalising the details of the job. Although the trip was strictly business there was no reason not to take advantage of the facilities and it was returning from his morning swim that he had seen her.
She was clad in a straightforward green bikini, enjoying the first of the sun’s rays, her face shadowed by a slim, leather-bound book. Her only movement was the occasional turning of a page. She wasn’t Balthazar’s type, but then some girls transcended any notion of type. Elegant tanned limbs, red hair tumbling around her shoulders, a perfect cherubic face, not a freckle out of place. Above all this there was a great poise, even in her supine form, which was at odds with the youth evident in her features.
When he mentioned her briefly during his final breakfast meeting with Rafferty he was rewarded with a telling softening of the businessman’s expression.
“My daughter,” Rafferty replied. “Beautiful isn’t she? Be losing her next month when she goes to study in England. Cambridge, can you believe it? Things won’t be quite the same around here without her.”