A Chance Encounter
Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?
Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.
His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.
For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?
Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08X1PN4VH #kidnapping
Trailer – https://youtu.be/g2U11opEcqs
Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.
Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.
As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.
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Reluctant bodyguard, Julianna, is keeping a watch on her charge, Hettie, at an important fundraiser for a charity. Also there is Mark, a man she is covertly spying on for reasons she’s not entirely sure about. Mark has no clue that he’s also being watched, and his curiosity draws him to chat to Julianna.
‘Hi, Mark.’ Her attempt at nonchalance failed. She fidgeted with her earpiece.
‘Julianna. Haven’t seen you for a couple of weeks. What have you been up to?’
‘Oh, this and that. Keep doing weekend work for extra money. Tonight being an example.’
She was avoiding eye contact now, so overtly, he nearly laughed out loud. For an expert in blending into her environment, she wasn’t trying very hard. He shouldn’t mock. Julianna had a challenging job marking the Haynes family wherever they went. Hettie in particular wasn’t keen on the extra layers of protection. She had griped to Mark when he queried the cost of CCTV cameras in the gallery. Not for the art, she had glowered, for me. Jackson prized his wife beyond any artwork.
‘Where is she?’ he asked.
‘Over there. Chris is back by the door.’
She gestured and he spotted her. Hettie Haynes had bounced back from pregnancy brilliantly. Her dress, a turquoise number with silver slithers, was moulded around her hourglass hips and bountiful breasts. She shook hands, moved, spoke and shook hands again. The perfect hostess.
‘She doesn’t look as tired as last time I saw her,’ he said absent-mindedly.
‘She weaned the kid on to solids and since then the kid’s been sleeping like a baby should. Sleeping.’
Mark raised an eyebrow at Julianna’s knowledge of Hettie’s breast-feeding status.
‘Drove her last week and she made a point of saying how much better things were now that she has several successive hours sleep a night.’ She turned her face fractionally to Mark’s. ‘I don’t ask, she just spews this stuff out.’
‘You’re not keen on babies then.’ Mark couldn’t imagine Julianna spewing anything. Babies were different.
It wasn’t intended as a question, but Julianna pursed her lips, then smirked. ‘Not other people’s; I can’t help it.’
He tapped his nose a few times. ‘I’ll not tell her. Diplomacy suits you.’
‘Comes with the job. One mustn’t get too attached to the client.’
‘He wasn’t in the car then?’
She laughed. ‘Oh no. Definitely a different atmosphere when he’s in the car.’
Jackson would monopolise any conversation and make it his own. It explained her snark.
‘She’s on the move. I’ll have to change location. Wouldn’t do to lose her; that would be a serious black mark.’ Julianna toyed with the piece of wire around her neck.
‘String you up by the balls?’ Mark chortled, then abruptly cringed.
A smiley-faced Julianna rescued him. ‘Well, more likely my nipples, don’t you think?’ she said slyly and with a pronounced wink. She walked, purposely and carefully, to the other side of the room.
Mark raked his fingers through his hair. What a tease she had become since their first meeting. Was it a genuine attempt at provoking him into action? He needed more evidence. He rolled back the conversation to what she had said about Hettie. Each time he met somebody familiar with Jackson and Hettie Haynes he wondered how well they knew the couple. Julianna undoubtedly had insider information and was bound to secrecy about it.
A familiar voice spoke by his ear. ‘Mark, enjoying the evening?’
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