The Face spoke. ‘Who are you?’
Not the best ever chat-up line.
Jackie locked eyes and slowly pulled out her warrant card. He didn’t move a muscle. She held it up so he could see. ‘DS Steel, Bridleton CID.’
‘I see. And what did you want from Clipper?’
A slight twitch of an eyelid. He opened his coat so she could see the stun gun. ‘Do I have to repeat myself?’
‘Come anywhere near me and I’ll scream the place down.’
Another slight twitch. ‘You won’t have time.’
‘A million volts could paralyse you.’
‘And my boot in your bollocks could do the same.’
The Face just stood there. There was no clue to what he was thinking. ‘Maybe we can trade?’
Jackie’s heart slowed. What a surprise, the Face could be manipulated. ‘Depends.’
‘What’s in it for me?’
‘You don’t see me again.’
The words - so matter of fact - chilled her to the bone, and she was at a disadvantage here on his turf. But she needed to find out why he was threatening her - the Creek brothers’ connection, the involvement of Hillock...
Colluding with a criminal went against everything she stood for, but she put up a hand and began to step backwards further into the room. ‘Don’t move.’
She put a chair in the middle of the room, and then moved behind a table - a barrier between her and the stun-gun. She gestured towards the chair. It was enough.
He glided into the room, closing the door behind him. He put a black-booted foot on the chair’s seat and inclined his head in acknowledgement. ‘You have balls, DS Steel. And you’re correct. I don’t want to make a scene here.’
How did he know...?
She kept quiet.
He kept his stare constant. A slight twitch of the facial muscles indicated he was thinking. Then the words she’d been dreading. ‘Clipper will talk.’
So he was looking for corroboration to see if her story matched. As much as she detested Clipper, she wasn’t about to put him into an early grave. She pulled out the recorder from her top. It was still warm, she turned it on, rewound it to play, and let him listen.
By the end, he had come to a decision. ‘I don’t think the Creeks would be bothered too much. Hillock is small fry; an egomaniac, and a liability ... and Hemming ... let’s just say, he’s got other priorities.’
Jackie was stunned by the arrogant pronouncement and the implications behind the extent of the criminal infiltration. ‘You do realise we’ll come after the Creek brothers ... and you.’
His cheek twitched and his lips almost – but not quite – smiled. ‘The Creeks are big enough to take care of themselves. As for me, I hope I don’t have that pleasure, DS Steel.’
Jackie stood open-mouthed. So it had been just a game; a bloody charade, a show of power. And a clear message to lay-off or else...
She picked up her recorder, stalked up to the door, opened it, and stepped out. As she slammed the door behind her she heard a mocking laugh.
I’ll get you, you bastard...