David yanked her down behind the car. Mark fired over the roof, running towards them. The sound of gunfire shook the air. David’s hand was tight around her own.

No time to run or hide. She was unarmed. They couldn’t fight back. The crack of another shot exploded in her ears. This was it. Game over. She was going to die here with him. For a fleeting moment she thought of her hastily written notes on the paper in Annette’s house. Her final efforts had all been for nothing, just like her father’s. Almost certainly, Williams would be the one to find it.

She braced herself, waiting to feel the hard punch of a bullet in her flesh, hoping death would be instantaneous.

Then the gunfire stopped. She heard a heavy thud as Mark keeled over. The clearing was quiet, apart from the ringing in Jade’s ears.

“What on earth?” She let go of David’s hand and scrambled to her feet. She looked over to the place where Piet’s body had fallen. Except Piet wasn’t slumped lifelessly on the ground. He was stepping gingerly over the body of the police commis-sioner, blood on his shirt and confusion in his eyes.

“There you go, you son of a bitch. That’s what you deserve.”

Jade spun round. Robbie stood at the edge of the clearing, holding her Glock. He was glaring at the crumpled body of Commissioner Williams.

He took a step forward. “I found the fucker, Jade. That’s the guy who set us up. The one who phoned me for the hit on Viljoen. That bloody head cop turned informer on us. He’s as bent as a wire coat hanger. Oh, and he quashed the Hirsch case, by the way. My connections eventually came through with the info. Then I followed him, tailed him here. I don’t know who that other asshole is.” Robbie jerked his thumb at Mark’s life-less form, turned and winked at Jade. “Nice legs, babe. Well, I’d better be going now. Verna’s waiting. And don’t look at me like that, Superintendent.” He spread his hands, dangling the Glock from his index finger. “I shot him in self-defense.”


The following evening Jade was busy in the cottage garden. She’d discovered a plantation of spinach next to the shelter of the fence. Since she’d just renewed the lease on the place for another six months, she felt she was entitled to ownership of some of the garden produce. She’d picked enough leaves to fill a plastic supermarket bag when she heard David shouting her name outside the cottage gate. She looked round. He stood there, balancing stork-like on his left leg.

She buzzed the gate open and he hopped inside.

“You could get a crutch, you know,” she said as he bumped heavily down onto a kitchen chair.

“I don’t need a bloody crutch,” he said. He stretched his leg across to the opposite chair. She fetched him a beer.

“Cheers,” she said, clinking her wine glass against the bottle.

“Good health,” he responded.

Watching him, she saw a vulnerability in his gray eyes that hadn’t been there before. Something about the way he looked at her was making her awkward and happy and nervous all at once. With a firm effort she suppressed the feelings. Things might never work out between them. There was too much about her he might never be able to approve of or accept. Too much that she realized she couldn’t change, not for David, not for anybody, because it was part of who she was.

But it would be worth playing the percentages, giving it her best try. Jade was certain of that. She was looking forward to it.

David took a gulp of beer and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Jadey,” he said.


“What happened with Viljoen?”

Surprised by the question, Jade opened her mouth to speak but decided against it. She needed to come to terms with the situation on her own first. She’d never realized the extent of Williams’s ambition, the depths of his greed. The crooked cop had seen the money-making opportunities that had presented themselves with the end of apartheid and the restructuring of the police service. But with Commissioner de Jong heading the team, he’d never been able to reap the rewards of corruption.

He’d tried to force her father into early retirement by sabotaging the high-profile Viljoen case. When that didn’t work, he’d bribed Jacobs to set up the accident. His attempt on Jade’s life hadn’t succeeded. When she shot Jacobs, Wil-liams had to think fast. He deliberately misinformed her by saying that the Viljoen brothers had organized the hit on her father. Then he’d waited to see what she would do when she returned to South Africa, maintaining contact with Robbie so that he could use the gangster’s greed as bait.

She shivered to think how close she had come to mur-dering Viljoen, with Williams poised to close the jaws of his trap around her. How she now believed that Williams had been on Whiteboy’s payroll as an informer, a trusted inside police connection. No wonder he had been unhappy when David was promoted to the higher ranks of his team and was assigned the investigation into Annette Botha’s death.

She wanted to talk to David about it. And she would. But not now.

“I’ll tell you sometime soon,” she said.

He craned his neck. “What’s in that plastic bag?”

Jade had been planning to steam the spinach for supper. Instead, she tied a knot in the top of the bag and put it in the fridge.

“Nothing.” She turned back to look at him. “Are you still going to live next door to me? Are you still a detective in the South African police service?” They weren’t the real questions she wanted to ask him. But she was sure he understood.

David grinned. “I’ll tell you sometime soon, too.” He took another gulp of his beer. “So what’s for supper?”

Jade opened the fridge and took out two thick and tender pieces of fillet and a small bag of potatoes. There was no point in cooking any other vegetables, she knew. They would have to wait for another day.

“Steak and chips,” she said.

“Great,” David said, swinging back in his chair and nudging her with his elbow as she turned to the stove. “Cop food.”

Random Violence