The new novel by the “King of the Erotic Thriller” (The Times)
A young Italian woman flees her home in Rome and gets involved with the wrong man in Paris.
Cornelia, the fearless stripper and killer for hire, who proved such a hit in previous novels, is back and on another mission to kill.
As the two women’s paths intersect, an English crime writer down on his luck is mistaken for a private eye and goes on a quest for a missing person
From New York to Paris, and then on a thrilling journey through Barcelona, Tangiers, Venice and then finally to a small medieval town outside Rome, the waltz with darkness of the three characters in search of love, lust and redemption becomes ever more poignant and mysterious
Sexy, sad, breathless, a memorable tale of lost souls caught in a spider’s web of their own making.
The Cuban guy taking her from behind was puffing and panting, nearing the finishing line in his race to orgasm.
Cornelia felt nothing. Neither in her body or her soul, let alone her heart.
What was the point, she wondered?
It was always like this.
Meaningless words. Hydraulics. Sweat.
Then her cell phone rang. It was lodged at the bottom of her handbag, but they both could clearly hear its insistent nudge.
She had no fancy tone. No classic song or silly sounds. Just a strong vibration followed by an insistent buzz.
The man inside her slowed. His tides of lust receding fast.
Possibly her body tensed, but Cornelia said nothing.
The phone kept ringing, then the sound died and there was a discreet mechanical click as the message function took over. In silence.
“It’s OK,” she said. “I’ll check it later.”
The man grunted and focused again on fucking her.
But whatever magic they had ridden the waves of had by now dissipated and his ardour was no longer the same. He soon pulled out of her.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled.
The traffic noises outside his mid-range Broadway hotel room window somehow increased in volume.
“No problem,” Cornelia responded.
He rose awkwardly from the bed.
Cornelia rolled over on to her back and pulled the white, crumpled sheet back across her naked body. She felt empty, again.
She remained silent.
The phone call she had not taken now separated them and the man was visibly in a hurry to cut their encounter short and be on his way.
Which was fine with her.
Cornelia had picked him up at the Oyster Bar beneath Grand Central Station. She’d been bored and the man had initially seemed clean and not too bad-looking. So she’d thought, why not?
He glanced back at her, and his detumescing cock stirred a little. Cornelia just looked him in the eyes and kept on saying nothing.
Finally, he looked away and moved toward the bathroom, grabbing his shirt and trousers on the way.
Five minutes later he was stepping out of the room, after reminding her that she could stay another few hours if she wanted as the room had been booked until three in the afternoon.
She nodded. Blew him a desultory kiss, but his back was already to her, in his haste to abandon the landscape of this latest sexual fiasco.
Cornelia sighed, stretched her long, pale limbs under the thin white sheet.
She closed her eyes.
* * *
The message was short and sweet.
“Call me. Today, if you can.”
She took a cab back to her Washington Square Place apartment and rang him back from there, once she had showered and changed into a grey T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
“I thought you wanted me off the scene for a few more months following last time’s small mess.”
“I did. But this is overseas, not on home patch. Have you got an up to date passport?”
“Fine. It’s in Paris. You’ll find the dossier in the usual place.”
“When can you leave?”
“Will tomorrow do?”
“Locally. A safe deposit box. It’ll all be in the dossier.”
“That works for me.”
“And, naturally, we’ll supply the return ticket. Business class.”
“The least you can do at such short notice …”
“You’re the best, C. You deserve a touch of luxury.”
“Cheap and cheerful, that’s me.”
She could almost hear him smile on the other end of the line. He had been her contact for two years now. They had never met. She had no idea what he looked like, although she guessed he must be in his mid forties. The voice was accent-less and impersonal. Businesslike.
Well, Cornelia reckoned, killing was just a business like any other, wasn’t it?
And one she was good at.
At any rate, more interesting than sex.