Piers rubbed his eyes blearily. “Am I…? What? No. I’m not gay. Why on earth would you think I was gay?”
“You like the theater.”
Piers laughed loudly. “That’s it? That’s your evidence?”
“That and the fact you never try to shag me.”
Piers looked at her incredulously. “Never try…? Good God, woman. You never let me within a mile of you. And by the way, for what it’s worth I don’t like the theater.”
“Why’d you go there, then?”
“I was trying to impress you.”
“It didn’t work.”
“Yes, I noticed. Tracey, my darling, I would like nothing more than to try to ‘shag’ you, as you so poetically put it. But you’ve never given me the chance.”
Pushing past him into the hall, Tracey dropped her suitcase and closed the door behind her. “I’m giving you the chance now.”
The lovemaking was like nothing Piers had ever experienced. Tracey was silken hair and soft flesh and pillowy breasts and wet, warm, delicious depths that craved him like no woman had ever craved him before. When it was over, he proposed to her immediately. Tracey laughed.
“Don’t be such a tosser. I ain’t the marrying kind.”
“Nor am I,” said Piers truthfully.
“Then why’d you ask me? You must stop asking me to do things that you don’t even enjoy yourself. It’s a bad habit.”
“I asked because I want you. And I always get what I want.”
“Ha! Is that a fact? Well not this time, your lordship,” said Tracey defiantly. “I ain’t interested.”
Piers couldn’t have loved her more if she’d been dipped in platinum.
They married six weeks later.
THE FIRST EIGHTEEN MONTHS OF THE Henleys’ marriage were blissfully happy. Piers went about his business as usual, and Tracey never complained about his long hours, or his habit of taking telephone calls in the middle of dinner, the way that other women he’d dated had. Piers had no idea how his wife occupied her time during the days. At first he’d assumed she went shopping, but as the monthly AmEx statements rolled in he saw that Tracey had spent almost nothing, despite having an unlimited platinum card and a generous cash allowance. Once he’d asked her, “What do you do when I’m at the office?”
“I make porn films, Piers,” she replied, deadpan. “That’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday’s armed robbery. Thursday’s me day off.”
Piers grinned and thought, I’m the luckiest man on earth. He carried her up to bed.
Tracey was the perfect sexual partner, always eager, always inventive, never demanding on the nights when he was too tired or stressed with work to screw her. The only cloud on the marital horizon was the fact that, according to Tracey, she could not have children.
“Nothing doing in that department, I’m afraid. Me equipment’s broken,” she told him matter-of-factly.
“Well, what part of your equipment?”
“I dunno. All of it, I ’spect. Why? Aren’t you a bit old to be thinking about changing nappies, luv?”
Piers laughed. “I won’t be changing them! Besides, you’re not old. Don’t you want a child of your own?”
Tracey didn’t. But no amount of her repeating this message would make her husband believe her. Over the next year, Piers dragged his young wife to every fertility specialist on Harley Street, subjecting her to round after round of IVF, all to no avail. Determined to “think positive,” he bought a large family house in Belgravia and hired an interior decorator from Paris to design children’s rooms, one for a boy, one for a girl and one in neutral yellow.
“What’s that for? In case I give birth to a rabbit or summink?” Tracey teased him.
She remembered what he’d said to her the night he proposed. “I always get everything I want.” Unfortunately, it seemed that in Mother Nature, Sir Piers Henley had met his match.
“YOUR CHILDREN.” DETECTIVE INSPECTOR WILLARD DREW tore his eyes away from Tracey’s breasts, enticingly encased in a peach lace La Perla bra. For such a slender woman, Lady Henley was remarkably well endowed and she did seem to be having enormous trouble keeping her bathrobe belted. “They’re away for the night?”
Her beautiful face clouded over. “We don’t ’ave kids. It was me. I couldn’t.”
Inspector Drew blushed. “Oh. I’m sorry. I saw the bedrooms upstairs and I assumed…”
Tracey shrugged. “That’s all right. Why wouldn’t you assume? Was there any other questions?”
She’d already been incredibly helpful, giving detailed descriptions of the stolen items of jewelry—Lady Henley knew a lot about jewelry, settings, carats, clarity, you name it—as well as of her attacker. He was masked at the time of the attack, so she never saw his face, but she described him as being of strong build, stocky, with a scar on the back of his left hand, a deep voice, and a “strange” accent she couldn’t quite place. Considering the ordeal she’d just been through, it was a lot to remember. She was certain she’d never met him before.
“This might be difficult,” Inspector Drew said gently, “but did your husband have any enemies? Anyone who might have borne a grudge toward him?”
Tracey laughed, a full, raucous, barmaid’s laugh, and Inspector Drew thought what fun she must have been to be married to. A few hours ago Sir Piers Henley must have considered himself one of the happiest men alive.
“Only a few thousand. My ’usband had more enemies than Hitler, Inspector.”
Inspector Drew frowned. “How so?”
“Piers was a rich man. Self-made. In the ’edge fund business, wasn’t he? Nobody likes a hedgie. Not the blokes who do up their kitchens, not their partners, not their competitors, not even their investors half the bloody time, no matter ’ow much money you make them. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Inspector, and my Piers was a fuck-off Doberman with a mean set of teeth.” Tracey Henley said this with pride. “People hated him. And that’s just ’is fund. If you want to get into the personal stuff, there’s the bloke he gazumped to buy this place, the car dealer he never paid for the Aston ’cause he didn’t like the way he looked at me, everyone he blackballed at White’s—that’s a long list, I can tell you. Then there’s ’is ex-wife, ’is ex-mistress. His current mistress, for all I know.”
Inspector Drew found the idea that any man married to Tracey Henley would seek sexual pleasure elsewhere extremely hard to believe. According to her statement, she was thirty-two but she looked a decade younger.
“Piers had an army of enemies,” Tracey continued. “But he only had one real friend.”
“Oh? And who was that?”
For the first time that night, Tracey Henley gave way to tears.
DANNY MCGUIRE LOOKED UP FROM THE file in front of him as if he’d just seen a ghost. He’d been reading, in total silence, for the last twenty minutes.
“How did you hear about this case?”
Matt Daley shrugged. “I read about it online. I got interested in the Jakes case and I…well, I came across it. The Henley killing was a big deal in England. There was a lot of press at the time.”
“What exactly is your interest in the Jakes case, Mr. Daley?” Danny asked. “You never said in your e-mails.”
“I’m a writer. I’m fascinated by unanswered questions.”
Danny’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You’re a journalist?”
“No, no, no, a screenwriter. TV. Comedy, mostly.”
Danny looked suitably surprised. He nodded toward the file. “Not much to laugh about in here.”
“No,” Matt agreed. “But I also have a personal connection. Andrew Jakes was my father.”
Danny did a double take. Had Andrew Jakes had children? It took him a few moments to dredge up the memory. That’s right. There’d been a first wife, decades before he met Angela. One of the junior members of his team had gone to check out the lead but obviously thought it was nothing significant. Was there a kid? I guess there must have been.
“I never knew him,” Matt explained. “Jakes and my mother divorced when I was two. My stepfather adopted and raised me and my sister, Claire. But biologically, I’m a Jakes. Do you see any family resemblance?”
An image of Andrew Jakes’s almost severed, graying head lolling from his torso flashed across Danny’s mind. He shivered.
“Not really, no.”
“When I learned my father had been murdered, I got curious. And once I started reading up on the case, I was hooked.” He grinned. “You know how addictive it can be, an unsolved mystery.”
“I do,” Danny admitted. And how painful. This guy seems nice, but he’s so eager, like a Labrador with a stick. He wouldn’t look so happy if he’d seen the bloody carnage in that bedroom. The bodies trussed together. Jakes’s head hanging from his neck like a yo-yo on a string.
“When I read about the Henley case, I tried to get in touch with you, but that’s when I learned you’d left L.A. I tried Scotland Yard directly, but they weren’t too helpful. Didn’t want to talk to some crackpot American writer any more than the LAPD did.” Matt Daley smiled again, and Danny thought what a warm, open face he had. “You cops sure know how to close ranks when the shit hits the fan.”