Tuesday, 14 March 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Born Bad by Marnie Riches

Hi Everyone,

Today I'm on the Blog Tour for Born Badand I'd like to welcome Marnie to my blog today where Marnie has very kindly taken the time to give me an extract from Born Bad as part of the Blog Tour. I was thrilled to be asked once again by Helena Sheffield from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers too. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour below. So without further ado, here is the extract:

Jonny peered out of the window to the car park immediately below, avoiding looking at Strangeways, now, for fear that he might somehow jinx his precarious freedom. There were two cars he didn’t recognise parked out front, next to his own Maserati. A silver Toyota and a black Mondeo. Tax man’s cars. He willed his hand to stop shaking. Gripped the phone harder.

‘No, you’re alright. I’ve got it covered. If they’ve got eyes on the street and spot you coming out of there, we’re totally buggered. Stay put. I’ll call when they’re gone.’

His secretary’s instantly recognisable rat-a-tat-tat on the door said it was time to put on the grand performance.

Clad in a frumpy blue suit with her banana legs and fat ankles stuffed into cheap shoes, Darley was already strutting through the warehouse, examining the stock. Jonny willed himself to smile before she had even turned around to face him, lest he make it too obvious that he’d like Asaf to bone her like a haddock with his sharpest knife. In his peripheral vision, he clocked her minions – two men: one who looked about ready to retire and the other who didn’t look more than twenty. They were speaking to the workers, who were bundling the cheap jewellery into even cheaper packaging.

‘Ms Darley,’ Jonny said, adopting his magnanimous and friendly voice that he used for PTA meetings. ‘What a pleasure to see you again.’

Darley turned on her heel, a grim expression on her face that implied the pleasure was not mutual. ‘Mr Margulies.’ She held out her right hand and treated him to the iron handshake of a woman who broke balls for a living. In her left hand, she clutched an oversized accountant’s briefcase. ‘I’m here to search your premises. Please make all your accounts and employee records available.’

Jonny felt like his bowels were somehow ingesting themselves. The tell-tale sensation of needing the toilet, fast. But he wouldn’t show this bitch any fear. The authorities were like dogs; the moment they caught a whiff of guilt, they knew they had you. Tariq was relying on him. Both of their families depended on his giving a convincing performance. He put one foot in front of another and showed her to an office that looked onto the main factory floor through a large plate-glass internal window.

‘You can work in here,’ he said politely, switching on the flick-flickering strip lighting and pulling out an uncomfortable-looking brown plastic chair. It was cold in there. The thin carpet tiles were peeling upwards, revealing perished rubber underneath. Let the tax bastards suffer.
‘Where is Mr Khan?’ she asked, touching her no-nonsense brown bob. It appeared rigid and moved only slightly.

‘Family emergency. He’s been called away.’

Darley looked over her purple plastic-framed glasses, fixing him with hard hazel eyes. ‘Convenient.’

Shrugging, he held his palms aloft in a gesture of honesty.

‘Am I my business partner’s keeper?’

Jonny wished he could run away. Give it all up. Hide on a beach in Israel or South America or even crappy Marbella would do right now. Silently, he cursed Tariq for having chosen that morning, of all mornings, to visit their other place, leaving him to sort out this gargantuan shit-storm on his own.

As the day wore on, Jonny felt his spirit ebbing away, answering intrusive questions and observing his book-keeper, old Mohammed, delivering box after box of files to the temporary hub of HMRC investigation.

Knocking timorously on the door, he popped his head in to see Ruth Darley busily going through a sheaf of invoices with a determined look on her face. Her underlings flanked her, like Padawans studying beneath some great Jedi. Jonny looked at his watch pointedly.

‘It’s getting late,’ he said. ‘Would you like my secretary to bring you and your colleagues a coffee?’

Darley looked at him and slid her glasses further up her nose. Glanced at Jonny’s wrist. ‘I don’t need a Breitling watch to tell me what time it is, Mr Margulies.’ She offered him a grimace that was an approximation of a smile. ‘We’ll be leaving in ten minutes, but we’ll be back tomorrow.’

Jonny folded his arms. Imagined for a second that he could hear the inmates inside Strangeways jeering at him from behind their barred windows.

‘Back? Oh. You haven’t seen everything you need today? I thought Janice had given you access to the full monty. We’ve got nothing to hide here, you know.’

Ruth Darley stood and held a separate sheaf of invoices aloft. Invoices written in Chinese, by the looks of it. At that moment, a sweat broke out on Jonny’s top lip and he wished, however improbably, that he knew the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese. Had the invoices somehow got mixed up? Maureen would surely never allow that to happen.

‘I have found anomalies, Mr Margulies.’ Her smile was genuine that time.

Shit. Those were the last words he had wanted to hear.

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