The Geneva Deception

The Geneva Deception by James Twining Read Free Book Online

Book: The Geneva Deception by James Twining Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Twining
Tags: Fiction, Action & Adventure
with a smile. ‘Do you want it back?’
    Five feet nine, slim with milky brown skin, she had a lustrous pair of hazel eyes and was wearing her usual office camouflage of black trouser suit and cream silk blouse. Her ‘Fuck You’ clothes, as she’d once described them, as opposed to the ‘Fuck Me’ outfits that some of the other female agents favoured, only to wonder why they got asked out all the time but never promoted. The truth was that the odds of a woman succeeding in the Bureau, let alone a black woman, were stacked so heavily against her, that she had to load the dice any way she could just to be given a fair spin of the wheel. Then again, from what he’d seen, Jennifer knew what it took to play the game, having risen from lowly field agent in the Bureau’s Atlanta Division to one of the most senior membersof its Art Crime Team. That didn’t happen by accident.
    ‘Not unless you’re having second thoughts.’
    ‘Should I be?’
    ‘You just seem a bit… distracted,’ she ventured.
    ‘Not really.’ His gaze flicked back to the window. ‘I guess I was just thinking about today.’
    ‘About your grandfather?’
    ‘About some of the people there. About my family, or what’s left of it. About how little I know them and they know me.’
    ‘You’re a difficult person to get to know, Tom,’ she said gently.
    ‘Even for you?’ He turned back to her with a hopeful smile.
    ‘Maybe especially for me,’ she shot back, an edge to her voice that was at once resigned and accusing.
    He understood what she meant, although she had got closer to him than most over the years. Not that things had started well between them when they had first met, necessity strong-arming their initial instinctive mutual suspicion into a grudging and fragile working relationship. And yet from this unpromising beginning a guarded trust, of sorts, had slowly evolved which had itself, in time, built towards a burgeoning friendship. A friendship which had then briefly flowered into something more, their growing attraction for each other finding its voice in one unplanned and instinctive night together.
    Since then, the intervening years and a subsequent case had given them both the opportunity at different times to try and revive those feelings and build on that night. But for whatever reason, the other person had never quite been in the same place - Tom initially unwilling to open up, Jennifer subsequently worried about getting hurt. Even so, the memory had left its mark on both of them, like an invisible shard of metal caught beneath the skin that they could both feel whenever they rubbed up against someone else.
    ‘How have you been?’ Tom asked, deliberately moving the focus of the conversation away from himself. Jennifer glanced over his shoulder before answering, prompting Tom to turn in his seat and follow her wary gaze. Stokes was asleep, his legs stretched out ahead of him, his head lolling on to his shoulder, two empty whisky miniatures on the table in front of him. The stewardess had retreated into the limestone-floored toilet cubicle with her make-up bag.
    ‘Were you annoyed I came?’ Jennifer answered with a question of her own.
    ‘I was disappointed you didn’t come alone,’ he admitted, almost surprising himself with his honesty.
    ‘This is Stokes’s case,’ she explained with an apologetic shrug. ‘I couldn’t have come without him.’
    ‘That’s not what I meant.’
    A pause.
    ‘You should have told me you were coming.’
    ‘I didn’t know I was until I was on the plane,’ he protested.
    ‘You could have called,’ she insisted.
    ‘Would you have called me if you hadn’t needed my help?’
    Another, longer pause.
    ‘Probably not,’ she conceded.
    It was strange, Tom mused. They weren’t dating, hadn’t spoken in almost a year, and yet they seemed to be locked into a lovers’ awkward conversation, both of them fumbling around what they really wanted to say, rather than risk looking stupid.
    There

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