Crystal by Heather Burnside (The Working Girls #3)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.8 MB
Heather Burnside has been writing since the late 90s when she returned to work following a career break to raise a family. Heather formerly worked in credit control and became a graduate Member of the Institute of Credit Management but she decided on a complete career change.
When Crystal’s pimp, protector and former lover, Gilly, dies of a drugs overdose Crystal is bereft. She refuses the paid protection of a rival pimp, determined to go it alone. But a vicious beating from a client leaves her feeling vulnerable and angry.
Meanwhile, Crystal’s daughter, Candice, is asking difficult questions about her job. Crystal decides it’s time to make some changes, and, when a high-profile judge offers her payment to keep schtum about his nefarious activities, it gives her an idea. Perhaps other clients will also pay for her silence…
Crystal engages on a revenge mission to rob, blackmail and expose her most depraved clients. But some of these men are highly dangerous and, if Crystal wants to exact her plan of revenge, she must accept the risks that go with it.
‘I was there when he died,’ sobbed Crystal.
‘What?’ asked Ruby.
‘Gilly. I was there when he died.’
Ruby tensed on hearing Crystal’s words and watched as Crystal’s tears and mucus slid off the end of her nose and dribbled into her pint of lager. ‘For fuck’s sake!’ she hissed and her eyes wandered across the table to Amber, Angie and Sapphire.
Fortunately they were deep in conversation and didn’t appear to have heard what Crystal said. But Ruby was taking no chances. The state Crystal was in, she could come out with anything. Ruby might have known it would come to this. Crystal had been inconsolable throughout the funeral and had taken a good measure of brandy to calm her down even before they got to the crematorium.
The funeral had been a wretched affair. Although a few of Gilly’s cronies from the Rose and Crown had showed up there was no sign of any family or other friends. Ruby wondered what he had done in his life to make even his own family not wish to attend.
Once they’d arrived at the Rose and Crown for the wake, Crystal’s mood didn’t improve. As melancholy music played over the pub’s speakers, she had downed anything she could get her hands on as well as taking regular trips to the ladies, presumably to load up on coke. But, instead of making her mellow, the drugs and booze seemed to have made her more sombre.
‘Come on, we’re going,’ said Ruby, slamming her drink down on the table and grabbing hold of Crystal’s arm.
This caught the attention of the other girls who stared across at Ruby and Crystal. ‘I’m taking her home,’ said Ruby. ‘She’s pissed.’
‘No, I’m not going,’ Crystal drawled.
‘You fuckin’ are!’ said Ruby, tightening her grip. She stood up and pulled Crystal to standing. At almost six foot tall Ruby towered over Crystal who was of average height.
The other girls resumed their conversation, not wishing to get involved. Ruby was known to have a fierce temper and if she said it was time for Crystal to go then they didn’t want to challenge her. The feel of Ruby’s sharp talons in her arm brought Crystal to her senses and she stood up ready to leave but not before she had tried to down the rest of her pint in one go, spilling most of it over the table.
‘Put the fuckin’ thing down! We’re going,’ Ruby repeated.
The girls waited till Ruby had dragged Crystal away from the table before they said their goodbyes.
‘You take care, Crystal,’ said Sapphire, a young girl with dark hair and a perma-tan.
Amber and Angie muttered their own words of support as Crystal staggered towards the pub exit, supported by Ruby who kept a firm grip on her arm.
‘What the fuck are you playing at blabbing off in there?’ demanded Ruby once they were outside. ‘Anyone could have fuckin’ heard!’
Crystal muttered incoherently and Ruby could tell she was beyond reason. It was obvious she’d have to get her sobered up before she could get any sense out of her. But Crystal’s words had grabbed her attention and she was determined to get to the bottom of it.
‘Come on, I’ll take you to mine. Then we can talk.’
Crystal raised her eyes momentarily before her head lolled again and she allowed herself to be led to Ruby’s car.