Captcha Thief (Amy Lane Mysteries)

Free Captcha Thief (Amy Lane Mysteries) by Rosie Claverton

Book: Captcha Thief (Amy Lane Mysteries) by Rosie Claverton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rosie Claverton
in a dizzy haze. When Jason left her protection, bad things happened. Fist fights, gunshots, running for his life. She couldn’t ensure his safety on such short notice, not in North Wales with its patchy mobile signal and poor CCTV coverage.
    She’d stood up, but she didn’t remember when, facing him down like a matador with a bull. Except Jason wasn’t charging. His mouth was a grim line, but his eyes were dark and pained. Hurt.
    ‘You don’t trust me to go.’
    ‘I don’t trust her!’
    ‘I’m going, whether you like it or not.’
    ‘If you go, I’ll … I’ll…’
Fire you.
    But she wouldn’t do that – couldn’t even make the threat. He knew he held all the cards. She would never fire him and he could do exactly as he pleased. She was too afraid of losing him, even to protect him.
    ‘I’ll be back in a couple of days,’ he said.
    She could tell it was a lie. He had no idea when he was coming back. How long he was leaving her, placing himself out of her reach and in danger.
    ‘I can take care of things here,’ Owain said.
    But she didn’t want him. She wanted Jason. Jason, who knew all her little idiosyncrasies, her favourite snacks when she was stuck on a problem, and exactly how she took her tea.
    She wanted them to be a team again. She wanted him to rely on her, as she depended on him. But she knew she was losing control, losing him, and she had nothing that could stop the car crash occurring in front of her.
    ‘I’m going to pack,’ Jason said, and didn’t look back as he left her.
    Gripping the edge of the desk, Truth fought the urge to run. Every cell in her body urged her to get out, flee far away. She had to get away from here, away from
her
.
    She took a deep breath, closed her eyes. Counted to ten.
    She wasn’t going to leave. She was going to see this through. Even after years of trying and never quite achieving, she had never yet quit.
    She wouldn’t let that painted stare drive her away.
    Waiting for a response was agonising. She didn’t even know if the message had been received, if it was being discussed, if someone had called the police. It was the uncertainty that killed her, fuelled her desire for flight.
    But where would she go? She had no one who could take her in, and she could not live with herself if she left, nor with the consequences. Not now. All her hopes were pinned on Renoir’s infamous whore.
    No, Truth had to wait. When the museum reopened, she would check out the lie of the land, see what could be seen. She had spotted the others and she had to ensure they came nowhere near the upper galleries. She hoped they would remain shut, but the museum management were money men who cared only for profit. They would not keep their prize pieces hidden from gormless eyes and grabbing hands.
    Art should be reserved for an elite who could appreciate it. The Salon in Paris and the Royal Academy in London knew the truth of it. Those who tried to buck the trend, bring art to the masses, only achieved true greatness in death – where their radical thoughts could be separated from their grand works. When they became, instead of the anarchists, part of the establishment to be rebelled against.
    Was Truth an anarchist now, a rebel? She had stolen a painting, killed a man. But theft and murder were sins old as story – nothing radical in sin. They were the price of her devil’s deal, the price of the life of a woman who did not love, did not hate, but merely expected her to do her duty.
    If this continued, waiting without answer, she would have to take matters into her own hands. The television revealed nothing, but the police might catch her scent at any time. She might have to take care of those in the know, perhaps even those who pursued her. She needed to buy more time, except time was trickling through the glass with every passing day. She was losing with every minute lost.
    ‘The Blue Lady’ smiled at her with her nothing eyes.
    ‘Slut,’ she said and spat.
    The glob of

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