Royal Heist

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Authors: Lynda La Plante
reflecting about a lot of things.”
    “Like what?”
    “Why I ever got involved with Gail. To be honest, I think I was more impressed by her successful father than by her.”
    He wished he had not started the conversation. “Maybe because my own father was dead. I was not sure what to do with my life, and he gave me direction.”
    “By marrying his daughter,” Christina said, yawning.
    “Whatever. She was a mistake, but my friendship with her father wasn’t. He was a good man.”
    She snuggled. “You hate talking about her.”
    “I just don’t like wasting time thinking of her. She isn’t worth it. Hate has nothing to do with it. It was a mistake, and I got out as fast as I could.” He made no mention of divorcing Gail once her father had died, leaving him to run the business. It was also Gail’s father who had suggested that if he was selling property to top-level clients he might think about dropping the overly familiar Eddy. Raynor felt that Eddie Jersey wasn’t classy enough. But his son-in-law went one better, not only referring to himself as Edward but inserting the de. So it was that he became Edward de Jersey, and Gail’s father would never know the many other names his son-in-law would use by the end of his criminal career.
    “What happened to her?” Christina asked.
    He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. When the firm went bust I sold up and . . .” He was moving into dangerous territory now. It was after the company fell apart that he’d started planning his final robbery. “I never saw her again,” he said, leaning on his elbow and smiling. “I met this woman, well, she was just a young slip of a thing, and I saw her photograph in a magazine and . . .”
    Christina giggled. She always loved hearing him tell how he had cut out her picture and traced her through the model agency. He had even traveled to Sweden to find her when she was already living in London.
    “She who made up for all the tedious years I’d been with Gail. And she is now my wife, the mother of my daughters, and . . .” He kissed her, trying to prevent a return to the subject of his ex-wife and, more important, not wanting to approach the time in his life when he, Wilcox, and Driscoll had pulled off the robbery that had been the foundation of their wealthy lifestyles.
    What troubled de Jersey was that when he met Christina he had been immensely rich and had used his wealth to court her obsessively. “Do you regret anything?” he asked stroking her cheek.
    “No. Well, yes there is one thing,” she said softly.
    “What’s that?” he asked, kissing her neck.
    “I would like to have given you a son.”
    After a moment he raised his arm and drew her close to him. “I do not have a second of regret, not one second,” he said. “We have two perfect daughters and”—he looked down into her face—“Royal Flush.”
    “I know,” Christina said, “but it’s not the same.”
    He gripped her tightly. “I don’t want anything to change.” His manner frightened her, but then he tucked the pillow beneath his head and closed his eyes, murmuring, “Good night, sweetheart.”
    “Happy Christmas,” she whispered. She remained curled by his side, lying in the crook of his arm.
    “Happy Christmas, sweetheart.” He would not allow anything to harm their idyllic life.
    By the end of Christmas dinner, he had to undo the button on his trousers. The Driscolls were in a booth in the main restaurant. He had ordered Krug champagne, as had most of the other guests. He had drunk more than usual, but he felt stone cold sober.
    “Do you like this color?” Liz paraded her pearly false nails.
    “Yes, very nice.”
    “Oyster pink shimmer,” she said. “It’s a perfect match for the dress I bought for New Year’s Eve. I was just testing the colors out. Do you remember the dress? From Chanel in Knightsbridge.” Driscoll recalled the floating chiffon with an embroidered vest top and ribbon straps. It looked

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