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About Deviant Core Member Kev Pickering52/Male/United Kingdom Groups :iconsweetkinks: sweetkinks
sweetly kinky
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First, read Sheila's Weekend Guests over there.

Then; know the door is open for them to request stories featuring them.  If you wish to nominate someone for them to visit, and outfits, drop me a line.  May take a while, but I'll see what I can do...
  • Mood: Sunny Mood
  • Watching: Casino Royale (1967)


“Mom, that has to be the best Thanksgiving dinner ever!”

“You say that every year, Erin,” Janna Keith said as she cleared the last of the dishes from the table, “but I guess it is special this year – the first one you had to come home for.”

Janna was in her late forties, and was wearing a grey dress with a low cut front, and a pattern of light grey links over the dark grey fabric.  The skirt of the dress came down to just above her knees, and it had a thin strip of black silk round the waist, secured with a fake bow at the front.  Under the dress, she was wearing a pair of dark grey tights, with long black leather boots over her lower legs.

Like her mother, eighteen year old Erin had long blonde hair, although hers was a light shade than that of Janna.  A freshman student, she was wearing a charcoal grey sweatshirt, black leggings and knee length tan leather boots with long zips on the inside.

“Right,” her father said as he came in, fastening the tie round his neck, “I need to get in and make sure everything is ready for the hellstorm tomorrow.”

“How did you manage to get the shift before Black Friday,” Erin said as she brought two mugs of coffee in.

“Luck of the draw – it had to fall to me at some point,” he said as he kissed both of them, “I’ll see you both tomorrow morning.”

The two women stood at the door, the American flag fluttering over their heads as they waved him off, and then went back inside.

“Let me give you a hand to clear up Mom.”

“Oh come on – we’ve got time to have our coffee,” Janna said as she and Erin walked into the front room of their house, and sat down.

“So how’s college?”

“Hard work – but then you knew that, Mom.”

“It was a while back in my case,” Erin said with a smile.  “But you look like you’re taking care of yourself.”

“The Hockey team takes care of that,” Erin said with a smile.  “But yeah, it’s...”

“Now who could that be,” Janna said as they both heard the knock on the door.  Standing up, she walked over to the door while Erin picked up the remote for the television and turned it on.

“Yes, can I help...”

Erin noticed the sudden ending of her mother’s voice, as she looked over and then stood up suddenly, watching as her mother came back towards her with two strangers.  They were both women, and wore black jackets and knee length skirts, their legs enclosed in sheer black stockings and their feet in four inch heel pumps.

But apart from their outfits, what Erin noticed was the dark sunglasses they wore – and the very real pistol that one of them was pointing at her as her mum was pushed forward.

“Hello,” she said in a cultured voice, “please, sit, hands on your head, and listen very carefully.”

The one who spoke had blonde hair, while the second woman had auburn hair.  “Sit next to your daughter, hands on your head as well,” she said as she pushed Janna over, the older woman sitting next to her daughter as they looked at the two intruders.

“All right,” the brunette said, “you will refer to me as Miss Brown, and my friend as Miss Blonde.  Nod if you understand.”

Both women nodded slowly as Miss Brown continued “you will do what we say, and you will not question it.  Do as we say, and we will not hurt you.  Do not, and you will regret it.  Do you understand?”

“Why are you here,” Erin said quietly.

“Fair question,” Miss Blonde said, “and we will answer it in time.  Right now, I want you to go and fetch your purse, and bring it here, with Miss Brown accompanying you.  Make no attempt to raise the alarm, or your mother is the one who will regret it.”

“Just do as she says,” Janna said quietly, watching as Erin slowly stood up and walked into the kitchen with the auburn haired intruder, returning with her purse as she sat down.

“Empty it out onto the coffee table.”

As Erin emptied the contents out, Miss Blonde sorted through them, taking her cell phone and removing the battery as well as the pager she carried, and then putting her purse to one side.

“Your turn,” she said as she looked at Janna, “where is your purse?”

“It’s over there,” Janna said as she pointed to a side table.  Miss Blonde nodded as she walked over and emptied the purse out, disabling her phone as well and putting her purse to one side.

“Now – what we are here,” Miss Brown said, “some friends of ours are going to be visiting your husband’s place of work, and we need him to allow us to do that without hindrance – which is where you and your charming daughter come in.”

“Oh god,” Janna said quietly, “you’re thieves?”

“We prefer to think of ourselves as professional criminals,” Miss Blonde said, “so remain calm, and you won’t get hurt.  Actually, why don’t you go and make some more coffee.  Miss Brown?”

“Come with me,” Miss Brown said as she took Janna by the arm, while Miss Blonde sat and looked at Erin.

“What exactly are you going to do to us?”

“You’ll see – put the television on.  There might be a miracle and something worth watching.”

“All right,” Miss Blonde said as she looked at Erin and Janna, “it’s time we got you ready.  I want you, mommy, to put your hands on your head and don’t move a muscle.”

As she nodded and placed her hands palm down on her head, Janna watched as Miss Brown left the house for a moment, returning with a bag which she placed on the floor and opened.

“Now,” Miss Blonde said as she looked at Erin, “fold your arms in front of you, and put your elbows in the palms of your hands.”

“Like this,” Erin said, Miss Blonde nodding as she was handed by Miss Brown two lengths of thin cord.  She used them to bind Erin’s wrists to her arms, making sure the rope went several times around and then between her limbs so they were held together, Janna watching as it happened.

“Why are you doing this,” Erin said as she tried to move her arms, only to shiver as Miss Brown took a longer length of rope from the bag, and doubled it over.  She walked behind the young woman, and passed it around her body, forcing her upper arms against her body as she wound it round above and below her chest.

“That’s tight,” she complained as Miss Brown pulled the rope even tighter, and then took it under her left arm, pulled the rope up and round the back of her neck, and then around the bands under the other arm.

“It needs to be,” Miss Blonde said as she picked up the house phone.  “You are going to ask to speak to your husband,” she said as she looked at Janna, “you are going to tell him that you and your daughter are our hostages, and that he is to open the rear entrance to the building.”

As she said this, Erin’s eyes widened as Miss Brown took a sponge out of the bag, and compressed it in her hand as she walked back over.  “You need to be quiet for this,” she said quietly, “open your mouth.”

“No – no you are not putting that in my mouth,” Erin said as she clamped her mouth shut.

“Erin, please...”

“Do not worry – this is not an impossible problem,” Miss Brown said as she placed her gloved hand on Erin’s chest, and started to massage her breasts as she wriggled round.

The ropes sitting tightly over her chest were already irritating and arousing the young woman in equal measures – but now, as the hand groped her, she could feel the strangest of feelings running through her body, as she squirmed and tried to get away.

It was useless, however, as the hand kept working, until she finally opened her mouth and gasped – then felt the sponge on her tongue as it was pushed into her mouth and behind her teeth, and then the gloved hand was pressed over her mouth as the groping continued.

“You’re going to keep that in your mouth, aren’t you,” Miss Brown whispered, Erin nodding as her mother watched the intruder pant a kiss on her daughter’s neck.  Taking her hand away, she walked to the bag and took out a roll of white tape, tearing the end loose before she wrapped it tightly round Erin’s head, sealing the sponge into place in her mouth as her mother watched.

“Now then,” Miss Blonde said as she dialled a number, “talk to your husband.”

Janna looked at Erin, Miss Brown, tearing the tape free and smoothing it against her cheek before she put her gloved hands on Erin’s shoulders.  Nodding, she took the phone and breathed in deeply.

“Robert?  It’s Janna.  Please, listen very carefully to what I’m going to say.

“There are two women here with me and Erin.  They are armed, and they have tied Erin up and gagged her.  I have the feeling my turn will come soon.  They say they will not hurt us so long as you do as  they say.

“No – do not call the police,” Janna said as she looked at the two women.  “If you raise the alarm, they say they will hurt us.  Please...”

“Hang on,” she said as she looked at Miss Blonde.  “He wants to talk to you.”

Taking the handset, Miss Blonde said “Listen very carefully.  Your wife is not lying – we are holding her and your daughter hostage.  Do as we say and everyone gets to meet later.  Don’t and...”

She nodded to Miss Brown, who squeezed hard on Erin’s shoulders, making her squeal as Janna took the handset back and said “Robert, please – they mean business!”

She listened for a moment, and then said “They want you to go now and open the rear entrance to the building.  Please, Robert, just do as they say.”

She handed the phone back to Miss Blonde, saying “he’s going there now.”  As Miss Blonde listened, she wondered what was happening, before the intruder said “Good – let us know when it is done.”

She nodded to Miss Brown, who gently massaged Erin’s shoulders before taking the handset, and then ripping the telephone free of the wall socket.  Coming back, she smiled as Miss Blonde said “very good – both of you, stand up and face each other.”

“Are you... Are you all right, Erin?”

Her daughter nodded as she watched both the intruders tale a length of rope, and then Miss Blonde walked behind her mother, taking Janna’s hands behind her back before crossing her wrists, and starting to bind them together.

As this was happening, Janna watched as Miss Brown tied her length of rope around Erin’s waist, knotting it just below her belly button and then letting the lengths of rope drop to the floor.  She could feel the rope around her wrists as it was wrapped around and between her arms, and then tied off out of reach of her fingers, before a long length was passed around her own arms and body, pulled slowly to force her arms to her body below her chest.

As the rope went above and below her mother’s chest, Erin could not help but watch as the front of her dress was stretched over her breasts, unaware of the fact Miss Brown had knelt behind her, and her hand had been place between  her legs.  She became very aware of that as the rope was pulled up and back, pressing on her crotch through the leggings as the rope was secured to the ropes around her chest.
“Hmgddd,” she mumbled as she tried to move, and felt the increased pressure on her mound, exciting and frightening her at the same time as Miss Brown made her sit down.  

Janna could only watch this happening as the bands of rope pressed on her own chest, rubbing on the bare flesh between them where the dress opened up as Miss Blonde tightened them in the same way as those on Erin were cinched.

“Please, don’t hurt us,” she whispered as Miss Brown arranged Erin’s legs, making her sit in the Lotus position with her ankles under each knee.  As she was helped to kneel down, she watched as Miss Brown secured Erin’s ankles to her knees, taking the rope around and between her legs as she did so.

She was dimly aware of her own ankles been crossed and tied together as she watched Erin close her eyes, moaning as the ropes were secured.  

For her part, Erin had no idea what was happening, the ropes ribbing on her chest and between her legs as they were made tighter and tighter.  This was different, as she began to feel flushed, and felt a dampness between her legs where the ropes were rubbing on her body.  She didn’t know whether to give in and enjoy them, or try to fight them – and then Miss Brown tied a length of rope between her breasts, tightening the bands even more before she played the rope out and tied it round her calves to further secure her legs together.

“Open your mouth.”

Janna looked over her shoulder, seeing the band of rope around her ankles and the second band below her knees, and then nodded as she allowed Miss Blonde to push a sponge into her mouth.  She could feel it expanding, pressing her tongue out as it filled and muffled any noise she was making.

That was only added to as she heard a ripping sound, and then the tugging on her cheek as the end of the roll of white tape was pressed against it, and then the tape was wrapped tightly round her head, trapping her hair against the back of her neck as it pressed on her lips and head.

“Now then,” Miss Blonde said as she tore the tape off and smoothed it against the encircling band, “how shall we pass the time?”

“Pllsslfslnn,” Janna said, but she then stiffened as she felt the gloved hands embracing and massaging her chest, looking at Erin as she too was groped, fighting and wriggling to try and stop her while at the same time suddenly feeling the effects of the gentle assault on her own body...

Janna opened her eyes as she stopped shaking, looking at the clock and then the two women as they stood up, Miss Blonde answering a call on her cell phone.

“Well, your husband has been most cooperative,” she said, “so we’ll be going soon.  But first, a little present to say thank you for being so cooperative.”

“Whttdumnn,” Erin mumbled, and then she shivered as she felt something being pushed under the crotch rope – and then felt it as she heard the low buzzing.

“Hgdnnn,” Janna said as Miss Blonde lifted her dress, and pushed a vibrator into her hose, making sure it sat against her crotch before Janna was helped to lie on her stomach, and her legs pulled back, her ankles secured to her chest ropes.

Erin looked at her mother, her eyes wide open over the tape band as she saw Janna struggle, and start to pant through her nose as they both felt the pleasure increase.

They never noticed their two captors slip out of the house, as their bodies shook, and they screamed into their gags...


“NHRRRRRR,” Janna called out as she heard her husband, and then saw him run in, looking at them as two police officers followed him.

“Oh god, are you all right?”

Janna nodded and then shook again as yet another orgasm swept over her, Erin crying as the same thing happened to her.  She was just thankful her father and they were safe, as the police cut the tape from their heads, and eased the soaking wet sponges from their mouths.

“They told me they’d hurt you if we raised the alarm – did they?”

“No,” Erin panted, “they must have just left us here.  Please, get us free...”
After Giving Thanks
the last thing you want is to be held hostage.  A tale for Thanksgiving 2015  - may my American friends have a wonderful holiday.
5.30 am Local Time
Pulkovo International Airport, St Petersburg

“Welcome to St Petersburg ladies,” the pilot said as the jet touched down, “we’ll taxi to the private customs clearance, and I understand cars have been ordered to take you to the hotel.”

“Do we still need to go through standard passport control and customs?”

“I am afraid so, Miss Huntingdown, but it is early, I do not foresee any problems.”

“Well,” Helen said as the plane taxied to a stop, “let’s get this part over and done with.”

“Welcome to Russia Miss Clarke – you may join the rest of your party.”

“Thank you,” Mary said as the immigration official handed her passport and visa back over, and she walked through to join the rest of the party.  Helen had found a trolley, and was placing the cases on them.

“Well, hello there, beautiful lady.”

Mary turned suddenly to see a thin, well dressed man with dark hair standing next to her.

“Are you here with the family there?”

“Yes, yes I am – why do you ask?”

“Oh I guessed - you are a beautiful young woman, and you should be careful round here.  I may be able to offer help.”

“I’m sorry – but who are you?”

“Oh my apologies, sweet lady,” he said with a smile, “my name is Viktor Kornyak, and I am...”

“A pest who should take a long walk from here, very quickly.”

Viktor stiffened, and turned to see Helen standing behind him.

“My dear, how nice to see you again,” he said, “you did not say you were with Huntingdown’s, sweet lady.”

“She’s not the only one Viktor – now, you were?”

“Leaving – a pleasure dear lady.”

“Who was he,” Mary said as she watched him walk quickly away.

“Caroline and I used him as a driver last time – he’s not the nicest of people.  Come on, I’ve got the cases loaded up.”

“Who was that,” Marina whispered to Caroline as they looked over.

“Oh boy – we had to run into the Weasel in the first ten minutes,” Caroline said as she shook her head.  “Don’t worry – I’ll deal with it.”

“The Weasel?”

“I’ll explain later,” Caroline said as a uniformed chauffer came forward to take the trolley.

Twenty minutes later, the two cars moved into the traffic.

"You know I never for a moment dreamed I'd ever get to leave the States, or ever see this much snow." Mary peeped eagerly out of the limo window.

"See much in the way of changes since you were last here Ju?"

"Even more traffic, even this early on a dark winter morning Caroline."

"Da," the driver spoke, "everybody gets up early thinking they will beat the traffic jams and this," he honked his horn at a silver Mercedes, "is the result."

"I'd far rather catch the metro then try and drive in this city." Helen shook her head, "I might be a local by birth, but the way these people drive I'll never understand...It's as bad as Rome."

"No drivers are as crazy as those in Rome." Caroline suppressed memories of numerous fender benders in that city.

"Well to me it's all MAGICAL!" Mary grinned.

"Talking of magic ladies," the driver looked round, "we have been getting some amazing white nights."

"What are white nights?" Mary asked.

"The Aurora Borealis," Carina looked up from her guide book, "and yeah they sound like something we must see if we get the chance."

“Well, I am sure the concierge will be able to inform you,” he said as Judith looked out of the window.

“Snow, momma!  Snow!”

“That’s right dear – and we will be in it today and tomorrow,” Carina said as the cars drew up outside the hotel.  Even at this early hour, there was some press around, Marina and Helen running interference as the others walked into the lobby.

“Miss Huntingdown, Miss Jameson, we are honoured to have you stay again,” the concierge said as he welcomed them.  “Everything has been made ready – we have the suites ready for you now, and the media office has been set up in the room for Miss Sowkowski.”

“Thank you,” Juliette said.  “We are eager to change and refresh ourselves after the flight.  Helen, Marina, once we have been shown to the rooms will you arrange for breakfast for us?”

“Of course, Miss Huntingdown,” Helen said with a smile as the porters brought their cases in, and they walked to the lifts.

“There you go Judith – some cold milk.”

“Fank you,” Judith said as she sat in the large chair, drinking her milk as the others talked over coffee and pastries.

“The media centre is all ready to go,” Marina said, “and I’ve talked to the TV producers.  They’re willing to give you the veto over the final cut.”

“Excellent,” Juliette said as she looked at her watch.  “Dimitri is meeting us at nine thirty, so we can get a little break – enough time to unpack and other things.”

“If you’ll excuse me a moment,” Mary said as she walked towards the toilet, Juliette watching until she closed the outer door.

"Now while Mary is out of earshot I need to say a few words." Juliette looked up from her coffee. "Caroline can you do discreet security sweeps and check out if we are being listened to?"

"Can do."

"Helen, can you just at least cast an eye out for if we are being tailed?"

"Not going to be easy with all the press and paparazzi."

"Well as pesky as they might be, we can't frighten them away, I was thinking more of the local criminal element."

"I guessed you were Ju." Helen nodded.

"Luckily this hotel has a very discreet VIP exit Ju, so I've already asked the manager for the key again."

"Good, and well thought of Caroline." Juliette looked round, "Girls I know this is a routine modelling trip, but given our history, and the fact that this city is an underworld dominated place, let's all remember to be careful please."

9.30 am Local Time

Dimitri Amkov smiled as he stood up, brushing down his suit as the group of women walked over to him.  All wore jumpers, skirts and boots, the youngest looking round as if this was all new to her.

No – the youngest woman.  The little girl in the smallest woman’s arms had the honour of being the youngest.

“Dimitri – how long has it been,” Juliette said as she smiled at him.

"Welcome Juliette," Dimitri smiled as he kissed her and presented her with flowers.

"It is just so wonderful to see you again Dimitri, and at LONG LAST you're finally going to photograph me."

"I remember you saying all those years ago it was one of your ambitions," the old gentleman chuckled, "But until now our schedules never seem to have meshed."

"I know...Anyway introductions, you already know Caroline?"

"Of course I do, welcome back," she blushed as he kissed her.

"This is my daughter Carina."

"This is little Carina?" Dimitri shook his head, "it seems just yesterday that she was no bigger than this little one."

"Well the little one is my daughter," Carina smiled. "Say hello to Uncle Dimitri Judith."

"Lo Unca Mitri." Judith whispered as she shyly hid her head.

"Oh she is DELIGHTFUL!"

"And this is Mary Clarke our other model."

"Oh this lady I will adore photographing, you have an amazing face..."

"So everyone tells me." Mary blushed.

"And of course you know Helen..."

"And I've talked to the divine Marina on line," Dimitri kissed both.  “Welcome – come, sit, and let us talk of my thoughts.”

“You know we have a tight schedule, Dimitri.”

“Of course – when the divine Anna called, she made it clear, so let me reassure you we have worked hard to prepare.  Marina, Helen, my assistant wishes to discuss matters with you.

“If you will excuse me,” Marina said as she walked with Helen to one side.

“We will start here in the hotel this morning – the manager has kindly given his permission – and move on from there.”

“Sounds good,” Juliette said as she watched the other girls talking.

"We are basically using the same team we used last year." Helen said as she returned from chatting with Dimitri's assistant. "Same make-up artist, same hairdresser, etc."

"Well I could not fault their work last year." Caroline looked happy.

"Okay I think we have all the filming permits we need." Marina came back from chatting with the PR man from Dimitri's office, "and I've told the local press what you will and won't do."

"That sounds good," Juliette nodded, "now have you also thought to type up individual schedules?"

"That should be them coming off the printer right now."

"Very efficient Marina."

“Excellent – so let us prepare!  Juliette, we will use your suite for wardrobe fittings for the next hour or so, and reconvene here at eleven to do the first shoot in Palace Square.”

10.30 am Local Time

"May I come in?" Dimitri called from outside the room as he opened the door.

"Yes but not in the bedroom," Caroline shouted back, "we are doing wardrobe fittings in here, and even a gentleman of your age will I think panic Mary whilst she's undressed."

"I totally understand," Dimitri chuckled as he came in. "I just dropped in to say that dinner tonight is on me. There is a fabulous new restaurant here in the city that even in my opinion serves the best Arctic Salmon I have ever tasted."

"Oh that sounds like a recommendation," Carina came out of the bedroom. "I love great salmon.”

“Excellent – I anticipate this will be a great day.”

11 am Local Time

“Ah excellent,” Dimitri said as the door opened and Juliette led the group in, “Juliette, ladies may I present my grandson Alexei. He will be our gofer as you put in in America."

"Nice to meet you Alexei," Juliette smiled as he shook her hand.

"Can I say what a big honour this is to meets you all." the young man replied in halting English.  He had a full head of blonde hair, and looked overawed by his surroundings.

"Alexei has indicated he would like to be a photographer one day," Dimitri smiled, "but I've told him that just because he is family he gets no special privileges, he needs learn as I did, from the bottom up."

"Well I can't imagine a better person to be apprenticed to."

"Caroline you are being too kind.  So, I trust your schedules are agreeable to all?"

"May I sit here pleases?" Alexei indicated the space between Mary and Helen.

"Sure." Mary smiled.

"I have told him that he needs to learn better English, it is after all the international language of photography."

"Didn't I once read you saying photography needs no language because it's really just about the images?"

"You did Juliette, but it's also a business, and a business that is largely done in English out in the wide world."

"That's true I guess."

"You are all very beautiful ladies." Alexei blushed as he spoke.

"And you are a very nice young man." Carina smiled across the table at him.

"Thank you."

"And my daughter is falling in love with you Sophia," Carina looked down the table to where the hairdresser was making gurgling noises to make Judith laugh.

"Well this little one brightens a whole room when she laughs."

"Yes but you should hear her temper when she loses it and starts shouting," her mother looked skyward.

"No, little Judith is always an angel," Sophia made some faces causing the youngster to laugh even more.

“So, we have the coats ready for the first shoot, Marina?”

“Loaded in the van Dimitri,” Helen said as a maid came in and handed Marina a sheet of paper.  “Please excuse me for a moment,” she said as she stood up, “the television crew have arrived.”

“Of course,” Caroline said as she left the room.  “So if we are all ready?”

1 pm Local Time

The stunning front of the Imperial Palace glistened in the sunlight as Dimitri looked round the Palace Square.

“Excellent – Alexis, fetch the lamps and erect them as we discussed.  Ladies, my crew awaits.”

“Let’s do this,” Caroline said as she led the way, Marina and Helen following as a blonde woman with a camera crew followed them.  As they walked along, Helen glanced from side to side.


“Not so far,” Helen whispered to Marina, “the usual hangers on and press crews.  Have fun with them.”

Marina nodded as she moved to the side and went to the reporters, while Helen went to the wardrobe area.

“Mary’s up first,” she said as she looked in, Juliette nodding as Carina sat with Judith while their hair was done.  A few minutes later, Mary joined Helen, wearing a white silk sweater and long red pants, the legs tucked into thigh length brown leather boots, her hair built up on her head.

“Right, we’re going with this first,” Helen said as she held up the brown brocade coat with a dark brown fur lining.  Mary ran her hand down it, nodding as she pulled on a pair of brown leather gloves, then had the coat put on her by the assistant.

“Ready to go to work,” Juliette said as she joined them.

“I think so,” Mary said with a smile as they walked outside, Mary going with two of Dimitri’s assistants as Juliette joined the photographer.

"So tell me of Mary please Juliette, this is all very new to her isn't it?" Dimitri whispered as the assistants fussed over the model.

"Yes, she's my agent Missy Auerbach's great new discovery."


"Yes, Missy was holding an open casting in San Francisco, and other then one girl we'd already seen and knew about none were up to standard..."

"So Mary?"

"Was of all things the chamber maid. She came to turn down the bed, and well you can see what Missy saw in her."

"Very much so." Dimitri snapped a couple of frames to check the camera, "so now she is a big-time model?"

"Not quite," Juliette smiled a little, "she's still working as a chamber maid, and I don't think she's convinced herself yet that modelling is a real career."

"Oh my!" Dimitri shook his head; "well I'll go very gently with her then."

“Please do – I need to get ready for the family group shot.”

As Juliette walked back, Helen watched over the crowd that had gathered, and then she looked again, before walking into the model area.

“Caroline,” she whispered quietly, “call the Weasel and get him here – now.”

2.30 pm Local Time

“That is beautiful, keep going,” Dimitri said as Juliette and Carina posed in deep black mink coats, Judith in Carina’s arms and wearing a jacket made of the same material as they pointed to the buildings round the square.


“Yes,” she said as she turned to look at Alexei.

“There’s a Viktor Kornyak here to see you – something about a delivery?”

“Oh yes – he’s a specialist provider for local materials.  I’ll come out and see him.”

The thin blonde followed the young man out, and then walked over towards the nervous looking man, as the Huntingdown’s went back into the changing area and Caroline came out.

“My dear Helen,” he said as she approached, “I was not expecting to hear from you or your divine co-worker again.  To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“You assume this is pleasure, Weasel?”

“Well, I assume you are taking some sort of pleasure from this...”

“While we’re talking,” Helen said, “look at the crowd on the other side of the area.  See anyone that would give you pause for concern?

Viktor smiled as he looked over, and then said “I presume you are talking about two of Gormyko’s workers over there?”

“I thought so,” Helen said quietly, “They need to be reminded of the displeasure Madame felt over out last visit.  Dominique and I would appreciate it if you would inform them of that?”

“This I can do, and if they wish to continue watching?”

“Then we will talk again,” Helen said as she signed the piece of paper he held out, and took the parcel.  “What is this anyway?”

“Caviar – my way of apologising for earlier.”

“What were you doing there anyway,” Helen said.

“I just got back from Japan – a small trade visit.  Let us hope, with all sincerity, we do not need to talk again.”

“I hope so – for it will be a pity if Dominique had to get involved.  Stay safe, Viktor.”

As he nodded and walked off, Helen walked back and joined Caroline.


“It’s the Gormyko family – and a peace offering,” Helen said as she held up the parcel.

4 pm local time

"Oh yes that is magic," Dimitri smiled as Caroline and Juliette walked towards him swinging Judith between them. "Those fur parkas look wonderful and the little ones looks as you swing her are making these shots."

"She's going to want me to buy her that little fur parka you know?" Carina spoke to Mary.

"Well she does look beautiful in it," Mary said as she stooped to let the makeup girl work on her face.

"Yeah and if we are going to be going up to Stowe a lot, then I guess I can justify the expense."

"Where is Stowe?"

"It's up in the Green Mountains, north of New York, Mom has a ski lodge up there."

"Wow I envy you that, I'd love to have a place to go to in the mountains."

"Join us some weekend then."

"No," the Californian shook her head, "with the time off I've already booked, I'll be working every day to make it up."

“Mary,” Carina said quietly, “you do realise it’s coming to the point where you will be established enough to think of giving up that job?”

“That’s what my boss says,” Mary whispered, “but I still feel I need that to go to, for when this fails.”

“Well, that settles it,” Carina said, “one weekend in February, you and your family are coming over.  Our treat.”

“So what can you tell me about this area, Carina?”

“The centre of Russia until the revolution?  Well, we’ve got the Winter Palace over there, on the north side then on the south the Building of the General Staff.”

“The redbrick building that looks like an arch?”

“Yeah – believe it or not, it’s a triumphal arch from the war against Napoleon.  On the east is a later building, for the Guards Corps, and the west leads to the Admiralty Square.”

“Where we shoot on Saturday before you return,” Dimitri said.  “Mary, my dear, it is your turn again.”

“Of course,” Mary said as she put her own camera back in her bag, and walked off.

“She’s enjoying this isn’t she?”

“She’s not the only one, is she,” Carina said as Judith ran into her arms.

"It gets dark so early here." Marina stood watching as Dimitri took shots in the quickly fading light with the street-lamps and falling snow adding so much to the atmosphere.

"Well we are a long way north," Helen nodded. "So how are things going?"

"I have to say having Alexei to do all the running round has helped."

"Yeah he's an eager kid, one day he'll probably be a successful shutter snapper himself."

"I get that vibe."

"Well I'll be glad to get back to the warmth of Hong Kong," Helen shivered.

"A Russian girl who doesn't like the cold?"

"Oh no, give me tropical heat...ANYDAY!"

6 pm Local Time

"Well if Anna isn't satisfied with at least some of these she can blow me." Juliette slumped onto her bed and sighed.

"Oh come on she's going to be over the moon," Caroline smiled. "That was arguably the best shoot I've ever done today."

"Yeah,” Juliette said as she sat up, “you did look great Caroline."

"Says the ageless wonder lady."

"Oh the makeup needs be a bit thicker now you know."

"Rubbish!" Caroline laughed.

"So how was Ama?"

"Eager to hear all about this city, you know she researches every place I go to?"

"Well it's a great way to learn things."

"I know,” Caroline said as she poured a drink, “I just wish that I'd been as bright as a kid to think of it."

"Well I tried when I was first modelling, but it soon overwhelmed me."

"Talking of overwhelmed Ju, I have to say Marina hasn't been at all."

"Yeah she's been one thought ahead of her job all day."

"In a way she was a makeweight in the deal to get Kylie, but she's become a star in her own right."

"Tell me about it...I really would love to keep her with Huntingdown's after her time in Hong Kong is up."

“You may have a three way fight on that – Helen says that Catherine speaks very highly of her, as does she, and I know Shirley is very pleased with her.”

“What about Kylie though?  She still set on coming back to London?”

“I think so – so come July and August, we have an interesting discussion ahead.”

“Yeah – we may need to have it earlier that that.  Right – let’s get ready...”

6.30 pm Local Time

Mary looked out of her window, over the snow covered streets, the bright lights in the windows as the people walked by, and sipped her coffee.  She hadn’t had much down time since arriving, but this last half hour, with a bath and now a hot drink, had been bliss.

Her room telephone rang, and as she picked it up she said “Yes?”

“Miss Clarke – we have the international call you asked for?”

“Thank you,” Mary said as she sat down, smiling as she said “Hey Dad.”

“Hey there – how are you coping?”

“I am exhausted – we’ve been on the go virtually since we arrived, and I am ready for my bed, but we’ve still some things to do.”

"So what is Russia like Mary?"

"Cold and snow-covered Dad, but you should see the downtown area, some of the buildings are like real castles.  It’s so different from the Golden Gate and Chinatown."

"Well take lots of pictures,” her father said, “the kids want to see 'em."

"Will do Dad."

"Did you meet the photographer yet?"

"Oh yeah, we’ve been shooting most of the day, and he is wonderful. Juliette told me he's 85 years old, but he reminds me a bit of that character played by Maurice Chevalier in that movie Mum loved."

"You mean Gigi?"

"Yeah that's the one, he's just so charming.  Helen our wardrobe lady has worked with him before and she calls him an old pussycat." Mary looked at her watch, "he's taking the entire crew out to dinner tonight to some fancy restaurant that he says serves great salmon."

"Well it sounds like you guys are getting the five star treatment?"

"Yeah even I've got to do some interviews."

"How? You don't speak Russian?"

"No but Marina our PR person does, so does Helen, they'll be translating."

"Sounds good..." there was a pause, "you know Mary your Mom would be so proud of you."

“I hope she would – it may sound crazy Dad, but this is becoming less of a dream now.  Actually, I was asked – well, told you’re all to come out for a weekend in New York in the snow soon.”

“All of us?  I don’t know...”

“I know, Dad – but you could do with a holiday as well, couldn’t you?”  Looking at her watch again, Mary said “I have to go, Dad.  Give me love to everyone, and I’ll call again tomorrow.”

“All right – stay safe, Mary.”

“Always Dad – love you.”

As the line went dead, Mary stood up and walked out the wardrobe.  Trina had loaned her a grey cowl necked woollen dress, which she pulled on along with woollen tights and a pair of long boots, and then she collected her purse and coat before locking her door, walking past two more doors and then knocking on Juliette’s door.

“Hey – come on in,” Carina said as she opened the door, “Mom’s just sorting herself out.”

“Hello Aunt Mary,” Judith said as she sat on the bed, Juliette turning and smiling as she fixed her make up.

"Is that Maggie?" Carina asked as her mother listened to a programme on TV.

"It’s the BBC world news,” Juliette said, “and they were just announcing the candidates for her election in early spring."

"Who is Maggie?" asked Mary.

"Dame Margaret Harker, she's the aunt of a friend..."

"And rival don't forget Mom."

"Who has been tempted to run in a forthcoming by-election for Britain's House of Commons."

"I'll never get over all the people you know," Mary shook her head.

"Well you are bound to get to know her niece Mary,” Juliette said as she stood up.  “Pippa Ashley is an editor at New Mode - you are bound to cross paths."

"Moms right,” Carina said as she slipped a coat on Judith, “I'm doing something for her in a few weeks?"

"And you don't mind her working for the enemy so to speak Juliette?"

"Mary, like you Carina is a professional model, she owes no loyalty to Conde Nast just because I work for one of their titles."

"Okay so I'll be maybe be getting offers from people other than you?"

"Oh I think you can count on it Mary. Missy already phoned saying a couple of Russian magazines want to book you for shoots on what they've seen today."

“She has?”

“Oh yes – you can talk to her about it next week.  Right now, Dimitri is expecting us – and Caroline has the special key.”
The Women in White - Chapter 4
We focus on events in St Petersburg, as the ladies get to work - and an old 'friend' appears...
George was sitting in Susan’s flat, swirling his brandy round as he sat with Susan and Clint.  April was asleep, and the conversation turned to past events.

“Lily told me about when you were on the run, and you broke into a woman’s house who had just given birth, getting her to call Lily’s mother out so you could talk to her.”

“Oh yeah,” George said with a smile, “you have to understand I needed to keep a low profile – but I also wanted to talk to her, so that was how I did it.  I made sure the poor woman was comfortable, if a bit quiet.”

“Is that the only time you had to deal with a woman with a baby,” Clint said as he sat down.

“Well, yes and no,” George said.  “There was the time, before I was arrested, when I had to take care of a rather pregnant young woman in order to persuade her husband to do a withdrawal for us.

“It would have been about three months before the arrest, so early spring.  There were three of us in on the job, in a small town in the border country, near Carlisle.  It was a small branch office, so it was more about getting finance for a bigger job.

“The manager lived in a cottage on the outskirts of town – early thirties, graduate, still a bit wet behind the ears if you catch my drift.  His wife was a year younger, with dark hair dyed blonde.”

“How would you know, George,” Susan said with a smile.

“On the day we did this, she had her hair pulled back and in a bunch – and believe me, the roots were showing.  Anyway, this day we were parked outside, watching as her husband went off to work, and then she came out and made her way down to the shops.  Given the time of year, she was wearing a camel jacket over a black top with white spots, black leggings and knee length tan leather boots, that looked like riding boots but had the long zip up the inside.  

“At any rate, we watched her walking down the road, before Bob got out of the car and followed her, while Ted and I made our way up to the house, and managed to get in through the back door.  It was a nice house – very tastefully furnished, nice paintings.  So we made ourselves at home, and we waited.

It was an hour or so later when we heard her walking up the garden path, and stood either side of the door to the front room.  As she came in, I put my hand over her mouth, and whispered into her ear to stay calm, and not to struggle.”

“Real old school manners,” Clint said with a smile, “did it work?”

“Eventually – once she saw Ted as well, and heard Bob come in the front door.  I asked her if she’d stay quiet, and she nodded as I took my hand away, asking who we were and what we wanted.

“I told her who I was, and I could tell from her reaction she knew who I was, so I suggested we all had a cup of tea – which I would help her make – before I explained what was going to happen.  So I took her into the kitchen, while Bob went and fetched a bag from the car, and Ted made sure the telephone was disconnected.

“And so it was we all sat in the front room, with the curtains closed, drinking tea and discussing the news of the day, as I watched the time tick down.  Eventually, I gave the nod to Bob, who set off while I invited her to go to the toilet – it might be a while before she could go again.

“Ted did the honours of escorting her, while I took some lengths of rope and other items from the bag.  As she came back, I saw her thin brown belt, sitting on top of her bump, and promised her we wouldn’t do anything to cause her or the baby undue distress.

“I guided her hands behind her back, and crossed her wrists before I started to bind them tightly together with soft rope, while Tom went through her handbag and found her mobile phone.  I made sure the binding was tight, and cinched it as a true professional should, before I tied her arms to her sides, above and below her chest, but taking care to make sure the bump was kept free of the ropes.

“I then tied the two bands together behind her back, and secured her wrists to them, before she sat down on a seat and watched as I tied her ankles tightly together and then her legs below her knees, cinching the band between her legs in both places.”

“Well,” Susan said, “at least you made sure she was secure and safe.”

“True – but that was when we got the call on her mobile phone.  Bob had arrived at the bank, and was having a discussion with her husband about the withdrawal we wanted to make.  He was, as I figured he might, proving somewhat obstinate, so Bob called his wife on his behalf, as I put the phone to her head.

“I think you can imagine the conversation that took place, but eventually her husband agreed to give us the money, after I told him to listen to my friend.  We then took a silk scarf, rolled in into a band and tied a knot in it, and used that to gag the fair mother to be.”

“All very chivalrous,” Clint said with a smile.  “How long did you wait?”

“Bob called us as soon as he was clear, and we took our own leave, with the radio playing for the wife to listen to.  It was a clean job, and a good day.”

“So fancy getting some practice in?”

“Oh,” George said with a smile as he looked at Susan, “what do you have in mind?”
“It was very kind of Lady Dawlish to invite us to this day in her home,” Audrey Mason said as the minibus drove up the leafy driveway to Dawlish Hall.  “I know the members of St Monica’s Ladies Circle will join me in thanking her for the invitation.”

It was early June in 1979, and the country was feeling as if it was entering a new era.  The first female Prime Minister had recently been elected, and it was as if a dark cloud was been lifted from the country in the minds of some people.  Audrey Mason was just one of those people – in her early thirties, with long dark hair, she was wearing a dark green jacket and knee length linen skirt.  Under the jacket she wore a light taupe blouse, the collar turned up and a large black and white head square loosely tied round her neck and hanging down in front.  A black leather belt with a brass buckle held her jacket closed, and her feet were in a pair of long burgundy red leather boots.

Sitting next to her in the vehicle was her younger sister Rebecca.  She had a brown and white scarf tied over her hair, and wore an olive green padded jerkin over a white blouse, again with her collar turned up.  The jerkin was held closed in front of her by two ties, while the matching skirt came slightly lower down than that of her sister, covering the tops of her own burgundy coloured boots.

“Hark to Madame Mason,” Suzanne Cole said to herself, “not everyone on this bus is a card carrying Tory.”

“You shouldn’t let her get to you,” Mabel Moore said, “once we’re at the hall, and inside, we can peel off and not see her again before the afternoon tea.”

“Won’t come a moment too soon,” Suzanne said with a grin.  She had chosen to wear a long brown dress with a floral motif, buttoned up the front and with a skirt that like so many at the time covered he knees, while her legs were enclosed in a pair of tan leather boots with a short heel.

Mabel was wearing a skirt and waistcoat made from the same fabric as Suzanne’s dress, with a long sleeved white blouse made from cotton, a string bow tie tied under the Peter Pan collar.  She was also wearing tan leather boots, but in her case they had a three inch stacked heel.

“And yet again we have the group split along lines of politics,” Coral James said as she shook her head.  She was wearing an olive green blouse with a tie neck, and over that a thick green waistcoat with black trim.  Her green skirt was pleated, and as with many of the other ladies on the trip her black patent leather boots were covered at the top by the hem of the skirt.

Nicola Adams nodded as she looked out at the front of the house.  She was wearing a fawn coloured top with a striped collar and cuffs on the sleeves, which matched the belt tied round her waist.  It was also the same design as her long skirt, which covered the top of her cream coloured leather boots, which had brown heels.

“Ladies,” Audrey said as the bus came to a stop, “we are very grateful to Lady Dawlish for allowing us to visit today.  We shall be allowed to tour the house and then meet again for a late luncheon at 2 pm.  Please, enjoy your time here.”

As they got out, the front door opened and Lady Dawlish came down, wearing a light blue blouse over a dark blue jumper, a red velvet skirt and jacket and baggy black leather boots.

“Ladies – I am so glad you could join me today.  Please, come away in and we can begin your visit.”

As she said this, the group followed her in, paying no notice to the large grey van that was driving round to the rear entrance of the manor house...

“And this portrait of the first Lord Dawlish was painted in...”

Lady Dawlish was interrupted in mid-presentation by a knock on the door and the entrance of a grey haired woman in a black dress.

“My apologies for interrupting, Lady Dawlish, but there is a telephone call for you in the library.”

“Oh dear – ladies, I am afraid I must leave you to your own devices.  Please, feel free to explore the rooms, and we shall meet here again for luncheon.”

As their host went out, Coral and Nicole said “we’re going to go and have a look in the rear rooms again,” before making their own way out.

“Want to have a look upstairs?”

“Wishing to satisfy your curiosity, Mrs Moore?”

“Yes,” Mabel said as she and Suzanne went out of the room, and started to walk up the large central staircase, before Rebecca looked at Audrey.

“Well, we can at least explore the rest of these rooms,” Audrey said as the two of them walked round, taking their time, looking at the portraits on the wall as the heels of their boots clicked on the floors.

From there, they made their way round to the drawing room, as Rebecca looked at the fine bone china, while Audrey looked out over the rear gardens.

“I wonder what that van is doing at the back,” Audrey said as she turned to her sister.

“Probably delivering food – which room do you wish to go to next?”

“How about the dining room – I hear she has an amazing silver collection there.”

“All right then,” Rebecca said as they left the drawing room, and walked across the entrance hallway, Audrey putting her hand on the door handle as they walked in.

“What the...”

As they came in, they saw two men at the cabinets, emptying the silver cutlery and plates into bags.  Both were wearing black workmen’s jackets and jeans, with heavy boots, but it was only when one of them turned round and pointed the sawn-off shotgun at both Audrey and Rebecca what they realised what was going on.

“Close that door,” he barked, Rebecca closing the door behind them as the second man looked round.  Both had what looked like the legs of stockings pulled down over their heads, and wore black leather gloves.

“Both of you, hands in the air, and walk slowly over here,” the armed man said, Audrey and Rebecca looking at each other as they slowly walked towards the man, their hands raised as their sleeves feel slowly down to their elbows.

As they approached, the second man pulled two of the seats away from the dining table, the armed man grinning under the nylon as he said “both of you, sit down, and keep those hands where we can see them.”

“What do you think you’re doing,” Audrey said as she slowly sat down, the hem of her skirt rising as the second man pulled her arms around the chair back.  She then felt the rough fibres of the rope he was using to bind her wrists tightly together, and she realised just how stupid a question that was.

“Are there any others around the place,” the armed man said as he looked at Rebecca.  Before she could reply, Audrey said “neon of your business,” then grunted as the brown rope was pulled tightly between her arms, and then the rope tied to the chair back.  Rebecca simply looked at the man as her own arms were pulled behind the chair back, the ties on her jacket loosening and unravelling as her own wrists were secured.

“Make sure they can’t get off those chairs,” the armed man said, the second man nodding as he knelt down and pulled Audrey’s right ankle to the side, using some rope to secure it to the chair leg as Rebecca watched.  Audrey bit down on her lower lip as the rope compressed around the rich red leather, the squeak of the rope as it was pulled tighter and tighter round her leg and the chair, until it was secured in place.  He then did the same to her left ankle, before repeating the process with Rebecca.

“If this is a robbery, Lady Dawlish will raise the alarm,” Audrey said as the second man took even more rope from a bag, and started to tie her waist and upper body to the chair, weaving the rope around her body and through the slats in the chair back.

“She’s in no position to raise the alarm – and even if she was, the phone lines have been cut,” the armed man snarled before he put the gun down and started to load the rest of the silver into bags.

“What are we going to do,” Rebecca whispered to her sister as she felt her own body being forced against the chair back as the ropes were tied round her.

“Remain calm – they know they can’t get away with this,” Audrey said as the second man tied her sister’s ropes off to the chair.

“Oh for the love of – do you know how irritating your voice is,” the first man said as he swapped places with the other intruder.

“I beg your pardon?  How DARE YOU!”

“OH shut up,” the man said as he reached round and removed Audrey’s scarf, rolling it into a think band as he said “open your mouth.”

“I will not!”

“I said,” the man whispered as the other masked intruder picked up the shotgun and aimed it at Rebecca’s head, “Open...  Your... Mouth.”
Audrey swallowed, and then opened her mouth, allowing the intruder to pull the rolled up silk square between her lips and tie it tightly round her head.  As she closed her red lips over the gag, she watched as he removed the scarf from Rebecca’s head, and used it to gag her as well.

“Now, not a word,” he said as both men returned to the emptying of the cabinets, the two women looking at each other as they wondered what to do next...

“Figures that most of the rooms upstairs would be closed off,” Mabel said as she and Suzanne walked along the upper hallway.

“True – but look at these paintings.  They’re even more amazing than the ones we saw downstairs.”

“Oh I agree,” Mabel said as they passed one of the doors – only to stop as Mabel noticed the door was slightly ajar, and they could hear someone in the room.

“Do you think we dare look in?”

Suzanne smiled as she nodded, and both women walked in – only to be stopped short by the sight if Lady Dawlish lying on her bed, looking at them as she screamed “GGTUTTRNNN” through the wide strip of brown sticking plaster that covered her mouth.

“Oh no – we insist they come in,” a male voice said as they were pulled into the room, a masked man dressed in black standing in front of them as Lady Dawlish tried to move on the bed, the bands of rope creaking as they held her body in place.

“Both of you, hands behind your back,” the armed man barked out, both Mabel and Suzanne stared at him.  Mabel gasped as her arms were pulled behind her by someone, and she felt rope around her wrists as they were forced together.

“Oh shit,” Suzanne said as she looked at Mabel, “this is a robbery isn’t it?”

“Give the bright girl a goldfish,” the armed man sneered as Suzanne felt the hands pulling her own behind her back, and then the cords as they bit into the flesh round her wrists.

“Lady Dawlish, are you all right?”

She looked at Mabel and nodded, lying still as she watched the second masked intruder produce coils of rope, and start to bind the arms of the two new arrivals tightly to their bodies.  When she had gone to the library, she had discovered the armed gang, the housekeeper profusely apologising as she said the maids were already been held hostage downstairs.

She had been made to watch as she was tied tightly to a chair and gagged, before the gang had split up – the two in her room had frogmarched her upstairs, at gunpoint, and then trussed and gagged her before they had begun to empty her jewellery into their bags.  And now, two of her visitors had been caught up in this nightmare as well, with no chance to warn the rest of them...

“Kneel down.”

The two women looked at each other before they slowly lowered themselves to the floor, their skirts lowered as whoever was behind them knelt behind Mabel, and started to bind her ankles together, the sound of the rope rubbing on the tan leather as they were secured together adding to the sound of the rope around Lady Dawlish’s ankles as the rope was pulled around and between Mabel’s legs, tied off and then tied around her feet.

Suzanne was breathing heavily, trying to control her fear as the ropes above and below her chest rubbed on her body, making her feel as strange as the fear she was experiencing as her own ankles were secured.

As this was going on, the first man put the shotgun down, and picked up a wide roll of brown sticking plaster.  Standing in front of Mabel, he tore a long strip off, and said “put your lips together.”

Mabel stared defiantly at him, the waistcoat moving to the sides of her body as she wriggled round, and then felt the pulling on her skin as he pressed the brown fabric firmly over her mouth, the material sealing her lips together before he did the same thing to Suzanne.

“Msssreee,” Lady Dawlish said as they were made to lie flat on the Persian rug, and then felt their legs move as their ankles were pulled back, and then secured to their chest ropes, their skirts falling as they were adjusted to preserve their modesty.

Both women turned their head to look at each other, wondering if the others were in a  similar situation

“Is it just me, or is it very quiet around here,” Nicola said as she and Coral walked round the grounds.

“It is – and I for one like that,” Coral said with a smile.  “It means I don’t need to worry about what other people might think when they see us together.”

“Yeah, I can understand that,” Nicola said with a smile.  “Do you think any of them really suspect?”

“If Lady Audrey did, you can be sure we would have heard about it by now – and so would the rest of the village,” Coral said as she slipped her hand into Nicola’s.

“I wonder if we could get a drink if we went to the kitchen.”

“We can but ask,” Coral said as they walked past the grey van, and entered the kitchen.  As they came in, they saw the room was empty, the food for the luncheon half prepared as it sat on the work surface.

“Funny – wonder where the cook has got to,” Nicola said as she looked round.

“Probably on a tea break,” Coral said quietly, as both women heard a thumping sound from behind a door.  “Wonder what’s causing that?”

Nicola walked over to the door and opened it, Coral watching as her friend stepped back and said “oh my god...”

“What is it,” Coral said as she came over and saw the cook and the two maids on the floor, trussed and gagged with cloths as they tried to call for help.

“Oh hell – wait there, we’ll call the police,” Coral said as she and Nicola ran out of the kitchen, along the corridor and into the hallway.  As Nicola watched, Coral picked up the phone, and then hit the set several times with her finger.

“We’re not connected,” she said to herself as she looked round, and then ran to the front door.  As she looked out, she saw the driver of their bus unconscious behind the wheel.


Slowly turning round, she saw Nicola standing, the look of real fear on her face as a masked man in black stood behind her.

“Close that door and get in here,” he growled, Coral nodding as she closed the door and walked back in.

“Just...  just don’t hurt her please,” she said quietly as she saw the gun the man was holding.

“Tie her up.”

Coral gasped as she realised someone was behind her, pulling her arms behind her back as her wrists were forced together with rope.  “Be brave,” she whispered to Nicola, who nodded as she watched the second masked man binding Coral’s wrists, then taking the gun as her own were secured together.

“Where are Lady Dawlish and the other women,” Coral said as she tried to move her wrists, the rough cords rubbing on her skin as she did so.

“Neon of your business,” the man behind Nicola said as he yanked the cords between her arms, and tied the ends together, “sit down back to back, both of you.”

As they sat, Coral put her fingers round Nicola’s and gave them a reassuring squeeze, while rope was wrapped round both their bodies, holding them together around their waists and then their upper arms and shoulders.  As they looked round, they saw more people dressed in black and wearing stocking masks, carrying bags down the stairs and across the room.

“Tow more?  We left a couple in the dining room?”

“And there’s another two upstairs with Her Ladyship.”

As they heard the intruders talking, both Coral and Nicola were watching as their ankles were secured, the rope compressing the leather of their boots around their legs as it was wound around and between their limbs, before their legs were stretched out in front of themselves.

“We don’t have time to figure out if there are any others,” one of the other men said, “shut them up and let’s get out of here.”

“What do yoummnnsshtsspp,” Coral said as the sticking plaster was pushed firmly down over her mouth, Nicola allowing herself to be silenced in the same way before they watched the gang move out.

The hall fell into silence, save for the creak of both women as they tried to move, and then they heard the muffled calls from the dining room, where both Rebecca and Audrey were trying to call for help through the thick silk bands that held their tongues down and their lips apart.

In the bedroom, Mabel and Suzanne were wriggling on the floor, looking at Lady Dawlish as she kicked her legs down in muffled frustration.

And in the library, the housekeeper had managed to find a letter opener, and was slowly, patiently, working on loosening the knot that held the ropes tight round her wrists...
Seventies Bound: The St Monica's Ladies Circle
The ladies of St Monica's Church have appeared before - but this is from 35 years ago...
7.30 pm
The Altamont Hotel

“Can I just say that this is still mildly ridiculous?”

“I agree,” Shirley said as she looked at herself in the mirror, “but it does seem to be a requirement in this area.  I am grateful that you were able to attend tonight as well Dom.”

“Well, I think Susan would kill me if I was not here,” the tall enforcer said as she adjusted the fit of her jacket.  She was wearing a black roll neck sweater under her trouser suit, her dark hair flowing over the shoulders of her jacket.

Shirley, by contrast, was clothed in white – a fitted jacket and trousers, with a silk blouse underneath, and a white scarf tied as a cravat round her neck, to allow the voice modifier to sit against her throat.

Susan was also dressed in white – a long jersey dress under a white jacket, with high heels.  She was adjusting the black wig that covered her own hair, as Shirley tried on her own long black wig.

“So remind me of how this works,” Shirley said as she applied some lipstick.

“I will bring people in one by one,” Susan said, “and they will – well, come up and kiss your ring after I announce them.  They will seek favours, which you may choose to grant or not.”

“What about Victor Sporetti?”

“We are ready for when he comes as well,” Dominique said.  “The key thing is, whoever comes in, they are meeting Madame X, not Shirley Xavier.”

“Oh very well,” Shirley said as she put on the half face mask, covering her eyes and forehead before she walked into the small ballroom.  Looking at the ornate seat on the raised dais, she shook her head before she sat down, Dominique putting on the dark glasses and standing behind her.

“You will be all right,” Shirley said as she looked at Maisha.  

“Of course,” Maisha said.  She was wearing a black jersey dress, with knee length boots.  “I will watch and I will learn.”

“All right then,” Shirley said as she slipped the voice modifier under her scarf, and settled in the seat, crossing her legs, “let us get started.”

Susan nodded as she walked to the door on the other side, and walked through, closing it as she looked at the men and women assembled there.

“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen,” she said as she looked round, “I will call you forward in turn, and bring you to meet Madame.  I hope the refreshments are to your satisfaction for the moment?”

“Very much so – so who is first?”

“If you will follow me, Mister Mayor...”

Susan walked the man into the darkened room, closing the door behind them as he looked at the two women at the far end.  “Mister Mayor,” Shirley said, her voice deeper and richer than usual thanks to the voice modifier, “thank you for coming tonight.”

“The honour is mine,” he said as he came forward, kneeling as he took Shirley’s gloved hand and kissed the ring.  “While in public I must condemn some of the actions of people like you, I know in your case you are honourable, and have compassion for others.”

“I also know that you walk a difficult line,” Shirley said, “it is my fervent hope that we may never need to cross paths.”

“Indeed – I share that hope,” he said as he stood back, looking at Dominique.

“Be assured, your honour, I will not oppose your legitimate activities.  It is if I uncover something that works against my moral code, as did the trade the summer before last, that I offer support and resources to those who fight such things.”

He nodded as Susan took him by the arm and led him out, returning with a mousy blonde woman wearing a black dress and boots.

“Madame, may I present Mandy D’Onorio, the head of the New York Food Handlers Union 208.”

“An honour Madame,” she said as she dropped to one knee and kissed the proffered ring, “I hope I can be of service to you in my new position.”

“You already have been,” Shirley said with a smile as Dominique nodded.  “I look forward to our continued working relationship.”

8.40 pm

"Be assured we appreciate your help in Albany Senator," Shirley grimaced as yet another member of the New York state legislature kissed her ring and withdrew.

Susan caught the look in Shirley's eye, but inwardly she was happy that this ceremony showed Madame how far the organisation had penetrated public life in both the city and the surrounding areas.

“I suppose I should be glad that Tom is not here,” Shirley whispered to Dominique, “nor Brooke.”

“Indeed – we were careful to screen out friends – ah...”

Shirley turned and looked as Victor Sporetti came in, dressed in a smart suit, bowing and taking her hand as he kissed her ring.

“Victor – I am so glad you could come tonight,” Madame said, “you are, of course, safe in my presence.”

“I thank you for your protection Madame – the matter we discussed last week?  Have you discovered anything?”

“Indeed – Dominique, would you ask my guest to join us please?  Victor, please forgive the lack of notice, but I think you will appreciate meeting this woman.”

Victor watched as the tall, dark haired woman walked to a rear door, opening it as a fourth woman came in.  The heels of her four inch black leather stilettos clicked on the floor, as she walked in, her knee length skirt rippling with her very step.  The matching jacket was buttoned up, with a black scarf tied as a cravat round her neck.  On her lapel was a jewelled brooch in the shape of a panther, and a black stocking covered her head, smoothing down her short black hair.

“Mister Sporetti,” she said as she extended a leather gloved hand, “Madame has been kind enough to inform me of your problem.”

“And you would be?”

“Miss Panther.  The Pussycats and Madame have worked together in the past, and when she told us of the women claiming to be us, I wished to personally offer our resources to deal with our – mutually offensive problem.”

Sporetti looked at the masked woman, before saying “why should I trust youse?”

“Because this is not the first time someone has infringed our trademark, if you will – we took exception then, we take exception now.”

“So dese ladies, they are not youse?”

“Mister Sporetti, we researched your recent troubles.  One hit was on the 27th of last month, correct?”

“Yeah – why?”

“We were engaged at that time in the Albany area – you may have read about it.  Our other ladies were all – ALL – employed elsewhere.  We ask, as a favour to Madame, to be allowed to deal with this issue for you – it would be most pleasing to us.”

Sporetti turned to Shirley, who nodded and said “I promised I would deal with your problem, Victor.  This is my way.  They will deliver to you, personally, the person who is responsible – alive.  Others you will be informed of.”

“I accept your offer, Madame,” he said as he bowed.  “I look forward to a speedy resolution.”

9.15 pm

The group walked into the ballroom as Madame and Dominique came down from the small stage.

"Ladies and Gentlemen,” Susan said as she walked round the group, looking at them, “you are bound together now by a pledge of eternal obeisance to Madame and our organization. Betrayal of your vows will bring swift and terrible retribution on you and your loved ones. Know that having pledged yourselves to us, you are committed to eternal silence and to service as long as we find you of use. For betrayal there is but one penalty...death!"

Susan smiled as she looked at their faces, and continued.

"In return for your loyalty you will receive our support in your battles, and our material gratitude." Susan paused again, "just have etched in your mind this following image."

Everyone watched in silence as the two gagged and blindfolded prisoners were brought into the light.

“These two,” Susan said quietly, “have consistently felt they could ignore our requests and suggestions.  They thought there was nothing to fear.  They...  Were wrong.”

"My show?" Dom whispered as she withdrew the silenced gun from her pocket and walked over to stand behind the two victims-to-be.

"Know ye this fate will come to all who betrays their oaths." Susan spoke again as Dominique shot first one, then the other captive in the back of the head.

“Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen,” Susan said quietly, “and thank you for your attention.”

They watched as the group walked slowly out, while two masked women came in, placed the bodies in black bags and then in a laundry basket, and wheeled the basket out.

"I can see why the New York division has shown such healthy revenue growth now Susan,” Shirley said as she removed the voice modifier and mask, “you have been very industrious."

"Well we still trail London and Los Angeles by quite a margin,” Susan said as she poured herself a drink, but we are narrowing the gap."

"And within our traditional guidelines you have opened up several new markets."

"Well I've been trying my best." Susan blushed slightly. "I'm particularly pleased with the increased profitability of the legitimate businesses though."

"Indeed, Maddie and I were talking about those things earlier, she is going to try out some of your ideas in her market."

"Well that is the ultimate compliment."

"Anyway enough business, how are things going with your mother, Sami, and the girls?"

“Well, Marina and Kylie saw Sami and Kerry off today, and my mum and Maeve fly back on Friday.  With luck, she’ll make it through as well.  I need to thank you for suggesting Marina goes with Caroline and Helen this week as well.”

“Well, Natalya is needed in London this week, but I think it will give Marina valuable experience as well.  Besides, Helen knows she can trust her implicitly.”

“Indeed,” Susan said with a smile, “although it means Kylie returning with Catherine on the Saturday alone.”

“A necessary thing,” Shirley said.

10.30 pm
Park Avenue

"How was your business function darling?" John said as he greeted Shirley at the apartment door.

"Boring, but necessary." Shirley smiled as he took her coat.  

"Well Maisha and I watched a documentary on PBS about Italian art, then she had an early night."

"Good for you two." Shirley smiled as she took off her gloves. "My night was spent talking to a lot of our clients and suppliers, and while I admire the work Susan has done putting into building up the New York business, the next meet and greet..."

"...Is hers to do alone." John laughed as he finished the sentence.


"Well I have a nice glass of brandy already poured for you as a nightcap in the drawing room."

"John darling whatever would I do without you," Shirley said before she kissed him.

Tuesday 5th January
11 am
Complete Style

"So press and PR - what will I be doing exactly?" Marina said as she sat looking over Times Square with her friends from Juliette's office.

"Basically just handling the local media," Janine replied before she ate some salad. "The Russians are going to expect access to the models, so you will have to write press releases, arrange interviews, and other crap like that."

"Well Natalya e-mailed me her contact list from last year, I'm hoping that will help."

"It should do," Alexis nodded. "I have to say I envy you this trip..."

"You don't Alexis," Janine laughed and shook her head, "take it from me, I've done flying visits like this, they are a pain in the ass."

"Meaning what?" Marina asked.

"Meaning you'll be working an 18 hour day while you are there, will not get a chance to see anything other than where the locations are, and will just be so glad to get home."

"The voice of bitter experience," Alexis laughed.

"You know it girl.  Still – you go back to Hong Kong with Helen from there, right?"

“That’s right – we’ll all stop over before Ju and family fly back with Mary.”

“Nice – but you stay in touch,” Janine said as she nudged Marina.  “I know it’s an early Easter, but it’s still a way away.”

11 am
The Brewster Brownstone

“That’s not a problem Doc – come along and see how the shoot goes tomorrow,” Jeannie said as she sat at her desk in her room.  “I know Missy’s back today, so I’ll make sure she’s cleared it as well.”

“Jeannie – can you come down please?”

“Gotta go Doc – the older generation is calling,” Jeannie said as she ended the call, and wheeled herself over to the lift, humming a tune to herself as she waited for the lift to come up.  As the door opened, she turned and reversed herself in, smiling as she closed the door and pressed the down button.

As the cage slowly lowered to the first floor, she saw John and Barbara standing in the hallway, Barbara grinning as the lift stopped and Jeannie opened the door.

“All right – you look like the cat who got the cream Mum.  What’s going on?”

“Nothing – nothing,”  Barbara said as she smiled.  “I want you to come into the front room.”

“All right,” Jeannie said as she looked at both of them, “but if Ashton Kucher is in there, I am not signing the waiver.”

She wheeled herself towards the front room, wondering why the curtains were drawn and it was dark, but when she heard a familiar voice saying “Hey Baby,” she wheeled herself round and smiled.

“Hey big boy – got the ring?”

House smiled as he showed her the ring awarded to the winning team, and then said “the guys thought you might like to have this for an auction.”

He handed her his top, signed by the winning team, and leaned over to kiss Jeannie.

“Hmm – keep going,” Jeannie said with a smile, “you’ve got a whole holiday week to catch up on.”

“Shall I get started then,” House said as John slowly closed the door.

3 pm

“Hey Mrs B,” Nikki said as Barbara opened the door, “is Jeannie busy?”

“Well, Winston has called to see her...”

“Oh well then,” Ama said as she looked at the others, “perhaps we should...”

“Oh no – come away in and take your coats off.  I’m sure she’ll be pleased to see you.”

“Won’t we be interrupting, Barbara darling,” Kylie said as she removed her leather jacket.

“Trust me – they will appreciate it,” Barbara said as she opened the door, “go on in.”

The girls walked in, before they burst out laughing at the sight of Winston and Jeannie, looking at books and taking notes on their pads.

"You two should be ashamed of yourselves," Pepsi laughed as the girls came into the Brewster's sitting room. "All this time apart and we come and find you both studying yet?"

"I know - disgraceful isn't it?" House grinned as he held the book he was reading in one of his huge hands, "but spending all that time with the team, I have an important political science test almost as soon as I get back on campus."

"And remember all that reading for English Lit we were assigned for the break?  Well, when else am I going to do it," Jeannie said as she adjusted her reading glasses.

"I thought you did that while you were waiting at shoots Jeans." Nikki laughed as she sat down.

"With this amount of reading, AND my trip to England, I have to catch up.  Too much to take on the plane."

“And a Kindle?”

“On a plane,” Jeannie said with a smile.  “So why the quiet approach?”

"Oh, we were thinking you were having wild sex darlings." Kylie laughed as gracefully sat in an armchair.

"No such luck." Winston laughed.

"Well not since this morning," Jeannie giggled.

"So are you ready for Hong Kong again Kylie?" Winston asked.

"As ready as I'm going to be," Kylie said with a smile.  “Catherine and I are flying out soon, while Marina and Helen head the other way to Russia."

"I heard that Anna had wanted a last minute shoot." Jeans smiled.

"From what my Mom has been doing, turning down other shoots, it's been an idea at magazines all over the place." Ama spoke.

"Yeah I've had a couple of offers, but with this," she held up her Shakespeare, "I've had to turn them down."

"Quite right too." Barbara came in with a tray of hot drinks. "She's a student/model, not the other way round."

3 pm
Complete Style

“Well, may I say it is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Sowkowski.  It is a pity the divine Natalya was unable to come, but she speaks very highly of you.”

“Eto bol'shaya chest' dlya menya, chtoby uslyshat' , otets Amkov”

“Akh - YA vizhu, vy govorite moy rodnoy yazyk”

“Nadeyus', dostatochno khorosho, chtoby byt' v sostoyanii sdelat' svoyu rabotu”

"So switching back to English" Dimitri Amkov smiled at his computer screen, "I can tell you aren't a native Russian speaker."

"Is my Russian that bad?" Marina stared at the screen with concern.

"No, not at all," the old gentleman smiled, “people will certainly understand you here."

"Good!" Marina sighed, “for a moment there I was worried I would have to rely on Helen.”

"But let me guess that you have Ukrainian rather than Russian roots?"

"My father was Ukrainian, my mother Polish, and they argued in Russian," Marina laughed.

"Well that explains your accent then," Dimitri laughed.

"Helen says I speak Russian with an English accent.”

"Oh no, I can definitely hear the Ukraine in there."

"Well turning to my job, did your PR people tell the locals we are coming?"

"Yes,” Dimitri said as he looked to one side, “and they will be sending you over a list of requests from the Russian media before you get on the plane."

"Okay and I can then talk to the girls and see what they want to do."

“It sounds good.  I have you due to arrive at the hotel early on Thursday morning, so I will arrange for breakfast to be ready for your arrival.  YA s neterpeniyem zhdu vstrechi s vami togda.”

“Do tekh por Zasluzhennyy Ottsa.”

As she ended the call, she turned to see Helen standing in the doorway.

“Good – the correct level of respect, even if Dimitri is a big pussycat.  Time you went home to pack.”

7 pm
The Village

"These clothes are Miss Culver's not mine," Mary stood nervously whilst Caroline checked to see if anything needed adding to the west coast girl’s luggage.

"Well Miss Culver had great taste," Caroline unfolded a mohair sweater in light blue, "this is amazing."

"I'm going to be afraid of putting any of it on in case I damage it."

"I used to think of that about my own clothes." Ama looked into the case as well. "And mom is right, these are great."

“You were afraid you would damage your own clothes.”

“It is a long story,” Ama said as she looked at Mary, “and if you wish I can tell you later.”

"I just hope I don't let anybody down." Mary fidgeted as she looked on.

"You'll be fine," Annie called from where she was setting the table for supper.

"It was so nice of your friend to collect us at the airport like that," Mary spoke quietly again, "that limo was quite the contrast to my Dad's old van that he dropped me off at San Francisco International in."

"Well John is a friend, I simply asked his employer could I borrow him and the car.  Another friend will take us to the airport tomorrow."

“So you attend school here, Ama?”

“I do, although we are still on vacation,” Ama replied.  “I am busy, however, reading Henry V for my English Literature class.”

“Enough,” Annie said, “come and eat.”

As they walked in, Mary looked at the young teacher, holding her stomach.

“How long?”

“Hmm – oh, about five months,” Annie said with a smile.  “I hope you like lamb.”

9 pm
Mary Thomas’ Townhouse

“Where are you Mom,” Erica said as she closed the door.

“In the front room.  So how did your little group date go?" Denice asked as Erica let herself into the room.

"Oh it wasn't really a date Mom."

"Well Simon takes you, and Stevie takes Poppy to the movies, then for cokes, that sounds like a date to me."

"I suppose it does," Erica grinned.

"So how was the movie?"

"Not bad, the guys liked all the shooting and killing, but there was enough real plot to please us girls as well."

"Sounds like a decent date night movie then." Mary came into the room, her head in a book of illustrations.

"Yeah.  Yeah, it was," Erica said with a grin.

"Well I'm going to do drinks before bed...Mary can I tempt you?"

"Ovaltine please Denice."

"And you darling?”

“Oh I'll just have some milk and some cookies."

"Well I might as well join you in the Ovaltine then Mary."  As Denice went to the kitchen, Mary looked at Erica and grinned.


“Young love, true love,” Mary started to sing, “filled with deep...  DeVOTION...”

9.30 pm
The Huntingdown Apartment

It was a scene that was played out in a million homes across the country, but for this particular mother it was a new experience.


"You will put this on and go to bed young lady." Carina was getting angry as she held Judith’s nightdress in her hand.

"Will not." Judith stared at her mother with fire in her young eyes and her arms folded.

"It's bed time darling."


"What's going on here?" Juliette asked as she and Klaus let themselves into the apartment.

"Little Missy and I are having a little disagreement about bed time." Carina looked up.

"She looks like she has the demon in her tonight," Klaus smiled at the look in his granddaughters face.

"Don't say that..." Carina and Juliette said in unison, with identical worried looks on their faces.

"Look I'll see if I can put her to bed." Klaus took Judith's little hand, and started walking up the stairs with her.  “Come along little one...”

“Okay Grappy,” Judith said as she walked along with him.

"How comes he can do that and I can't?" Carina asked.

“Don’t worry – she’s overtired that’s all,” Juliette said.  “With luck, she’ll sleep a bit on the flight tomorrow.”

“I hope so,” Carina said, “I really hope so.”

“It’s a ten hour flight – packing done?”

“Very much so – so when do we leave?”

“At about midday – gonna be a long day.  Caroline is picking Mary up and coming to the airport with her.”

Wednesday 6th January
11 am
La Guardia Airport – the private Departure Lounge.

“Thanks for bringing us over, Clint,” Caroline said as the limousine stopped outside the building, “tell Susan I’ll thank her when I see her on Sunday.”

“I’ll pass the message on,” Clint said with a smile as he took the cases out.  “A real pleasure to meet you Miss Clark.”

“Thank you,” Mary said quietly, “and thank you for allowing me to stay at your place last night, Miss Jameson.”

“Caroline, Mary,” the tall blonde said with a smile, “My name is Caroline.”

“Miss Jameson,” the uniformed co-pilot said as he came out, “and this must be Miss Clarke.  If I may take your cases, I will arrange for them to be screened and loaded for you.”

“Thank you,” Caroline said, taking Mary’s arm as she said “come in and meet the rest of the team for this shoot.”

Mary looked round as she walked in.

“Ah Mary – thank you for coming,” Juliette said as she came over and kissed the young model.  “This is my daughter Carina and my granddaughter Judith.”

“It’s a real pleasure to meet you both,” Mary said as she shook Judith’s hand.

“Ingy said you were a charmer, she wasn’t joking,” Cari said.

“This is Helen, who will handle wardrobe, and Marina, PR and press.”

“On which note,” Marina said, “we have to discuss some requests for interviews we received in advance.”

“Help yourselves to coffee ladies,” Juliette said.  “Marina, begin.”

"Marina and Helen just belong to one of Juliette's own private companies," Caroline whispered to Mary, "she's simply borrowed them from herself to help out on a Complete Style shoot."

"Okay, now I understand...I think."  Mary poured some coffee into the mug and then sat down as Marina looked at her list.

“Russian Cosmopolitan wish to interview you, Caroline, while their version of Vogue would like to interview you, Juliette, as the business woman more than the model.”

“We’re very much the juniors on this trip, I suspect Mary,” Carina said as Judith played on the floor.  “From what I understand, the Russian glossies tend to focus on the women in power as opposed to the models.”

“Well, I’m really glad of that,” Mary said quietly, “I really don’t like talking to strangers that much.  It makes me nervous.”

“Well, you may not get off that easy,” Marina said.  “The St Petersburg Times want to do an article as well.  I’ve already arranged some shots for them to use from your portfolios, but I wonder if given them the exclusive rights to an interview with all four of you will remove the need for a press conference?”

“Good thinking Marina – talk to Dimitri when we get there, see if that can be arranged for first thing Friday.  Now – television?”


“Don’t panic Mary,” Caroline said as she smiled at the young girl, “Marina?”

“Have any of you guys heard of Ivan Urgant?”

The four models looked at each other as Helen said “He is Moscow’s equivalent to Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert.  Apparently, one of the things he does is an equivalent of The Daily Show – in that Alla Mikheeva acts as an inexperienced reporter.  When they heard we were coming, they asked if we would act as the base for a report by her.”

“I’d want clearance of the final cut,” Juliette said.

“Understandable – but it would mean her at the shoot on Thursday late, filming round us.”

“We’ll think about it on the flight over,” Juliette said as the pilot came out.  “Okay – time to board.”

“Where is the plane,” Mary said as she picked up her shoulder bag.

“This way,” Caroline said as Carina carried Judith out to the waiting Lear jet.  “As I said, some luxury on the way over...”

3 pm
Somewhere over Greenland

"What are you watching?" Helen asked as she found Marina giggling at something on YouTube.

"I'm not sure," Marina paused the show and removed her headphones, "it's a Russian sitcom, sort of like that old American show 'The Golden Girls' I was just listening to try remember the rhythms of speaking Russian."

"Oh I've seen that show," Marina laughed, "and yeah I get your point...”  Helen sat down and looked at the young woman.  “You know Marina I'm so impressed, you really have stepped into this so well."

"I take that as a huge compliment...Thank you Helen."

"Well Press and PR is outside what you've been training to do..."

"Yes, but it's still basically liaising and facilitating for my boss, so it's sort of what I already do, but it's just with the media instead of clothing suppliers."

"I suppose that's a point." Marina paused, "Xavier will be getting a wonderful member of their team when you return to London, I'm going to miss you and Kylie."

"Well let's be honest my future is still up in the air Helen,” Marina said, “London was the plan, but our superiors and Kylie might yet work out a change of direction."

“I think Kylie does want to return, but I take your point.  Hope for tomorrow, but live for today?”

Marina nodded as she looked round.  “Exactly, Helen, exactly.”

7 pm
Somewhere over the North Atlantic

“That was wonderful – thank you,” Caroline said as she handed the uniformed woman a coffee cup.

"Have I been to St Petersburg before Mom?" Carina looked up from checking on the sleeping Judith. "I remember going to Moscow."

"You don't remember if you've been to such a place?" Mary asked slightly in awe.

Carina smiled and shook her head.  "I got dragged all over the world while Mom was modelling, a lot of the places I can't even remember."

"Well you wouldn't remember St Petersburg, you were only the same age as little one here," Juliette whispered.

"Okay that explains it...what did you shoot there?"

"That movie with Michael Caine."

"The one you have about three lines in?"


"The one I hate?"


"You were in movies Juliette?" asked Mary.

"She was, but she isn't a good actress." Carina laughed. "She did look very decorative though."

"Thank you darling,” Juliette said as she rolled her eyes, “and yes Mary I was in two or three movies in small parts."

"Wow!" Mary sounded impressed.

"The best film she's in is that documentary they made about putting together a fashion magazine."

"You only say that, Cari my love, because you appear in it."

"What can I say - I'm brilliant at playing myself," Carina giggled.

"Oh I could listen to you two tell stories all day." Mary smiled. "You've both done so much."

"Well don't worry Mary it won't be too long till you have a fund of your own stories to tell."

“What about you Caroline – how was it when you came here before?”

“Very hectic and very busy,” Caroline said with a smile, “but Helen helped pull it together.”

“How can they sleep at a time like this,” Mary said as she looked at the other two, dosing in their chairs.

“Practice – they need to be awake and alert from the moment we land, hence the sleep now.”

Thursday 7th January
4 am Local Time
Somewhere over Finland

"Trust her to wake up just as we are approaching our destination." Carina looked up as she heard Judith moving.

"Well just be glad she's been this good on the plane." Caroline got up. "I'll go look after her."

"Well if you don't mind Caroline."

"No, it's sort of what I missed out on when I adopted a teenager, I missed the whole baby thing."

"Someone is sounding a little broody perhaps?" Helen laughed.

"Hey when do I get the time to have a baby of my own?  Besides, Annie will need my help as well.  Hey there little one – feeling awake?"


“Right then – come with me and we’ll get you ready...”
The Women in White - Chapter 3
In which Madame X holds court, Jeannie has a visitor - and Juliette and the team head to Russia...


KP-Presents's Profile Picture
Kev Pickering
United Kingdom
Writer of "detective magazine" fiction which I publish with other works at The text boxes you see here contain extracts from some of my stories. Click on the link and look for the category mentioned in the description for the full text. For quick updates to my site, try my blog at

I am always open to story ideas or collaboration requests - :iconrequestsopen: :iconcollabsask:

Current Residence: UK
Favourite genre of music: Classic Rock, sixties female
MP3 player of choice: I don't own one
Favourite cartoon character: DangerMouse
Personal Quote: It's the quiet, unobivous ones you have to watch


Ta mate! Hope I can stay longer this time round ;)
Sat Nov 23, 2013, 4:45 AM


Nov 26, 2015
3:21 am
Nov 26, 2015
2:01 am
Nov 26, 2015
1:33 am
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1:16 am
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12:43 am


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MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
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Thanks for the new Invasions fave, KP!... :D
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And thanks for the new Invasions fave, too!... :D
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