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station to find a place in one of those charmingly provincial cattle trucks that may just get you to London by midnight if you’re lucky? Vin?”

Tanner’s response was to throw his pack into the car and vault after it, sliding lazily onto the back seat and stretching his lean frame across the fine leather upholstery. Reluctantly, Chris swung his own bag into the back and climbed into the passenger seat. He glanced at the unfamiliar sight of the driver sitting on the right and sighed.

“Okay, you've convinced me. Now, just shut up and drive, Ezra.” The lieutenant casually saluted and put the big car in gear. “By all means, Captain. Believe me, you’ll thank me before the weekend is over.” Larabee raised a sceptical eyebrow. “Drive. Lieutenant!” The amused chuckle from the back seat was ignored by both men as the heavy car rapidly picked up speed and the prospect of forty-eight hours in the capital overshadowed any doubts about the ways and means in which their transport had been procured.


Vin lay in the dark, hearing the settling of the building around him through the ringing in his ears, breathing in the dusty air and smelling the richly overpowering odour of gas. He tried to remember what had happened but his recent memory seemed to have deserted him. All he knew was that his head was splitting, something was firmly pinning his legs and preventing him from moving although he was in no great pain, and the barely healed wound in his shoulder was again throbbing with a vengeance. Damn! Where the hell had Ezra gone? And where was Chris? They had all been together -- hadn’t they?

The Texan squeezed his eyes shut and tried to concentrate through the thudding hammer blows echoing inside his skull. He could not help but feel he had done something incredibly foolish but for a moment the reason for him being entombed under what might be tons of unstable bricks and mortar, for the moment eluded him.

He jerked reflexively as a pitiful mewling sounded close by his ear, then laughed to himself as he realised he was sharing his space with a kitten. He felt blindly in the dark, fumbling in the direction from which the sound had come only to snatch his hand back with a curse as the frightened animal spat and slashed accurately across the soft webbing between his thumb and forefinger.

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