Authors: Amelia Price
Tags: #crime, #mystery, #detective, #immortal, #mycroft holmes, #international action adventure, #amelia price
2015 Elizabeth Mackey
This novel is a
work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are
either the product of the author's imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locals,
organisations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental
and beyond the intent of the author.
is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be
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respecting the hard work of this author.
This was probably
one of the hardest books I've ever had to write. Trying to get
Mycroft Holmes perfectly consistent while also putting him in the
situation of being well over 100 years of age can make an
interesting balancing act at times. I know I'd never be able to
keep it all straight in my head if it wasn't for Bear. So thank
you, Bear for being an amazing sounding board and helping me
eliminate plot holes, character errors and other gaffs before the
book is published.
As always, thank
you Phil, my darling husband for putting up with my writing habits
and the impact it has on our lives, while also being supportive,
encouraging and critical in all the right measures.
Thank you to my
wonderful editor, Ella, you help polish up my rough work and help
it shine and it's a pleasure to work with you.
To Elizabeth, for
the cover design. I always look forward to emails from you with
cover concepts as you always manage to capture something unexpected
that I fall totally in love with and this time was no
Also a big thank
you to the Retreat. I think I must have mentioned this series to
you so many times while trying to work out the mechanics of it and
you've graciously shared your wisdom again and again. Love you guys
and I don't think I'd be doing so well without you all there to
give me advice.
Finally, to God, I
really wouldn't be here without Him.
To Phil, Bear,
Alex, Sophie, Kate, David and Chris. You're always the people I
think of when I get the impulse to adventure, whether that's in the
literal sense or even when I want to go find new paths. Life
wouldn't be half as fun without you all and I hope you know how
rich all your differences and quirks make my life. Keep being you.
Tension filled the
muscles in Mycroft's neck and shoulders. He sat at his usual desk
in his study trying to process the report in front of him. One of
his agents had delivered it to the new drop-off point only an hour
he'd been provided with regarding Mr Delra was unhelpful at best.
More than ninety percent of it, Mycroft had worked out himself over
the last two weeks, and the rest was bizarre.
Mr Delra lived
either in his house in St Petersburg or on his yacht. He didn't
often travel between the two and didn't go out much in public, but
he had a female assistant who did much of his public business for
him. He'd inherited wealth but had plenty of it invested and it was
No one could
confirm where the yacht was. It was one of the largest yachts in
the world, and all three of Mycroft's personal agents told him
they'd seen it. One off the west coast of Ireland. Another in
Norway, where Mr Delra kept his yacht when he wasn't on it, and the
third in the Mediterranean, where he normally spent his summer.
With only two weeks between the first and last sightings, being
seen at those separate locations was impossible.
At the time of the
Lyubov going missing, the yacht was also apparently in more than
one place. The most logical explanation was that there were several
identical yachts and Mr Delra owned only one of them, but neither
Mycroft nor his agents could find any reference to another yacht of
the same design being built. It was a one-off custom design
supplied by the owner himself.
recent events with Amelia Jones, the terrorists in London and the
Russian ruble coins no longer in circulation were related to this
man and his yacht, but Mycroft couldn't find the connection or any
reason why he might want to harm the UK and her citizens.
relief was the lack of activity from the terrorist group over the
Christmas period. While London was in full celebration mode and
packed with people, the terrorists had stayed out of the way. Not
even a coin had shown up anywhere.
Since his emailed
warning, Mycroft had been very careful about who he had working for
him in the field. All three of the agents were trusted men who knew
to keep their information out of official channels.
It wasn't the
first time Mycroft had hidden his actions. Sometimes a country
needed to be protected from itself. Those occasions had been rare,
much to his preference. It never felt entirely comfortable to move
behind the protocols he himself had set up.
In his entire
life, this was only the fifth time he'd acted against his reigning
monarch, but this was the first time the subterfuge made his task
difficult. Previously, he'd been able to move people into the right
positions and act as he needed, but in this day and age it was
harder to move unseen.
He knew his own
activities were being watched, and his brother had noticed strange
people in the dark and shadows wherever he went. While either of
them could give their tails the slip, it would arouse suspicion and
so would need to be carefully planned. And he couldn't go to three
different countries to try and verify the accuracy of information
in the little time he would gain.
For now, he had to
wait and trust his agents would gain him the information he needed,
and hope Sherlock didn't get too curious about the people watching.
Mycroft hadn't told him about the warning, or Mr Delra.
With a sigh,
Mycroft filed the information away and ordered some tea. Patience
would win out. It always did, and until then he could always focus
on his protégée, Amelia Jones. The Wing Chun lessons he funded on
her behalf were proving a good investment.
sessions at the Baskerville fitness centre in Bath three times a
week and received solo tuition. The dojo area even had a small
security camera that gave him access to footage of her training.
Whenever his mind was clouded, he found himself watching it.
Amelia moved with
grace and already showed signs of aptitude at the techniques. For
her safety, it was pleasing progress. She would always lack the
main advantages he and his brother had, and would need much more
training if she were to survive in their hidden realm, but it was a
start and she learnt with an enthusiasm students rarely
While he was
watching her spar with her teacher, he heard the sound of gravel
crunching under tyres and the low growl of a car engine. With a
frown creasing the lines on his forehead, he looked towards his
study door expectantly. Someone other than his brother was visiting
him, and he couldn't think of many people who knew where he
A few seconds
later he heard his housekeeper knock on the study door and show in
two well-dressed men in suits. He recognised both at once. They
worked for the royal family at Buckingham Palace, and both had been
hired by him. He raised his eyebrows at them and saw the nearest
gentleman's finger on his left hand twitch. They were nervous.
the man said when Mycroft still didn't respond or move.
At first Mycroft
remained sat where he was, but he knew he couldn't be aloof for
long. He rang the bell to summon his housekeeper back.
“I'm going out,”
he said, when she came back. The woman nodded, knowing it wasn't
something he'd have normally bothered to tell her, but having
enough sense not to say anything to betray whatever had caused the
When Mycroft was
satisfied he looked like he was leaving on his own terms, he got up
and fetched his coat and umbrella. It might be considered petty by
some for him to act that way, but the most likely reason for being
summoned to the palace was Mr Delra, and that meant this was a
wrist-slap, or worse. His pride wouldn't allow him to show even the
slightest amount of any emotion but indifference.
accompanied him out to the car. He noticed the letters on the
number plate, and they confirmed his suspicions. They'd sent the
highest numeral in the series of number plates bearing their
particular reference. It made the nature of the summons clear. They
were displeased and he had been relegated to their least important
Both men sat in
the front, leaving Mycroft alone in the back with his thoughts.
Outwardly, he was the usual picture of calm patience and control,
but the inside of him was a little different. No matter the
conversation that followed, Mycroft would act in the best interests
of his country and the people he had sworn to protect over a
hundred years earlier. If the royal family were acting in a manner
unfitting for their station, it would make that task more
difficult, but not impossible.
The task left to
him would be figuring out the why of their interference in his
work. Although he tolerated their belief that he answered entirely
to them and the accompanying delusion of thinking they knew best,
he wouldn't give them reason to think otherwise, but he would need
to know why.
traffic of London, it took the better part of an hour for the car
to make its way to the palace. The number plate afforded no special
treatment on the road. The biggest difference between this vehicle
and the ones around it was the armour plating built in and the
bulletproof glass in every window. His own car was made the same
way. When working for the government you could never be too
When they did
finally pull up in the courtyard of the palace, Mycroft was
escorted into the building. They needn't have done so. He knew
where to go and how to get there, but it was one more part of the
message for him. This time in the palace, he didn't have free rein
to go where he pleased.
While he walked he
pretended to admire the décor. In truth, he didn't like all the
crystal and shiny metal gilding everywhere. Not to mention the
elaborate paintings of scenes and people. He much preferred wood of
deep soothing hues, and the only things made from metal should be
functional, like weapons or door handles. The bright metals and
crystal reflected light in too many directions. One wrong glance
when the sun was out and you were momentarily blinded. A metal
should only shine enough to give off a dull reflection; anything
more reduced its helpfulness.
Mr Holmes,” the butler said from his position on the couch. Mycroft
sat down opposite him. The lack of royalty in the room boded well.
If he was being relieved from his position, it wouldn't be done by
“I hope her
majesty is well,” he said and smiled. The warmth never reached
Mycroft's eyes, as always.
is as well as can be expected for someone of her age, but she has a
concern that she's asked me to mention to you.”
“I believe I have
an idea what that might be.”
“Then you are
probably aware that her majesty doesn't like having to repeat
Mycroft lifted his chin a centimetre higher.
“She feels that it
would be unwise to look into matters concerning the Russian and
North Korean people you recently... met, especially concerning
their out-of-country support.” The butler paused and gave him a
look to emphasise his point. “Since your initial encounter with
them, which we understand was beneficial for us, and of course
thank you for, we've come to an agreement.”
“What sort of
agreement?” Mycroft almost spat. Less than a second later he was
calm once more. Thankfully his vocal tone had changed so little,
the butler wasn't clever enough to have noticed his anger.
“I was not privy
to the details, but I believe they wish to finish one last small
task, some unfinished business, which will pose no threat to the
country as a whole, and then leave unhindered.” The butler smiled
but Mycroft didn't return the gesture.
“So I am to do
problem is already resolved. London is safe.”