Undercover secrets, p.1
Undercover Secrets, page 1
Zoe le Verdier
This book is a work of fiction.
In real life, make sure you practise safe sex.
This book is made available in electronic form by permission of VirginBooks by RoverBooks.
First published in 1998 by
Thames Wharf Studios
London W6 9HA
Copyright © Zoe le Verdier 1998
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The author and publisher specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this book.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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'Anna. Anna. Anna!’
Anna had to blink twice before she reached reality again. She turned to Suzy and smiled dreamily. ‘Sorry, I was miles away.’
‘Thinking good thoughts?’
‘I was making my New Year’s Resolutions.’
Suzy sat down beside her on the stair. ‘And they are…?’
Anna started to tick them off on her fingers. ‘I’m going to spend more time at work, for a start.’
Suzy gasped. ‘You’re kidding? You might as well take a sleeping bag and live at the office. You could save on rent — it’s hardly worth it, for the amount of time you spend here.’
‘It’s the only way to get on, I’m telling you. I’ve worked bloody hard this year, and I’ve proved myself as a researcher. But if I want to break into reporting, I’ve got to do more. Mike’s a workaholic — well, I will be, too, if that’s what it takes.’
Suzy rolled her eyes. ‘You’ll make yourself ill if you work much harder. What else?’
‘I’m going to drink less and get fit.’
Suzy tilted her head and raised her eyebrows. ‘Now, where have I heard that one before?’
‘I mean it, this time. And last but not least, I’m going to have some serious fun.’ Her eyes glittered, showing Suzy exactly what sort of fun she had in mind. ‘Starting tonight. I intend to see in the New Year in bed.’
‘Oh God.’ Suzy winced. ‘Who’s the poor unsuspecting victim?’
A slow smile spread across Anna’s face. ‘Rob.’
‘Rob? Isn’t he a bit young for you?’
From their vantage point halfway up the stairs, they both looked through the banisters at the party going on in their living room below. There were at least thirty people crammed into the small house they shared: friends, work colleagues and the medical students who lived in the house next door. Rob was one of them. He was nineteen, tall and blond, with the meaty physique of a rugby player and a desperate shyness which was rather incongruous in such a well-built man.
‘I like them young.’ Anna laughed. ‘Young and shy is even better. Just look at him.’ They both looked and, as they did, Rob glanced up at them. Embarrassed at finding two gorgeous women openly admiring him, he dropped his head and stared down at his feet, which he shuffled nervously. Anna sighed appreciatively, his innocence — and the thought of what she would do with it — making her shiver. Her wistful voice curled in the thick air like smoke. ‘I bet he’s a virgin.’
‘I wouldn’t mind playing doctors and nurses with him,’ Suzy admitted. ‘He is sweet. But eight years… don’t you think that’s a big age gap? He’s so naïve, as well. You won’t have much to talk about.’
Anna shrugged carelessly. ‘I wasn’t planning on doing much talking.’ What did age difference matter, anyway? She wanted Rob, and he wanted her. He was too bashful to either admit it or do anything about it, but she had seen the telltale signs: a blush whenever she spoke to him, a guilty flutter of his pale eyelashes every time she caught him staring at her.
She checked the time. Half ten. She had an hour and a half to work on phase two of her plan. She had ogled Rob all night, burning her eyes into his face until he met her gaze, then holding eye contact for a moment before looking away. Again and again she had done this, until Rob had taken courage from her signals and set off through the dancing, laughing throng to talk to her. Then she had turned away and spoken to someone else: Mark, one of Rob’s housemates, an equally good-looking young man but not half as innocent as Rob, and therefore not much of a challenge for Anna. Completely bewildered, the unsuspecting Rob had then watched helplessly as Anna flirted with Mark. No wonder the poor boy now seemed terribly confused. Anna’s body language clearly spoke of her desire for Mark, as she touched her creamywhite neck and laughed generously at his poor jokes. But every now and again, she would glance over Mark’s shoulder and meet Rob’s doleful, puppy-dog eyes, and she would wink wickedly at him.
Stage one — harrying her prey into utter confusion — was now complete. Time to move in for the kill. Standing up, she smoothed her scrap of a dress down over her thighs.
Suzy grabbed Anna’s wrist and hoisted herself to her feet as well. ‘Be gentle with him,’ she urged.
‘Give me a break,’ Anna said, rolling her eyes. ‘I’m not a man-eater. I just want a little fun, that’s all.’
God knows, she deserved some after the last twelve months. Years of working as a researcher on daytime TV had finally paid off, and Anna had got a job on one of the best current affairs shows on air. But doing research for Undercover was a lot harder than anything Anna had ever done before, and she had forsaken her social life in order to impress her new boss. She loved working with Mike,Undercover’s producer, but he was infuriatingly unemotional. He and Anna got on well together, and there was definitely a frisson of sexual tension crackling between them. But was Mike impressed with her dedication? A slap on the back at the office Christmas party was the only clue Anna had been given so far.
Still, she thought, there would be plenty of time to make an impression on Mike next year. Right now, she wanted to make an impression on Rob and to claim some of that fun she had been promising herself.
She slunk through the crowd to Rob’s side. He was standing on his own, sipping a beer and watching with wide eyes as Anna approached. ‘Hi,’ she said, smiling.
Anna waited, looking up at him, wondering what he would say if she said nothing.
‘You’ve had your hair cut,’ he offered hopefully.
‘I… I… I like it. It suits you.’
Anna looked beyond him at her reflection in the livingroom window. It did suit her. She had been nervous about cutting it — her friends had always told her that her glossy
‘Thank you,’ she said, taking Rob’s glass and putting it down on the mantelpiece. ‘Come and dance with me, Rob.’
‘I don’t… I can’t… I’ve never really been able to…’
Ignoring his stammering, Anna gently pulled him into the centre of the room. Biting his lip, Rob watched as she began to move her fluid limbs to the music’s insistent rhythm. While he shuffled self-consciously from side to side, Anna let herself go. She could feel the beat in her stomach and hips, and she moved instinctively. Gradually, she eased closer to Rob, until she was standing so near there was nowhere for her arms to go but around his neck. Fixing his eyes with hers, she whispered for him to put his arms around her.
He looked into her pale green eyes, then his big, warm hands tentatively touched her waist and slid around on to her back. Anna arched her spine ever so slightly with the pleasure of feeling his skin on hers, his palms only separated from her by the flimsy satin of her black dress. They stayed like that for a while, Anna gyrating ever so slightly, keeping up the pretence that she was dancing. Then she turned within his arms so she had her back to him. Resting her small hands over his, she crossed them around her slender waist, imprisoning herself within his thick forearms. Leaning her head back on Rob’s shoulder, she sighed with genuine pleasure. Behind her, Rob’s body felt so hard, so strong. And yet she knew he was putty in her hands.
Suddenly, she pushed out of his grasp and went to the stairs. She was intensely aware of the silky brush of material on her thighs and the slight sway of her hips as she climbed. Pausing halfway up, she turned. And with a silent half-smile, she gave Rob the invitation of his life.
‘Anna? It’s Mike.’
Anna sat up on the edge of the bed. ‘Mike?’ At the other end of the telephone, he sounded breathless. ‘Are you OK? Is something wrong?’
‘Anna, I’m at the office. I want you to come into work as soon as possible.’
Slightly confused by the amount of champagne she had drunk, Anna thought about this for a minute. ‘I’ll be back at work on Monday, Mike.’
He sighed impatiently. ‘Are you drunk?’
‘No. But I will be soon. It’s New Year’s Eve, you know. What the hell are you doing in the office? Don’t you have a home to go to?’
‘Anna, I’ve got a lead. This could be a big story, but it’s sensitive stuff and it needs investigating thoroughly. I want you to do it. I need you to come into the office.’
All of a sudden, Anna felt perfectly sober. ‘I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,’ she said.
‘Where are you going?’ Rob asked plaintively.
Anna looked regretfully at his smooth, hairless torso; at his thick wrists, handcuffed to the bed, and at the magnificent erection rising from his crotch. ‘I’ll be back as soon as I can,’ she promised, grabbing her coat.
Anna hailed a taxi on the corner and arrived in Soho fourteen minutes later. The streets were full of partygoers emerging from the trendy pubs and wine bars and staggering towards the clubs. Anna let herself into the office and closed the door on the revelry. She had been planning and looking forward to her party for weeks, and now here she was, back at work at just gone eleven on New Year’s Eve. If she wasn’t so ambitious, she would have been annoyed. But Mike’s calling her was the confirmation she had been praying for. There was a fist of excitement clenching in her stomach at the flattering thought that he had picked her from their team to carry out this investigation. Smiling to herself, she climbed the stairs to Mike’s office.
With the lights out and only his desk lamp alleviating the darkness, Mike was standing behind his desk, staring out of the window at the noisy street below. Anna hesitated at the door, unable to resist the opportunity for an appreciative glance over his body. He was dressed scruffily, as always, but there was something appealing about a man who didn’t care how he looked. There was definitely something appealing about this man. And Mike didn’t really need to care; whatever the state of his creased shirts and mismatching trousers, he always looked darkly handsome. He was an Australian of Italian descent — a big, serious man with short, dark brown hair which stuck up untidily in sympathy with his clothes. He had dark eyes, dusky skin and a constant rash of stubble on his angular jaw and dimpled chin. He also had a wonderfully tight bottom, which was a constant source of delighted whispering amongst the female staff in the company.
Anna took off her coat and hung it on the hatstand. ‘Mike?’
He swivelled on his heels, opened his mouth to speak, then paused. ‘Wow,’ he said, looking Anna up and down and flickering his thick eyebrows appreciatively. ‘You look… Did I drag you away from something?’
‘My party. Remember? You were invited.’
He looked blank. Parties meant nothing to Mike. He probably hadn’t even looked at the invitation. ‘You’ve had your hair cut,’ he said. ‘It looks great.’
Anna held his gaze. The fist tightened in her guts; there was that sexual tension again, obvious in his dark brown eyes. ‘Thank you, I —’
‘Anyway, we haven’t got much time, so let’s get down to work. Take a seat, Anna.’
Anna sat down. Mike revealed the reason she had been summoned to the office, pacing distractedly and ruffling his hair as he spoke.
‘This afternoon, I had a phone call from an old friend of mine. His daughter, Jane, ran away from home a week ago. Jane came back today, told her father where she’d been, and he called me straight away.
‘I drove over to their house to see them. Jane’s a beautiful girl, but she’s immature for nineteen, and she’s easily led. Her father and I suspect she was almost led into something quite sinister. Luckily she had the sense to realise it herself, and she got out of it while she still could.
‘Jane still lives at home with her parents. Just before Christmas she had a massive row with her father and decided to move out. But where could she go? She had very little money of her own, and no one who could put her up. She saw an ad in the paper. The MS Institute of Research was asking for young people with no direction in life to attend their open day — get this — on Christmas Day. Successful candidates would be offered interesting work and free, luxurious accommodation. It sounded ideal.
‘So Jane went to the open day. She was pleasantly surprised to find the Institute was more like a health club than a lab, and that all the scientists she saw seemed to be young and attractive, happy and very friendly. So she was pleased when she was selected to go through to the next stage. She had an interview with a Dr Galloway, who introduced himself as the Institute’s founder and director.
‘Galloway, according to Jane, is mesmerising. In her interview, he asked her all sorts of personal questions about her sex life. Jane answered some of them — she says he was trying to hypnotise her, but that sounds like Jane exaggerating, to me — then suddenly something clicked in her mind. She asked Galloway why he needed such personal information. He got defensive, saying the Institute is a very special place. With only one empty position on his research team, and twelve candidates, he needed to be sure Jane was the right choice.
‘But that didn’t really explain why he should want to know which was Jane’s favourite sexual position. Jane started asking him questions, about the work she would be doing at the Institute if she was accepted. Galloway wouldn’t tell her much, but he explained that the Institute carries out ground-breaking genetic-engineering studies, vital to the development of the human race. Jane would start off working in the kitchen or the laundry, but eventually her job would be to assist one of the scientists, recording his re
‘Galloway told her that if she was prepared to shun the constraints of society, she would discover a new existence filled with endless possibilities. Life at the Institute would broaden her horizons and open her mind. Well, that rang alarm bells in Jane’s head. She is sure that Galloway could tell she was worried. She thinks that’s why he asked her to do what he did — he was testing her, seeing how far she would go to gain her place at the Institute.’ Mike paused, grimacing as he seemed to be searching for the right words.
‘And?’ Anna prompted. ‘What did he ask her to do?’
‘He…er…he…’ Mike swallowed hard and looked down at his paper-strewn desk. It was the first time Anna had ever seen him embarrassed. ‘He asked her to… you know… touch herself.’
Anna’s brow furrowed slightly. ‘You mean… masturbate?’ She winced with disgust. But she also recognised a minute but undeniable fragment of depraved excitement lurking in the back of her mind. What sort of man was Dr Galloway? What sort of man would ask such things in an interview situation, and why? He sounded like someone who liked to control people, who liked to play games. Someone like Anna. ‘Galloway wanted her to masturbate for him?’ she asked again.
Mike nodded. ‘Jane didn’t tell that bit to her father, but she told me. Galloway never laid a finger on her, and Jane said she never once felt she was in danger. But she said — how did she put it? — he made her feel helpless.
She’s worried that other girls will fall for Galloway, and be drawn into whatever sick game he’s playing.’
‘Well, we’ve certainly got an interesting story on our hands,’ Anna said.
‘We have.’ Mike placed his palms on the desk and leant forwards. ‘But that’s not the real story. The real story is in whatever’s going on behind the Institute’s closed doors. What do you know about genetic engineering, Anna?’
by Zoe Le Verdier have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes