Revenge Ritual

Two Days Earlier

‘And the award for Young Criminologist of the Year goes to … Dr Kate Trevelyan for her cutting edge work on keeping sex workers safe.’

Kate couldn’t believe it, even thought she was wearing her lucky tiger skin underwear and had thrown salt over her shoulder three times during the celebratory dinner. But she did deserve it – if only to reward her for searching out the sexiest evening dress in Oxford Street then travelling across London in record time to the Stakis St Ermine Hotel. She’d changed and refreshed her make up in the hotel toilet and joined the other guests just as they were sitting down for the meal.

‘Young Criminologist of the Year,’ she repeated under her breath. It had a real ring to it. Breath it in, get used to it. It might not make her fortune but it was certainly going to advance her career. Her hard work was paying off at last and it felt great to be acknowledged. All those hours spent sitting at the computer analysing statistics. Days of hanging around piss smelling back streets avoiding packs of Rottweilers. Difficult interviews with traumatised victims, she didn’t think she’d ever get used to those, and being nice to the influential academics doing the peer reviews for her articles while they look down her cleavage. She’d done it. She was a high flyer now and Jake might even make her a Director.

He was standing on his feet next to her and raising his glass with a look that said he wasn’t just admiring her research skills. She’d admired his work since uni – Professor Jake Williamson, distinguished author of ‘Crime in Social, Biological and Moral Settings’, and creator of the ‘Williamson Scale of risk factors’, used by governments the world over to identify the character traits of likely terrorists.

She’d felt special ever since he’d recruited her to The Centre for Criminal Research. She could still remember the warmth of his handshake and the excitement in her stomach the day she’d joined Europe’s most prestigious criminal policy think tank two years ago. She’d found Jake attractive from the start, taking hours with her appearance before setting off to work – but she’d carried on disagreeing with him about his attitude to women. He’d started paying her more attention, taking her for meals to celebrate successful contracts or inviting her to parties to mingle with influential people. She’d always kept their relationship professional until now. But when she heard about her secondment to The Centre of Criminal Research’s Devon office, she felt she could risk taking it further. She would be working in Sidmouth and living with her father and Jake would be in London. She’d felt even more certain of their mutual attraction when he turned up at her flat on her last night in London and the sex had been amazing.

As Kate raised her glass back to him she thought of her father and how strange she was finding it living back at home after ten years away. She’d only been there for three nights and already was finding it awkward. They’d got on better when her grandmother was still living with them. Still, her father had always supported her education and career wherever she was in the world.

‘Here’s to you, Dad. Thanks for believing in me; especially when I mess up.’

Jake, who couldn’t hear what she was saying above the applause, gave her a knowing look and shouted, ‘Up you go, Kate. This is your moment.’

He pushed her out into the aisle between the tables. Photographers’ flashlights, reflected in the chandeliers and wine glasses, were capturing her big moment. It was a straight line to the steps leading to the podium. All her fellow consultants from The Centre for Criminal Research were on their feet, their congratulations ringing in her ears. As she reached the stage lined by mirrors she caught glimpses of a sleek young woman in an emerald silk dress. It had cost her two months bonus but from the way it made her feel it was worth double.

At the podium, still trying to look elegant in her too high heels, she looked down at the room of admiring faces. Next to her, the Chair of the British Society of Criminology held up her hand to quieten the applause.


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