Saturday, May 21, 2016

Planning a Trip to Rome by Margot Justes

Rome is one of those cities, that no matter how often you visit there is always something new to see, something that was missed. Considering the age, that is not at all surprising.  

Every street corner, every narrow cobbled street is filled with history, glorious churches, and of course shopping, whether it’s haute couture, or typical souvenir trinkets, it is all available. Did I forget to mention food, it is delicious.

I’ll have 3 days to spend in Rome in October. The Pantheon is high on my list this time around, as is Tivoli, glorious fountains and lush gardens can be seen at Hadrian’s Villa.

Plan is to arrive early in the morning, check in at hotel, and then set on foot to enjoy the sites. After the flight, stretching the legs feels terrific.

If room is not ready hotel will hold the luggage. Since I tend to travel off season, I found that in many cases in Europe, a room is usually available.  

Second day I plan to take a tour bus to Tivoli, that will be a full day excursion. Third day will be spent visiting the Pantheon, and will include a visit to Via Margutta-a street filled with artists. I’ve seen pictures, but have never been, maybe it is what Montmartre in Paris used to be. More walking, and leisurely dining, a few espressos, and cappuccinos along the way will complete the 3 days nicely.  Let’s not forget the gelato.

On the last day I always look forward to a quick walk, and a delicious breakfast, before the taxi will whisk me away  to the cruise ship in Civitavecchia, the Port of Rome-it is about a 45 minute cab ride from the center of Rome.

I already started looking at places to stay. I pick hotels that tend to be close to the center of town, and unfortunately my favorite hotel in Rome, the InterContinental has closed its doors permanently. It was a lovely old property, right above the Spanish Steps, with an amazing history, a past life that included a convent. The rooms were tiny, but the property was lovely, the staff helpful, and the breakfasts delicious. I will miss it.

The Splendide Royal, in a quiet area but walking distance to many sites would be my second choice. October if off season for travel to Rome, but prices at the moment are far too high. I’ll wait and watch. Maybe too many people are travelling ‘off season’ and the hotels are becoming wise. Another possible choice is the Sofitel, also centrally located on a quiet street.

It’s a good thing I booked the cruises so early, prices have risen, but I’m watching them, just in case there is a sale-until I pay for the cruises-I can get the lower price, always assuming it is the same cabin category.

No matter the trip, planning one is a lot of fun for me.

Happy travels.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
A Fire Within

Saturday, April 9, 2016

More Travel Planning by Margot Justes

This time I’ll be gone for over a month, and the items I’ll take will increase, but they will still fit in the same expandable suitcase, except this time it’ll probably expand a little on the way.

I keep the suitcase relatively small and compact for that reason. If I had a big suitcase, I’d probably manage to fill it up. Laundry is available on board ship, and I have a couple of free coupons per cruise. That will suit me perfectly. As a rule, I never, ever put anything valuable in the suitcase.

I take the suitcase, a carry-on, and a big purse that folds into a little purse.  In that purse I carry my passport, wallet, a bit cash-the local currency as well as dollars,  2 credit cards, phone, and any important papers I may have, all personal items, anything I can stuff in the big purse I do, and that includes my small compact laptop, Kindle and camera. It all fits in that big, lightweight black bag-it is terrific for travel. That bag stays under the seat in front of me. It does not go in the luggage rack on the plane. I carry a change of clothes and personal  toilette items in the carry-on.

My travel shoes have arrived, they’re not pretty,  but they are incredibly comfortable. Since I buy my walking shoes for comfort, I keep them until they literally fall apart. Even though the trip is in October, I have already started my list.

I list everything I’m going to take on vacation, along with the clothes, shoes, absolutely everything. I have one pair of dress shoes that have lasted for years, and so far they’re holding up really well. I call them my sparkly shoes, and they’re perfect for the formal nights on cruise, or just an evening out, as long as it doesn’t include a lot of walking.  I find that at my age, comfort and cute shoes are not interchangeable-it’s an either or situation.

I pack 2 pair of  comfortable and durable strap sandals that I use for excursions, and a couple pair of fit flops, for the pool and easy excursions, and the mules I'll wear on the plane. That’s it for shoes. I love shoes, but I do not over pack.

For the formal nights, I picked 4 sparkly tops, one pair of dress silky black pants, and I alternate the tops. They're lightweight, and I roll them up-they take up less space in the suitcase. I roll everything I can to consolidate space.

Slowly things fill up the pages, and for me it is much easier than worry at the last minute that I forgot something-like a passport.  As I think of things I add to the list.

Next is the trip closer to home coming up in May.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness...”  Mark Twain

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Planning a Trip by Margot Justes

I have a couple local trips planned this Spring, meeting friends in Asheville, and then we’ll head to Hilton Head, Savannah and Myrtle Beach. I booked back-to-back cruises in early fall. The cruise will start in Rome and end in Ft. Lauderdale.

I’ve reached the stage where flying is no longer the delight it once was. Coming back from Ft. Lauderdale is shorter, and I really enjoy crossing the Atlantic on a ship. There is some site seeing, and then 5-7 days at sea. Perfect way to decompress, relax and write, and there is no jet lag-time is adjusted daily while at sea. Transatlantic cruises are far less expensive, so it is a perfect option for me.

I’m a planner, as anyone who knows me will attest, so of course I already started. There were a couple of things I needed. One was an over-the -shoulder travel bag, mine after years of use, finally gave up the fight.

I have certain criteria, it must be lightweight, have a solid shoulder strap-that will make it harder to cut, must have a couple of compartments, and must have zippers. I have found the perfect bag, it even had a chain to attach a wallet for additional safety. Made by Kipling, readily available at Macy’s, the bigger version is $80, less if on sale, and Macy’s coupons come in handy.  Pick-pockets abound in Europe, it is a well developed and rather successful profession.

The other thing that has worn through are my what I call-airport shoes-black comfortable mules that I can slip off and on. Like my travel purse, my mules gave up the ghost, and since I don’t like to wear closed shoes, walking shoes that have an open back fit the need.

I never, never go barefoot in an airplane, so shoes I can slip off is the way to go, and they must be comfortable to trudge through airports, and site seeing. I’m big on comfort, and have a couple of pair of Ecco sandals that I can walk miles in without a problem, they pack well, and are not bulky.

The mules are also used if it’s cold and raining while I’m touring. They tend to be bulky, so it’s great that I can wear them on the plane. I do not wear gym shoes while touring, never developed the habit, and am not going to start now, and I pack light. I found just the pair, or I should say, my daughter found a pair for me-ABEO-I tried them, they were incredibly comfortable, and the fit was perfect. I now have shoes and purse. No picture of shoes-they are being shipped.

I have a folder for each trip, and have started my ubiquitous list. As I accomplish the items on the list, I check them off, and more often than not add new stuff. Passports were due to expire in August, and rather than wait, i renewed mine in January, and avoided delays during peak season. So far, 3 things are off my list, and nothing new has been added.

If only I could plan my blogs, and actually write one every week. There will be more of my planning ‘obsession, so please stay tuned.. There is a great deal to see in Asheville, Savannah, Hilton Head-well you get the drift-and of course a hotel to book in Rome, and trips to Tivoli to plan. And a conference in Atlanta coming up right before trip to Rome.

The planning is a learning tool for me, I discover new places, new things to see, and that gives me a great deal of  pleasure, and as a result, my bucket list keeps growing-that is always a good thing..

Happy travels, no matter where they take you.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Butler did it by Margot Justes

I’ve been working on my novella, a sequel to A Fire Within , it seems like forever, and I’m stuck. My editor is expecting a finished manuscript by August, and I’m procrastinaning.

I didn’t realize how stuck, until I was cutting up veggies for soup, and at the same time  playing  Clue, in my head. The same board game I used to play with my girls, except I really had the game on the table.

Of course the simple answer was-the butler did it in the library with a knife, and I needed a band-aid to prove that the butler did it... the celery I was slicing wound up in the trash, and the knife was washed with soap and hot water. To add insult to injury, the water was too hot and I wound up with a burn, along with sliced finger. It taught me a lesson, do not multi-task with sharp instruments in my hand.

As delightful as my attempt at making a vegetable soup was, I was no closer to ending my story. I have all the suspects lined up, and no one is stepping up to volunteer. Almost as if the characters are saying, try and make it stick.

The working title of this novella, is Dazzling Diamonds, and even the title seems to be off, diamonds are dazzling, but these are blood or conflict diamonds. They dazzle but at what’s a great story, if only I could finish it, and write...the end.

Now, back to my story...she writes hopefully.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
A Fire Within

Friday, February 19, 2016

My Interview by Nancy Badger

I'd like to thank Nancy Badger for the opportunity. I had fun with it.

Margot Justes stopped by to talk about her book A Hotel in Venice, a romantic mystery released in August, 2015. Please tell my readers a little about your book?

MargotI love art, and travel, and I combined my love of both and set my stories internationally. Paris was my first love, and of course the first book had to be set there. My heroine is an artist, since I possess no such talent, I live vicariously through her efforts.

In my latest release, A Hotel in Venice, Minola Grey and her fiancée Peter Riley help a friend while preparing for their wedding. In the process they discover the dark side of centuries old secrets, the hidden mysteries in the exquisite glass blowing business in Murano, and the vile depth some will go to protect those secrets.

Nancy- I have an Art degree, so your heroine intrigues me! Describe the genre of this particular title, and is it the only genre you write in?

Margot- A Hotel in Venice, part of my hotel series, is first and foremost a romantic love story, accompanied by murder and mayhem-I call them romantic mysteries.

On a dare, I also wrote a paranormal vampire love story, where Leonardo da Vinci meets master vampire, Nikolai Volkov. The Mona Lisa plays a pivotal part in Nikolai’s life in modern times. I enjoyed it so much that I’m now writing a sequel to Blood Art.

Nancy- Viewing the Mona Lisa is on my bucket list. When did you start working toward publication?

Margot- I never really did, but I always had stories in my head, and really didn’t think about writing, it was just a way to pass time. Then I had a tough day in the office, came home and tried to read-that usually relaxed me.  Not that day-I sat down with pad and paper and started writing-it was truly bizarre, an unforgettable afternoon, and the birth of A Hotel in Paris. The first thing I had ever written other than office memos. I pitched it at a conference, and a small publisher took me on. My publisher and I have since parted company, and I am an indie author.

The story started out as a full mystery, until the two protagonists met. There was an instant chemical reaction, and I was lost. I had never read romance novels, and needed a quick education. I discovered RWA, and joined the local chapter, and found I really loved the genre, the happy endings-the sheer and total escape from our everyday reality.

Nancy- Do you have any rejection stories to tell?

Margot- I received the usual ‘thanks, but no thanks’, most often no response at all, but one was a hoot, a verbal rejection. At a local RWA conference, I approached an editor from a well known publisher who said she was looking for an original voice, something fresh, and I pitched my story, she listened, told me again how important an original voice was, and in the same breath, asked who do I write like? I was so taken aback, I had no immediate response, other than stand there stupefied until I finally had enough sense to thank her for her time.

Nancy- Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Margot- The first thing is not to give up, accept rejection for what it is-a totally subjective, and far from perfect process. Not everyone is going to like what you write. The advice I have been given, and took to heart is not to chase the popular genres, they change with the wind. Patience and a thick skin are essential in this business.

The agents and publishers have to make money, hence the appeal of what sells well, over and over. Fortunately, the publication world is changing daily. There is a revolution going on, and a writer no longer has to have an agent, or publisher. Indie publication is a fast growing business, and many are succeeding. That being said, it is tough for an unknown writer to make a living at it, it is a slow painstaking process to develop a readership. A good editor is essential to the process, I cannot stress that enough. 

Nancy- Please share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.

1) Love to belly dance.
2) Have been known to stalk bagpipers when I hear them play.
3) I have no sense of direction, and left-right is open to interpretation.

Nancy- What’s next for you?

Margot- Hopefully, my little niche market of art and travel filled with romance and mystery will expand. I’m working on three projects, a sequel to my paranormal Blood Art, A Hotel in Barcelona-a city with glorious and whimsical architecture, and a novella set in Chicago that follows the secondary characters from A Fire Within. I’ve built a family of close friends.

Book Blurb A Hotel in Venice:
A romantic gondola ride on the Grand Canal, a shimmer reflected in the moonlit night, and the beginning of murder and mayhem for Minola Grey and Peter Riley.

Minola Grey and her fiancé Peter Riley travel to Venice for a romantic wedding surrounded by their friends. However, a romantic Grand Canal gondola ride embroils the couple in a conspiracy as mysterious and mystifying as the city itself. Here, Minola’s notoriety and powers of observation make her a target of someone’s sinister machinations. Worse, someone wants to undermine and destroy her relationship with Peter.

When an old friend asks for help finding a missing Master Glassblower and the art he’d created, Minola cannot refuse. Yet, in the thick of the investigation, she must be careful. Her very involvement may heighten the threat against her and Peter, making them the next targets. Unfortunately, Minola has never been able to resist a friend in need.

Why were Master Glassblower Julio Divini’s glass daggers stolen in the first place? What secrets have been hidden in century old traditions? And will Peter be able to share his own secrets with his future bride? Most importantly, will the wedding happen as Minola and Peter plan… Or not at all?

More about the Author
Born in Poland, Margot Justes has lived in some of the world's most wonderful places, including Israel, France and South Africa. Currently living in the East Coast, she has taken her love of art and travel and cultivated it into unique settings and stories for her writing, 2007 brought her a contract for her first novel A Hotel in Paris.

A Hotel in Bath
 was released February 2013, A Hotel in Venice was released 
August, 2015.  Margot is currently working on her fourth book in the hotel series, set in Barcelona, Spain. She is also hard at work on a sequel to Blood Art .

A Fire Within, 
set in Chicago was released February, 2014.  The story first appeared in the Hearts and Daggers anthology. Her other projects include a novella also set in Chicago, Dazzling Diamonds, scheduled for release August 2016.  She also writes travel articles and blogs.

Margot Justes is a Member of Romance Writers of America, the Chicago North RWA Chapter, as well as the Georgia Romance Writers. She is a past president of the Chicago North RWA Chapter, and the Chicago Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Goals for the Year by Margot Justes

The new year is upon us, and many resolutions have been made, and I’m equally sure many have already been set aside. Rather than set resolutions, I established a few professional goals for myself. My resolutions usually disappeared mid-January. This year I’m after attainable goals.

The first one is to finish my novella-a sequel to A Fire Within, also set in Chicago, this project has lasted more than 2 years, and it is time finish.

The second one is to make a dent in A Hotel in Barcelona, so that I can get it out in 2017. I’m not a fast writer, and have plenty of research to do, and many words to write.

The third is to finish my sequel to Blood Art. A terrific idea came to mind in the middle of the night-and yes-for once I took notes. It’s about a vampire and a romance writer. Half is in rather familiar territory, the other half is the fun of making it all up.

The setting might be in Chicago, or somewhere in Europe-haven’t decided yet, but that is also the enjoyable part. Did I mention I love my job? I do, even the frustrating parts when I write myself into a corner, or I write a wonderful scene and have no idea why I wrote it, or where it belongs. Ultimately it always finds a home.

The goals also include a trip to Europe, specifically Barcelona. I was there three years ago, but need more detailed information on a few places, and to get the feel of the city, to capture the zest and joy of life that exists in Barcelona.  I didn’t realize I’d be setting my next book there during my last visit, or I would have been more prepared.  I’m serious about researching the places I write about. The characters come to life, and enjoy their visit almost as much as I do.

I chose Barcelona because I love Gaudi’s work, his creative style is beyond whimsy. He was an amazing architect who forever put his stamp on this city. I’ll share a few pictures-his work alone is worth a visit to Barcelona.

The goals seem attainable, the cruise is already set for October, and am now booking the excursions-a couple a month-that spreads the cost, and is easier to budget.  

Hope you enjoy the pictures, Gaudi's work is amazing.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
A Fire Within

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Hotel in Paris by Margot Justes

Memories of my time spent in Paris are always with me, and I thought I’d share the 1st Chapter of A Hotel in Paris with you. It is the beginning of my ‘hotel’ series. It wasn’t meant to be a series, but I fell in love with the characters, and continued their life together.

It is slower in pace,  it is dreamy, and evocative. It is about a woman on the cusp of self discovery, filled with self-doubt and romantic pain. It is also the first thing I ever wrote, other than office memo.

                                                            Chapter 1

The shrill wail echoed in the hallway, Minola Grey slammed the door to her hotel room and followed the sound of distress. She saw the maid dart out of a guest room in sheer panic.  Minola reached her in a few brisk strides and asked, "Yvonne, what's the matter?"  She didn't detect any sign of injury, just pure terror in her eyes.  This type of behavior was unlike Yvonne, who was always steadfast.  Nothing ever ruffled her.
"Mademoiselle Grey…body…blood…" she sobbed.
"Body?  Blood?  Whose body?  Yvonne, please…please sit down."  Minola led her to the plush oversized chair near the elevator.  "Tell me what happened," Minola pleaded.
"Lord Yardleigh.  In his room…dead…blood," Yvonne said, her voice shook, but the weeping now dwindled to a whimper.
"Yvonne, knock on Dr. Lebrun's door.  See if he's in.  I'll go to Lord Yardleigh's room."  Minola's voice quiet and subdued, she thought to offer comfort to the distraught maid. “Please call the front desk for help, and get Security up here, fast."
Lord Yardleigh's open door allowed Minola to walk in, and what she saw left no doubt in her mind.  Lord Yardleigh was dead.  The body splayed out on the floor did not diminish the quiet elegance of the room.  Minola’s stomach twisted in a knot, her muscles tightened and nausea rose in her throat.
She'd never seen a body, much less in this bloody state.  Think!  Don't touch anything.  She shook her head, as if to clear any lingering cobwebs.  Get hold of yourself. Where is the gun? I don't see a gun. Murder? Must be. He didn’t get up and dispose of the gun and then conveniently lay down and die. Not with that wound. A great fan of the mystery genre, Minola knew enough not to disturb anything in the room.  The crime scene needed to be preserved. 
Reluctantly, Minola looked at the body again and noted how impeccably dressed he’d been–crisp white linen shirt, gold cuff links, and an expensive watch still on his wrist–impeccable except for the bloody stain that had spread beyond the hole in the shirt and created a crimson river against the achromatic background.  To relieve her queasiness, Minola swiftly glanced at the rest of the room.  As an artist she focused on the de rigueur hotel furniture, then on the few contemporary canvases displayed on the walls. These were not hotel issue, and were good.
The colors and textures of the paintings strangely complimented the hues of the grim, yet powerful, scene before her. Contemplating the pieces on the wall gave Minola a much needed reprieve from the ghastly outline on the floor.  Her hands clenched as she began to shake.
Nothing appeared to have been disturbed in the quiet, serene room.  The curtains were open, and the sun filtered through to cast a warm dappled glow over the body.  Minola shuddered, turned and without touching anything walked out of the room.
Back in the hallway, she patiently waited for what she knew would be a barrage of questions by hotel security and the Police Nationale de Paris.
This hotel is my home.  What happened here?  To give her an essential, although temporary, reprieve from the tragedy, she focused on yesterday’s idyllic day sitting in a café, in a cozy secluded booth across the street from the Luxembourg Gardens. Through the gilded wrought-iron fence she gleaned the contemplative and everyday life of the Parisians unlike today, where the horror of sudden death intruded on her contemplation.
As she waited for the police, she relived the relaxed pace inside the gardens, so peaceful and calm.  She remembered the old couple who sat on a bench and held hands, a woman watched her child play, and on another bench, two women sat in comfort and rolled the prams containing their precious cargoes.  Their hypnotic movements, back and forth, back and forth, helped lull Minola into utter contentment as the mesmerizing and soothing minutes flicked by. 
The image of Lord Yardleigh's body intruded on her thoughts.  So peaceful in repose…so still, so sanguine, except for the blood.  Go back to the gardens.   Go back to the gardens.
"Mademoiselle Grey…pardon, Mademoiselle," she faintly heard a voice call her back to reality.        Art drew her to Paris, so well represented–not confined to museums, but present everywhere, and always in the gardens which peppered this amazing city.
 "Mademoiselle Grey…Mademoiselle, s'il vous plait."  She heard that voice again, faint but urgent calling her.  Her serenity shattered, she faced the certainty of a gruesome murder in her quiet hotel.  Slowly Minola opened her eyes, and noticed the hallway was filled with police and crime investigators.  She recognized what looked like a solitary pathologist carrying a black medical bag.  The police did not block his entry.
"Mademoiselle Grey, are you all right?  I need to ask you a few questions."  The gentle yet insistent voice persisted through her hazy reality.  "Yes, of course.  I am sorry," she replied, and again clenched her hands to keep them from shaking.
"I'm  Luc Dubois with the Police Nationale.  Mademoiselle, we already have a statement from the maid.  She said that you went into the room.  Did you touch the body?" he inquired politely.
"I didn't touch anything…no…nothing at all.  I went in to see if I could help.  Yvonne had said blood…I just wanted to make sure…  I…"
He nodded his head and continued, "Did you notice anything unusual?  Did you see or hear anyone come up to this floor while you were waiting for the police?"
"The room appeared undisturbed.  So clean.  I didn't see or hear anyone, but I closed my eyes because I needed to escape. I am sorry, but I believe I drifted off a bit.  Maybe Yvonne heard or saw something.  Not a robbery…"  Her calm voice belied her distress. She looked down and tried to still her quaking hands.
"Yes, I know.  I had a difficult time bringing you out of your reverie, Mademoiselle.  The maid had gone downstairs to summon help; she could not get the phone to work.  I believe she was too agitated.  Pourquoi?  Why are you so certain that it was not a robbery?" he queried.
"You must have noticed he wore a gold Rolex.  There are also several very worthwhile contemporary art pieces on the wall.  A thief would have certainly stolen these items.  No self-respecting crook would leave a Rolex on his victim's wrist.” She said. “The Luxembourg Gardens are a far more delightful escape than seeing a murder victim." Her voice was wistful as she looked up, her eyes shimmered, but she refused to let the tears fall.
"There I would agree with you, Mademoiselle.  I am sorry you were a witness to such a tragedy."
"Merci.  Thank you for understanding."   
Minola closed her eyes and saw the sun filter through the pool of blood–a macabre scene, one that would stay with her forever.  She blinked twice and looked down at her watch. "Pardon, but I am already late for class.  May I please go, unless you still need me for any reason?  I will be back this afternoon.  I can leave my passport at the front desk."  As an afterthought she added, "If necessary."
"That will not be required, Mademoiselle.  You may go.  I understand that this is difficult for you.  There will be more questions for you this afternoon; please do make yourself available.  Merci, Mademoiselle."  He moved on to speak with another policeman.
* * *
Yves Lanier, of the Police Nationale, was a man with a mission.  His dingy grey office with matching furniture was so littered with papers and books that he couldn't find the phone on his desk.  It was here somewhere, he knew.  Damn it, I used it yesterday.  He briefly stared at the mess…then, with quiet efficiency, slid everything off his desk to the floor, and heard the ping of the phone hit the ground.  He bent down, picked it up, and dialed a London number he knew well.  A quiet voice answered: "Peter Riley."
"Bonjour, Peter.  How are you, my friend?"
"I know that tone, Yves.  Interpol at your service.  What's going on?"
"Peter, Yardleigh was murdered sometime late last night or early this morning.  I think your investigation into money laundering just veered off track."
The silence at the other end was palpable.  "What the hell happened?  He was cooperating.  What do you have?"
"We have nothing, mon ami.  He was shot once in the chest with a small-caliber gun.  No exit wound–the lab's still working on that.  Purely as an observation, it looks like he knew his killer.  No surprise or fear…there's nothing reflected on his face.  Nothing stolen.  Everything, as you English say, was neat and tidy, save for the corpse on the floor.  We secured the crime scene and did all the lovely things we are supposed to do.  The bastard was not nice enough to leave any clues."  Lanier spoke with the confidence of a seasoned cop.
"Let me talk to Clivers, my superior.  Murder is out of our jurisdiction.  I suppose that leaves Scotland Yard in the game."
"Peter, this started in England."
"Don't I know it.  I will call you back."  Lanier heard the phone click in his ear.
* * *
Peter Riley ran a hand through his hair and swore.  As he reached for his phone, it rang.  "Riley," he recognized the brooding voice, "what the hell is going on?"
"Sir, I just spoke with Lanier.  I assume you know as much as I do."
"Scotland Yard just filled me in.  As of right now you are on loan to Scotland Yard.  Riley, get over there…yesterday."
"Sir, just what am I supposed to do?  We can continue the internal investigation here…"  Peter was cut off again.
"He was killed in Paris.  You will go to Paris, do I make myself clear?"  The voice at the other end softened perceptibly.  "I can't think of a better man to handle this mess.  Keep me posted."
"Yes, sir, I'm on my way," Peter responded, and hung up the phone.  "Bloody hell," he murmured to himself.  He made a couple of phone calls and prepared to leave for Paris.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
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