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The Limit: Chapter 34

...She had time to kill. Then, at the Pleasure Beach, she might have something else to kill...

Toni Rossetti sets out for her fateful meeting with the man who is trying to seize control of her family’s business enterprises in Blackpool.

To read earlier chapters of Peter Lacey’s dramatic crime novel please click on

Toni went to the house to collect her thoughts and clothes for the meeting that was planned for that night.

Julian, the Barnsley bouncer, and Mrs. Bradshaw were both there to give the place an air of normality she felt it didn't deserve. The only indication that anything had happened the night before was that the telephone was still out of order.

Ruth arrived at six o'clock.

"I got worried," she said. "I thought you might be here."

"I needed some time on my own. I'm all right."

"How was Dyson? Slimy as ever?"

"Slimier. We came to an agreement."

Ruth pursed her lips.

"Will it work?"

"It has to work. We've come to the end of the line. We both know that. Next stop is murder."

"So what's the agreement?"

"They've made an offer that's halfway to being reasonable, plus Maudie is delivered back in one piece. We sign the contracts tomorrow. It's now in the hands of solicitors," she lied. "All safe and sanitised. Nobody else gets hurt."

Ruth stared as if she didn't believe her.

"Are you telling me the truth?"

Toni gave her a tired smile.

"I'm beat, Ruth. It's all over."

Her friend embraced her sadly and sighed.

"They're bastards and I hate what they've done. Please God somebody will pay them back, some time. But, in one sense, I'm glad it's over. I was getting really scared." She broke away. "Have you seen the Gazette?"

"No. Why?"

Ruth pulled the evening newspaper from her large shoulder bag and handed it over. The headline on the front page read:

Toni took the paper and read the opening paragraphs:

"Blackpool police today launched a murder hunt after a 19-year-old Scottish youth died following a gang fight.

"Three other youths are still in Victoria Hospital—one in intensive care—suffering from knife wounds and multiple injuries.

"All are believed to be from Stirling.

"They were found on a car park near Talbot Road Bus Station in the early hours of Sunday morning after a taxi driver called the police ..."

She scanned the rest but there was no mention of the disturbance in the Life of Riley that happened on the same night.

Ruth said, "It's the Dysons, isn't it? The lads Jimmy Doc told you about. They are really nasty people. Thank God you're out of it. No matter what. At least you're getting out in one piece."

* * *

Ruth was now a complication that Toni needed to distance from danger. Her plan was simple.

She suggested they go into town for an early meal and Ruth talked to Mrs. Bradshaw in the living room while Toni got ready.

At seven o'clock she shouted for her friend from the hall and they went out to the parked cars. Toni climbed into the driving seat of the Mercedes and Ruth looked ready to argue.

"It would be easier if we took mine," she said. "Easier to park and you won't have to count your drinks."

"You take yours, Ruth. I'll take mine."


Ruth stepped closer to the car and reached out to the door handle.

"It's locked." The electric window slid up until there was only a two-inch gap. "I'm sorry, Ruth. That meeting I told you about is tonight. I have to do it on my own. Don't worry. And don't try to follow me." Toni smiled. "You can't. I took your car keys. They're in a drawer in my bedroom. By the time you find them I'll be gone."

"Toni, no. Think things out. Let me get Stuart."

"I have thought things out. Everything's going to be all right. And you can help, if you want. Go home and sit by the phone. I'll need you when it's over. I'll call you. And we'll head for the nearest bar."

Toni put the car into gear and drove out of the gate and onto the main road. In the rear-view mirror, she saw that Ruth had remained standing on the gravel, staring after her.

Good. She would not be pursued. She would have time to park the car and prepare herself with a walk on the Promenade.

She had time to kill. Then, at the Pleasure Beach, she might have something else to kill.


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