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CHAPTER ONE


Gunfire exploded across the warm night sky, and a string of overhead lights shattered into stardust.

Half a dozen men swore, and two blue-rinsed matrons screamed hard enough to send a flock of pelicans flapping into the dark, protesting loudly.

Stay absolutely still and no one will get hurt.” The man in black coveralls was commanding, his voice equally so. It brooked no argument. The matrons paid no attention until he fired his Uzi into the air. Their screams cut off instantly.

A man who looked like a beached walrus heaved forward from the pack of rigid guests. “Dammit, Sir,” he spluttered. “If this is robbery . . .” His whisky flavoured voice trailed away as the Uzi swung menacingly to point at his rounded stomach.

The man in coveralls shook his head minutely. “No. The ladies’ pathetic baubles are safe.”

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