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Home > Sands of Time(25)

Sands of Time(25)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

"If you wish. But there is something you should hear first. When I saw you get up on the stand and testify against my father and brothers, I hated you. I wanted to kill you." She moved closer to him. "But then I realized that what you were doing was an act of bravery. You dared to stand up and tell the truth. My father and my brothers were not evil men, but they did evil things, and you were the only one strong enough to stand up against them."

"Believe me, Lucia," he said, "the police forced me to - "

"You don't have to explain," she said softly. "Not to me. Remember the first time we made love? I knew then that I was in love with you and that I always would be."

"Lucia, I would never have done what I - "

"Caro, I want us to forget what happened. It's done. What's important now is you and me."

She was close to him now, and he could smell her heady perfume. His mind was in a state of confusion. "Do - do you mean that?"

"More than I've ever meant anything in my life. That's why I came here today, to prove it to you. To show you that I'm yours. And not with just words."

Her fingers went to her shoulder straps, and an instant later her dress shimmered to the floor. She was naked. "Do you believe me now?"

By God, she was beautiful. "Yes, I believe you." His voice was husky.

Lucia moved close to him, and her body brushed against his. "Get undressed," she whispered. "Hurry!"

She watched Patas as he undressed. When he was naked, he took her hand and led her to the little bed in the corner of the room. He did not bother with foreplay. In a moment he was on top of her, spreading her legs, plunging deep inside her, an arrogant smile on his face.

"It's like old times," he said smugly. "You couldn't forget me, could you?"

"No," Lucia whispered in his ear. "And do you know why I couldn't forget you?"

"No, mi amore. Tell me."

"Because I'm Sicilian, like my father."

She reached behind her head and removed the long, ornate pin that held her hair in place.

Benito Patas felt something stab him under his rib cage, and the sudden pain made him open his mouth to scream, but Lucia's mouth was on his, kissing him, and as Benito's body bucked and writhed on top of her, Lucia had an orgasm.

A few minutes later she was clothed again, and the pin had been replaced in her hair. Benito was under the blanket, his eyes closed. Lucia knocked at the cell door and smiled at the guard who opened it to let her out. "He's asleep," she whispered.

The guard looked at the beautiful young woman and smiled. "You probably wore him out."

"I hope so," Lucia said.

The sheer daring of the two murders took Italy by storm. The beautiful young daughter of a Mafioso had avenged her father and brothers, and the excitable Italian public cheered her, rooting for her to escape. The police, quite naturally, took a rather different point of view. Lucia Carmine had murdered a respected judge and had then committed a second murder within the very walls of a prison. In their eyes, equal to her crimes was the fact that she had made fools of them. The newspapers were having a wonderful time at their expense.

"I want her neck," the police commissioner roared to his deputy. "And I want it today."

The manhunt intensified, while the object of all this attention was hiding in the home of Salvatore Giuseppe, one of her father's men who had managed to escape the firestorm.

In the beginning, Lucia's only thought had been to avenge the honor of her father and brothers. She had fully expected to be caught and was prepared to sacrifice herself. When she had managed to walk out of the prison and make her escape, however, her thoughts changed from vengeance to survival. Now that she had accomplished what she had set out to do, life suddenly became precious again. I'm not going to let them capture me, she vowed to herself. Never.

Salvatore Giuseppe and his wife had done what they could to disguise Lucia. They had lightened her hair, stained her teeth, and bought her glasses and some ill-fitting clothes.

Salvatore examined their handiwork critically. "It is not bad," he said. "But it is not enough. We must get you out of Italy. You have to go somewhere where your picture is not on the front page of every newspaper. Somewhere where you can hide out for a few months."

And Lucia remembered:

If you ever need a friend, you can trust Dominic Durell. We are like brothers. He has a home in France at Beziers, near the Spanish border.

"I know where I can go," Lucia said. "I'll need a passport."

"I will arrange it."

Twenty-four hours later Lucia was looking at a passport in the name of Lucia Roma, with a photograph taken in her new persona.

"Where will you go?"

"My father has a friend in France who will help me."

Salvatore said, "If you wish me to accompany you to the border - ?"

Both of them knew how dangerous that could be.

"No, Salvatore," Lucia said. "You have done enough for me. I must do this alone."

The following morning Salvatore Giuseppe rented a Fiat in the name of Lucia Roma and handed her the keys.

"Be careful," he pleaded.

"Don't worry. I was born under a lucky star."

Had not her father told her so?

At the Italian-French border the cars waiting to get into France were advancing slowly in a long line. As Lucia moved closer to the immigration booth, she became more and more nervous. They would be looking for her at all exit points. If they caught her, she knew she would be sentenced to prison for life. I'll kill myself first, Lucia thought.

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