When in London researching the chase scene for the book, Before You Say Goodbye, I was in my rental car (driven by my personal assistant) attempting to follow the route of the chase. Heathrow Airport is prominently featured as it is the local at which the hero, Benn, and heroine, Aubrey, are to meet for the first time; a hot Internet relationship their only contact to date.
Curbside alone, she searched the flow of traffic as it haltingly pressed along the curve of the passenger pick up area. Black London cabs funneled into their designated lane, with minicab vans and private vehicles clogging the approach. Traffic control officers waved the steady stream forward disallowing any attempt to linger at the curb.
Aubrey looked to her wristwatch. Six thirty. He should have been here by now. Why did her gut feel like a pretzel? What if he'd missed his connecting flight? No….he'd have called. She slid her cell phone from the red woolen weave of her coat, eyes scrolling the screen for any missed calls. None.
Palm resting on the telescoped handgrip of her suitcase, she looked up to the thinning traffic. He was to meet her here. T3 forecourt, passenger pick up. They'd share a cab into the city, two rooms booked at the Claremont on St Auburn's street. Two rooms, she hoped the second would quickly become obsolete. A fortnight in Old London Town wouldn't be long enough if they were, as she sensed, meant to be.
Scanning the crowd of arriving passengers, she caught a glimpse of a man in charcoal gray calf length woolen coat. Jet-black wavy hair layered nearly to the shoulder, cream scarf tucked in at the lapels. It must be…but he was still a city block's distance down the sidewalk. He paused and looked in her direction hesitating as though in like evaluation. Pace quickening, he made his way towards her, a smile spreading across his face.
She grasped the handgrip of her bag and took a few tentative steps forward. Yes…tall, slim, broad of stature, it had to be. Releasing her luggage, she forgot herself for the moment and rushed forward.
Twenty yards away from him a streak of black, a rain coated figure bolted into the scene. Awareness made all the more narrow by her concentration on Benn, she didn't have time to blink before she saw him pushed-- no forced into the open door of a waiting cab.
And then he was gone. The cab lurching from its temporary stop at the front of the queue, weaving around its neighbors with alacrity and skill, the door drawn shut almost the second it accelerated.
"Wait!" The word escaped her lips in astounded reaction. Wait? He'd obviously not gotten into that cab of his own accord. Shit….think.
Arm shooting up in demand, Aubrey hailed the next black marauder to her side. "Follow that cab!" she shouted to the driver as she swung open the back door and leapt in.
As you can image, there is quite a pursuit into town that follows. Checking for timing and landmarks, I planned to follow Aubrey's path. Camera at the ready (Always easier to recall details via a photo), we approached the T3 forecourt passenger pick up area. I snapped piccies of the lanes leading to, the actual passenger collection area and the tunnel used as exit to the motortway. Half way through said tunnel, police lights flashed behind us. We thought they were after someone ahead, but no.
It was me they wanted.
Pulling to the kerb, my assistant rolled down the window. A burly officer demanded identification and proceed to ask us what we thought we were doing taking photographs. He and his partner were not at first amused. When I popped out of the passenger seat displaying business cards containing bookcover images spouting the blurb for my upcoming Urban Phaze release, they both chuckled. The questioning turned from agressive to curious to fascination.
The lead officer was required to fill out a report admonishing me to get permission for any such further missions. (Had I stopped to think, I would have realized I look quite the canvassing terrorist, procuring information for some future violent mischeif.)
As it turned out, both officers were surprised we recognized their accents as being "Weegie' (Glaswegian) and proudly conveyed their belief that indeed the finest police are from Scotland. (England imports them knowing full well that they are the tenacious decendents of fearsome warriors).
About a week later I received a follow up questionaire via e-mail from the Heathrow police. The administrative officer had more than just the standard questions, indeed loving the covers of my books. It seems my reputation now proceeds me. Yes...Christine London is a 'known' favorite of the Heathrow contingent of HM police force.
Here's the blurb:
From the moment Aussie Internet entrepreneur Benn Morrison opened the California mystery writer's solicitous message he knew she would change his life. Classy, sexy and erudite, she defined desirable womanhood. Now six months on they are flying half way round the globe to 'meet' on neutral ground: London. Can their affair of words survive the delivery of the package upon which his future depends? Ripped apart before they have the chance to find out, they are left to solve what just may be a mystery costing them their lives.