An Affair of the Heart by David George Richards by David George Richards - Read Online

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Summary

Sarah Williams was leaving her husband. The car accident only made the separation permanent. A mix up at the hospital, a misplaced donor card, and an urgent heart transplant goes ahead. But was the right donor used?

Alex Williams had found out about his wife’s affair with their American lawyer, Robert McCord. It had been a terrible argument. Sarah had stormed out and driven away. It was the last time Alex saw her alive and his anger is soon matched by his grief. Anger, grief and a terrible outrage.

Rachel Carter is young, romantic and has heart disease. For her, the heart transplant is the only answer. But the success of the transplant is only the beginning of her troubles. No sooner is she recovering when Alex sues the hospital for carrying out the transplant without permission. But not only does he want compensation, he wants his wife’s heart back.

Why does Robert McCord volunteer to fight Rachel’s court case against Alex? Is it just old rivalry, or are they still fighting for the heart of the woman they both once loved? And why does Rachel think she can feel Sarah’s emotions in the heart that now beats in her own chest? Why does she feel that this dead woman still has something urgent to do? What is the secret that Alex kept from Sarah, the secret that finally broke their marriage? And what has Alex’s daughter, Diana, go to do with any of this?

Published: David George Richards on
ISBN: 9781466056527
List price: $2.99
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Chapter One

The Object of Desire

Sarah wiped the tears from her face as she drove through the brightly lit streets towards the city centre. She felt no remorse after the argument with Alex. He had it coming. It had been a devil of an argument, though, a real blazing row. They had shouted and screamed at one another for what seemed like hours, it must have lasted for most of the evening. And then he had struck her. She was stunned at first, and even Alex had looked sort of shocked. But the pause had not lasted long. She had thrown crockery in retaliation. Lots of expensive crockery. Alex had dodged about screaming at her to stop, but a vase had caught him above the left eye and he had fallen down. That was when she had finally left.

Left with nothing.

All her plans with Robert had gone out of the window. It was all going to be so meticulously planned and carried out. God, they had even opened new accounts for her in a false name. But everything was still at the house. She hadn’t even brought her handbag or a coat with her. She had just snatched the car keys from the sideboard and left. All she was wearing was a tee shirt and jeans. She felt so stupid, and yet triumphant as well.

It was finally over. She couldn’t have stood it any longer. Her marriage with Alex was destroying her; he was destroying her.  Slowly, relentlessly, he was squeezing the vitality and spirit out of her. He was hardly ever there, and when he was, he questioned everything she did. Who she saw, where she went, how she behaved. What had once been love had turned into infatuation and a possessiveness that was bordering on paranoia. He had become insanely jealous. But she had never dreamt that he was opening her mail, or that he would actually hire someone to follow her.

When he had accused her of having an affair with Robert, everything had just come out. It was such a relief to tell him, to get it all out into the open at last. When she had actually uttered the words, telling him, finally, that she was leaving him at last, it had been such a blessed relief. Alex just seemed to explode. How could he think that he could stop her? What could he possibly tell her to make her stay now? And what else could he do? Lock her in her own bedroom?

Sarah laughed. She was glad she had left him. And so what if she had brought nothing with her? She didn’t care. She was just glad to be out of it. She didn’t care about the money, the house, or any of it anymore. She just wanted to be rid of it all. She wanted to be with Robert. She wanted people to see her with Robert. She was sick of hiding their affair, of always having to be secretive and furtive. Now that her marriage was over, she wanted everybody to know.

Soon she would be at Robert’s apartment, crying in his arms, telling him everything. He would know what to do. She could be with him at last.

The car came out of nowhere. Sarah snatched at the steering wheel and stamped on the brake in panic. The tyres squealed in protest as her white convertible swerved and skidded onto the wrong side of the road. The driver of the other car also fought with the steering wheel, and Sarah had a fleeting image of his young face, teeth bared. He seemed very young, and there were other young faces in the car with him. Just boys and girls. Then the car flashed past, and Sarah saw the second car behind it. It was coming straight towards her, as her own car slid sideways right into its path. The driver of this car was also a woman, probably not much younger than herself, and Sarah could see her eyes grow round with terror as all four wheels of her car locked up, and it continued to skid relentlessly forward.

Sarah knew that the car was going to hit her on the driver’s side, broadside on; that there was nothing she could do to stop it, and that it was going to injure her very badly. But for some reason she was not scared. And in the last drawn out moments before the cars collided, she thought briefly about Robert, worried that he wouldn’t know which hospital she had been taken to. But the authorities wouldn’t tell him, would they? No, only Alex would be told. Sarah realised with mounting horror that she didn’t want that to happen. She wanted Robert to be at the hospital, she wanted Robert by her bedside, not Alex. She wanted Robert. There was an explosion of glass accompanied by a very loud crunching, crumpling sound, as the door and bodywork flew in at her in a sudden rush. Sarah felt the impact against her body. But then the doorframe hit her head hard. After that, there was nothing...

Chapter Two

The Enemies

Robert McCord sipped his Bacardi as he picked up the telephone. He was surprised by who was on the other end. He smiled.

Why, hi Alex! he said brightly. What can I do for you?

You can get the hell back to America, you lying, cheating bastard! That’s what you can do for me!

Robert’s smile grew wider. Oh, I see, he replied, taking another sip from his drink. Any particular reason for your sudden request?

You know damn well why! Alex shouted down the telephone, his voice hoarse. I know all about you and my wife! And you’re not going to get away with this, do you hear me!

By the way you’re shouting down the phone, I should think my partners in Chicago can hear you!

Don’t try and be funny! I tell you I’m onto your little game, McCord, and it’s not going to work! Sarah might have been taken in, but not me! I know about the money, McCord! I know everything I tell you! Everything! And you’re not going to get away with it! Do you hear me! Because once Sarah hears the truth, you’re finished!

Robert felt a hint of panic. Could Alex really know what was going on? Everything had been planned so carefully, and Sarah had gone along with every step. It couldn’t go wrong now. He had to do something. Best to admit the affair, it would give Alex something to chew on. But not the rest. No, not yet.

I don’t know what you’re talking about, Alex, he bluffed. Sure, your wife and I get along real fine, you might as well know that now. But as for this other crap you’re talking about, I’m sorry, you’ve lost me.

You don’t fool me! Alex almost snarled down the telephone. You’ve lost, McCord! Get out of the country while you still can!

How dramatic! Robert laughed. What happened to your stiff upper lip, Alex? he added.

I’m warning you, McCord! Alex went on. If you’re still in the country tomorrow, I’m going to ruin you! Do you understand me? I’ll destroy you completely!

Okay, Alex! The jokes over! Robert’s voice grew stern. I don’t like threats, and to be honest, I don’t like you either. Now, my law firm is doing real fine here in Manchester, and my partners are real pleased with the way I’ve been handling things here in England, so I have no intention of leaving. And remember, Alex, I’ve been your lawyer –sorry, solicitor– for over six months now. That means I know everything there is to know about you, and your business. So if you even try and give me a hard time, you’re the one who’s going to be sorry!

You just don’t know what you’re dealing with, do you? You’ve got no chance of winning, McCord! And do you know why? Because I don’t give a toss about anything except Sarah. I don’t care if it costs me absolutely everything so long as I get her back and smash you!

Robert took his cue to put the knife in. Sarah’s already left you, hasn’t she? he said coldly. That’s what all this is really about, isn’t it? She’s already on her way. Good! I’ll be thinking about you when she gets here, Alex, and I know you’ll be thinking about us, too. Thinking about me holding her in my arms, touching her, kissing her, and making love to her…

The telephone went dead. Robert put the receiver down carefully and took a deep breath. He stared out of the window of his top floor apartment at the view of Castlefield below. He could see the canal basin with the pubs lining the waters edge, and the many people milling about, drinking, talking and smiling. Robert suddenly flung the drink he still held across the room. It smashed against the wall; its contents staining the wallpaper. Shit, he muttered.

Chapter Three

The Messengers

Joy riders make me sick! WPC Foster said to her partner as she drove down the A556 towards Knutsford.

I know, PC Roberts replied. But they were only kids. And I don’t think they realise how dangerous it is. I mean, they don’t want to die, do they?

It serves them right, I say!

But they were only kids, Jill.

So what? Those two women they killed were the only innocent parties. And now we’ve got to tell some poor sod that his wife’s dead. And for what? Nothing! It wasn’t even her fault! I just think it’s a shame that the fourth little git didn’t die as well.

Don’t let the Sarge hear you talk like that!

He probably thinks the same as me.

Thinking and saying are not the same thing, PC Roberts pointed out.

Jill Foster became silent. She had been a police constable for two years. And this was the third time she had been involved in a road traffic accident and had to pass the news of the death of a loved one on to a relative. She hated it. It always made her feel so stupid and inadequate. And it was always for no good reason. Fog. Drunken driving. Joy riders. She sighed. What sick person had thought up that name?

It had taken two hours of manic pursuit by six police cars around the city centre before the chase had finally come to an abrupt end. Faced with a roadblock, the driver of the stolen car had attempted a 180-degree hand brake turn and had got it wrong. The car had overturned, rolled five times, and then demolished a lamppost. Three of the four occupants had died almost instantly, the fourth, a young girl, was now in intensive care in Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The police car turned into the drive of a large house. All the lights were on.

PC Roberts looked up at the impressive house. Gosh, he said. I bet they’ve got a penny or two.

WPC Foster switched off the engine and looked across at her partner. Sarge told me that he’d heard of the husband, she said, undoing her seat belt. Said he made his money on the stock market in the eighties. Something to do with commodities, I think. Said he still dabbles a bit now, even though he’s got money coming out of his ears. She paused to retrieve her hat from the back seat, and then added, Didn’t do her any good though, did it?

Chapter Four

A Going Away Present

I think I might have something for you at last, Phil, Dr Askwith was saying over the telephone. The donor was the right age, right blood-type, everything. It’s a perfect match. And the heart’s perfect, too.

Dr Philip Jones raised his eyebrows as he stood at the nurse’s station in the Cardio-Thoracic Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.

What about the waiting list? he said. I know there are other people ahead of us on the list in this zone.

Not that this heart will match. Check it for yourself. It should be coming up on your computer right about now.

Dr Jones wedged the telephone receiver under his chin and turned to the nearest computer monitor. He began calling up the information. Other people on the lists in other zones might have a greater need, he said slowly as he typed away.

Don’t you want this heart, or something? Dr Askwith asked with a slight hint of humour in his voice. I thought it was the best going away present I could give you.

I’m supposed to give you the present, David, Dr Jones replied, and scratched his beard as he read the details on the screen.

Dr David Askwith was both a friend as well as a colleague. Dr Jones had known him since he had been qualified, and first came to Wythenshawe Hospital. In fact he had been responsible for much of Dr Askwith’s training. But now that he was a resident at Manchester Royal Infirmary, they no longer got to see as much of each other as they had done in the past.

You’re the one going traipsing around Eastern Europe with nothing but a back pack for a friend, Dr Jones added, silently envying