in Larkhall or London’s underworld, Yvonne hadn’t gotten to the top of the heap
without noticing things. Details mattered—it was in the details where
people usually fucked up. The fact that she noticed Karen’s perfume now, that
she anticipated it whenever she heard heels down a hallway, revealed a very
salient, if too obvious, fact: You’ve been without a good shag for far too
She tossed a magazine across the cell. Gone lezzie! She never thought it possible, that she would feel attracted to a woman. Somewhere, Yvonne thought ruefully, Nikki Wade was probably laughing her head off, like some sort of Lesbian Lucifer. After all, Nikki had led the saintly straight-arrow Helen Stewart to the dyke side; perhaps her mere suggestion all those years ago—of Yvonne taking a female lover while on the inside—had spawned these strange feelings she now had for a woman who had been, however briefly, her son’s lover, and was a frigging screw to boot.
It was easy to blame someone else. Someone far, far away.
The key turned in the lock. She smelled the perfume.
Quickly Karen closed the door behind her and leaned against it; she made for a beautiful barricade. “When are you going to grow up and stop all this macho crap?”
On the face of it, harsh, but the soft huskiness of Karen’s voice—the usual undercurrent of amusement, that intimate way she had of including you in on a joke that otherwise would have sailed right over your head except for the sweet wryness of her tone—made it more a sensual plea than anything else.
Yvonne raised an eyebrow. “I thought you liked that sort of thing.”
“Not when it means putting yourself in his line of fire.” A pause. “He almost sent you down the block again.”
“No.” This time Karen spoke firmly. She sat down beside Yvonne, who successfully battled a mad urge to bolt. “Just keep your head down and let me sort it.”
Then a hand was on Yvonne’s leg, squeezing with just the right amount of affection and lust. “Christ.” Yvonne’s throat went dry. “Does this place make you queer or what?”
Karen smiled infuriatingly. “Won’t it be fun to find out?” She leaned in for the first kiss.
Devil’s in the details. Yvonne gave in.