The Lombardi Emeralds – Episode 16

The Pocket Novel cover for The Lombardi Emeralds with woman in a green dressing, man in a black shirt behind her on a seaside backdrop at sunset

“What exactly do you know about them?” “Nothing, really.”

“Did your mother never mention them?” “No.”

“But I suspect something else is worrying you?” Sofia narrowed her eyes in speculation.

“I have learned the earrings I am wearing are worth a lot of money but when my mother gave them to me she led me to believe they were costume jewellery.”

“And you are upset by this?”

“There are so many gaps in my mother’s life I feel,” May shrugged, “something’s missing in my life, too.”

“It is no wonder you are sad.”

May glanced at Sofia’s profile as she gazed across the gardens. In her youth she must have been very beautiful, May thought, as Sofia fiddled nervously with the fine gold neck chain she was wearing.

“Having been the subject of gossip when I married my Franco,” Sofia spoke slowly, “I do not like to talk about others behind their back but I will tell you a story and you must make your own conclusions.”

“I’m good with that,” May agreed.

“Many years ago there was a spate of high-profile jewels robberies in this area. Frequently after the Beautiful Twins had performed at one of their villa parties, jewellery would disappear.

“It happened too often for it to be considered pure chance. There had to be a connection.”

May swallowed the lump of apprehension rising in her throat.

“Were the culprits caught?”

In the distance a bell rang, signifying the second half of the concert was due to start in five minutes.

“You know Sr Lombardi had a son,



“And you also know he died?”

“In a car accident.”

“The robberies stopped almost immediately after his death.”

“Hector was involved?”

“I do not know. Out of respect to Hector’s father, enquiries were scaled down.” Sofia stood up. “Here comes Franco.”

May’s legs were shaking as she stood up.

“Do you think my mother was involved?”

Sofia looked at May then gently stroked her face.

“Your mother was a wonderful person who never did a dishonest thing in her life.” Her eyes softened. “If you want to know more about what happened why don’t you ask Vin Piace?”

“What would Vin know about the robberies?”

“His father, Alberto, was the chief policeman leading the investigative team.”

You are here to escort Ms Maxwell to the buffet?” Franco greeted Vin as he approached their small group at the end of the concert. “I would ask you to join us but

my wife and I are guests of one of my business acquaintances.”

Sofia kissed May on the cheek.

“I have no doubt we shall meet up again soon.” She smiled. “Our destinies are entwined. Now remember,” she added, “follow your dreams.”

With a coquettish smile at Vin, Sofia linked her arm through her husband’s.

“Come along, Franco, it doesn’t do to keep important people waiting.”

“I’m not hungry. I’m going back to the studio.” May could barely summon up the manners to speak politely to Vin. She was still reeling from the shock of learning about his father.

“Good idea. We’ll have a late supper sent across.”

“Alone,” she added.

“For two,” Vin insisted.

May turned on her heel, hoping to

outpace Vin, but she was not used to walking in high-heeled sandals and Vin had no difficulty keeping up with her.

“Did you enjoy the concert?” he asked as they circuited the camellia garden.

“Thank you. Yes.”

“Franco and Sofia are good company, too.”

“Vin,” she spoke firmly, “I am not in the mood for polite conversation.”

“Mmm . . . ” He sounded thoughtful. “A pity, on such a lovely night. Did you notice the moon?”

“I can’t say I did.”

“It was so clear. It was as if someone had painted it in the sky,” Vin continued with his monologue. “No-one takes the time to look up. There’s a whole world out there but we are so wrapped up in our own lives we don’t realise it.”

“Right now I am more than wrapped up in mine.” May gritted her teeth so tightly her jaw ached.

“That’s the reason we need to talk.” Vin held the studio door open for her.

“And for your information,” May swept through, “I did notice the stars.”

“Was that why Franco passed you his handkerchief during the performance? Did the stars get to you?”

Unable to think of a suitable retort, May shrugged off her wrap.


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!