They took her children away, and she will fight to the end to get them back . . . In 1941, mixed race Ruby Darke is born into a family that seem to hate her, but why?
While her two brothers dive into a life of gangland violence, Ruby has to work in their family store. As she blossoms into a beautiful young woman she crosses paths with aristocrat Cornelius Bray, a chance meeting that will change her life forever. When she finds herself pregnant, and then has twins, she is forced to give her children away. At that point she vows never to trust another man again.
As the years pass, Ruby never forgets her babies, and as the family store turns into a retail empire, Ruby wants her children back. But secrets were whispered and bargains made, and if Ruby wants to stay alive she needs to forget the past, or the past will come back and kill her.
Ruby considered this. It was true, what Vi was saying. And there was less chance of him pounding her if she could keep out of his way during the day. ‘Think of that bleeding shell factory,’ said Betsy. ‘Would you rather be doing something like that?’ ‘I don’t know . . .’ Ruby didn’t relish the prospect of change the way Betsy did; she never had. But she was bored, and unhappy, and Vi was right: they could all be dead tomorrow. Probably would be, the way things were going. ‘Well, make your mind
keen. And being desired was a balm to her hurt and bewilderment. Simon wanted her. She liked that. ‘All right,’ she said. ‘Why not?’ ‘What?’ ‘I’ll marry you, Simon.’ He stared at her a moment longer. ‘You won’t regret this,’ he said, and then he turned and announced the happy news to his parents, and hers. 113 There had been only one children’s home in Fulham in the nineteen forties and fifties, and Kit had been trying to find it but failing. He had the road right, but there were blocks of
sorting out paperwork, writing a few letters, phoning his old mate Reg, his former number one man, who had shown Kit the ropes when he was a wet-behind-the-ears scruffy little bugger with a big mouth and no sense. The contract he’d had in partnership with Tito on the Albert Docks was completed now, all the units sold. Thank God that was finished. Ruby popped in at lunchtime. They had a light lunch together in the restaurant. Then Kit came in, and Ruby seemed to freeze in her chair. Michael
basis. He often went two-handed with Reg, the big white-haired bloke who’d hauled him in from the restaurant. Reg was all right; a sound man, trustworthy. So Kit was happy enough and he was beginning to see his old drinking mates for the losers they were as he settled into his job as a breaker. Michael Ward was big news. Like the Richardsons and the Frasers from South London, the Delaneys from Battersea, the Nashes from the Angel, the Krays from Bethnal Green and the Carter mob from Bow, Michael
turned – and there was Vi. She was struck anew by how stunning, how distinctive,Vi’s style was. She was dressed in a well-cut dark-green coat, which she now pulled off and tossed casually aside to reveal a chic, cleverly cut grey dress that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a twenties flapper. Vi just oozed charisma. ‘I live here,’ said Betsy chirpily. ‘And Ruby’s visiting. You not working today?’ ‘Not today. Tomorrow. Unlike you, I do work. I do my bit for the war effort.’ ‘Prancing