Alec Hardy and the vanishing money

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Rose Tyler is sent to the south coast of England by the bank she works for to follow a couple who take out loans in different names then vanish. They were last seen in Dorset and Rose travels to Broadchurch and she has to work with Alec Hardy, reluctantly. When Rose is in danger, Hardy has to put aside their differences to rescue her

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Chapter 1

Alec Hardy was sitting at his desk, he had just returned from medical leave after the daunting task of finding a killer and it had taken some toll on him and he'd had to finally give in and have a life-saving operation. Now it was quiet, the seaside town was slowly getting back to some sort of normality and he had broken in a newly promoted DS, male this time, who was terrified of him. Just as it should be, he had thought.

Meanwhile in London, Rose Tyler had been summoned to the bank chairman's office and was being asked to go down to the south coast, Dorset to be precise where a large amount of fraud was being committed by a couple taking out small loans under false names and disappearing with the money. Rose thought it was rather a job for the fraud squad but the manager had been unable to enlist their help. It was costing the banks a fortune and it wasn't just their bank but the manager wanted their best person on the job and it was her.

Rose was good at judging people, she had turned down more loans than anyone just by looking at people but had also the highest rate of successful applications so she had been appointed as a risk assessor for the south of England and now any questionable loans were sent in her direction.

So Rose packed her case and was sent to the town of Broadchurch, an unusual choice since it had just been the centre of attention in a murder case but management had thought it the ideal place to set up. Any loans applied for in the Dorset area would be referred to her and the culprits had not yet hit their bank in that particular county.

She was being required to work with the local Police, a certain DI Alec Hardy to be precise and on a Tuesday afternoon in late October, not the best time to visit the seaside, Rose arrived at The Traders Hotel and was settling in. Tomorrow, she would meet with the local detective, whom she had seen on TV and was not looking forward to it. She had just sat down to dinner when the man himself walked into the dining room and Rose tried not to stare. He looked different than she remembered him on TV, he had looked tired and possibly ill but not any more. He still had one of those scruffy beards though, not her type.

She wandered into the bar after dinner and started talking to the hotel owner, she was there under the guise of new assistant manager for the bank so as not to alert any potential customers who might be pondering committing fraud. Becca Fisher was curious as to why the local bank would take someone from out of town on as an assistant manager.

Rose had a ready answer. "Well, the branch I worked at closed down, there were two and one had to go. This was the only place they had an opening," she told the other woman.

"Most people come here to see where the murder took place, there are some disturbed people out there."

Rose smiled. She was definitely not there to sightsee, it was getting cold and now was not the time to be wandering on the beach to catch a glimpse of the murder scene. Actually, it wasn't as cold as she had thought for the end of October.

"Well, that's not for me. I mean I followed the case but I never expected to actually come here. I saw that detective in the dining room earlier, he looked better than he had done on TV."

Becca smiled. Even though he had got better, she had never taken him up on his offer to spend some time with him, which wasn't like her but she did have some standards, going with a man who had been on death's doorstep was not her style and even now, if he'd asked again she would have still said no.

"Well, he's been through a lot, the case and his health but he got through it, you have to give him that. A lot of people would have given up."

Rose went to sit at a table when a few people came in and found herself being chatted up by a goofy looking man with no hair called Nigel and soon made her excuses and got up to go sit back at the bar. The next morning, she saw Hardy again in the dining room and decided it was best not to disturb him, she was going to make an appointment with him later to discuss why she was there.

Being seen into the branch manager's office, Rose sat down.

"So, I take it no-one knows why I'm here exactly and they think you suddenly need an assistant here."

"Yes," replied the manager, Mrs Freeman. "It was thought best. Any loans applied for in the area will be referred to you. I was told you will be bringing the local Police into this, in case there is any trouble. Good luck with DI Hardy, he's a bit of a hard case even since his return to work a few weeks ago. I can't see this sort of crime being his thing."

"Well, he'll have to be informed, I don't have the power to arrest anyone, just to catch them. My plan is to get them to sign for the loan and have the local Police standing by to arrest them. We'll know it's them by their descriptions and we've analysed their signatures, the writing is the same, just different names. I have all the paperwork with me, they've used four different names with us so far, all fairly small amounts, nothing over £10.000. I don't know how much they've got from other banks, it's not our concern but we want them stopped as soon as possible."

She'd had all the loan agreements scanned onto computer to easily see similarities when needed, she would just have to get them to sign, match the signatures and send an instant message to the Police, if this Hardy knew how to even use instant messaging and just keep them talking until the Police arrived. It was going to take his co-operation if she could get it but head office had already cleared it with his superior. Now she just had to go and meet him to get him to go along.

Leaving the bank, she went into a café and called the Police station and asked to speak to Hardy.

His gruff voice greeted her when she introduced herself. "Yes, I was told to expect you, I'm in my office if you want to come down although I don't know exactly how you want to do this, I don't have time to stand around waiting for people taking out fraudulent loans."

Rose wasn't expecting him to. "Thanks, I'll be there in about half an hour and I can assure you, you won't be waiting around all the time."

Rose finished her coffee and made her way to the Police station, being shown to Hardy's office having being given a visitor's pass. He never even bothered getting up when she was shown in, he just pointed to the leather sofa by the glass partition. He had thought this was not a job for local Police but his chief had told him it was only small scale so far and they didn't want it to escalate on their territory. Plus, it would be another feather in his cap if he was the one to catch whoever was behind this.

Hardy was not however going to make it easy, he would only apply the minimum effort even if they had sent a young blonde who didn't look old enough to be a trouble-shooter.

Rose outlined her plan, trying not to make it sound like she didn't expect him to be able to use modern ways of communication. She showed him how to connect to her messenger account and added him onto her list, everyone else was blocked out apart from those allowed and showed him the examples she had of the fraudulent loan applications.

"Looks to me like they have a good thing going on here, why has it taken your bank to put up more of a fight? Haven't the fraud squad been involved?"

"With other banks yes but they've just started with ours, they've had tens of thousands of pounds from other banks, we don't intend to let it go that far. I have an excellent record of turning down loans and judging people, that's why I've been sent down here. Anyone in this area who fits the description will be referred to me. Hopefully it will put a stop to them."

Hardy was thinking she had better be as good as she was made out to be. He didn't want to be wasting his time waiting for her messages. Even when he saw her in the hotel later that evening, he resisted the urge to go sit with her. Rose thought he might have at least said hello to her or ask if he could buy her a drink but perhaps it was best if they kept it professional.

Rose started work the following day, an office was found for her and she had to at least keep up the pretence of being an assistant manager, a job she had previously held so it wasn't that difficult, just overseeing staff when the manager herself wasn't around and since they had no-one specialised in loans, she got the odd one or two applications in branch and tons referred via online forms but nothing matched the criteria she was watching for.

Rose even tried once or twice to say hello to the detective in the hotel but he just grunted an hello back. She thought he must have a girlfriend already since he wasn't interested or maybe he had taken up with the hotel owner. She was called out to a branch in Poole, when a couple had made an appointment for a loan interview but it turned out to be a false alarm and she was hoping it was anyway since she didn't think Hardy would appreciate being called down there or him informing the Police there.

Why they had chosen Broadchurch, she didn't know, maybe because it was infamous or maybe someone was playing a cruel joke on Hardy himself, she was soon going to find out. After two weeks of nothing, Hardy was getting irritated, seeing this woman every morning and evening who was clearly avoiding him which was why he was doing the same. She called back into his office a few times, progress reports that nothing was happening.

"This is a complete waste of time Miss Tyler, I would have thought they would have turned up by now, even if not in Broadchurch itself. Maybe they've given up or gone onto another bank? Maybe they'll apply online for one?" Hardy asked one time.

"No, I would have heard about it if they have. We think they enjoy the challenge of passing all the tests face to face. My bank will give me another two weeks, then I'll have to return to London and see if they turn up somewhere else. They may be laying low for a while. Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, go ahead."

"I've been in the same hotel as you for the past few weeks and we've not got past the occasional 'hello' stage. Any reason?"

"Not particularly. Is there any reason to say more?"

"Guess not." 

That put paid to that then, he had a girlfriend or he was not interested in her.

"Was there anything else Miss Tyler. If not, I'm rather busy."

"So am I," she thought. In other words, she was making things difficult for him. "Thanks for your time, Detective Inspector."

Hardy was not falling for that one. Becca Fisher had led him on and let him down and Rose Tyler was no different. She was only here until she caught those responsible then she would be gone.

Rose went back to work, wondering who had upset him at one point, maybe the hotel owner had turned him down. Two days later, she had a breakthrough. An appointment was made for a couple wanting a home improvement loan, one of the previous applications had been made in that guise so it was set up. Loans were never instantly approved and the culprits always insisted on having funds transferred to some building society or other, claiming the rates there were too high.

Rose alerted DI Hardy that the appointment had been set up and would contact him if she thought she had the right people. She was going to try to make it difficult for if it was them by having them come back, alert Hardy and insist she couldn't approve it without additional checks being made, new bank rules. Rose didn't quite understand how they had got away with it so far, they had been clever and knew all the tricks.

The following day, Rose greeted a young couple and knew instantly she had the right pair. She just had to make this look good as they filled out the application and Rose entered it online. It of course came up as pending approval and the couple were told they would be contacted in a few days, giving Rose time to set the whole thing up with Hardy.

Rose called him and said once she called them back and they signed the final agreement, she would send him a message they were still there and inform the branch manager he was to be sent to her office.

Her plan was about to backfire on her though. The couple were called back and shown into Rose's office and Rose approved their loan, asking them to sign and carefully, without them realising, comparing the signatures although the names were different, she could see they were the same writing so she sent a message to Hardy, asking him to come to her office now.

"So, Mr & Mrs Jenkins," the name they had used this time. "I just have one more check to make, would you like some tea or coffee while I complete it?"

The man spoke up. "Well we were in a bit of a hurry actually, we have another appointment. Can we get this done as soon as possible. Can you just have the money transferred?"

Rose thought she had aroused their suspicions. She'd had a message back from Hardy to say for her to keep them talking, he and two uniformed officers were on their way. Then all she had to do was get up and signal Hardy from her office door – easy. So she thought.

The woman got up and Rose thought she was leaving until she heard the door lock from the inside. 

"You're going to approve that loan Miss Tyler, now."

Rose got up but the man brought out a small revolver from his inside jacket pocket. She had never heard of the pair being violent before but there again, they had always got what the wanted. They were the modern day Bonnie and Clyde. She knew it would be five minutes or more before Hardy got there, she couldn't get out to warn him. She had one hope, if his instant messages were forwarded to his phone. She risked it and sent a blank one, hoping he would think there was something wrong.

"I'm not going to approve your loan, the police will be here in less than five minutes, you won't get out of this office."

"Won't we? After you Miss Tyler. If we can't get the loan, the bank will pay to get you back. We have a car waiting in the rear car park, we'll use the back exit, now move."

Rose reluctantly got up and the woman unlocked the door. The gun was pressed into her back as they walked down the corridor to the back of the bank. It was isolated from the rest of the offices, a coded lock on the door.

"Open it Miss Tyler."

Rose pressed in the code and the door opened. Employees often used it to get to their cars or for smoking breaks but no-one was around. She was nudged forward to a white car and Rose tried delaying them, giving Hardy time to see her office was empty and since she wasn't in the building or she hadn't been seeing going out the front way, he would figure she was out the back.

Rose walked as slowly as she could towards the car the woman indicated.

"Listen, if you let me go now, they'll just charge you with fraud, not kidnapping."

"Quiet, just get in the car." The woman remote unlocked the car and went to open the back door. "Get in," the man said, shoving the gun deeper into her back.

Rose tried desperately to delay getting in, pretending to choose the best way of climbing in but found herself being pushed and landing face down on the back seat and the woman getting in behind her, pulling her back up. The woman was now holding the gun to her side.

The man had been handed the keys and was getting into the driver's seat.

Meanwhile, Hardy had got two uniformed officers and was on his way up into the town, pulling up in the patrol car outside the bank. He asked for Miss Tyler's office and one of the assistants showed him the way but her office was empty and the door open. The assistant went to the other side of the desk.

"Miss Tyler's laptop is still on, with a loan application open, her work phone and her purse are still in here. There's an open blank instant message addressed to you DI Hardy."

He checked his phone, he had not heard the message tone, he wasn't used to this instant message lark. "Why would she send me a blank message?" Then it struck him. "She's in trouble. You, out back now, see if anyone is driving away in a car and you, get the patrol car in front of the car park exit, be quick."

The two officers rushed off. "Did you see Miss Tyler leaving?" he asked the assistant, who was staring blankly at him.

"No Sir, she had two people in with her, they had an appointment."

"Get me the address they gave from the loan application. It's probably false but it's all we've got."

Rose was being driven away, just as she saw the patrol car head towards the car park exit but the eagle-eyed officer had just seen a car come out so he followed it, radioing in that he was following a car and gave the registration number and that there were two women in the back.

Hardy was informed via the other officer with him. 

"Get another car here now, tell the officer to stay with them but don't get too close and don't make a move until I get there."

He knew Miss Tyler would not have gone with them, given a choice. They must have threatened her. Once the other car arrived, Hardy got in the front and listened to the Police radio telling them where the other patrol car was. About ten minutes later, the patrol car Hardy was in pulled up outside a farm building, the other patrol car was still there along with a white car.

Hardy got out. 

"Sir, two shots were fired and three people are inside that building, one was a man, who had a gun on a young woman and another woman. I drove in and he turned around and fired, shouting for me to back off."

"Right, I want a negotiator here now and inform the bank Miss Tyler has been taken hostage. Her mobile was left behind on her desk but find out if she had another one and get me the number."

Ten minutes after that, Hardy's phone rang. She had another mobile and since it wasn't in her office, they had assumed it was in her pocket and Hardy tried sending a message to see if anyone answered. He didn't want the kidnappers answering just yet.

Rose had been taken inside the farm building and told to sit on one of the wooden chairs. Her kidnappers had thought out their plan if they were challenged and she wondered if they had such a plan each place they had gone or if they thought at first she was onto them. There was only one door and she knew a Police car had followed them. The two people were near the door, not taking too much notice of her. Rose felt her own mobile vibrate in her pocket, she always kept it on silent. She risked sneaking it out and looked at it.

The message just said - We're working on getting you out – reply if you can then delete any messages. Hardy.

Rose risked a quick 'Okay' and replied.

Hardy was relieved she was able to answer. It meant they had not heard her phone, it must be on silent and he could communicate with her. The kidnappers were amateurs and hadn't tied her up. Good. The Police negotiator arrived with a loudspeaker and opened the dialogue which to Hardy's mind didn't seem to be going anywhere fast. The kidnappers demanded £10.000 ransom in return for Rose Tyler's safe return.

Hardy spoke with the negotiator. 

"Ask them for proof she's okay then have the chief call the bank, have them get the money together but not to deliver it yet until I say so."

The negotiator nodded. Rose was told to get up and the woman held the gun to her, opening the door.

"Here's the proof. If you want her to stay that way, get the money, you have two hours."

Hardy told the negotiator to tell them they would not get out if Miss Tyler was harmed.

"Then you'd better get that money here because we're not coming out until we have it. When it's delivered, we come out, we have a gun on her and you let us drive away or we'll shoot her. We'll drop her off somewhere, out in the countryside. You follow us and again, she'll be shot."

Hardy wondered that if they had been getting money from dozens of banks, what were they doing with it that they wanted more? Most of all, why they would resort to kidnapping when refused? Well they had picked on the wrong detective and most likely the wrong bank official. Once they were back inside, Hardy risked another message to Rose. He wanted to know if the bank would pay.

Rose replied with a yes. She just hoped that Hardy knew what he was doing and how many hostage situations he'd actually been in. She had just slipped her phone back in her pocket when the woman turned around.

"Will they pay up for you? Just how much are you worth? Maybe we should have asked for more. You should have just handed us the loan, it would have saved all this trouble."

Rose knew better than to answer them with clever remarks. She knew Hardy would do his job. She had disliked him but he was doing his best out there. Rose could have sworn she saw the top of a head outside the window near where she was sitting.

She got another message. Are they both still near the door?

Rose replied yes.

Hardy got on the phone to his chief. "Get someone out here with some tear gas, I have a plan. These are amateurs, they've left Miss Tyler untied, I can communicate via text with her, I can tell her to get down and they can throw the canisters to drive the other two out."

"Clever idea Alec but it will take some time, we don't keep anything like that here, it will have to come from Dorchester or Exeter."

"Well we only have two hours or less to get them the money. You'll have to speak to the bank, Miss Tyler said they will pay. Then we'll try and delay them leaving while you get the canisters here. Have the money here ten minutes before the deadline, I want to make them wait. If they do get the money, have a tracker put on it. If they leave their victim behind somewhere, I want to know where to find her. Fortunately, they haven't found her phone yet. They won't be suspicious since she left one on her desk. Can you have an officer collect her things from the bank and take them to the station?"

"I'll get on to it, have the money brought out but hopefully, we'll have what you want before then. What if they panic seeing more Police cars come in?"

"They'll think it's the money being delivered. I'll give Miss Tyler plenty of warning."

Hardy sat in the car, hoping the gas would get there before the money. He wanted to warn Miss Tyler what he had planned but if they found her phone before she could delete the message, his plan would fail. He did not intend failing her. He had recently reprieved himself after the case before but he was freshly back from medical leave and he didn't need this. He had planned on a few quiet months before the Christmas season was upon them, then he was going to take a trip home and see if he could find his daughter.

Inside, Rose was just sitting, turning slightly to look out of the window without giving anything away, just sitting with her legs crossed and seeing the window out of the corner of her eye. Maybe she had seen Hardy out there or he could have sent someone but it seemed like he had a plan. The clock was ticking, there was under two hours and if the bank did pay up, they would force her back into the car and dump her somewhere. They didn't seem like the killer type but who did? This was the first time they had threatened anyone.

Maybe her idea hadn't been so good after all. She should have sent for Hardy before they signed and then he would have been outside waiting for them. Now she had found herself being held hostage and being threatened. She thought about trying to send another message but she may get caught and her phone would be her lifeline if they took her with them. Besides, the phone battery wasn't that brilliant, sending a text took more power and she might need it to make a call later. She just hoped Hardy wouldn't keep sending messages when he didn't need to.

Hardy was getting impatient, he hated waiting for people to catch up with him. He wanted things doing at his speed. It would take maybe half an hour from Dorchester to get the gas here with officers trained to use it. If they came from Exeter, the best part of an hour if they rushed. He didn't think Miss Tyler was in immediate danger, not until it got to the deadline, then either the money or the gas went in, maybe both if the gas came after the money but before they left.

The kidnappers would probably keep a gun on her while they sent her to pick up the money so they couldn't rush the building so maybe, the best way was to wait until she came out, have officers around the back with the gas and throw the canisters through the window while she was out, the other officers would lead her to safety. Yes, he could live with that plan. He skirted the perimeter to tell the other officers his plan. They agreed with him, if the gas arrived in time.

He called his chief for an update, there was now less than an hour. The tear gas had been released to trained officers on their way from Exeter and would arrive with him in another thirty minutes. To minimize the risk to the hostage, Hardy asked for the money to be delivered in twenty five minutes but off site and the money transferred to the officers on their way from Exeter and for them to be briefed. They would still be within the limit. Then one officer would leave the money and while the kidnappers were being distracted by the negotiator, the rest would go around the back, watch for the hostage going out and throw the canisters in – that was if they sent her out. It was all resting on his assumption they would send her out to get the money. If not, he had to warn her to get down on the ground and hope she didn't get hurt by the window being broken.

Hardy saw another Police car in the distance, followed by a Police tactical unit van – good, the money was here. He didn't plan on letting them get away with it. He went over to join them and outlined his plan to the leader of the tactical team.

"Right, if they don't send the hostage out to collect the ransom money, I'll send her a message to get down and your team goes in. There is only one hostage, her name is Rose Tyler, she's got blonde hair and is wearing a black jacket and black trousers and probably a bank name badge. There are two kidnappers, one male, one female, don't let the other female fool you into thinking she is a hostage. I can identify Miss Tyler if there is any confusion and she was sat on a chair at the side of the window so be careful you don't injure her."

The team leader nodded curtly and briefed his team. There were ten minutes left until the deadline and things were going on the kidnappers were not aware of. Rose was still sitting quietly, not wanting to aggravate her captors. She was dying for a drink. Then she heard the loudspeaker come to life.

"You in the building, we have your money."

At the same time, Hardy sent a message – When you come out, pick up the money then lie flat on the ground.

Rose could hear her captors talking in low voices. She received another message from Hardy and just hoped her low battery indicator on her phone wouldn't start making a noise. Then the woman came towards her. "You, go out there are pick up the money and bring it back. No tricks, the gun will be pointed at your back. You try to run or any sudden movements, I'll shoot. Understood?"


Rose got up and waited until the woman unlocked the door.

"We'll be watching you." Then the woman opened the door enough for Rose to get through and shouted to the Police, "We're sending the hostage out for the money. Anyone comes near her, we start shooting, starting with her."

Hardy turned to the negotiator. "Tell them if the hostage is harmed, they will not get out of there."

The message was relayed. Hardy received word the tactical team were in place, they had circumvented the perimeter while the kidnappers were occupied, just has Hardy had planned. He was going to get the hostage away while the tactical team attacked through the window. He just had to send one word to the team leader when she picked up the package a few feet from the door. He could see a woman inside holding a gun pointing at Miss Tyler.

Rose walked out of the door, praying her phone wouldn't give her away. She could see a dozen or so Police standing around and saw Hardy with his arms folded, leaning on an open car door, probably getting ready to duck if there was any shooting and she saw armed Police officers then she reached a package on the ground. As she bent to pick it up, Hardy spoke one word into the radio tucked under his arm.


Rose dived to the floor and there was a loud bang at the rear of the building. The woman holding the gun turned around and Rose saw her chance. She scrambled to her feet as an officer wearing protective clothing ran towards her, helping her up and standing behind her to protect her but her captors were being kept busy inside as tear gas filled the room and Hardy saw a gun drop to the floor.

Rose was led to a waiting ambulance just out of sight and Hardy followed. 

"Someone pick up the money and get it back to the bank."

A WPC said "Yes Sir" and went to retrieve it.

Hardy reached the ambulance as Rose was being checked out and being given a warm drink. 

"Are you alright Miss Tyler?"

"Yes, I'm fine, thanks for the rescue." 

She finished her drink.

"I'll escort you back to the station and you can give us your statement."

Inside the building, the choking kidnappers were being handcuffed and led out into another waiting Police car and driven away.

Hardy led Rose to another car and opened the rear passenger door for her. 

"You were very brave back there, do you make a habit of being kidnapped?"

Rose smiled. "No, my first and hopefully my last."

"Your personal belongings are at the station, no need to go back to your office today. We'll need all the evidence from the loan applications tomorrow and we'll be adding kidnapping charges to the list. I'll just need to ask you a few questions then I'll have someone take you back to your hotel."

Chapter 2

The ride back to Broadchurch was silent, Rose just thankful to be out of danger. Rose was led into an interview room and her purse and other things were brought in and signed for them. Hardy asked her to recall the events leading up to the Police car following them out to the farm.

"You seem to have coped very well. I hope your bank appreciates all you went through. Someone has called them to tell them we have the fraudsters in custody, they will be sending us all the information, there's no need for you to do anything. We will need you to testify at any court hearings, including the kidnapping. You'll be informed when it takes place."

"Thanks, can I go now, I'm starving, I sort of missed lunch today."

Hardy smiled. "Allow me to buy you a late lunch then, we can get something just across the harbour."

Rose got up and put her coat on, thankful someone had retrieved it from her office. They walked down the steps and around the harbour to the café and waited for their meals.

"So, will you be going back to London now Miss Tyler?"

"Please, call me Rose. Yes, I'll have a few things to finish off tomorrow then I'll go back to London on Saturday."

"Rose," Hardy pondered. "Rose, nice name, it suits you."

Rose smiled. "Thanks and it's Alec isn't it?"

"I never really liked the name Alec, everyone just calls me Hardy or hey you."

Rose let out a giggle as their food arrived. She could think of a few names but non were repeatable in public.

After they finished, Rose said she would get a taxi back to the hotel. 

"I'll go collect my car and take you back. All part of the service."

Rose doubted that, detective inspectors did not see victims home or to their hotels. Still, she didn't want to go back yet anyway. It was going on for four in the afternoon as Rose waited outside the Police station for Hardy to come around from the Police garage to pick her up. Driving back up to the hotel, Hardy decided now her job was over, they could be friends.

Once inside the hotel he stopped her at the foot of the stairs. 

"So, can I take you out to dinner later Rose?" he asked hopefully. "Say seven thirty? I'll meet you down here."

Rose pretended to consider his offer. "Ok then, seven thirty but I can't stay out late, I have to go back to work in the morning."

That agreed, they climbed the stairs to their rooms, Rose with a smile on her face, her first date in years and Hardy asking a woman out for the first time since his divorce. If Rose Tyler had done her homework, which he suspected she had done, she would know his story so there would be no explaining to do. It was just a pity he had to go leave it until the day before her last day in Broadchurch. Just his luck. Maybe she could be persuaded to stay until Sunday but what then?

Rose went to her room to get a shower and get changed from her ordeal, leaving her mobile to charge. She wasn't really in the mood for going out but she could hardly refuse, the man had just organised her rescue, it was the least she could do to thank him. She had seen him the last few weeks and he'd never shown the slightest interest in her and now she was getting ready to leave, he asks her out to dinner. He was certainly a strange one.

They met downstairs and got into Hardy's car, him driving them just outside town to a village pub and over their meal, Rose told him a bit about herself, having her own apartment in London in St John's Wood and making a point she lived near the famous Abbey Road. She said she had a well paid job that enabled her to afford to live there, she lived alone and her mother still lived where she had brought Rose up on her own, her not wanting to leave because she had lots of friends and relatives there.

"Well, I guess you know all about me, since it was in all the newspapers after my last case."

Rose nodded. "You almost died didn't you?"

Hardy didn't reply. He had given an exclusive interview to the local press on the premise that they left it until the case was solved and they had kept their word. He had also revealed that he was not the one responsible for another case falling apart and the truth had come out, him being cleared of any wrongdoing but it hadn't made things right again, not in his mind.

They had a few drinks, Hardy drinking non-alcoholic but Rose opting for something stronger after what she had just been through. They drove back to the hotel and Hardy walked Rose to her room.

"Thanks for taking me out, I had a nice time." She reached up to kiss his cheek. "And thanks for rescuing me." 

She reached into her purse to get her key.

Hardy put his hand on her arm. He was going to take a gamble. 

"Rose, is it asking too much of you to spend some time in my room with me?"

Rose stopped and looked at him. 

"No, it's not but we can go into my room since we're already here."

She opened the door and he followed her in, helping her off with her coat. She knew she wasn't staying beyond the following night and it had been a long time since she had been with a man, having tossed her ex out ages ago. She had never really found anyone else. Hardy moved to put his arms around her and moved up close to her. He liked her perfume and the scent from her shampoo. Then he kissed her gently on her lips, waiting for her response. He was out of practice but sure it would all come back to him when needed.

It did as Rose kissed him back, the kiss deepening until she felt herself on her tiptoes and her arms around his neck as he pressed closer to her. Before they both knew it, clothes were being thrown onto the floor and on the back of chairs until they only had one piece of clothing each left as they kissed their way under the welcoming duvet, Rose sinking down onto the mattress under Hardy's weight. Rose had thought how slim he was but it was all lean muscle, he was well toned in all the right places.

Rose had her hand on the waistband of his boxer shorts but he grabbed hold of it, pulling her hand away.

"In a rush are we?" he teased, nipping at her uncovered upper half.

Rose giggled. He liked it when she giggled, just as she had at lunch earlier. He loved the way she smiled, poking her tongue out teasingly, he had resisted the urge since she had first arrived in the hotel, then he had found out he would be working with her and after the disaster of working with his ex-wife, he had learned his lesson but now, it was over. They were no longer working together even though she had been a victim, there was no law that said he had to keep away from her.

He kissed all the way across her upper body, slowly that Rose was making soft noises of delight under him as he occasionally licked instead of kissing, which made her giggle again. He had a wicked smile on his face, it had been far too long, his ex wife had spurned him long before their divorce but here was this young, beautiful blonde woman, moaning at his touch. He wondered what she would be like if he went further down. He decided there was only one way of finding out as he started kissing lower down, across her tummy down to the waistband of her lacy panties, the last piece of material stopping him reaching his ultimate goal. He wanted to make her call his name as he made love to her.

He had long since given up any hope of being fully with a woman again, even though he was well again, he had put it off, not daring to test himself for fear of women laughing at him if he wasn't yet up to the task of satisfying them. He just hoped Rose wasn't like any other woman. He slowly made his way down, moving the offending article out of his way, Rose making sighing noises as she whispered 'Mmm' softly and ruffled his hair with one hand and the other on his back. Then he felt her hand move down and under the waistband of his boxers and his smile broadened. It seemed she didn't give up that easily as he felt her hand on his behind then a few seconds later, her other hand had left his hair and had joined her other one until he felt his boxers being eased down slowly, bit by bit.

That was his cue, she was not getting away with that as kneeling over her, he inched his fingers under the waistband of her underwear, following it down with kisses until the article was most of the way down. Before long, they both gave in to their desires as their remaining clothing was tossed over the headboard and Alec Hardy asked her if she wanted him.

Rose was wondering if he was kidding. Of course she wanted him, no woman in their right mind would turn him down, it was only for one or two nights but she was going to enjoy herself.

To reassure him she whispered, "I want you Alec."

He just had time to ask about protection before she replied not to worry about that. All his worries about him not being fit enough were forgotten as he lay with Rose afterwards, she was sprawled out across him, her fingers playing with his ear and his beard, her other arm underneath him somewhere as he kissed her shoulder and her neck and anywhere else he could reach without disturbing her from moving off of him.

He whispered her name. "Rose, was that okay?"

Rose tried to look up at him. Now he was kidding. 

"Why are you even asking? You mean you don't know? Wouldn't I have kicked you out by now otherwise? It was fantastic, you were amazing. If anyone wasn't okay it was me, it's been a while, I was a bit nervous."

"I would never have guessed. It's been a while for me as well."

Rose giggled again, she would never have known. 

"Rose, it's rude to giggle when a man tells you that," he joked. "You could make me feel inadequate."

Rose did look up this time, freeing her other arm and propping herself up by leaning on his arm. Alec brushed her hair from her eyes. 

"I was only joking Rose. Seriously, this is my first time since my operation, I wasn't sure I could even go that far. I never dared but I knew I wanted to try again, with you."

Rose smiled. "I'm honoured then."

She moved her hand from his ear and ran her fingers through the hairs on his chest. Alec had hold of her arm and steered her hand lower down. Instead, Rose leaned down and kissed him across his belly, making him squirm. He wasn't joking, she thought it had been a while for him. She settled down on him again, her arms now around his neck and laying her head on his chest.

"Rose, do you have to go back on Saturday? Can't you stay until Sunday?"

"Well, I suppose I could say I deserve an extra day off, for what I've just been through. Although I can't tell them it's because I want to thank the man who saved me properly."

She reached up until she could meet his lips, moving up with a little help as they kissed deeply again. They fell asleep, waking to the sound of the alarm on her phone, Alec reaching it first and struggling to see to turn it off. He eventually silence the offending object and smiled at Rose who was just stirring.

"Morning sleepy, did I wake you?" he asked, kissing her forehead that was covered in hair and trying to get it out of his mouth.

Rose smiled. "I have to get ready for work and no you didn't wake me, the alarm did." She reached up to kiss him. "Morning Detective Inspector sexy, I trust you slept well."

"Apart from a numb arm that was under you most of the night anyway. Not that I object." 

He pulled his dead arm from under her and reached across her to rub it.

"Do you want me to kiss it better for you Alec?" she offered helpfully.

"If I had the time yes, that would be nice but I have to go to work as well."

He wriggled from under her and lifted his legs out of bed, reaching for his boxers that he spied on the headboard, trying to remember if he threw them or if Rose did. Pulling them on, he got up and reached over to retrieve her underwear which landed on her. Rose was smiling, admiring his cute behind thinking it was a pity he had got up after he had pulled his boxers up. Still, with any luck there was always tomorrow morning. After sitting together at breakfast, to Becca Fisher's amusement since the two of them had been avoiding each other for weeks, they agreed to meet up there for dinner then have a few drinks. Before they parted, Alec gave Rose his personal mobile number.

Rose went in to see the bank manager, giving a full report of the events and her ordeal and learning the ransom money had been returned safely then getting on the phone to her immediate boss at head office and saying she wanted Monday off. He agreed with her, saying they would forward copies of the paperwork to the Broadchurch Police department and Rose was to fax a copy of the latest agreement to them and send the original to head office. She went to say goodbye to the branch manager and the staff, who had been let in on the charade after Rose had been taken hostage. They were all glad to see she was alright.

She sent a text to Alec, asking if he was free for lunch and he sent one back saying he would make time. All he had to do was contact the other banks money had been obtained from and advise then to go to the fraud squad again saying those behind it had been caught but with a kidnapping and using threatening behaviour charge over their heads, his chief had to take on the responsibility of pursuing that. If Rose still had plans to leave, she would have to come back for any court appearances.

The two of them spent the weekend together, going out on Saturday night, Friday night they had spent in the hotel and going to his room, Alec being surprised she still wanted to be with him. It seemed she was either grateful for him rescuing her or she really liked him. He hoped it was the latter. By Sunday morning, it was becoming apparent, well at least to him, that he had become attached to her. She was the only woman he'd felt completely at ease with in a long time.

Rose could feel herself beginning to like being with him. He made her feel things she had never experienced before and she liked it but she had to go back to London whether she liked it or not, she couldn't get any more time off without booking a holiday and she wanted to save those. As they woke up, Rose was leaving the following morning, Alec didn't want to let her go. There again, he didn't want to scare her away by asking too much like if she liked him or not, well really liked him – enough to stay or at least say she would come back. She would be gone after breakfast on Monday and he didn't like it.

After lazing around in bed, Alec suggested they go down to Weymouth for the day, Rose wanted to get a present for her mother and have a look around the shops, it was well into November and she was looking for something different for Christmas and thought she may as well start early. Walking around hand in hand, stopping for lunch, even though it was cold they walked along the seafront, Alec then had his arm around her as they talked on the way back and made their way to the car. Getting warmed up with the car heater, they set off back and it was then he decided to ask her – was there any chance he would see her again.

Rose didn't know the answer and she was having a really good time with him. When they got back, they went to her room since she had her packing to do and Alec was trying to distract her by picking up a pair of her lacy panties.

"Can I keep these to remind me of you?"

Rose smiled. "I don't think they're your size Alec but you're welcome to try them on, I'd watch."

Alec laughed. He was going to miss her. 

"Any chance I can persuade you to stay?"

Rose stopped and went up to him, putting her arms around him. 

"Alec, I have an apartment and a job to go back to, I can't."

"But do you want to?" 

He steered her towards the bed after undressing her.

Rose looked up at him from where she was now laid. She was on her back, arms around his neck as he was tracing his finger on her tummy.

"Answer me Rose, do you want to stay here, with me?"

She did but she knew it was impossible. She had a job, a nice apartment that had taken her years to be able to afford and he was wanting her to give it up. She couldn't give him the answer he wanted to hear.

"Alec, the last few days, they've been really nice but I can't give everything up, just like that. I'm not saying never but I can't, not now."

Alec got up, leaning on his elbow so his face was directly over hers. He could see in her eyes she wanted to stay. He needed to give her time to think about it.

"Rose, you'll have to come back, when your abductors appear in court. Come back and stay here with me and I'll find a place to rent. I'll come up and collect you for the court appearance, book some time off and see if you want to stay. If you don't I'll take you back."

Rose could not disagree. "Okay, I still have to go tomorrow though. I'll come back and stay with you when I have to go to the court."

Alec leaned down and kissed her again. 

"That's all I ask Rose."

After they made love again, Rose fell asleep, Alec staying awake making hurried plans. He would go to the letting agency in the morning, get things hurried through and rent a place so Rose could come back. He wouldn't have to go through the normal checks with being in the Police, it was just a matter of finding something she would like. He would get a holiday let if he had to.

The next morning, they made love for the last time and Alec got out of bed, purposely delaying pulling his boxers up which encouraged Rose to move and reach out to tap him which made him smile. He helped her down with her luggage after breakfast and walked around to the car park with her, getting her home address again and telling her to call him when she got back. They kissed goodbye and Rose drove off, having to stop when she was out of sight, tears falling down her face.

When she finally got back home, her mother was waiting, Rose having stopped and asking her to get some groceries for her. She thought of how to break it to her gently that she might be moving away.

"The thing is Mum, I met someone while I was there, the detective I was working with and since I have to go back to give evidence, he asked me to stay with him."

"Well if that's what you want to do Rose, I can't stop you but you're giving a lot up. What about work?"

"I can work from anywhere really, it doesn't have to be from head office. They found space for me while I was down there, they can set me up there again. I still don't know if I'll stay. He was in the same hotel as I was, he said he'd look for a place to rent."

Rose called Alec to let him know she had arrived home safely and they talked for over an hour, Rose couldn't remember half of what they said, it was all over nothing. Alec was busy the rest of the day, passing evidence in the case and co-ordinating to have the hearing at the same place and time to include the kidnapping charges. By the end of the day, despite having to go back to an empty hotel room, he had achieved most of his goals and registered with the letting agency.


Two weeks later, Rose was sitting in her office on Thursday afternoon, wondering why every time she had spoken with Alec, she had not heard when she was due to go to the court, when her intercom went and the secretary informed her she had a visitor.

"Who is it?" she asked, as she had no appointments as far as she knew.

"Detective Inspector Hardy from Broadchurch Police."

Alec was here, in the outer office. He had travelled over 100 miles to come and see her or to take her to the court hearing but she didn't care. Alec was shown in and as soon as the door closed, they were kissing, making up for being apart for two weeks. He had decided to surprise her by coming up in person rather than have someone call her. She left work early, saying she was going down to Exeter for the court hearing which was true but it wasn't until Monday, she would have the whole weekend with Alec.

She directed Alec to her apartment, showing him the famous crossing The Beatles had used and called her mother for her to come and meet him. She showed him around London for two days and they drove back to Broadchurch on Sunday morning, pulling up outside a row of houses that led onto the beach and Rose unpacked her things, loving the view from the main bedroom window.

"How did you manage to get this Alec, it must be expensive."

"Well, it's really not that bad compared with staying in the hotel. I get a housing allowance since I'm away from home so they were quite happy for me to move out and get a place of my own and since it's the middle of winter, I got a good deal on the place." 

He had settled for a furnished holiday home because it was ready to move in to.

"Well it's lovely and cosy Alec, I like it."

"I set the timer on the heating for it to come on before we got back. So do you like the house then?"

Rose looked across at the sea from the bedroom window, it was perfect. She had to seriously think about this now. She knew he had chosen it deliberately and she would find it hard to resist. There was only a few weeks until Christmas, a holiday she had always spent with her mother and relatives and maybe this year, she could spend it with Alec, in Broadchurch and wake up on Christmas morning looking out at the sea.

"I love it, you're going to make it difficult for me to leave."

"That was the idea. So, will you think about staying now?"

"Alec, I am thinking about it but how long are you willing to wait?"

"As long as it takes Rose." He put his arms around her as they looked out. "Did I ever tell you I hate being on the water?"

Rose broke her hold on him for a moment. 

"No, you didn't. So why move here?"

"For you, I wanted to give you a reason to stay. I can live with the view, as long as I'm not actually on the water for too long, it gives me a panic attack."

Rose took hold of him again. "You got this for me? So I would stay?" 

She reached up to kiss him.

"You didn't have to do this, I would have been happy anywhere, I never said I wouldn't think about coming back, it's just a lot to think about."

"Well, you have until next weekend to decide, we'll be in court from tomorrow. Just don't tell anyone there you're staying with me." He reached down to kiss her again. "Come on, we'll walk over to the café and then we'll go shopping."

Alec ferried her to the court in Exeter over the next few days, giving her description of how things had gone and the abduction. By Thursday, she was no longer required in court but Alec was so she stayed behind on Friday, walking up into the town and buying some soft furnishings like extra cushions and a new bedside lamp and had everything set out when he came back. New pictures hanging on the wall and a mirror in the doorway, Alec liked the 'homey' look and they had dinner, which Rose had cooked for them, complete with candles and some white lights she had bought strung from the picture rail that went around the room.

"You did all this today?" Alec asked as they ate. "I definitely need you here Rose. We're finished in court, it's all over, they got five years each for your kidnapping and an undisclosed sentence for fraud, they won't be taking out any more loans for a good while. There's just a few weeks to Christmas, spend it here, with me then I'll go back to London with you for the New Year, go to Trafalgar Square or whatever you do."

Then he put his knife and fork down on his empty plate and got up, switching the CD Player on, a CD he had chosen while she was in the kitchen. It was playing 'Moonlight Serenade' by Glen Miller, he liked the music from the forties. They danced by the candlelight and the light from the fairy lights and he held her close. Then he dipped her low, bringing her back up as he whispered in her ear, "I love you Rose."

Rose stopped dead, her arms around his shoulders, looking into his brown eyes and she knew then, she wanted to stay. 

"I love too Alec."

After dancing some more, including a few lively tunes, they cleared the dishes and curled up on the sofa, watching TV. Rose had forgotten something else she had bought and got up. A silver picture frame.

"What are you going to do with that?" he asked.

"Tomorrow, we'll go onto the beach, take a photo then go up into town and get it printed out, then we'll put it on the shelf."

"Don't you want to take it back with you?"

"Why? I'll be coming back."

Alec turned off the TV, made sure the door was locked, turned out the fairy lights and lifted her up, carrying her upstairs to what was to become their bedroom, Rose blowing out the candles. As he put her down, Rose wanted to leave the curtains open, the moon was reflecting off the sea. So leaving the light out, Alec undressed Rose by the moonlight and lay her on the bed, watching her then getting himself undressed.

Crawling beneath the duvet he whispered, "I knew you would."

The next morning, the first thing after snuggling back next to Alec, Rose wanted to look out of the window. 

"I'll never get tired of this Alec," she said, as he came up behind her and put his arms around her waist. 

She had put on a pair of white cotton panties and his white t-shirt and he lifted the hem to put his hands next to her skin.

"Morning my sexy DI," Rose said, turning herself around to kiss him.

"Rose, you look beautiful as always. Why don't you get dressed and I'll make us some breakfast?"

She managed to let him go and after breakfast, they braved the cold to stand near the cliffs to take a photo together, both laughing as Alec turned and Rose caught the side of his face, Alec with his lips halfway to a kiss. Alec said he must buy a printer for his laptop then next time they could print their own photos. Rose said if she was going to move here, she was going to need one.

They made plans that Rose was going to go back by train the next day, it was too far for Alec to drive there and back and pack all her clothes and personal belongings, give notice on her apartment and the following weekend, she would drive back down to Broadchurch and take leave if she needed to although she hoped her boss would let her work out of the Broadchurch office. She had Christmas and the New Year off anyway.

Rose's mother was disappointed she wouldn't be spending Christmas in London but Rose said they would be back for the New Year, she would keep the key for her apartment until it was time to hand it in and they would stay there for the New Year and bring all her things down she needed, the house was quite small and they wouldn't need a lot of it but they would sort things out.

Alec saw her off at the train station, kissing goodbye to the stares of other passengers as she got on and leaned out of the door to kiss him one last time. She missed him once she got back but there was plenty to do, although she didn't wait a week, she persuaded her boss to give her two days moving time. She thought she would surprise Alec and be waiting for him when he got home on Thursday night but she was in for a shock when he came home.

She had the candles lit, dinner was almost ready just after six and she heard the door open. She had left her car across in the public car park just a few minutes earlier, it was free until the next morning and it had only taken a few moments for her to move it and get back inside. She heard talking, a woman's voice as Rose expected Alec coming in, a woman with short brown curly hair came in first, looked around and saw the candles then saw Rose, with her mouth open as Alec followed the woman in.

The woman turned to Alec, who had not seen Rose and was closing the door. 

"Alec, you have company."

Alec moved past the woman and came up to Rose, holding his arms out and sweeping her up in them, leaning down to kiss her despite someone else being in the room. Rose didn't kiss him back.

"You're early darlin', why didn't you call me?" he asked, letting her go and switching the back light on.

"Why, to warn you?" Rose replied, looking at the woman. 

What did that woman have that she hadn't, why would Alec go elsewhere when he knew she was coming back?

"Rose, don't you recognise her? This is Ellie Miller, she used to be my DS who worked with me on the Latimer case."

Then Rose realised who it was and that she had made a fool of herself. 


She put her arms around him and looked up at him. 

"I thought I would surprise you, I have dinner almost ready."

"Rose, it's okay, Ellie was helping me arrange a surprise for you as well. Ellie, you may as well go out to your car and get it. Where's your car Rose?"

"I moved it so you wouldn't see it and since you didn't have to come past the window, I thought you wouldn't see the candlelight at the back."

"Rose, I am surprised, I'm really glad you got away early. Have you unpacked?"

"Yeah, did it when I put dinner on. Is your friend staying?"

"No, she has to get back for her babysitter."

The door opened again. "Alec, a little help please if you don't mind," came Ellie's voice.

Alec went to the door and came back with a large dog bed and Rose stared at him. He was followed by Ellie, carrying a large pet carrier. Rose was curious and thought he had bought a cat but as she got nearer she saw it was a puppy. It was the most adorable thing (apart from Alec) that she had ever seen. A beagle puppy, brown with large white patches was staring at her through the grill of carrier.

Ellie put the carrier down and opened the door and the puppy ventured out. 

"Don't worry, he's house-trained Rose, Alec told me all about you, he wanted to surprise you when you came down on Saturday and wanted the puppy to settle in. His name is Jasper, he's eight weeks old. My friend breeds them."

"I was going to get one for you, for Christmas Rose but I wanted him to settle down. I know we're going up to London for the New Year and if you're not allowed pets in your apartment there, Ellie said she would have him for a few days."

Rose was speechless as the puppy came up to her and put his front paws on her for her to pick him up. She scooped the dog into her arms and Jasper happily licked her. Alec stood next to her, putting one arm around her waist and the other hand stroking the dog, who had settled down.

"He's been fed but Alec has food and stuff in his car, I just happened to arrive at the same time as he did."

Alec let go and retrieved his car keys. 

"I'll go get those things." He picked up Rose's keys as well from the shelf. "I'll move your car when Ellie leaves. Have you not get anything to say Sweetheart? It's not like you to be quiet." 

He smiled at her and kissed her cheek.

"Thanks, I'm always quiet," Rose managed, stroking the dog who was now moving his head. She put the dog down and he followed Alec to the door.

"Looks like he knows who the boss is around here," Ellie laughed, referring to the dog, looking at the closed door.

Rose could only reply, "That's what he thinks," referring to Alec Hardy.

The End!