Cop-turned-lawyer Stone Barrington tracks a mobster hiding deep within the witness protection program in this new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series-with a little help from beautiful Florida police chief Holly Barker.
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December 12, 2004
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Excerpt from Reckless Abandon (Stone Barrington Series: #10) by Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington had just walked through the door when his cell phone vibrated in his jacket pocket. He dug it out, while Gianni led him back to his usual table. Dino wasn't there yet.
"Stone?" An unfamiliar female voice.
"It's Holly Barker."
It took only a nanosecond for Stone to display her image on the inside of his eyelidsýtall, light brown hair, sun-streaked, well put together, badge. "Hello, Chief, how are you?"
"How can I help?"
"I'm in a taxi, and I don't know where to tell the driver to take me. Can you recommend a good hotel, not too expensive?" "In what city?"
"In New York. I'm headed for the Midtown Tunnel, I think."
"Why don't you stay at my house? There's a guest room."
"I have a friend with me."
"Male or female?"
"My secretary is there right now, working late. I'll call and tell her to expect you." He gave her his Turtle Bay address. "There are three guest roomsýtwo with king beds and one with twins, all on the top floor. You choose."
"Are you sure? I don't want to put you to any trouble."
"No trouble at all. That's what the guest rooms are for."
"When will I see you?"
"Have you had dinner?"
"Drop your luggage, freshen up, and meet me at Elaine'sýSecond Avenue, between Eighty-eighth and Eighty-ninth."
"Sounds great. We're at the tunnel now. How long should it take me?"
"If you're quick, half an hour, but you're a woman . . ."
"Half an hour it is, and don't ever put a 'but' in front of that statement." She hung up.
Gianni put a Knob Creek on the rocks in front of him, and Stone took a sip. "Better get him something, too," Stone said, pointing at Dino, his partner when he had been an NYPD detective. Dino spoke to a couple of people at the front tables, then came back and pulled up a chair. His drink had already arrived.
"How you doing?" Dino asked.
"Not bad. You?"
"The same. You're looking thoughtful."
"I was just trying to remember everything about my trip to Vero Beach, Florida, last year, when I was picking up my Malibu at the Piper factory."
"I was in a bank in the next town, a place called Orchid Beach, getting a cashier's check to pay for the airplane, when a bunch of guys wearing masks walked in and stuck the place up."
"Oh yeah, you told me about that. They shot a guy, didn't they?"
"Yes. A lawyer with a funny nameýOxblood, or something like that."
"How did you remember that?"
Dino tapped his temple. "I do The New York Times crossword every day. Calisthenics for the brain."
"Funny, it doesn't seem to have muscled up."
"I remembered the name, didn't I? While your brain has apparently turned to mush. Why were you thinking about the bank robbery?"
"Not the robbery so much, the woman."
"Ah, now we're getting to the nub of things. I'll bite. What woman?"
"She's the chief of police down there, name of Holly Barker. She was supposed to marry Oxenhandler that very day. I met her at the police station."
Copyright ý 2004 by Stusrt Woods