In The Short Forever, the unflappable Stone Barrington flies to London to see a client he's never met-and comes face to face with two, possibly three, murders and the affectionate attentions of two former lovers. And when the intelligence services of three countries become involved, he can only hang on for a wild ride-and hope for a not-too-bumpy landing.
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May 16, 2005
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Excerpt from The Short Forever (Stone Barrington Series: #8) by Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington sipped his third Wild Turkey and resisted the basket of hot sourdough bread that the waiter had just placed on the table. Callie was to have been there an hour and a half ago, and he was very, very hungry. She'd called from the airport to say that she was on the ground and on her way, but that had been an hour ago. It just didn't take that long to get to Elaine's from Teterboro Airport, where her boss's jet landed. He glanced at his watch: He'd give her another three minutes, and then he was ordering.
He had been looking forward to seeing her. They'd spent some very pleasant time together in Palm Beach a few months before, on the yacht of his client Thad Shames. She was Shames's majordomo ' assistant, cook, social secretary, whatever he needed ' and she moved when Shames moved, back and forth between Palm Beach and New York. In New York, she had been living with Stone, and he missed her when she was away.
"Give me a menu," Stone said to Michael, the headwaiter.
"Giving up on her " Michael asked.
"I am. If I drink any more without some food in my stomach, you're going to have to send me home in a wheelbarrow."
Michael laughed and placed a menu before him. "Dino's not coming "
"He should be here in a while; he said he had to work late." He opened the menu, and Michael stood ready, pad in hand. When Stone was this hungry, everything looked good. He'd meant to have fish; he'd gained three pounds, and he needed to get it off, but now he was too hungry. "I'll have a Caesar salad and the osso buco," he said, "and a bottle of the Amerone."
Michael jotted down the order, and as he reached for the menu, Stone looked up to see Callie breezing through the front door. He rose to meet her. She looked wonderful, as usual, in an Armani pantsuit. She gave him a short, dry kiss and sat down.
"I'd given up on you," Stone said. "I just ordered."
Michael handed her a menu, but she handed it back. "I'm sorry, I can't stay for dinner," she said.
Stone looked at her, stupefied. She had kept him waiting for an hour and a half, and now she wasn't going to have dinner
"Would you like a drink, Callie " Michael asked.
She shook her head. "No time, Michael."
"You still want dinner, Stone "
"Yes, please," Stone replied.
"So " Stone asked.
"So what " Callie replied.
"Is there something you want to tell me " He wanted an apology and an explanation, but he got neither.