Brute Strength

Brute Strength by Susan Conant Page A

Book: Brute Strength by Susan Conant Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Conant
age practically don’t know that newspapers exist. So, we’re dealing with someone who’s technologically illiterate, maybe, or who thinks of paper first, let’s say. And that fits with the envelope – the kind you lick, which is becoming sort of old-fashioned. So, someone who’s not at the forefront of technology.’
    â€˜That call you had—’
    â€˜The call! I meant to tell you. I saw Katrina today at the show. Damn it! I hope . . . if this were just me, OK. I can deal with nasty phone calls, and so can Betty Burley, better than I can. If someone thinks I’m a bitch, well, so are Kimi and Lady and India, and I believe in the First Amendment, but it just infuriates me to have this . . . this son of a bitch jeopardize our ability to help these poor dogs. Katrina is OK, but her husband John is turning protective and saying that maybe they should stop doing rescue.’
    â€˜I can’t say that I like—’
    â€˜Of course not, Steve. But Katrina and John are young, and their relationship is different from ours. I just hope . . . damn it all! Let this idiot target me and leave the other volunteers alone! Or target Betty and me. Betty is even tougher than I am.’
    Steve smiled. ‘The human Kimi.’
    The server appeared with Steve’s clam chowder and my fried oysters, and we began eating.
    â€˜You want one?’ I offered.
    â€˜No, thanks.’ Steve managed to keep the smile off his mouth, but his eyes crinkled up. ‘Redeeming yourself by offering to share?’
    â€˜No redemption is necessary. Yes, as you have astutely observed, I do tend to read a menu and then order whatever has the most grease, but as fried food goes, Legal’s isn’t greasy, and I love fried oysters and fried clams, and if I ordered both, so what? It’s what I happen to be hungry for.’
    He shrugged. ‘How sure are you that Betty is any tougher than you are?’
    â€˜Very. But by the time I’m her age, who knows? In the meantime, I have to keep my strength up.’ I ate one of the oysters and said, ‘Speaking of age and . . . Steve, I’m worried about Gabrielle.’
    â€˜Gabrielle is ageless.’ He smiled. Everyone loves Gabrielle. Steve is no exception. ‘When’s she getting here?’
    â€˜Thursday. She’s going to dog training with us that night and then to the match on Saturday, but she’s staying for a week after that, and she’s being sort of mysterious about why.’
    â€˜I know. She’s usually . . . well, what she says is that she’s seeing a doctor about quote a little female problem unquote, which could mean . . . well, I don’t know. That’s what’s scary. And what really worries me is, why is she coming to Boston? There are perfectly good doctors in Maine. So, if she needs to see someone here, does that mean that she needs some famous specialist?’
    â€˜Getting away from your father,’ Steve said. ‘Look, if she has a lump or unexplained bleeding and your father knows about it, he’ll drive her crazy. What’s she telling him?’
    â€˜Don’t ask me! But she did say that she’ll tell me all about it when she gets here, and you’re probably right. She knows what Buck is like in panic mode.’
    When our main courses arrived, I happened to glance around the restaurant and saw a sight that made me want to holler and swear. Happily, I had the self-control to wait until the server had left before I said, ‘What is this? National Damn It All Day? Steve, I can’t believe it! Look over . . . no, don’t look. Damn it! Quinn Youngman, the skunk, is sitting at a table to your right, near the window, with Avery Jones. Avery! I mean, Quinn is practically old enough to be her grandfather. What is she thinking, going out with him?’
    â€˜Quinn likes

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