Hydraulic Level Five (1)

Hydraulic Level Five (1) by Sarah Latchaw, Gondolier

Book: Hydraulic Level Five (1) by Sarah Latchaw, Gondolier Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah Latchaw, Gondolier
Tags: Romance, Contemporary
tickets, too? I set my purse down and tentatively settled back into the bench. “I’m listening.”
    “Okay. Your main goal here is to get Caroline out of the way, right? Keep her busy while you get a chance to, ah, work Samuel over for answers. Press him for information.” She smirked at me.
    “Don’t be crude, Jaime.”
    “Not my concern. It’s just my job to clear out Caroline and get in a little jab at Samuel.”
    I nodded. “Nothing cruel.”
    “I can work with that.” Apparently she had been working with that. She slid a paper from the back of the binder—a large flow chart, complete with color coding and footnotes. “Tell me, close personal childhood friend and former spouse of a famous author, did Samuel Cabral have any pets?”
    I frowned. “Yes, a guinea pig named Mickey.”
    “Seriously? He named a guinea pig ‘Mickey’? This guy is screwed up.”
    The corners of my mouth quirked at the memory. “Actually, he let me name it. And it was ‘Mickey’ for Mick Jagger, not for Mickey Mouse.”
    “That’s not…in Ireland it means…” She shook her head. “Never mind. And what happened to poor, poor Mickey?”
    “He developed enteritis. Samuel gave him radish leaves that had bacteria. Guinea pigs are really sensitive to bacteria, I guess, and…he found the little fellow all curled up, dead. He was only twelve…” Wait a second. “Why does this even matter?”
    Jaime pointed to number one on her flow chart: The Los Angeles Guinea Pig Charitable Fund. I snorted. It seemed she’d already learned about Mickey, probably from Hector—he had a big mouth.
    “You make a donation in Samuel’s name, hefty enough to get big-time notice.” My eyes followed her finger down to the dollar figure, then bugged out. Sweet Mary, for guinea pigs! “We’ll tip off the LA press, they love bizarre human-interest stories like this. And believe me, the LAGPCF— está cabrón , that’s a mouthful—will eat up the attention. They’ll want Samuel to tell Mickey’s sad story at his upcoming events.” She tapped her finger on a calendar—Samuel’s public appearance schedule. “If he doesn’t, it will make him look like a stuck-up asshat who’s unwilling to go to bat for this poor little animal charity.”
    I laughed. A few café patrons turned around, and I covered my mouth. “Caroline will hate this. It’s great, but this won’t keep her busy for long—maybe a day or two.”
    An evil spark glinted in Jaime’s eyes. “Not when you hit Caroline and Sam with everything else on the chart, one after the other—you’ll have to help me fill in some of these blanks. Remember, Caroline’s all about keeping up appearances. Embarrassing press for Samuel is embarrassing press for her. And if Samuel has any pride, he’ll just want the publicity punches to end. You’ll get your answers, one way or the other.”
    “Jaime, I like Plan B a lot better. But some of this…It won’t take Samuel long to figure out where it’s coming from.”
    She gave me a strange look. “Don’t you want him to know it’s you who’s screwing with his life?”
    “Well, yes and no. I like the idea of spilling trivial skeletons-in-the-closet since he already crossed that line with Neelie Nixie. But…”
    “You’re chicken shit,” she scoffed. “I don’t believe this. You know what I think?”
    “What?”
    “I think you like blaming Cabral for your inability to move on, because it’s easier than blaming yourself. You actually prefer being stuck. Total avoidance technique, see it all of the time in divorced couples.”
    “Says the woman who hates all men.” My hackles bristled.
    Jaime’s mouth twisted into a warped smile. “It’s not just men, it’s everybody. I’m your classic misanthrope. But I know it and I embrace it. You, Trilby, are in denial.”
    “You don’t know what happened.”
    “So tell me. You certainly didn’t during divorce proceedings, left me blind in the batter’s box. It’s a good thing

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