Avalon by Stephen R. Lawhead Read Free Book Online

Book: Avalon by Stephen R. Lawhead Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen R. Lawhead
should probably give it a miss. There’s a lot to do around here. Thanks all the same.”
    “Look, Cal,” James said, “I wouldn’t ask only it’s kind of important. A couple days is all. And it might make a difference. How about it?”
    “Well, the thing is, see…”
    “I need someone with me,” James insisted. “I need you, Cal.”
    “Since you put it that way, when do we leave?”
    After arranging a time and place to meet, James returned to the bedroom, threw some clothes into a duffel bag, along with his dress shoes and a blazer, bunged in his toothbrush and shaving kit, zipped up the lot, and tossed the bag into the back of the Land Rover. He went back inside, secured the house, and scooped up the various documents from the kitchen table and replaced them in the box. Then, tucking the box under his arm, he grabbed his hunting jacket from the back of the chair, turned off the coffee pot, and locked the house. He was halfway to the solicitor’s office in Braemar when he remembered that he’d meant to call Jenny.

    The cramped, untidy offices of Gilpin and Hobbs, Solicitors, were open by the time James arrived. Malcolm Hobbs was standing behind his desk, scratching his head. “Morning, James,” he said. “Just put it over there in the corner somewhere — anywhere.” Indicating the box, he asked, “Any luck?”
    “A few interesting items for the family scrapbook. Odds and ends mostly, but no — nothing much,” James answered.
    “I was afraid you would be disappointed,” Malcolm sympathized. “I did try to tell you. They went over everything with a fine-tooth comb. If Old Howard had anything tucked away anywhere, they would have found it.”
    Old Howard was H. Gilpin, the Duke’s solicitor, who had retired a few years ago, and who could still be seen whacking golf balls at the Ballater course of an afternoon.
    “Well,” James allowed, “I had to see for myself. You know how it is.”
    “Sure.” Malcolm glanced at his watch. “Unfortunately, I have another client coming in any minute” — he smiled apologetically — “so if there is nothing else I can do for you…?” He moved around the side of his desk to lead his visitor out.
    “Not at the moment, I guess.”
    “I’ll be in touch as soon as we receive the filing notice from the Aussies.”
    James thanked him again for his trouble, and returned to his car, slid the key into the ignition, and felt his breakfast surge up into his throat when a hand knocked on the window beside his face. “Malcolm!”
    “Sorry to startle you, James,” he said, bending his head to see in.
    James cranked the window down a few inches. “What’s up?”
    “I just was thinking, why not go see Old Howard?” Malcolm shivered in the cold. “Just to satisfy yourself we haven’t overlooked anything.”
    “Leave no stone unturned. Yes, I might do that.”
    “He’s got a place in town, you know. If he’s not there you can always find him on the town course. Old Howard likes his golf.” Malcolm began shuffling in place to keep warm. “Never misses a day.”
    “I’ll keep it in mind. You’d best get inside before you catch pneumonia.”
    “Right. Ta, James,” he said, and scurried back to his office. James glanced at his watch: it was twenty to nine. He had just enough time to find a phone and give Jenny a ring — although, now that he thought about it, he wasn’t sure what he’d say to her. He tossed this over in his mind as he drove to the petrol station down the street and dialed her studio from the pay phone on the wall.
    “James, it’s you!” Jenny’s mother always sounded surprised and pleased whenever he rang up.
    “How are you, Agnes?” he asked. “Over that cold?”
    “Och!” she protested. “It was nothing — a wee chill only, I swear. Some folk around here made far too much of it. I’m right as rain now.”
    “Glad to hear it. I was hoping to speak to Jenny a moment — is she there?”
    “Alas, no, no.” She

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