Dead Heat

Dead Heat by Caroline Carver Read Free Book Online

Book: Dead Heat by Caroline Carver Read Free Book Online
Authors: Caroline Carver
some money. Her mother was staying
     with friends out of town and she couldn’t for the life of her remember their name. Her boss would loan her some cash, though.
     She’d ring Maggie.
    “You’re worried I’ll extract my pound of flesh later.” India sighed audibly along with a stream of cigarette smoke. “How about
     if my paper pays? Say if we did a story on how you overcame your phobia of flying again, or—”
    “It’s okay, honestly,” Georgia said. “I’m going to ring a friend. I only need enough for the odd sandwich and a couple of
     taxis. My air tickets are still valid, or so I’ve been told.”
    India blinked. “You lost your money?”
    Georgia gave a nod.
    “Look, don’t worry about hassling your friend. Why don’t we travel down to Sydney together. You really want to fly? Or shall
     we drive?”
    Georgia jerked her head to stare at the reporter. “You’d drive with me all the way to Sydney?”
    India grinned. “It’s only fifteen hundred miles or so, and since I don’t mind a bit of open road . . .”
    Both of them flinched when the door banged open and a man said, “Georgia. I’m Dr. Ophir. Sorry for the wait, we’ve been trying
     to stabilize Bri, but if you wouldn’t mind . . .”
    The man wore a white coat and his face was anxious, his hands spread wide. He took in India Kane, then halted. His expression
     turned hard.
    “Miz Kane. I thought I already—”
    India Kane flicked her cigarette stub behind her and onto the rain-drenched concrete path. “I was just going.” Delving into
     her bag, she pulled out a card, gave it to Georgia.
    “Call me on my mobile,” she said. “I’ve got to be elsewhere tonight, but let’s meet tomorrow.”
    “Mobiles work up here?”
    “Yeah, I was surprised too. Some new mast went up around Butchers Hill.”
    Turning India’s card in her hand, Georgia wondered if the new mast meant Far Northern Queensland was at last catching up with
     the rest of the world.
    “Anyway, ring me, Georgia. I’ll give you a lift to the airfield tomorrow, if you like, and we’ll decide then whether we’ll
     fly or just keep heading south until we hit Sydney. And if you change your mind, let’s share a bottle of wine sometime anyway.”
    Dr. Ophir checked Georgia over minutely, pausing at a circular white scar on her right arm. “What happened there?”
    “Tropical ulcer.”
    “Went mighty deep.”
    The ulcer had smelled like flyblown meat, she recalled, and her mother had turned white as milk when she’d removed the bandage.
    “Whatever is this stuff?” Linette had asked as she gently bathed away a mass of brown-gray fibers from the pus-fouled wound.
    “A poultice,” Georgia had admitted.
    Linette had given the nurse a lecture that made her flush bright red with a combination of anger and remorse. “But you told
     us to use natural remedies—”
    “Not for a streptococcus infection,” Linette was horrified. “Put her on antibiotics immediately!”
    Dr. Ophir gave Georgia some lidocaine, ringing a block of local anesthetic around her wrist, then carefully washing the gash
     in her left palm with a saline solution before stitching. She didn’t watch, concentrated instead on looking through the little
     window overlooking the town’s main drag. Nulgarra, sleepy ocean-rimmed backwater, where tourists didn’t stay long. By the
     time they’d gotten this far north they’d already visited Cape Tribulation and the Daintree, the largest surviving tract of
     tropical lowland forest in Australia, and even in the peak season, from May to November, when a lot of Aussies headed here
     to escape their winter down south, the town wasn’t exactly a hive of activity.
    It was March now, seriously low season. Through the sprawling fig trees splitting the sidewalks she could see that the bait
     shop where Tom used to work was shut, along with the dive store and the office that sold tickets to Port Douglas and the reef,
     but Price’s Supermarket was open,

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