Double Take

Double Take by Catherine Coulter Read Free Book Online

Book: Double Take by Catherine Coulter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Catherine Coulter
mean, the guy is older, and—if that’s so then naturally she wouldn’t recognize Jules. She had to have a name, so she called herself Charlotte. Dix, Jules is so certain. You’ll go to San Francisco, won’t you? Hell, no problem, both of us will go.”
    Dix didn’t pause, simply walked to the door of Chappy’s study, and said over his shoulder, “Chappy, I’ll tell you what. I’ll go to San Francisco, find out what this is all about. I’ll meet this Thomas Pallack and his wife. I don’t want you to come with me, Chappy. I need you to stay here, see to the boys.” Then he stopped, turned. “Chappy,” he said very quietly to Christie’s father—not to the man whose soggy morals sometimes drove him nuts, the man who wouldn’t lift his foot off his own son’s neck—“please don’t get your hopes up. It simply can’t be Christie. Deep down you know it. You know Christie is dead.”
    Chappy didn’t say a word.
    â€œAnd don’t say anything about this to anyone, all right? Not even to Tony or Cynthia. The last thing I want is for the boys to hear their mother might be alive, have them go through this pain again when I know it simply can’t be true.”
    â€œYou got it, Dix. I won’t say anything.”
    When Dix reached the double front doors, Chappy’s white face still stark in his mind, Bernard appeared at his elbow. Dix said, “Make sure you see to Chappy, Bernard. I think he needs a good shot of something. I know Mrs. Goss keeps a bottle of twenty-five-year-old single malt Scotch whisky. What’s it called?”
    Bernard said with reverence, “Lord of the Isles. She said she gave it to her husband for an anniversary gift, then he up and died the next week. She hoards it. I think it must be about thirty years old now, almost as many years as she’s been the house-keeper here!”
    Dix nodded. “Maybe she’ll break it out this once.”
    â€œDoubtful,” Bernard said, then blurted out, “Do you think it’s Christie, Dix?”
    So Bernard had been listening at the door. Dix would have been, too. He looked Bernard straight on, saw the concern in his dark eyes. Bernard had been with Chappy since the two of them were in their twenties. “No, it can’t be. It’s some sort of mistake. Bernard, like I told Chappy, this has to stay among the three of us. You understand? Not even Mrs. Goss.”
    Bernard nodded. “Last thing I want is for Rob and Rafe to hear about this.”
    â€œThat’s good,” Dix said. “I’ll see you again soon, Bernard.”

    Two hours later, at the dinner table, Dix slipped Brewster, his four-pound white toy poodle, a sliver of chicken breast after he’d stripped off the deep-fried crust. He checked to see that both boys had eaten some of the fresh green beans on their plates, and lied cleanly. “I’ve got this meeting up in San Francisco that will last a couple of days. The FBI called me today, said they wanted me to talk on a panel about crime scenes. Truth be told, there’s still lots of interest about our bizarre murder in Winkel’s Cave. That’ll be what everyone will want me to talk about.”
    â€œSure is short notice, Dad,” Rafe said, frowning down at his crispy chicken leg. Rafe was fourteen, still skinny as a rail, with eyes dark like Dix’s. He was going to be a lady-killer, as Chappy told Dix whenever he saw his grandson. Just like Rob. Have you given them The Talk, Dix? Dix rolled his eyes now, remembering how he’d given them both The Talk, though they were as embarrassed as he was. It gave him a headache to think about it. Why wasn’t Rafe eating? He was always eating. Dix saw the huge pile of bones on his plate and realized Rafe’s tank was full. Dix pointed to the pile of green beans still on his plate, and watched his son pick one up and

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