Grave Consequences

Grave Consequences by Aimée Thurlo Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Grave Consequences by Aimée Thurlo Read Free Book Online
Authors: Aimée Thurlo
like our best bet. There’s a chance that he knows where Lola is or was, or maybe he can connect us with a working girl who can provide us with some new information on her location,” Charlie suggested.
    â€œEither way, the pimp will expect to get paid,” Gordon pointed out. “Count on having to fork over some twenties. Hate to think of giving a hooker money and not getting entertained.”
    â€œWhen was the last time you had to pay for sex?” Charlie knew Gordon had no problem attracting women.
    â€œThere was that night in Ramstein, 2010, around Thanksgiving, when we were on layover.”
    â€œThose girls were U.S. Air Force, not prostitutes, and we didn’t pay for anything except dinner, the movie, and the hotel rooms,” Charlie recalled. “That’s what we call a date.”
    â€œYou remember just how much we paid for dinner? I do. Over a hundred euros.”
    â€œLess than a hundred and fifty bucks at the time, and it never was about money. You and that girl wrote back and forth for months, didn’t you?”
    â€œYeah, Molly. Too bad she got married. Okay, maybe you have a point. We split the costs tonight, though.”
    â€œDeal.” Charlie chuckled.
    Traffic was heavy, and they pulled into the parking lot of the East Central tavern—a former firehouse—at about six thirty. Charlie noted that half the vehicles were pickups or big SUVs, and there was one Caddy. This was a working man and lower management clientele, so they’d fit right in.
    The main entrance was actually at the side, and once they were in the bar Charlie noted that the big overhead doors for the fire department engines had been walled over on the interior, replaced with a big mural of the neighborhood during the sixties, judging from the vehicles in the painting.
    The tables were heavy wood and metal trim, bolted to the floor, and the padded chairs looked comfortable. At the rear of the big room, formerly the firehouse garage, was the bar. It was divided in the middle by the traditional shiny brass pole used to slide down from upstairs. It was surrounded by a railing now, probably to discourage patrons from giving it a trial run.
    The opening to the floor above was still there in the ceiling, and stairs along the back wall led up to what the signs listed as a private lounge.
    A pleasant-looking freckle-faced redhead dressed in blue slacks and a red blouse met them within seconds of their arrival. She led them to an empty table at the side of the room opposite the stairs. The woman smiled automatically, then took their order of draft beer, nachos, and salsa.
    â€œNot too dark to make out faces, that’s a good sign,” Charlie commented, looking around but not seeing any Native Americans. “According to Nancy, Mike is supposed to be tall and slender, with yellow hair and a disarming, delicately handsome face, like an angel.”
    â€œMaybe he’s up there?” Gordon pointed toward the ceiling.
    â€œWith Jesus?”
    â€œNo, moron, in the private lounge.” Gordon laughed for the first time in a couple of days, and Charlie joined in. Humor had kept them sane more than once during the past decade.
    â€œJust us uglies down here,” Charlie said just as the barmaid showed up with their drinks, nachos, and pungent salsa.
    â€œHey, I resent that,” the redhead said, grinning for real as they paid for the beers. Charlie looked at her closely for the first time and saw pale, blue eyes and a broad, attractive face. Unlike some redheads, who overused the makeup to hide their freckles, she accented her complexion with bright lipstick and a hint of color in her cheeks.
    â€œI was talking about me and my wingman, Meg,” he said, glancing only briefly at the name tag on her chest.
    â€œJust trying to liven up my day, boys,” she said, winking at Gordon. “Never seen you two in here before. You from out of town?”
    â€œMore like across

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