Grave Consequences

Grave Consequences by Aimée Thurlo Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Grave Consequences by Aimée Thurlo Read Free Book Online
Authors: Aimée Thurlo
town. We heard about this place and wanted to check it out,” Charlie answered.
    â€œHe means we’re two bachelors on the prowl, Meg,” Gordon said. “Would you say this is a good place for guys to meet women?”
    Meg shrugged. “I’ve only worked here for a few months, and I usually get off at eight, but the few times I’ve filled in for one of the girls on the late shift I’ve noticed there are a few ladies who come and go on pretty much an hourly basis. You guys aren’t cops, are you?”
    â€œNaw, we’re ex-military. We have a business over in the north valley, and despite what Gordon here says, we aren’t really looking for anything besides conversation and a few drinks,” Charlie added. “By the way, a friend of a friend recommended this place, but she gave us a wicked grin when she mentioned one of the owners. She had a thing for him,” he lied.
    â€œThe guy’s first name is something like Mike—supposed to be a real ladies’ man,” Gordon joined in.
    â€œMike Schultz,” Meg said, a trace of a scowl on her face. “He runs the place and shares ownership with a family up in Raton who inherited half from their grandfather. The old guy was a fireman for the county for a really long time.”
    â€œSo Mike must know about the girls working out of his establishment,” Charlie concluded.
    Meg’s expression changed quickly. “You never heard anything like that from me, guys. I need the job and the pay is good. At least with Mike around, the patrons don’t give the staff any shit. I worked at a downtown bar for a while and every night I got propositioned a half-dozen times. Even when wearing a wedding ring.”
    â€œNot wearing one now,” Gordon pointed out.
    â€œDon’t need one here. Mike’s got a couple of heavy hitters that’ll throw their sorry butts out to the curb.”
    A cowboy at another table waved at Meg, and she looked over and smiled. “Be right there, sugar. Gotta go, guys. If you need anything, just give me a nod.”
    â€œDon’t forget your tip,” Gordon said, sliding over a twenty.
    â€œThank you, Gordon,” she said, crinkling up her nose with an even bigger smile. She whirled around and hurried over to the cowboy, who was raising an empty glass.
    â€œSo Mike is either still a pimp or he’s being paid to look the other way,” Charlie commented, taking a swallow of his beer. He looked down at the nearly full glass and thought of Al, who’d been the drinker of the two back in high school despite their father’s heavy hand.
    Seeing how booze had turned his older brother into an ass had pretty much limited his own drinking, even later when Charlie enlisted. He’d been an Indian in a white world, then an American soldier in a Muslim world, and being drunk and out of control in either place was an idiotic thing to do. He’d never allowed alcohol to slow him down.
    Gordon was much the same. Growing up in the inner city, he had been on the streets around drunks and derelicts and seen how they were treated. Gordon had explained that being the runt of the litter, he had enough trouble staying alive even when he was sober. Both of them were survivors, though their roots had grown in different soil.
    Now they drank only to be social and to blend in, like tonight. If they needed to react quickly, alcohol wouldn’t impair their skills.
    â€œNo sign of Lola. I’m thinking that if she’s still hustling for Mike, she’ll be sticking close for a few days. If he’s got muscle here, she’ll want the extra protection. Unless Mike is the real boyfriend—but that doesn’t seem likely,” Charlie admitted.
    â€œWell, if you’re going to talk yourself in circles, at least we arrived at the same place, Charles. If Mike knows anything about Lola, he’s got to be our next contact tonight,” Gordon said,

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