Impulse

Impulse by Catherine Coulter Read Free Book Online

Book: Impulse by Catherine Coulter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Catherine Coulter
SELF-DEFENSE .
    Al just smiled when she told him about Mrs. Roselli, and when she accused him of holding out on her, he said, “Well, kiddo, I didn’t think you liked things handed to you. Remember, you didn’t tell a soul that your stepfather was Charles Winston Rutledge III.”
    Rafaella told him that he was a pig, she’d read it in the women’s room, and kissed his cheek.
    And that night, at ten minutes after midnight, Rafaella’s phone rang.

Three
    Giovanni’s Island
February 2001
    Marcus took the bullet in his back, just above his right shoulder blade. The pain was instant and blinding, and he staggered; the pain turned into frozen cold, so cold that it burned him. He was unconscious before he hit the ground.
    Merkel spun about and kicked out, his Gucci loafer clipping the 9-mm, sending it flying from Tulp’s hand. His next kick smashed cleanly into her nose, sending it into her brain. Dominick Giovanni hadn’t moved. He winced at the crunching sound of shattered bone, then walked slowly over and dropped to his knees beside the woman. Her eyes were staring; she was quite dead.
    Merkel looked from Dominick to Marcus. Dominick waved him away. Merkel leaned over Marcus. He ripped away the shirt to bare the wound. “He’s alive, Mr. Giovanni, but he needs a doctor. The bullet’s still in him.”
    Dominick pursed his lips. “Carry him upstairs and get him into bed. I’ll get hold of Dr. Haymes at the resort. Then you’d best lock up these goons. Oh, and, Merkel, have the woman buried.”
    There was blood all over Merkel’s beautiful white suit, and it was the first thing Marcus saw when he opened his eyes. He was lying on his stomach. Merkelwas sitting on a cane chair beside the bed, reading
GQ
, his favorite magazine. “Do you know you’d look like Santa Claus if you only had a white beard?”
    Merkel folded down the page he was reading and set the magazine facedown on the night table. “Yeah, it’s your blood, at least most of it is. You can buy me a new suit. You feel alive?”
    “More so than otherwise. It hurts like hell and the drug Haymes shot me up with is making me feel like my brain is cotton candy. What happened? How’s Dominick? How are—?”
    Merkel held up his hand. “I’ll get Mr. Giovanni. He can tell you all he wants to.” Merkel rose and nodded down at Marcus. “You know how he is,” he added, and Marcus closed his eyes. He knew exactly how Dominick Giovanni was. He probably knew as much about Dominick Giovanni as any other living person. He had a cold, perfect memory of that day in October, two and a half years ago, when he had finally engineered that meeting with Giovanni, under the auspices of the U.S. Customs Service, and his immediate contact, Ross Hurley. He’d never felt so scared in his life, or so determined. Dominick had seemed so human, so civilized, as he’d spoken of the resort Porto Bianco. He’d been a gentleman of wit, of education, which he still was. He was also deadly.
    Marcus didn’t see Dominick then. As much as he tried to fight it, he dozed off again, not waking until it was dark. He was thirsty and his back thudded with waves of pain. He cursed, but it didn’t help. He heard a small clucking sound and realized that Paula was now beside him, holding a glass of water. “Here,” she said, “drink this.”
    He did, gratefully, thinking that perhaps Paula wasn’t such a bad sort after all.
    He quickly changed his mind when she said after a moment, “Enough now, Marcus. Dr. Haymes told me water was the first thing you’d want. Now I supposeyou have to use the urine bottle. He said to keep you in bed or you’d open the wound and start bleeding again.”
    He watched her, without words, as she handed him the clear bottle that looked for all the world like an empty wine carafe. He stared at it and then back up at her.
    Paula merely smiled down at him and pulled back the sheet, and he felt her hand lightly sweep down to his lower back, then smooth over his

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