Wildfire

Wildfire by Cathie Linz Read Free Book Online

Book: Wildfire by Cathie Linz Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cathie Linz
a nice time,” she belatedly replied.
    Surprisingly Beth remained silent, but that was merely because she planned on cornering Amanda at lunch. Since it was a perfect Indian summer day they spent their lunch hour down by the lake, sitting on one of the many benches dotting the grassy edges.
    “All right, Amanda.” Beth paused to open up her lunch bag. “What gives?”
    Popping the top of her Tupperware container, Amanda feigned ignorance. “What are you talking about?”
    “Come on. What’s really going on between you and Brady Gallagher?”
    “There’s nothing going on.” Amanda dismissed her question, taking a bite of her salad.
    Beth was undeterred. “He sent you flowers last week and now he’s dating you.”
    “We attended one concert together. That’s not dating.”
    “How did you know that Brady would like classical music?” Beth asked, lifting the lid off her yogurt container.
    “I didn’t,” Amanda let slip.
    “But what if he hadn’t liked it?” One look at Amanda’s guilty expression confirmed Beth’s niggling suspicions. “I see.”
    Amanda jabbed a piece of lettuce with her plastic fork, refusing to comment on her friend’s enlightenment.
    “That wasn’t real bright, Amanda.”
    “I know. He enjoyed the concert more than I did.”
    “Serves you right.”
    “Hey, whose side are you on?”
    “Side? Now this is getting interesting. Sounds like a war.”
    “Can we change the subject?” Amanda requested. Their conversation swung back to work and the ongoing complaints about the head librarian’s competence, or lack of it. “You know that report you completed on the material damaged in the fire. Would you believe Abbington had the gall to tell the dean that he had prepared that report himself?”
    Amanda muttered something under her breath. She’d have to have another little talk with John, whose imminent retirement was the only thing that saved him from a more public exposure. As it was, the dean already knew that Amanda had written the report, since she’d spoken to him about it before turning it over to John, a safety precaution on her part. Amanda had worked hard to get where she was, and she had every intention of winning the appointment of head librarian once John left.
    Amanda’s day didn’t improve, as the first person to greet her upon her return to the library was Guy Lox.
    “Amanda, I’ve been waiting for you,” he rebuked impatiently, following her into her office.
    “You should’ve left a message, Professor. I know how valuable your time is.”
    Not hearing the veiled mockery in her voice, Guy preened under the compliment. “That’s true, but I wanted to know if that book on insect mutations has come in yet.”
    “ No, it hasn’t.” The book had been
ordered against her better judgment, but she’d been overruled by John. “We’ll send you a memo when it arrives.”
    “I hear you’re seeing a lot of our undercover detective.” Guy’s voice was heavy with disapproving innuendo.
    “He’s not undercover,” Amanda denied, ignoring the sexual intent of Guy’s statement.
    “That was a little joke,” Guy leaned closer to explain with a disgusting leer.
    “Very little,” Brady volunteered from the threshold.
    “I must be going,” Guy muttered, cautiously veering around the motionless, jean-clad menace of the detective before making a quick getaway.
    Brady shook his head in laughing disbelief. “Who was that little man?”
    “Professor Guy Lox, Natural Science Department,” Amanda briefly listed.
    “Figures.”
    “What can I do for you, Detective?”
    Amanda’s voice was coolly professional; Brady’s response was not. “Nothing that can be done in this office.”
    It wasn’t only what Brady said, but the way he said that was equally disturbing. “This suggestive banter may be your idea of a good time,” she shot back, “but I’ve got more important things to do.”
    “Now, Mandy, don’t get on your high horse. I need to talk to

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