A Deadly Shade of Rose by Douglas Hirt
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.8 MB
A man with a dangerous past.
Paul Granger is a biology professor at a small New Mexican university on sabbatical, presently spending some time at his brother’s cabin in Colorado, west of Colorado Springs. His passion used to be hunting, but nowadays he doesn’t much care to kill anything larger than the trout that inhabit mountain streams.
On one such outing he’s challenged by Marcie Rose, an attractive female government agent who is being pursued by a bunch of baddies. She’s leery of Granger, but eventually takes him into her confidence revealing that someone is sabotaging detonators used in nuclear warheads.
Granger has a past that involved some government sanctioned assassinations during the Vietnam War… it’s a past that he’s not anxious to relive and would prefer that it and its memories remained buried. Unfortunately, the deadly game Marcie Rose is involved in forces him to exhume the corpse of that past and the skills he once relied on to stay alive.
Her face remained stern and she stepped warily out of the way, moving like a mountain lion tasting the scent of man on the wind. Marcie Rose appeared a most competent woman, at least she was comfortable around firearms. I couldn’t quite believe a lone, unarmed fisherman would be much of a threat to her, especially since she was the one packing heat and giving orders. Yet it was plain she was one scared woman. Afraid of what? What had frightened her enough to have driven here out into the mountains on a cold March morning dressed as if she’d just come home from the office—except for the baggy parka that obviously did not belong to her. I suspected the rifle didn’t either.
I invaded the Coleman cooler and removed breakfast fixings. I didn’t have to look at her to know she was shifting foot to foot trying to keep warm. “The keys are in the ignition,” I said keeping busy with the important work of getting a hot breakfast ready. “It’s not much of a truck if you judge trucks by the plushy, soft sprung comfort buggies rolling off the assembly lines in Detroit or Hiroshima, or wherever it is they build them nowadays, but it takes me where I want to go, and it has a heck of a heater. Crawl inside, fire her up, and stick your toes down by it while I cook us something to eat.”
She didn’t say anything and she didn’t move. Putting out of mind a rifle pointed at your back is no easy accomplishment. Not knowing her—not knowing her frame of mind—made the arrangement precarious, but I didn’t think she’d shoot. If murder was her intent, she could have done it from the cover of the trees around us and then simply helped herself to my coffee, food, and truck. She hadn’t, so that told me Miss—or Mrs.—Marcie Rose had something else in mind,
I put the rifle out of mind best I could and went through the motions, trying not to let the tension in my back show too much. The iron skillet got properly arranged next to the coffee pot and the blackened coffee cup got rescued from the coals with a twig and set aside. There was another clean one in the bag. I generally bring along several on the theory that it being just me alone, washing dishes was a low priority item, somewhere below digging a latrine.
I started the bacon to get some grease in the skillet, and then moved them aside and broke half a dozen eggs, stirring with an iron camp spoon. As they began to set, I added in the cheese and the chili. Lots of chili. I liked my scrambled eggs that way and to heck with Miss. Rose’s culinary proclivities.
Marcie moved. I made a point of not looking. The truck’s door squeaked—I’d have to oil those hinges someday—and a few moments later the engine coughed and sputtered, shaking itself awake after a cold-night’s sleep. In a minute the old Ford settled down to a rough idle. I kept my attention strictly on building breakfast. I’d told her she could take it, and if that’s what she decided to do, well it was insured. But I didn’t think Marcie Rose was ready to leave just yet, at least not until she’d eaten my food too.