From Cradle to Grave

Free From Cradle to Grave by Patricia MacDonald

Book: From Cradle to Grave by Patricia MacDonald Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patricia MacDonald
place. Despite the generosity, the hospitality he offered, there was a deliberate lack of finesse about him. As if he wanted to emphasize the point that he had earned a fortune without bothering to be polite. Morgan did not want to defy his wishes, especially in his house, but no matter what he said, Morgan also did not want Farah to have to wait on her like a servant. ‘Just point me toward the kitchen. I’ll grab something myself.’
    ‘No,’ he said. ‘Let Farah get it. That’s her job around here.’ Then he reached up and slapped Farah on her small, firm derrière. ‘She’s got to earn her keep somehow.’
    Farah’s mouth dropped open in feigned outrage. Then she grinned, bent over, murmured something in his ear, and kissed him as if to reward him for being amusing.
    Sandy shoved her gently away. ‘Yeah, yeah, OK. Go on, now,’ he said.
    Farah straightened up and looked at Morgan brightly. ‘Follow me,’ she said.

SEVEN
    T he voice of Alanis Morissette invaded Morgan’s deep sleep, and it took her a moment to realize that it was her cellphone. She opened her eyes in the darkness, and found herself sunk into the comfort of a king feather bed, in one of Sandy Raymond’s many guest rooms. She fumbled to switch on the lamp and slid off the silky sheets and out from under the weightless, warm duvet to rummage through her bag for the phone.
    ‘Hello,’ she murmured, frowning.
    ‘I’m trying to reach Morgan Adair,’ said the woman’s voice at the other end.
    ‘Yes,’ said Morgan, ‘that’s me.’
    ‘This is Noreen Quick’s office calling. Ms Quick is calling on behalf of her client, Claire Bolton. Would it be possible for you to come and see Ms Quick this morning? She has a few important matters to discuss with you.’
    ‘Yes,’ said Morgan. ‘Yes. Absolutely. I can come. I’ll be there right away.’
    Groggy though she was, Morgan got the directions and entered them into her phone when the secretary hung up. Then, she stumbled off to the pristine, marble-surfaced bathroom for a quick wash-up. She dressed quickly and grabbed her satchel. She thought about taking her suitcase with her, but that seemed rude in light of Sandy’s hospitality. She would come back for it, and thank him properly. She found her way downstairs in the huge, silent house. She left the house without seeing Sandy or his girlfriend, stopped at a convenience store for coffee and a roll, and arrived, on time, at the lawyer’s office.
    According to the neatly scripted sign which hung from a lamppost, the offices of Abrams and Quick were located in a clapboard-sided cottage in a narrow street off of the main thoroughfare in downtown Briarwood. Morgan parked in front of the building, opened the gate in the picket fence and walked in the front door. She nearly tripped over a furry, dun-colored Airedale who was stretched out across the hallway, his head resting on his front paws. He raised his eyebrows and looked up at Morgan, but didn’t bark, or stir. Bemused, Morgan stepped over him and entered the room marked reception.
    The woman at the desk, whose sign read ‘Berenice Hoffman’, was middle-aged, with black horned-rimmed glasses. Her gray hair was pulled back in a short ponytail and she was wearing a black turtleneck beneath an Adelphi sweatshirt. Berenice looked up from her computer and smiled at Morgan. Across from the desk was a small playpen, currently occupied by a toddler in red overalls with a halo of golden curls who was playing quietly with some foam blocks. The child looked up at Morgan and made a gurgling sound.
    Morgan smiled at the toddler. ‘Hi yourself,’ she said. Then she turned back to the receptionist. ‘My name is Morgan Adair. You called me earlier . . .’
    ‘Yes, right.’ Berenice pointed to the toddler with her pen. ‘Ms Quick is with Kyle’s mother right now. But if you’ll take a seat, she’s almost done, and then she’ll be glad to talk with you.’
    ‘OK,’ said Morgan. She sat down

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