Stuart Woods: Insatiable Appetites

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Stuart Woods Insatiable Appetites
  • Название:
    Insatiable Appetites
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2015
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-0-399-16915-1
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    3 / 5
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Insatiable Appetites: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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It’s a time of unexpected change for Stone Barrington. A recent venture has achieved a great victory, but is immediately faced with a new challenge: an underhanded foe who’s determined to wreak havoc at any cost. Meanwhile, when Stone finds himself responsible for distributing the estate of a respected friend and mentor, the process unearths secrets that range from merely surprising to outright alarming. And when a lethal beauty from Stone’s past resurfaces, there’s no telling what chaos will follow in her wake... Ever a master of keeping cool under pressure, even Stone might have his work cut out for him this time... because when grand ambitions collide with criminal inclinations, the results may be more deadly than he could have anticipated.

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Stuart Woods

Insatiable Appetites

1

Election night, late.

Stone Barrington sat on a sofa in the family quarters of the White House, watching the presidential race unfold on television. Things were not going as he had hoped. The race, between Katharine Lee, First Lady of the United States, and Senator Henry Carson of Virginia, seemed to be a dead heat.

Kate Lee and her husband, President Will Lee, were Stone’s friends, and he had looked forward to their invitation to spend election night in the family quarters with a couple of dozen good friends. He had not looked forward to seeing her lose the race to a cardboard cutout of a Republican senator, which was how he saw Henry Carson, known in the Lee campaign as Honk, due to a failed attempt to get the nation to think of him as a Hank, instead of a Henry. A mispronunciation by a French official had rechristened him.

Ann Keaton, the Lee deputy campaign manager, to whom Stone was very, very close, came and sat beside him.

“How do you feel about all this?” he asked Ann.

“Nauseous,” she replied.

“What’s going wrong?”

“We’re not getting the turnout our pollsters told us to expect,” she said. “Young people and independents are not voting in the numbers we had hoped. At least, that’s what our exit polling is telling us. Also, Florida is taking a hell of a long time to count. They’ve got a Republican governor, and we’re worried about hanky-panky. It could be Bush — Gore all over again. On top of that, Ohio is neck and neck.”

“The West Coast polls close in ten minutes,” Stone said. “Those states should give Kate a boost.”

“They should, yes, but California can’t put her over the top, if Florida and Ohio go the other way. This could be a very big upset.”

“Something’s happening,” Stone said, pointing at the TV. Chris Matthews and Tom Brokaw were on screen.

“Based on our own exit polling and with eighty-nine percent of the precincts reporting,” Brokaw was saying, “our desk is calling Florida for Senator Henry Carson.”

“No!!!” came a shout from around the room. “Not possible!” Senator Sam Meriwether of Georgia, Kate’s campaign manager, yelled.

“Easy, Sam,” Will Lee said. “It’s not necessarily over because a network has called it.”

“CBS has called it that way, too, but ABC is holding out,” a woman watching another TV set called.

“Fox called it for Honk half an hour ago,” somebody said.

“I regard that as encouraging,” Stone said, and everybody laughed, releasing some tension in the room.

Kate Lee emerged from the Presidential Bedroom with a coat over her shoulders. “I’d better get over to the armory,” she said. “I’m going to have to make a statement soon.”

“It’s not over yet,” her husband said.

“I hope you’re right,” Kate said, kissing him, “but I’d better be ready.” She started for the door, two Secret Service agents in tow.

“Wait a minute!” Sam Meriwether shouted. “CBS is reconsidering their call.”

Kate stopped. “Have they reversed themselves?”

“No, but they’re saying that Florida is back in the undecided column.”

“That has to be a good sign,” Ann said to Stone.

“I hope so.”

“New totals from Florida,” Sam called out. “With ninety-six percent of precincts reporting, Kate leads by three thousand votes!”

Kate walked back toward the TV set. “That’s too narrow a margin. What precincts haven’t reported?”

Sam pointed at a north Florida county.

“That county is nearly all African-American,” Kate said. “It should be ours by a big margin.”

“I’m thinking hanky-panky,” Sam said.

“Have we got anybody in the courthouse there?”

As they watched, cars pulled up in the courthouse square and men in suits got out.

“Republicans?” somebody asked.

“FBI agents! I see badges.”

The men swept into the courthouse.

Will came and stood beside Kate. “You’re right,” he said, “you’d better get over to the armory. They’ve got a comfortable room for you to wait in there. Don’t do anything precipitous.”

Kate kissed him again and ran for the door.

“The West Coast has closed,” somebody called.

“MSNBC is backing away from their call in Florida,” somebody else said.

“What do they know that we don’t?” Stone asked Ann.

“I don’t know anymore,” Ann said. “I’m through reading exit polls and guessing. We’ll know soon anyway.”

“One precinct in north Florida has reported and that, alone, has widened Katharine Lee’s lead by another two thousand points,” Chris Matthews said. “And we’re hearing that they’ll have a statewide count at any minute.”

“Here’s some good news for the Lee campaign,” Brokaw said. “Now that the polls in the West have closed, we can tell you that our exit polls show Katharine Lee winning California by nearly thirty points.”

A cheer went up around the room.

“We’ve got a report from Ohio,” Brokaw said. “Let’s go to Amy Roberts there. Amy?”

“Tom, this is official. All Ohio votes are in, and Kate Lee has won by less than twenty thousand votes!”

There was a roar of glee from the people present. Will Lee was on his cell phone, and everybody knew who he was calling.

Five minutes later, Florida came in with a final vote. “Katharine Lee has won Florida by thirty-one thousand votes!” Chris Matthew said. “We can now call the election. The next president of the United States will be Katharine Lee!”

“Will,” Stone called, “did you reach Kate?”

“Yes, and she’s hearing that Henry Carson is about to speak.”

Carson came on camera before a big crowd and waved for silence. “Well,” he said, “we haven’t heard from Guam, yet.” His crowd both laughed and moaned. “But it’s clear that our next president will be Kate Lee. I congratulate her for the campaign she ran and the victory she has won. I will do all I can to help her.”

The TV switched now to the armory, where Kate was making her way to the podium. Will was not with her by design; he had wanted her to accept or concede on her own terms. She stood for nearly ten minutes, waving at the crowd and waiting for the noise to die down. Eventually, the floor was hers.

“Thank you all,” she said, “and my thanks to every American who voted today, no matter for whom. Once again, we are on the brink of new leadership in our country, just the way the framers of the Constitution wanted it. I promise you the best government I can put together, and I invite our Republican friends to help us make this country better than ever!” Finally, when she could speak again, she said, “Will, I know you’re watching. Unpack!”

Back at the family quarters, people were pounding Will Lee on the back and opening more champagne.

Stone sank into the sofa, relieved and grateful, happy to be in this room on this night.

2

Stone felt Ann ease from his bed, then heard her get into a robe and slip from the Lincoln Bedroom. He looked at the clock. Half past five.

Wide awake now, he got out of bed and into some trousers and a shirt, then left the room, looking for coffee, following the scent. He walked into the big oval room and found a table of pastries and a coffee urn. He drew himself a mugful and turned to find a seat.

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