Of course he did. It didn't matter that he'd known her from the time she was a teenager. Men were men. Even the best of them were dominated by sex. It had taken her a long time to accept that truth without anger. "I'll be right back." She headed for the bedroom. "Make that coffee."
She didn't bother to shower before she put on her usual shorts and T-shirt. Then she sat down on the bed and reached for the envelope. It might be nothing, totally impersonal, but she didn't want to open it in front of Cal.
The envelope contained two documents. She took out the first one and opened it.
She stiffened. "What the hell . . ."
"Stop arguing. I'm coming to get you." Melis's hand tightened on the phone. "Where are you, Phil?"
"At a tavern on the waterfront. The Delphi Hotel," Philip Lontana said. "But I'm not going to involve you in this, Melis. Go home."
"I will. We're both going to go home. And I'm already involved. Did you think I was just going to sit around doing nothing after I got that notification that you'd deeded the island and the Last Home over to me? That's the closest to a last will and testament I've ever seen. What the hell's happening?"
"I had to turn responsible sometime."
Not Phil. He was as close to Peter Pan as a man in his sixties could be. "What are you afraid of?"
"I'm not afraid. I just wanted to take care of you. I know we've had our ups and downs, but you've always stood by me when I needed you. You've pulled me out of scrapes and kept those bloodsuckers from--"
"I'll pull you out of this scrape too, if you'll tell me what's happening."
"Nothing's happening. The ocean is unforgiving. You can never tell when I'll make a mistake and never--"
"I've written it all down. It's on the Last Home."
"Good. Then you can read it to me when we're on our way back to the island."
"That may not be possible." He paused. "I've been trying to get in touch with Jed Kelby. He's not been answering my calls."
"Maybe. But a brilliant bastard. I've heard he's a genius."
"And where did you hear it? His publicity agent?"
"Don't be bitter. You've got to give the devil his due."
"No, I don't. I don't like rich men who think they can make toys of everything in the whole damn world."
"You don't like rich men. Period," Phil said. "But I need you to contact him. I don't know if I'll be able to reach him."
"Of course you will. Though I don't know why you think you have to do it. You've never called in help before."
"I need him. He's got the same passion I have and the drive to make it happen." He paused. "Promise me you'll get him for me, Melis. It's the most important thing I've ever asked of you."
"You don't have to--"
He wasn't going to give up. "I promise. Satisfied?"
"No, I hated to ask you. And I hate being in this spot. If I hadn't been so stubborn, I wouldn't have had to--" He drew a deep breath. "But that's water under the bridge. I can't look back now. There's too much to look forward to."
Excerpted from Fatal Tide by Iris Johansen Copyright© 2003 by Iris Johansen. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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