Read Santa Fe Rules Online

Authors: Stuart Woods

Tags: #Suspense, #Thriller, #Mystery

Santa Fe Rules

BOOK: Santa Fe Rules
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Santa Fe Rules
Stuart Woods

Better Off Dead

Successful Hollywood movie producer Wolf Willettis stunned when he happens to read his own
New York Times
obituary--victim of a sordid triple homicide amid a steamy méage à trois with his young bride and best friend. Who's the corpse? Who wants him dead? And why has Wolf blacked out the entire evening of the grisly crime?

Unfortunatly, the Santa Fe D.A. thinks Wolf has all the answers. With the means, the motive and an inexplicable memory loss, he is promptly arrested--star suspect in a murder case that's making headlines from coast to coast. Then another murder complicates the scenario. With help from hot shot criminal attorney Ed Eagle and with New Mexico's death penalty as an incentive, Wolf races to clear his name--and dodge the real killer--in this thrilling novel of mazes, mystery and murder.

Stuart Woods

Santa Fe Rules

This book is for Chris Connor

Contents

Chapter 1
Wolf Willett remembered too late that Flaps had always had…

Chapter 2
The eastern end of the Grand Canyon was in sight…

Chapter 3
Wolf resisted the impulse to immediately bolt from the hotel,…

Chapter 4
Wolf found Santa Fe Airport as deserted as he had…

Chapter 5
Wolf needed advice, and he did not have to think…

Chapter 6
The fear came back. The dread that he had fought…

Chapter 7
Wolf flew into Los Angeles at dawn and landed at…

Chapter 8
How do you want to do this?” Jane asked. “I…

Chapter 9
The four of them sat in Wolf’s screening room and…

Chapter 10
Wolf landed at Santa Fe Airport half an hour after…

Chapter 11
Wolf woke in a pleasant guest room of Ed Eagle’s…

Chapter 12
A van from an Albuquerque television station was waiting behind…

Chapter 13
Maria arrived as Wolf was finishing breakfast, and tears began…

Chapter 14
Jane arrived in the terminal smiling, carrying all her luggage.

Chapter 15
Ed Eagle drove through the open gate and down the…

Chapter 16
A dark lump swam up on the horizon. Wolf pointed.

Chapter 17
An off-duty policeman glanced at their invitation, then allowed them…

Chapter 18
Ed Eagle drove north from New York to Poughkeepsie and…

Chapter 19
When Ed Eagle awoke the following morning in his room…

Chapter 20
Wolf sat and stared at the two containers on the…

Chapter 21
They were in the living room now, each stretched out…

Chapter 22
Ed Eagle waited a week before he told the district…

Chapter 23
The week before Christmas, the weather did the right thing.

Chapter 24
Ed Eagle checked the contents of the refrigerator, then spent…

Chapter 25
They came back from Albuquerque crammed into the Porsche, the…

Chapter 26
The two policemen drove Wolf to the Santa Fe County…

Chapter 27
The door slammed behind Wolf, and the noise echoed down…

Chapter 28
Wolf came awake with something heavy on his chest. He…

Chapter 29
Mr. Martinez,” the judge said, “do you wish to address…

Chapter 30
Wolf and Ed Eagle left the Santa Fe County Jail,…

Chapter 31
When Wolf awoke, someone was in bed with him. He…

Chapter 32
When Wolf woke on Christmas morning, Jane was under the…

Chapter 33
Ed Eagle was dozing when the phone rang. He groaned…

Chapter 34
Wolf drove back to Wilderness Gate on automatic pilot, numb…

Chapter 35
Ed Eagle was up early the day after Christmas. He…

Chapter 36
For a week, Wolf hardly left the house. He tried…

Chapter 37
Ed Eagle rang Barbara Kennerly’s bell at eight-thirty on New…

Chapter 38
About halfway through New Year’s Eve, Wolf started to hate…

Chapter 39
On the morning of January second, Wolf left the house…

Chapter 40
Cupie Dalton sat in the tiny second bedroom of his…

Chapter 41
Russell Norris stepped out of the airplane in George Town…

Chapter 42
Cupie Dalton parked as close as he could to Venice…

Chapter 43
Ed Eagle opened the Fed Ex package and removed the…

Chapter 44
Eagle had most of dinner prepared before Barbara arrived. “What…

Chapter 45
Ed Eagle sat at his desk with his face in…

Chapter 46
The phone rang as Wolf was sitting down to lunch.

Chapter 47
Wolf began to be worried about the Gun Club as…

Chapter 48
Ed Eagle was just starting to make fresh pasta when…

Chapter 49
Wolf sat in the dark, the pistol cradled between his…

Chapter 50
The movie ended at eleven, and the news came on.

Chapter 51
As they drove up to his house, Wolf saw a…

Chapter 52
You mean Leah, don’t you?” Eagle said, looking the tall…

Epilogue
Jane Deering sat in the car and watched the entrance…

 

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Praise

Other Books by Stuart Woods

Copyright

About the Publisher

CHAPTER
1

W
olf Willett remembered too late that Flaps had always had a cold nose. Now it found the back of his neck, and with a girlish shriek, Wolf sat bolt upright in bed and regarded her with bleary eyes. There was only a faint glow of daylight from outside.

“Got me again, didn’t you?” he said to her.

Flaps grinned. This grin had always been one of her great charms, and it did not fail to do its work now.

Wolf melted. “Time to get up, huh?”

Flaps laid her head in his lap and grinned again, looking up at him with big brown eyes.

“Right now?” he asked, teasing her.

Right now, she replied, thumping her tail against the bed for emphasis.

“All right, all right.” He moaned and swung his legs over the side of the bed.

Flaps celebrated her triumph with a little golden retriever
dance, throwing in a couple of squeals of happiness.

“Okay,” Wolf said, standing up, “but me first.” He headed for the bathroom, but somehow one leg seemed shorter than the other; he missed the bathroom door and bumped into the wall. “Whoof,” he said to Flaps. “What did I have to drink last night?” He shook his head and stretched his eyes wide open, but the dizziness, not an unpleasant sensation, remained. He groped his way into the bathroom, using the walls for support, and peed, holding on to the toilet with one hand.

Flaps rewarded him with a little kiss on the ass.

“Jesus!” he screamed, jumping away and grabbing the sink for support. “You really know how to wake a guy up, don’t you?”

Flaps grinned and did her little dance.

“Just a minute, all right?” He splashed some water on his face, brushed his teeth too quickly, and tossed down a couple of vitamin C’s with a glass of very cold water from the tap. He grabbed a bathrobe from the hook on the door and headed back to the bedroom in search of slippers. He was navigating better now, but as he proceeded out of the bedroom and across the living room he found himself moving slightly sideways, crablike, in order to maintain his course. Light was creeping across the valley below the house, across the suburbs of Santa Fe, but the interior of the house was still dimly lit, and in the kitchen he turned on the lights, squinting against the glare.

Flaps waited impatiently for him to get coffee started, then watched, rapt, as he poured her a dish of dry dog food. She ate daintily, as befitted her gender, while he got an English muffin into the toaster and rounded up butter and jam. He drank directly from a plastic container of fresh orange juice and returned it to the refrigerator, sighing as the sweet juice made its way down.

“Want to go out now?” he asked her.

To his surprise, she trotted across the room and scratched on the door that led to the guest wing of the house.

“That’s not the back door, dummy,” he railed at her, shaking his head. “It’s this way, remember? The way you’ve gone out every day of your life?”

She scratched on the guest wing door again.

Wolf kept that part of the house closed and unheated until a guest arrived. “I think you must be as hung over as I am this morning.” He slapped his thigh and whistled softly.

Reluctantly, Flaps followed him to the outside kitchen door and, when he opened it, bounded outside.

Wolf left her to roam the hillside, sniffing for coyote markings among the piñons, and returned to his breakfast. He ate slowly and with a nearly blank mind. He did not think of the night before, did not try to remember what he drank, did not think of anything much until he remembered that he had to go to Los Angeles this morning. He looked at the clock on the microwave: just after seven. He calculated the time to the airport, time for the trip, time for the ride to the office. He’d be in L.A. by eleven; time for a sandwich at his desk before his meeting at two. It was Tuesday; he’d get six or seven hours of work in with the editor today and a full day tomorrow, then on Thursday he and Julia would have Thanksgiving dinner with their friends the Carmichaels.

Flaps, her ablutions completed and her survey of the property concluded, scratched on the back door.

He let her in, and she went straight to her cedar-shavings bed and settled in for her morning nap; she was as much a creature of habit as he.

Wolf shaved in the shower, using the mist-free mirror,
then toweled himself dry and used the hair blower on his thick, graying hair. He still felt a light buzz, felt oddly free of worry; they were approaching completion of the new film, and he was usually nervous as hell at this point in a production, but today he couldn’t think of anything to worry about. He was on automatic pilot as he dressed, doing the things he did every day. He slipped into freshly starched jeans and into the soft elkskin cowboy boots that added an inch and a half to his five-foot-nine-inch frame. He was the same height as Paul Newman, he told himself automatically, as he did every morning of his life, and, he reminded himself, the same age as Robert Redford. He wondered for a moment whether he would rather be the same height as Redford and the same age as Newman. It was a close call.

He slipped into a silk shirt and a cashmere sweater and, on his way back to the kitchen, retrieved a sheepskin coat from the hall closet. It would be a chilly morning, but he would shed both the outer garments before arriving in L.A. He took along a light blazer for the city.

As he came back into the kitchen, Flaps hopped out of her bed and went again to scratch on the guest wing door.

“What could you possibly want in there?” he demanded, and got a grin for an answer. “Listen, you,” he said, shaking a finger at her, “I’m leaving Maria a note telling her you’ve already been fed, so don’t try and get another breakfast out of her, you hear?”

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