Past Houston, he used a pay phone outside a truck stop. It fascinated and disturbed him that the only person he cared about from Brendan Buchanan’s world was Holly McCoy. He’d known her only a few days. She was a threat to him. And yet he had an irresistible urge to protect her, to ensure that she escaped the danger she had created for herself because she had investigated him. He thought he had convinced the major, the captain, and Alan of her intention not to pursue the story. There was a strong chance they would leave her alone. But what about the colonel? Would the colonel agree with their recommendation?
Buchanan hadn’t been lying when he’d told them that Holly had flown back to Washington, and he hadn’t been lying when he’d said that he’d made Holly frightened enough not to pursue the story. Still, he had to reinforce her resolve. Assuming that her phones would be tapped, he’d told her that he would use the name Mike Hamilton if he needed to leave a message on her answering machine or with someone at the
“How are you?”
“Wondering if I made a mistake,” Holly answered.
“It wasn’t a mistake, believe me.”
“What about your negotiations? Did they work?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Yes. Oh. Did you send them what you promised?”
“. . Not yet.”
“It’s just that. . It’s such good material. I hate to. .
“Do it,” Buchanan repeated. “Don’t make them angry.”
“But giving up the story makes me feel like a coward.”
“There were plenty of times when I did things rather than think of myself as a coward. Now those things don’t seem worth it. I have to keep on the move. The best advice I can give you is. .” He wanted to say something reassuring but couldn’t think of anything. “Stop worrying about bravery and cowardice. Follow your common sense.”
He hung up, left the pay phone, got quickly into the rented Taurus, and returned to the busy highway, squinting from the painful sunlight that now was low in the west ahead of him. Even the Ray-Bans he’d bought at noon in Beaumont didn’t keep the sun’s glare from feeling as if a red-hot spike had been driven through each eye and into his skull.
Follow your common sense?
You’re good at giving advice. You don’t seem to want to take it, though.