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Camino Winds (Camino Island, #2) by John Grisham Read Online (FREE)

Lindsey handed over an envelope and said, “Here’s the money. I’m buying breakfast.”

Vera took the envelope and shoved it into a pocket. “Thanks, but I’m not hungry.” It was obvious she had not declined too many biscuits. “You a cop or something?” she asked.

“Not at all. I work for some lawyers out of Louisville and we’re investigating nursing homes throughout the state. We sue a lot of them for neglect and abuse, and, as you probably know, Glinn Valley does not have a great reputation. I need some inside information and I’m willing to pay for it.”

“And I need a job, okay? What I got ain’t much, but they ain’t no jobs around here.”

“You will not get in trouble, I promise. Nothing is illegal, okay? We just need a set of eyes inside to make our cases stronger.”

“Why me?”

“If not you, then we’ll simply find someone else. We’re offering two thousand a month cash for the next three months.”

So far, Lindsey had left no trail. If Vera suddenly bolted, drove to work and told her boss about the meeting, they would never find her. She would disappear from the sad little town and never come back. But Vera was thinking about the money. She earned just over ten dollars an hour for a forty-hour week with no benefits. Her husband was about to be laid off. They lived from paycheck to paycheck, and if they missed a single one there was nobody to help.

 

Lindsey, of course, knew all of this. She pressed on with “It’s easy money, Vera, and we’re not asking you to do anything wrong.”

“Well, it sure smells wrong.”

“I assure you.”

“And I’m supposed to trust you? Hell, we just met. You call me out of the blue and say meet me for a biscuit.”

“We’re offering a lot more.”

“What am I supposed to do? Be a spy?”

“Something like that. The lawyers I work for are experts in the field of nursing home abuse. You’ve seen the cases.”

“I ain’t going to no courtroom, no ma’am.”

“We won’t ask you to. That’s not part of your job.”

“And so what happens if these lawyers bring all these cases to court and Glinn Valley goes bankrupt? What am I supposed to do then? Like I said, lady, there ain’t no jobs around here. They pay me minimum wage to clean bedpans and you think I like it? No, I don’t, but my kids also like to eat, now don’t they?”

Lindsey was always quick to admit defeat. She would leave and go to the next name on the list. She raised her hands in mock surrender and said, “Thank you for your time, Ms. Stark. I’ve paid you. Have a nice day.”

Vera said, “Three thousand a month for five months. That’s fifteen thousand total, in cash, more than I clear after taxes for the year. First month in advance.”

Lindsey smiled and studied her eyes. A hard life had sharpened her edges and made her nimble. Quietly, she said, “Deal.”