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Authors: James Patterson

The Horsewoman (34 page)

BOOK: The Horsewoman
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DANIEL AND I WALKED
over the bridge known as Pont des Arts. We held hands. I had already asked if he wanted to talk about the detention center.

“Not tonight,” he said.

He asked if I knew where we were headed.

“Right now,” I asked, “or in general?”

“Either one,” he said.

“Not a clue,” I said.

Then I told him that I knew the damn Louvre was over on this side of the river somewhere. I looked over at him and saw that he was smiling.

“I should have left the party earlier,” he said, smiling, “and walked this particular course myself.”

“You know they call Paris the City of Lights, right?” I said.

“I believe I might have heard that.”

I giggled. I wasn’t drunk. The night air had helped out with that. But I was just light-headed enough. In a good way. Knowing it wasn’t just the wine.

“Well, I didn’t think the lights of Paris were so great when I was coming up on that water jump in a monsoon,” I said.

“You got over it,” Daniel said.

“My horse got over,” I said.

“You two are a good pair,” he said. “You take care of each other.”

We walked in silence for a few minutes, still holding hands. He was as comfortable with it as he’d ever been. Daniel being Daniel.

“You know,” I said finally, “I was thinking that if Dad had gotten you out a few days earlier, you could have been here in time to help train Mom.”

“It is like I told her, she didn’t need me,” he said. “What I really wanted was to make it here in time to watch you.”

“Get a rail,” he said.

“Get another gold medal,” he said.

“Oh,” I said, “that old thing.”

“By the way?” Daniel said. “Gus thinks it’s time for you and Maggie to switch trainers again.”

“He might have mentioned that to me, too,” I said. “But I couldn’t tell if it was the whiskey talking.”

“How do you feel about that?”

Now I smiled. “I’ll have to think about it,” I said. “But you definitely show promise.”

He asked if I was getting tired. I told him Sky was the one who ought to be tired after the way she’d carried me, and not just in Paris. Then he asked what I wanted to do when we got back to Florida. I said it was time for me to get back to school.

“But I had one hell of a semester abroad,” I said, “just over the last two weeks.”

“As I recall,” Daniel said, “your original plan was to do that for your mother.”

I lifted my shoulders and dropped them.

“Merde arrive,”
I said. “I learned that one while I was over here.”

“Now you are the one who must translate for me,” he said.

“Shit happens,” I said.

We walked over the Pont Neuf, the old stone bridge that was my favorite by now, the lights of Paris reflecting off the water in a spectacular way this time. We were halfway across when he stopped and kissed me. And if I was going to get kissed like that, I decided pretty quickly, this was the place for it to happen.

“So what do you want to do tomorrow?” Daniel said.

“Ride my horse,” I said.

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James Patterson
is the world’s bestselling author. His enduring fictional characters and series include Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, and Ali Cross, along with such acclaimed works of narrative nonfiction as
Walk in My Combat Boots, E.R. Nurses,
and his autobiography,
James Patterson by James Patterson.
Bill Clinton (
The President Is Missing
) and Dolly Parton (
Run, Rose, Run
) are among his notable literary collaborators. For his prodigious imagination and championship of literacy in America, Patterson was awarded the 2019 National Humanities Medal. The National Book Foundation presented him with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and he is also the recipient of an Edgar Award and nine Emmy Awards. He lives in Florida with his family.

 

 

 

Mike Lupica
is a veteran sports columnist—spending most of his career with the
New York Daily News
—who is now a member of the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame. For three decades he was a panelist on ESPN’s
The Sports Reporters.
As a novelist, he has written sixteen
New York Times
bestsellers. His daughter has been a competitive rider since the age of ten.

BOOK: The Horsewoman
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