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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Two"><SPAN name="p21" id="p21"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>21<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER TWO</h2> <p>Detective Lieutenant Nolan Brice braked the Fairlane at 2312 Weisman Drive and got out quickly. For a moment, he wasn’t sure whether Beth Danson would be awake, but it was a long drive into headquarters and he didn’t want to go back to a dismal office, or even a lonely bachelor apartment. He glanced at his watch. 9:30. He shrugged and decided to try it.</p> <p>She answered his knock almost at once, smiling him into the front room. For a moment, he allowed his eyes to finger her body, letting them spear through the wrap around robe and the flimsy nightgown to where warm flesh ebbed and flowed against the sigh of silk. Her brown hair was bed-tangled and most of the makeup was gone from her face, but Beth Danson was a woman who had the unconscious ability to look beautiful under any circumstances. Nolan felt a thunder in his veins as he tossed his hat on the sofa.</p> <p>“Coffee, Nolan?” she asked.</p> <p>He nodded and they went into the kitchen. “We found the Peters’ kid, so that ends another case.” He dropped to a chair and watched her fixing the coffee. “You’re up early, Beth.”</p> <p>A shadow crossed her face momentarily. “I had a dream, Nolan. A bad dream.<!-- TN: period missing in original -->”</p> <p>“About Nick?”</p> <p>She nodded and set a cup of coffee before him. The tears were close again, but Brice hadn’t seen them fall over Nick for a long while. It was ridiculous the way she mooned over the guy, but there was no understanding women.</p> <p>“You ought to stop dwelling on him, honey,” <SPAN name="p22" id="p22"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>22<span class="ns">] </span></span>Nolan told her. “It doesn’t do any good.”</p> <p>“He’s alive,” she said, softly.</p> <p>“You know better than that. If he was alive, we’d have found him. Men just do not drop out of sight in the Twentieth Century.”</p> <p>Beth lifted a hand to brush her hair into place and sat down to sip at her coffee. Nolan studied her. She actually believed that her husband was alive and that he would return to her. He hoped not. It was a selfish thing to think about, but he was in love with her; he’d have had her long ago if it wouldn’t have been for Nick and his dark good looks. He mouthed a swallow of coffee and settled the cup in its saucer. She was looking at him.</p> <p>“Is there any news, Nolan?”</p> <p>“About Nick? No.” He touched her arm. “They’ve given up ... and so should you. Honey, you’re young, beautiful. Hell, another woman would have gone out and had a ball.</p> <p>“Listen, there’s a lousy show on down in Everett. Want to go?”</p> <p>She smiled. “Thanks, but you’re probably tired from hunting for the Peters’ kid...”</p> <p>“I feel fine.”</p> <p>She shook her head. “Nolan, I know how you feel about me. I’m very flattered. But ... but I have to accustom to his loss in my own way. I’m sorry.”</p> <p>Nolan forced a smile. “That’s the way the mop flops,” he mused. “I’ll be around, when you are.” He finished his coffee in silence. “Well, I have to get moving, make out a report and all. Thanks for the coffee, Beth.”</p> <p>She nodded, but remained staring into her cup. Nolan went into the front room, picked up his hat and went out into the morning to climb into his car. <SPAN name="p23" id="p23"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>23<span class="ns">] </span></span>When he had started it and headed back toward Everett, he found himself struggling with the feeling that he was being cheated.</p> <p>After all, he reasoned with himself, why should a guy have to play second fiddle to a man who was probably dead. If Nick Danson were alive, it’d be different; but dead, and that was an almost sure thing, he felt cheated. Beth could learn to love him. She could forget. Hell, a lot of women lost their men for some reason or another, but they accustomed, they altered their lives. If a man dropped the reins, some other guy should pick them up. It was only natural.</p> <p>He shut off the thoughts of Beth as he reached the busy section of town and concentrated on his driving. He could wait, he decided in closing off the thoughts. Sooner or later she would be ready to accept the truth, and he would be right there waiting. He maneuvered the Ford around several other cars parked in the lot of the City Hall and found the berth that bore his name. He killed the engine, got out and went inside to his office.</p> <p>When he opened the door and saw the two men and the Chief sitting in his office, he knew it was something big. After awhile, it was so you could spot a Fed a mile away. Especially when they were sitting in your office. Chief Daniels looked grouchy at him, but his tone was cordial.</p> <p>“You finish with Peters?”</p> <p>“Yes.”</p> <p>Daniels nodded, his florid, moon face looking lumpy and important. “Lieutenant Brice. This is John Cartwell and Sam Morgan. Secret Service. I’ve promised to give them assistance in an important matter. They’ll brief you.” He nodded an important good-by and left the three of them alone.</p> <p><SPAN name="p24" id="p24"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>24<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“What’s the problem, gentlemen,” Nolan said and settled behind his desk.</p> <p>Cartwell, a stocky looking thirty year old, with wavy blond hair, did the talking, while his dark complected friend puffed placidly on a cigar.</p> <p>“Lieutenant Brice,” Cartwell said, “your boss seemed to think that you’d be the best man to help us set up our plan of operation. We’ve already contacted the Civil Air Patrol and the National Guard outfit here. We have an air search under way and for the meanwhile that’s all we can do. We were hoping that you could help us get in touch with all the ground observing corps’ branches; we’ll use this office as a headquarters for operations.”</p> <p>Nolan blinked, “What’s up? An Air Force test plane down?”</p> <p>Cartwell shook his head. “We got a UFO report...”</p> <p>“A flying saucer?” Nolan was stunned.</p> <p>Cartwell chuckled and his partner grinned. “An Unidentified Flying Object does not necessarily constitute a space craft, Brice. But something was spotted off the Grand Banks, early this morning, going like hell and apparently out of control. We got our last sighting over Auburn, New York. We checked the observation posts around Everett and found that nothing was seen. We also checked Binghamton and Elmira, with a negative report. Since the object was on a southerly heading, when spotted near Auburn, we can only assume that it went down in the area between Everett and Auburn, and Binghamton and Elmira.”</p> <p>Nolan gave a long low whistle. “Not one of ours, huh?”</p> <p>“No.”</p> <p>“Canadian?”</p> <p><SPAN name="p25" id="p25"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>25<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“Not at that speed.”</p> <p>“That leaves the big one, then. Russian?”</p> <p>Cartwell shrugged. “Could be. If it is, we want the wreckage. No matter what it is, or whose it is, we are very interested in any aircraft that travels at speeds of fifteen to nineteen thousand miles per hour.”</p> <p>Nolan whistled again. “That’s rolling,” he grinned.</p> <p>“Yeah,” mused Sam Morgan, “and we’d kind of like to know what makes it roll like that.”</p> <p>“Okay. Let’s go into a huddle,” Nolan said. “But I can tell you this. If the thing went down in north central Pennsylvania, it’s in some pretty rugged country.”</p> <p>“Great,” Cartwell snarled.</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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