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Dirt

Cover of Dirt

Dirt

Stone Barrington Series, Book 2
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Feared and loathed for her poison pen and ice queen persona, Amanda Dart has made her share of enemies. Then the tables are turned. An anonymous gossipmonger is faxing Amanda's personal and private...More
Feared and loathed for her poison pen and ice queen persona, Amanda Dart has made her share of enemies. Then the tables are turned. An anonymous gossipmonger is faxing Amanda's personal and private...More
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Description-
  • Feared and loathed for her poison pen and ice queen persona, Amanda Dart has made her share of enemies. Then the tables are turned. An anonymous gossipmonger is faxing Amanda's personal and private peccadilloes to anyone who can read. Desperate to save her reputation, she enlists the help of New York lawyer and private investigator Stone Barrington to learn the identity of the faxer. And everyone in the world of tabloid journalism becomes a suspect.

    But the faxes don't stop. In fact, they get worse. And Stone winds up with more leads than one man can handle, until Amanda takes matters dangerously into her own hands and turns the world of gossip on its head. As the circle of suspects shrinks, Stone discovers that even the most respected members of the social scene will stop at nothing--even homicide--to clear their sullied names.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Dinner had been wonderful--twelve around a gleaming oval table of burled walnut in a dining room a dozen stories above the light-flecked carpet of Central Park, the cooking by the chef of a famous restaurant a few blocks away, the wines from the host's superb cellar, and the company carefully chosen by a couple who could cast a wide net. Amanda Dart felt quite at home among them.

    As they moved from the table into the library next door for coffee and brandy, Amanda reflected that her presence there was as much a tribute to her position as to her personality, though she could certainly hold her own in any company. Of those present--a movie star and his gorgeous companion, a captain of industry and his dowdy wife, and a former British prime minister, her dinner partner, among them--Amanda alone possessed the power to tell the world just who her hosts had attracted to their table, something the couple wanted very badly for the world to know. It was vulgar to drop names; Amanda Dart, queen of gossip columnists, would do the dropping for them.

    Lord Wight, the former prime minister, was taking a keen interest in Amanda, attention that, on another night, would have been a great deal more interesting for her. Tonight, however, she had other plans, other company in mind, and the thought made for a weak feeling in her crotch.

    "I chose my title from the island of my birth," Lord Wight was saying.

    "Oh, yes, the Isle of Wight," Amanda said, returning his serve. "I believe the town of Cowes there is the capital of British yachting." Point made.

    "The capital of European yachting," his lordship replied.

    "And that's where you sail your little yacht?"

    "Actually, it's quite a large yacht," Wight replied testily. "And I don't just sail it, I race it."

    "Tell me, Lord Wight," Amanda asked innocently, "just how does someone amass enough of a fortune to buy a large yacht during a lifetime of public service?"

    "Fortunately, my dear lady," Wight said, smiling softly, "in my country the amassing of a fortune is not incompatible with a life in politics. One acquires knowledgeable friends who advise one on how to invest one's money."

    Amanda winked at him. "One understands," she said.

    Her hostess joined them. "Amanda, dear," she said, "you made me promise to tell you when it was midnight, and it is. You're catching a plane?"

    "To St. Bart's," Amanda said, moving forward in her seat in preparation for standing.

    "Surely there's no plane out of Kennedy at this hour," Wight said, consulting a gold watch from his waistcoat pocket. "They do have noise regulations, don't they?"

    "Not at Teterboro," Amanda replied. "One is fortunate enough to have friends with jets." She stood up, bringing Lord Wight with her.

    "My dear," he was saying, "I do hope I can see you when I'm next in New York."

    "Of course, Lord Wight," Amanda replied, fishing in her little clutch purse for a card. "I would be delighted to hear from you." Any night but tonight, she thought.

    She made her goodbyes, collected her coat from the butler, and slipped out of the huge apartment.

    Downstairs, her trusty driver, Paul, and her elderly Cadillac were waiting. Amanda slipped into the back seat, and in a moment they were moving. "The Trent, Paul," she said.

    "Yes, ma'am," Paul replied.

    It was Amanda's fiftieth birthday, though no one knew it; she was in spectacular shape, her firm body the product of a regular program with a trainer in her own little gym. Amanda allowed no other person to see her perspire. She placed two fingers on her carotid artery and glanced at her watch. Her resting pulse was normally forty-five; tonight, it was seventy.

About the Author-
  • Stuart Woods is the author of more than forty novels, including the New York Times bestselling Stone Barrington and Holly Barker series. An avid sailor and pilot, he lives in New York City, Florida, and Maine.

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