Is the wonder drug a threat? The Authors Collection.
January 28, 2015
(Megan’s Cure is the latest Enzo Lee mystery thriller. In part, it is about what happens when a medical wonder drug and its discoverer become a threat to Big Pharma. Here is a chapter. – Robert B. Lowe)
THE MERCEDES CONVERTIBLE pulled into the cool shade of the Palladian Hotel and Casino parking garage and Gray Axmann pressed the button to raise its roof. He watched the rear view mirror with quiet satisfaction as the panel behind the back seat lifted open and the black hard top slowly emerged, reached upward and then pivoted down over his head before finally clicking gently into place.
Smooth. It still tickled him six weeks after buying the car, his latest toy.
“Those Germans,” he thought. “They know how to make a car.”
Axmann shifted his gaze in the mirror to himself, running his fingers through his hair to tame it from windblown to merely tousled. He still was getting accustomed to seeing chestnut brown hair in the mirror rather than the natural yellow bleached nearly white by the desert sun.
Growing up in Las Vegas with his twin brother Troy, the pair had attracted confused glances wherever they went. They might have been identical twins with the kind of good looks that garnered attention, twins or not, except that he was blonde while Troy had dark brown hair.
The other differences were less obvious.
Gray was a born athlete and a natural leader, giving off lead-dog pheromones as if he applied them each morning along with his cologne. He had never had to look far to find the next opportunity – or beautiful woman – waiting in line to be plucked, drawn to his looks and charisma.
Troy, on the other hand, had been an average athlete and both a brilliant and slavishly dedicated student. He rode his nearly perfect college entrance test scores and straight-A transcript to Princeton and a PhD from UCLA in microbiology. Eight years later, Troy started Axology, a biotech startup focused on applying cutting-edge gene technology to the development of cancer treatments.
Meanwhile, Gray remained in Las Vegas, earned a business degree at the local university and then took over their father’s business, “negotiating” with the employee unions on behalf of the casinos. The business had evolved from one mainly relying on broken kneecaps and blackmail to the more genteel technique of bribery. Along the way, Gray had diversified the business to handle all the security needs of several of the largest Las Vegas casinos, including the Palladian.
The parking garage elevator came to a stop four floors beneath the one where Gray Axmann had parked and the doors slid open on the far side of the Palladian hotel lobby. He strode across the marble flooring toward the casino floor beyond. Along the way, he checked himself in the mirrored surfaces he passed, adjusting his dark blue blazer over khaki pants and a teal polo shirt. He would be on a golf course in two hours, dispensing tips and giving up strokes to visiting casino bigwigs from Singapore. And, damn – he did look just like his brother Troy with the new hair color.
He glanced around the casino floor with a practiced eye. Lunch time. Still quiet. He saw his floor chief in the middle of a conversation in the black jack pit. They were going to talk about the ongoing problem of drug use in the hotel restrooms. It was mostly meth but cocaine still retained a loyal fan base. He was convinced a couple of arrests with just the right amount of publicity would nip it in the bud without distressing the customers.
While he waited for his chief to finish his conversation, Axmann checked his watch. Then, he felt a hand caress his neck and slide up into his hair.
“Hello, Gray,” said Eileen.
She was the new supervisor of dealers at the Palladian. She was 30ish, tall and wonderfully built with long black hair that reached far down her back. Her father was the general manager at another casino on the strip.
“What did you do to your hair?” Eileen asked. She moved her hand deeper into the hair at the back of his head and gripped it so hard it almost hurt. It also triggered images of the night two weeks ago when Eileen had gripped his hair the same way while she wrapped her long naked legs around him and they went at each other like a pair of wrestlers – biting encouraged. It had been their first time together.
From her smile when he caught her eyes, Axmann knew Eileen was thinking of that night as well. He thought he felt a tingling pass through her fingers and race through his body. He actually gasped. Then he regrouped.
“Just trying it to see how it hides the gray,” said Axmann. “It’s enough to have it in my name…Gray.”
“I get it and I like it,” she said, releasing her grip and letting her fingers caress his ear quickly and run off his shoulder. Her smile hadn’t changed. He smiled back at her as his eyes quickly ran down her front and back up again, taking in everything
“Dinner?” he said.
Please click the book cover image to read more about Robert B. Lowe’s Megan’s Cure.