Tags: Mystery, horses, French Resistance, Thoroughbreds, Lexington, WWII, OSS historical, crime, architecture, horse racing, equine pharmaceuticals, family business, France, Christian
didnât look as though sheâd noticed. âIâm really sorry this happened to Toss. I am. But weâve still got mares foaling. Weâre trying to get yearlings ready for the July sales. And how can Toss even live on his own if both legs are hurt? Heâll probably be in a wheelchair for weeks. Though thatâs hard to imagine, for anyone who knows Toss.â
âMiss Jo?â Buddy was back from calling his wife, standing in front of her chair.
âThanks for taking care of Toss, Buddy. Did you drive him, or get an ambulance?â
âDrove. You want me to take his truck on back and do the late-night rounds, or you want me to wait for you?â
Alan said heâd be happy to drive her home.
So Jo asked Buddy to check every mare and baby the way Toss did at night, then fill buckets and feed more hay. âIs Walter coming in to help, in case somebody foals?â
âYep. Oh, I meant to tell ya too, some lady come after supper, and rode Sam, and sheâs gunna buy him. Her and Toss made a deal. Sheâs from over to Louisville, and she seemed like a real nice lady.â
âI see.â Jo was looking at Buddy as though that had been completely unexpected and might not actually be welcome. âLet Emmy out too, okay? Walk her around and make sure she pees, and then put her back in the pantry.â
âIâll get goinâ, and talk to you later.â
Jo got up and followed him down the hall, then came back and paced some more, before she sat back down.
âYou didnât look too happy about Sam getting sold.â Alan was smiling at her like an older brother who knew something she didnât.
âItâs not that. You just never know how some stranger will take care of your horse. Sam deserves a good home.â
âThatâs what Tom thought too. You want a cup of coffee?â
âI do. Thanks.â
âCould I see Sam one more time when I drive you home? I donât know anything about horses, but Iâd actually like to learn to ride. It comes from watching Tom and Sam. You take your coffee black, right?â
Five minutes after Alan went off, a tall, bony, tired looking doctor with a surgical mask hanging around his neck walked down the hall toward Jo. âYouâre here with Mr. Watkins?
âYes. Iâm Jo Grant, his niece.â
âHe came through surgery fine, but heâs got a compound fracture of the left tibia. Thatâs the larger bone in the lower leg. We had to put in screws that weâll take out later. The right femur, the thigh bone, is cracked too. He should be fine in the long run. Heâs strong as an ox, but recoveryâs going to take awhile. Heâs got casts on both legs.â
âWhen do you think heâll come home?â
âMaybe tomorrow, or the day after. Heâll be in recovery most of the night. You might as well go on home and call us in the morning.â
Alan parked by the house so Jo could change before they headed to the barns.
It was a clear night, and the sky was endless â the half moon milky and soft, the stars burning crystals, the breeze warm on their skin.
They walked slowly, both of them looking up in amazement â till Alan asked Jo what bothered her most about Toss getting hurt.
Jo stopped in her tracks, and Emmy the puppy, being led on a lead to keep her from the horses, ran into the back of Joâs paddock boots and fell right on her nose. âThatâs an odd way to put it.â
âPossibly. But still. What about Toss?â
âI feel sorry for him. Itâll be miserable getting over this, but Toss is tough, and he wonât complain once. The trouble will be holding him down.â
âI donât want to stay home and run the farm, and not go see the architecture Iâve been wanting to see for years. I was going to be gone for a month or more. But now