He slowed as he reached the entrance to the
bridge that crossed the swampland giving Bayou Allain its name. A fire
truck, an ambulance, and three cars from the sheriff’s department
blocked all but one slice of road.
Simon could understand why. Hitting the bridge at too high a speed had
not fared well for the car below, its front end buried in the muck, its
underbelly exposed to the elements and covered in the detritus of the
The scene wasn’t fresh. The car’s wheels weren’t spinning.
He didn’t see signs of a driver or passenger, though that could
be explained by the ambulance. At least the parish coroner wasn’t
He made it across the bridge without incident, sped up for the last
half mile before the turn into his property, and headed for the house
in which he’d grown up.
He doubted he’d see his cousin unless he made a concerted effort
to do so. He didn’t want to leave here without setting things straight,
but he wasn’t going to force a confrontation with King.
Not when the sale of the land would widen the rift between them.
Making provisions for his cousin was something he needed to discuss
with Lorna, whether or not it could be done by giving King time to relocate,
or setting aside for him a portion of the profits from the sale.
If there were any profits.
Simon might be looking at nothing but a break even proposition, if not
As long as this was the last trip down south he had to make, he could
deal with that, he mused, his truck rolling to a stop in front of a two
story frame structure that he barely recognized as his childhood home.
He took a minute to shake off old memories, then climbed out of the
truck. He’d haul in his gear after he checked out the house, gauged
whether or not it was livable or if he was going to need to head back
to Abbeville for a room. He wasn’t up to rooming with raccoons,
possums, and rats.
The porch steps were solid enough, though the railing wouldn’t
have supported the weight of a bird. He shook it again. He’d have
to round up a hammer and nails, pick up a couple of new two-by-fours
. . .
Uh, no. He wouldn’t. He was selling the place – buildings
and land – “as is.” Repairs would keep him here way
too long, cost him way too much.
He was checking out the warped porch and the fit of the screen door’s
frame when he heard a noise inside. The back door opened into the kitchen,
and he knew critters enjoyed burrowing into cupboards, beneath old appliances,
even under the floorboards of rooms with more hiding places than most.
Except how many of those critters had figured out how to pump the well
handle to bring water up to the sink?
He slid the Smith & Wesson M&P .357 he wore at his waist from
its holster, took hold of the door knob and slowly turned, pushing inward
until he saw movement, then slamming it all the way open and swinging
his hands up, gun at the ready.
“Who the hell . . .?” was all he got out before realizing
he knew exactly who his trespasser was.
He’d just never seen her like this . . . standing at a sink, one
hand on a pump handle, her dark hair caught on top of her head with a
John Deere cap, a sheer push-up bra and a pair of rubber waders the only
clothes she wore.
He engaged the safety and holstered the semiautomatic, chuckling under
his breath with as much humor as disbelief. If only the guys from Page
Six could see their favorite pair of tits and ass now.
“Well, if it isn’t Michelina Ferrer, heiress to the Ferrer
Her lips trembled in response, the pallor of her face nearly the same
shade as the shocked whites of her eyes.
He sobered, taking a closer look at the bruise on her right cheekbone,
the scrape on the same shoulder, the gash on her forearm she’d
Then he remembered the accident he’d passed.
And he swore.
“It wasn’t an accident, was it?” he asked, and she
crumpled to the floor, shaking her head as a sob filled with fear shook