Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
The long-awaited third book in Kerry J Donovan's growing Lucky Shores series.
Recently qualified doctor, Chet Walker, and his newly pregnant fiancée, Josie Donoghue, are finally on their way home to Lucky Shores to start their exciting new life together. At the final rest stop before home, they pick up hitchhiker, Sergeant Nate Starling, an army vet, and soon strike up an unlikely friendship. When they drop their new friend off at his destination, instead of a hot cup of coffee, they discover a devastating tragedy.
With emotions running high, Chet and Josie trek through the mountains into an oncoming storm to protect their new-found friend and chase justice for a former solider and his wife, only to be stopped dead at gunpoint.
After the local police department closes the case on his former army buddy’s untimely death with surprising haste, Nate Starling smells a rat. He lets Chet and Josie head for home, before settling down to the real work of identifying his friend’s killers … and learning more about the intriguing deputy, Silvia Solis.
With time running out in a town full of Good Ol’ Boys and corrupt cops, can Nate find the missing link before more of his friends end up dead?
The High and Mighty — Dwight Singleton
Hidden in the brush at the edge of the trees, Dwight Singleton snickered and smiled to himself. He’d found the perfect view of the farm house.
He unscrewed the top on the bottle, took another deep pull, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Sure as hell the last one. He needed to go easy on the sauce. After planning his move for days, he had to concentrate. The primary target was tough, competent, and needed careful attention. But the secondary?
Hot dog, man.READ MORE
She was gonna be the pudding after the savory main course.
Dwight licked his lips in anticipation. The bitch might be part squaw, but she’d always made him drool. The boner pressing against the crotch in his pants showed the effect she had on him, always had on him. Curvy in all the right places, and firm, smooth legs that never ended. Weren’t no doubt about it, the woman was a pure fox. Her appeal far outshone any attraction Dwight ever had for Dolores. He’d been with the woman twenty-two years. Poor, dumb, dumpy Dolores couldn’t compare with the leggy squaw. She never did, even in her prime. Not that Dolores ever had much of a prime. Poor old Dee wouldn’t never have made no glamor model, but she did have one thing going for her. Her dowry.
Dwight snickered again.
Dee the Dumpling inherited her daddy’s farm, such as it was, and back in the day, Dwight had a silvery tongue on him. Not that he only used it to talk with.
Dwight allowed a slow smile to form.
Oh yeah, man.
He used that silvery smooth tongue on the frumpy young Dolores and got exactly what he wanted—the farm. Not that it turned out as anything more than a Goddamned deadweight hanging around his neck. Two thousand acres of useless scrubland and woods that never did pay its way. And then they found oil in the valley, or the chance of it. With the discovery came the promise of wealth and a life of ease and endless booze. But the promise was taken away, stolen by all them selfish do-gooders that cared more for the wildlife and the scrubland than they did for the people in the county.
Damn their conservationist hearts.
They’d pay. And two of the assholes would pay right now.
Whenever he and Dee paid the soldier and the squaw a neighborly visit, the squaw played it all prim and cool, but Dwight knew what a whore she’d be when he eventually warmed her up. Might take some time and a real hard beating, but the bitch would beg to please him. Them full, round lips would pleasure him good. Real good.
Something Dee could never do. Not in all them twenty-two long, hard years.
The woman just lay there in bed like a sack of potatoes, saying and doing nothing while he had to do all the Goddamned work. Had to keep her sweet, but it were getting more and more difficult to play the part of the loving husband. And the issue that “blessed” their union, Floyd, weren’t worth the food on his plate. Damned boy was as useless as his momma. Nothing but a drain on Dwight’s dwindling resources.
Still, after he’d completed his morning’s activities, things would work out the way Dwight always wanted.
Yes siree, Bob.
He raised the bottle to his chapped lips again and drained the last of the whiskey in one long swallow. The fiery liquid no longer burned his throat on the way down, and the buzz it provided no longer gave him pleasure, it only filled a need. The same need the squaw would fill afore long.
As for the gimp—the high and mighty war hero—the stubborn damn fool wouldn’t see another sunset. Big man came back from the army all busted up, and missing part of a leg, but still came across as all superior, despite the shell-shock. Although they didn’t call it shell-shock no more. Called it something fancier these days—post-traumatic something or other.
Back in Granddaddy’s day, they used to call it cowardice in the face of the enemy, and they used to shoot the assholes as deserters.
Yeah, well things was different nowadays, more’s the pity. Everybody’d gone all soft an’ sensitive. But the fake drama bullshit had given Dwight an idea, and when he ran the idea past “The Almighty”, he’d been given the sign, the go-ahead. So long as Dwight played it right and left no blowback on him, The Almighty was cool with the plan.
There weren’t nothing better than an official sanction handed down from The Almighty, and Dwight couldn’t wait to get moving.
Since he’d been given the go-ahead, Dwight had spent days in the planning. He’d run through the operation in his head dozens of times, ironing out all the wrinkles.
Far as plans went, it was totally foolproof. Dwight would get rid of the war hero, have his long overdue fun with the squaw, and clear the way for progress. And progress fueled the world. They’d all be rich. Dee and the dumbass boy would be happy with the result, although they’d never know what Dwight had done to make it happen. No one would know but Dwight and The Almighty hisself, and that made sense. Had to keep a low profile after doing the deed. Be real stupid to brag about it to no one.
Dwight stuffed the empty bottle into his backpack—he didn’t intend on leaving no evidence of his loitering—and set the bag to one side. He’d be back for it a little later, after the show.
Not for the first time that morning, he checked the load on his rifle. Full. This time, he racked a shell into the breach. When it came to it—despite the alcohol flooding his bloodstream, a half bottle’s worth of courage courtesy of Mr. Jim Beam himself—he wouldn’t miss. Dwight never missed, not at the kind of range he intended to shoot from.
First though, he needed the setup.
Dwight pulled in a deep breath of the cold morning air to clear his head, and stood and waited for the headrush to pass. Didn’t take long. He turned away from the farm, pulled the rifle butt to his shoulder and fire twice, aiming at nothing but the leaves in the trees. Then he sat back down again, cross-legged with the rifle resting on his thighs, and stared at his wristwatch—the only thing dear old Daddy left him. Worthless pieces of crap. Both the watch and Daddy.
Thirty minutes passed slowly. It allowed the worst effects of the whiskey to drain away, and gave Dwight plenty of time to play dress-up. He pulled a bright orange safety vest over his head and cinched it tight around his waist. From his backpack, he took a vial of deer’s blood and tipped its contents over the front of the vest, allowing it to drip over his pants. He confirmed the effect looked real. Everyone in the whole valley knew Dwight was a messy hunter. Some had complained about it for years.
“Time for some fun.,” Dwight chuckled to the bushes and any critters within earshot, and stepped out into the sunlight, trying to minimize the stagger as he made his way across the open field.
Horses whinnied in the paddock and the dog barked, announcing Dwight’s arrival. Damned mutt never did settle when Dwight was around. Good job the squaw and the gimp kept it in its kennel overnight.
The clamor had its effect.
The back door to the farmhouse opened and the screen door squeaked on unoiled hinges. The squaw, in cowboy boots, cutoff jeans, and a plaid shirt, filled the doorway. Her pretty face showed disappointment, not fear.
The fear would come, and it would come soon.
Despite the dulling effect of Mr. Beam’s premium product, Dwight’s pecker twitched at the promise of what was to come.
“Morning, Dwight,” she said without emotion. “Haven’t seen you or Dolores for a while. Everything okay?”
Dwight kept his distance and lowered the rifle, making sure to point it well away from the house. He didn’t want her taking fright and screaming. Not yet awhile.
“Howdy, ma’am,” he said, pleasant as any neighbor should be while paying an unexpected visit. “Ain’t nothing wrong. Been out hunting and bagged myself a ten-point buck.”
She nodded, said, “Thought I heard shooting earlier. Pretty close to the farm, though,” then looked toward the frantic dog, running around his pound, searching for a way out.
“Bandit,” she shouted. “Quiet down, now. You’ve seen Dwight before.”
The barking stopped instantly, but the dog continued eyeballing Dwight and growling. Pity the plan didn’t include killing no stupid mutts or the squaw’s beloved Bandit would meet the same end as its owners.
Dwight kept up his act. He smiled but made sure to hide his rotting teeth. First thing he’d do when the oil money started rolling in was head to the dentist and get ’em fixed up good.
“Sorry if I startled you, honey. Been tracking that goldarned buck all morning. Finally caught up to him on the west ridge. I gutted him already”—with his free hand, he pointed to the bloodstained vest—“but I could do with a hand lifting him onto my quad bike. Hubby around?”
She paused for a moment before answering. “In the office. I’ll go fetch him. Come into the kitchen for a coffee, but take your boots off first.”
Dwight tipped his hat and climbed the steps leading to the covered back porch.
“Thank you kindly, ma’am. Coffee would hit the spot right well.”
She turned her back on him and moved to enter the kitchen.
Dwight darted forward, hefted the rifle, and cracked her hard on the back of the head with the butt. The squaw collapsed to the floor in a crumpled heap, blood pouring from an ugly-assed gash. The dog started up its frantic baying and straining at the gate to its pound.
“Shut the hell up,” Dwight muttered, aiming the rifle at the dog’s head. “Plans can change, you stupid hound.”
As he stepped over the squaw, she groaned. Still alive. Excellent. He’d be back for her later.
Dwight’s plan allowed for two hours but, in reality, the whole thing only took less than ninety minutes, including his fun with the squaw. He stared up at the thing swinging from the roof truss and grinned.
“Ain’t so high and mighty now, is you, boy!” Dwight said, then he chuckled. “Well, maybe you is! Maybe you is. High, at least.”
Still chuckling, he turned his back on the carnage and loped towards his hidey-hole, accompanied by the wild neighing of startled horses and the frantic howling of a stupid hound dog.