Image of suspense author Mary BurtonThough they were Jack’s legacy, there was no real connection between the two. They shared no childhood memories, or even DNA since she was adopted.

“Who told you about Pop?” Dirk asked.

“The Texas Rangers. And you?”

“Got a voicemail from Ledbetter.” A small muscle pulsed in his jaw.

“You live on the property, and I bet the cops still had a hard time finding you,” she said.

“They did.” He shifted, his gaze narrowing as he looked at the lawn chair. “Ledbetter tells me Jack is at the morgue.”


“He wouldn’t want a funeral.”

“I know. I’ll have him cremated.”

“Why you?”

“Do you want to do it?” she asked.

“No. If you know anything about me, you know I don’t like to get into town, and last I checked the funeral home is in town.”

“Fair enough. That’s why I’ll do it.” Her brother lived somewhere on the property and from what Jack said was good at keeping an eye on things and keeping the varmints away. “Where were you yesterday?”

He rubbed his temple. “I was in El Paso on business. I came back as soon as I got the message.”

No sense asking what he’d been doing in El Paso. He’d not been here, and that was enough.

“Jack trusted you with all the paperwork,” he said. “Is there a will?”

“That’s the last thing on my mind right now. I want to know who killed Pop. Do you have any idea?”

Dirk’s nostrils thinned and he drew in a breath, and then he scratched the black-and-gray stubble on his chin. “How the hell am I supposed to know?”

“Because you’re the one who stuck around. You saw him all the time. And you’d know better than anyone if he’d done something to piss someone off.”

“I hadn’t seen Jack in over a week.”

“And if Jack were into something he shouldn’t have been, you wouldn’t try to hide it, would you?” she asked.

“What do I have to hide from an FBI agent, sister?” he asked.

“I doubt we have time to talk about all that you’re hiding, but unless it related to Pop, I don’t care.” She’d learned to bluff really well as an agent, knowing if she went in hot with a suspect and acted like she had the answers, they’d give up more than intended.

“Aren’t you the badass agent?” He shook his head as he rubbed a splintered spot on the deck with the tip of his worn boot.

“When’s the last time Jack went into Austin?” she asked.

“I have no idea.”

“What about the local diner near here?” she countered. “Had he been there lately?”

“He barely left the yard in the last year. Why are you so worked up about where he’s been? He was killed right here.”

“Our old man was tortured and murdered. Everything he did in the last few weeks matters to me. What he did and who he saw is all a part of the puzzle.”

Copyright © 2018 Mary Burton