Monday, September 16, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: The Bloodline Trail

...a taste of romance

by Lynda Rees


Jaiden helped Mr. Bennett chase his escaping herd of cattle through the broken fence line. “Thank goodness you brought a couple buckets of grain to entice these stubborn cows to safety.” She’d blocked the road with her cruiser at one end and placed orange cones at the other to keep traffic out of danger and ensure strays didn’t accidentally get hit.

“This ain’t my first rodeo.” The old farmer grinned pushing one errant beast toward safety.

Once the country road was free from danger, she helped guard his animals so they wouldn’t run loose again while Mr. Bennett repaired busted fence. Finally finished, he shook her hand and wiped his brow. “Whew, thanks for your help, Deputy Coldwater.”

“It’s part of the job, but you’re welcome.” Jaiden loved working as deputy to Sheriff Wyatt Gordon of Sweetwater.

She made good time driving back to town. Dusk was starting. She neared the deserted Barnes farm at the edge of town. A light flashed from a window.

Damn, those kids must be partying again.

She’d arrested one juvenile last week—the one she caught. His buddies ran faster and escaped. Jaiden dragged the boy home. His dad was pissed at his son and assigned punishment. He had to clean police station bathrooms for a week.

It tickled her seeing his dad come down on him that way. It’d serve him better than any other punishment. He wasn’t a bad kid. He arrived like clockwork after school each afternoon with sagging shoulders and head hung low.

He was making friends with other deputies. Finally he had guts to look into Jaiden’s eyes. She smiled and winked. He blushed and grinned.

She hit a button to call her office. “Sheriff Gordon here. What’s up, Jaiden?” His southern twang could charm honey out of a bear’s paws.

“Wyatt, it looks like vandals sneaked into the Barnes place again. I’m going to check it out.”

“Okay, but be careful. Keep your body camera on and radio handy. Buzz me if you need backup. I can be there in five.”

“It’s probably just kids again. They’ll run, and I’ll be home in half an hour. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

“You do that, Deputy Coldwater.” Wyatt had confidence in her ability to handle a few youngsters looking for a good time; but if he thought real danger was present, he’d come running. He was a good friend and a great boss.

Jaiden drove into a dirt drive and circled behind a house. Surprisingly a vehicle parked there. Local kids typically walked, not wanting to draw attention. They usually carried a beer cooler but were too young to legally partake. They generally partied in the back woods, but once last winter they broke into the house. It looked like they were at it again.

A close look at the vehicle indicated differently. The fancy SUV probably cost around what she made in a year. This didn’t appear to be kids.

She stepped from her cruiser wearing a body camera. Warily she approached the car shining her flashlight. Tinted windows made it difficult. Close up it was apparent no one was inside or nearby. It was locked. She paced to the house and tried the back door. It opened.

Using a firm authoritative voice she called, “Police, anyone here?” Dead silence. She called out again—same response. “I’m coming in.” Holding the door wide, she entered.

The old farmhouse kitchen had seen better days. Two years of no habitation left every surface covered with dust and cobwebs.

Making her way into the sparsely furnished dining room with no sign of life, only footprints in dust proving someone recently walked through. The living room was much the same. Furniture had been covered with sheets, and still, no one in the house.

A first-floor bedroom was also filled with sheet-covered items. Its filthy floor held an expensive, pull-behind suitcase. A tag read C. Barnes.

Huh, apparently a Barnes heir had arrived.

Jaiden made her way back through the maze of rooms. She yanked the door shut behind her. No sign of C. Barnes or anyone else. Returning to her cruiser, she activated her radio.


“Yep, I’m here, Jaiden. How are things at the Barnes place?”

“Quiet. A fancy SUV is parked in back of the unlocked house. I found footprints and a suitcase in a bedroom with a tag for C. Barnes, whoever that is.”

“C? I suppose that’s Clay, for Clay Barnes. He must’ve returned home. Wonder if he’s in town to stay or merely settling his mama’s estate? It’s been a couple years since her funeral. Too bad he let the place deteriorate during that time.”

“Yep; the kids around here haven’t helped it any.” She climbed into the cruiser. “I didn’t find Mr. Barnes or anyone else around. Maybe he’s exploring his property. Want me to search for him?”

“No, no need. If there’s trouble, he’ll let us know. Go home and enjoy what’s left of your evening. You’re off duty now, right?”

“Sure thing, boss; see you tomorrow.” Before she finished writing notes on her stop, a tall, lanky gentleman in too-new jeans, shiny boots and a crisp, white dress shirt with sleeves rolled to elbows, strolled from the woods. His smile lit his face engaging pale blue eyes like none she’d seen before, unless photos of that sexy, old actor, Paul Newman counted.

He strode purposely toward her closed door with an arm extended—not bad looking, but not a muscular. She’d always been attracted to the brawny sort. Built more like Levi—his gangling body towered above her. She shined her flashlight his way.

Pearly-blue eyes sparkled. A perfect set of shiny, white teeth flashed a welcoming smile. His hand flipped up reflecting light.

She flicked her light off. Through approaching dusk moonlight caught moisture as he self-consciously licked what appeared soft, sensual lips.

“Howdy, Ma’am. Are you the Welcome Wagon?”

“Afraid not, I’m Deputy Coldwater.  I saw a light and figured you for a trespasser.”


Dear Reader:
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by Lynda Rees
Deputy Jaiden Coldwater’s fling with Dr. Clay Barnes turns serious, but neither acknowledges it. Visiting Sweetwater to settle his parents’ estate, Clay stumbles on a murder victim; and many look suspicious. His parents aren’t who he thought and never owned their farm. Clay tries to unravel the mystery, discover who he actually is, and what he wants from life, but may lose it all in a shootout when the murderer goes after the next victim.


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The Write Way Cafe said...

Thanks for sharing with us today, Lynda! I'm very curious what he's doing there!