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First pages

Chapter 1

Maybe I should get a Subaru like Mac, Tony thought as he pulled into his driveway from having his Mercedes S550 serviced—again. For such an expensive car, there always seem to be something going wrong. He was laughing at the idea of buying a Subaru as he went into his Studio City home. Tony saw the message light flashing on his answering machine, so he pushed the button and listened.

“This is Deputy Sheriff Ruiz from the Kern County substation in Boron, California. I’m calling an Anthony Cappelletti. I hope this is the right Anthony Cappelletti. If your mother’s name was Estella, could you please call me back between nine and five o’clock.” He left his direct phone number at the end of the message

Wow, that’s a strange call, thought Tony. Who is Sheriff Ruiz, and where is Boron, California? Tony played the message back again and wrote down the number. Tony’s mom’s name was Estella, although everybody called her Bella. The curiosity began to get the best of Tony. He looked at the clock. It was just two in the afternoon.

Tony reached into his pocket, grabbed his cell phone, and punched in the number that was left on the answer machine. After a few rings, there was an answer, “Deputy Sheriff Ruiz, can I help you?”

“Yes, Sheriff Ruiz, this is Anthony Cappelletti. I believe you called me and left a message,” answered Tony.

“I hope I called the right Anthony Cappelletti,” said Detective Ruiz. “Your mother’s name was Estella?”

“As a matter of fact, yes.”

“Well, I think I have some awkward news for you,” the deputy stated hesitantly.

“Awkward news?”

“Tony, your father was reported missing a few days ago. We are in the process now of contacting any of his relatives that we can find. Our records indicate that your mother has passed away. Is that correct?”

“Yes,” answered Tony, curiously.

“Well, then, quite frankly you are the only relative. Anyway, your father’s been reported missing. At this time, we have no reason to believe there is any foul play, but no one knows where he is or has seen him for three days,” the deputy said.

“My father?” Tony parroted with a hint of confusion in his voice. Tony had never known his father, and his mother had rarely said anything about him. Tony had always been curious. Was his father tall? Was he short? How come he never came around? The only thing that Tony knew was that his mom said his father had moved out after he’d found out that Tony’s mother was pregnant. Tony had never seen him, and his mom had said she’d never wanted to. All she’d ever said was she never wanted to talk about it.

“Yes, Tony, he was reported missing by a friend. No one has seen him. His truck is in the driveway of his home, and everything looks intact,” explained the deputy.

“This is really weird,” Tony said to the man. “I never knew my dad, I never knew where he was, and I don’t even know were Boron is.”

“Well, this does sound awkward,” said the sheriff. “But you are the only living relative, and the only reason we found you was because his friend and neighbor gave us your information. Your father does own some property up here. Quite frankly, there is very little we can do, because we do not see any foul play. I was kind of hoping you could come up and look around in his stuff, and maybe we can find some clues to where he is. In cases like this, there are usually some things that need to be taken care of, such as house payments, utilities, stuff like that.”

Tony was unsure of what he should do. This case involved his dad, whatever that meant. He was quickly rolling through his memories of what his mom had said about his dad. She hadn’t seemed to hold him in very high regard. But it was his dad. Maybe this was a chance to learn something about the man he’d never known, the man his mother had refused to talk about.

“Okay,” Tony finally agreed. “I’ll come up tomorrow and see what’s going on. Is that okay?”

“That will be fine,” answered the sheriff. “Just come by the substation and we can begin to get this taken care of.”

The call ended, and Tony sat there for several minutes, wondering about the father he’d never known. Maybe this was a good time for Tony to get some answers.

Tony picked the phone up and dialed his best friend, Mac. Mac answered, without even a hello.

“So how much did the dealer stick you for this time? Another thousand bucks to rotate the tires on your overengineered Mercedes? I told you: you should buy a Subaru. We don’t even have to rotate the tires,” Mac said, laughing. “Just buy a new car after forty thousand miles when the tires wear out.”

“Be careful what you say about my Mercedes, because I was thinking that we would go for a road trip in it tomorrow,” Tony said.

“Road trip to where? What, back to the dealer for another service call?” Mac laughed again. Tony knew Mac enjoyed being a smartass, sarcastic jerk. It was Mac’s way of being entertaining.

Tony quickly explained the call he’d just received.

“Oh my God, are you kidding? You never knew your dad! So why would they call you?” asked Mac.

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think that there was anybody else to call. Anyway, I told him I would drive up there tomorrow, wherever Boron is. This is weird, Mac. I’m not sure how I should feel. Not sure if I should be mad, or curious—maybe I’m just anxious.”

“You know I’m there for you,” said Mac. “I was there for you in junior high, and I was there for you when you got stabbed in the neck and almost bled to death. I think a road trip is the least I could do.”

“What you mean you were there for me?” answered Tony. “I was there for you when you got shot three times in the back. I mean, who’s going to put up with you after being shot three times in the back?”

“Okay, okay a road trip sounds like a good idea,” Mac finally answered. “But, let me remind you, you were the one that said you wanted to go to the coffee shop and eat some real food. I wouldn’t have gone there and then I would not have been shot. Anyway, dribble, quibble, if you’re leaving tomorrow, I’ll be at your house about nine o’clock. Is that okay?”

“I’ll see you then,” Tony said as he hung up. Dribble quibble? What does that mean? Where does he come up with this stuff?

Chapter 2

Mac knew this had to be an emotional time for Tony. Even though Tony was one big, badass dude, inside he was a cupcake. This is what friends are for, thought Mac. Friends have each other’s back in times like this. Mac decided he was going to drive his old blue van to Tony’s house. He knew if he took his Subaru that Tony would spend the rest of the day making fun of him for driving a cheap Japanese car. When Mac finally made it to Tony’s house, he could see Tony’s black Mercedes was washed, clean, and ready to go.

Mac pulled his dirty blue van into the driveway and parked it next to Tony’s shiny Mercedes.

Tony was standing on the porch when Mac got out of his van.

“Why didn’t you drive your precious Subaru WR X?” asked Tony.

“You said were going on a road trip, and I didn’t want to leave my quality WR X parked in your neighborhood,” said Mac sarcastically. Mac continued with his unwanted humor. “You did tell me that were going in your German-engineered skateboard.”

“You know, Mac, I could never figure you out. You brag about driving around some high-performance Japanese sports car when you live in LA. The freeways might say the speed limit is sixty-five, but with all that traffic, you can never get going past thirty-five miles an hour. So, what good does your sports car do you?” asked Tony.

“Now me, I accept my environment,” he continued. “I drive around in luxury surroundings. Who cares if I’m only going thirty-five, I’m sitting in the most comfortable seat possible, listening to my sixteen-speaker surround system.”

Tony pointed at his Mercedes. “You should feel privileged that I allow you to put your stuff in the trunk.”

“Are you sure you want to take that?” asked Mac. “You’re a brave man, Tony, but don’t worry. I looked up on the map, and there are a couple Mercedes dealerships on the way to Boron.”

Tony laughed as he walked back into the house. Mac followed. “I’m a lucky man all right,” said Tony. “I get to go to Boron with a moron.”

Tony said as he made his final checks before leaving the house. “I googled Boron, California. It is a small town—no, a very small town—with about two thousand people in the middle of the Mohave Desert. It does have a museum, so there must be something there! But to me it looks like it’s known for two things, a place to stop and get gas and one of the last remaining boron mines in the US. From what I can tell on the map, it’s a good place to go if you have no place to go.”

“You said there was a sheriff’s substation in Boron?” asked Mac.

“That’s what he said,” answered Tony. “So, strap on your brave face and enjoy the entertainment system.” They headed for the front door.

Tony grabbed his overnight bag and threw it to Mac. “Put this in the trunk for me, okay?” Tony asked.

Mac walked over and waited at the trunk of the Mercedes while Tony turned and locked the door. When Tony turned around, he saw Mac waiting for the keys to open the trunk.

“Oh, sorry,” said Tony with a cheesy smile on his face. “Let me help you.” Tony pushed the button on the Mercedes-Benz remote and watched the trunk open automatically.

Mac threw the overnight bag in the trunk and gave Tony a dirty look.

“I got this,” Tony said as he pushed the button on the Mercedes-Benz remote. The trunk closed automatically. “Now do that on your Subaru.”

Mac made himself comfortable in the plush seats, and it wasn’t long before they were on Interstate 5 heading north. He cranked up the radio and was actually sitting in a car that he loved. Maybe that was the reason why he would give Tony such grief over his car.

They had been driving for almost three hours, and Mac was beginning to wonder if Boron was their destination or a mirage.

“Finally, there it is,” said Mac. “Sure enough, there’s the only ramp into Boron, and sure enough, the only gas station and minimart.”

As they got off the ramp and started down the street, Mac was wondering how many towns only had one off-ramp. “Are you sure there’s two thousand people who live here? Looks like this town’s abandoned,” observed Mac. “Look, some of these main streets are dirt, not even paved. Remember when we used to watch Twilight Zone reruns?”

“It does remind me of that a little bit,” replied Tony. “Do you think they have GPS in the Twilight Zone?”

Mac grabbed his smart phone and began checking on his GPS.

“Why didn’t you use the GPS on my display?” asked Tony, pointing to the large-screen display in his Mercedes.

“Because I can’t read German GPS, dah. And I don’t know if they had the Twilight Zone in Germany,” answered Mac sarcastically. He looked at the GPS. “This whole town couldn’t be more than a mile long.”

Tony was sitting at a four-way stop, waiting for Mac to figure out which way to go.

“I think we go straight and look for the big cactus,” offered Mac as he was trying to figure out which way to go.

Just as Tony started to ease into the intersection, he saw a pickup truck blow through the stop sign, coming within a foot or two of hitting the Mercedes. Tony slammed on the brakes as the pickup went by.

“Damn thing must have been going fifty miles an hour,” said Tony as he blew his horn.

There were two young guys in the cab, and the one riding shotgun flipped off Tony and Mac as they blew by.

Tony was mad. “That was way too close,” he said. “I hope I see those guys again.”

Chapter 3

Mac guided Tony to a small building with a big sign that said “Sheriff Substation.”

“Look at his place,” said Mac. “It looks like it used to be an old liquor store.” The parking lot was a combination of old asphalt and dirt. There was a sheriff’s SUV parked outside of the building.

As Tony and Mac got out of the car, Tony said jokingly, “I think my Mercedes kind of stands out like a big, flashing neon sign. Maybe next time we should be more indiscreet and bring my limousine.”

They walked into the sheriff’s substation. There were only two rooms. One was a jail cell, and the other was a small office with one officer sitting behind a desk.

The deputy sheriff got up and walked over to Mac and Tony shook their hands and introduced himself. “Hello, I’m Deputy Sheriff Ruiz.” He was Hispanic, about five foot ten with the short, military-type haircut.

“Hello, Deputy Ruiz, I’m Tony Cappelletti,” Tony introduced himself.

“I know. I saw you in the picture at your dad’s house. I was hoping you would get here soon,” answered Deputy Ruiz. “I was getting hungry and was just about on my way over to the coffee shop to get lunch. Are you guys hungry? Do you want to go with me?”

Mac and Tony had only stopped once along the way and it wasn’t for food.

“I think that’s a great idea,” said Tony. “I think were both getting hungry.”

“Follow me,” said the sheriff as the three walked out of the building.

The sheriff stopped and turned, flipped the sign on the door that read, “Will Be Back Soon,” and locked the door.

As they began walking across the semidirt street to the coffee shop, Tony asked the sheriff, “What do you mean you saw my picture?”

“As I mentioned to you, Anthony,” the deputy said, “your father went missing. His neighbor Earl and I did go into his house to look around, but nothing looked out of place. I saw a picture of you on the top of his chest of drawers in the bedroom, although you did look a little younger and you were wearing a baseball suit. There’s no reason to suspect any foul play, other than he is missing. All of his stuff is here, including his truck. He does have a dog that needed some food and water. At this point, it’s just standard protocol to notify the next of kin in these cases. I’m hoping you can help us figure it out. Maybe he just walked out into the desert and something happened. We just don’t know.”

They had walked across the street, and the deputy opened the door to the small coffee shop. “This is where we are going. It does have one of the best fry cooks in a hundred miles. Although I must say they’re really is not that much within a hundred miles,” the sheriff said, laughing.

When they entered the small coffee shop. Tony looked around thinking that this was a picture-perfect example of what a coffee house would’ve looked like in the fifties. There were a number of booths along the front windows and a long counter with stools.

Deputy Ruiz yelled, “Hey, Thelma, I brought you a couple customers!”

Mac and Tony looked around, and there were only a few other people in the coffee shop.

“Wake up, Bert. We got company!” Thelma yelled in the back to the cook.

Mac and Tony followed the deputy, and the three sat down in the booth, looking out the window at the almost empty parking lot. “I hope this is okay,” said Deputy Ruiz, this is my usual spot.”

Thelma handed them a menu. “Bert’s special today is a Reuben sandwich,” said Thelma, loud enough for Bert to hear. Then she leaned over and spoke quietly. “I suggest you try something else.” She winked one eye at them.

And in no time, they all decided on a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke.

For the rest of the lunch, Deputy Ruiz explained what he knew about Tony’s father. “He was reported missing by his friend and neighbor, Earl. It seems Earl and your dad had a job to go work on a couple trucks at the mine. When Earl went over to get your dad, he noticed something was wrong. The truck was in the driveway, and nobody answered the door. Earl has the key to your father’s house, and he went in and everything was intact.

“Earl filed a missing person report the next day, and we did our best to look around. As you can tell, looking around doesn’t take very long. We had a couple detectives out here for a day. They looked around his place and didn’t find anything. They talk to some of the neighbors, the local grocery store, and the gas station. He was a regular here at the Boron café, and no one saw him here either. Nobody had seen your dad, Solomon. We kept looking around as best we could for a couple days and finally the only way we found you was Earl had your phone number and said Solomon was your dad. Evidently, Solomon told Earl to call you if something ever happened to him.”

“I never knew my dad,” stated Tony. “My mom told me that when he found out that she was pregnant he left. She told me that that was the best thing that could happen to her and me. She said that he had a temper and she was afraid of him and after she got pregnant he was afraid me. He left and she never looked for him or wanted him back in our lives. That’s about all I know.”

Deputy Ruiz had a troubled look on his face. “I’m not sure it’s my place to tell you, but I have pulled your dad over twice for DUI. I never arrested him. Rather, I made him walk home. It was never that far. We did find a couple empty bottles in the kitchen. I will say your dad was never a problem for me.”

Deputy Ruiz continued. “If you want to know about your dad, talk to Earl. If I understand correctly, he’s known your dad for about fifteen years. They work together, and drank together so I would think that they had talked about a lot of stuff. I’m not sure what you want to do Tony, but I would suggest that you go by your dad’s place. Maybe you can look around. Maybe you will find something that will let us know where he went.”

Mac and Tony had almost finished their cheeseburgers burgers when Thelma walked over and sat down next to Deputy Ruiz, put her arm around him.

“I have to tell you boys how much I love this man. Our other sheriff was old, lazy, and just waiting to retire. But this guy, he’s young good-looking and comes in every day,” said Thelma.

Thelma was an older lady and seemed that she been waiting tables for most of her life. “I tell you another thing I like about this fella: he brings in customers, even city folks like you guys.” Thelma had a smile on her face that Mac and Tony couldn’t help but like.

She looked at Tony and Mac and said, “I would bet you the check for this lunch that one of you city boys drove in that Mercedes I saw little awhile back.” She didn’t wait for an answer, just looking at their faces for a moment before she saw her confirmation. “I knew it. I should’ve gone double or nothing.”

Mac, Tony, and the deputy spent the next few minutes letting Thelma entertain them with her down-home stories. She made them feel that they were the only three customers in the Boron coffee shop.

“Well, I better get back to work,” said Thelma as she put the check for lunch on the table.

Mac grabbed the check first; he didn’t want the deputy to pay for their meal. Mac looked at the check and then at Thelma. “Looks to me like you did charge us double for lunch,” Mac said.

“Well, I might have charged you double, but I didn’t charge ya for my smile,” said Thelma.

Mac started to reach around to his back pocket to grab his wallet. Deputy Ruiz saw that he had a shoulder holster with the pistol. The deputy sat up straight and look Mac in the eyes. “You’re packing a gun!”

“Yes sir,” replied Mac. “I got a permit for it. I carry it everywhere. I’ll be glad to show you my permit.” Mac slowly pulled his wallet out, laying it on the table; he could tell the deputy was on alert, and he didn’t want any sudden moves.

“Are you a cop?” asked the deputy.

“No, but if you want to know, Tony and I helped bring down some bad guys a while back. And there is a very real possibility that someday they’ll come looking for us,” explained Mac.

“Wait a second! Anthony Cappelletti? I thought that name sounds familiar. Mac, you’re not Dean McKenzie? Are you?” asked the deputy. “You guys are heroes. My captain went to your award ceremony when you were given the Distinguished Silver Cross for Valor. He gave us a big speech about you guys, two civilians that took down the mob organization.”

“We really didn’t quite take them down,” explained Tony. “Let’s just say we were there at the end.”

“You mean I have two heroes right here at my table, and I only charged them double?” asked Thelma with a laugh.

Mac, Tony, and Deputy Ruiz finally got up and walked back across the street to the sheriff’s substation.

Chapter 4

Mama Colson was standing on the porch of her mobile home. It was early June, and she was enjoying a rare beautiful day in Boron. She and her family had been living here for the last six years ago. She didn’t like this godforsaken place—it was too hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and always windy. But today it was nice, and she had made up her mind she was going to enjoy it.

Mama was doing her best to stay calm and not stress out. So many things seemed to be going wrong at the same time. She had just lost her husband of nineteen years and was trying to figure out what she needed to do to take care of her family. Nobody in the town knew that her husband, Clyde, was gone and she felt so alone. She couldn’t share that with anyone, and it seemed no one in the town cared whether he was there or not.

From her porch, she could see the sheriff’s SUV and a fancy car pull up at the Solomon place not far from her house. For the last few days, people had been looking for her neighbor, Solomon. Fortunately, the gossip in town was that he’d just disappeared, and that was just fine with Mama. Even the cops who came over and asked around had thought he’d disappeared, maybe went for a walk in the desert. But now the sheriff had two strangers with him, going into Solomon’s home and that bothered Mama.

“Isabel, come over here,” yelled Mama. Isabel was Mama’s pride and joy. Her beautiful, sixteen-year-old daughter. Parents are not supposed to have favorites, but if they did, Isabel would be Mama’s. Mama saw Isabel was hanging up the clothes on the clothesline. “Isabel, when you get done, I need you to get over here!”

Within a few moments, Isabel ran over to the porch where Mama was still standing, looking in the direction of Solomon’s place. “I want you and Jerome to go into town and find out what’s going on over there,” Mama said without looking at Isabel.

“Jerome’s still cooking in the special kitchen, Mama. You want me to go get him anyway?” asked Isabel. Isabel and her mama were close. And it seemed to Isabel that living in this run-down, dusty place made them even closer. But lately Mama was having problems, and Edith was coming to visit. Edith did not like Isabel, and Isabel knew it. Lately, it seemed that whenever Mama got stressed out, Edith came. Then when Edith went to sleep, Mama woke up. In any case, Isabel was happy that Mama was here and not Edith.

Mama looked over to the small trailer that housed the special kitchen. “No, he better stay busy over there. We got a shipment do real quick, and he’s gotta finish. I want you to go by the coffee shop and see what Thelma knows. That woman knows everything that’s going on around here. Then go by the market and pick me up some fresh hamburger. I’m gonna make some of my special spaghetti for dinner,” instructed Mama.

Mama pulled out some wrinkled dollar bills out of the pocket of her loose-fitting dress and handed them to Isabel. “Don’t spend all of this, girl.”

Isabel was happy to be going to the coffee shop. She knew she would be getting a special treat if she did. Plus, it would be a chance to get away from her chores and maybe show off a little bit. She went into the double-wide mobile home and changed into her jeans and what she called her “senorita” blouse, low-cut, with small straps.

Mama watched Isabel walk out the driveway down the street toward the center of town. Mama remembered what her daddy had said: “Isabel is a woman now, and we can use that.” Mama knew that he was right. It won’t be long now before Isabel could start using God-given talents to help out the family and make ends meet. Mama kept watching as Isabel walked up the street toward the Solomon’s house.

Chapter 5

Tony was following the deputy sheriff, Ruiz, to his dad’s house. It didn’t seem they’d driven far. The houses got further and further apart. The deputy pulled in front and parked on the dirt area in front of a small house on a corner lot. Beyond the house was just empty desert. The house was facing a paved street and then had a dirt road that went down on one side of the house. There was a three-foot chain-link fence around the front, with a medium-sized dog in the yard.

When the deputy got out of his SUV, he pointed at the driveway and yelled, “You can park in the driveway, Tony.”

Mac was already checking out the pickup truck that was parked in the driveway. It was something special, a 1957 Chevy, but it had been converted to a four-wheel drive with oversized dirt tires.

“That’s really nice,” said Mac as Tony parked his Mercedes on the paved area, between the pickup truck and the chain-link fence.

Mac and Tony joined Deputy Ruiz at the front gate where there was a medium-sized dog with long, black fur. It had big, brown eyes and a white patch on its chest and on one paw. The dog was backing up and barking.

“Be careful of the guard dog,” cautioned Deputy Ruiz. “It’s supposed to be guarding its turf. But don’t be afraid it’s all bark and no bite.” He opened the gate and stepped in. Once inside the yard, the dog rushed them, wagging his tail, looking for affection.

“It seemed that the dog was happy to just see some people,” observed Mac.

They walked up the front steps onto the large porch while Deputy Ruiz opened the front door,

“it’s not locked,” he said as he opened the door for Tony to enter.

Tony entered and Mac followed into the small home.

“This is pretty much a typical home for around here,” continued Deputy Ruiz. “Two bedrooms, one bath. Most of these homes were built back in the depression. Mostly for the miners.”

“Looks like a huge backyard,” said Mac.

“As you can see everything in the house seems fine,” continued Detective Ruiz. “We did look around, but didn’t find anything to go on.” Deputy Ruiz looked at Tony. “You’re more than welcome to look around. Maybe you can find something that we didn’t.” The deputy looked at his watch. “I have to get back to the station. If you need anything just let me know. Oh yeah, by the way, thanks for lunch.”

The three were standing on the porch when the deputy was leaving. All three saw Isabel as she strutted by.

When she walked by the front of the Solomon house, the girl said, with the big smile on her face, “Hello, Deputy, I hope you’re having a good day.”

“Who’s that?” asked Tony.

“Thank you, young lady,” replied the deputy as he turned to answer Tony’s question.

“I think she lives over there,” said Deputy Ruiz. He pointed to a double-wide trailer that was tucked away slightly behind Solomon’s house, about a hundred yards. “That dirt road next to your dad’s house, leads to their driveway. I’m not sure what her name is. I’ve seen her before, but I’ve only been here a few months, and I’m still trying to figure out who lives here.”

The three took one more look at the girl as she walked away. Then the deputy got in patrol SUV and drove back away.

Tony went into his dad’s house, just looking around in confusion. What do we do now? he thought. This is weird, it’s like looking at a stranger’s house. But it’s not, but it is. Well, I better look for anything important, maybe documents, or bank accounts.

“I don’t know about you, but it seems kind of strange to me,” offered Tony. “He is missing, but his truck is in the driveway. Plus, everything seems to be in its place here. Unless he just walked out into the desert and something happened. I don’t know. Just doesn’t feel right already.”

Mac had known Tony for a long time, and he could feel his emotional confusion. “Well, it’s not a big place, so it shouldn’t take too long. Why don’t we look around?” answered Mac.

Chapter 6

As Isabel entered the coffee shop, she saw two men sitting at one end of the counter. Isabel went to the middle of the counter and sat down. Thelma walked over.

“Well, how are you doing?” asked Thelma.

“Mama said I could get one of those milkshakes,” said Isabel.

Thelma knew what that meant. “You know those cost three dollars apiece,” said Thelma.

“Yeah, that’s okay, Mama said. Just put it on the tab.” Isabel was going to keep the money and not tell Mama. Simon had showed her this trick a long time ago. Isabel knew Simon and Riley had done something to Thelma. Not just Thelma either. It seemed that almost anybody in town let Isabel have anything she wanted. Isabel never asked why. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer.

Thelma knew the Colsons never paid for anything. They just went around intimidating everybody in town. It was like they thought they owned Boron. One time, Thelma refused to “put it on a tab” and tried to make them pay for their meals. She called the sheriff. He said he went over and talked to them, and they denied everything.

The next day Thelma found her cat hanging from the doorknob on her front door. Simon and Riley came into the coffee shop that day.

They asked her about her cat and if she had any other animals that she cared for. Simon said, “You know, life is full of checks and balances. So maybe it would be better if you kept our checks, and we wouldn’t have to take care of any balances.”

“Well, what flavor do you want?” Thelma asked Isabel.

“I think I will take the chocolate,” she answered.


A few moments later Thelma brought over a chocolate milkshake without the whipped cream. After Isabel took her first big sip. “Miss Thelma, do you know who those two men are with the new deputy over at Solomon’s house?”

Thelma knew that’s why she was here. Thelma was too old to fight any more battles with this family. She would tell them whatever they want to know, as she had done so many times before.

“Well, now that is some interesting news, Isabel.” Thelma didn’t mind telling Isabel this. She knew she would go tell her two older brothers. If Solomon was missing, those two boys must’ve had something to do with it. Anything Thelma could do to ruin their day, she was more than willing. Thelma knew the last thing Simon and Riley would want to hear was that they were cops across the street from their double-wide mobile.

“Detective Ruiz said these are special hero police that help take down bad people. I’m not sure why, but they seem to have an interest in what happened to Solomon. Not sure exactly who they are or what they want, but I can tell you that Deputy Ruiz asked them to come here,” offered Thelma.

Isabel knew that this wasn’t good news and she had to tell Mama. But first, Isabel had a special chocolate shake she was going to enjoy. Plus, that guy at the end of the counter kept looking at her. And she kind of enjoyed that too. She decided to take her time and flirt a little.



About me

I was born and raised in Southern California. At the age of 17 I was in a car accident and became physically disabled. At that time the focus of my life became facing my challenges and overcoming. I have been an advocate for the disabled, a banker and a business owner. My focus now is my family, my grand kids and pursuing my new challenges as I experience my retirement.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Developing the Isabel character
Q. What draws you to this genre?
I like to challenge of creating fast-paced and interesting stories
Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
This is the second book using the same characters of Tony and Mac. I was asked by the readers of of my first book Reluctant Revenge to continue these two characters.