Wyoming Men Series by Diana Palmer
It was one of the worst blizzards in the history of the Rancho Real in Catelow, Wyoming. Dalton Kirk stared out the window and grimaced as the flakes seemed to grow in size by the minute.
It was the middle of December. Usually weather like this came later. He pulled out his cell phone and called Darby Hanes, his foreman. Getting hard to reach them, though. He hated the storms but Darby was right about their desperate need for snow. The summer drought had made it hard on ranchers all over the West and Midwest. He just hoped they'd be able to get feed to the cattle. In an emergency, of course, federal and state agencies would help to airlift bales of hay to the animals.
He went into the living room and turned on the History channel. Might as well occupy himself instead of worrying so much, he thought amusedly. Mavie, the housekeeper, frowned as she thought she heard something at the back door. She was clearing away dishes in the kitchen, nervous because the storm seemed to be getting worse.
Curious, though, she went and peered through the white curtains and gasped when she saw a pale, oval face with wide, green eyes staring back at her. She opened the door. There, in a hooded, bloodred cape, almost covered with snow, stood a neighbor. Merissa Baker lived with her mother, Clara, way back in the woods in a cottage.
They were what local people called "peculiar. She knew all sorts of herbal remedies for illness and they said she had the "second sight" as well, that she could see the future. Her daughter was rumored to have the same abilities, only magnified. She recalled that when Merissa had been in school, her classmates had shunned her and victimized her so badly that her mother pulled her out of the local high school because of her ongoing stomach problems. The school system had sent a homeschool worker with her classwork and oversaw her curriculum.
She had graduated with her class, with grades that shamed most of them. She'd tried to work locally, but her reputation was unsettling to some of the conservative businesses, so she went home and helped her mother, earning her living with a combination of fortune-telling and online website design, at which she was quite good.
She had an older computer, and a cheap internet connection at first, but as her business grew, she'd started making money. She'd managed to afford better equipment and higher internet speed.
Now, she was very successful. She designed websites for at least one quite famous author and several businesses. She was almost as tall as Mavie, who was just above five feet seven inches. She had thick, short, wavy platinum hair and pale green eyes that were huge in her face. She had a rounded little chin and a pretty, naturally pink bow-shaped mouth, and tiny ears.
And a smile that could have melted stone. Well, let me go get him, then. I don't want to drip on the carpet," the young woman said with a laugh that sounded like silver bells. Mavie went into the living room. There was, fortunately, a commercial. Dalton had turned the sound off. He frowned at Mavie's expression. They live in that cottage down the road, in the cottonwood thicket. She says she has to talk to you.
She got wet walking here. He turned off the television and put down the remote control. He followed Mavie into the kitchen. His eyes took in the slender figure of his guest. She was very pretty. Her lips were a natural red. Her eyes were big and soft and green. Her face was rather pointed, and her rounded chin made her seem vulnerable.
She was wearing a hooded red cloak and it, and she, were soaked. She was self-conscious around men. Afraid of them, too, really. She hoped it didn't show. Dalton was very big, like all the Kirk boys. He had jet-black hair and dark eyes and a lean, angular face. He was wearing jeans and boots and a chambray shirt.
He didn't look like a very wealthy man at all. She glanced toward Mavie. She left them alone, pulling the door closed behind her as she went into the hall. I just blurt these things out, I don't mean to.
My mother does, too. The neurologist says it's an aura from migraine, which I also have, but if that's all, why do the visions always come true? I had to tell you about it right away so you wouldn't be hurt. She was very young; barely twenty-two if he remembered correctly.
Her eyes were closed. If they hadn't been, she'd have seen Dalton's suddenly still posture and taut features. She caught the table just in time. I saw it," she tried to explain. Heavens, he was fast!
She'd never seen a man move like that. It was a vision," she tried to explain. Her cheeks were flushed. He thought she was crazy. The man in the paisley shirt, he was wearing a suit and you trusted him.
There was another man, a man with dark skin wearing a lot of gold jewelry. In fact, his pistol had gold plating and pearls on it. He has ties to a drug cartel.
I don't know what, I can't see it. But I do know this. The other man is running for public office, some very high office with money and political superiority in the balance. But it isn't known. The cartel put up money so he could run for public office, high public office. Once he's elected, if he is, he'll make sure the drug convoys get across the border with no interference. I don't know how. They have notes on my debriefing," he scoffed. He's working for the politician.
He's already tried to have a sheriff killed, a man who might have recognized him. In fact, it did. If you recognize him, his ties to the politician will be made public and the politician will end up in prison.