Risky Shot

By: Kathleen Brooks

(Book 2 in the Bluegrass Series)



Prologue





Danielle De Luca pulled her rusting out, muffler dragging, piece of shit Chevy Lumina off to the side of the road and rested her head against the wheel. Well, more like banged her head against the wheel – repeatedly.

Dani took in a deep breath and felt a river of sweat run down her back as she peeled her shirt from the seat. She reached across the stick shift and grabbed the gallon jug of water for her radiator. She popped her hood and watched the hot steam erupt out. It wouldn’t surprise her if steam was coming out of her ears too. This trip had been a nightmare. Between looking over her shoulder for the men in black suits or her car deciding to do its imitation of a geyser, a twelve hour trip turned into a sixteen hour one.

Waiting for the steam to stop she placed her hands on her trim hips and looked around. She was on a narrow country road outside of Lexington, Kentucky heading toward her friend living in Keeneston. She wiped her wet palm on her khaki shorts and pulled up her white ribbed tank top to wipe the beads of sweat on her forehead. The only thing she saw around her was a couple cows munching grass and staring at her.

The heat was oppressive. She couldn’t believe that air could feel heavy this early in the morning. She had grown up in the cool mountains of Northern Italy and then spent her teenage years in Milo, Maine. Neither place had prepared her for the humidity of Kentucky near the end of June.

Even though Kentucky was hot, she did have to admit it was pretty. The field the cows were in had gently rolling hills outlined by black four board fences and sprinkled with a wide range of big leafy trees, not the fir trees she was used to in Maine. The grass gave the impression that it was an ocean of blue-green color dancing in the wind while the cows lazily enjoyed it.

Looking back at her car she grabbed the water jug and cautiously approached her radiator. She quickly tapped the top of it with her middle finger, pulling it back quickly when it burned her finger. She pried open her back door and rummaged around until she came up with an old bandana to use to wrench open the radiator cap. She poured in the last of the water and hoped it was enough to get her to Keeneston.

Dani tightened the cap and was about to close the hood when she heard a car pull over in the grass behind her. She placed her hand in her pocket and felt the cool steel of her knife. Slowly she peeked around the hood and relaxed when she saw the brown of a Sheriff’s car parked there. The door opened and a heavy set man in his sixties got out. He would have had shocking red hair when he was younger, but now it had been dimmed by some gray hair woven throughout.

“Having some trouble there, hon?” He gestured to the open hood.

“No sir. Well, not any more than normal that is. I got her all filled up and she should be cool enough in a minute.” Dani raised her arms and slammed the hood closed.

“Where ya heading ma’am? I’ll follow you for a bit to make sure you don’t get stranded again.”



Dani relaxed more and smiled. “I am actually trying to get to Keeneston. Am I going the right way?”



“You sure are. I’m the Sheriff of Keene County.”



“Danielle De Luca, it’s nice to meet you Sheriff.” She wiped her hand again on her shorts before shaking his hand.



“You can call me Red. Just follow me and I’ll lead you right into town.” He turned and started back to his car.



She stopped him before he got to his car. “Actually, maybe you could help me. I am looking for a friend of mine, McKenna Mason. Would you happen to know where to find her?”

She saw Red pause and then raise his hand to stroke his chin. “I don’t know if I can recall that name. Do you know where she lives?”

“She gave me two places to look. A bed and breakfast and her boyfriend’s house, a Will Ashton, but didn’t give me an address for either.”

“You say she’s your sister?”

“No, I am her friend, we worked together in New York. She sent me an email telling to come here. There is something we need to do together...” She stopped explaining herself and decided this country cop wouldn’t know where to find his gun if it wasn’t strapped onto his waist.