Stolen Secrets

Leann Harris

Legacy of Lies: Book Three





Preview Chapter One


Point a la Hache, Plaquemines Parish,
Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) 6:40 pm
February 15, 1972, Day 1

“Sheriff, we got a floater,” Martha Pitman, the department dispatcher, yelled from the other room.

Sheriff Colin McDonald rubbed his forehead and he ground his teeth. He thought they’d made it through Mardi Gras without any fool getting drunk and falling in the Mississippi River and drowning. Apparently not.

“Who called it in, Martha?”

“Stan.” Martha didn’t need an intercom. Her voice could be heard in the next parish and would definitely win any hog calling contest she entered. “He’s by Frenchman’s Wharf.”

“Tell him I’m on my way. Call Doc Weber and ask him to meet me at the wharf.”

“You got it, Sheriff.”

Colin sighed and closed the file he’d been studying. The older he got, the less tolerant he was with stupid. It had been a long week with teens drinking, partying, and then smashing up the chicken coop of Miss Marlee Astor, the old maid of the parish. And then there was the incident where he’d arrested the illustrious grand dam of the parish, Geraldine Yarborough, for driving her Lincoln into her neighbors’ porch. He was still catching all sorts of grief for that, but her majesty hadn’t given him an option when she refused to take a sobriety test. Even his daughter protested that one. How could he, the sheriff, arrest her boyfriend’s grandmamma?

Colin grabbed his cowboy hat off the file cabinet by the door and jammed it on his head.

Martha glanced at him. “Doc will meet you there. He didn’t seem too happy to be called out from his dinner.”

“He’s not the only one,” Colin growled. “Tomorrow’s Ash Wednesday and our business should slow down. Who’d ever think I’d be happy to see Lent?”

“Certainly not Father Dunn,” Martha snapped back.

Colin glared at her. He didn’t need any reminder of his shortcomings. His mother and mother-in-law did a fine job of cataloging them.

She shrugged. “Drunks are drunks, Sheriff. You get them all year long.”

“True, it’s just this time of the year seems to bring’em out in force. Maybe I’m too old for this job.” After being a New Orleans cop, then a State trooper, Colin had had enough of politics and ambitious individuals who only wanted what was best for them. And he had a belly-full of their boot-licking and jockeying for position.

Martha raised a plucked, bleached brow. “Is it the drunks you’re worried about or is it somethin’ else? Maybe it’s that jeune fille of yours.”

Martha knew everyone’s business in the parish. She was his eyes and ears and had several times helped him avoid a ticklish situation. So why was he surprised by her question? Since his wife died three years ago of breast cancer, his only daughter had been his world until she started dating. Lizabeth’s maturity hit him hard. “We can’t keep them from growing up, can we, Martha? Well, that boy she’s keeping company with better not step out of line or he’ll be seeing the inside of the jail.”

Martha grinned. “Watch out, Sheriff. He’s the mayor’s son and Geraldine’s grandson.”

That also grated on Colin’s nerves. The boy thought he was owed.

Steel laced his smile. “That don’t mean squat to me. Young Jon puts his hands where they don’t belong, he’ll be sorry.”

Martha laughed. “Spoken like the father of a teenage girl.”

She was right. For sure.