It was completely dark by the time Detective Wayne Nichols drove back down the driveway of the old Delaney farm. He parked his truck and pulled a flashlight from his glove box.
Exiting the car, he looked carefully at the pattern of tracks in the dust by the garage. Nobody had been there since he, Dory, and Billy Jo made their visit earlier in the day. It was probably a waste of time to come back out here again, he thought, but since he was in search of a missing toddler, he walked up on the porch and stepped inside. For just a moment, he thought he heard a tiny sound. The hair on the back of his neck rose. He waited.
Again he heard something. It was so insignificant, he doubted it was anything but an animal that had taken up habitation when the people left. He walked into the kitchen, hearing the refrigerator come on. Perhaps that was what he had heard. Taking his time, he opened every cupboard in the minimal kitchen. He moved on to the living room, carefully checking around and behind furniture, opening the coat closet, stirring the hanging clothes. Then he heard it again. Just the faintest sound, like a muffled cry.
He walked down the hall to check the bedrooms, switching on the overhead lights in each room and then turning them off again after looking under beds and in closets. Some echo of the sound he’d heard kept returning to his mind, bothering him. He went back to the largest bedroom. As he switched on his flashlight, the pillows on the bed seemed to move, just the slightest bit. He blinked and they were still. Had he seen them move or was it just that his instincts were on such high alert. He stood at the foot of the bed barely breathing and played the narrow flashlight beam across the bedding. The pillows moved again. Reaching down, he yanked the blankets off the bed. In the dim light, he saw something moving. Was it an animal? No, it was the boy.
The child wailed and tried desperately to scramble away. Crawling and crying, he struggled to get back underneath the covers.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Teddy,” Wayne said calmly. “I’m here to help you. Where is your Mommy?”
“Mommy,” the little boy wailed. He shrieked and then started to sob hysterically as if his whole world had come to an end.
Wayne reached down and scooped little Teddy Lovell up in his large arms. The child fought like an enraged tiger. He grabbed Wayne’s thumb and bit it. He kicked and screamed. Having subdued many criminals in his life, Wayne had to give it to him. He was a fighter all right.
He carried Teddy out to his truck and strapped him in the back seat. It was a serious effort getting the seatbelts tight enough to hold him without squashing him. Once the child was contained, he sat brooding furiously, still shrieking from time to time. Wayne looked at him carefully under the dome light in his truck. He looked like a miniature Jabba the Hut, dangerous and pale. He knew he should call Child Protective Services and wait until they arrived, but it had been hours since they left the house earlier. Teddy could have been alone in the house for days. He didn’t know a lot about small children, except that they needed to eat often. There was no time for the ponderous bureaucracy to kick into action. He knew where to take him.
It was almost midnight, but despite the hour, Wayne dialed Sheriff Ben Bradley’s home phone.
“Bradley,” he answered sounding sleepy.
“It’s me,” Wayne said.
“For Pete’s sake, do you know what time it is?”
“Sorry, but I’ve found the boy we’ve been looking for. I need your okay to take him straight to the ER rather than call Child Protective Services.”
“You have it. Where’s the mother?”
“Didn’t find her. But I doubt she would leave the kid alone in a deserted house unless something very bad happened.”
About The Book
The Blind Split (A Rosedale Investigations Mystery)
A new client, Lexie Lovell, brings Rosedale Investigations a compelling mystery. Her father died and left his estate to be split between her and her brother, Teddy. Lexie never knew she had a brother until the will was read and nobody has a clue where the boy and his mother are. Lexie can’t get her money until the boy is found and Rosedale Investigations keeps coming up empty.
When Wayne finally finds little Teddy in an abandoned farmhouse, his mother isn’t there. What could make a mother leave a toddler alone to starve to death? They find no evidence of drug use or mental illness. Has she been kidnapped? The trail goes cold until she is found comatose in a rural hospital. The doctors say she’s unlikely to regain consciousness.
Lovell’s attorney is stalling on giving Lexie her inheritance, (or paying Rosedale Investigations’ fee) and was the only person in the hospital room when Lexie’s father died. Did he commit murder to get his hands on Lovell’s money? And how did Lovell, an accountant in solo practice, assemble a multi-million dollar estate? This one’s a real page-turner that will keep you guessing right to the end.
About the Author
Writing as both Lia Farrell and Lyn Farrell, I’ve been publishing books since 2013. I decided to become a writer in the seventh grade. My home life was chaotic and I found peace spending summers at my grandmother’s dairy farm. With little supervision, I wandered the hundred and twenty-acre farm and discovered the beauty and healing power of nature. Today, when I need inspiration for my stories, I take long walks. My memories of the time I spent at the farm resulted in a novel “The Cottonwoods” released 8/21.
My first marriage had ended in divorce, leaving me with two young children. Five years later, I fell in love with a divorced professor with six children. Raising that many kids required working full-time. When I retired from Michigan State University, I returned to my original dream of becoming a writer. My daughter, Lisa, and I wrote the “Mae December mysteries” using the penname of Lia Farrell. They are amusing, mental puzzles called cozies, with an element of romance. Cozies are the gentlest subset of the broad genre of crime writing. It’s a comfort read that leaves you satisfied and at one with the world.
Now writing solo as Lyn Farrell, I recently published “The Blind Switch” (January 2021). It’s the first in a series about a private detective agency, Rosedale Investigations. Two of my readers’ favorite characters from the Mae December mysteries, Dory and Wayne Nichols, have starring roles in these books. “The Blind Split” (released 1/11) is the second in the series.
Amazon Author Page:https://amzn.to/3qkiKxr
Author Web Page: https://www.lynfarrell.com/
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