Standing in the dim and narrow hallway, Cassidy Frazier felt her pulse race—and it had nothing to do with the two sets of stairs she'd just climbed. She needed help. Visiting the Pleasant Pines sheriff was the last item on a long list of things she'd tried.
What would she do if the cops couldn't—or wouldn't—help? Giving up was not an option.
Cassidy had never imagined coming back to the town where she grew up. She's spent years building a life in Laramie. Yet, the trail she'd followed had led to the mountains outside Pleasant Pines.
Not the way she'd imagined a homecoming.
Rolling her shoulders, Cassidy opened the door. She paused on the threshold while glancing around the room. Several sets of windows overlooked Main Street and the town square. At the end of the room a middle-aged woman sat behind a desk.
"Howdy," she said as Cassidy entered. The plastic nameplate on her desk read Rose Haak. "How can I help?"
"I need to speak to whoever is in charge."
"We don't have a sheriff right now," Rose said. "A few months back we had a serial killer on the loose. Situation ended with the sheriff's getting killed."
"Did they catch the killer?" asked Cassidy.
Rose shook her head sadly. "No. They're still out there." Pointing to a row of empty chairs near the back of the room, Rose continued, "Have a seat. I'll call the deputy on duty."
Cassidy sat as Rose picked up the phone. Her conversation was quiet and quick. "He's on his way," Rose said.
Within minutes, the door opened, and a man entered the office. As he glanced her way, Cassidy sucked in a breath. Despite the circumstances, she felt a smile pull at her lips, yet his gaze remained impassive. She looked down at her worn jeans, at the blue T-shirt and white sneakers she'd thrown on that morning. She wore no makeup and had pulled her hair into a ponytail. Had she really changed that much over the decades?
For his part, Travis Cooper looked almost exactly the same. He was no longer lanky but had wide shoulders and strong arms. Instead of the band tees and torn jeans that had been his uniform, he wore a brown shirt with a tin star affixed to the breast pocket, khaki pants and a tan cowboy hat. His hair was still black, with a few strands of gray. "T-Travis? Is that really you?"
Drawing his brows together, he asked, "Cassidy Frazier? When did you get back to town?"
"I'm just here for a little while," she said. "Can we talk? Someplace private?"
"Sure. This way," said Travis. There was another door tucked behind Rose's desk. It led to a small office with maps on the walls. Travis took a seat behind the desk before gesturing to a chair opposite. "Have a seat and tell me what's going on."
Dropping into an armchair, Cassidy struggled with what to say. How could she be at a loss for words now? "It's my daughter," she said, her voice catching with emotion.
Leaning his elbows on the desk, Travis asked, "What about your daughter?"
Cassidy's eyes burned. Her throat was raw. "She's missing."
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