Travis had been a deputy for nearly fifteen years and had seen a lot.
Most notably was the recent spate of serial killings. Now a missing child? True, there were a hundred possibilities of what might have happened to the kid. Too bad he couldn't think of any that were good.
Then there was the fact that his first love was sitting in his office. She was definitely the last person he'd expected to see. He was trying to focus but was having trouble figuring out how he felt about her sudden drop-in.
His years of training kicked in. Reaching for a pad of paper and a pen, he said, "I hadn't heard you had kids." He paused. "Tell me everything you can about her. Let's start with basics. Name? Description?"
"Brittney has brown eyes with shoulder-length blond hair. She's about my height…"
Travis wrote while Cassidy spoke. It sounded like the girl was a twin of her mother. "How old is she?" he asked. "Where did you last see her?"
"She turned twenty in September. I saw her was this morning on social media. I was checking all her platforms."
Travis stopped writing. Leaning back in the chair, he repeated, "She's twenty years old and you saw her on social media this morning?"
Cassidy held up her hand. "I know where you're going with all of this. I spoke with her father last week and he said what you're probably going to say. Brittney's an adult, not a child. If she's posting on social media, then she's alive and well. If she doesn't want to come home or speak to me, she doesn't have to. But you're wrong."
"She's started dating this biker. Maybe I sound judgmental, but he seemed like a pretty nasty guy. I'm concerned for her safety, and I want to bring her home."
"Brittney's father is right. She's an adult and can make all the bad decisions she wants. I can't force her to leave her boyfriend, much less go back to you. By the way, riding a motorcycle isn't a crime."
"That's just it," said Cassidy. "This boyfriend lives with a bunch of his buddies. They're a motorcycle club and call themselves Los Diablos. They're pretty dangerous."
Now she had his attention. Los Diablos had rented an old summer campground in the middle of the woods about six months back. Since the club's arrival, there had been a definite increase in the sale of methamphetamines locally. Travis suspected that the gang was responsible but had yet to gather enough proof to make any arrests.
"Cassidy, I don't blame you for worrying about your daughter." He paused, hating what he was about to say. "But legally speaking, my hands are tied. She's over eighteen, and I can't force your daughter to leave."
"Thanks for nothing," Cassidy said, frustrated. After standing, she slowly walked to the door, looking as though she was out of options.
Travis stood as well. His chest tightened as he recalled the vibrant girl who'd always been quick to laugh. Whose golden smile had saved him from his own dark place. What had happened to her? Was he just the latest person to let her down? "Where are you going?"
"To do what nobody else has the guts to do." With her hand resting on the door handle, Cassidy turned to Travis. "I'm going to get my daughter."
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