Author’s Note: So I want to do more sequels, build on worlds I’ve already established, spend more time with characters that are already friends, and maybe get away from some of the things I repeat too often.
I was rereading this story to re-immerse myself in the world and the lives of these characters, and I figured if I was try and brainstorm a sequel, maybe I should share the beginning of the first one.
How do you ask someone for a favor after you broke their heart?
Or maybe she should call it what it really was—a betrayal. She’d done it, and she’d never admitted that to herself, not before now. She had no idea what he’d do, how he’d react to seeing her again, and she didn’t care for all of the unknowns here. She was used to walking into a situation and knowing exactly how to handle it, but this was unfamiliar ground for her.
Suck it up already, she told herself. She was Wichita Price. She was a highly sought after consultant with two best-selling true crime novels. She’d worked hard to get her position and build her reputation in her field, and she wasn’t about to back down now. She might not have seen him in almost six years, but that didn’t mean she was afraid of him. Hardly. It wasn’t like she didn’t still have a badge and a gun, and she could use them if she needed to. That didn’t scare her, either. She could handle anything that was thrown her way, and Reece—well, he was just one of those things.
Or the biggest mistake of her life.
She parked the Yukon in front of the house and studied it for a moment. Remote, simple, it suited him. She knew this place had been in his family for years, though no one had bothered to make much of it after they’d homesteaded it. It was a small blip in the middle of a desert. An oasis, he’d called it once. A mirage, she’d countered.
It still felt like a mirage, that was for sure.
Damn it, why now? It had been five years. The case was closed. The bad guy was behind bars. It was all over and done. It should have stayed that way. Locked up, boxed away, and forgotten. All of that was finished. The past was gone, couldn’t be brought back, and that was how it stayed.
It had better be a copycat. That was what it was. This new killing was some idiot thinking he could get famous by imitating someone else. Or maybe it was an homage, a way of honoring the bastard in the way that only psychopaths could, but still, it wasn’t the same guy. It was someone else. Someone different. They’d put the right man behind bars.
Of course, if that was true, then she wouldn’t be here, would she? At the very least, she could give Reece the satisfaction of saying I told you so. With a sigh, Wichita opened the door and got out of the SUV. She took off her jacket, leaving it on the seat. It was too damn hot out here, and this would be uncomfortable and unpleasant enough as it was. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail before she shut the door.
Now or never. She couldn’t delay it any longer. He had to know she was here by now. Maybe not her, specifically, but he had probably heard the Yukon pull up and was waiting for the driver to come to the door. It was time.
No, it wasn’t. Maybe he’d have the satisfaction of an I told you so, but it wasn’t much, and she’d been careful to keep away from him after what she’d done. She gave him that much. He didn’t need her as a reminder, didn’t need salt poured into that wound. They were better off apart. After what she’d done, he couldn’t trust her, and their friendship was completely gone.
Along with a few other things, leaving him back at his crappy oasis while her career really took off. She had her own team now and the books, and she was at the top of her game. People requested her by name, wanted her to consult across the country. She wasn’t some backwoods detective relying on her partner for guidance, not anymore.
She stepped onto the porch, hearing the wood creak under her boot, and she reached over to ring the doorbell. After a moment, the door opened.
Reece leaned against the door frame, his hand above his head, dark eyes sweeping over her. Except for the slight mark of the scar near his forehead, no one would have ever known what he’d been through. He was lean and fit, still in perfect shape, and she had to wonder if he’d left that shirt of his unbuttoned on purpose.
“I thought it was you,” he muttered. She tried to smile, but he shook his head. “Should have told them to send someone else. I have nothing to say to you.”
And he slammed the door in her face.
I don’t blame him. And poor Wichita! She’s trying to talk herself out of reality—or at least into bravery.
He had every right to do it, really.
Yeah, she needed to be brave to face him there. She really hurt him in the past, and she would have hoped never to see him again, but it didn’t work out that way.