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By Dinah McCall
Center Point Large PrintCopyright © 2005 Dinah McCall
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDallas detective Trey Bonney strode into the precinct, nursing his second cup of coffee of the morning while trying not to think about the paperwork stacking up on his desk. He was a crackerjack detective, but when it came to filling out reports, he sucked.
He nodded a hello to file clerk Lisa Morrow without meeting her gaze. To a single man who'd had his share of one-night stands, her come-hither drawl was unmistakable. Three years ago - even two years ago - he might have taken her up on the invitation. But no more. His transition to a true maturity with an end to one-night stands had finally arrived. It had been gradual, and he still wasn't sure when it had happened, but it was a lot lonelier than he had expected. Even so, Lisa's presence and beckoning voice were nothing more than a small obstacle course on his way to his desk. But when another female called his name, he recognized the voice and looked up.
Trey set his coffee cup on his desk as he gave Detective Chia Rodriguez his full attention. If she stretched, she measured an inch over five feet tall, but her size was deceiving. She was bulldog tough and constantly pissed due to the fact that the detectives in the precinct had a habit of referring to her asthe office "Chia Pet." Her short, unruly curls did nothing to deflect the image. Still, he liked her attitude and, on occasion, fished with her husband, Pete Rodriguez, who owned and operated his own landscape business.
"Yeah, what's up?" he asked.
"Lieutenant Warren said for you to come see him as soon as you came in."
Trey eyed the backlog of paperwork and grimaced. "Probably going to chain me to the desk until I finish these files."
Chia grinned and pointed toward their superior's office.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm going," Trey said, then took one more sip of coffee and put down the cup, bracing himself for what he figured would be, at the least, a dressing-down.
He lifted his chin, yanked nervously at the tail of his sports coat, then moved toward the office. He knocked once, then opened the door and leaned inside.
"You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?"
Harold Warren looked up from the paperwork on his desk and waved Trey inside.
"If it's about the files ..."
"Don't second-guess," Warren muttered. "It'll get you in trouble every time. Come in and shut the door."
"Yes, sir," Trey said.
"Sit," Warren said, pointing to a chair.
Again Trey obeyed, wishing he'd brought the rest of his coffee with him.
"How old are you?" Warren asked.
"I'll be thirty in September," Trey said.
"Too young to remember," Warren muttered, more to himself than to Trey.
"Remember what?" Trey asked.
"The Sealy kidnapping."
Trey flinched. Warren saw it.
"Actually, I do know something about it," he said.
"How so?" Warren asked.
"I, uh ... know Olivia Sealy."
Harold arched an eyebrow. "I wasn't aware that you ran in such exclusive circles."
"I don't," Trey snapped. "We went to the same public high school. Even then she was sort of famous, you know. Parents murdered - raised by a rich-as-sin grandfather who showed up for school plays in a limousine."
"She went to public school?"
Trey shrugged. "Marcus Sealy didn't believe in separation of the classes. He wanted her to grow up as normally as possible." He just didn't want her anywhere near me.
"You seem to know a lot about her. Is there anything else you'd like to tell me before I continue?"
He thought about the fight they'd had when she came to break it off with him - remembering the shame in her eyes when she'd told him they couldn't see each other anymore and they both knew it was because his father was a drunk and his mother waited tables for a living.
"Is there anything between you two that could be construed as a conflict of interest?"
Now Trey was getting curious. "I haven't seen her in years," he muttered. "What's up?"
"Two days ago, while renovating a lake cabin up at Texoma, a man found a suitcase in a wall. They found the skeletal remains of a toddler inside."
"Good God," Trey muttered, then frowned. "But what does this have to do with the Sealy family?"
"Maybe nothing, but I want you to go see the Grayson County sheriff. His name is Blue Jenner. He's a friend of mine, and he's the one who caught the coincidence."
"Yeah, sure, Lieutenant, but what coincidence? What does a baby's skeleton have to do with Olivia Sealy's kidnapping? They found her, remember?"
"Maybe ... maybe not," Warren said. "The Sealy kidnapping was the department's case. I was a rookie when it happened. Hadn't been on the force more than three months when she was snatched. Half the force was on that case. I was there when one of the kidnappers, Foster Lawrence, took the ransom money. We followed him, hoping to get to the kid, only we lost him. By the time we found him again, the money was missing and the kid was nowhere to be found. We were all down and out, certain that we'd blown any chance of getting that kid back alive, when she up and appears wandering around a shopping center in a pair of pajamas and dragging her blanket behind her. Talk about a high!"
Trey couldn't quit thinking of the Olivia he'd known. As a teenager, she'd been so pretty and self-assured. Even though they'd all known her history, it had never occurred to him to think of her as a toddler, lost and frightened and wondering what had happened to her world. Had she seen her parents murdered? Did she remember any of that now?
"So what does that skeleton up at Texoma have to do with Olivia Sealy?" Trey asked.
"One of the defining factors in identifying the kidnapped baby was the fact that she'd had two thumbs on her left hand ... a trait that all the Sealy family supposedly share."
Trey shook his head. "But Olivia didn't have -"
"I understand that they all have the extra digit removed once it's obvious which one is dominant. Even the old man, Marcus Sealy, has a small scar to prove it."
Excerpted from Bloodlines by Dinah McCall Copyright © 2005 by Dinah McCall. Excerpted by permission.
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