Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

BURIED MOUNTAIN SECRETS
Friday, March 29, 2019 by TERRI REED

 

PLEASE WELCOME

TERRI REED

ON TODAY’S

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

EXCERPT FROM: BURIED MOUNTAIN SECRETS 

 

“Maya! Maya!”

The crack of the office door bouncing off the back wall reverberated throughout the hardware and feed store.

At the front counter, Maya Gallo braced herself and gave the customer she was helping an apologetic smile. “Excuse me, Ethan. Apparently, Brady has something to tell me.”

“No worries, dear,” the older gentleman replied and wandered off toward the tack room. There was no pity in his voice, but Maya could feel the empathy and sympathy radiating off of one of Bristle Township’s most stalwart citizens.

Maya’s fifteen-year-old brother, Brady, skidded down the aisle between the bags of goat and backyard flock feed of the Gallo Hardware and Feed. Their parents had opened the establishment shortly after Maya was born. She couldn’t remember a day when she wasn’t in the store. She missed them so much.

It had been ten years since that tragic night when her mother and father were on the road coming down from a day of skiing on Eagle Crest Mountain, Colorado, and hit a patch of ice. The resulting car accident had taken both their lives, leaving eighteen-year-old Maya to raise her five-year-old brother.

Brady’s almond-shaped eyes danced with anticipation as he halted in front of her and Maya’s heart filled with love for her little brother. Though he had Down syndrome, he functioned at a high level and was smarter than most people gave him credit for. He was also a hard worker, opinionated and determined. But more importantly, full of joy. A joy that at times broke her heart.

She could guess today’s excitement meant another clue in the “Treasure Hunt of the Century” had been downloaded to the blog of the wealthy and eccentric Patrick Delaney.

Knowing if she tried to stall, he would burst with his enthusiasm. “Okay, what is it?”

“Another clue,” he said confirming her suspicion. “A piece of a map. I need to hike up Aspen Creek Trail. Can I, please?”

A pang of sorrow and grief hit Maya square in the chest. The trail was on the lower half of Eagle Crest Mountain. The other side of the mountain was where the skiing resort and runs were located. And the road on which her parents had perished.

The urge to remind Brady that finding the Delaney treasure was a hopeless cause rose up strong within her, but she bit the words back. They’d gone down this road so many times over the past few weeks, ever since the peculiar billionaire, who lived on the outskirts of Bristle Township, had put out to the world that he had hidden some sort of treasure somewhere along the Rocky Mountains.

The man hadn’t said where in the Rockies. And considering the mountains ran from Canada down to New Mexico, that was a lot of territory to cover. Towns all along the Rockies were being overrun with seekers of fortune and fame who ate up every clue, and then spent hours and hours searching the canyons, forests, peaks, hills and valleys of the rugged mountain range. Bristle Township and County was no exception.

Not that the town folk didn’t appreciate the business the fervor stirred up, but for Maya it was a constant worry. Brady loved puzzles. The more challenging, the better. He’d glommed onto the treasure hunt with both hands.

She glanced at the clock. Just after nine in the morning. If he left now, he’d be at the trailhead in fifteen minutes. She doubted Mr. Delaney had hidden his prize along such a well-used hiking path, but following the clues made her brother happy. Thankfully, Brady wouldn’t be alone out there. Even in the fall when the air turned cool, there were sturdy souls who hiked the trail every day.

“Are you done with class and homework?” He went to classes three days a week at the local high school and worked with a special education teacher. The other two days a week, he did an online course and homework.

“All done. And turned in.” He grinned. “Mrs. Vincetti wrote that I was a rock star.”

He was so eager to learn. It broke her heart that the school couldn’t afford the special education teacher on a full-time basis. But he was excelling at his studies. “What time do you need to be back?”

He thought for a moment. “By lunchtime.”

“Which is?”

He tapped the large round watch on his arm. “Noon.”

“That’s right. So that means you need to be aware of the time to see how far you go in so that you know when to turn around to be back by noon. If I have to worry, we won’t be doing this again.” She made this speech every time.

“I won’t make you worry, Maya. Do I ever?”

Oh, had he. When she’d first started to loosen the reins, letting him have some freedom, she’d known it would be a learning curve for them both. But Pastor Michael Foster and his wife, Alicia, had insisted it was time to let Brady grow up and Brady’s doctor had agreed.

Because Maya respected and cherished the older couple and Doctor Brown as well, and relied on them for sound counsel, she’d done as they’d suggested and given Brady more control and allowed him to make his own decisions.

But he wasn’t good with directions or managing his time, something they’d been working diligently to change.

 

ABOUT TERRI REED

Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top twenty-five, Nielsen’s Bookscan top hundred, Amazon Bestseller and featured in USA Today. Her books have been finalists in Romance Writers of America RITA contest, National Readers’ Choice Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award and finalists three times in American Christian Fiction Writers The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri @ https://www.facebook.com/terrireedauthorpage/

ABOUT BURIED MOUNTAIN SECRETS


FBI agent Radley Tumberg must rescue his fellow agent, Honor Remington, from a spiritual sanctuary where she’s being held against her will. But when he reaches her, posing as her estranged husband, he discovers the motives for her capture are deadlier than he expected. Can they escape the sanctuary and find evidence that its leader isn’t what he’s pretending to be?

 

 

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