First Chapter: Fettering Shadows
First Chapters #firstchapters refers to the first chapter in this book.
Blurb: Private Investigator Jake Dalton, a former Texas Ranger, has settled down in a small town in Oklahoma, set in his ways, and creating a new life for himself. Even when his former partner asks for help on some unsolved serial murder cases, he is still focused on what is rather than what was.
Then she walks into his agency and life, and turns it upside down. Dr. Agatha "Aggie" Constantine hires Jake to find her stalker, a stalker who she believes is also the serial killer only known by the name Icarus.
Jake finds himself drawn to Aggie, while also wondering who he can and can't trust, and pulling in all of his resources and contacts for help. The case that continues to haunt Jake may have just brought more than he bargained for, right to his doorstep, especially when torsos resembling his old case are starting to surface.
Jake Dalton unlocked and opened the door to his Agency, Dalton Private Investigations and Security. He flicked on the light switch, but nothing happened. “Goddammit!” he muttered as he shuffled to his desk in the corner of the large, dark room. He practically lived in his agency, so he knew it, blindfolded, or in this case, in the dark. He liked the dark, and preferred the dark, as there seemed to be no light in his days. He stopped before he got to his desk, instinctively grabbing for his holster that rested on his hip. His tall shadow matched his 6’ 4’’ slim, but muscular frame. “Lights burned out. Didn’t know where your bulbs were,” the familiar hoarse voice followed the shadow that stood up from behind Jake’s desk. “Aw, goddammit, man. You scared the livin’ crap right outta me.” Jake relaxed and leaned over his desk, pulling on the chain of the small desk lamp. “Not much of a detective, if ya ask me,” he smirked. “And get over here. That there’s my chair.” Jake walked behind his desk, removed his dark suede overcoat, and tossed it on the rack next to the filing cabinet. He dropped his black Stetson in its rightful place on the desk, and then ran his hands over his slicked back, black hair. “Sully, why the hell are you sittin’ in the dark of my office?” Edward Sullivan, or “Sully” as Jake called him, stood up, displaying his 6-foot stature, and then sat in the chair in front of the desk. “Dalton, there’s another victim,” his naturally hoarse voice, coated with a Texan accent, muttered, as he tossed a purple file folder on the desk. Sully was a born and bred Texan, and being a Texas Ranger was his entire life. “What’re you talkin’ about?” Jake glanced down at the file, not wanting to even touch it. “It ain’t gonna bite ya,” Sully snickered. “Right,” Jake muttered. “What new victim?” “It’s the same MO as in Austin, but now, he’s here. He left Austin, and came here, right to your new town. Dalton, I know why you left the Rangers, but I’m still in the middle of it. Well, I’ve no choice, working cold cases, ya know? But, I need your help on this. He’s on your turf now,” he spoke clearly and deeply with a strong Texas accent, but that was something that Jake never picked up. But what he did pick up were some of the swagger and sayings that left a Texan’s mouth. Jake was originally from New York, and then North Carolina, and then Georgia, and then Florida, and then Texas, and finally Oklahoma, and that didn’t count his stint during Desert Storm. “I don’t know what you want from me. I’m no Ranger anymore. I’m not even a Marine anymore. I just sit here, in my little office and get hired now and then. You don’t need my help, Sully. You can cover this, no problem,” he patted his chest pocket and pulled out his cigar pack. He pulled out one slim cigar and rested it on his lips. Sully leaned forward, offering his lighter, and then lit the cigar. “This town doesn’t look so bad,” he snickered. “And if it’s as small as it looks, the bodies are gonna seem like a pile very shortly.” “What makes ya think he’s here? I didn’t hear anything yet,” Jake leaned back in his chair, putting his feet up, exposing his worn black cowboy boots. Sully exposed his Texas Rangers star on his belt as he stood up. He knocked Jake’s feet off the desk. “One, no one is saying a word. The cops are keepin’ it quiet, but the Chief knew ‘nuff to run the MO through ViCap. I grabbed my go-bag and took off here. I’ve met with him this morning.” “Did you tell him ‘bout me?” Jake stood up. “I’ve ‘nuff issues with Chief Lutz that I don’t need him or his officers breathin’ down my neck. He’ll find a way to blame me, you know. That man, I’ll tell ya, could fall up a tree.” “He’s somethin’ that takes gettin’ use to. Dalton, you didn’t do this.” “No, but I bet he followed me here.” “You’ve been here six years. He just started here. I know it’s him. Maybe he followed someone else here, like one of the girls or whatever. I don’t know why he’s here, but he is. Dalton, the Icarus is back.” “I’m sure Cap’n Meyers,” he grunted. “Just loved you comin’ out here to consult with me.” “Dalton, listen carefully, Meyers is gone. Transferred last year. I don’t know what your issues with him are, but he’s gone. We got a new Capt’n, and he’s a good guy. Came in from the Special Investigative Unit. He’s got good creds, ya know. He gave me these cases once we got the new leads about the new dead, dismembered girls, and I told him I was comin’ here, to talk with you.” “New Cap’n?” “Lawrence Flynn.” “Hmm, I’ve heard of him, good man. A straight shooter from what I understand.” Jake flicked the ashes of his cigar in the filled ashtray stand. “Still, I can’t be involved.” “You need to be,” Sully said. “You can’t just leave it. You know that. What happened to you?” “You know what happened to me,” Jake stood up and glared at him. “You reckon someone can just do this to me and get away with it? Barton did this to me,” he ran his fingers down the long scar on his left cheek. “He did it to me, and I didn’t stop ‘til he was dead. You know that I lost my cool. I lost my friggin’ job because of it.” “Dalton, it was friggin’ self-defense. D.A Anderson was just being an ass about it.” “Doesn’t matter. Elaine left me, couldn’t have a scar-face for a husband. I’m here, in this quiet town where I only get hired for temporary personal security and every once in a while, a cheating spouse or background checks on new employees or whatever. Not many people care about the scar. They usually stare at it, but don’t even take the time to ask. It’s just me here.” “You live here, too, don’t ya?” Sully watched as Jake calmed his demeanor and sat back in the chair. “I better put in a new bulb,” he sighed, opening the bottom drawer. “Dalton, uh, Jake, do you live here?” “Nah, I live in the house in the back. I lucked out when I bought this place; it used to be a six-seater restaurant with an attached house. I had the house detached, and made this into two rooms, plus a john. I’m fine.” Sully looked down at Jake. “Just look at the file. I’m at the B’nB at the edge of Main Street.” “It’s a diner.” Jake snickered. “Well, I’m staying on the second floor. Renting a room from the owner, or somethin’.” “Uh huh, Janice. She’s nice.” “I know. She says she feeds your every meal,” he chuckled. “What? Don’t glare at me. I asked ‘round about you. I wanted to see if what people thought of you are the same as what you think people think of you. I know you, Dalton. We were partners, remember?” “Speaking of partners, where is your latest?” “I’m a lone wolf right now.” “Seriously?” “I’m on temporary assignment. I’ve trained ‘nuff youngins to know they wanna move past the mean streets of Texas for some quaint desk job.” “Or they wanna be Chuck Norris,” Jake snickered. “We can’t all be Norris,” Sully patted Dalton on the leg and then stood up. “Dalton, look at the file. Meet me for lunch at one at the diner and tell me what ya think. If you still wanna stay out of it, I’ll do this on my own,” he headed out the door, as the sun started to shine its way through the large frosted glass windows of the Agency. Jake put out his cigar and grabbed the lightbulb.
Hope you enjoyed chapter one of "Fettering Shadows." You can purchase the book to finish by clicking on the book cover.