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Bucking Bronc Lodge 04(5)

By:Rita Herron

His mouth tightened into a grim line, but he nodded again. This man didn’t like to be ordered around, didn’t like to be out of control.

And he had no control right now.

Which was obviously killing him.

She understood that feeling as well.

She slowly walked over and knelt beside the child. “Timmy, my name is Miss Jordan. I’m glad you came to the BBL. We have horses here and other kids to play with and lots of fun things planned.”

His eye twitched, but he didn’t reply or look at her.

“Why don’t you sit at the table? There are markers and paper. Maybe you can draw about Christmas.”

Again, he didn’t move.

Miles touched his son’s shoulder. “Why don’t you draw the bike Santa brought you?”

Again, no response.

“Come on, sport.” Miles took his arm and led the boy to the table. Timmy slumped down in the chair, but he didn’t pick up the markers. He simply stared at the blank paper as if he was too weighted down to move.

“I need to talk to your daddy for a minute,” Jordan said, giving his arm a soft pat. “We’ll be outside that door if you need us, all right?”

His eyes twitched sideways toward her this time. Frightened.

She rubbed his shoulder gently. “I promise. We’re not going anywhere but right outside the room.” She gestured toward a glass partition. “See that glass? We’ll be in there so if you need us, just call or tap on the glass and we’ll come back.”

He didn’t respond, just tucked his knees up and began to rock back and forth. His bony little body was wound so tight that Jordan felt the tension thrumming through him.

“If you want to draw, that’s fine,” she said again, using a quiet voice. “If not, you can look out that window and watch the pretty horses running around.”

The fact that he didn’t turn to look at them worried her. But she simply smiled, then ushered his father into the hallway and into the other room.

When she closed the door, Miles immediately angled his head to watch his son through the partition. Jordan’s chest squeezed.

Miles McGregor was one of the biggest, toughest-looking men she’d ever met. He was not only a cowboy, but Brody had told her he was a cop who chased down the dregs of society.

Miles was also hurting inside and felt powerless to help his son. That made them kindred spirits.

“Tell me what happened,” Jordan said gently.

He slanted her a condescending look. “I thought you said Brody filled you in.”

Jordan simply folded her arms. “Yes, but I want to hear it from you. Everything from the day Timmy’s mother died to how and where you found Timmy to what the doctors said.”

A muscle jumped in his chiseled jaw. “You can read the police report.” He yanked an envelope from inside his denim jacket pocket. The movement revealed the weapon he had holstered to his side. “Here’s the doctor’s report, too.”

Jordan forced a calm into her voice. “I will read it, but it’s important I hear what you have to say.”

“Why? All I need for you to do is to get Timmy to look at this picture.” He yanked another envelope from his jacket, pulled out a photograph and slapped it on the table. “If he can identify this man as his mother’s killer, then I can put him back in jail where he belongs.”

Jordan gritted her teeth. “So Timmy witnessed the murder?”

Miles gave a clipped nod, the pain so intense in his eyes that it nearly robbed her breath. “I believe so, but he hasn’t spoken since that day. That’s why I need you to get him to talk.”

Jordan glanced through the window at Timmy, her heart aching for the boy. “I understand your impatience,” she said. “But Timmy has undergone a terrible shock. It may take him time to open up.”

Miles glared at her. “I don’t have time.”

Jordan’s anger rose. “Then you’d better damn well find it, because the important thing here is that your son heal.”

A muscle ticked in his jaw, his eyes flaring with rage. “The important thing is keeping Timmy safe. This man Robert Dugan is a cold-blooded killer. He threatened me in court, he slit Timmy’s mother’s throat, and if he knows Timmy is a witness, he’ll probably come back to kill him.”

* * *

TIMMY ROCKED HIMSELF back and forth in the chair. He thought the lady said something to him. Something about horses. But he couldn’t make out her words. It was too noisy in his head. Voices...things crashing...the screaming.

And he couldn’t see any horses.

All he saw was the red.

Red blotches...black blotches...more red...more black...

Someone else was in the room with him, too. His daddy...at least he thought it was his daddy...