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Authors: Linda Trout

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Grave Secrets

BOOK: Grave Secrets
5.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

kept me turning the pages. I believe Linda Trout has a story that will bring many hours of reading pleasure.”

~Jodi Thomas,

NY Times & USA Today Best Selling author

“From the shocks of the first scene to the end of the book, Linda Trout grabs hold of her readers and doesn't let go. It's a great emotional ride.”

~Marilyn Pappano,

USA Today Best Selling author

Grave Secrets


Linda Trout

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Text copyright © 2012 by Linda Trout

Originally published by Wild Rose Press

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

Published by AmazonEncore, Seattle

Amazon, the Amazon logo, and AmazonEncore are trademarks of
, Inc., or its affiliates.

eISBN: 9781503985896

Cover Designer: Kim Mendoza

This title was previously published by Wild Rose Press; this version has been reproduced from Wild Rose Press archive files.


To the members of my very first writing class

who believed in me so strongly.

Doris, Mary, Susan. You know who you are.


To my friends that kept pushing and prodding me

to keep going, Cheryl Williams, Pat Sullivan,

Glenda Nunn and Kelly Donner.

Thanks for the gentle, and not so gentle, shoves.


To my Romance Writers Ink sisters;

all of you who helped me clean up my pages.

But a special Thank You to Marilyn Pappano,

Susan Shay, Jackie Kramer, Margaret E. Reid,

Lynn Somerville and Ashley Pearce.

Ladies, I couldn’t have gotten here without

each and every one of you.


To my family that never lost faith

in my abilities to get the job done.


Last, but certainly not least, I dedicate this book

to my real life hero, my husband,

who has stood beside me, encouraging, supporting and always being there for me.

Your faith that I can do whatever I want

gives me the strength to keep plugging away.

I will always love you.


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

A word about the author...

Chapter One

Today, the police were exhuming her husband’s body.

Sara Adams slowed her steps, lagging behind Detective Cannon as she neared Jason’s gravesite. Resisting the urge to climb back into the police car and flee to the safety of her house, she swiped her damp hands on her pants. She could do this. She
do it. She wrapped her arms around her waist, then a moment later dropped them to her sides. Shaking on the inside, she forced one foot in front of the other as she walked up the slight incline. Already in place, a backhoe loomed as if it were a monster waiting to devour the earth. Three men stood nearby.

Conversations faded as the two men in coveralls studied her with obvious curiosity. Straightening, she took a fortifying breath of the crisp spring Oklahoma air, then briefly pressed her purse to her chest. Knowing her daughter’s stuffed rabbit lay inside gave Sara a small measure of comfort.

A taller, more muscular man stood apart from the other two, his piercing gaze examining her. A tingling sensation slid down her spine. It settled in the pit of her stomach as their gazes locked. She deliberately turned her head—shifting her attention back to the grave—focusing on the headstone already lying on the ground several feet away. The fresh flowers she’d dutifully left three days earlier were partially crushed under the grave marker.

Images of the day they’d laid her husband to rest six months ago—as well as the horror later in the day—were branded into her soul. Hours after she’d left the cemetery, her five-week-old daughter had been stolen from her crib, ripping a hole in Sara’s heart so huge she was surprised she’d been able to breathe, much less function. The only thing that kept her on her feet was the relentless and never ending search for Kaycee.

For six months, she’d been frantic to find her baby. Worry, guilt, and frustration at not finding any clues, nor having received a ransom note, kept Sara’s nerves on edge. Even when she could wind down enough to sleep a few hours, her dreams were riddled with questions. Did Kaycee have enough food? Was she warm? Did they rock her to sleep at night or just plop her into a crib, not caring whether a blanket had been tucked in properly? Sara slept so lightly, she often thought she heard Kaycee crying and jump out of bed, rushing to the nursery. Only after she’d turned on the light would she realize she’d been imagining things.

Detective Cannon’s voice jerked her back to the present. “Morgan, this is Sara Adams. Mrs. Adams, this is Morgan Daniels.”


She gave a brief nod, trying not to meet the man’s sharp gaze. His nearness caused her already jagged nerves to tingle. She didn’t like him—didn’t like the way he made her feel as if she were under a microscope, inspected from the inside out. But her curiosity got the best of her. “Are you with the police department, Mr. Daniels?”

“No, ma’am. I’m a private investigator.”

Sara frowned. She looked from one man to the other. “And you’re here, why?”

He didn’t answer, but shot a quick look at Cannon.

“Mrs. Adams, as we told you on the phone, you don’t have to be here. I’ll keep you informed of our findings so why don’t I call a squad car to take you home?” The detective took a step toward the street, gesturing for her to follow.

“I have to be here.” She backed up to make her point, and to put a little distance between her and Daniels. The man unsettled her.

Cannon sighed. “Fine. If you’ll step over here, the men can get started.”

He gave the go ahead and the workmen moved to the machinery. The monstrosity roared to life. Its huge claw lifted, dipped into the soft earth and left a deep gouge in its wake. Dumping the contents nearby, it came back for another bite as the man at the controls deftly shifted the levers, bouncing with the movement of the machine. Sara turned away. She needed to be here, had to prove to herself she could do this, yet she was unable to watch them desecrate Jason’s grave.

The noise of the machine was deafening. She’d walked a few feet away when sudden movement to her left caught her attention. Daniels. She stiffened at his approach. Without a word, he extended his hand, palm up, and produced a pair of earplugs still in the plastic wrap. Hesitating only a moment, she reached for the little bag, quickly ripped it open, then stuffed the plugs into her ears. The noise, still loud, was now tolerable.

She looked up, intending to thank him, but he’d already refocused his attention on the ever growing pit. His brows were furrowed, his jaw set, as if he were willing something to happen—some dark secret to be revealed. Of course, that was why they were exhuming Jason’s body, to find some secret. Right? But they wouldn’t find anything. There was nothing mysterious about her husband except he’d worked himself into an early grave.

As she turned back toward the gravesite, she decided it didn’t matter what Daniels was looking for, she’d never see him again. Which was fine. Even though he hadn’t said anything, she had the distinct feeling he disliked her, as if she’d done something wrong. She had, but how would he know?

As each scoop of earth was dumped on the ground, Sara’s heart lurched. Lips pressed tightly together, she fisted her hands inside the lightweight jacket. When the noise of the machine finally died, she glanced at Daniels to gauge his reaction. He stood so still, the man reminded her of one of the nearby statues. Cold. Unmovable.

Even though everyone else took out their earplugs, Sara left hers in. The quiet soothed her shattered nerves. The workers picked up shovels and jumped into the hole. She inched forward, sensing Daniels close by.

After a few minutes of digging, they suddenly stopped.

“What the—?” The older of the two men in the grave tipped his hardhat back.

“What is it?” Detective Cannon moved to the edge of the hole.

“It’s a plastic bag, but it sure wasn’t here when we planted the sti...” The man glanced in Sara’s direction. “Um, when we filled in the grave. Let me see what’s inside.”

‘Don’t touch it!” Detective Cannon yelled.

But he’d already reached down, ripping open the bag. “Dear Lord.” Grim faced, he looked up at Cannon. “It’s a baby.”

“Sweet Mother of Jesus.” The younger man jumped back and crossed himself.

“Get out of my crime scene and don’t touch anything else.” Anger filled the detective’s voice.

Sara’s world tilted. Her heart refused to beat. “Kaycee.” The word was little more than a whimper as she lunged for the grave’s edge.

Hands of steel grabbed her arms, stopping her from tumbling into the opening. She struggled to get free. Twisting, she found herself almost nose to nose with Daniels. “Let me go. I have to...I have to go to...”

She had to reach her child—had to hold her. She could still hear her daughter’s gurgles of joy during her bath, smell the baby lotion, recall the hours of rocking her and singing lullabies each night. Even the two o’clock feedings had never been a chore. Motherhood had settled over Sara like a soft blanket of snow that covered the land...quiet, peaceful, comforting.

It completed her.

Sara pushed against Daniels’ chest. She didn’t want to be touched...didn’t want to be here anymore. His arms were now wrapped around her body and refused to yield. She squeezed her eyes closed.

Despite her attempt to ward off the images of what they’d just found, they crept into her consciousness, seeping into every pore in her body. Overwhelming—overtaking. Her hands shook as bile climbed the back of her throat. Her chest constricted. She couldn’t breathe. When black dots danced before her eyes, she welcomed them—embraced them. And prayed once she entered the dark hole, she could keep going. A roar filled her ears as her legs buckled, and she began the descent into blessed oblivion.

She drifted, lost in a dream world. Her daughter ran into her arms, laughing, strong, healthy and beautiful, just as Sara knew she would be. Contentment settled within her. All was right with the world. Finally.

The roaring in her ears began again, and Kaycee drifted away. Sara hung on to the fleeting image, but the dream faded into the distance, out of her reach. She groaned, wanting to remain.

BOOK: Grave Secrets
5.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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