Whispers of the Falls: Book one (Twelve Oaks Farm Series 1)

BOOK: Whispers of the Falls: Book one (Twelve Oaks Farm Series 1)
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Whispers of the Falls

By: Teresa Greene

Whispers of the Falls, Book One of the Twelve Oaks Farm Series.

 

Names, characters, and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used factiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any way by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author. Contact her at:

 

Author Website: www.teresagreene1.com

 

Cover design by Viola Estrella

violaestrella.com

 

Published December 20, 2014

Special acknowledgement to Darrin Ritter of the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Edited by Teresa Thomas & Jason Greene

 

Dedicated to my husband, David, who has supported me through this endeavor to become an author.

Chapter One

 

Bullets whizzed by Gunnery Sergeant Grant Wilson narrowly missing him. The barrage of fire continued as he and his men hunkered down in the trench they had hurriedly dug when they realized they had walked into a trap. He lifted his head mere inches to see how quick the enemy would be upon them. The Taliban soldiers swarmed over the rocky, dry terrain of the desert like ants going to a picnic.

For more than three days he and his men had been tracking the terrorists suspected of bombing the American Embassy in Bagdad killing ten Americans in the attack. A suicide bomber managed to get through the well guarded structure, walked right into one of the busy offices, and detonated the bomb strapped to his back. Seven men and three women lost their lives.

After months of investigating and surveillance, intelligence discovered they were hiding out in an underground tunnel in a desert mountain of Iran. In their trek across the Iranian Desert, they had already killed twenty men who stood in the way of their mission, not one of them the men they had orders to eliminate. The unfavorable terrain made progress difficult and slow. Extreme temperatures had sapped them of their energy.

Usually their orders were to attack quickly and silently, then make a hasty retreat but something had gone terribly wrong with their mission. It was as if the Taliban knew they were coming. Grant wondered who might have alerted the enemy of their presence.

Corporal Jacobs shouted over all the mayhem, “Where is that damn chopper?”

Hell if I know.” Thirty minutes earlier Grant radioed for help. If the chopper didn’t arrive soon, they would all die. He had lost enough of his men in this terrible war against the Taliban. He didn’t intend to lose the rest.

He turned toward the direction the chopper would arrive hoping to see it appear. He strained his ears but heard only the machine gun fire of the Taliban. If only he could hear the hum of the chopper in the distance, then maybe they would have a chance of survival. The shaft of hope was almost painful. He clung to that hope for a few seconds as his eyes swept over his men. Men he loved as much as he did his own brother. Hearing nothing but gunfire, Grant knew they would have to stand and fight. With every passing second his fear grew. It was a life and death situation. In a choice between certain death and survival, he chose to fight. He couldn’t let his warriors die hiding in a ditch. Besides, they had no hope if they didn’t take a stand.

As he always did before a battle, Grant closed his eyes and said a quick prayer to keep his men safe. Then he kissed the warm metal of the Saint Michael his mother gave him for his sixteenth birthday before he tucked it back under his shirt feeling it against his chest. Guts churning, he raised his hand in the air and shouted over the sound of gunfire echoing through the surrounding mountains, “Attack.”

Eight of the best trained, bravest, toughest Marines he knew followed him into the chaos. With no time to take aim, Grant braced his weapon against his hip and began to fire in a wide sweep. Adrenaline surged through his veins as the bullets peppered the approaching enemy killing many of them. It didn’t matter how many they killed, others kept sweeping over the hill.

A sense of doom took over when Corporal Jacobs took a bullet to the neck sending a spray of blood two feet into the thick, humid, air of the desert. Gasping for breath, he clutched his neck before falling to his knees and then his stomach. Without a thought for his own life, Grant gripped his comrade’s arm while still shooting his weapon from his hip. It took some effort because Jacobs was a brawny man, but he finally dragged his prone body to the trench ten feet away. Dropping to his knees, he leaned over his friend. Horrid, gurgling sounds rushed from his throat. Grant placed his hand over the wound to stop the bleeding even though he knew Jacobs had no hope of survival. In moments the gurgling noises ceased. Cloudy eyes stared up at the hot, desert sun.

The death of his friend ignited his rage. He screamed a loud war cry before crawling out of the trench racing toward his enemy killing as many as possible. Maybe the rest of his men would be spared if they could hold the Taliban soldiers off until the chopper arrived. Over the sound of gunfire Grant heard the hum of the helicopter.

****

The mile long drive curved through the thick forest of rural Taylorsville, North Carolina. Huge oaks, maples, and birch trees lined the paved road leading to Grant Wilson’s destination. The sprawling forest, the purple shadows were a stark contrast to the desert he left behind only two months ago. Dusk was almost upon him when the landscape opened up revealing a magnificent sight. On the left stood a huge, red barn with a wrap-around wooden fence. Horses, donkeys, goats, and small cattle dotted the rolling hills of the pasture as they grazed on the rich, green grass. Beyond the pasture he could barely make out fields of corn, tomatoes, and various other vegetables. As he drove his silver sixty-five Camaro around the sharp curve, the house came into view. Two stories high, the red brick house looked charming and inviting. Red and white inpatients lined the front of the house. Lush and colorful marigolds and rooster comb filled a bed in the center of the drive that circled in front of the house. The marigolds reminded him of his mother. They were her favorite because of the different varieties of yellow and orange and their hardiness.

He could smell the scent of grass proving someone had recently mowed the well manicured yard. It was a huge yard and would be a burden to maintain. Bright orange lawn furniture filled most of the front porch along with two red rocking chairs.

Grant parked his car beside the beat up blue, Ford truck in the drive and got out. After hours of being behind the wheel, he felt stiff and his left shoulder ached. Rubbing his shoulder, he walked around the side of his car and peered at the house. Light spilled out of the kitchen window and he could see someone at the sink. Dark complexion, black hair, he assumed it was Maria, the housekeeper and cook.

He made his way to the front door and was just about to ring the doorbell when he heard someone yell, “Are you Grant Wilson?”

In the fading light he saw the woman standing in front of the barn. Wearing cut off jeans and a tank shirt, he admired her body. From this distance he couldn’t see her face, but he already knew she was pretty. Her picture was in the folder his Uncle Tate gave him before he left his office in Raleigh.

With quick strides, he crossed to the barn. The woman tugged off her brown gloves and held out her hand. “Hi, I’m Nina Reynolds.”

Grant took the hand she offered and felt the calluses. It was obvious she worked hard to keep up the farm. Tall and lean, there wasn’t an ounce of fat on her body. Her breasts were small but pert. Long blond hair pulled back into a ponytail hung over her shoulder. Bright blue eyes watched him with interest. Her nails were short and chipped, her lips unpainted.

“Grant Wilson.” He forced his gaze away from her perfect face and looked around the landscape. “You have a beautiful place.”

“Thank you.” She smiled and twin dimples creased her alabaster cheeks.

A loud bark caught his attention and he turned in time to see a border collie herding the five small cattle toward the paddock at the side of the barn. With his head close to the ground, he circled the black and white spotted miniature cows to keep them together. When one bolted to the left, the dog let out a loud yelp and herded her back with the others.

“That’s Shadow.” In seconds the dog had the cattle in the paddock. He sat on his haunches, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, waiting for his master to lock the gate.

“Excuse me for a second.” Nina swung the gate closed and latched the lock. She patted Shadow on the head and the black and white dog trailed at her side.

“I’ll show you to your room.” She pointed her finger to the mat on the porch of the barn and ordered, “Shadow, you stay here.” The dog plopped onto the mat placing his head on his paws and watched her with bright brown eyes.

Grant followed her inside the front of the barn. Everything was neat and in place. A pool table centered the room. A small sitting area with a plush, brown couch and rocker faced the wide window that overlooked the north side of the pasture. From his position he could see two donkeys and three horses grazing in the dying light. A wide screen TV hung on the wall over a narrow table full of figurines of animals. The kitchen was small, but he had no intention of spending much time cooking. Against the wall, weights and a workout bench took up the area.

Nina opened the refrigerator and announced, “I have stocked the refrigerator and cupboard with all the staples you should need. If you need anything else, just let me know.” She shut the door and crossed the room to the door on the south side. “This is your bedroom and bath.”

Grant stepped into the large room. It was very nice for a barn. A queen size bed centered the wall with two nightstands on each side. A large window just like the one in the living area looked out on the south side of the pasture. Bore goats and two small black and white spotted sheep grazed on the grass.

Grant followed Nina to the bathroom. It had a full size shower and plenty of room to move around. He was surprised. When his Uncle Tate told him he would be staying in a barn, he had no idea it would be this comfortable. He took a deep breath. Thankfully, he didn’t even get one whiff of manure.

“If this is not suitable, the guy renting the pool house will be leaving in a couple of days. You are welcome to stay there for the same price if you prefer something a little grander.”

He peered at Nina. God, she was beautiful. Nothing in her demeanor gave him the idea she was as devious and evil as his uncle led him to believe. Didn’t resemble any drug dealer he ever saw on TV or read about in newspapers.

“This is perfect. I will be comfortable here.” He moved to the window and peered at the animals. “The scenery is amazing.” Grant rubbed his aching shoulder and thought about the men he lost in the battle with the Taliban. The beauty of the landscape did little to help his depression. There was a huge hole in his heart. The same sense of grief and loss he felt after the death of his men still plagued his every waking hour. Never would he get over the shameless massacre of his brothers in arms.

When the silence continued, Nina asked, “Do you need any help with your bags?”

Not bothering to turn around, he answered, “No, I didn’t bring much. As I told you on the phone, I am here to rest.” Grant didn’t go into detail on the phone about the depression he had been suffering from since the battle, but he did tell Nina he was on leave for a couple of weeks after serving nine long years in Iraq.

“You are welcome to use the pool. It is behind the house. I hope you like fishing. Take your choice, the creek, the pond, or the Blue River that runs through my land. There is a canoe in the shed and a four-wheeler to haul it to the water. If you need help loading it, I’ll be happy to oblige.”

He didn’t answer. After several seconds, he turned around to find her gone. So far he was off to a bad start. Uncle Tate told him to get close to her and find out if she knew about the marijuana being grown on her land and who was responsible for the murder of Detective Shaw. To gain her trust he would have to be a little more hospitable. Maybe after a goodnight’s rest he would be able to turn on the charm. After the long drive, he didn’t feel very sociable.

****

Grant rolled onto his back and covered his face with the pillow. The barnyard was waking up when he was just getting to sleep. Again the rooster crowed loudly from outside his window. With a glance at the clock on the nightstand he grimaced. It was only 6 o’clock.

Somewhere in the early hours of dawn nightmares plagued his sleep. It seemed every hour he woke in a cold sweat from the reoccurring dream. Three of his best friends died in the battle in the desert of Iran. He almost lost his life when a piece of shrapnel penetrated his body armor and ripped into his shoulder. For two weeks he had been hospitalized in Germany before being sent home. Then three more weeks had been spent under the watchful eye of his mother, Grace.

His younger brother Josh even took off a few days and hovered over him as if he feared he would commit suicide. Truth was he hadn’t once thought about taking his life. He had too many people he cared about and loved. His mother had suffered enough death and grief for a lifetime. He wouldn’t cause her more pain.

Even though his shoulder still pained him, he felt it was time to get back to his life. The trouble was he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. At the moment he didn’t want to return to Iraq.

The problem was solved when his Uncle Tate appeared on his mother’s doorstep and asked for his help with a case. An agent in the FBI, he had been investigating a huge drug ring for over a year after an undercover narcotics officer was found dead in a dumpster in Raleigh. Shaw had infiltrated the thugs and became a mule distributing the drugs on the streets of Raleigh. Someone must have discovered he was a Narc. Uncle Tate knew each and every small player in the ring, but he wanted the top dog, the man or men who probably ordered the hit on Shaw.

That is why he rented the barn from Nina Reynolds. Huge amounts of marijuana were being planted, harvested, and shipped from a secluded parcel of land on the south end of her property. Grant’s role was to see if Nina might be involved. It was hard for him to believe someone was growing such huge amounts of marijuana right under her nose and she was oblivious to the fact. But then stranger things had happened.

BOOK: Whispers of the Falls: Book one (Twelve Oaks Farm Series 1)
2.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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