USA Today Bestselling Author
Training in underwater recovery techniques, Bronson didn’t expect to recover a body, particularly one with a knife embedded into a diver’s back. Down in Mexico, often anything goes, but he’s been on many dives in his life and has been through a lot of this country, yet at no time had he seen this scenario.
Her missing brother being found sends Robin deep into grief and guilt. Her brother had been much older, living a risky lifestyle on the fringe of society in a small coastal Mexican town. She’d arrived six months earlier in an attempt to help him get his life together.
Finding out what happened is paramount. Yet, as the twisted tale unravels, the betrayals and secrets finally come to light. Bronson and Robin must protect themselves, before the wrong person finds out exactly what they’ve discovered.
Gavin and Bronson are at the end of an underwater recovery course when Bronson discovers a body. The instructor, Marshall, recognized the man immediately as Jason Rancher, a local diver and former employee. He knows they’re in for it when he sees Jason’s sister on shore.
Former military, dive instructor and researcher, Robin has been looking for her brother. He’s been missing for a couple of days and she’s worried. Obviously with cause.
Robin insists on seeing her brother’s body, she wants to see it before the authorities get there. She’s convinced they will twist things to suit their own agenda and not seek the truth.
Since Bronson found the body, he was given 48 hours leave to be available to the authorities. Bronson is going to use that time to help the victim’s sister Robin. They’re heading where he found the body and she gives him a bit of history on both herself and her brother.
After an initial look around the dive site, they go back and have dinner. Deciding afterwards to clean out his ‘apartment’ that is more of a shack.
This is a favorite scene.
She shuddered. “Shouldn’t there be something of his life left though?” she cried out, staring at Bronson. “Something worthwhile?”
“Yes,” he agreed. “You’ll find it in your memories. It has absolutely nothing to do with the bits and pieces of a material life that went down the drain.” His tone was calm, almost serene, in the eerie darkness surrounding them.
“God.” She kicked the box closer toward him and sighed.
A man behind them asked, “Hey, what are you doing?”
Bronson turned around to see an older man, standing nervously behind him. Robin stepped forward, so her face showed in the light, and the man looked at her and relaxed.
“Oh, it’s you. Sad to hear about your brother, chica. He wasn’t an all-bad man.”
As compliments went, that was nothing to write home about, but Bronson could see that it was given with as much or perhaps more empathy than anybody else around here had offered her.
She nodded. “I know he wasn’t. … I was really trying hard to help him.”
“We all knew it. Yet family, what can you do?” He looked over at Bronson.
“This is the man who found my brother,” she explained. The older man nodded. “And we’re just trying to clean up my brother’s mess.”
“That’s nice,” the landlord replied. “I appreciate that. I would just throw it all in the Dumpster anyway.”
“Which is pretty well what we’ve done,” she admitted. “Nothing here is worth keeping.”
“No, and, even if there were, a few guys have already been through here pretty fast to take anything of value.” The old man shrugged. “Yet I don’t know when your brother last had anything of value in here.”
“Thank you for letting him stay here,” she said. “At least it kept a roof over his head.”
He smiled. “We used to be friends,” he murmured, “before the booze got him.”
She nodded. “And I appreciate that you didn’t throw him out, like so many would have.”
“It was tempting,” he admitted, with half a smile. “Then I saw how bad he was and knew he’d have no place else to go. Now he’s finally at peace. So let him go, let him go back to the ocean, where he belongs.”
She nodded. “I’ll have him cremated and then will take him back out to the same spot.”
He smiled. “That sounds real good. You know that’s where he wants to be.” And, with that, he smiled sadly at her, looked around the room, and shook his head. “It’s a sorry night.” And, with nothing else to say, he quickly slipped out the door.
“You’ve obviously met him a couple times before.”
“Yes,” she replied, with a light nod. “Every time I came looking for my brother and couldn’t find him, I’d usually find him passed out on his bed, telling the world to go away.”
“At least your brother had somebody advocating for him, besides just you.”
“I know.” She attempted a smile. “There haven’t been too many people, but there have been a couple.”
“And that helps to restore your faith in humanity,” he noted quietly. With the room more or less cleaned up and just needing to be swept out, Bronson stated, “There’s really nothing here, is there?”
“No, … he lived a very bare-bones existence. If he were back in the US, he would have been on the streets and homeless. It just breaks my heart to think of him in that lifestyle. Here, he at least had this, and he had his job and his hobby.”
“What about his job? Do you think anything of his is there, like in an employee locker or whatever, that needs to be cleaned out?”
She frowned as she walked out of the empty room, followed by Bronson, who closed the door that barely even shut properly. She replied, “Right, I should hit the dive shop in the morning,”
“What time does it open?” Bronson asked, as they slowly walked their way back to her place.
Surprised, he said, “Wow, not much opens at that hour in Mexico.”
“No,” she agreed, “but a lot of expats are down here, who don’t think much of the rules and regulations up in the US, so they come here to live the life they want. And a few of the shops here accommodate them.”
“Oh, trust me. I’ve met lots of expats in bars all over the world,” he noted, with a smile.
“They’re not all that bad,” she murmured. “And Chet is a bit of a character, but he had a soft spot for my brother too.”
“Sounds like Jason found some people to make his life worth living.”
When they reached her apartment, Bronson added, “Look. Let me know when you’re up, and then we’ll meet up and go to the dive shop together, okay?” She stared at him, and he shook his head immediately. “Don’t even think about making any excuses. There’s no reason for me not to come with you. I’m in this far. I may as well go all the way.”
“Says you, … but I appreciate the support, so thank you.”
As she headed inside, he asked, “You’re sure he didn’t find anything on any of his dives, huh?”
She stopped, looked at him, and shook her head. “You’re still thinking about a motive?”
He nodded. “Yeah, kind of. I guess I’d like to think that Jason looked forward to something in his life, so his days were more than just missing his wife or having people hating him or beating him up or threatening revenge or whatever.”
“He didn’t ever say anything to me.” However, she stopped, looked puzzled for a moment, then frowned. “He was excited about something for a while and told me that he was on to something. But he was always on to something, you know?”
“And, even now, you don’t think it was serious?”
“I didn’t give it a thought at the time.” She stared at Bronson, while considering his question. “It was just more of the same, you know? But I hope, for his sake, it was something great. It would be nice to think that something in his life made Jason happier. Of course he was always out scavenging things. But when I did ask him about it a few days later, he immediately said that it was nothing and that I was better off if I didn’t know. So I assumed it had to do with either booze or drugs, which I definitely didn’t want to know about.” She grimaced. “So I never asked him about it again.”
“And with his history, that would be a reasonable assumption.”
“Maybe it was,” she muttered. “Let’s just say that I was happy to let it rest.”
He nodded. “But, if he did find something and if it was something that he didn’t want you to get involved with, it’s quite possibly something that could have gotten him killed.” “Let’s hope not,” she said, “but we can ask more about it tomorrow.”
Dale Mayer. Bronson (Kindle Locations 726-781). Valley Publishing Ltd..
It’s after cleaning out Jason’s place that Robin remembers her brother being excited about something, but he wouldn’t elaborate.
No one really seems to care that Jason was murdered, he was just dead and that was all that mattered. Robin isn’t going to let it go and Branson isn’t going to let her do any investigating on her own. It just isn’t safe.
Things heat up in more ways than one as this book progresses to the most startling ending.
I just couldn’t put this book down, a common occurrence with Dale’s books.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.