My name is Billy Two-Feathers. I am a full blooded Cherokee Indian adopted and raised by white parents in Wilton, Connecticut. I met my best friend, Donald Youngblood, in college. We attended the University of Connecticut. Most of the time I call Don, “Blood.” Most of the time Don calls me “Chief.”
After we graduated, Don went to Wall Street and made a fortune. I made some bad choices and went to prison. In five years my only visitor in prison was Donald Youngblood. Don gave me a second chance for a good life and I took it.
After my release from prison, a series of events led us back to Don’s hometown, Mountain Center, Tennessee where we opened Cherokee Investigations, a private investigative firm. A lot has happened since then. I am now a deputy sheriff in Swain County, North Carolina; a long story best told another time.
This particular day started innocently enough; a minor drug bust, a break-in and a domestic disturbance. I had them all taken care of before lunch. Then I got a call from Don asking for backup on a serial killer case that was coming to a head. Late that afternoon, I was making the trip over the Smoky Mountains down through Gatlinburg and on to Mountain Center and thinking as I went about all the cases we had been involved in.
I sometimes worry about Don. He can be reckless when it comes to personal safety so I need to watch his back. He calls me a “mother hen” but beneath the protest I know he feels safer when I am around. I have saved his life on more than one occasion, although he would scoff at that and say he had it all under control. The facts are he has been assaulted more than once, beaten unconscious to a comatose state and wounded in a gun battle. He has been hospitalized at least three times that I know of since he became a private investigator. Donald Youngblood has a gift for finding trouble.
When Don called he told me he was temporarily staying at the Fleet Mansion, not a good sign. Joseph Fleet is a rich and powerful business man in Mountain Center whose inner circle includes Don and me because Don tracked the killer of Joseph Fleet’s daughter, Sarah Ann.
* * * * * * * * * *
I found Don and Mr. Fleet in the first floor study. They were in quiet conversation having drinks in front of the fireplace.
“Good to see you again, Billy,” Joseph Fleet said, when Roy Husky escorted me in.
Roy is Fleet’s right-hand man and has become a friend to both Don and me and supported us on a few of our cases.
“You too, sir,” I said.
“I take it this is not a social call,” Joseph Fleet said.
“No, it’s not, “I said. “ I need to speak with Blood.”
Joseph Fleet stood. “Gentlemen,” he said. “I’m turning in for the night. Billy, you’re welcome to stay.”
“Thank you, sir,” I said. “I believe I will.”
He left us alone.
Moments later, Don and I left the study and went to his third floor suite to plan our strategy for tomorrow. Don thought he knew exactly where James Hyde would be set up for him. Mary, Don’s wife and Mountain Center police detective, didn’t seem surprised to see me when I walked in. Don began to share his plan with me when Mary interrupted.
“About tomorrow,” Mary said, her voice determined. ”I’m going with you and it’s not negotiable.”
I caught the look between them and sensed the beginning of an argument.
“I promised him I would come alone,” Don said, with little conviction.
“He doesn’t deserve your promise,” Mary said. “And besides, I didn’t promise him a damn thing.”
“Me, either,” I said.
It was pointless for Don to argue, Mary wasn’t going to give in and something about having Mary with us felt right.
“Okay,” Don said to Mary. “You follow me in and cover my back. Chief comes in from the front in my Pathfinder.”
He showed Mary and me our route in and how we would play it. He explained my part. We all agreed.
“You think he’s going to try and ambush you?” Mary asked.
“I do,” Don said.
I nodded agreement.
“In the end they’re all cowards,” I said.
“I thought he wanted a face-to-face,” Mary said.
“He wants me dead,” Don said. “He doesn’t want to gamble with me out in the open. This is his version of a face-to-face.”
We went over it a second time then I left for my room knowing that tomorrow, one way or another, we were going to bring down a serial killer.
You can read more about Billy Two-Feathers in Three Dragons Doomed, the fifth book in the “Donald Youngblood” mystery series, published by John F. Blair. The first book in the series is Three Deuces Down.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 23 for the chance to win a copy of Three Deuces Down. (US entries only, please.)
Meet the author
Keith Donnelly grew up in Johnson City, TN where he graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Economics and soon after found himself in the New York City world of publishing.
Keith and wife, Tessa, divide their time between Gatlinburg, TN, Singer Island, FL and Salt Lake City, UT where Keith indulges in his passion of downhill skiing. His motto: have laptop, will travel!
Donnelly is currently working on book six in the Donald Youngblood Mystery series. Visit Keith at www.donaldyoungbloodmysteries.com
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