every broken trustMorning always comes too early for me when I’ve spent the night before trying to keep a murderer from killing my best friend.

Hi, Skeet Bannion here. I left a job as the highest ranking woman officer on the Kansas City Police Department and moved to little Brewster, Missouri, right outside KC to have a peaceful life without murders, drunken fathers, or jealous ex-husbands. But somehow all those things followed me to my job as chief of the Chouteau University Police Department. Plus I ended up with custody of a teenager, Brian Jameson. Me, the woman who doesn’t do family well—or at all, if possible. One of the tricksters was at work in my life, my Cherokee grandmother would say. Rabbit or Coyote.

“Angie’s shot some brilliant video that she wants to put together into a film. Very anti-establishment stuff, of course. Anarchist, just about, Angie says.” My teenaged ward, Brian, swallowed a link sausage, chewing only three or four times.

“Of course,” I muttered, staring into my mug with eyes that hadn’t spent enough time closed overnight.

He gulped down a glass of orange juice. “She’ll let me be her assistant. She’s really brilliant.”

Brian had been going on about his new friend Angie all morning. He’d been asleep by the time I made it home last night with no chance to tell me about his new enthusiasm then.

I should have been paying closer attention to what he said. I broke down and bought a book on parenting (might as well have said mothering on the cover since that’s what it dealt with). The author made it clear that keeping the channel of communication open was vital. You had to listen to your kid, always know what was going on with him. I liked to think Brian and I had a good clear channel of communication, so I didn’t think one morning of being preoccupied with who was trying to kill my best friend, Karen, would make a real difference.

“She’s got film-editing software, and she’s going to teach me to use it. Isn’t that great?” He stuffed his last buttered-and-jellied biscuit into his mouth all at once, barely chewing before he swallowed it with the last of his milk.

“You’ll choke one of these days doing that.” I got up to go for more coffee. “Don’t take such huge bites. Slow down and chew.” I almost bit my tongue as I heard my mother’s words coming out of my mouth.

He ignored me. “These were super biscuits. You’re getting good at baking.”

I smiled. “I’m getting good at buying a better quality of frozen ready-to-bake biscuit.”

Brian grinned and shrugged. “Whatever. As long as they taste good. Make more next time, okay?”

He gathered his plate and glass to take to the sink, leaving the dirty silverware on the table, as always. Before I could say anything, the phone rang.

Karen’s shepherd spoke in a deep, rough voice. “Karen’s driven to town. She wouldn’t listen to me. She’s going to open her store today.”

“After last night? Is she crazy?” Brian turned to stare as I shouted. “Was she even in any shape to drive?”

“She is stronger but still shaky, though she tried to hide it. She ordered me to stay and take care of the animals. But who will watch over her?” His low voice caught as he rushed out the last words.

“It won’t be easy.” I hesitated, thinking of the problems entailed. “Why’d she decide to do this now? She’s not even physically fit yet.”

“She’s a stubborn woman. It bothers her that she was so frightened last night.” His voice grew heated. “She’s proving something to herself.”

“All she’s proving to me is that the blow to her head addled her wits. I’ll stop by the shop on my way to Brian’s school and make sure she got in okay, see if we can’t keep her alive. Thanks for calling.”

De nada. Just keep her safe. Please.” His voice dropped to a whisper before he hung up.

“What is it?” Brian looked scared. I reminded myself his whole family was gone because of violence.

“It’s okay. Karen just decided to drive into work today. She shouldn’t really be up and driving.” I cleared the table in quick movements as I spoke.

“Someone’s trying to kill her, too,” he said, matter-of-factly, moving to help me load the dishwasher. “You won’t let them, will you?”

I smiled at his huge over-confidence in me. What would happen when I failed him? I hoped he’d learn to forgive me for being human.

“I’ll do my damnedest to stop them—if she lets me.” I flipped my dishtowel at his head. He grinned and ducked. “Pack up. Let’s get going. We have to stop at Forgotten Arts on the way.” I looked at the empty table with its scattered crumbs and grabbed a paper towel to sweep them into my hand for the trash.

I’ll clean it when I come home, I told the memory of my mother’s voice in my head. Right now, I’ve got to stop a killer.


Thanks to Minotaur, I have one (1) copy of EVERY BROKEN TRUST to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. Contest ends May 29; US entries only per publisher’s request.


Meet the author
Linda Rodriguez’s second Skeet Bannion novel, Every Broken Trust (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books), will be published May 7. Her first Skeet novel, Every Last Secret, won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, was selected by Las Comadres National Book Club, and was a Barnes & Noble mystery pick. For her books of poetry, Skin Hunger (Scapegoat Press) and Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press), Rodriguez received the Midwest Voices & Visions Award, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, finalist, Eric Hoffer Book Award, KCArtsFund Inspiration Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships.

She is the president of the Borders Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, a founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, Kansas City Cherokee Community, and International Thriller Writers. She was formerly director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Center. She spends too much time on Twitter and on Facebook. She blogs about writers, writing, and the absurdities of everyday life at lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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