Dead on the Fourth of July (David Dean Mysteries) (Chapter II, page 2 of 9)


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Bird Song's managerial pair tried to present a breakfast happy face over coffee cake and muffins, but their efforts continued to fall short as they waited for Martha to make an appearance. Elderly Brandon Westlake, the only single oldie, failed to engage Cynthia's interest in his day's activities, a high country wildflower photo shoot in Governor's Basin. This was unusual, as Bird Song's matron had pestered him about the details of the emerging flora since he had arrived at the inn the prior week. Wild flowers had become a hobby of Cynthia's since coming to Ouray County. The alpine meadows of the surrounding mountains were painted with some of the nation's most spectacular displays throughout the summer. Cynthia devoured every publication she could find on the subject and was looking forward to spending some quality time hiking the high country, if the demand of Bird Song's chores would allow snatches of free time.

Mr. Westlake, dressed in his usual dusty and patched attire, pressed Cynthia for the reason behind her unusual reticence. She offered an abbreviated version of Martha's eminent departure. He sympathized and put an arm about her shoulders.

"I never had children myself, so I can only imagine your grief. My brother Ralph, bless his soul, lost a son to the system after a divorce. His ex-wife dragged the boy to another state and he never saw the lad again. It was as if God had taken the boy to heaven." Cynthia excused herself and retreated to the kitchen, leaving well-meaning Brandon Westlake with a what-did-I-say-wrong look on his sun beaten face.

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