Excerpt #9 – Chapter 2:

“Your niece?” Ben sat back in his chair; his body language as open as possible to encourage her to keep talking. He liked Connie and knew she and her husband had worked hard to keep Izzie in school last year. “I didn’t know you had siblings in town.”

“I don’t,” she whispered. “That’s what’s so horrible. Sherida’s my sister’s girl from Winnipeg. Candice sent her up here for the summer to keep her away from some young guy they didn’t want her involved with, and now she’s missing, too.” She reached a shaking hand to grasp the water glass again. “Sherida’s a straight-A student. Never been in trouble before. And Candice trusted me to take care of her.”

Ben glanced over Connie’s shoulder at Zack’s wide-eyed expression. He was sure the girls were holed up at a friend’s house, safe and sound, and likely sleeping off too much beer. He gave Zack a subtle shake of the head.

“Can you give me the same information on Sherida? Just for the record, and then we’ll get started making some phone calls.”

“I’ve already called all of Izzie’s usual friends.” Connie sat straighter in her chair.

“Okay, we can follow up with some door knocking. What’s Sherida’s full name?”

“Sherida Doreen Stewart. She was named for our two grandmothers. Her date of birth is today…” Connie’s voice trembled. “August 1, 2003. She’s taller than my Izzie. 5’ 4” and about 130 lbs. Dark brown hair and brown eyes. Double-pierced ears. I don’t know about any identifying marks—I couldn’t see any tattoos, and I can’t imagine my sister would let her get one.”

Ben typed quickly. “What’s her parents’ contact information?”

“Candice Stewart, 204-555-0956, 134 Arlington Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.”

“Okay, that’s a good start. Have you contacted your sister yet?”

Connie shrank down again. “No, I was hoping we’d find them this morning.”

“Honestly, Connie, I’m sure they’re sleeping it off at a friend’s place. Someone Izzie’s never mentioned to you before.” Ben fiddled with a pen on his desk. “Has she got a new boyfriend? Would this Jolene have told you about him if she did?”

“Not usually, but Jolene’s mom was super angry with her this morning, so I think she would’ve said something. She’s grounded, so she has no reason to keep secrets.”

Kids always keep secrets from their parents. He passed a piece of paper and his pen over to Connie. “Please write down the addresses of Izzie’s friends, and I’ll go check them out.

It’s harder to lie to the cops than someone’s mom on the phone.”

“You don’t mind?” Connie looked incredulous. She took the paper and started scribbling words down.

“Of course not.” Ben hoped he wouldn’t have to roust ten girls from their hangover slumbers. “We’ll find both girls, and everything will be fine. You’ll see.” He put his computer to sleep. “I’ll let you know as soon as we know anything.”

Connie stood with him. “Thanks. I feel silly now…”

Ben towered over her as he walked her to the front of the station. “No need to worry. Better safe than sorry.” He lifted the latch on the through-door at the counter. “I’ll get back to you, I promise.”

Connie seemed to shrink into herself again as she paused with her hand on the front door’s crash bar. She nodded to them without speaking and left.

“Where do you think they are?” asked Zack.

Ben fingered the paper Connie’d given him. “Hopefully, at one of these houses. Let’s go.” He put on his sunglasses and grabbed his notebook. Except teens always lie to their parents. He sighed. Lies and secrets. I’m definitely back home in Churchill.


Each book had a different type of hero:


Lukas Tanner was an outdoorsman/adventurer,


Ben Koper was in law enforcement,


and Jake Miller was a chef and business owner.



What kind of hero do you most love to read about? 



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