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Rubicon Ranch

Rubicon Ranch
Various Authors
268 pages


A little girl’s body has been found in the wilderness near the desert community of Rubicon Ranch. Was it an accident? Or . . . murder! But who would want to kill a child? Everyone in this upscale housing development is hiding something.

Could Kourtney and Jeff Peterson have killed their daughter, mischievous nine-year-old Riley, to protect their secret?

Moody Sinclair had once killed an eight-year-old boy. Has she killed again?

Fifteen-year-old Dylan McKenzie is a straight A honor student. By day. Did Riley discover the other Dylan, the one who prowls at night?

Cooper Dahlsing does strange things while sleepwalking. Could he have killed and not known it?

Mark and Jamie Westbrook, self-styled private investigators, show up to help solve the murder, but perhaps they had a hand in creating the crime?

Eighty-two-year-old Eloy Franklin sits on his porch and watches. But does he do more than watch?

Forty-three-year-old Melanie Gray found Riley’s body stuffed in a television console that had been dumped in the desert. But is she as innocent as she seems?

Sheriff Seth Bryan is bitter and cynical at having lost everything he values. Is he manufacturing crimes to bring him the notoriety he craves?


     Keeping her gaze on the trail, Melanie climbed the knoll. When she reached the top, a faint breeze stirred her clothes, and she could feel the coolness of her drying sweat. She lifted her head and jutted out her chin. I can do this.
     She’d never understood the lure of photography, but now, snapping image after image of the desert and the distant hills, she could appreciate how much simpler and cleaner the world appeared when seen on the screen of a camera. Some of the photos actually seemed passable. She really could do this.
     She turned around to get shots of the trail she’d just climbed and saw a glint of metal reflecting the sun. She squinted. What was that? A television? She found herself smiling—her first smile since Alexander died. She scrambled back down the trail. The television console had been dumped a long time ago judging by the creosote bushes that had grown up around it, but footprints leading to the box suggested it had been visited recently. She took several shots from the trail, about fifteen yards from the television, then moved closer. The television had no screen, and she could see that something had been stuffed inside. A doll? She crept closer. Ten feet away, she stopped to take another photo, and the truth washed over her. Not a doll. Crammed inside the cabinet was a child, a girl, her eyes half-eaten by some desert predator.
     A scream of rage gathered in her chest, but the only sound she made was a whimper. No! Not more death


Nine Second Wind Publishing authors collaborated to write Rubicon Ranch: Riley’s Story.

Pat Bertram
Lazarus Barnhill
J B Kohl and Eric Beetner
Nancy A. Niles
JJ Dare
Christine Husom
Nichole R. Bennett
Deborah J Ledford

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