Excerpt from . . .
by Libby McKinmer
Meg’s head was pounding by
the time she turned into the driveway to Forrestholme,
her grandfather’s three hundred acre “homestead.” A
state of the art broodmare operation, Forrestholme had a
foaling barn, two separate mare barns, a stallion barn,
artificial insemination lab, hundreds of acres of
pasture, an indoor riding arena, a training track and a
custom designed, four-bedroom stone home. He had worked
hard to attain his dream, and now, like a cold shadow
over it all, there was something seriously wrong.
Meg rounded the final bend
in the driveway and stood on the truck’s brakes. With a
scattering of loose gravel, the pickup skidded sideways
and Meg had to do some quick steering to keep from
sliding into one of the huge maples that lined the
drive. Less than a foot from her front bumper loomed a
twelve-foot high wrought iron gate. It was closed and
locked. From its top, two video cameras panned the
driveway area, and at the bottom to the left of the
gate, an intercom stood silently, its unseen operator
waiting to grant whomever approached entrance or exile.
She stared, frozen in
stunned shock, for a moment or two. That fence had not
been there when she had left for Florida in between
Christmas and New Year’s. But it was very definitely
there now. Putting the pickup in reverse, she
straightened it out and angled up to the intercom. As
she rolled down her window and leaned out to figure out
how to call its control center, the intercom coughed to
life as a nasal voice challenged her.
“It’s Meg,” she said slowly.
“Meg Forrest. I live here.”
There was a momentary pause
before the disembodied voice responded coolly, “I’ll
open the gates. Drive through slowly and straight up to
the house. Don’t get out of your truck and don’t deviate
from the road to the house.”
She could only stare at the
With a clank and a thud, the
double wrought iron gates began to swing open in front
of her. Meg put the truck in gear and started through
the opening. As soon as she cleared them, the gates
swung back into place. Something was definitely weird.
Meg looked around as she started slowly towards the
house. The tall fence extended in both directions as far
as she could see, curving off around the house and down
past the barns out of her sight to the pasture areas.
She checked the broodmare barn automatically. Noting the
lights still on, she started to turn down the lane
leading to the barn when she remembered her directions
to go straight to the house.
It’s still my farm to go where I want. And I think I’ll
just check out the ladies on my way to the house. With
that rebellious thought, she quickly twisted the truck’s
wheel to the left and headed to the broodmare barn.
After easing to a stop in
front of the main entrance to the mare’s barn, Meg
turned off the truck and was about to step out when she
happened to glance to her right, up the grade toward the
house. Racing at full speed, eyes pinned to the truck,
were two of the largest Dobermans Meg had ever seen.
By the time she’d registered
their existence, they were at the side of the truck.
Silently, they sat beside the driver’s door and fixed
her with cold stares. No barking, no jumping, and
definitely no tail wagging was going on here. More than
a little rattled, Meg shoved the key back into the
ignition, started up the truck, and turned for the
house. She glanced in her rearview mirror and, sure
enough, the two Dobes were trotting up the driveway
What the hell is going on
By the time she got to the
house, Meg was furious. The last time she’d looked,
Forrestholme had been their property. She was sure her
grandfather would have mentioned it to her if he had
sold it, so she was mystified by what was going on here.
When she put the truck in park at the house, Meg was in
no mood for the Dobermans. She leaned on the truck horn
until someone ran out from behind the house. She kept on
sounding the horn until the man hurried to the window of
“What’re ya doin’, lady?”
The man had the look of an ex tackle on a professional
football team. “Are ya tryin’ to get the dogs all ticked
“Am I supposed to be worried
about your dogs?” Meg’s tone sliced at the man’s
arrogance. “I suggest you get those dogs back in their
cages or kennels or wherever they live, and I suggest
you do it now.”
Accustomed to obeying
orders, the guard gave a quick whistle and a couple of
hand signals. The dogs obediently trotted off behind the
house with their handler following. As soon as they were
out of sight, Meg wearily shoved open the truck door and
climbed down onto the interlocking stone driveway. She
pushed her hair back and straightened her shoulders.
Time to beard the lion in his den.