Don't Look (Pike, Wisconsin #1) - Alexandra Ivy

Chapter 1

Eyes aren’t the windows to the soul, funerals are.

They reveal precisely how the deceased lived their lives, and how those who remain behind want them to be remembered.

Some are glorious celebrations of a generous heart. Some are garish displays of wealth and power. Some are small, intimate gatherings that are too painful to be shared with others.

This one was . . . bleak.

There was no other way to describe it.

Standing next to the open grave that had to be chiseled into the frozen ground, Kir Jansen cast a restless glance around the smattering of guests. Pike, Wisconsin, was a small, rural town in the heart of dairy country where neighbors were closely acquainted with one another, but Rudolf ’s last eighteen years had been a downward spiral into the dark chasm of alcoholism. He wasn’t surprised that there weren’t many who were willing to brave the bitter January weather.

His attention moved to the preacher, who was reciting a prayer in a monotone voice.

Pastor Ron Bradshaw was a scrawny man in his late twenties with pasty white skin and dark hair that looked as if it’d been trimmed with a pair of dull scissors. He’d kept the service blessedly short, merely mentioning the deep loss that would be felt by Rudolf Jansen’s family and community at his death.

Kir didn’t mind that there hadn’t been any mention of the positive aspects of his father’s life. Although there had been plenty of things to make a man proud.

Rudolf had once been a highly respected sheriff in Pike with a wife and son he adored. It wasn’t until he’d been attempting to arrest a petty drug dealer that his life had gone in the crapper. The shootout had left the criminal dead and Rudolf with a bullet in his brain that had forced an early retirement. Without the job that had been at the core of his self-worth, nothing had been the same.

Shuffling through the old memories to happier times had felt like ripping open ancient wounds to Kir as he’d prepared to attend the funeral. He’d tucked away his life in Pike the day he’d packed his bags to head to college in Boston. And he’d never looked back. Being forced to recall the childhood days when he’d been a part of a loving, secure family had only emphasized what he’d lost.

With a last plea for Rudolf ’s salvation, Pastor Bradshaw motioned that the funeral was over and Kir turned to greet the mourners with grim determination. It was the least he could do after they’d braved the brutal weather to pay their respects.

First up was a distant cousin, Dirk Jansen. He was a large, gruff man in his late sixties who had visited Rudolf the last Sunday of every month. He called it his family duty to try and make Rudolf repent his evil ways. Kir’s father had called it a pain in his ass.

Now Kir politely shook the man’s hand even as he blocked out the droning lecture on the damaging effects of alcohol. The idiot had no idea he was far more a pariah in this small community than Rudolf had ever been. A perpetual drunk was an annoyance, but there was nothing worse than a pompous blowhard.

Dirk at last moved on to allow the clutch of elderly women to surge forward en masse. Kir assumed they attended every funeral in the area, regardless if they personally knew the deceased or not. He accepted their sympathies with a distracted nod and barely noticed as they scurried toward their waiting cars.

Instead his focus was locked on the young woman who was holding out a slender hand. Kir experienced a strange sensation as he reached to squeeze her fingers that were covered in a leather glove and skimmed a quick glance down her slender body.

Dr. Lynne Gale was a tiny woman with light brown hair she kept pulled into a messy ponytail. Her skin was pale and smooth with a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her slender nose, making her look like a teenager although he knew she was just a couple grades behind him in school. Which meant she had to be at least thirty. Her eyes were dark and penetrating and surrounded by long lashes he suspected were real. He’d never seen this woman wearing makeup when they were younger, or later when they crossed paths during his infrequent trips to visit his dad.

To combat the bitter cold, she was wearing a sensible parka that fell to her Copyright 2016 - 2024