Rating---R---- violence, language and some scenes may be offensive to some readers, including vivid torture scenes.


Characters---Chris Larabee, Vin Tanner, and the rest of the seven

Disclaimer.....They just won't let me own them.....but hey, nobody said anything about messing around.

Comments-----This was written for Alicia. Happy Birthday, Alicia, hope this fits the bill...Feedback is always welcome. This is a sequel to The Devil’s Destiny, yet it has a slight twist to it, you’ll understand what I mean as you read it. It also brings up events from The Price Of A Broken Promise and The Devil’s Destiny. The poem Vin wrote for Chris in The Price Of A Broken Promise is also mentioned and again I want to thank Deirdre for writing that for me. Thanks again, Julie, my medical person of great talent and my wonderful friend. Thanks Joyce for your medical help as well. If there are any medical mistakes, please forgive them as they are solely mine. Thanks also to Bob, a new friend whose help with the Nevada area is greatly appreciated. Thanks also to Antoinette for helping research some of the things in this and for being my beta as well.



Part 1

Taos, New Mexico, 1960

The boy scrambled into the empty closet, away from the screaming match between the people who called themselves his parents. At eight years old he was big for his age, and had seen more than most people saw in a full life. His blasty red hair was cropped close to his skull. Dark brown eyes, set close together, showed no emotion. He smiled as he listened to the loud, screeching voices. They weren’t his real parents, he’d known that for a long time now. They were his relatives, but his mother died at childbirth and his father died in prison. His father, he remembered little about him, but he knew already he was destined to be like him, and his father, and his father before him. Somehow he would find a way to get the book back. If he watched and waited, it would be his. He remembered some of the words and knew they were meant for him. His so-called mother was now in possession of the book, but he wouldn’t let it stay that way very long. He would get the book back, and he would fulfill the wishes of his great, great grandfather. He walked out of the closet and to the door, knowing his ancestor would not wish to see him cowering from these weaklings. The woman he called mother had called him the devil’s spawn more than once and he knew she was closer to the truth than she realized. He would find a way to take his destiny, and he would not let her interfere. He took a deep breath and watched the people in the other room. He watched as the man removed a loose floorboard beside the fireplace and the woman placed the book underneath it. He knew where it was and he would come back for it. He looked around the empty rooms, knowing the house was being closed and they were moving to Reno, Nevada. He knew there was gambling in the city and once he was old enough he would make a name for himself there. Money was something he would need if he was to be the same man his great, great, grandfather had been.


Reno, Nevada, 2002


He stood in his bedroom looking out over the brightly lit city. At 50 years of age his red hair was speckled with gray. He knew it only enhanced his appearance and refused to dye it. His destiny would soon be fulfilled. He owned the casino/hotel he was in and was considered a success in every sense of the word. Women and men clamored to be part of his life, but there was something missing and now he remembered what it was.

The Book! He had to go back to Taos, New Mexico and retrieve the treasured book. He knew the house was still there, although another family had lived there for years. Not that it mattered; he would get rid of them if he needed to. His flight to Taos would be leaving at seven am. Mark Winston was not only his pilot, but also a man who seemed to understand who and what his employer was. From the moment they met Winston offered his support and his loyalty. They’d bought a small luxury plane and Winston flew him anywhere he needed to go. Mark Winston was his friend, his confidant, his pilot, and anything else he needed him to be.

He walked to the bed, his body trembling in anticipation of what tomorrow would bring. The Book, his great, great grandfather’s book would soon be back in his hands where it belonged. Sleep would not come easily for him tonight, but often his body could do without it longer than most. He smiled into the darkness, knowing the days to come would be filled with finding out about his destiny.


Billings, Montana, 2002

Vin Tanner looked at his best friend and smiled. “You’re kidding, right?” he asked as he looked at the printout from the computer.

Chris smiled at the sharpshooter as he took the printout back. “Not at all. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. Had a trip planned with Adam and Sarah, but we never did get around to it.”

Tanner frowned, not because he didn’t like the idea, but because it was something he never thought Chris Larabee would be interested in. It just didn’t fit with his image of The Firm’s leader and yet, even he called the blond ‘Cowboy’.

“Ghost towns, Chris?” Tanner asked.

“Not just any ghost towns, Vin, Old West ghost towns. Places where they had real gunslingers and gunfights. A place where day-to-day life could get you called out to defend your name or your family. Or get you killed because you had the nerve to live there.”

“Chris, I have a feeling you had a few cowboy relatives in your background,” Tanner explained.

“Yeah, actually my great, great grandfather was a well known gunslinger. Okay not as well known as Wyatt Earp or Buffalo Bill Cody or anything, but he was a lawman.”

The sharpshooter’s eyes opened wide in excitement. “You’re kiddin’ me ain’t ya, Chris?”

“Not at all. There’s not much known about him, but he was a lawman in a small town called Four Corners. I remember my grandfather telling stories about him, but not the details. Grandfather died before he could finish his book on our Old West ancestors, but...” Larabee lapsed into silence as he walked to the large office window.

“But, what?”

“I remember him telling me how my great, great grandfather lost his wife and son to a f...fire.”

“Oh, hell, Chris, That’s gotta be hard.”

“It’s okay, Vin. I mean I miss Sarah and Adam, but I have their memories and I won’t let them go. Now about this little trip we’re going on...”

“We? What do you mean we?” the sharpshooter asked excitedly.

Chris saw the light in the other man’s eyes and knew he had him hooked. Vin Tanner grew up in Texas and loved anything dealing with the Old West. When he was researching for this trip he did it with the idea that the two of them would be going. Sharing a love of the Old West and the excitement of those times was an added bonus.

“I was planning on asking you if you’d like to come along. I mean I know you’d probably rather stay here and...”

“No...No!” the sharpshooter protested vehemently as he met the laughing green eyes of the blond. “I mean, Chris, I’d love to go. I mean I understand if ya wanna go alone...”

“Wouldn’t ask if I didn’t want you along, Tanner.”

“We’re going ghost hunting.”

“No we’re not, Vin. We’re going to visit a few old ghost towns.”

“Ghost towns should have ghosts, right?”

Larabee heard the teasing tone in his friend’s voice and knew he was pulling his leg. “Right, and if you’re not careful one of them will jump out and go Boo!” he laughed.

“Sure hope she’s a looker then. When do we leave?”

“I have a few things to finish up with Travis. I need to make sure Josiah knows where Buck and JD are and what’s happening with the case they’re on. Ezra and Nathan are in California testifying on that drug running operation. They’re due back early next week. I figure we should be able to leave a week from Friday. That gives you nine days to get your paperwork filled out and loose ends tied up. Think you can do it, Cowboy?”

“Hell, yeah. Ghost towns! Never thought I’d see the day Chris Larabee would go poking around in old buildings.”

“Well, hell, Cowboy, it’s gotta be safer than some of our other vacations,” Larabee grinned at the sheepish look on the other man’s face. Their vacations had a way of turning deadly without warning.

“Yeah,” Tanner agreed as he remembered being stranded on the island. Larabee nearly lost his life on that little vacation, for that matter they all came close to dying because of a modern day pirating operation.

“Don’t look so serious, Vin, nothing’s going...”

“Don’t say it, Chris. Let’s just forget what happened in the past and look forward to this one. I’d best get started on the paperwork if we’re gonna be leaving next week.”

Larabee looked out into the main office and smiled at the backlog of papers in Tanner’s inbox. This was the part of the job the sharpshooter hated. He needed to fill out a report for each and every time he was called to use his gun whether he actually shot it or not. “I don’t envy you, Pard,” he said sympathetically.

“Well ya could help,” Tanner said.

“I could, but I think I’d rather go visit Mary and Billy. Promised I’d take Billy to the afternoon showing of Scooby Do.” He’d been seeing Mary off and on for a few months now. They were taking things slow, neither one wanting to jump into a relationship without thinking. He wasn’t sure how he felt about Mary, but he loved being around Billy Travis. The young boy was always excited to see him and Chris smiled as he remembered the kid’s excitement when he mentioned going to the movies.

“Oh, so while I sit here putting a pen to useless paper you get to go watch a movie and eat popcorn and candy and chocolate and soda...”

“Vin, I don’t eat that shit.”

“Ya have to, Chris. I mean what’s a movie without the treats...”

“Treats? Don’t you mean junk food?”

“Hell no! Those are treats. Good treats. Don’t tell me yer gonna make poor Billy eat rabbit food again. I mean ya can’t take a kid to the movies and expect him to eat carrot sticks and celery sticks. It ain’t right, Chris. Ya know maybe it’d be better for everyone if I came with you.”

Larabee’s eyebrows rose, but he couldn’t hide the smile. He knew Tanner wanted to see Scooby Doo; it was all he’d talked about when the ads started. “You’ve got paperwork to do,” Larabee reminded him.

“I’ll get right on it when we get back. Come on, Chris, let me go with you guys.” He smiled as a sudden thought struck him. “Just think, I could take Billy to the front and leave you to cuddle up with Mary in the back row. I mean I’m sure an old guy like you understands what happens in the back row of the movies.”

“Tanner, I’m not much older than you and I don’t need you telling me what goes on in the back row.”

“Then I can come along?”

“Get your shit together and let’s go,” Larabee ordered. “Mary is expecting us in an hour.”

“What time does the show start?” Tanner asked.

“We were planning on making the four pm showing. Josiah’s going to stick around until closing time.”

“It’s not like there’s much to do, Chris. I mean it’s pretty boring without JD, Buck, Nathan, and Ezra around. I kind of miss the kid’s weird jokes and Buck teasing him about women.”

“Speak for yourself, Tanner, I’m enjoying the peace and quiet.”

Vin could tell his friend missed the others as much as he did. He simply smiled at Larabee and grabbed the black leather jacket from his chair. “Let’s go see my hero.”

“Your hero?”

“Yeah. I mean Scooby Doo is...”

“Oh, shit, Vin, don’t tell me Scooby Doo is your hero?”

“Of course he is, Cowboy. I mean the way he protects Shaggy...”

“By hiding behind him...”

“Scooby never did that and besides he’s always looking after Scrappy...”

“Ya know, Vin, maybe letting you around Billy is not such a good idea,” he stopped as he saw a look of regret in Tanner’s eyes. “Wipe that look of your face, Vin. There’s no one else I’d rather see Billy look up to. You’re a good man, Vin Tanner, even if your tastes are a little on the strange side.”

The teasing light was back where it belonged and the sharpshooter’s blue eyes danced mischievously. “Strange side. What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Vin, you forget, I’ve seen the things you eat.”

“Oh, that,” Tanner smiled. “Well I got a strong stomach,” he said as he pushed the elevator button.

“Guess I do to or I’d get sick just watching you eat that shit you call health food,” Larabee answered.

“Don’t knock it till ya try it, Cowboy,” the tracker laughed as they entered the elevator. He was looking forward to seeing the movie with Billy Travis. Scooby Doo was an old favorite of his and he remembered watching it at his friend’s house in Vernon. The cartoon had made him laugh when things were rough for him and he smiled at the thought of seeing the movie version of the cartoon on the big screen.

Chris looked at his friend and smiled. He knew a lot about the sharpshooter’s background and understood how a much younger Vin grew to use cartoons as a way to get past some of the hardships he endured. He was glad Tanner was coming along with him, not only to the movie, but to the ghost towns as well.


He relaxed back in the co-pilot’s chair, The Book grasped tightly in his hands. It was his now as it was always meant to be. He held it close to his nose and smelled the musty odor of age. He knew what was on the inside page, he’d ran his fingers over it as a boy. The name written so many years ago was faded and barely legible, but it still carried a strength with it. A strength that would soon be his. He sighed and closed his eyes. A tiny smile flickered on his face as he thought of the life he’d snuffed out in Taos.

Taos, New Mexico, 2002

He knocked at the door and waited impatiently for it to open. To be so close to The Book sent chills of anticipation down his spine. He knew it was still there, could feel its presence in spite of the years that passed since the last time he saw it. A woman dressed in tan slacks and a white blouse answered the door and he introduced himself. He used an alias, not wanting anything to lead back to him. He knew she was alone, Mark had checked the surrounding area, making sure no one was around. He asked if he could use her phone, but she refused him entry, saying she would be glad to make the call for him. Anger and impatience shone in his eyes as he felt The Book being withheld from him. It was his and no one would keep it from him. His hand snaked out and struck her savagely. She fell back against the floor and he reached for the blade in his pocket. He saw her hazel eyes darken in fear, saw the terror on her face as again and again he slashed at her. His first strike slashed through her throat so she couldn’t scream. He knew it was a killing blow, but the blood lust was in him now and he struck again and again. He lost track of how many times he stabbed her, but he gained strength from each thrust of the blade into the yielding body. He sucked in a deep breath as his eyes fell on the spot he knew The Book would be. He crawled towards it, oblivious of the blood he left in his wake, blood belonging to the dead woman. He knew only that he needed to get The Book. He reached for the floorboard and took a deep breath as it came loose. It was there, just as he knew it would be. With trembling hands he lifted the treasure from its resting place. ‘Finally, great, great Grandfather, I can finish what you started,’ he thought. He stood up and walked out the door. Mark Winston stood there with a change of clothes and he smiled at his employee. “Torch it!” he said as he stripped in the front yard. He changed into the fresh clothing as the other man poured gasoline all through the house, concentrating on the dead woman in the living room. He threw his soiled clothing on top of her and watched through the open door as Winston torched the house and contents. “Let’s go,” he ordered as flames quickly engulfed the contents.

He held The Book tighter, smiling at the thought of reading it. He wanted to wait until he was home in Reno, a bottle of his finest Sherry beside him, and nothing to disturb him.


The flight home from Taos had been quiet and subdued, as the passenger seemed lost in his thoughts. Mark Winston admired the man beside him, a man who wasn’t afraid to take the bull by the horns to get what he wanted. He remembered watching as his employer knocked on the door and spoke to the woman who answered it. Now that woman was dead and he’d helped destroy any evidence that could show who did it. He returned his attention to flying the plane, as the man beside him seemed to fall into a deep sleep.


Billings, Montana, 2002

“Vin seems almost as excited as Billy,” Mary observed as Chris paid for the popcorn, candy, and soda. She wasn’t sure how she felt about the man beside her, but she knew whatever happened they would remain friends. She loved how he cared for Billy and wanted her son to look up to Chris Larabee.

“Yeah, I think Vin is still a kid at heart. Between him and JD cartoons will never go out of style. We’d better get this stuff in there before those two get rowdy.”

“I think you’re right,” Mary agreed. She picked up the tray of drinks while Chris tucked the candy in his pockets.

Larabee shook his head at the two Scooby Doo buckets filled with heavily buttered popcorn. He could still hear Vin and Billy yelling that they wanted extra butter and lots of popcorn. He lifted the two buckets and reached for the plain popcorn he would share with Mary Travis. The couple walked towards the theatre and waited for their eyes to adjust to the lighting. Vin and Billy were chasing each other around in front of the screen and Chris couldn’t help smiling at how relaxed Vin was around children. A fleeting image of Vin as a father nearly floored him. He knew Tanner would make an excellent father, and that he wouldn’t let his own painful childhood make him into his old man. Vin Tanner had risen above the cruelty he suffered and was a man Chris was proud to call friend and brother.

“Chris!” The sharpshooter frowned as the other man seemed lost in another world. “Hey, Chris, ya gonna eat my popcorn?”

“Huh,” Larabee shook himself and smiled as he descended the ramp.

“Are ya planning on eatin’ all that popcorn or are ya gonna share?”

“Yeah, Chris, I want some popcorn and soda too.”

“Let’s not forget the candy. Ya did get us some of those black licorice whips didn’t ya Chris?” Tanner’s mouth watered in anticipation. “Scooby Doo, popcorn, soda, and candy, what better way to spend an afternoon?" He reached out and ruffled Billy’s hair and smiled. “Right, kid?”

“Right, Vin,” Billy laughed as he took the popcorn from Chris. “You and Mom gonna sit in the back, Chris? Vin says that’s where the old folks sit.” the boy asked innocently.

“Oh, he does, does he,” Mary Travis looked towards the sharpshooter.

“Didn’t mean you, Mary, but ya know Chris is gettin’ up there.”

“I’m not ready for the old folks home, Tanner.”

“Ya could’ve fooled me, Chris. I mean I can hear yer old bones creaking all the way over to my ranch.”

“Vin, Chris and I are the same age!” She saw the look on the tracker’s face and knew she had him.

Vin looked from Mary to Chris and then back to the boy beside him. “I think I’d better shut up before I dig myself a deeper hole than I already have.”

“I think you better, Vin,” Larabee laughed as he handed over the popcorn and candy.

“Ah shi...shoot, Mary, I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“I know you didn’t, Vin, but you do blush nicely.”

“She’s right, Tanner, you’re kind of a deep red right now.”

The sharpshooter didn’t get a chance to answer as the lights went out and the familiar Scooby Doo music came on.

“Come on, Chris, guess we old folks better get our seats. We wouldn’t want our creaking bones to interrupt the movie.”

“Ah hell, Mary...”

“I’m kidding, Vin, It’s just too easy to get a rise out of you.” She took Chris by the arm and walked to the back of the theatre. She could feel Chris laughing as they took their seats. The theatre was less than quarter full and they sat back to enjoy the movie, popcorn and company.


Reno, Nevada, 2002

Everything was prepared for him. The lamp beside his leather recliner was on and a soft white glow cast eerie shadows around the room. The heavy drapes were closed, the door locked, and his orders were that he not be disturbed. A bottle of his favorite Sherry and a crystal goblet sat beside The Book. He smiled as he walked to the chair and sank into its comfortable depths. He poured the Sherry into the glass and took a sip, sighing as the liquid soothed his nerves. He placed the glass back on the table and picked up The Book.

A shudder ran through his thick frame as he held it in his hands. “Finally!” he whispered as he opened the dog-eared cover. Once more he ran his hand over the name on the inside cover. “Robert Maguire!” he said the name aloud, knowing he bore the same name and the same destiny, except his would not end as his ancestor’s had.

Maguire opened to the first entry and read what he could decipher.

‘July 1848, my father cannot hurt me anymore. He is dead and has finally met the devil. He will burn in hell for all eternity for interfering in what is my destiny. I can still feel his green eyes on me as I slit his throat. Can feel his soul becoming mine, but it is not what I hoped for. There is something lacking and my need is nowhere near sated. I am leaving my home in search of my destiny. I know he is out there somewhere and I will find him.’

‘July 1852, this man was unworthy. Ronald Parker screamed from the beginning, his screeching voice grating on my nerves. He died slowly, but it was a coward’s death. His screams were silenced when I shoved a gun in his mouth, but I did not kill him. I will not kill a man with a gun. It cannot provide what I need. I need that scream that will signal the loss of soul and the fulfillment of my destiny. I will continue to search for him. He is out there somewhere.’

Maguire reached for the glass as he read the details of his ancestor’s quest for greatness. He was surprised to find the glass empty. He poured more of the liquid into it and took a small sip before continuing to read from The Book.

‘July 1861, it’s been a lot of years since I found someone who fits what I need. Johnny Mercer seemed perfect, blond hair, green eyes, six foot tall and very lean. The excitement ran through my body as I watched him. The nine years of nothing, of finding emptiness in my killings has finally ended. He is waking up now and he knows I will kill him tonight. His eyes have lost the will to live. The pain has been a constant for him for four days now and I will end it for him tonight. He is as unworthy as the others. He begged for his life, begged me to stop and therefore has shown how unworthy he is. The search will begin anew tomorrow. I know he is out there.’

‘July 1865, I was so sure Brian Barnes was the one, but again he has proven how unworthy he is. He actually cried when I used the whip on him. He didn’t scream, he cried. Such unworthiness distresses me. I left him to die alone in that cave. I went back to be sure and could see he’d suffered greatly, but again, he is not what I want, what I need, what I crave. He is out there somewhere, I am sure of it!’

‘July 1866, I found him so quickly. It has only been a year since my last victim. Joseph Carter will die tonight. The anniversary of my father’s death. It is fitting, but will this man be the one. Again I felt the disappointment. Carter screamed, but it wasn’t what I wanted. Will I ever find him? I am beginning to get discouraged. He is dead, but there was no feeling in it for me. He has to be out there somewhere and I need to find him before it is too late!’

Maguire read the entries, unable to tear his eyes from the words written so long ago. He knew now he was like his great, great grandfather. There was something lacking in his life and he would need to discover what or who it was. He turned the final page in The Book and downed the last of the Sherry in his glass.

‘July 1876, I found him today in a little town called Four Corners. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the one. He’s dressed completely in black, his eyes so green and deep that I felt the strength and vulnerability in them. What makes him unique is that he won’t back down. He met and held my eyes and it was finally me who dropped mine. I couldn’t hold his glare any longer and still be able to stand. There is so much to this man, I can sense it, feel it. His confidence oozes from his body as he stands up and walks into the saloon. I must find out more about him. I confronted him and his friend in the saloon. I talked to him and his friend. His friend seems cold to me, maybe he senses my plans for his friend. It doesn’t matter; I will have what I need. My body is actually tingling with anticipation. I have his name and it was worth the few coins I gave the drunk outside. Chris Larabee has to be the one. He seems so worthy and I am ready to make his soul mine. To prove that I am the only one worthy of owning him. I watched him and his friend work on his house outside of town and knew this would be the perfect place to grab and hold my destiny. To complete what I started so many years ago. To be whole once again. This is My Destiny and yours as well Chris Larabee.’

He turned the page once more and found a different hand must have wrote the next words. He picked up a small piece of a newspaper clipping, yellowed with age and blurred beyond reading except for two names. Robert Maguire and Chris Larabee jumped out at him. He placed the newspaper clipping at the beginning of the book and started reading the final entry.

‘September 1876, I’m sitting here, alone, staring at our son. Bobby will know what happened to his father. He will know and understand about his father. I am not going to shed tears for Robert Maguire. He would not appreciate my showing weakness. He is dead, of that I am sure. Dead because he dared to seek what was rightfully his. The clipping says that Chris Larabee has recovered from his ordeal. Ordeal? How can they call Robert’s destiny, Larabee’s ordeal. I know there is nothing I can do about Robert’s death, but I can see to it that his son remembers it. Bobby will know and understand that he is different from other boys. He is Robert’s son and sooner or later the destiny that is meant to be will be his. Some day Robert Maguire will find and kill Chris Larabee. This is and always will be his destiny.’

Robert Maguire closed The Book on the past, his past. He knew what he needed to do and he needed to get started. This was July and although he didn’t know the exact date when his great, great grandfather killed his father, it was coming soon. He had a lot of planning to do. He needed to find out if Chris Larabee from Four Corners had any living relatives. If he did was he the match that would allow destiny to complete itself.


Billings, Montana, 2002

The movie ended and Chris and Mary waited by the door for Vin and Billy to exit the theatre. Chris smiled at the blond woman, knowing she’d enjoyed the movie about as much as he did. He knew it would’ve been one he’d have brought Adam to see, but he was never a big fan of Scooby Doo. He smiled as he thought of Huckleberry Hound; the blue dog had always been a favorite of his.

“Chris, what are you thinking about?”

“I was just thinking how much cartoons have changed over the years. I mean for me it was Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear...”

“Oh, Chris, I remember watching those. My favorite was Quick Draw McGraw and his sidekick...”

“Baba Looie?”

“That’s him! I used to laugh so hard when Quick Draw would tell Baba Looie, ‘I do the thinnin’ ‘round ‘ere and don’t you fergit it!”

Larabee couldn’t stop the laughter from bubbling out as Mary did a near perfect imitation of Quick Draw McGraw. “Mary, you have to do that for Buck when he gets back. Buck thinks he’s the best McGraw imitator there is, but he’s got nothing on you. That was great!”

“What was great?” Vin asked as he and Billy joined them.

“Oh, just talking about something before your time, Vin. I mean Chris and I being old and creaky, well, you just wouldn’t understand.”

“Ah, he...heck, Mary, I didn’t mean nothin’ by it. Just ask Chris. He knows I’m kiddin’ around.”


“What, Chris?”

“She’s pulling your leg again.”

“What? Oh,” the blushing tracker laughed again as he watched Chris scoop Billy into his arms.

“Well, Billy, did you like the movie?”

“Oh, yeah, Chris! Pull my finger!” The boy held out his index finger as Chris and Vin erupted in laughter.

“Billy!” Mary gasped.

“Ah come on, Mom, Shaggy did it.”

“Yeah, Mary, Shaggy did it. I mean it’s a natural part of life,” Tanner teased and smiled as Mary’s face turned crimson red. “Got ya!”

“I guess we know what their favorite scene was, Mary,” Larabee said.

“Nah, Chris, I liked the hot peppers and ketchup at the end.”

“Yeah, Billy, those peppers must’ve been real hot.”

“Okay, you two,” Chris interrupted. “Where do you want to eat?"

Vin scooped Billy from the older man’s arms and smiled conspiratorially at the boy. “Hey, kid, are you in the mood for...”

“Scooby snacks,” Billy finished as Vin tickled him.

“I don’t think so, young man. There’s no way we’re eating dog biscuits for dinner.”

“What’s wrong with dog biscuits? I mean Mel Gibson ate them in Lethal Weapon,” Tanner teased again.


“Yeah, Cowboy?”

“We will not eat dog food or anything remotely resembling it. Understood?”

“Looks like we’re dining with two old fogies, Billy.”

“That’s okay. Maybe we can get them to take us to Micky D’s”


“I think McDonalds is a great idea,” Larabee agreed and smiled as the young boy’s eyes lit up.

Vin placed Billy on the floor and watched as the boy reached out and took Larabee’s hand. The blond’s face lit up as he looked down at Billy Travis and Vin was once again reminded of just how good a father Chris Larabee had been. He knew no one would ever take Adam Larabee’s place in his father’s heart, but this boy was making a lasting impression on the blond. He walked beside Mary as Chris and Billy hurried ahead of them.


Reno, Nevada, 2002

Maguire sat at the computer as he’d done for the last four hours. He was well versed in computer technology; something he knew would be a plus in his business. He had file after file on people in high positions in government and business industries. People he’d blackmailed into helping him. Usually he perused these files on a daily basis, in search of someone he could inflict fear and terror on, but today that was not the case. Today he searched through genealogical reports, hoping to find what he needed. So far he’d found four answers to his search for Chris Larabee. The first three proved to be dead ends. Two were deceased and the third was only four years old. It wouldn’t bother him to kill a child, but this was not what he was looking for. He typed in the final name, Christopher Adam Larabee and gasped as a picture appeared on the screen.

He studied the picture, taking note of the blond hair, the lean body, the dark clothing that clung tightly to the taut frame. His gaze was caught and held by the dancing green eyes, so filled with joy as he held an attractive woman on one arm and a small boy in the other. He touched the page down button and read the article that accompanied the next photo.

Tragedy struck today as Sarah and Adam Larabee, wife and son to Chris Larabee died in a fire at their home. It is unknown at the moment whether the fire was intentionally set or the result of faulty wiring.

He stopped reading as a smile formed no his face. ‘Fire, such a fitting way to die. Are you the one?’ he asked as he scrolled down the page once more. There were photos of Larabee with six other men as they accepted an award from the city’s Mayor. Another showed Larabee shaking hands with the president. Photo after photo showed how much the man fought for justice. ‘You have to be the one,’ he thought as he went back to the genealogical page.

He typed in Christopher Adam Larabee and waited for the computer to compile the necessary information. He knew the four names he’d entered were unrelated and that each one had been researched at some time in the past. The information was now deep in the files of the genealogical society, but he knew how to seek it out. Now he just had to wait. He walked back to the table and picked up the bottle of Sherry. He refilled his glass and walked back to the computer table. Names, dates and places flashed by as the computer accessed the information and displayed it on the screen.

He sipped at the Sherry and sat forward as the screen stopped and the history of his destiny was revealed. He smiled as he pressed the button that would print out the facts he needed. The Chris Larabee living in Billings, Montana was a direct descendant of Christopher Larabee; well known peacekeeper form Four Corners. He picked up the first paper, a picture of the man who would help him succeed where his great, great grandfather failed.

He held the picture in front of him and reached for the gold cigarette lighter on the table beside him. “Feel the fire, Chris Larabee, for we will soon burn together,” he said as he set fire to the corner of the page. He watched as the flames slowly enveloped the face of his newly discovered victim and he smiled contentedly.