Home > Twilight at Wild Springs

Twilight at Wild Springs
Author: Delores Fossen


   LILY PARKMAN HIT the brakes when she turned into her driveway and spotted Sherlock Holmes and the Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen in her front yard. Well, they were people dressed like those characters, anyway.

   And Sherlock and Katniss weren’t alone.

   There were at least two dozen other people milling around the yard as if such milling around in that particular area was perfectly normal. It wasn’t.

   “What the heck?” Lily muttered, automatically going with the milder profanity that she’d trained herself to use because her fourteen-year-old daughter, Hayden, was seated right next to her in the truck. But there were some much harsher curse words going through Lily’s head.

   Some mountain-sized questions, too.

   Despite the clothes and getups, Lily recognized every single one of the folks doing the milling around. Not hard to do since she’d lived her entire life in Last Ride, Texas, and knew all the residents. However, to the best of her knowledge, many of these folks had never paid a visit to her Wild Springs Ranch.

   “What’s going on?” Hayden asked.

   Lily thumbed back through her memory to recall if today was her birthday and if this was some sort of surprise party. An unwanted one. But her birthday was months off. Ditto for Hayden’s. And months off, too, for her ranch foreman, Jonas Buchanan, and his stepson, Eli, who lived on the ranch grounds just a quarter of a mile from her own house.

   Nope. No birthdays. No anniversaries. So, either she’d won the lottery, unknowingly become a celebrity or... Lily stopped and mentally thumbed back through another date.

   Since it was the first of August and just past 7:00 p.m., this crowd could have something to do with the Last Ride Society—aka a group of her Parkman kin who had way too much time on their hands, more time than she did, anyway. But many of her kin would say the Last Ride Society was the ultimate tribute to their ancestor and town founder, Hezzie Parkman.

   Lily knew the spiel as well as the faces of those in her yard and on her porch. Hezzie had formed the Last Ride Society before her death in 1950 as a way for her descendants to preserve the area’s history. The woman hoped to accomplish that by having a quarterly drawing so that a Parkman would then in turn draw the name of a local tombstone to research. Research that required the Parkman who’d drawn the name to dig into the deceased person’s history, take a photo of the tombstone and write a report for all the town to read.

   The date fit for the Last Ride Society meeting since the quarterly drawing was done on the first of the months of February, May, August and November. The timing fit, too, since the drawing was usually done around 6:00 p.m. So, maybe her guests were all there to tell her that she was this quarter’s drawer and to give her the name of the drawee since Lily hadn’t attended the meeting.

   Her stomach tightened.

   Oh, heck. She hoped she hadn’t drawn Maddie Buchanan’s name. The woman had been married to Jonas and had died two years earlier from cancer. He was still grieving for her, and researching Maddie would only take jabs at that grief.

   At least the name couldn’t be one that would jab at her own grief. Griff Buchanan. He’d died years ago and had not only been Jonas’s brother, but he’d also been the love of Lily’s life.

   Well, maybe he had been.

   Since Griff had died when they were teenagers, maybe that love would have faded by now. Still, Lily wouldn’t have to take that particular trip down memory lane because her own twin sister, Nola, had drawn Griff’s name a year ago, and those jabs of grief had had some time to fade.

   Lily took her foot off the brake and inched closer to the house. The sound of her approaching truck obviously got the attention of, well, everyone since they all stopped milling around and turned in her direction. Some of them cheered, and others came rushing toward her.


   This couldn’t be good. Now that she’d gotten a better look at the expressions of her visitors, Lily could see the downright giddiness coming off them in gleeful waves. She saw something else, too. Glancing in her rearview mirror, she spotted her sisters, Nola and Lorelei, pull up in Lorelei’s car. They came to a stop behind her and proceeded to barrel out. Yes, barrel. They were obviously in a hurry.

   Alarmed they were there, Lily got out as well and turned toward them, ignoring the shouts of welcome and congrats from the others. “Is everything okay?” Lily couldn’t ask her sisters fast enough. “Are the kids all right?”

   It was a reasonable question since Nola had a three-month-old son and Lorelei had a nearly two-year-old daughter, but her sisters just seemed puzzled that she’d gone there with her response. Welcome to the club. Lily felt like a poster child for puzzlement right now.

   And she got another gut punch of concern.

   Even though Lorelei and Nola were heading toward her and the crowd of visitors were converging on her from behind, Lily glanced at her phone that she’d silenced while Hayden and she had been doing some errands and having an early dinner in nearby San Antonio. She goggled at the sheer number of texts and calls she’d missed. They probably equaled the number of visitors she had right now, but none was from her mother, Evangeline. So, all was probably well with her.

   “It’s Hezzie,” Nola said, causing Lily’s attention to snap to her twin sister.

   Before she could grasp the unlikelihood of what she was doing, Lily glanced around as if expecting to see her great-great-great grandmother’s ghost since the woman had been dead for over seventy years.

   “Hezzie,” someone in the crowd verified while others kept doling out congratulations to Lily.

   And Lily got it then.

   “I’m the drawer, and Hezzie’s the drawee,” Lily grumbled, trying to wrap her mind around that.

   Many verbally confirmed it, and some patted her on the back. Others did little bouncy dances around the grass. Katniss, aka Frankie Parkman, the owner of the town’s costume shop and tat salon, shouted, “I volunteer as tribute.”

   That got some laughs, and the president of the Last Ride Society, Alma Parkman, stepped through the crowd to reach Lily. She took hold of Lily’s hand and gave it a few enthusiastic pumps and pats.

   “Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations,” Alma gushed. The woman was in her eighties, but clearly had a lot of energy since she was bobbling around in glee as well.

   Lily couldn’t muster up the matching enthusiasm or glee, but she did have some questions. “In the past seventy-odd years of the Last Ride Society, no one has ever drawn Hezzie’s name?”

   “Nope,” Alma confirmed. “Her name was one of the first in the drawing bowl, and over the decades, hundreds of names have been added. Now you’ll get to do the highest honor a Parkman can have by researching her.”

   Others joined in on that highest honor, and one of the Sherlocks, Derwin Parkman, threaded his way to her. “Of course, the Sherlock’s Snoops will help you in any way we can.”

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Den of Vipers
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Sweet Temptation
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Wreck & Ruin
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Twisted Hate (Twisted #3)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)