Prologue to Hitched and Tied: The Morelville Mysteries – Book 4

Love Knot Lead Rope


Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Family Fun Day – Crane Family Farm

 “Cole, Grandpa said you need to get that calf in the head chute now! We’re wasting daylight!”

The 15 year old sneered at his younger sister but he hustled to the fence line to get his show calf. He untied the skittish animal and started to walk him toward the chute where his grandfather was waiting, electric trimmer in hand.

“What are they going to do?” Dana looked at me with curiosity.

“They’re just going to buzz off some ear hair and tufts on top of his head and the ridge of his back…make him look handsome for the judges.”

Dana shrugged and started to ask another question but her attention was diverted away when a black Cadillac Escalade skidded to a near stop at the end of the dirt driveway and then turned and started up it. A cloud of dust rose behind the fast moving SUV as it plowed toward the farm house at the top of the drive.

The calf, scared, started to buck and kick. It was all Cole could do to hang on to the lead rope. He yelped in pain as the tightly woven braid of it tore at his hands. I rushed over and took the rope from him and then pulled the calf in close to try and calm it. Beth’s calf, which was tied to the fence rail waiting for its own turn with the shears, strained and pulled at its rope.

“Kris, get over there and try to settle that calf!” I yelled. She started toward it as the Escalade rolled to a stop inches from moms hillside rock garden at the end of the driveway. I didn’t know who the driver was. All I could see from my vantage point out in the pasture was an out of state license plate that appeared to be from Florida. I didn’t know anyone who drove a Cadillac Escalade with Florida plates.

“The calf is fine,” my father yelled. He waved his hand toward the offending SUV, “Find out who the hell that is!”

Kris turned instead toward the gate in the fence and started to walk to it. The driver’s side door to the Escalade opened away from us and, before Kris could even mount the gate to climb over it, Jeremey David Roberts stepped around to the end of the vehicle.

“Dad! It’s dad!” Cole yelled. He forgot all about his calf and the task at hand and, instead, turned to run to the fence.

“Cole!” I called to him as loudly as I dared while hanging onto his still trembling calf, “Get back here!”

He turned to me, “But I want to see my dad.”

“That can wait boy,” his grandfather told him. “You need to take care of your animal first.”


“JD, you know I have a restraining order against you. You can’t be within 500 feet of me.”

“I ain’t here to see you anyway. I heard in town that my kids were out here getting their animals ready for fair. I’m here to see them.”

“Like hell you are,” Kris growled back at him. “Since when have you ever given a damn about those kids?” She pointed back toward Beth and Cole still standing out in the pasture.

“Kinda’ hard to show I care, ain’t it when I don’t never get to see them, isn’t it?”

“That was your choice JD. If you made a support payment once in a while, maybe the judge would be a little bit more lenient to you.”

Faye Crane came out of the farmhouse, “JD Roberts you get on out of here right now! You can’t be coming around here!”

He looked up the hill at her, “What are you going to do to me you old bat? Are you gonna call the Sheriff on me? Oh wait, she’s standin’ right out there in your damn field with her finger up her ass!”

Kris got in his face, “Don’t you talk to my mother that way JD! You have no right to be here and you’re breaking the law. Not only that, but you’ll get Cole’s hopes up sky high again and then leave him hanging like you always do. Just leave now before you do too much damage!”

“I ain’t going nowhere until I get a look at this guy who thinks he’s going to take my place with my kids and play daddy to them. Now, where is he?”

“So you really aren’t here about your kids after all are you? You’re just being nosy!” Kris was indignant.

“A man has a right to know who’s spending time with his children!”

Mom jumped back in, “You don’t have any rights at all JD; besides, the man Kris is dating isn’t even here, as you can plainly see, so you’re wasting everyone’s time. Now get movin’ and get on out of here.”

“I hear it’s way more than dating!”

“That’s my business JD, not yours! Now beat it.”

About Anne Hagan

I'm an East Central Ohio based government employee by day and a fiction author by night. I specialize in mystery fiction featuring lesbian sleuths and cozy fiction featuring women sleuths. I also dabble in romance especially romantic lesfic. I live with my wife and our dogs in a tiny town that’s even smaller than the Morelville of my first fiction series and we wouldn't have it any other way. My wife grew up here and she has always called this little village home. Though it’s an ultra-conservative rural community, we're surrounded here by family, longtime friends and many other wonderful people with open hearts and minds. My wife and I are the co-owners of a commercial haunted house: Hagan's House of Horrors. Much as my dream has always been to write fiction, hers has been to create it through the medium of horror. We went full commercial in 2015. Watch us as we grow!
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