The #lineWed theme for this first week of the new year is very apropos. It’s “NEW.” I’m three chapters into the beginning of the newest Red Dirt Royalty story. As a brief rundown, Cash Barron runs Barron Security Services. There’s been a series of incidents at various Barron properties, all traced back a family of con men, the Rowlands. The heroine is the youngest Rowland sibling and only girl, Roxanne. Roxie is going to lead Cash for a merry chase, even if she doesn’t appear in this snippet. But…the word “new” does appear! 😀
Cash rubbed his eyes, a dull headache throbbing at the base of his skull. He’d watched hours of security footage in this crazy scavenger hunt. Had tracked the Rowlands from one Barron property to the next, interviewing employees, tracking down their marks, reading police reports. He made copious notes about the marks they chose, the way they set up the con, and cursed that he hadn’t have audio. He considered hiring a lip reader to transcribe the video but didn’t trust anyone outside of his tightly-knit executive group.
Tucker Tate, his cousin and the Vice President of Operations for Barron Entertainment, handed him a coffee and a bottle of painkillers. He tossed back a couple of the pills and chased them with the hot, black liquid.
“When did you tumble to their presence?” Cash asked not taking his eyes from the live footage.
“Yesterday when they checked in. That new facial recognition software you had installed worked like a charm. I have the footage if you want to look at it.”
“Just give me the rundown.”
“Max arrived first. Had reservations for a mini-suite under the name Roscoe P. Coltraine.”
Cash scrubbed at his forehead with the heel of one hand. “Why does that sound familiar?”
“Spelling’s different, but the name’s taken from a TV character–a redneck sheriff.”
“Oh, yeah. I remember watching reruns of that show. What about his sons?”
“Alexander and Ajax checked in together. Another mini-suite. Hamilton and Jackson Grant.”
“Please tell me you’re joking.”
“I wish. But it gets better.” Tuck’s voice hardened.
“Great. Go on.”
“Braxton checked in about an hour later. Lincoln Washington. And then Dexter checked in four hours ago. Reservations were for Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Cleveland.”
Cash sat up straight, whipping around to stare at the other man. “Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, Lincoln, Washington, Franklin, and Cleveland. Now they’re just trying to rub our noses in it.” His cousin looked confused so he laid it out. “Those are presidential last names. All of them. Except Franklin. But ol’ Ben’s still on the hundred dollar bill.”
“Damn. They’re all on money.”
And while it isn’t “new”, it’s new words and I figured y’all would like a glimpse at Roxie, so…
Roxanne Rowland lined her lips with red pencil before adding bright red gloss. The woman in the mirror staring back at her was a stranger. Dragging fingers through her red hair, she fluffed the waves, startled anew by the bright color tipping her nails. She wasn’t used to the manicure either. Dark, smoky shadows fringed her amber eyes. She refused to wear the tinted contacts sitting in a case on the counter.
Smoothing down the black, body-hugging dress, she opened the bathroom door and collided with her older brother. His arms gripped her biceps none too gently. “Time to go, Roxie.” He studied her a moment. “You didn’t wear the contacts.”
She winced at the accusatory tone in his voice. “They hurt and make my eyes water. I had to redo my makeup three times before I gave up.”
The fingers of his right hand squeezed her arm as he shifted and walked away, pulling her along. She wobbled on the stiletto heels and teetered for a moment as she scrambled to find her balance. The high heels were as foreign to her as the rest of her get up. She wore jeans. And boots. Not haute couture. Especially not a dress that cost close to a month’s salary—a dress she’d been told to tuck the tag inside and to be sure not to get it dirty. That meant it would be returned to the store for a credit.
“What’s going on, Dex?”
“You don’t want to know, little sister.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Max is working.”
Their father—whom they never called “dad.” “That doesn’t explain why I’m here. I don’t work with him.”
“You do now.” His voice remained implacable as he ushered her out of the hotel room. “This is big, Rox, and you’ll do your duty to the family. Or else.”
What about y’all? What new words do you have to share?