A Different Blue
Author:Harmon, Amy



“All right. Listen up.” Detective Martinez lifted his hands and waved everyone quiet for morning briefing. “We just got word from the authorities in Southern Utah that the woman found dead at the Stowaway last Friday, August 5 is reported to have a two-year-old child. You have a description and a picture of the woman on the flyer in front of you. At this point, we have had no indication that a child was with her in the hours leading up to her death. There was no sign of a child in the surveillance video nor any sign that a child had ever been in the motel room. The family of the deceased had not seen the woman or child in over a year, so we have no way of knowing at what point the woman and her child parted company.”

“Media has been contacted. We have also notified the appropriate agencies as well as inputing this information in NCIS. We need to start canvasing the area again with the flyer. Let's get this woman's picture out as fast as we can. See if anyone remembers seeing this woman and whether or not she had a child with her. We have no current pictures of the toddler, but the grandmother gave us a basic description. Child is believed to have dark hair and blue eyes. Ethnicity: Native American, although the father of the child is believed to be white, which may account for the blue eyes. The mother has been dead now for five days, and we all know how transient the clientele at the Stowaway is. We've lost some precious time and need to work fast. Let's get on it, people.”





Chapter One





SEPTEMBER 2010



The bell had rung ten minutes ago, but I wasn't too worried. Actually, the truth was I didn't care, so why would I worry? The first day of school was useless anyway. Most of the teachers didn't mark tardies on the first day or yell at you in front of the class. It was the last period of the day, and my mind had already left the building and fled out over the desert and into the hills in search of shapes and silhouettes. Already, I could feel the wood beneath my hands. Reluctantly, I forced my mind back to my body and straightened my shoulders so I could make an impression as I walked into class, which was usually my goal. Partly because I enjoyed the attention but mostly because I knew if people were intimidated by me they would leave me alone. Teachers left me alone, overly friendly girls who wanted to be BFF's left me alone, but the guys were usually at my beck and call if and when I wanted one of them.

I whipped back my long black hair as I entered the room. My eyes were heavily made up, and my jeans were so tight that sitting down was highly uncomfortable, although I'd perfected the art of slouching so they didn't pinch . . . too much. I cracked my gum and slid one eyebrow up disdainfully as I looked for an empty seat. All eyes swiveled toward me as I sauntered up the center aisle and slid into the seat right in front, dead center. Damn. Being late had its downside. I took my time taking off my jacket and dropping my purse to the floor. I hadn't even deigned to look in the direction of the new teacher whose voice had faded to silence at my arrival. A few people snickered at my nonchalant display, and I shot a venomous sneer in the general direction of the laughter. It stopped. Finally, I slid into my seat and raised my eyes to the front of the classroom, sighing deeply and loudly.

"Carry on," I droned, with another toss of my hair.

"Mr. Wilson" was written across the whiteboard in capital letters. My eyes locked on him. He was staring at me with a furrowed brow and a slight smile. Dark hair in need of a haircut curled above his ears and fell onto his forehead. It looked as if he had tried to tame it into respectability, but his mop had obviously rebelled at some point during his first day at Boulder High School. I raised my eyebrows in amazement and tried hard not to snort out loud. He looked like a student. In fact, if he hadn't had on a tie, knotted hastily over a blue button-up dress shirt with a pair of khakis, I would have thought he was some kind of teacher's aid.

"Hello," he said politely. He had a British accent. What was a guy with a British accent doing in Boulder City, Nevada? His tone was warm and friendly, and he seemed unbothered by my purposeful disrespect. He looked down at the roll that was sitting on a music stand to his right.

"You must be Blue Echohawk . . ." His voice trailed off a little and his expression was one of muted surprise. The name tends to throw people. I have dark hair, but my eyes are very blue. I don't really look like an Indian.

"And you must be Mr. Wilson," I retorted.

Laughter rang out. Mr. Wilson smiled. “I am. As I was telling your classmates, you may call me Wilson. Except when you are late or disrespectful, in which case I would appreciate the Mr," he finished mildly.