Meet Dylan!

Meet the Hero: Dylan O'Donnell

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Private Investigator Dylan O'Donnell used to be a police detective. That was until his partner nearly let their CI get killed in his obsession to see not just a thief, but the CI herself, in prison. 

Dylan resigned from the police force, deciding that he wanted to help people before crimes were committed, not spend his life cleaning up after them. Most of his time is spent searching for lost teens. When the beautiful woman at the food bank seeks his services, his first thought is to send her elsewhere. But she has bruises and cuts--not to mention the walking cast on her foot. Something happened to this woman, and when she asks for his help, he can't turn her down. 

I loved digging into this character. In Legacy Restored, Dylan was only known as Detective O'Donnell--and sometimes, "Opie," thanks to his dark red hair. But I knew there was more to his story. I enjoyed discovering what lay beneath his overprotective nature. I know you'll like him, too. 

Scroll down to read the first chapter, and then preorder Legacy Reclaimed.

You're going to love it!


Legacy Reclaimed: Chapter 1

She’d climbed this path a thousand times, but never like this. 

Chelsea Hamilton pushed aside underbrush and ducked beneath a branch. It had been too long since she’d been home. If her mother had let her stay in New Hampshire instead of sending her away years before, the hidden path between her house and the state park would still be well-worn. But Mum had sent Chelsea away, and now Mum was gone.

Chelsea ignored her tears and continued the hike she’d walked nearly every day as a child. The cool pre-dawn air was heavy with humidity. Birds trilled and squirrels rustled branches overhead. Though the trees were taller, the bushes fuller than they’d been, the mountain was familiar. At least the mountain wouldn’t leave her. Though she’d been gone for years, the trees stood sentry, as they always had, protecting her. The rocky ground felt more solid than the asphalt roads of Paris and London. Here on the mountain, she felt safe.

And she wouldn’t think about how the mountain had taken her mother. Her mother’s car accident hadn’t been the mountain’s fault. 

Chelsea paused, huffing, and looked toward her goal, the cleared trail of Mt. Coventry State Park. She had another twenty-five yards before she’d reach it. Her legs burned, but she pressed on. She could do this. In a month, if she did this every day, she’d have her climbing legs back. Maybe by then she’d feel normal again. 

Normal. She hadn’t felt normal since she was twelve. 

Yesterday, when the crowd gathered at her house after Mum’s funeral, all Chelsea had wanted was for everyone to leave, to let her grieve in peace. 

And then they had.

And she’d been totally alone.

She’d thought the house had seemed empty after her father’s murder. Dad had always been the life of their family, the energy. He’d radiated joy and peace and acceptance. He’d lived large and loved passionately. 

Just like that, he’d been gone. Chelsea had been twelve years old.

With only Mum and her, the house had seemed cavernous. Maybe that was why Mum had sent her away. Maybe she’d hoped to shield Chelsea from the emptiness. Maybe she’d done it for Chelsea’s good, not just because she didn’t want to deal with a grieving child. 

Chelsea wished she’d asked. If only she’d confronted her mother with the questions when she’d had the chance. She’d thought there was time. 

She’d been wrong about many things. Loneliness, for instance. Her loneliness had been terrible at school in England, wishing for her mother’s arms around her, the gentle way she used to stroke Chelsea’s cheeks. 

But this was a new level of loneliness. Father murdered. Mother killed in a car accident. Chelsea left with the task of running her parents’ company, their legacy, without their guidance. 

Father, what am I to do now? 

Finally, she reached the trail that wound from a small parking area and led hikers all over the mountain. Trees towered all around her. The trail was rocky and narrow. It was deserted this early in the morning. Rare were the people who went for a hike at dawn, especially on a weekday. Summertime tourists staying on Lake Ayasha would arrive later, but Chelsea would be long gone by then, to the office, then to the reading of Mum’s will. She wasn’t ready to face that yet. 

Brightness beckoned her forward. 

Ayasha View Point. Her favorite place in the whole world. 

She climbed a short rise, careful not to slip on the damp bracken, and emerged from the forest. She crossed the flat boulder that ended at a cliff that fell a couple of hundred feet to jagged rocks below. 

The sun was just emerging over the peaks at the far side of the valley, and Lake Ayasha shimmered in the reflection. Boats bobbed near docks and in the marina at the country club. A few motored across the smooth surface, the fishermen barely discernible. Pines, oaks, maples, and birches ringed the water. 

Below rested the town of Coventry, New Hampshire. Little houses, bigger houses, a few hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. Restaurants, shops, tourist traps. She stepped closer to the drop-off and peered over the edge. Yes, there was her house, grand and gleaming against the backdrop of the dark forest, the grounds looking perfect. A half mile down the road sat her uncle’s house, smaller than her own but no less charming. 

On the far side of the lake was the business her parents had built from nothing, the business that employed the majority of the people who lived in Coventry and surrounding communities. Before Daddy and Mum had started the company, the town had been dying. They’d saved it one job at a time. 

Today, the Hamilton label was known worldwide. Chelsea’s dream had always been to settle in Coventry and work as a designer for the clothier, learning the business through the years so she could eventually run it. She’d studied both fashion design and marketing at university in England. She’d have come home to work for her mother a year before if she hadn’t been offered an internship with a prestigious designer in Paris. Her mother had insisted she accept the position, ensuring Chelsea that she had plenty of time to learn the workings of Hamilton. 

How wrong Mum had been. 

More tears. It was a wonder Chelsea had any left. 

As she turned from the view, her foot caught a rock and sent it skidding over the cliff. She listened, barely making out the sound of it skipping off rocks below. 

She peeked down but wasn’t willing to stand close enough to the edge to see. Her feet were too near the drop-off as it was, and her shoelace was untied. Thank heavens she’d seen it. A fall here would be deadly. As she crouched to retie it, a noise startled her. 

A man bolted from the tree line and raced toward her, a black hoodie obscuring his face. 

She tensed, her body registering the danger before her mind could catch up. A scream, a warning, caught in her throat. Surely the man didn’t see her. Did he plan to dive off the cliff? Was she in the way of a suicide attempt? 

He slowed at the last second, lunged straight at her.

One of his hands connected with her shoulder, the other, her elbow. She tumbled.

Snatching, she reached for anything to keep her from the edge, but there was nothing to save her. 

She careened over the cliff.


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Robin Patchen

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