A Merciful Death

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A Merciful Death (Mercy Kilpatrick Book 1)


FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.

Sent by the FBI to assist local law enforcement, Mercy returns to Eagle’s Nest to face the family who shunned her while maintaining the facade of a law-abiding citizen. There, she meets police chief Truman Daly, whose uncle was the cave man’s latest victim. He sees the survivalist side of her that she desperately tries to hide, but if she lets him get close enough to learn her secret, she might not survive the fallout…

CHAPTER ONE

Mercy Kilpatrick wondered whom she’d ticked off at the
Portland FBI office. She stepped out of the car and walked past the two
Deschutes County Sheriff SUVs to study the property around the lonely home in
the wooded east-side foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Rain plunked on
Mercy’s hood, and her breath hung in the air. She tucked the ends of her long,
dark curls inside her coat, noting the large amount of debris in the home’s
yard. What would appear to be a series of overgrown hedges and casual piles of
junk to anyone else, she immediately identified as a carefully planned
funneling system.

 

“What a mess,” said Special Agent Eddie Peterson, who’d been
temporarily assigned with her. “Looks like a hoarder lives here.” “Not a mess.”
She gestured at the thorny hedge and a huge rusted pile of scrap metal. “What
direction do those items make you want to go?” “Not that way,” stated Eddie.
“Exactly. The owner deliberately piled all his crap to guide visitors to that
open area in front of the house, stopping them from wandering around to the
sides and back. Now look up.” She pointed at a boarded-up window on the second
story with a narrow opening cut into its center. “His junk positions strangers
right where he can see them.” Eddie nodded, surprise crossing his face.

 

Ned Fahey’s home had been hard to find. The dirt-and-gravel
roads weren’t labeled, and they’d had to follow precise, mileage-based
directions given to them by the county sheriff to find the house hidden deep in
the forest. Mercy noted the fireproof metal roof and the sandbags stacked six
feet high against the front of the house. The tired-looking cabin was far from
any neighbors but close to a natural spring. Mercy approved. “What’s with the
sandbags?” Eddie muttered. “We’re at an elevation of four thousand feet.”
“Mass. Mass stops bullets and slows the bad guys. And sandbags are cheap.” “So
he was nuts.” “He was prepared.”

 

She’d smelled a light odor of decay in the yard, and as she
climbed the porch steps to the house, it slapped her full in the face. He’s
been dead several days. A stone-faced Deschutes County deputy held out a log
for her and Eddie to sign. Mercy eyed the deputy’s simple wedding ring. His
spouse would not be happy when he arrived home with corpse scent clinging to
his clothes.

 

Next to her, Eddie breathed heavily through his mouth.
“Don’t puke,” she ordered under her breath as she slipped disposable booties
over her rubber rain boots. He shook his head, but his expression was doubtful.
She liked Eddie. He was a sharp agent with a positive attitude, but he was a
young city boy and stood out here in the boonies with his hipster haircut and
nerdy glasses. His expensive leather shoes with the heavy treads would never be
the same after the mud in Ned Fahey’s yard. But they looked good. Used to look
good. Inside the house, she stopped to examine the front door. It was steel.
The door had four hinges and three dead bolts; the additional bolts were
positioned near the top and bottom of the door.

 

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Author

Kendra Elliot