The Amber Brooch:The Celtic Brooch Series, Book 8

By: Katherine Lowry Logan

The Celtic Brooch Series, Book 8


CAST OF CHARACTERS




Alphabetical Order

1. Adams, John: Judge in Leadville, Colorado

2. DeRemer, James Richard: Engineer for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company

3. Desmond, Pat: Deputy Sheriff of Pueblo County

4. Fraser, Elliott: Chairman of the Board of the MacKlenna Corporation, husband of Meredith Montgomery, father of James Cullen Fraser and Kevin Allen Fraser, former equine vet (appears in all Brooch books)

5. Fraser, Jenny “JL” Lynn O’Grady: former NYPD detective, VP of Development and Operations MacKlenna Corporation, wife of Kevin Allen Fraser, mother of Austin, sister of Connor, Patrick “Rick”, Shane, and Jeff O’Grady, daughter of Retired Deputy Chief Lawrence “Pops” O’Grady (appears in The Broken Brooch, The Three Brooches, The Diamond Brooch)

6. Garland, Annette: landlady in Leadville

7. Grant, Daniel: father of Noah, widower, Pinkerton agent, former union   cavalry officer, member of President Lincoln’s security detail during the Civil War

8. Grant, Noah: 10-year-old son of Daniel

9. Hall, Joshua: sheriff in Leadville, Colorado

10. Hendrix, Leonard: employee of Dr. Marsh

11. Hughes, Craig: Amber and Olivia’s seven-times great-grandfather, owner of Hughes Store in Leadville, Colorado, husband of Lindsey

12. Hughes, Lindsey: Amber and Olivia’s seven-times great-grandmother, daughter of James Thomas MacKlenna II; wife of Craig

13. Kelly, Amber: sister of Olivia, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth Kelly, mining lawyer, amateur paleontologist, gourmet cook

14. Kelly, Elizabeth: mother of Amber and Olivia, lawyer, managing partner of Hughes & Hughes Law Firm

15. Kelly, Matthew: father of Amber and Olivia, lawyer, managing partner of Hughes & Hughes Law Firm

16. Kelly, Olivia Allison: older sister of Amber, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth Kelly, Realtor, lawyer, love interest of Connor O’Grady (first mentioned in The Diamond Brooch)

17. Lakes, Arthur: geologist, paleontologist

18. Mallory, Charlotte: surgeon, wife of Braham McCabe and mother of Lincoln, Kitherina, and Amelia Rose, sister of Jack Mallory (appears in all Brooch books except The Ruby Brooch, The Last MacKlenna)

19. Mallory, Patrick: adopted son of Jack Mallory (appears in The Diamond Brooch as Patrick Wilson)

20. McBain, Alice: David’s mother (appears in The Last MacKlenna, The Emerald Brooch, The Broken Brooch, The Three Brooches, The Diamond Brooch)

21. McBain, David: veteran, author, President of MacKlenna Corporation, husband of Kenzie McBain, father of Henry, Robbie, and Laurie Wallis (appears in all Brooch books except The Ruby Brooch)

22. McBain, Kenzie: veteran, West Point graduate, MacKlenna Corporation attorney, wife of David McBain, mother of Henry, Robbie, and Laurie Wallis (appears in The Emerald Brooch, The Broken Brooch, The Three Brooches, The Diamond Brooch)

23. McBain, Laurie Wallis: daughter of Kenzie and David McBain (born during The Three Brooches)

24. McBain, Henry and Robbie: twin sons of David and Kenzie (appear in The Broken Brooch, The Three Brooches, The Diamond Brooch)

25. McCabe, Braham: former union   cavalry officer, lawyer, senator, husband of Charlotte Mallory and father of Lincoln, Kitherina, and Amelia Rose, Jack Mallory’s brother-in-law, Kit MacKlenna Montgomery’s first cousin (appears in all Brooch books except The Last MacKlenna)

26. McCabe, Lincoln: son of Braham McCabe and Charlotte Mallory (appears in all Brooch books except The Ruby Brooch and The Last MacKlenna)

27. Montgomery, Meredith: owner of Montgomery Winery, wife of Elliott Fraser and mother of James Cullen Fraser, breast cancer survivor (appears in all Brooch books except The Ruby Brooch)

28. Murphy, Mrs.: Alec Robinson’s housekeeper in Denver

29. O’Grady, Connor: former NYPD detective, Vice President of Global Security for MacKlenna Corporation, brother of JL, Shane, Rick, and Jeff O’Grady, son of Retired Deputy Chief Lawrence “Pops” O’Grady (appears in The Broken Brooch, The Three Brooches, The Diamond Brooch)

30. O’Grady, Patrick “Rick”: Marine, former NYPD detective, brother of JL, Connor, Shane, and Jeff, Director of Global Security MacKlenna Corporation, son of Retired Deputy Chief Lawrence “Pops” O’Grady (appears in The Broken Brooch)

31. Palmer, William Jackson: General, President of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad

32. Price, Henly R.: Pueblo County Sheriff

33. Robinson, Alec: Daniel’s father-in-law, Noah’s grandfather, banker

34. Tabor, Horace: owner of the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Lt. Governor of Colorado

35. Thompson, Ben: gunman, gambler

36. Vilines, Bob: campground host at Turquoise Lake near Leadville

37. Waldron, John: Pueblo County District Attorney

38. Weitbrec, R.F.: Denver & Rio Grande treasurer, onsite commander of hired army during the Royal Gorge War





1




The Present, Hughes Cabin, Colorado—Amber


Dawn didn’t break in the Rockies like it did in the East. Light just seemed to ooze from the eastern skyline until it was day. For Amber Kelly, early morning in the Colorado mountains was where she met Mother Nature face to face; where life was simpler and uncomplicated; where she fell into its rhythm as easily as riding her chestnut gelding.

She clucked to her horse. He obediently picked up the pace and cantered toward Hughes Hill, a ridge lined with fir, spruce, and yellow pine. The ridge fell several hundred feet short of the alpine timberline, the point where the elevation was too high, and usually too cold, for tree growth.

“Come on, Bud. We’re almost home.” The agile horse stretched his muscled legs and crested the hill.

Almost home…

Hughes Cabin wasn’t really her home. That was on a tree-lined street in the historic district of Denver, but the cabin was her heart’s home. The logs had been stacked and chinked in the 1870s by her seven-times great-grandparents, Craig and Lindsey Hughes, hardworking Scottish immigrants. The Hughes family left home to follow their dreams, and through their son, Adam, established a legal dynasty. In the twenty-first century, Amber was part of that dynasty.

And that was her biggest problem.

She had twenty-four hours to decide whether to leave Hughes and Hughes, her family’s Denver law firm, to pursue her own dreams. If a clear answer didn’t emerge by tomorrow, she’d flip a coin. Making decisions for clients came easily. This one, however, was the mother of all decisions and indecision was making her physically sick. If she left the firm, her departure could cause an uproar between her and the managing partners—her parents, Matthew and Elizabeth Kelly.

That was terrifying. But not being true to herself was even more so.

Besides being a lawyer, she was a gourmet cook. She had written a business plan to start an online enterprise selling freeze-dried meals using her self-directed 401(k). All she had left to do was exercise her option on the old Wells Fargo Building in Denver. It was the perfect facility, the perfect location, the perfect price. But…

Was she ready to cross the Rubicon?

She’d given up one dream already—to pursue a career in paleontology. The light on her childhood dream of finding a Stegosaurus, a dinosaur that had lived around one hundred fifty-five million years ago, had dimmed but not blown out completely. She’d never give up her partnership in the firm to hunt fossils, but could she give it up to open Amber’s Kitchen?

A new geological map had arrived the day before. After studying the map key, she’d marked two sites to search for fossils. Her goal for the weekend was to use the solitude to make a career decision and find a bone or two.

The road narrowed as she crested the hill, and the air cooled. Bud trotted across the clearing where the log cabin sat nestled among the aspens. After tending to her horse, she gathered her gear and headed over to the cabin to settle in and eat an early lunch.

The twenty yards or so to the front door was a walk down memory lane. In her mind, the property was full of little yellow markers used at crime scenes, each marking a place she had dug as a kid. She’d never found a fossil there, but she had found an 1877 Proof Liberty Head Double Eagle. The coin was worth over two hundred thousand dollars.

When she reached the wraparound front porch, she scraped her boots on the saw blade sunken in the dirt. The ground around the blade was packed from long use and mixed with mud and muck. As far as she knew, in her thirty-two years, it had never been replaced.

After a quick stomp up the plank steps to shake off any remaining mud, she did what she always did—stopped to take in the view. The mountains were ever changing and the world around them changed too, day by day, sometimes hour by hour. Today, the blue of the sky was graying rapidly as a thunderstorm rolled in. If she was going to do any fossil hunting, she’d better hurry before it was too wet to work outside.

The door to the two-bedroom cabin wasn’t locked. A locked door was an invitation to bust it down or break a window. Instead of trying to secure the cabin, the family left notes asking uninvited guests to treat the property kindly and clean up after themselves. In her lifetime, nothing had ever been broken.

Each time she opened the door, she held her breath, afraid of what she might find, knowing an emptied cabin was a possibility. She stepped in through the yawning doorway, unable to take a full breath until she satisfied herself all was well. The furniture stood upright. There was no odor of decaying animals. The lanterns were lined up side by side on the mantel where she’d left them. The huge two-hundred-year-old loom was…