The Mysterious Rancher: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff

He’s a rancher, new in town, and he’s built an eight-foot fence around his property. Does he have a secret or does he just like his privacy?

Mateo Hernandez is an enigma.

He’s suave.

He’s good looking.

He says he’s a rancher.

He’s new in Magnolia Bluff.

What is he doing in town?

What is he hiding.

He’s built an eight-foot fence around his property.

He’s friendly.

He seems polite.

But what does he want to keep a secret.

In The Flower Enigma, Book five of the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, no one can quite figure him out.

But everyone is trying.

Can anyone trust him?

Or does he just like his privacy?

Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey, authors of The Flower Enigma

A well-dressed cowboy medium build, dark complexion with jet-black hair, answered the door. He stepped outside, closing off the view to inside. In a gruff, thickly accented deep voice, the man greeted, “Ah, Game Warden Jackson, an unexpected pleasure. Who are your friends? What can I do for you?”

Madison stood almost at attention. He was polite, but she knew better than to trust a viper. “Mr. Hernandez, I recall we met in town a couple of months ago. I’m sorry to pull you away from your guests, but I’ve received complaints about gunfire from your property for the last few days around sundown. It’s my job to investigate, as it sounds like off-season hunting. I need to ask what you or your hands are shooting.”

Chuckling slightly, Mateo admitted, “I’ve an unanticipated problem. When I started this project, we installed eight-foot walls to keep the deer in so during the fall we could sell hunting leases to harvest the herd based on Texas’s hunting laws. We’ve tried to keep them fed with corn, but the feral pigs on the property beat the deer to the corn. At two hundred-plus pounds, these beasts are formidable creatures. Trying to intercept the pigs poaching, one of my men was gored. He shot the animal. We determined the pig herd was extensive, and you know, Warden Jackson, they eat anything. I brought in hunters and offered a bounty for each varmint downed and removed. Since I don’t believe there is a pig season, I didn’t think anyone would complain, especially since the harvested hogs are donated to the county’s hungry.”

JJ stood quietly next to Madison who grinned in agreement. “I don’t think we need bother you any further, sir. Feral pigs are a large nuisance here in central Texas. I hadn’t heard of your donation, but it’s appreciated. I trust you’ll be serving some of the pork to your guests for dinner.”

Mateo shrugged and cast his eyes down. “No. Since most of my attendees are Islamic, beef is the only grilled meat tonight.”

“Attendees?” JJ commented. “Apologies if we interrupted a religious gathering. We assumed you were having a cookout for your friends. My name is JJ, Mr. Hernandez. This is Jo my co-reporter.”

Mateo momentarily focused on Jo, took her hand, and brushed it with a kiss. “Charming, and so pretty.”

Madison prayed that Jo would remain still and composed, even if she couldn’t stop staring at the man.

Mateo said dismissively with a matching rise of his shoulders. “Sadly, I only cooked enough food for the committed guests. I’m unable to offer you to join. I hope you understand.”

“Yes, of course,” replied Madison. “I’ve kept you long enough. Return to your guests and enjoy your evening.”

“Mr. Hernandez,” JJ asked, “is this a religious event or for guests from your far-flung import/export business, like for employee team building?”

Mateo’s eyes darted up and down JJ in assessment. “You could put it that way. Our properties in town are a bit too confining and there is a lack of parking spaces. Good day, all. Warden Jackson, please close the gate on your way out, if you don’t mind.”

Please click HERE to find The Flower Enigma on Amazon.

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