June’s fidelity and allegiance to her family was admirable. He knew about fidelity. He’d lived it both on and off the force and it was a commendable quality in his books.

“Two idea came to mind early on.  Either Jackson was playing a prank that got out of hand, or someone has enemies.  Since he comes from money, it stands to reason, they’d be his.”

“You believe this is more than just a hiking mishap.”  Her eyes glowed with interest and acknowledgement.

“I’m afraid I do.  The advent of finding that notebook with someone else’s additions solidifies the likelihood.”

“Does your brother know how to handle a gun?”

“He’s gone skeet shooting with Jackson, so I know he can use one.”

“My men are well trained, and they’ll follow any and all leads.  I’ve contacted and updated them with our findings.  I’ve also split the team in half with five men remaining on their current course with the others reassigned to this area, several miles ahead and adjacent to our path.” He pulled a map out of his inside vest pocket and pointed to both locations. “Since the notebook was found here, it stands to reason, this is the path they took and the likelihood of finding other clues or both men in this area remains higher.”

June dropped her head for a moment then said, “Thank you.”  She paused lifted her head and looked him dead in the eye adding, “I wasn’t sure if we were on the same page and I was determined to ….”

“I get that.  I also think your putting yourself in needless danger.  My men and I are very capable, June, this is what we do.  We’re prepared for what may come.  I’d much rather you returned home and waited the results.  I promise I’ll update you every step of the way.”

“I can’t do that, Nigel.  Sitting around waiting for word would drive me crazy.  I’m an asset, Nigel, I know Roland and Jackson and their habits.  Besides, if there’s any danger, I’m sure you’re quite capable of taking care of the situation.”

Nigel sighed.  He’d known even before uttering the suggestion what her response would be; it was now his goal to keep her safe and find the missing men.  Handing her a snack bar he added, “Ok. Then, we continue, but with one proviso.”

Warily lifting her chin in challenge before asking, “What?”

“You listen and obey every command I give, instantly and without question no matter what the situation.  I can’t protect you if you don’t.  I’ll have no recourse but to assign men to escort you out.  Clear?”

“I can live with that.”

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