A Deeper Fear (Lucy Kincaid #17.5) - Allison Brennan

Chapter One

Jack Kincaid offered his brother-in-law Sean Rogan a beer. Sean accepted, twisted off the cap, and sipped.

“Like the new place.” Sean stared out the picture window. “Great view.”

Jack opened his own beer and motioned for Sean to follow him out to the back porch. They sat on chairs that boasted the best view of the property. Late May, warm but not too hot. They could see the rolling hills to the north and the sunset to the west. He liked this place more than any other he’d lived in. Probably because he shared it with the woman he loved.

Jack and Megan had moved into the house after the first of the year, but the beginning of the year had been hectic for everyone and this was the first time Sean and Lucy had been out to visit.

For years Jack had lived with Megan in the condo she’d owned before they were married, in downtown Sacramento. Jack hated it. Not the condo, which was surprisingly spacious, but being in the middle of the city. When the FBI moved their headquarters from Sacramento to Roseville and Megan had a forty-five-minute commute on good days, they’d started looking for a place. It took time—because of their schedules—but finally they found this five-acre spread in the small rural community of Newcastle and Megan’s commute was cut to less than fifteen minutes.

Sean looked out at the yard. “That your barn down there?”

“Yep, it’s falling apart. That’s low on my list of things to do.”


“I don’t think I slept a full night in eight years living downtown. Since we moved here, I sleep like a baby.” Still woke up at five thirty every morning without an alarm, but that probably would never change.

Sean nodded, but Jack realized he was only half listening.

“I have a lot of work to do on the place before we get to the barn, but we got a great deal. The owners retired to Arizona, a cop and teacher. The house came with a gun safe—I thought that was a plus.”


“We talked about moving to Texas.”


“What’s going on, Sean?”


“You’re not listening. I just said we almost moved to Texas.”

“Oh? But you just bought this place.”

Jack cleared his throat.

“What?” Sean said.

“Your mind is a million miles away. You okay?”


“Don’t lie to me, kid.”

Sean shrugged, sipped his beer, then said, “It’s been a tough month.”

He clearly didn’t want to talk about it.

Jack wasn’t a shrink. That was the world of his twin brother. But Sean hadn’t talked to Dillon when he and Lucy were in DC two weeks ago. Normally, Jack didn’t interfere in the personal lives of his family members, but this was one time when Dillon had asked him to find a way to get through to Sean.

“Lucy and Sean will be in Sacramento for a crime conference,” Dillon had said. “You need to get him to talk.”

“That’s your expertise.”

“This time it’s yours. I tried to discuss this with Kane, but he’s as communicative as a rock.”

“You think I’m better?”

“With Sean, yes. He respects you, Jack. What happened with Paxton has him twisted up inside. I don’t think he’s shared everything, even with Lucy.”

“He’ll talk to her before me.”

“Not this time.”

Jack wasn’t a shrink, he didn’t want to be a shrink, but he understood PTSD. He’d been a soldier for fifteen years. He had friends who had blown their brains out or drugged their brains out—same difference in his book, one fast, one slow—because they carried baggage that would make Goliath stumble and wouldn’t, or couldn’t, share the load with anyone.

Jack didn’t know how to approach this. He didn’t play games, so he just spoke the truth. “Dillon’s worried about you.”

Sean shook his head. “I told him to leave it alone. I don’t want to talk about it. Some things are better left in the past.”

“I don’t disagree,” Jack said. “Just make sure that this is one of those things.”

“I am.”

Maybe he was right. Jack didn’t know. He watched Sean as he stared at the land. Yes, he was quieter than usual. He’d lost weight. The outward injuries had healed, but Jack knew better than most that the most painful scars were those that couldn’t be seen.

Time to change the subject, though Jack would keep a close eye on Sean while they were here. “What’s Jesse doing this week? He couldn’t come with you?”

“He has two more weeks of school, which he can’t miss because of finals and a bunch of activities, then eighth-grade graduation the Friday before his birthday. I finally