You are knocking it out of the park! Two for two! And another sneak peek!

Ahead of Dean, the footsteps continued and it didn’t take long for another man to come into view. He wore clothes that looked more suited for roughing it out in the woods, and carried his own duffel bag on a shoulder. His boots and the cuffs of his own jeans were worn and spotted with mud, signs that they’d been on many hikes before.

He spotted Dean quickly, too, and there was a silent tension in the air as the newcomer sized him up. They were about the same height, though the new guy had a slightly blockier build than Dean did. He wore a gun holster at his side, though it remained ignored as the man stopped his approach warily.

“You’re no ranger,” he called out, keeping plenty of distance between them while they still figured out what was going on. “What brings you this far into the woods?”

Dean planted his boots in place, crossing his arms over his chest. His colt was tucked into his pants, hidden out of sight unlike the other man’s gun.

“Last I checked, rangers don’t come back here,” Dean said. “Private property and all that.” He shifted position, pulling an ID out of his jacket. “Name’s Dean Ford,” he said confidently, holding it out for the other man to take. “I’m here to investigate the strange rumors floating around.”

The man’s mouth twitched, almost in a smirk before he controlled his expression. “Rumors,” he echoed, taking the chance to inch forward. He squinted at the ID and found nothing out of place on it, but he was still clearly keyed up. He obviously hadn’t expected to meet Dean out there any more than Dean had expected to see him.

“Logan Guthrie,” he introduced himself, though he didn’t offer to shake Dean’s hand just yet. Instead, he shrugged. “I’m just a friend of a friend of the landowner. Did he hire you to come out here?”

Dean shook his head as he stowed his fake identification in his jacket, a smirk of his own hiding in his eyes. “Sorry, but my clients have asked to remain confidential,” he said in a business tone of voice.

With the ID card out of his hands, Dean let his shoulders slouch so it seemed like his guard was down and he offered Logan a wry smile. “Can’t say it’s my normal line of work, though. Any chance you’ve heard more about these ‘forest fairies?’ ” He screwed his face up while he talked, enunciating the words like they were the strangest he’d ever said.

Logan’s eyes narrowed and he tilted his head pensively. He appraised Dean once more and mulled over his own information. It was too late to say he was just out there for a walk. They both had gone past the fence.

“A bit,” he hedged. Logan hadn’t found the article until recently, but once he dug up more information on the place, he’d had to come out. He knew what kinds of danger could lurk behind the simple, innocuous concept. ‘Forest fairies’ indeed. It made them sound so innocent. “Enough to have heard what they call themselves, if they’re really out here.”

“Then maybe you can help me out,” Dean offered magnanimously.

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