Want to meet the good-looking guy on the cover of Dani Pettrey’s new release, Cold Shot? Well, he’s answering a few questions on the blog today. Enjoy getting to know a little bit about the story of Griffin McCray, Gettysburg park ranger, and Finley Scott, forensic anthropologist.
Griffin, you’ve been harsh with Finley since she arrived at Gettysburg. Why all the hostility?
I’m not hostile. I’m…straight to the point. She’s digging up soldier’s graves—soldiers who should be honored and left in peace. She has no business being in my park.
Yes, but she’s a forensic anthropologist. It’s her job to help identify the unknown victims, to bring closure to the family. You certainly can understand that?
The soldiers died two hundred years ago, I’m pretty sure their families are way past closure. Besides, that’s not the source of my frustration, not really.
Oh? What is the real source of your frustration?
Between us, my park was nice and quiet before Dr. Finley Scott showed up, looking stunning and somehow adorable in those silly coveralls she wears for work. If you tell her that, you’re dead. The point is she’s disturbing the ground, waltzing all over the place with her bouncy little walk and talking to me when I’m on patrol. She should focus on her work and leave me be.
Rumor is she finds you attractive and intriguing.
Really? That can’t be right. I mean, I’ve been nothing but gruff with her. Lecturing her on not disturbing hallowed ground. Not encouraging any further attachment.
Because there’s no room in my life for attachment. That’s why I took this job in the first place: because it’s primarily a solitary job. I don’t work with the tourists. As Chief Ranger and a sworn-in police officer, I manage the other rangers. It’s my job to keep the park safe, and Finley Scott distracting me from my purpose is unacceptable.
So you find Finley distracting?
Distracting, aggravating…frustrating. She grabs my attention and doesn’t let go. It’s so annoying. I am not easily distracted and I loathe being so.
How about you actually say something nice about Finley Scott. Certainly there are aspects you must like about her?
Well, I do have to admit she’s intelligent. Her attention to detail is impeccable. I appreciate her work ethic and background no matter how misguided it might be in this case. I know her background because I took the time to research her when she first started on.
You researched her?
I found her curious, and I like to know who is working in my park even if she’s only here for a temporary dig, though that’s run over by two months already. The point is, she’s a professor of forensics at Towson University and works with the Medical Examiner’s office as a forensic anthropologist at crime scenes. I appreciate her work on cold cases.
Sounds like you respect her?
Fine. I respect her, but, again, that stays between us. I don’t need her thinking…
Thinking what? It sounds like you’re afraid to let her know you actually like her?
I never said I liked her.
You never said you didn’t.
Now that modern skeletal remains have been found in the park you two will be spending a lot more time together.
That’s what I’m afraid of.
Afraid? Why, afraid?
Forget I said that.
Finley hastened up the steep incline, her three-inch heels sinking into the mud. A damp chill hovered thick in the air, a lingering effect of the crisp fall rain, which thankfully had ceased.
Vandals. That’s what she’d assumed Ranger McCray’s call had been about—some bored local teens deciding desecrating an archaeological dig would make a fun Saturday night outing—it’d happened before. But her dig was smack in the middle of the peach orchard, not up on Little Round Top, where the stalwart ranger was “awaiting her presence” according to Ranger Tim, who was now manning the office. Her curiosity was most certainly piqued.
Light emanated from the ridge as she neared, the beams mingling with the dancing fog in swirling fairylike motion. If she focused on it too long, it’d be dizzying.
“Does this sort of thing happen often in your line of work?” Kirk’s leather loafers slipped on the slick earth and, in a move evocative of a Charlie Chaplin routine, he nearly did the splits before windmilling his arms and managing to rather quickly, albeit awkwardly, regain his stride.
It had been polite of him to offer to accompany her, but his overbearing insistence rubbed her wrong. Though without a vehicle of her own, since Kirk had picked her up for their date, she hadn’t been left with much choice.
Heat radiated up her neck at the sight of Ranger McCray’s physique—broad shoulders, taut muscles, and rugged features—illuminated by a combination of the shadowy moon breaking back through the wispy cloud cover and a series of flash and floodlights he’d set up in an oblong pattern over and around a large blue tarp.
The breathtakingly handsome man had been both the bane of her existence and source of tingly excitement for the past five months. It was an irksome and unwanted combination. The last thing she needed was a man in her life.
“Finley,” Kirk said, his voice distant, despite his proximity.
“Glad you could finally make it, Ms. Scott.” Griffin turned, his steel-blue eyes slowly taking in her attire. His lips quirked in a way that sent goose bumps rippling up her arm. “Nice dress.”
Nice dress? She gaped down at her latest Anthropologie purchase—soft cream with strands of silver filigree. Had Ranger Grumpy really just complimented her? How did he always manage to throw her off her guard?
Before she could respond his gaze shifted over her right shoulder, his chiseled jaw lifting a notch. “Who’s the stiff?”
“Stiff?” She followed his penetrating gaze to Kirk, standing uncomfortably still, the hem of his overcoat splattered with mud. “Kirk Bellahue,” he said, his flattened palm fastening his silk tie in place as he swooped forward to shake Griffin’s hand.
His gaze shifted back to her. “You make a habit out of bringing dates to crime scenes?”
Can you name a fictional character you would like to be able to interview?