Excerpt from book:
There was blood on the porch.
That kicked up Deputy Reed Caldwell's pulse a significant notch. He'd already drawn his Colt .45, but he called for backup because this wasn't looking good.
He walked to the end of the porch, his breath mixing with the early morning air and causing a filmy haze around him. Reed peered into the window of the dining room and saw that the table and chairs had been toppled over. There'd been some kind of struggle.
Mercy. What was going on?
No sign of any intruders or the ownerhis ex-wife, Addison.
But Reed was pretty sure she was inside somewhere. Alive. Or at least she had been a few minutes earlier when she'd made a frantic nine-one-one call to the Sweetwater Springs Sheriff's Office. Reed had intercepted the call because he'd been on his way home after pulling a night shift and was driving right by her place.
"Someone's trying to break in."
That was the only thing Addison had managed to say before the line went dead. There was no bad weather to cause a dead phone line. No maintenance that he'd heard about. Just the frantic one-line message.
Reed hadn't been sure what to expect when he arrived at the small country house Addison had recently inherited, but he'd parked by her mailbox, twenty yards or so from the house so that the sound of his truck engine wouldn't alert anyone. Even with the extra precaution, Reed had figured this would turn out to be a false alarm. Or else he'd find Addison cowering inside while some would-be burglars were making their escape.
But he definitely hadn't expected blood. Or the toppled furniture.
Maneuvering around the drops of blood, he turned the doorknob. It was unlocked. And he eased open the front door. Reed wasn't a blood expert, but there were more drops in the foyer, and it looked like high-velocity spatter as if someone had been hit hard.
It didn't take him long to see that more stuff had been knocked down in the entry. A small table. The landline phone that'd been ripped from the wall.
Most noticeable, thoughan empty infant car seat.
Since Addison had recently adopted a baby, the seat wasn't unexpected, but it put a knot in Reed's gut to see it tossed on its side like that.
Where was the baby?
And where the heck was Addison?
If it was her blood, then she'd clearly been hurt. Maybe hurt badly enough that she couldn't even call out to him.
That didn't help the knot in his stomach.
His backup wouldn't be there for at least fifteen minutes, but Reed didn't want to waste any more time in case she was bleeding out. Listening, he quietly stepped inside, pivoted, checking every visible corner of the house. No one was in his line of sight, but he heard some movement in the adjacent living room. He peered around the edge of the wall, and his heart walloped against his chest.
There was blood on her forehead and smeared in the side of her light brown hair. Her eyes were wide, and there was a large swatch of silver duct tape covering her mouth. The same tape had been used to tie her hands and feet, but despite the restraints, she was frantically trying to crawl toward him.
Still keeping watch around them, Reed hurried to her and eased back the tape from her mouth.
"They're upstairs," she whispered, the words rushing out with her breath. She tried to crawl again while fighting to get her hands and ankles free.
"Who's up there?" Reed asked, looking in that direction.
"I think they're kidnappers."
Hell. Sweetwater Springs wasn't a perfect town, but he hadn't expected kidnappers to break into someone's house.<"Someone's trying to break in."
A frantic 911 call sends Sweetwater Springs deputy Reed Caldwell racing to the home of his ex-wife. But the kidnappers didn't come for Addison. Their target was her two-month-old adopted daughter. Except she isn't adopted. And Reed is the father. Now he has to grapple with the shock of sudden parenthood while finding a safe haven for Addison and their baby girl. With desire reignitingand the threats against mother and child escalatingthe Texas lawman will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he loves. And the child who needs them both.