A corrupt father escapes from jail, his son, Texas ranger Dean Grayson, is suspended from his job. With nowhere else to go he heads back to his home town, Valley Mills, Texas. Flooded with painful memories for him. He discovers a secret that has been kept from him by the woman he once loved. Olivia Reed had no doubt she was doing the right thing by keeping her secret from Dean, Afterall his family was no place for her son. A child is taken and the police can't find any leads...Valley Mills is about to discover how far a Grayson will go to protect his own.View More
Lying on his side, Eli willed his eyes to open. His clothes felt dirty against his skin. He needed a bath. He knew he was still chained to the wall, but the chain was long enough to allow him to move around the basement and reach the toilet next to an old sink where a cup sat so he could drink. Sitting up, he inspected his ankle and reached down to try to loosen the shackle again, but his ankle was now too swollen and sore to keep trying. He began to cry again. It scared him that nobody had found him. Was he still in Valley Mills? For all he knew, he could be in New York, he had learned a little about that place in school, and he knew that it was a long way from his home. He also knew his kidnapper wore a black coat and ski mask; Eli didn’t know if it was a man or a woman. He heard footsteps coming down the stairs. The black figure was carrying something new, an old wooden chair and something white folded under his arm. Eli tried to speak with his capture again. “Why are you keeping
Dean woke just after dawn; he remained still, their bodies warmly embraced. His head filled with thoughts of their lovemaking. It was even better after all these years—almost shiny, brand new, and deeply satisfying. They were pure magic together; however, he had no illusions that what happened between them meant they were now a couple again. She had needed him to melt away her suffering as he had needed her.Thoughts of Eli started to nag at him. Where was proof of life? Was the ransom call legitimate? These questions needed answers.He gently moved away from Olivia and got out of bed. Grateful he hadn’t woken her. He picked up his boxers from the floor and went into Eli’s room, where he grabbed clean clothes and headed to shower. He washed off the lavender-scented soap, turned off the tap, and then dried off. His mind was consumed. The waiting was tearing them both apart. He desperately needed something to happen.Dean arrived downstairs, and Dan and Glen were drinking coffee in the k
They drove in silence, full of aching anticipation of finding Eli. The old property had been abandoned for over five years. The last Olivia heard, Emma and John Winchester had passed away within a few months, leaving the three children and Emma’s younger brother in litigations.The caller said he couldn’t identify the person as a man or a woman. She knew this might be another crank call, but the caller had sounded genuine. Was it Jack they had seen?Her gun sat in her lap as her index finger mindlessly tapped the barrel. Its weight was familiar to her. She’d wanted a weapon. Her father encouraged her to learn how to shoot. He knew he wouldn’t be around forever and had wanted her to be able to protect herself and Eli. She was comfortable shooting it. She’d never believed until this moment that she could shoot and kill somebody, but she would have no hesitation if it meant saving her son’s life. Dean had grabbed his gun out of his truck before they had left. When protecting Eli, she kne
A reporter attempted to shove a microphone into Dean’s face. He pushed past them all and quickly headed for his car. It was time to use his training and start thinking like a texas ranger and not like a father. Dean could see sheriff Tanner was a lazy man, and that there was no way he was up to the task of finding Eli. Besides, his confusing emotions about Olivia would drive him crazy if he didn’t get out of the house.Whenever she touched him or gazed at him, he couldn’t stay angry with her. She’d said she needed him, but he didn’t trust that the need for him would be there when Eli came home. Dean headed to Trent’s house. It was the closest. He parked out the front of the address. The house was an attractive, cream-rendered two-story building. He did not know if he would be home. He took a moment to calm himself and find his cold, hard shell that had served him well in his work. He couldn’t interview these men with the emotional turmoil of Eli’s father.Dean walked to the front doo
Dean returned to the kitchen. “A news van just pulled up outside.”Olivia took a moment to study his features carefully. She wanted a clue as to what had sent him out of the house earlier. His posture was set square and tension radiated out from him.Glen got up from his chair, anticipating the doorbell to sound. “Do either of you wish to talk to the press or make a statement?”“I don’t,” Dean said, then looked at Olivia. “You go ahead if you want to.”“No, I have no wish to give the monster the pleasure.” Olivia had seen the parents of kidnapped or missing children begging at press conferences for mercy as they wept. She wasn’t about to become one of those parents unless someone could persuade otherwise her.The doorbell rang. “I’ll get the door and tell them to stay off your property,” Glen replied, and then left to deliver the message.“I think the sheriff will expect you both to stand next to him when he holds the press conference,” Dan said. “I definitely have no intention of sh
Dean stood in the doorway of Olivia’s room for a few minutes. It was just after dawn. She was sleeping soundly. He was grateful she needed the rest to face the day ahead. She looked beautiful in the faint dawn light. Her face was relaxed and her hair lay in a satin cloud around her head. She’d been so strong the day before, he knew she would be close to a breaking point. He hoped the sleep she’d gotten would keep her strong.He turned and headed off to take a shower. He stood under the water and allowed the heat to massage his tense muscles. He recalled the previous night’s events. There was no doubt in his mind that his father had kidnapped Eli for monetary gain. Jack was on the run from the law and the first thing he would need would be plenty of cash. He had hated no one in his life as much as he hated him. How would Olivia feel about him if the kidnapper turned out to be his father? He turned off the shower and grabbed a towel. He dressed in the same clothes he’d worn yesterday.
Olivia’s heart was now sitting in her throat. She looked at the phone on the table. The caller I.D box displayed a PRIVATE NUMBER instead of a phone number.The phone rang a second time. She was suddenly more afraid than she had been throughout the entire evening.“Answer it,” Dan said, ready to record the conversation. The phone rang a third time. “Olivia, answer the phone,” Dean said calmly.Hands trembling, she picked up the receiver and whispered a faint hello. “I have your son.” The voice echoed throughout the kitchen. The voice was digitally distorted, making it impossible to know if the caller was male or female. “Who is this? What do you want?”“At midnight tomorrow, bring three million dollars in hundred-dollar bills to the Bosque River marina. There is a delivery box at the number three wharf. Inside, you will find instructions on where to leave the money. If I see any cops, the boy dies.” Dean grabbed the phone from Olivia. “You get nothing unless we get proof of life,”
By seven-thirty pm, Olivia was in the kitchen making sandwiches and more coffee for those that had come to help. The house was full of well-meaning people; she appeared calm and in control unless Dean looked into her eyes, revealing her intense screaming despair. Deputy Dan Williams sat on a chair in the kitchen and coordinated fellow officers’ calls and neighbors and friends who had shown up to search.Dean was grateful Olivia had a couple of friends to offer support and chat with her. He paced the floor, waiting for news. Finally, he climbed the stairs to Eli’s bedroom. He stood in the doorway and stared in. He tucked Eli into his bed with a ruffle of his hair, and Eli placed his hand on Dean’s cheek.Dean, I’m glad you want to spend time with me. He said. Because I like being with you. Dean had tucked him in and wished him happy dreams. He wanted to do it again. He wanted to hold his son and tell him how much he loved him. How happy he was that Eli was his son. His heart swelled in
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