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For The Sake Of His Child
By Bonnie Winn
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSan Antonio, Texas
GLANCING IN THE REARVIEW mirror, Kirk Alder accelerated. The same dark green car remained close behind. The one that had tailed him from his studio.
Searching his memory, Kirk was almost positive the car hadn't been there before then. Not at the house, not at -
The deceptively fast Cadillac sped even closer.
Kirk reached for his cell phone. Cursing, he realized he'd left it behind at the studio, stashed in his camera bag. His mission had been so urgent he hadn't bothered with either.
Speeding up again, he wished he'd driven the Eclipse. The van's steering was clumsy and he didn't want to try any evasive maneuvers with the boxy vehicle. But it was Brynn's day out with Sarah. His wife and daughter loved the sleek lines of the Eclipse and they'd taken off for a day of shopping early that morning. And at the time he hadn't thought he'd have to evade a pursuer.
He glanced ahead on the freeway, spotting the exit he needed not too far away. Switching lanes at the last minute, he hoped to outwit the driver behind him. But the Cadillac stuck right behind him on the two-lane overpass.
It was time - past time - to talk with the police. He'd already waited too long. The police station was close.
A slow-moving eighteen-wheeler hogged the right lane, the one he had to be in to exit. Swearing, he looked to the left, hoping to pass the truck and speed ahead.
But the dark green Cadillac was still on his tail.
Before he could guess the driver's intention, the Cadillac slammed into the side of the van.
Kirk wrenched the steering wheel, trying to regain control. The van swayed on the high overpass.
Trapped behind the huge truck as he was, with the Cadillac boxing him in, there was no escape.
Desperately clenching the steering wheel with all his strength, he tried to prepare for the next blow. This time the heavy car made a direct hit on the driver's-side door.
The sounds of tearing metal and shattering glass barely penetrated, blocked out by his last conscious thought: It wasn't supposed to end this way! God, please let Brynn understand ... please.
Two years later, Walburg, Texas
THERE WAS A TIME when Brynn Alder had not been sad. A time before her life had been stolen. A time when she had reason to be happy.
Tall French doors stood ajar, opening onto the cobbled brick terrace. Black and white chickadees perched in the huge, aged oak tree, sharing morsels from the well-stocked feeder. As Brynn watched, a blue jay swooped toward them and they darted away. Sometimes, when all was still, the chickadees tentatively breached the boundary between their world and hers, hopping inside from the terrace, crossing the warm wood floor of her studio. They always made her smile.
Although Brynn had known the Texas Hill Country was beautiful before she'd moved here nine months earlier from San Antonio, her true appreciation hadn't developed until she'd settled in this house, drawn by the security it offered.
"Brynn, I'm going to get it this time," thirteen-year-old Emily insisted, panting as she tried to shape the slippery clay. It was time for the child to go home, to move past her troubles now that she had the coping skills she'd learned from Brynn. But not before she had one more try at the potter's wheel.
"Savor the feel of the clay in your hands," Brynn reminded her. It was the sensation, not the end result, that she wanted the girl to carry with her. Brynn closed her eyes, picturing not Emily, but her own daughter, Sarah, sitting at the wheel, a determined, expectant expression on her young face.
"Rats!" Emily interrupted the fantasy. "I blew another one." She held up a lumpy, shapeless object. "You're right. This isn't for everybody."
Excerpted from For The Sake Of His Child by Bonnie Winn Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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