Where the Road Ends

Where the Road Ends

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by Tara Taylor Quinn

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There are some things only a mother can feel…

At one time, Amy Wainscoat had it all—wealth, control of her family's Chicago business, a handsome and loving husband, a child she adored. But her husband was killed in a boating accident a year ago. And now, most devastating of all, five-year-old Charles has been kidnapped, apparently by the

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There are some things only a mother can feel…

At one time, Amy Wainscoat had it all—wealth, control of her family's Chicago business, a handsome and loving husband, a child she adored. But her husband was killed in a boating accident a year ago. And now, most devastating of all, five-year-old Charles has been kidnapped, apparently by the nanny she'd recently fired.

Despite the involvement of the police and the FBI, despite the fact that she's hired one of the best private investigators around, Amy's determined to be part of the search.

There are some things only a mother can do…

When Charles and his ex-nanny are spotted in Michigan, Amy drives across the state, following every conceivable lead, following each road to its end. As she and her detective grow close, their shared quest engenders an intimacy that's more real than anything except her love for Charles.

Then, one day, the search is over. And what they find shocks Amy as nothing has ever shocked her before.

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Where The Roads Ends

By Tara Taylor Quinn

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. All right reserved. ISBN: 1-55166-706-1

Chapter One

She was going to have to let the nanny go.

Staring out the front-room window, taking in the beautiful rolling grounds of the Wainscoat
estate, Amelia reined in emotion, trading its insidious confusion for logical thought.

Would it always feel as if her life was out of control?

Or was letting Kathy go the first step toward taking charge? The beginning of a new existence
for herself and her son?

Fingers trembling uncharacteristically, Amelia pushed her dark hair over her shoulders, ruining
the effect Donald, her hairdresser of ten years, had so painstakingly created. And if the tears
that were threatening actually fell, the time she'd spent on her artfully applied makeup would be
wasted, too.

As she stood there in her slim-fitting, dove-gray designer suit waiting for Kathy to appear,
Amelia tried to focus on the facts. And she remembered the last conversation - almost a year
earlier - she'd had with her husband.

They'd been in her suite in the high-rise building that was home to the head office of Wainscoat
Construction. After a short day at his current construction site, Johnny had come to drop off
Charles before going to the dock to take the new boat for a trial run, prior to teaching Charles
to water ski the followingday.

"I'm a little uncomfortable with how possessive of Charles Kathy's getting," he'd said slowly.
"It's almost like she's jealous of your place in his life."

"I've had to remind her once or twice that as his mother, I make the decisions," she replied.
"Kathy's very involved with him, but that's natural, don't you think? They spend a lot of time

He'd nodded, but hadn't looked convinced.

"Do you think there's a problem?" she'd asked Johnny. "More than just two women being
territorial?" She'd studied his face, usually able to read his thoughts.

His broad shoulders square, Johnny had shrugged. "I think it's possible. Which is why I wanted
to talk to you."

Amelia's stomach had started to hurt then - just as it hurt now. "So what do we do about her?
It's not like we can fire her, Johnny. She's part of the family."

"Well -" Johnny had drawn out the word meaningfully " - no, she's not."

"She's been living with us since Charles was born."

"She's an employee."

He'd been right, of course, but ...

"One we've trusted with our son's life," Amelia said.

"And I think we still can, to a point."

"To what point?"

Johnny's eyes had been warm, concerned, as they met hers. He'd suggested they keep an eye
on things. Listen carefully to everything their four-year-old son had to say.

And with that warning, she'd wanted to get rid of Kathy then and there.

"Don't overreact, Amelia," Johnny had said.

Her heart missed a beat now as she remembered the grin he'd given her. The one that had
always melted her heart.

"I'm not suggesting anything drastic here," he'd continued. "I don't think it's gotten out of

She remembered thinking, that Johnny was right. As usual.

Things hadn't been bad enough to warrant firing Kathy. Not then.

But this past year, since Johnny's death, the situation had changed.

At least Amelia thought it had.

Thinking back over the past months, she made a mental list of times she'd been concerned
about Kathy's actions and was surprised - and a little frightened - by how extensive the list
had grown.

Most recently with Kathy's insistence that Amelia not change the school her son was attending.

Johnny had been worried that Kathy was over-stepping her boundaries.

And she had been; there was no longer any doubt of it. Amelia reviewed her list.

And then her mind switched back to Johnny that day in her office. Bruising her with memories of
the husband she'd lost ...

He'd reached for the door.



She hadn't known why she'd called out to him. She'd just wished things had been different, that
he'd kissed her while they'd had that moment alone. That she'd said, "I love you."

"You'll be home for dinner?" she'd asked.

"I always am," he'd said, heading back to the outer office.

He was always home for dinner. It was she - CEO of the multibillion dollar company for
which Johnny was a construction worker - who missed out on family dinners. But what else
could she do?

She'd met Johnny on a job site. He was a master carpenter and project supervisor for
Wainscoat Construction. She'd known there would be some challenges in their relationship, but
they'd loved each other passionately and she'd been certain that would be enough. She'd had no
way of knowing, when she'd married Johnny and had Charles so soon afterward, that her father
would die suddenly. Hadn't realized that while Johnny's pride demanded he continue to work,
he had no intention of stepping into her father's shoes, of working a desk job. Ever.


She'd jumped, hitting her elbow on the doorjamb. Johnny had come back.


"Just wanted to make sure you'd be home for dinner."

"Yeah," she'd said softly, very glad he'd asked.


He'd kissed her then, deeply, intimately, exploring her mouth with his tongue in ways that left her
feeling, as his touch always did, more like a giddy teenager than the boss of an internationally
known company.

It had been the last time she'd ever felt his lips on hers.

Kathy's voice interrupted Amelia's memories. "This might have to wait until tonight, I really can't
talk long." Kathy had come into the room so quietly Amelia hadn't realized she was there.
"Charles's swimming lesson starts in half an hour and I like to let him warm up first."

Kathy's once-forthright gaze was elusive. And Amelia's resolve, along with her stomachache,


Excerpted from Where The Roads Ends by Tara Taylor Quinn
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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