Logan and Gavin Caldwell, brothers by choice rather than blood, watched for days as the media continually hounded Grace Munro. When it appeared that no one would step in to help, they sent two men from their security company in to protect her.
Just as Grace's life begins to get back to normal, news of a settlement comes out, and once again the media begins to circle. This time, instead of sending in other men to help her, the brothers take the job themselves, setting into motion a night that changes Grace forever.
Confused by her desire for the brothers and the memory of her night with them, Grace struggles to understand how these two men came to mean so much to her in such a short time. More importantly though, why have they disappeared from her life as quickly as they entered?
Then, hit with another loss, Grace's life spins out of control, and she disappears. It's up to Logan and Gavin to find her, but can they get to her in time? More importantly, if they do find her, can they convince her that her life should be with them?
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Read an Excerpt
A Life Worth Living
By P. L. Byers
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2015 P. L. Byers
All rights reserved.
Logan Caldwell poured himself another cup of coffee from the almost empty pot. Doctoring it up with cream and sugar, he stirred briskly, dropped the spoon on the counter and walked in to the living room and resumed his position at the sliding glass doors. Taking a sip, he glanced out the windows and took in the view of the ocean. Mornings were his favorite part of the day. He loved that he never knew what he would see when he first looked out his window. Calm water, furious swells or gently rolling waves; each brought its own appeal.
Life, he reflected, was getting better. There were times, in the beginning, that he felt the grief inside him would never leave, but as the saying went, things did get better with time. Having his brother by his side, knowing they were both going through the same thing helped. Together they weathered the months of grief and loneliness and found a way to get through it.
Gavin was younger than Logan but only by ten months. The two met when they were in their early teens in a group home for boys. Both teens had lost their parents and ended up in the residential facility when their individual foster parents asked the state to take them back. It was difficult finding homes for older children, particularly when they, like Gavin and Logan, were known to cause trouble. Between not knowing how to deal with their grief and the abusive situations they had been placed in over the years, the anger they felt was not easy to contain. Instead of helping them deal with their grief, the system the boys were lost in was overburdened and under-staffed, and they ended up being passed around until finally they were placed in the same home. Finding a kindred spirit in each other, they became fast friends. They defended each other from some of the older children, quickly becoming a duo that the others learned to leave alone. If you picked a fight with Gavin or Logan, it became widely known in the home that you picked a fight with the other one as well. Blood may not actually have connected the two boys as brothers, but their bond was as strong, if not stronger, than most who share a genetic connection.
Finally, at the age of sixteen the boys ran away from the home to start their own lives. They lived on the street for the first year, taking odd jobs wherever they could. It was at one of those jobs, where Logan and Gavin washed dishes, that they met Elizabeth, a waitress who worked part time. The three of them quickly became friends and Elizabeth, realizing they were on their own, gave them the key to her parents' garage so they could find shelter when the weather was too bad to be living out in the elements.
The three became inseparable. Elizabeth watched over the two guys, feeding and sheltering them when she could, and Gavin and Logan protected her whenever a customer or another boy gave her a hard time. While almost anybody else would judge their relationship in a negative way, to them it seemed a natural progression for the three of them to become involved. Elizabeth could not even begin to choose one of them over the other, any more than one of the guys could be with her and leave the other one out. Then on one fateful day, Elizabeth's father walked in on the three of them in his garage. Hearing their conversation and seeing how close the three were, her father became angry. He called his only daughter some very unflattering names, until Gavin and Logan pushed her behind them to defend her to her father. Unfortunately, the damage had been done, and Elizabeth lost her father, her mother, and the home she had grown up in. She was disowned by both her parents and given fifteen minutes to gather what she could from her room before she was kicked out and told never to return.
From that moment on, Logan, Gavin and Elizabeth became inseparable. Within a month of Elizabeth getting kicked out of her house, Gavin and Logan were hired by an older gentleman who owned his own small security firm. He had no children of his own, so he trained the two to do security and surveillance and even insisted on them attending college part time.
Logan and Gavin went through the court system and, with the help of their employer, had their names changed to Caldwell. Logan, being the older, married Elizabeth, but the three held a private ceremony uniting them all. Elizabeth became pregnant, and at the age of seventeen, she gave birth to twin boys. Their life was difficult in the beginning, but it was filled with love and laughter. Not a day went by that either Logan or Gavin wasn't with Elizabeth and the boys. They arranged their work and school schedules so that one of them was always around. Elizabeth worked hard at raising the children and making a home for her two men.
After graduating from college, the guys continued to work for the older gentleman who had taken them under his wing, until he passed away. His wife closed the firm, but Gavin and Logan had learned enough to start their own company, calling it Caldwell Security. As the years passed the company grew considerably. Their reputation was solid and they even had to hire a staff to keep up with the demand. Caldwell Security quickly became known as a top-notch security team that only hired and trained the best. Finally, life was getting easier, which allowed Logan and Gavin to spend more time at home. They were just starting to look for property in Belle Haven, Connecticut to build their dream house when Elizabeth became ill. They worked hard to have the house completed, and six months after they all moved in, at the age of thirty-two, Elizabeth lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, leaving behind twin fifteen-year-old boys, Aaron and Henry, and two grieving husbands.
Logan continued to gaze at the ocean. Yes, losing Elizabeth had been difficult but neither he nor Gavin had the luxury to sit back and grieve. They had two boys who needed to be raised, and it was important to both men that their sons realized that, even though they'd lost their mother, they weren't alone. It was important to them both that their sons felt secure, knowing how much their dads loved and wanted them.
Logan sighed. It had been seven years since Elizabeth died, and while the acute, debilitating pain had subsided, the lonely feeling was becoming more intense. Aaron and Henry were young men of twenty-two now and had their own lives. As much as he enjoyed spending time with them, it wasn't the same as having a woman in his life. He'd had a few dates in the past several months, but no one had captured his attention enough to ask for a second date.
Shrugging, Logan went in to the kitchen and made a few pieces of toast. Sitting at the bar he took a few bites and picked up his coffee mug to take a sip. Gavin walked in scratching his head and looked over at Logan. "Morning," he mumbled.
Logan kept his silence until Gavin poured his coffee and leaned against the breakfast bar on the other side and took a few sips. Gavin wasn't known as a morning person, so Logan waited until the caffeine hit his system before he spoke. "So how was your date last night?"
"Nice. Nothing earth-shattering. What did you do?"
Logan thought a few seconds before he remembered what he'd done.
"Nothing much. Worked for a little while, and then watched a movie. Went to bed early."
Gavin grunted a response and continued to drink his coffee. Logan got up and headed in to the living room to turn on the sports channel.
"Did you grab the paper yet?"
"Sorry, Gav, didn't think about it. Should still be at the end of the driveway."
"I'll grab it."
Gavin went out the front door and walked to the end of the driveway. The paper was sitting in its normal spot. Gavin picked it up and opened it to the front page and started to peruse it as he headed back to the house. Seeing the picture on the front page, he stopped short. The headline, in huge letters, read: "Local Politician and National Hero Involved in Horrific Crash." Gavin continued to look in horror at the picture. How could they possibly publish such a graphic image? Shaking his head he looked again. There on the front page, under the headline, was a picture of a mangled car lying upside down on its roof, half in the road and half on a sidewalk. In the foreground was a woman who looked to be begging for help, holding a young child who was bleeding all over her. Beside the woman was a man whose legs were stretched out with his head laying in her lap. On the other side, a man sat on the curb, looking distracted and unconcerned with the scene next to him.
Gavin shook his head and read through the article. According to the journalist, it appeared that the accident was caused by the smarmy-looking politician, whom they suspect was under the influence. The woman in the picture was the wife and mother of the victims, who were pronounced dead at the scene. No other details would be released until further investigation. Like releasing that picture wasn't bad enough, Gavin thought. The publisher who approved printing the picture of what could only be that poor woman's worst moment of her life, published for the world to see, should be fired!
Trudging back in to the house he went in to the living room where Logan was sitting with the clicker in his hand browsing the different sports networks. Tossing the paper in his direction Gavin practically yelled. "Look at that! This is disgusting. We need to cancel our subscription to this piece of trash they call a newspaper!"
Logan picked up the paper in question and looked at the headlines and the picture. "That poor woman," he whispered. Logan continued to look at the picture in horror. He found it unbelievable that the newspaper could be so irresponsible to publish the picture. It was one thing to want to sell newspapers, but wasn't there a point when common sense and respect won out over revenue? Evidently not!
Handing the paper back to Gavin he turned back to watch the sports channel. After several attempts to concentrate he turned off the TV and glanced at Gavin. "I'm going for a run," he mumbled and left the room.
Gavin continued to look at the paper shaking his head. He couldn't take his eyes off the face of the woman in the picture. For the first time since Elizabeth died, he said a little prayer to God, asking him to stand by the sad woman and to help her get through the tragedy she had to endure. Life could be so cruel he thought. Sometimes it just didn't make any sense to him.CHAPTER 2
Sighing heavily, Gavin pushed his chair back from the kitchen table. "That was a good steak. I should let you cook more often," he laughed.
"Let me cook? Please, you've been avoiding the kitchen so much lately I think you'd have starved if I hadn't jumped in to cook. Which reminds me, what happened to our routine of trading cooking days? I've done it for the past week or so."
"Sorry Bro, I'll do better. In fact, I'll even clean the kitchen tonight. How's that for a compromise?"
"What, no hot date tonight?" Logan laughed.
Gavin stood up and started clearing the table. After loading the dishes in to the dishwasher he glanced over at his brother, still sitting at the table watching him curiously. "I'm tired of going out just to be going out. I hate the whole scene. The women seem so superficial and the bars are too loud. Half the time the conversations are so dull and it's all I can do to stay awake, much less pretend that I care that so and so said this or that behind what's her names back. Seriously, it's starting to get on my nerves. I think it's time that I take a break from the dating scene!"
Logan stood up, taking a few things from the table and put them away in the refrigerator. Closing the door, he turned back to Gavin. "I know what you mean. It's hard going back when what we had with Elizabeth was so special. That's why I took a break. I know the boys want us to get out there, and that they worry about us being alone, but honestly Gav, I just don't have the heart for it right now. And I won't settle for just anybody because I'm lonely."
"I hear ya."
"I'm going in to catch the news for a while. Need help with anything?"
"Nah, I got it. I'll be in as soon as I finish here."
Logan walked in to the living room and sat down on the couch. Picking up the remote, he turned the TV on and started channel surfing. After a few minutes of not finding anything that interested him, he settled on an old movie for background noise and picked up the paper to finish reading.
Hearing a loud bang he looked up to see his son Aaron walk in.
"Hey Dad, what's shakin'?"
Smiling, Logan stood up and enfolded his son in a big hug. "What brings you by?"
"I wanted to see if you or Dad wanted to go with me to see the Yankees game. I have an extra ticket for Friday night."
Gavin walked in and saw Aaron standing next to Logan. Immediately, he walked over for a hug then ruffled his son's hair. Aaron playfully punched Gavin in the arm and murmured a quiet "Hey Dad".
Logan looked at his son. "I thought you and your brother were going to the game?"
Aaron went over to the couch and sat down next to Gavin. "Well, we were but he called and said he wasn't feeling very well. He thinks it's the fl u or something."
"Now that's strange. I just spoke to Lacey this morning and she didn't say anything about Henry not feeling well."
Lacey was Henry's wife of one year, and both Gavin and Logan absolutely adored her. When Henry first brought her to meet them, around the second year of college, they were worried what she would think about the life style that both Gavin and Logan had with Elizabeth. Not everybody was as accepting of that type of relationship and it had worried them that Henry might lose somebody he loved because of them. As it turned out, she was the most non-judgmental person they had ever met. She thought that it was cool that he and Aaron had two dads. Even her parents accepted them and spent time with them whenever they were in town.
"Sorry kiddo, I have an appointment with a potential client Friday night, so I'm out," Gavin sighed.
"What about you, Dad? Are you free?"
Logan thought about his schedule for a few seconds, and then smiled at his son. "Actually, I had something planned but it's nothing I can't reschedule. I'd love to go with you."
"Awesome! Want to meet at my apartment then we can grab a bite to eat then drive to the game?"
"Sure, sounds like a plan. This'll be fun!"
Aaron hugged his dads then left to head back home. When the door slammed shut Logan glanced over to Gavin and shook his head. "That's strange. Lacey didn't say anything about Henry not feeling well. I think I'll give them a call just to check in and see if they need anything."
"Okay. Give them my love." Heading back to the couch, Gavin sat down and picked up the paper.
After about five minutes of not retaining anything he read, he stood up and walked over to the sliding glass doors and stepped out on to the deck to listen to the ocean. His thoughts turned to both his boys. For being twins, Aaron and Henry were very different. Henry, the older one by six minutes, was very serious, much like Logan. He was extremely intelligent, in fact he graduated from college within three years, and always had his life perfectly mapped out. Aaron, on the other hand, was very easy going like Gavin, and didn't worry about long term plans.
As different as they were, the twins were extremely close and spent a lot of time together. Even when Henry met and married Lacey, he made sure to include his brother, and always ensured that they spent as much time together as possible. Lacey knew how close the brothers were and was always sensitive to that fact. Yet another reason the dads adored her!
Henry and Lacey lived in a house they had bought shortly after they were married. Fortunately for the dads, it was only about three miles down the road. As a Software Engineer for one of the local businesses, Henry worked long hours but loved the challenge of his job. Lacey was a fourth grade teacher and together they made a comfortable living.
Aaron, on the other hand, lived in an apartment he shared with a friend he met in college and was rarely home, due to his rigorous dating schedule. Working as a promoter for many of the local bands, he earned a decent living and seemed happy with his life. Hopefully, some day, he too would meet a nice girl that made him happy and settle down.
Hearing the sliding door open, Gavin glanced over. "How's he doing?"
Logan closed the door and walked over and leaned on the deck railing. "I spoke to Lacey. Henry was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him up. She said he came home feeling tired, so he ate a little dinner and went straight to bed. She said that if he still didn't feel any better in a day or so she'd make him go to the doctor. I told her to call us if they needed anything."
Excerpted from A Life Worth Living by P. L. Byers. Copyright © 2015 P. L. Byers. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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