Authors: Colleen Coble
Tags: #ebook, #book
Cry in the Night
Other Books by Colleen Coble Include
THE ROCK HARBOR SERIES
Without a Trace
Beyond a Doubt
Into the Deep
THE ALOHA REEF SERIES
© 2009 by Colleen Coble
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Published in Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Thomas Nelson, Inc., books may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected]
Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A cry in the night / Colleen Coble.
p. cm.—(A Rock Harbor mystery ; 4)
ISBN 978-1-59554-248-9 (pbk.)
1. Foundlings—Fiction 2. Upper Peninsula (Mich.)—Fiction. I. Title.
Printed in the United States of America
09 10 11 12 13 RRD 10 9 8 7 6
For my “other” daughter,
You were so worth waiting for!
THE BABY IN THE CARRIER SLEPT PEACEFULLY, TINY FISTS thrust against her chubby cheeks blissfully unaware of her danger. Pia Westola clicked off the phone and sat back in her chair, gazing at the baby, sick with the awareness of this new, undesirable turn her life had taken. What had started out as a job she could believe in—even if it did sometimes drift into the law’s gray areas—had just become clearly criminal. She would never have agreed to take this infant if what Florence had just told her was true.
One glance at the clock told her her boss would be here soon. Pia just had to keep the little one out of his reach. Adrenaline pulsed through her at the thought. Her decision made, she slipped on her coat, adjusted the insulating cover over the baby carrier that fit on her like a backpack, then grabbed the bottles and diapers and stuffed them in with the baby. If she could hide out long enough, maybe she could get the baby to safety.
Before she reached the garage door, she heard a car out front. Peeking through the curtains, she saw him get out. His car blocked Pia’s getaway. Biting back panic, she realized she’d have to escape through the kitchen door.
She exited quickly with the baby and stood on the porch. She knew she had to hurry, but which direction? He’d see her on the road. Her only hope was through the thigh-high drifts across her backyard and into the woods. Her cross-country skis were propped against the side of the house. She shouldered into the baby backpack, slung the diaper bag over that, and then snapped on her skis.
She set out across the frozen landscape. Her muscles were warm by the time she reached the edge of the woods, and her breath fogged the frigid air. But she’d reached the path other skiers had used, and the going would be easier.
Her back aching from the weight of the carrier, she spared a glance behind her. Her spirits flagged when she caught a glimpse of him. He was on skis too. She’d forgotten he always carried them in his car. He wasn’t burdened with the baby either. She was never going to make the sanctuary she’d hoped for. He hadn’t seen her yet though. She hoped he’d lose her tracks on the more highly trafficked trail.
Tension coiled along Pia’s spine as she whirled and looked for a place to hide the baby. There—a fallen pile of logs had enough space under it to hide the infant. She slipped out of the backpack, and a crumpled piece of paper fell from her pocket. She wedged the carrier under the logs. She layered several insulated blankets around the tiny girl. At least the child was sheltered.
Picking up a branch, she erased the evidence of her tracks to the logs. She stared down the hill at the approaching figure, then retraced her steps. She met him at a bend in the trail. She’d never known him to be a violent man—maybe she could reason with him.
His narrowed gaze nearly cut her down. “Where’s the baby?”
She tipped up her chin. “I’m not going to be part of this.”
He grabbed her arm and twisted it. “Where is she?”
Reeling from the shock, Pia’s shoulder shrieked with pain. Still, she held his gaze defiantly. “Where you’ll never find her.”
“I saw you carrying her!” He slapped her, then slapped her again. Both hands moved to her shoulders and he shook her. “Where is she?”
Pia’s cheeks burned. Her head flopped with the violence of the shaking. Then he shoved her, and she was falling, falling toward a broken tree limb that jutted from the ground like a giant spear.
DAVY CAME BARRELING DOWNSTAIRS WITH HIS RED HAIR sticking up. Bree Matthews swiped at it as he passed. “Hey, big guy, you want cereal or an egg and toast this morning?”
“Cereal,” he said. He went to the table and pulled the cereal bowl toward him, then dumped Cheerios into it.
She glanced out at the sun glinting off the thick snowdrifts, then saw the clock on the stove. “Miss Florence is expecting you in twenty minutes.”
“It’s the start of the winter holiday, Mom. I like Miss Florence, but I’d rather go fishing with you. Can’t I skip tutoring today?”
She frowned at his reluctance. She’d never known him to be less than eager to go to Florence’s. “We’ll go fishing this afternoon.”
When had he started to call her Mom instead of Mommy? She should have noted the transition. Now she mourned it. He would be a young man the next time she blinked. Nearly eight years old.
Where had the time gone? He rarely needed her help now. Not with breakfast or getting ready for school. His bed would have been made. He was the neatest kid she’d ever seen.
Just as Rob had been.
It fascinated her to consider how much of Davy’s qualities she could credit to heredity and how much to environment. Even though he looked like her, he walked like Rob and he had Rob’s cowlick at his forehead. He was a neatnik and he loved trains, just like his dad. His favorite color was green, and nearly every shirt he owned was a variation of that shade, as were Rob’s, the ones she’d given to the Salvation Army after his death.
She snapped out of her trance when Kade walked with a heavy tread into the kitchen. He brushed a kiss across her forehead. “Morning, hon,” he said before continuing on to the table. “I wish it were Saturday instead of Monday. I’d like to go fishing with you two.”
“Breakfast?” she asked. “I’m in the mood to cook.”
He smiled. “I’ll have eggs and toast if you don’t mind. I’ve got a busy day at work.”
“I don’t mind,” she said, her spirits deflating. She’d hoped he would remember her doctor appointment without being reminded. He’d change his plans and go with her if she asked, but he’d been so distracted lately she hated to add to whatever burden he wasn’t sharing with her.
He ruffled Davy’s hair. “Looking forward to your winter holiday?”
Bree turned to the stove and whipped him up an omelet—his favorite kind, with spinach, mushrooms, ham, and cheese. The coffee aroma filled the kitchen, and then the pot beeped. Bree poured him a cup and handed it to him. He grunted a thank-you from behind his newspaper.
She would not cry. She turned back to the stove and flipped the omelet over. These days she felt on the verge of tears most of the time. Probably the fertility drugs. Sliding the omelet onto a plate, she placed it in front of Kade.
He looked up. “Thanks, babe.” He caught her hand and kissed her palm.
The love in his gaze soothed her. Were they ever going to have their own baby? They’d both been devastated when she miscarried three months ago. Glancing at the calendar again, she started to ask him about going with her today, then shut her mouth. No, it wasn’t a big enough deal.
When Kade pulled her close before he left for work, she almost changed her mind. If the news was bad today, she might need his strength. It took all her determination to nuzzle her face in his neck and keep back the words.
Once Kade was out of the house, she grabbed her keys. “I’ll run you to Miss Florence’s.” She snapped her fingers, and her search dog, Samson, got up and came to her. His dark eyes were eager, and he ran to the door.
Driving to the cottage at the edge of the vast tract of forest where Florence Hawkins lived, Bree glanced at her son several times. “You okay, buddy? You’re quiet this morning.”
“I dreamed about Daddy last night,” he said. “He told me to watch for him, that he was coming.”
Bree hid her wince, but her fingers tightened on the steering wheel as she navigated the icy curves in the road. “You know that’s not possible, Davy.”
He scowled. “Don’t call me Davy,” he said. “I’m not a baby.”
He’d always be her baby. “Your daddy is in heaven. He’d come for you if he could, but he can’t.”
Her boy’s mouth turned mutinous. “Maybe he could come see me as a ghost. I wouldn’t be afraid. I heard a cry outside the window last night and got up to look. I thought it might be him.”
Bree stopped the Jeep in the driveway behind Florence’s bright yellow convertible. “Maybe you were dreaming. You know there are no ghosts. Your daddy didn’t want to go to heaven when he did, but you have to accept he’s gone, son.”
She’d thought these discussions were long past. Rob had been gone for almost four years. She and Kade had been married for two, and Kade had been such a good father to Davy. His visits to the psychologist had tapered off to a couple per year, and they’d all thought her boy had made the adjustment. Now she wasn’t so sure.
There was no more time to talk now. Florence met them at the door. In her fifties with dyed red hair, she was a kid magnet. She’d been a teacher for years, and she tutored children in town. Davy’s grade in math had come up to an A since Bree hired her.
Davy glanced up at his tutor. “Miss Florence, did you find the baby?”
Florence’s smile faltered.
Bree frowned. “Baby?” she asked Florence.
The older woman waved her hand. “I think he means the doll I keep for the little girls. I couldn’t find it last week.” She turned to face the street. “Oh, here comes Timmy,” she said.
Davy turned on the stoop. “Yay!” he yelled as Naomi O’Reilly, Bree’s best friend, pulled up in her minivan. The van stopped and Timmy climbed out. The boy lugged his backpack and joined Davy on the stoop.
Naomi stuck her head out of the window, and her long braid slipped along her shoulder. “Hey, can Dave come for a playdate this afternoon?”
Davy’s smile beamed. Even Naomi remembered he hated to be called Davy. “Sure, after we go fishing, right Dave?” Bree said. She glanced at her son as he ran back to Florence.
Florence touched the knitted cap on Davy’s head. “You ready for your lessons, boys?”
“You bet!” the two boys said in chorus. They scampered into the house and toward the kitchen.
“Work hard and we’ll go fishing this afternoon!” Bree called after him. Samson pressed against her leg, and she plunged her cold fingers into his warm fur.
“They’re doing so well,” Florence said. “You can be very proud of your boy.” She closed the door.
Bree jogged to the idling van to talk to Naomi. She smiled at Naomi’s toddler in the backseat. Matthew’s gummy smile made her own widen.
“Is something wrong?” Naomi asked.
“Just a weird day. I’ve been thinking about Rob, and Davy was talking about him this morning. It made me sad for a minute.”
Matthew wailed. Naomi flipped her braid behind her and pulled her head back into the car. She turned to the backseat and gave him a toy before facing Bree again. “You’ve got nothing to regret, Bree. You were a good wife to Rob, but he’s gone. You’ve got Kade now, and a better man has never walked the face of the earth. Other than my Donovan, of course,” she said, smiling.