Read Finding Her Son Online

Authors: Robin Perini

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Finding Her Son

BOOK: Finding Her Son
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The only man a desperate mother can trust...

Investigating a cold case is SWAT cop Mitch Bradford’s worst nightmare—especially when it involves a kidnapped infant. But thanks to an injury, he’ll have to settle for following Emily Wentworth instead of breaking down doors and cuffing criminals. The prime suspect in a mysterious disappearance, Emily has always claimed she was framed. And as he earns the trust of the incredibly desperate—and unbelievably beautiful—mother, every instinct tells Mitch to believe her. Then new evidence unfolds, revealing an elaborate conspiracy and forcing Emily into a deadly spotlight. Now, torn between loyalty to the badge and his promises to Emily, Mitch may have to make the ultimate sacrifice if he’s to bring her little boy home.

“I heard a suspicious click right before the explosion. Someone wants you dead—with no evidence left behind.”

“If you hadn’t been here—”

She gripped his shirt and buried her head against him. He’d seen the reaction before. He held her tight.

“We’ll find out who’s doing this. I promise.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. He couldn’t say no to her trembling frame. Each shudder evoked every protective instinct throbbing in his veins. He cradled her against him and stroked her hair softly, brushing a few stray snowflakes out of her hair. “You’re okay. It’ll be okay.”

He was lying. Again. This assassin wanted a kill. Mitch could stop him only so long—unless he discovered who was behind the attempts on her life.

Robin Perini

Finding Her Son

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Robin Perini’s love of heart-stopping suspense and poignant romance, coupled with her adoration of high-tech weaponry and covert ops, encouraged her secret inner commando to take on the challenge of writing romantic suspense novels. Her mission’s motto: “When danger and romance collide, no heart is safe.”

Devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts, Robin won the prestigious Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award in 2011. By day, she works for an advanced technology corporation, and in her spare time, you might find her giving one of her many nationally acclaimed writing workshops or training in competitive small-bore rifle silhouette shooting. Robin loves to interact with readers. You can catch her on her website, www.robinperini.com, several major social-networking sites or write to her at P.O. Box 50472, Albuquerque, NM 87181-0472.

Books by Robin Perini

HARLEQUIN INTRIGUE

1340—FINDING HER SON

All backlist available in ebook. Don’t miss any of our special offers. Write to us at the following address for information on our newest releases.

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CAST OF CHARACTERS

Emily Wentworth—
Desperate to find her son, she can’t trust the Denver police. But can she trust the cop who saved her life?

Mitch Bradford—
The injured SWAT cop has been reassigned to prove Emily’s guilt in her husband’s death. Will he sacrifice everything to protect a murder suspect and help her find her son?

Eric Wentworth—
He had secrets worth killing him for, but he hadn’t meant to sacrifice his wife and son.

Joshua Wentworth—
Why was he stolen from his mother at just one month old?

Kayla Foster—
Can Emily find this missing, pregnant teen before it’s too late?

Perry Young—
Is Emily’s alcoholic investigator making mistakes, or is he involved?

Victoria Wentworth—
Eric’s mother never accepted Emily and believes her daughter-in-law is responsible for his death. Does she want revenge?

Dane Tanner—
Why is this Denver police detective so determined to prove Emily’s guilt?

William Wentworth—
Emily’s brother-in-law bankrolls her investigation to find her son. Will his parents force him to abandon her?

Ghost—
This mysterious criminal has an interest in desperate pregnant women. Did he take Emily’s son, as well?

Thomas Wentworth—
How far did Eric’s father go to get his son back into the family business?

Noah Bradford—
Mitch’s brother mysteriously shows up with secrets of his own.

For my mom—the most ferocious mama bear I know. Your love and unbending faith in me have given me the strength to persevere. I am truly blessed. I love you, Mom. Always.

Acknowledgments

I’m living my dream. But no one gets to this wonderful place alone.

To my amazing editor, Allison Lyons, who saw something in my writing and took a chance. You made my dreams come true.

To the most vicious critique group ever—Tammy Baumann, Louise Bergin and Sherri Buerkle. I love you all. You, my dear friends, sacrificed for this one more than anyone will know. I am humbled and grateful. Let’s not do it again!

To Angi Platt and Jenn Stark for their keen insight and willingness to help.
Thanks are not enough, and I expect payback.

To my best friend and the sister of my heart, Claire Cavanaugh, the wind beneath my wings.
This book wouldn’t be here without you. You know why.

Contents

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Prologue

Icy wind howled through the SUV’s shattered windshield, spraying glass and freezing sleet across Eric Wentworth’s face. He struggled in and out of consciousness. Flashes of memory struck. Oncoming headlights on the wrong side of the road. Skidding tires on black ice. The baby’s cries. Emily’s screams.

Oh, God.

Why couldn’t he focus? Above the wind, he heard only silence, then an ominous gurgling sound from his lungs. He shifted his head slightly to check on his wife, and a knifelike pain seared his neck. He stopped, staring in horror at the shaft of metal guardrail penetrating his chest. Blood pulsed from the wound, but he couldn’t feel it. He couldn’t feel anything.

Eric was dying. And it was no accident. He hadn’t taken the threats seriously, hadn’t told Emily what he’d done. Why they were all in danger.

“E-Eric?” Her voice was weak, barely audible over the storm gusts.

Thank the Lord she was still alive. In the darkness, he could just make out her small frame pinned by the dashboard. He had to warn her.

Emily. Escape. Before he comes back.

No sound came from his lips, and at the effort, his vision blurred.

“Eric, are you all right?”

Fear tinged her voice, but he could do nothing to comfort or reassure her.

A soft cry came from the backseat. The baby. Only a month old.

“Mommy’s here.” Emily pushed at the dash. “Eric, I’m stuck. I can’t get to Joshua.”

Headlights swept across the crumpled interior. A vehicle pulled up behind them.

“A car! Help!” Emily called out. “We’re trapped! There’s a baby in here!”

No! Emily. Get out. Now. Please. Take Joshua. Run.

A door slammed, but from the stealth of the approaching footsteps, Eric knew this was no rescue. Tears of impotent rage scalded his cheeks.
They’re innocent. Don’t kill them. They’ve done nothing.

The back door ripped open, revealing a dark, hooded figure. The baby whimpered. After a moment’s hesitation, the person unclicked the car seat and yanked it free.

The baby’s cries filled the air.

A sob escaped Emily’s throat. “Joshua? Is he all right?”

Without responding, the man shined the flashlight through the broken passenger window, scanned Emily, then focused the blinding light directly in Eric’s face, illuminating his fatal wounds.

Emily gasped. “Eric! No! Please. Please, help my husband.”

Struggling to remain conscious, Eric stared toward the beam of light, willing the man not to carry out the contract, silently begging for mercy for his family.

As if in answer, the man reached into the car, grabbed Emily and slammed her head on the door frame. With quick movements, he wrapped her hand around a jagged piece of windshield and forced it to slash across her neck.

No. Not Emily!
Eric’s silent scream echoed her agonized one. The man slammed her head again. She fell silent. Blood trickled down her throat.

With one last mocking salute, the bastard lifted the baby’s car seat and turned away, smearing blood across the small, blue blanket. Utter grief overcame Eric as his son’s cries disappeared into the night.

Spots danced in front of Eric’s eyes. He stared at Emily’s still body. His life flickered painfully within him.

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