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Authors: Joya Fields

Reunited in Danger

Reunited in Danger

Joya Fields

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events,
locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright ©
2013 by Joya Fields
. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in
any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact
the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at
www.entangledpublishing.com
.

Edited by Rochelle French

Cover design by Fiona Jayde

Ebook ISBN
978-1-62266-085-8

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition
July 2013

The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners
of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Baltimore Ravens, Honda Civic, Louis L’Amour, Jaguar, Nike, iPod, Buick, University
of Maryland, Towson University, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall
Airport.

This book is dedicated with hugs and appreciation to my husband Joe, and my two wonderful
and supportive children, JT and Erica. I love you and am so thankful for your support
of everything I do. I would also like to dedicate this to the hard working people
of Baltimore who strive to keep the city safe, beautiful, and a unique place to call
home. Communities, and the people who live in them, can make a difference.

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Baltimore, Maryland

Keely Allen’s feet pounded down the hallway, in rhythm with her hammering heart, and
her breath came in short puffs. Her instincts screamed at her to bolt out of the Baltimore
City Courthouse, because the ache she felt for the two kids she hadn’t been able to
help was unbearable. Instead, she ran past the front exit, down the marble hallway,
and into a conference room. Nevaeh Kaufman, her friend and fellow social worker for
the child abuse case, followed her in and shut the door.

Keely stared at Nevaeh. “How could Judge Lawrence make that ruling?”

“We can’t win ’em all, Keely.”

“How could a judge possibly think those two kids will be safe in that bastard’s custody?”

“The lawyer knew what to say, how to play the cards. The illegal search and seizure
itself was enough to get the dad off. When the doctor testified the marks on Tommy
and Ava weren’t necessarily consistent with abuse, it sealed their fate.
And
he’s their biological father.”

“Like that means anything.” Keely would see the children’s faces as she tried to sleep
in the coming nights. As a social worker at Child Protective Services, she’d trained
herself not to let the cases affect her personal life. But she wouldn’t be able to
forget these two. Little Ava reminded Keely of herself as a child. That girl needed
the chance at a decent life—the kind of life Keely had been lucky enough to find.

She sat at the conference room table and buried her head in her hands. Her eyes burned
from too much time spent on her laptop, her stomach growled from too much coffee,
and her heart ached from seeing too much pain. “I can’t do this anymore, Nevaeh.”

But what other career choices did she have? She’d become a social worker to fight
injustices against children, but now she felt…stuck.

Her cell phone vibrated in her pants pocket. She answered it, still distracted.

“Keely, hurry home…your father…”

Her heart stuttered. Margaret Beyer, her father’s next-door neighbor, sounded distressed.
The call disconnected before she could ask what was wrong. Her gut tightened.
Oh God.
What had happened to her father? She knew her father’s schedule—he should be at the
airport at this time of day. Why would he be at home?

She redialed Mrs. Beyer’s number, holding her breath. The call went directly to voice
mail. She disconnected, then called her dad’s cell.

“What’s wrong?” Nevaeh asked.

Keely shook her head while her father’s phone rang. “Something’s wrong with my father.”
That call, too, went to voice mail.

“Can I help?”

“I just need to get there.” She grabbed her briefcase and ran out of the conference
room. Why hadn’t either her father or Mrs. Beyer picked up? As she raced down the
hall, she punched 911 into her cell phone, then quickly explained to the operator
she thought her father could be in distress, gave her dad’s address, and hurried outside.
In seconds, she was in her car, racing to her father’s house.

She sped down Baltimore’s streets, gripping the steering wheel with sweaty hands.
Could it be her father’s heart? At seventy-five, he was active, still the preacher
of his church and the leader of Loving Arms—the non-profit he and Keely’s mom had
founded to help pregnant women. Her dad thought rest was for the weak. But Keely had
been after him to slow down lately.

Or maybe he’d been mugged. Her father’s neighborhood wasn’t the worst neighborhood
in Baltimore, but she knew the dangers of city living—the shootings, the drugs…the
murder rate.

She turned the corner onto Monroe Street. Three Baltimore city police cars with flashing
blue and red lights sat double-parked in front of her dad’s row home. Right behind
them: two ambulances.
No
.

After parking quickly, she ran to the house, where a young uniformed cop with a buzz-cut
moved in front of her, blocking the marble steps. He held up a hand. “Can’t go any
further than this, ma’am.”

She looked over the officer’s shoulder. Uniformed men walked in and out of the house
carrying evidence bags and clipboards, and wearing solemn looks on their faces. She
suddenly went dizzy and sick to her stomach.

“My dad. Ben Allen. His neighbor called me. Is he…”

“Ben Allen’s your dad?” The officer frowned. “I need to see some ID.”

A blue-eyed, pale-faced girl who had a dad with skin as dark as milk chocolate didn’t
add up for most people. She understood the officer’s hesitation. Her fingers felt
stiff and clumsy and it seemed to take forever to fish out her license. She read the
officer’s nametag as she handed him her ID: Tom Peterson.

After a quick inspection, Officer Peterson wrote her name on his clipboard. “This
is as close as you can get. It’s a crime scene.”

She swayed and grabbed the brick exterior for support. “Is my dad okay?”

“He’s injured. The EMTs are bringing him out soon.”

She whispered a prayer.
Ben
. Her adoptive dad…her rock. She shifted, and managed to get a view into the entryway.
She recognized her father’s neighbor, seated on the edge of a hardwood step, a female
medic bandaging a cut on her forehead. The woman looked up and caught her eye.

“Keely, oh thank God,” Mrs. Beyer called out.

To hell with the cop
. Keely would get as close as she could. She mounted the first marble step and stuck
her head through the doorway. “Where’s my dad?”

“I saw them, Keely. They wore ski masks and gloves, but I could see the area around
their eyes.” Her voice cracked near the end of the sentence.

“This lady here had a shotgun, but one of them clocked her pretty good,” the EMT said.

Mrs. Beyer was a staunch advocate for keeping her neighborhood safe, but the old ways
didn’t work so well with the newer generation. Keely glanced into the family room.
Papers, trash, and knickknacks littered the floor and rugs.

She looked up when two medics rolled a gurney toward her, through the family room.
Her father’s dark face peeked out from under a blanket, but she wasn’t even close
enough to see if his eyes were open or closed.

She took a tentative step forward. “Oh my God. Dad?”

An older policeman, wearing a suit and a detective’s badge lanyard around his neck,
rounded the corner of the foyer. “You can’t come in here.”

“Come on, Dunnigan. She’s his daughter,” Peterson said.

With a slight rise of his graying eyebrows, the detective stepped back a few feet,
then held out his arm to keep her stationary. “This is as close as you can get,” he
said.

She gasped when the EMTs rolled her dad closer. His eyes were swollen shut. Bright
blood—that looked like it had splattered and dripped from his head wound—stained his
polo shirt. His chest rose and fell.

Thank God. He’s alive.

“They’re taking him to Greene Street,” the detective said.

She fought the nausea and fear that ripped at her gut.
Oh dear God.
Only the worst injuries went to the hospital on Greene Street.

She yearned to step closer to the man who’d given her shelter and love when her biological
parents couldn’t. Since she couldn’t comfort him physically, she leaned forward. “You’re
going to be okay,” she whispered.

If only she could believe her own words.


Logan North’s heart palpitated as he steered his SUV through an intersection. He wouldn’t
break protocol by turning on the lights and siren, but he sure as hell would get to
the hospital as fast as possible. The words he and his partner had just heard on the
police radio echoed in his head. Ben Allen. Beaten unconscious and on his way to the
hospital.

“Shit. Slow down. At this rate, you’re gonna make it to the hospital before Ben’s
ambulance. You made me spill my coffee.” In the seat next to him, Anthony Quinn wiped
a hand on his jeans. “Bad enough the meeting with this damn snitch Jacko ended up
being mostly a bad lead, you have to spill my coffee?”

Logan ignored his partner. Ben was more than a neighbor, more than the pastor at his
childhood church. Ben was the closest thing to a father Logan had ever known. The
pastor had come closer to being a father than Logan’s own abusive parent. The man
whose anger coursed through him like poison.

Right now, Logan wanted to beat the bastard who’d done this to Ben to a bloody pulp.

Damn.
His temper was boiling over, and any instant he could turn into his dad. He needed
to bury that fucking urge. Hadn’t the charges of excessive force a year ago driven
the point home?

He cleared his throat. “Ben’s got to be okay. Keely’s probably beside herself.”

“Keely, eh? When was the last time you saw her?”

“Knock it off.” This wasn’t about his past relationship with Keely, it was about getting
to Ben and helping him.

“You think I don’t see what happens when her name comes up in conversation?”

He kept his gaze forward.

“Go ahead. Deny it. She’s the one who got away. The one you can’t forget.”

He clenched his jaw. The only way to deal with Quinn when he went off in a wrong direction
was to wait it out. Silence.

“Oh, fine,” Quinn said, settling back in his seat. “Let’s stay in safe territory,
then. Talk about the one part of Jacko’s tip that might be useful. Boats.”

Finally. Back to their case. Easier than discussing personal crap. “And women who
don’t speak English?”

“This shit reeks of human trafficking.”

“Jacko said he’d know more by tomorrow,” Logan said. “Let’s hope he stays sober between
now and then.” Jacko had an uncanny ability to lead police to criminals through his
tips from drug dealers. His information often led to arrests for murders and other
serious crimes. When those tips proved worthy, that is.

Often as not, Jacko came up empty, or flat-out wrong.

“We need more facts,” he added, “but it’s time to alert the detective in charge of
Human Trafficking.”

“Good idea. Maybe you can go out with a bang, you know…your last case before you leave
for Texas could be the huge bust that gets us awards and media attention.”

He wasn’t interested in attention or awards. Getting out of town and away from police
work was all he wanted. Too many years dealing with homicide—which included human
trafficking. He’d be starting his new desk job in Texas soon. He couldn’t wait.

Quinn’s silence shifted Logan’s attention back to Ben and his injuries. Would he be
okay?

Someone messed with Ben, they messed with Logan. He’d find out who hurt Ben. Then
he’d make sure that person would pay.

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