He swore a vow to protect and serve both mother and childKansas City had no better guardian than Sawyer Kincaid. The decorated police officer had a family legacy to uphold and a reputation that none could rival. Until one distress call ignited the most personal case of his career.... He'd saved Melissa Teague's life once--long before she had a son. The boy would be safe with Sawyer, but she wasn't so sure how she could bear his presence again, not when their feelings endangered them both. A man that powerful-- however gentle--scared her, no matter how right Sawyer fit. But this time her protector would not walk away, not with his family's lives on the line. This was his sworn duty.
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June 09, 2008
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Excerpt from Protective Instincts by Julie Miller
Sawyer Kincaid hated the rain.
He hated the sound of it beating against the green canvas tent top. He resented the clingy mist of it masking the tears on his mother's pale cheeks, as though it could somehow wash away her grief. He loathed the springtime chill of it running down the back of his neck beneath his collar.
But mostly he hated the way it beaded atop the black stripe that bisected the nickel-and-brass badge he wore on his chest--the way the moisture attached itself to every KCPD badge here.
Of course, he could move closer to the somber ceremony instead of standing back at the fringe of family and friends and colleagues. He could get under the tent, get out of the rain. But he was just too big a man to be standing at the front of the crowd if anyone else behind him wanted to see. Besides, getting closer wouldn't make the rain stop.
Getting closer wouldn't make the pain go away, either. "...but come ye back when summer's in the meadow, or when the valley's hushed and white with snow..."
For a moment Sawyer tore his attention away from the rain's gloomy rhythm to listen to his youngest brother Holden's rich, melodic voice. Their father would have loved his a cappella rendition of "Danny Boy."
But how the twenty-eight-year-old baby of the Kincaid family could sing at a time like this was beyond Sawyer's understanding. Maybe the kid was more put together than he'd given him credit for. Sawyer could barely push the thank-yous and glad-you-cames and Dad-would-be-pleased-to-see-you-heres beyond the tight constriction of his throat. A neck as thick as his wasn't built for wearing button-down shirts and black silk ties. The last time he'd worn his police dress uniform had been when he'd received his detective's shield. His dad had been there that day, too, shaking his hand and beaming proudly.
Today, Thomas Sawyer Kincaid was burying his father in the ground.
In the damn rain.
This ain't right.
The nagging mantra had plagued him since that phone call from the commissioner five days ago. "Your father's dead, Detective. John was murdered. His body was found in Swope Park--though the lab says that isn't the primary crime scene. I assure you, we're giving this case top priority. John was a good man. A good cop. He was my good friend. If there's anything I can do for any of you, let me know. I'm so sorry."
Sawyer spotted the lady commissioner standing at the front of the crowd, waiting to say a few words about her colleague and friend. Commissioner Shauna Cartwright-Masterson had been a real class act about the whole thing--paying a couple of visits to his mother, Susan, and steering the press away from the family. But the commissioner could talk until she was blue in the face. There just weren't enough good words that anyone could say to make this right.
John Kincaid had survived walking a beat in downtown K.C. He'd survived being a detective in vice and homicide. Last year he'd led an organized-crime task force that had brought down the Wolfe International crime syndicate.
He should have survived a damn run in the park. Sawyer shrugged the dampness and injustice of it all off his big shoulders, and concentrated on staying in the moment. He had to focus on the now, not the past, not the future--or else he'd start cussing or blubbering like a baby. An emotional outburst like that in front of all these people would be a real tribute to his father.
Like hell it would.
He blinked the stinging wetness from his eyes and inhaled a deep breath to cool his lungs. He turned away from troublesome thoughts and emotions and visually sought out the rest of his family.
Holden was wearing his dress blues, too. Standing at the foot of their father's flag-draped casket, he finished his song, saluted John Kincaid's memory, then resumed his seat beside their mother in the front row of chairs.
Another brother, Atticus, was in uniform as well, as he sat on the opposite side of Susan Kincaid with a stoic, unreadable look behind his dark-rimmed glasses. Atticus was the cool, calm and collected one. Though they'd all been spending time at the house these past few days, Atticus could keep it together better than any of them and provide the rock of support their mother would need.