In his old life as a Federal agent, Wyatt Blake lived wild. But now that he's parenting a teenage son, "square" is a name he wears with pride. Too bad Jordy doesn't agree. The only one who gets through to the boy is Kai Reynolds. Sure, she seems respectable now, but she used to be quite wild herself. Or so Wyatt's heard.
Danger finds Jordy, and drags Kai in, too. As Wyatt and Kai investigate the drug dealers targeting his son, they uncover a deadly link to Wyatt's own past. Now this unlikely duo needs to find the wild side each had thought long buried--for Jordy, and maybe for each other.
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March 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Always a Hero by Justine Davis
"I hate you! I hate this place. I want to go home."
"I know. Just do it."
Jordan Price threw down the rake, scattering the leaves he'd just gathered. His father chose not to point out that he'd just guaranteed himself more time spent in the task he loathed.
"I'm never going to be such a jerk to my kids."
Wyatt Blake smothered a sigh, but managed to keep his tone reasonable; he remembered thinking much worse thoughts about his own father. And at younger than thirteen, too.
So that's how you want you and Jordan to be? Like you and your father?
He fought down his gut reaction and spoke calmly.
"If you don't learn to finish what you start, your kids won't listen to you anyway. If you can even find a woman who'd have them with a man who doesn't keep his word."
Yeah, right. You're such an expert on keeping promises.
"I don't know why Mom married you anyway."
"It's a mystery. Finish."
The grumbling continued, with a couple of words muttered under the boy's breath that Wyatt decided not to hear. He had enough on his plate at the moment, trying to keep the kid out of serious trouble, without expending energy on his language. If he didn't straighten around soon, a few obscenities would be the least of his problems.
Later, when after another battle Jordan had gone to bed, Wyatt went through his nightly ritual at the computer that sat in the corner of the den. Jordan wasn't allowed to have it in his room, another bone of contention. But tonight something disrupted the usual process; a message alert window popped up. One he had hoped he'd never see.
He went still. Maybe it was a mistake, a computer glitch. They were prone to that, one-time, inexplicable weirdness.
For a long moment he did nothing, postponing the inevitable. A measure of how far he'd come, he supposed, that he didn't dive in instantly.
Finally, knowing he had no choice, he began the digging process that would take him to the program buried deep within the computer's file structure. There was no convenient icon for this one, no listing on the menus, no easy way to get there. And once he was there, the encryption was so deep it would take him five minutes to work his way through all the levels.
Assuming he could remember the damned process, let alone the multiple passwords.
In the end it took him six minutes and change. But at last the screen opened. The message was short. Far too short to have the effect it did.
Old acquaintance asking for you. Afraid I gave him wrong directions, but maybe he'll find you anyway. Was a friendly when you knew him, but keep your eyes open.
He stared at the unsigned message. He didn't need a signature, there was only one person who knew how to contact him this way. Who knew how to contact him at all. When he'd left that world he'd literally cashed out, cutting all ties. The man who'd sent him this email had spent a great deal of time convincing him to agree to this one thin thread of connection.
The message was innocuous enough on the surface, but he knew better. It was a warning as surely as if it were a fire alarm.
He'd spent most of his adult life knowing his past could catch up with him someday. That past held too many grim memories for him to relish the idea, but that didn't change the possibility. He'd always looked upon it as a cost of doing business, his business at least.
But now there was Jordan, and that changed everything.
Knowing there was nothing more to be gained by staring at this unexpected jab from the past, he quickly typed one word that would serve as both acknowledgment and thanks, and sent it. Then he deleted the message, reset the encryption and exited. The small but sophisticated program would...