Single Father Sheriff

By: Carol Ericson

The unsolved case that once tore a sheriff’s town apart had resurfaced, threatening both his baby girl and a beautiful witness...

When two children go missing, every parent’s worst fear becomes Sheriff Cooper Sloane’s reality. The single father doesn’t have a minute to waste, and only a single lead: Kendall Rush. Her return to Timberline stirs up a lot of town chatter, since she was at the center of a similar case twenty-five years ago. Despite Kendall’s tragic past, Cooper is more than willing to play the bad guy. But he couldn’t prepare himself for her vulnerability, or determination. As the kidnapper’s taunts turn horrific, Cooper and Kendall must stop this sick game before it hits even closer to home...





Kendall’s scream pierced the still night and turned the blood in Coop’s veins to ice.

Coop had already been making his way back down the drive when he’d heard Kendall’s truck coming back to the house. Now his boots grappled for purchase against the soggy leaves on the walkway as he ran toward Kendall.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” By the time he reached her, he was panting as if he’d just run a marathon.

She’d stumbled back from the truck and stood staring at the tailgate with wide, glassy eyes. Raising her arm, she pointed to the truck with her cell phone. She worked her jaw but couldn’t form any words—no coherent words, anyway.

He pried the phone from her stiff fingers, aimed the light at the truck bed and jumped onto the bumper. The phone illuminated a light-colored tarp with something rolled up in it.

“I-it’s a body.”





CAST OF CHARACTERS

Kendall Rush—Her traumatic past comes back to haunt her when she returns to Timberline, Washington. She wants nothing to do with the current kidnappings…until she meets the sexy sheriff who needs her help.

Cooper Sloane—The sheriff of Timberline and a single dad, he’s counting on Kendall to give him some information that will help him find two missing children.

Kayla Rush—Kendall’s twin was kidnapped twenty-five years ago and Kendall has never gotten over it.

Stevie Carson—One of the original Timberline Trio, whose brother, Wyatt, is still suffering from the trauma.

Steffi Sloane—Coop’s daughter lost her mother, but she’s not so sure she wants a replacement.

Chuck Rawlings—This registered sex offender was investigated during the first set of kidnappings, and he might just be involved in the second set.

Gary Binder—A recovering drug addict and ex-con, he’s trying to get his life back on track.

Wyatt Carson—Like Kendall, he has had to deal with the trauma of losing a sibling to a kidnapper, but the tragedy has brought him to a very dark place.

Dr. Jules Shipman—Coop blames this therapist for his wife’s suicide.

Agent Matt Waterford—The FBI agent assigned to the kidnapping task force whose inability to think outside the box may end up getting three children killed.

Annie Foster—A member of the Quileute tribe, she warns Kendall that the local members of the tribe fear there is an even more sinister purpose to the kidnappings than ransom or trafficking.





Chapter One

“Let go of my sister.” The little girl with the dark pigtails scrunched up her face and stomped on the masked stranger’s foot.

He reached out one hand and squeezed her shoulder, but she twisted out of his grasp and renewed her assault on him, pummeling his thigh with her tiny fists.

The monster growled and swatted at the little girl, knocking her to the floor. “You’re too much damned trouble.”

As he backed up toward the door, carrying her sleeping twin over one shoulder, the girl lunged at his legs. “Put her down!”

With his free hand, the stranger clamped down on the top of her head, digging his fingers into her scalp, holding her at bay. As he gave one last push, he yanked off the pink ribbon tied around one of her pigtails and left her sprawled on the floor.

She scrambled to her knees, rubbing the back of her head. Whatever happened, she couldn’t let the man take Kayla out that door. She crawled toward his legs once more.

“Your parents are gonna wish I took you instead of this one.” Then he kicked her in the face and everything went black.

* * *

KENDALL RAN A HAND across her jaw as she dropped to her knees in front of the door. “I’m sorry, Kayla. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.”

Common sense and her therapist’s assertion that a five-year-old couldn’t have done much against a full-grown man intent on kidnapping her twin were no match for twenty-five years of guilt.

Kendall leaned forward, touching her forehead to the hardwood floor. She’d relegated the trauma of that event to her past, stuffed it down, shoved it into the dark corner where it belonged. Now someone in Timberline was bringing it all back and that sheriff expected her to help in the investigation of a new set of kidnappings.

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