Harbouring the secret pain of giving up her child for adoption thirteen years ago, Melanie Royal has hidden herself behind the quiet role of Head Librarian in Layley Hill. But then a crazed admirer rips her daughter from a loving home and Melanie is thrown into a race against time to save Sophie's life?
When Detective Inspector Kieran Joseph is put in charge of finding a missing thirteen- year- old girl, it evokes buried mistakes that he'd vowed never to repeat and so he?ll be suspicious of everyone this time, including the girl's sexy and achingly beautiful, mother, Melanie Royal?
(192 pages) Spicy
Her eyes were clouded now, turning them almost black as they challenged him from behind rimless glasses. Her mouth was set in a thin line of determination and she'd pulled her shoulders back as though bracing herself against a devastating blow.
Kieran inhaled deeply before meeting her gaze with careful professionalism.
“There's no easy way to say this, Melanie. Thirteen years ago, you gave up a little girl for adoption.” He paused, waiting for her reaction but her eyes remained level with his own. “I'm sorry to tell you that she's been abducted. We're not sure, but it's very possible whoever has taken her has every intention of reuniting her with you. Why? We don't yet know.”
He stopped to let the information sink in. A suspect's initial reaction was vital; a fleeting moment of guilt may be detectable before their brain registers an attack. This wasn't what Kieran saw pass over Melanie's face as he watched her bite down on her bottom lip. What he saw was stark shock and confusion.
“How can you be so sure it's Sophie?” Her voice was purposefully controlled.
He pulled the folded picture from his pocket and passed it to her. Her fingers shook as she carefully smoothed out the paper and came face to face with her daughter. She sucked in a sharp breath, her hand covering her open mouth. She turned tearful eyes to him and slowly shook her head.
“Someone's taken her? Do you know who it is? Why would they do this?”
“We don't have the answers to any of those questions yet. But we do need your help.”
“This is insane. I haven't even seen a picture of her since she was five.” She shook the picture of her now teenage daughter in front of his face. “How can this have anything to do with me?”
Kieran lowered his gaze. He suddenly felt so unbelievably inadequate. So damn useless standing in front of her unable to give any comfort whatsoever.