High-Stakes Holiday Reunion  

By: Christy Barritt

A CHILD’S LIFE IS AT STAKE

When Christopher Jordan sees the fear in Ashley Wilson’s eyes, he knows he can’t let her request for help go unanswered. Despite their tumultuous history, he’s the only person his ex-fiancée can trust to find her kidnapped nephew. But how can Christopher trust her when he finds out that Ashley’s “nephew” is actually his son, the one she never told him about? With a terrorist cell convinced Ashley holds the key to accessing top secret government files, time is running out. And Christopher will stop at nothing to bring their little boy home in time for Christmas.

The Security Experts: Defenders against danger





Christopher leaned close enough that Ashley could feel his breath on her cheek. “Stay here.”

“Where are you going?” She grabbed his arm, desperate to keep her only known ally close—even if he had broken her heart at one time.

He locked gazes with her, that same confidence that had always made her feel safe shining in his gaze. “I’m going to find something to fight with.”

“But they have guns!”

“If I go down, I’m going to go down fighting, Ashley.” His voice was steady, holding not even a hint of disbelief. “I want you to stay in here. Understand?”

He tried to stand but Ashley pulled him back down. “I came here for your help, not to get you killed.”

His eyes softened for a moment. “I know. Trust me. Okay?”

She didn’t know if she could ever trust him again. But, in this moment, she had no choice. She nodded. Her heart pounded in her ears as he pulled the door open.

Something creaked outside.

The steps. Someone was coming up the steps.

Fear squeezed tighter as she braced herself for whatever was about to come.





*The Security Experts

CHRISTY BARRITT

loves stories and has been writing them for as long as she can remember. She gets her best ideas when she’s supposed to be paying attention to something else—like in a workshop or while driving down the road.

The second book in her Squeaky Clean Mystery series, Suspicious Minds, won the inspirational category of the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery. She’s also the coauthor of Changed: True Stories of Finding God in Christian Music.

When she’s not working on books, Christy writes articles for various publications. She’s also a weekly feature writer for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, the worship leader at her church and a frequent speaker at various writers’ groups, women’s luncheons and church events.

She’s married to Scott, a teacher and funny man extraordinaire. They have two sons, two dogs and a houseplant named Martha.

To learn more about her, visit her website, www.christybarritt.com.








ONE

As Ashley Wilson rounded the corner, her foot slammed onto the brakes.

What...?

In the distance, her brother’s house came into view. A commotion on the lawn caused her blood to freeze.

Three men in suits scuffled near the sidewalk. Her brother Josh’s tall, lanky form jerked in the middle of the crowd as he struggled against the men. What were they doing to her brother? Who were these men?

Her gaze went to the two black sedans parked at the curb. The men were trying to...force her brother into one?

She yanked her gaze from the scene to her clock. David. Where was the eight-year-old? His bus hadn’t come yet. It couldn’t have. Ashley was on her way to meet him, but had arrived a good ten minutes early.

Still, panic raced through her.

She wanted to throw the car into Park, rush from her seat and intercede. But there was no way she could overtake all of those men.

Her gaze zoomed in on the black metal at one of the men’s waistband. A gun. These men were armed.

Her heart stopped when she saw a tiny head bobbing in the crowd.

David. Her precious nephew, David. Her reason for waking up in the morning. Her reason for working at home as a web designer with flexible hours. Her heartbeat.

They had David. She covered her mouth as a guttural cry escaped.

How had they gotten David? He was supposed to be in school. Had Josh pulled him out early today?

Some of her logic returned, hitting her with the force of a lightning bolt. The police. She had to call the police. That was all there was to it.

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