Protecting Her Secret Son(9)

By: Regan Black



“If you give me the whole picture, we have a much better chance of success.” Grant drummed his fingers on the desktop, watching her. When she refused to volunteer any information, his penetrating gaze shifted to Daniel. “How did you meet Shannon?”

“She’s a Jennings employee,” he replied, taken aback.

“How’d you get yourself involved in this?”

Daniel didn’t care for his tone and his temper started to simmer. “This isn’t her fault.” Grant flicked his fingers, urging him to answer. “I was talking with her on the job this morning when the kidnapper first made contact.”

“So you trust her?”

“Yes.”

“I’m right here,” Shannon snapped.

“I know.” Grant gave her a cool stare. “Until you give me what I need, I’m forced to tackle this from a different angle. How can we help you if you don’t help us?”

“The kidnapper said no police,” she replied.

Grant pointed at himself. “I own a nightclub.” He aimed that same finger at Daniel. “Firefighter and contractor, right there. I don’t see any cops here.”

Again, her silence stretched, filling the room.

Grant opened his mouth and Daniel knew what was coming. “Not so fast,” he said to both of them. “She needs us,” he said to Grant, then shot a glare at Shannon. “No disrespect intended, Shannon. You’ve done a great job on your own from what I’ve seen, but this isn’t a matter of independence or providing. You’re up against hard men, criminals who’ve done this before, in my opinion.”

“I’d agree, based on the sitter’s account,” Grant added.

“Shannon, you need Grant’s connections to get your son back safely.”

“They will send Aiden back to me in pieces.” She curled into herself, rocking a little. “It doesn’t matter who has connections.” She hiccupped as tears slid down her face again. “I h-have no influence over Aiden’s father. When the kidnappers realize it, Aiden is no use to them.”

Grant pushed to his feet, sent the chair rolling back as he leaned over the desk. Daniel had never seen him take such an intimidating tack with a person asking for help. “Tell me who the father is.”

Shannon’s shoulders trembled and her eyes were locked on her work boots. “Bradley Stanwood.”

“I’ll be damned.” He yanked his chair back into place. “Stanwood of New York.” The chair protested with another loud creak as he dropped into it. “I knew you looked familiar.”

“Pardon?” Daniel looked from Grant to Shannon and back again. Had she been a celebrity or married to one? That wasn’t something he kept up with, though there were people on his crews that did. “You know her? How is that?”

“Her ex-husband has ties to organized crime up and down the East Coast.” Grant rubbed at the lines creasing his forehead. “When I was still a cop, Stanwood and his less-polished associates were connected to more than a few crimes here in Philly. My guess is one of his enemies grabbed their son for leverage.”

With better context, the name clicked into place for Daniel. He managed to smother an oath before it slipped out.

Shannon sniffled, rocking gently again. “You can’t help me at all, can you?”

“On the contrary,” Grant said, fingers drumming on the desktop again. “Now that I know what we’re dealing with, I’ve got a few ideas brewing already.”





Chapter 2

Shannon stared at Grant, wishing the floor would open up and swallow her whole. This was the first time since leaving New York that she’d faced someone who understood what a big mistake her marriage had been. Settling in Philly, she’d been able to start over with a new name and a clean slate, free of Bradley’s unpleasant baggage. From the sound of it, this former cop knew her husband better than she had before she’d said her vows.

Yes, she’d found her backbone and negotiated a divorce before their second wedding anniversary, but that victory felt small and empty now.

“What sort of ideas?” Hope warred with caution. Her ex had a long reach, obviously, and serious connections as well. What a fool she’d been to think Philly was far enough removed from his circle of power in New York.

Grant studied her, the anger and intimidation replaced by kindness and compassion. She felt small and petty for being irritated by it. Her wounded pride did Aiden no good. She needed Grant’s help, his plans, if they were to rescue her son quickly.

The former cop countered her question with another. “There hasn’t been a true ransom demand?”

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