Saturday Sampler: Missing by Lynette Eason

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Missing, love-inspired suspense from Lynette Eason.

As one reviewer said: Missing by Lynette Eason is a good Christian suspense/romance novel. It was very much the prodigal daughter returning home – just like the author said, but she wrote it in a way that was relatable and thought provoking. I also like how the author made our heroine’s parents human. They made mistakes – but in the end they were all able to forgive each other because they realized that they were all sinners and in need of God’s forgiveness.

The Story

Her daughter is the most important person in Lacey Gibson’s world. So when the girl disappears, Lacey will do anything to find her. Even track down a man she hasn’t seen in sixteen years—U.S. Marshall Mason Stone, the father of her child.

Mason was perfectly content with his life until Lacey arrived. Her confession that their daughter—the daughter he didn’t know they had—is missing shakes his carefully controlled world. But there’s no time to adjust as they race to find their child, catch the kidnappers…and learn whether they can have a second chance at happily-ever-after.

The Sampler

Lynette Eason
Lynette Eason

“My daughter’s missing and I need your help.”

Mason stared down at the distraught redheaded woman standing on his front porch, tears swimming in her eyes, fists clenched at her side.

Shock immobilized him for a brief moment, then with an effort, he found his voice.

“Lacey Gibson.” Just saying her name transported him to the past. His first love. His first romantic heartbreak. She hadn’t changed a bit.

At least on the outside.

If her heart was as traitorous as he remembered, he was in deep trouble.

The fact that his own heart did its best to leap from his chest in joyous welcome surprised him so much he almost swallowed his tongue.

What was she doing here? And what had she said? His brain had ceased to function the minute he realized who’d knocked on his door.

Stepping toward him, she placed her hands on his chest, tears threatening to spill from those green eyes that had captivated him at first glance. She pleaded, “I need your help. Bethany’s missing and no one seems to know why, or who she may have disappeared with—and no one seems to even care or want to listen to what I have to say or—”

A finger over her lips effectively cut off her monologue—and sent fire shooting along his nerve endings. He remembered covering those sweet lips with his, kissing her until they were both breathless and…

First things first. “What are you doing here and who is Bethany?”

She seemed oblivious to the fact that she still had her hands on his chest. He wasn’t in any hurry for her to remove them.

Much to his disgust.

Was he still so besotted with her that he’d forgotten what she’d done to him sixteen years ago?

No way. He’d gotten over her a long time ago.

Or so he tried to convince himself.

And yet somehow he found himself standing in his foyer with Lacey Gibson practically wrapped in his arms—and liking it.

Clearing his throat, he stepped back, took her hand—a soft hand, he noted—and pulled her into the den. There, he deposited her on the couch and asked, “Do you need a drink of water? Some coffee?” He looked at the tears that had now spilled over to track their way down her pale cheeks. “A tissue?”

“Yes to the tissue, no to the drink.”

Mason reached around her and, with only a twinge of pain in his left shoulder, snatched a tissue from the end table and handed it to her. The only reason Lacey had found him at home at ten-thirty on a Tuesday morning was because he’d been forbidden to go back to work for another two weeks.

Being shot in the line of duty had been a real pain. Both physically and mentally. As a Deputy U.S. Marshal, he was used to action and staying busy. Being out on medical leave was definitely not on his top-one-hundred-favorite-things-to-do list. But he was almost finished with that.

And he had a feeling his days of boredom had just come to an end. She had a daughter? His gut tightened. “Why do you think she’s missing, and what do you think I can do to find her?” What he wanted to ask was why she’d chosen to come to him about it. Instead, he leaned back against the couch and studied the woman before him.

Her fiery red curls were pulled up into some kind of scrunchy thing women seemed to like. Her normally sparkling green eyes were set in an oval-shaped face that looked pale and drawn, stressed and tired. Light gray bags under her eyes attested to some lost sleep.

But she was still beautiful, and his heart warmed.

Which meant she could still be dangerous, his head argued.

His heart agreed, but from the way it threatened to beat out of his chest, Mason didn’t think it cared.

She raised the tissue and swiped a few tears then took a deep breath. “Bethany is my fifteen-year-old daughter. She’s been gone for two days now.” She looked at the ceiling. “Today’s Tuesday. I last saw her Sunday morning when I went to wake her up for church. She mumbled that she didn’t feel good so I let her sleep. When I got home, she wasn’t there. I called her cell phone and she didn’t answer.”

“Does she usually answer when you call?”

Lacey blinked and took another swipe at the tears. “Yes, usually. So, I waited awhile, then tried again. And kept trying. When I still didn’t hear anything, I called a few of her friends. The ones that I managed to get on the line didn’t know where she was. When she wasn’t home and hadn’t called by dark, I went looking for her. I couldn’t find her, so I started calling all of her friends again. Not one of them knew…” Her breath hitched and more tears leaked. She turned wet emerald-green eyes on him, pleading. “She’s not answering her cell phone and she missed school yesterday…” She lifted her hands and swallowed. “I went to the police and they’re treating her as a runaway. No one else will do anything and I just don’t know what else to do. Please help me, Mason.”

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