What would a mother do to find her kidnapped son?
Sandi Rose is used to being in control. When her thirteen year old son
Neal is kidnapped, she uses her skills as an investigative reporter to
try to find him...until police ban her from the case after she's
caught breaking into a suspect's home. A week later Neal escapes. And
the kidnappers vanish.
Seven months pass... It should be over now, but it isn't. Neal is
still tormented by nightmares and the police are no closer to finding
the people who held and tortured him. When an innocent
misunderstanding makes Sandi think her son has been kidnapped again,
she realizes they can't continue on like this. Unless they want to
spend the rest of their lives in fear, the kidnappers have to be
caught. Since the police no longer seem to care, she is forced to
solve the case herself.
But someone will do anything to keep her from discovering the truth
behind the kidnapping, even commit under. Now, falsely accused of the
suspicious death of two co-workers and unable to prove her innocence.
Sandi is caught up in a situation she can no longer control. What she
eventually uncovers will shatter everything she's ever believed about
her family and friends and will force Neal to make a decision that may
well ruin both their lives.
"Who's next?" Neal asked.
No one stepped forward. Not that Neal blamed them. Ruben had already
defeated two other kids that evening and was looking for his third. He
stood off to the side now, pounding his gloved fists together and
glaring at the crowd. It was up to Neal to provide his next opponent.
"Well," he said, hands on his hips as he paced in front of the thirty
or so kids standing in a ring around the dusty room, Derrick and Tyler
marching along behind him like obedient soldiers. "Has anyone got the
balls to fight, or are you all a bunch of lily-livered cowards?" He
didn't shout. There was no need. They heard him well enough. Besides,
his words had their own kind of power. No one liked to be called a
The crowd ranged in age from twelve to seventeen, but they all looked
up to him, respected him. At thirteen, he'd been through more than all
thirty combined. And survived.
"If you're so brave, why don't you fight him yourself?" one of the
kids yelled. Neal couldn't tell who.
He shook his head. There was always an excuse. People loved excuses;
it made them feel justified in their actions. Or inactions. Neal had
experience with both.
He walked over to Ruben, put a hand on his shoulder and looked out at
the crowd. "Because I'm his coach." And because he was smarter than
that. And because the big, stupid bully would do anything he told him
as long as he found him kids to beat up. But he didn't say all that
out loud. It was the gang's secret. Ruben and Derrick and Tyler. His
Finally, a kid stepped forward and raised a tentative hand. "I'll do it."
Neal almost turned him down. The kid wouldn't provide much of a show.
He was their age, chubby, wearing too-large pants, last year's
sneakers and socks that kept sliding down inside his shoes. A real
victim. The last kid Neal would have expected to volunteer, which was
why he smiled and nodded and shook the kid's hand instead of telling
him to get lost. It took guts to step up when you knew you were going
to lose. "What's your name?" he asked.
"Freddie," the kid said, glaring at Neal as if daring him to laugh.
"Derrick, get Freddie here a helmet and a set of boxing gloves."