About Rediscovering Family
Author: Sean Michael
Word Count: 53000
Page Count (pdf): 232
Date Published: May 25, 2021
Publisher: Sean Michael
Heat Rating: 3
File Types available: epub, mobi, pd
This title has been moved to KU
Sometimes life gives you a second chance.
Bruce Dawson and Todd Greene had it all. A happy marriage, fulfilling careers and a brand new baby girl. When their nanny of three days kidnaped their daughter Olive, their world fell apart.
Two years later, divorced and working himself to death, Bruce gets a call that will change the downward trajectory of his life forever. Just three words: they found her.
Now Bruce and Todd must work together to provide the home their daughter deserves, and not only their own daughter, but the little girl found with her as well. To make matters even more complicated, Todd has a son on the way.
Join Bruce and Todd as they reconnect and rediscover what it means to be a family.
Bruce Dawson finished the plans for the Anderson house, making sure he hit save on the file. He’d double-check everything in the morning before sending it off to the Andersons. His stomach snarled at him, but he ignored it; he’d pick something up on the way home, if he went home. It wouldn’t be the first time he slept on the couch in his office. Hell, it wouldn’t be the first time this week.
He looked at his to-do list and then went to grab the fabric swatches he needed for the Willard job. He’d just finish that off and then head home. He could check on the work being done on the Fairbanks Avenue house on the way. That should get him home sometime after—he glanced at his watch, it was 8:15—ten or even close to eleven. He’d eat, take a sleeping pill, and be out like a light, and tomorrow, he could do it all over again.
It was long, hard work, being the best designer in town, but that’s how he liked it—no time to focus on anything but the job.
He rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to stave off the headache that was coming, but he wasn’t sure it was going to work. It was sitting right there like a toad, squatting and waiting for him.
He grabbed a bottle of pills and downed a couple dry, hoping that would do it.
The view from the window of the twentieth floor was stunning, letting him look over the city. Somewhere, out there, were thousands of happy people loving each other, creating families.
That used to be him before…he shied away from the direction his thoughts were going. He didn’t think about that. Ever.
He started going through swatches, trying to remember what the Willard’s house even looked like, let alone the furniture he was sourcing for them.
His phone rang, an unfamiliar number popping up.
He hit answer and put it on speaker. “Bruce Dawson.”
“Bruce. Bruce, they found her.” That voice was familiar—partially because he’d been married to Todd Greene for six years, and partially because Todd was crying. Todd had cried the entire last year of their marriage.
“What?” His heart started thumping, hard, and he had to sit down before he fell down. “They found Olive’s body?”
“What?” Todd’s voice got more hysterical. “No. No, they found Renee, and she had Olive with her. They were in hiding in Toronto. They found Olive. Our baby. You have to meet me.”
Olive. She was alive. Oh fuck.
Memories flooded back, their baby girl. They’d had three months with her before the nanny had stolen her. Half days. They only needed her for half a day four days and week, and on day three she’d taken their daughter and disappeared. That had been two years ago. He was going to throw up.
He realized Todd was talking again and he hadn’t heard a word. “What?” It was like all the rest of his words had been stolen. “I didn’t hear what you said.”
“Come to the police station on Elgin. I need your help. Please. She’s our baby. Please, Bruce.”
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” Ten if he ran. He was right downtown and it wasn’t that far up to Elgin and Catherine. Close enough that waiting for an Uber or a bus would take more time than actually getting there by foot.
He pocketed his phone and grabbed his jacket, remembering at the last minute to lock the door to his office suite. He mashed the elevator button again and again. Come on, come on. He needed to get there. He still couldn’t believe what Todd had said, that they’d found Olive. That she was alive.
They had been so happy, so excited for their little girl, and then, in a second, Olive was gone. Todd had collapsed, unable to pick himself up, and honestly, all Bruce knew to do was pour himself into work and spend more and more time at the office.
The divorce had been fast, silent—Todd got the house, he got the business, and they never spoke again.
Not for a full year.
Not until today.
The elevator finally showed up and he stepped in, pressed ground, and began to pace. Seven steps, the wall, seven steps the other way, the wall, repeat. The doors opened, and it took him a few breaths to collect himself and remember he had to walk out, had to move, to make his way to the police department. He didn’t remember a second of it when he got there, pushing through the doors into the brightly lit building.
Todd met him in the lobby, running right to him. “They want to speak to us before they let us take her home. She’s okay. They have that bitch in custody.”
“Okay. Where do we go?” He was running on autopilot. None of this seemed real. Not one bit of it.
“This way. Hurry.” Todd’s hair was longer than he remembered, the curly red hair wild and bouncy. He led Bruce down a long hallway to a little conference room. “Officer Debrees? We’re both here. Please. We need to see our daughter.”
Our daughter. Bruce could remember the little bundle of joy like it was yesterday. Every thin hair on her head, the way she smelled. The way she would wrap her fingers around one of his and hold on tight as he fed her, those huge eyes staring right up at him like he was the entire world.
“First, we need you to identify Renee Roberts in a lineup. Then we’ll get the child psychologist in here—he needs to talk to you. And we need to discuss what you two are going to do about custody.”
“We’re taking her home.” Todd looked at him, pleading. “Right, Bruce? Together? We’re taking her out of here?”
He took a deep breath and pulled himself together. This was insane, but Todd was right. They would take Olive home, and they could figure all the details out later. He wasn’t sure he could see Renee again without trying to tear her limb from limb, but he would do his best.
“Yeah. Let’s get this over with. Show us the motherfucking kidnapper.”
Todd relaxed, then nodded. “Now. Let’s identify her and lock her up. That’s our little girl.”
They followed Officer Debrees into a small room, and she explained how the lineup was going to work. He curled his hands into fists as he waited for them to light up the room on the other side of the glass. He took some deep breaths, reminding himself that he was in a police station and if he killed the woman who’d stolen his child, they’d have to arrest him.
He grabbed Todd’s hand as the light came on, showing them five women beyond the glass. This was insane. He narrowed in on number four immediately. The evil bitch had cut off all her blonde hair and dyed what was left blue. This totally normal-looking woman was covered in piercings and tattoos now, like she was camouflaging herself. It was her, though, no question.
“Number four.” He and Todd spoke together.
After that, they signed things, a ton of things, and then they sat together back in the little conference room.
He looked over at Todd. “I can’t believe we’re sitting here right now. It honestly doesn’t seem real.”
“No. No, but—I mean, she’s two. Walking. Starting to talk. She’s going to come home.”
The door opened and this man walked in. They stood, shook hands. They all sat. Jesus, this was maddening.
“I’m Dr. Phillips. I called you this afternoon.”
“Yes. Thank you.” Todd looked like he was about to bite something. “Where’s Olive?”
Todd looked at him, begging for help.
Bruce cleared his throat and put on his best I’m-giving-it-to-you-straight face. “Look. She was stolen from us two years ago and you finally found her. Two years it took you. We don’t want to wait another two before we take her home.” She was still theirs, right? They had the paperwork. They were her fathers. Legally.
“I realize that, but we have a problem.”
“Ms. Roberts was a serial kidnapper. We’ve found all the other parents, except for one little four-year-old girl. I—We’re asking all the parents if they’d be willing to give her a place to sleep so she’s not dumped into the system.”
“What?” he started, when Todd simply said, “Yes.”
He whipped his head around to stare at Todd. Had he just said yes?
Todd was nodding. “We’ll take her home. She’s got to be terrified. Of course we’ll take her home.”
He held Todd’s gaze for a long moment, but he knew it was the right thing to do, and he nodded too. “Yeah, we’ll take her.”