Protecting Her Secret Son

By: Regan Black

She could barely get the words out. “He said he’d send Aiden back to me in pieces if I involved the police.”

“Oh, Shannon.” He rubbed her shoulder.

The immense sympathy in those two words overwhelmed her. She didn’t know if she should lean into him or run away. “Thank you for helping her and fixing everything.”

“I followed you to help you,” he said, a lick of impatience in his voice. “You need to report this.”

“If I do and they hurt my baby, it will be my fault. I can’t live with that.”

“What’s really going on?”

“I don’t know much more than you do.” She didn’t realize she was crying again, or that Daniel had her wrapped in his arms until the fabric under her cheek was damp.

“Will you trust me?” Daniel asked when she quieted.

It seemed she already did.

* * *

Be sure to check out the next books in this miniseries:

Escape Club Heroes—Off-duty justice, full-time love

* * *

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of the Escape Club! This riverside hot spot for music lovers has also become known as a safe haven for people with problems that slip through the cracks of typical law-enforcement channels.

Daniel Jennings is facing a turning point. Will he take on more responsibility with his family’s construction company or stick with his passion of serving the community as a firefighter? It’s good to have options, but what he needs is some objective guidance.

An employee of Jennings Construction, Shannon Nolan, is facing a nightmare. When her young son is kidnapped while she’s at work, her relationship with her boss, Daniel, gets complicated. Yet soon it’s clear she’ll never see her son again without help from Daniel and his connections at the Escape Club.

Spending time with these characters became an intriguing and lovely study in what family means to each of us. I loved Shannon’s tenacity to carve out an ideal life with her son despite a deadly threat and Dan’s resolve to break through her stubborn, protective layers. I hope you’ll enjoy their journey and that soon these characters will feel like family to you, too.

Live the adventure,

Regan Black

Chapter 1

Shannon Nolan loved this stage of a building project, the spark and buzz in the air when the crew rode the rush of adrenaline as they neared another finish line. Dipping her brush in the small cup of paint, she glided another coat of glossy gray over the wide wood trim around the doors and windows. Her boss’s eye for design was almost as good as his eye for detail. It only spurred her on knowing that, when she was done here, she’d be assigned to the pro bono project the company had taken on last month.

Another perk of working for Jennings Construction, she thought. Beyond the steady work, good pay and great supervisors that made it easier on her as a single mom, the company kept a finger on the pulse of the community and frequently stepped in to help. The way she understood this project, a charity group had reached out to her boss, Daniel Jennings, and his father, the company owner, for help remodeling a home to make it more accessible for a police officer injured in the line of duty. She couldn’t wait to get over there and pitch in.

“That’s coming along, Shannon.”

Speak of the devil, she thought, smiling to herself. She carefully finished painting the section before turning to greet Daniel. Since he was a Philadelphia firefighter, the construction work was his secondary interest, although he could easily make an excellent living based on his construction skills. With his black hair, dark blue eyes and fit body, he probably made hearts race whether he was in his turnout gear or the Jennings T-shirt, jeans and loaded tool belt he wore now.

“We appreciate you coming in on a Saturday,” he said.

“No problem.” She stepped back to check her work. “The extra hours this week are a big help to me.”

He was paying her time and a half. The extra pay would be a welcome boost heading into the holidays. In her mind, she already had the money divided between her son’s college fund and the Christmas fund. At four years old, Aiden had a wish list for Santa Claus that ran toward a big-boy bike, a train set, Lego blocks and the perpetual request for a puppy. Although they were in a no-pet rental now, once they had a house with a little yard—still two years to go on that goal—she planned to make his puppy wishes come true.

The Christmas lists would only grow more elaborate and expensive as her son got older. However, raising him alone was a decision she’d never regretted. Despite the challenges and the occasional longing for adult conversation, she enjoyed every high and low moment with her son while squeezing the most out of every dollar she could earn.

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