Authors: Lynette Eason
Tags: #Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Love Inspired Suspense May 2015 â Box Set 1 of 2
Trail of Evidence
More of the suspense you love â now Love Inspired Suspense brings you six new titles, in two convenient box sets! Enjoy these contemporary heart-pounding tales of suspense, romance, hope and faith. This Love Inspired Suspense box set includes
Trail of Evidence
by Lynette Eason,
by Camy Tang and
by Elisabeth Rees.
Look for 6 new inspirational suspense stories every month from Love Inspired Suspense!
Table of Contents
SAVING HIS SON
Why is a dead woman's phoneâevidence in a murder investigationâin Jonas Parker's son's bedroom? Dangerous thugs are after that phone
his terrified teenager, so the single father turns to Capitol K-9 Unit officer Brooke Clark. Years ago, Brooke broke Jonas's heart without explanation. But he has to trust her and her highly trained golden retriever to keep his son safe. When the boy goes missing, Jonas and Brooke must make peace with their past to find the teenâbefore increasingly desperate criminals get to him first.
Capitol K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners.
“I hate to ask this, butâ¦”
Brooke looked uncomfortable.
“What?” Jonas asked.
“Your son had a dead woman's cell phone in his room. Do you think he had anything to do with her death?”
Jonas stepped back, her words hurting more than if she'd slapped him. “What? No. Of course not.” He raked a hand through his hair, hating the flash of doubt that raced through him. “No. I mean my son has been getting in some trouble lately, but he'd never hurtâkillâsomeone over a stupid phone.”
She held up a hand. “Just had to ask.”
The anger fizzled as fast as it had flamed. “I understand why you might ask that, but no. It's not possible.”
“Then how did the phone wind up under his mattress two months after its owner was found murdered?”
* * *
CAPITOL K-9 UNIT:
These lawmen solve the toughest cases
with the help of their brave canine partners
âShirlee McCoy, March 2015
Duty Bound Guardian
âTerri Reed, April 2015
Trail of Evidence
âLynette Eason, May 2015
âMargaret Daley, June 2015
âValerie Hansen, July 2015
Proof of Innocence
âLenora Worth, August 2015
is a bestselling, award-winning author who makes her home in South Carolina with her husband and two teenage children. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her family and teaching at various writing conferences around the country. She is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Lynette can often be found online interacting with her readers. You can find her at
and on Twitter at
Books by Lynette Eason
Love Inspired Suspense
Capitol K-9 Unit
Trail of Evidence
Hide and Seek
Her Stolen Past
Rose Mountain Refuge
Danger on the Mountain
Visit the Author Profile page at
for more titles
TRAIL OF EVIDENCE
By Lynette Eason
This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
Dedicated to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You for giving me the passion to write and to write for You.
eterinarian Jonas Parker jerked from his slight doze and lay still in the recliner where he'd crashed only a few minutes earlier shortly after midnight. He'd spent the night treating a longtime client's Doberman, who'd gotten hit by a car. A few lacerations and a couple of broken bones later, the dog now rested in the kennel at the office and Jonas had come home to get some much-needed rest. Only now he was hearing things. His ears honed in on the noises of his house and he frowned, wondering what had awakened him.
Silence echoed back at him.
Annoyance rushed through him. He'd just gotten relaxed enough to maybe fall asleep, and his house settling had disturbed him. He snorted. Earplugs might be a good investment. He closed his eyes and let out a low breath.
Jonas shot into a sitting position as his blood pounded through his veins.
That wasn't the house settling. Someone was
his house. Upstairs.
He had to get to Felix, his thirteen-year-old son. He froze, his thoughts scrambling. No. Wait. It was Saturday night. Felix was sleeping over at a friend's. A flash of relief, then determination made his heart kick up speed.
Who was it? What did the intruder want? Money? Jewelry? Moving as silently as possible, Jonas rose from the recliner and stood, fingers clenching and unclenching at his sides.
He needed to be able to defend himself.
Where was his phone? He had to call for help. And get out.
The stairs creaked. He stopped at the edge of the room.
To get to either the front door or the back, he would have to go through the kitchen. Which meant passing the stairs.
While his adrenaline pounded, Jonas thought hard. His cell phone was on the kitchen counter. He didn't have a landline.
Soft footfalls on the steps reached his ears as though someone didn't want to make a lot of noise, but wasn't very skilled at being quiet.
Jonas grabbed the nearest thing he could use as a weapon from the built-in shelf. Felix's track meet trophy, his son's pride and joy. Hefting it in his left hand, he decided to bolt for the kitchen, grab his phone from the counter and keep going out the back door. He'd avoid a confrontation if at all possible but he needed to get help on the way.
Grab the phone, get out and call for help. A good plan. He slipped past the bottom of the steps, praying the darkness hid him from whoever was on them. In the kitchen, moonlight filtering from the window over the sink illuminated the way.
The floor creaked behind him.
A hard hand centered itself in the middle of his back and a hard shove propelled him into the kitchen table. Jonas bounced, stumbled and crashed into the refrigerator. Felix's trophy tumbled from his fingers. Fury boiled through him and he spun, striking out, praying to hit something. He landed a hard fist on his attacker's face.
A hiss of surprise and a curse reached his ears.
Jonas managed to grab the trophy once more. Then the feel of something hard and cold against his left cheek froze him. “I have a son,” he whispered. “He needs me.”
“Give me the phone.”
“What phone?” Jonas clutched the trophy, his mind racing.
“Give me the phone!”
The weapon moved, slipping from his cheek. Jonas brought the base of the heavy trophy up and moved sideways at the same time. He connected with the attacker's stomach, heard a whoosh, then the gun clattering on the floor. The man cursed, swept his hand out and grabbed the gun. Jonas swung the trophy once more, connected. The intruder gave a harsh cry and bolted for the door.
Jonas panted and rose to go after him. Then thought of his son and stopped.
He grabbed his cell phone from the counter and dialed 911.
* * *
Brooke Clark pushed the laptop away and rubbed her gritty eyes. One in the morning and she was on her laptop? She needed to be sensible and get some sleep. But her adrenaline was still high even though her eyes longed to shut.
She'd just walked in the door an hour ago from a crime scene where Mercy, her very skilled K-9 golden retriever, had done her job well. She'd recovered some key evidence in a bank robbery and once testing was done on the glove, Brooke knew the DNA would put the criminal away.
Unfortunately, sleep would have to wait. She groaned, settled into the recliner and decided to keep working on the case that had caused her and her team no end of frustration.
Congressman Harland Jeffries continued to pound home the fact that his son's murder still wasn't solved. Late one night two months ago, someone had killed Michael Jeffries. Michael wasn't just the congressman's son, but was also a well-respected lawyer. The congressman had come upon the scene, his son on the ground, shot, and the murderer standing over Michael's body. The killer had turned the gun on the congressman and shot him, leaving him for dead. Only Harland hadn't died. He'd lived to tell the story and demand justice for his son. Unfortunately, darkness had prevented the congressman from seeing the murderer's face, so the hunt was still on to find the person responsible.
She and the other members of the Capitol K-9 team wouldn't be granted rest until the case was solved. Brooke loved her job, but frustration built at the lack of progress when it came to finding answers. She flipped the page in the file. Rosa Gomez, Congressman Jeffries's housekeeper, was also connected to the case. Shortly before the shooting, Rosa had been found dead at the base of the cliffs in President's Park. “Which hasn't been technically proved to be murder. It could have been an accident,” she told Mercy. The dog yawned, then gave a low whine and nudged against her hand. The animal's affection made her smile and run her hand over Mercy's silky soft ears.
Mercy, her sweetâand super smartâgolden retriever. Highly trained, Mercy and Brooke were partners in the elite Capitol K-9 Unit based in Washington, DC. Mercy specialized in retrieving evidence. Brooke sighed. She wished there were some evidence to be retrieved in either Michael Jeffries's murder or Rosa Gomez's death. “It's all right, girl. Just because I'm up doesn't mean you have to lose out on a good night's sleep.” Mercy heaved a sigh and settled at Brooke's feet. Then rose to pad to the door and back.
“You're restless, too, huh?” Brooke got up from the recliner and went to open the door for Mercy. The dog bounded into the fenced yard, and Brooke stared out into the dark night. She shivered at the chill. March was a cold month in DC, and Brooke hadn't grabbed her coat. She watched Mercy sniff and weave in and out of the bushes lining the fence. The trees beyond offered a sense of privacy and security, one of the reasons Brooke had purchased the home.
She pulled the door shut behind her and sat on the cement steps, wrapping her arms around her middle. Maybe the cold would revive some of her dead brain cells. Her thoughts were like a dog with a bone. She couldn't keep her mind from gnawing on the Jeffries case.
Harland Jeffries was about to push Gavin, her captain, over the edge. Gavin was a good man, a professional in every sense of the word. Brooke respected how he had managed to hold on to his temper when it came to the congressman's incessant demands on Gavin's time. She stood. “Mercy, come.”
The dog bounded over to her and sat at her feet, ears perked. Brooke gave those ears a good rub and let the dog back into the house. Poor Gavin. He was really torn. She knew he was between a rock and a hard place. He had a lot of respect for the congressman. Harland had been a mentor to Gavin, and Gavin loved the man like a father. It was tearing him up not to be able to give him some answers.
She forced herself to head to bed. She'd count sheep if she had to. Or review the case notes while snuggling under the warm down comforter. Maybe then she'd doze off.
And maybe pigs would start flying.
* * *
Jonas shut the door as the police officers headed toward their squad car. He appreciated the fast response to his 911 call, but the officers had basically checked out the scene, taken a few pictures of the dumped drawer in Felix's room, then told him to be thankful he wasn't hurt and nothing was missing. Oh, and to call if anything else happened.
He sighed and reached back to massage the area at the base of his skull. He needed a vacation. A stress-reducing getaway. But Felix was in school for another three weeks before his spring break.
He trudged up the stairs to Felix's room and took another look around. The drawer on the floor, the unmade bed, an unfinished 3-D puzzle of the capitol building. He sighed and picked up Felix's favorite sweatshirt and tossed it across the footboard of the bed. A pair of jeans and a hoodie joined the sweatshirt.
His eyes caught on the picture on his son's nightstand. Felix had been about two years old. He was laughing up at Shannon, his mother and Jonas's ex-wife. It had been a happy time in his young life, Jonas's life, too. Neither Felix nor Jonas had known the trouble that would come just a few short years away. Trouble brought on by Shannon and her commitment-phobic ways.
Jonas sighed, flipped off the light and headed to his own room. He crawled between the sheets, forcing his muscles to relax, his mind to drift into prayer. Until he remembered the crash he heard. The drawer to Felix's nightstand had been yanked out and dumped. His heart thudded. The officers had come to the same conclusion he had. The intruder had already been in his house when he'd arrived home. Either the man hadn't heard him come in and drop into the reclinerâor he hadn't cared and just continued his search.
Jonas debated whether to get up and clean up the drawer or wait until later.
It would wait. He drifted. Sleep beckoned.
At least until the strange beeping jerked him awake again.
Jonas sat straight up, his adrenaline spiking once more. Heart thundering in his chest, he grabbed the baseball bat he'd placed on the floor near his bed and swung his legs over the side. He stood and padded on bare feet to the door.
The faint beeping sounded again. Then all was silent.
Jonas's fingers flexed around the bat. He grabbed his cell phone with his left hand and shoved it into the waistband of his knit shorts.
Jonas followed the sound into his son's bedroom two doors down from his. He stood in the doorway and listened.
And then he heard it again. Louder this time. He was definitely closer.
Jonas flipped the light on and blinked against the sudden brightness. When his eyes adjusted, he dropped to his knees on the hardwood floors and scanned the area under Felix's dresser. Finding nothing, he rose and moved to his son's bedside table. The drawer still lay on its side. He grabbed the small flashlight and went to his knees once again.
Jonas flashed the light under the bed. The beeping sounded right next to his ear. He lifted the mattress, separating it from the box springs, and froze, puzzled. A cell phone? He snagged it and dropped the mattress back into place. Fingers curled around the phone, he lifted it up to study it. “Who does this belong to?” he muttered. One of Felix's friends? But why would Felix have it hidden under his mattress? Had he stolen it?
Jonas snapped the light off and carried the phone into his bedroom. He flipped on the lamp and sank onto the bed, his eyes still on the device. Low battery. Hence the beeping.
He touched the screen to bring the phone to life. A picture stared back at him. A woman holding a baby. He frowned as recognition hit him. He knew that woman. He'd seen her on the news, hadn't he? And in the papers. He got up and strode into the kitchen to grab the newspaper from the counter.
There. Right on the front page. Housekeeper for Congressman Harland Jeffries, Rosa Gomez had been found at the bottom of the cliffs in President's Park approximately two months ago and the investigation continued to make front-page news as new evidence came to light. The Capitol K-9 Unit had been working the case and the story had stayed hot, the media constantly reminding everyone that this case hadn't been solved yet.
And someone had just broken into his house looking for a phone. He stared at the device. Could he have been looking for this one?
His thoughts went immediately to Brooke Clark, a Capitol K-9 Unit team member who was working the case.
An officer and a beautiful woman. He pushed aside the personal thoughts and focused on what to do about this phone. Right now, he couldn't worry about how Felix had gotten ahold of it, he had to turn it in.
And he knew just the person he wanted to give it to.
* * *
Brooke jerked out of the light sleep she'd managed to fall into sometime between her last sip of warm tea and a prayer for divine help in solving her case. She rolled to grab her phone from the end table. “'Lo?”
“I woke you up. I'm sorry.”
Sleep fled. She sat up. “Jonas Parker?” Her heart stuttered. Just saying his name brought back a flood of memories. Both wonderful and...painful. Along with boatloads of regret. The same feelings that rushed through her every time she saw or spoke to him. Which hadn't been too long ago. Maybe a month? Amazing that she had no trouble pulling the memory of his voice from the depths of her tired mind. But then why would she? She often dreamed of him, their past times together. And they hadn't even dated. Not once. She blinked. “What's wrong?”
“You're working the case about the congressman's son's death, aren't you?”
“Yes. Michael Jeffries.” She cleared her throat. “You called me at four o'clock in the morning to ask that?”
“No, I called to tell you that I think I found something that you might need for your investigation.”
“A phone with a picture of Rosa Gomez and her two-year-old son as the wallpaper.”
Fully awake now, Brooke swung her legs over the edge of the bed. At the foot of the bed, Mercy lifted her head and perked her ears. “Where did you find the phone?” she asked.