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Lost and Found Baby

Written by Hope White

To save a baby, he’ll have to confront his past…

War veteran Luke McKinnon will do whatever it takes to protect the helpless baby girl abandoned on his porch. And with a group of deadly kidnappers hunting him and the infant, Luke can only rely on one person, his former best friend, Deputy Katy Shepard. A tragedy tore them apart years ago. But for the sake of an innocent child, can Luke and Katy find a way to trust each other again?

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Chapter One

The sound of a mortar smashing against a building startled Luke McKinnon awake. Struggling to catch his breath, he blinked his eyes open and recognized the popcorn ceiling of his parents’ Montana house. He was stretched out on the living room sofa, safe. A dream, it was only a dream.

He’d earned a good night’s sleep after putting in a ten-hour day getting the farmhouse ready to sell. He should have returned sooner to Richmond, Montana, to get started on the project, but couldn’t bring himself to face family…to face her.

His border collie, Skipper, whined and nudged his arm.

“Skipper, stop,” he said.

Trying to hold back a bark, the dog yelped.

Luke planted his feet on the floor and rubbed his temples. “You need to go out?”

Skipper’s paws tapped against the hardwood floor in a little dance, then he trotted into the kitchen.

Luke stood and clenched his jaw against the pain shooting down his leg. That was what happened when your Humvee was blown up and you were tossed around the sandbox like a rag doll.

Skipper’s whining echoed through the house.

“I’m coming!” Luke called, shuffling through the living room to the kitchen.

He froze in the doorway. A sleeping infant bundled in a pink blanket lay asleep on the kitchen table.

He was officially losing it.

Or maybe the baby wasn’t real, but a figment of his imagination, a manifestation of guilt for not saving enough innocent lives in Iraq. Children’s lives.

Steven’s life.

Skipper burst into a round of barks.

The baby woke up, aiming bright green eyes at Luke. He was rooted in place.

The crack of gunfire shattered the windows and he automatically dived for cover.

He was having a full-on post-trauma episode, but it had never manifested like this before. It had never felt so…real.

No, he had to get past this. He stood slowly, studying the child.

Pain suddenly shot down his arm. He touched his shoulder…

Blood smeared his fingers. Real blood.

Luke grabbed the baby and dropped to the floor. He pulled out his cell phone and called 9-1-1, although he knew they’d never make it in time.

“Skipper, come!” He motioned the dog into the basement. Skip raced downstairs and Luke followed, holding the baby against his chest.

Survival instincts kicked in. Their best chance was to sneak out the cellar door on the other side of the house.

Unless they were completely surrounded.

Why? Who were these guys? And where did this baby come from?

If only this was a spicy-pizza-induced dream, but he knew it wasn’t. He also knew he had to protect this child.

Bullets continued to pelt the house. Luke scrambled through the maze of stored furniture in the basement, grabbing an old wool jacket off a stack of clothes to be donated.

He cracked open the cellar door. Didn’t see anyone.

The child in his arms looked up at him with such trusting eyes.

He snapped his attention to the dog. “Ready, Skip?”

The mutt wagged his tail. Luke pushed open the door.

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About the author

I was born and raised in the midwest and migrated to the Pacific north...

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Hope White

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