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Back of Book
Sometimes change can forge a path to a new beginning...
Other times, it leaves a trail for your past to follow.
Lawrence Rockefeller, known as "Rock" to most, is doing his best to embrace the recent changes in his life: marriage, a newborn daughter, a promotion to Lead Detective, and a new work partner. At home, he's struggling with the idea of being a "family man" rather than a carefree bachelor. At work, he's trying to earn the respect of his captain while learning to trust his new partner, Dixie.
When a call comes in from a frantic mother reporting a missing infant, Rock believes it will be a simple custody case. His hope for an easy closure diminishes when Dixie finds three mismatched mittens strung across the window in the baby's nursery. Rock knows this is a message from the kidnapper and after years of working missing persons' cases, he's aware of the limited amount of time he has to bring the child home alive.
As the days and weeks pass by, more reports of missing infants come in and Rock finds himself falling victim to the emotional pull of the case. He's battling a reporter determined to ruin his career, trying to find the person that's been watching his wife and daughter for over a year, and uncovering secrets about his partner's personal life, all while convincing his captain that he's still capable of performing his duties.
Upon receiving a letter threatening his family, Rock must determine whether it came from the stalker or the kidnapper looking for their final victim. His time is almost up.
The rocking chair groaned as it swayed back and forth. The baby's cheek rested gently against her shoulder. She ran her hand down the front of the vintage book of nursery rhymes, her heart filled with love and longing. Her mind faded back to her own youth, to the memories of her mother reciting the same rhymes, from this exact book, night after night. She knew most of them by heart by the time she was four and could still hear her mother's voice every time she read one. Twenty-nine years later, she hoped to pass on the same tradition to her own daughter, to share the same joy she heard in those words.
She pulled herself from her tiered memories. Once again, she felt the coldness of the gravestone burrowing beneath the skin on her cheek, the book of rhymes clutched tightly to her chest. Instinctively, she wiped under her eye but the tears had dried up years ago. Opening the cover of her book, she took care to hold the pages in place. Years of use had worn the stitching holding the pieces together. She gripped the pages tighter as a breeze fluttered through the air. It was July but the weather was crisp and a light fog had navigated its way across the cemetery, hovering mere inches above the ground. She felt it closing in around her, wrapping itself around her body, tightening against her heart.
"I'm going away for a while. But I want you to know I love you, with every bit of my heart. No matter where I am, I'll always be thinking of you. You are my everything." She flipped to the first page and choked out the words as she stroked the side of the gravestone.
"The three little kittens, they lost their mittens, and they began to cry. Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear..."