Heart & Endurance, Book 2
Can the truth unleash the past and set their hearts and minds free?
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Julie Lavoie is no stranger to personal tragedy, but as she contemplates giving love a second chance, she must face her fears regarding the occupation of Rubens “Luke” Lucas, a federal agent embroiled in an explosive investigation.
The sudden disappearance of her only son tests Julie’s courage and determination. She welcomes Luke’s help to search for Thierry, but their two investigations intertwine, jeopardizing her chances of ever seeing her son again.
Aside from a few moist invoices, the remaining papers in the latest shoebox hadn’t been damaged by their fall onto the icy parking lot.
If only the owner’s wife had cleaned that closet on Friday night, it would have saved Julie time and frustration.
Matthieu had hated those words. He’d lived in the moment and taught her to do the same. Longing for a past that would never be again went against everything he’d believed in. In her place, he’d have already moved on.
If only Matthieu had left a trail of blazing arrows in the sky pointing me in the right direction.
Her gaze traveled to the soggy note Agent Lucas left on her windshield. By the time she found it, the ink had run down, blurring the words. His name was illegible. Deciphering his phone number had taken luck, along with six phone calls. The other five persons she’d disturbed on a Sunday morning hadn’t been as gracious as Lucas. Maybe the accident was a sign to mend more than her van.
In the last five months, she’d found solace in her work, but today the numbers she manipulated failed to provide any distraction.
At least they’re singing a nice melody now.
With the door of her personal office open, like it was right now, she could see the waiting area adjacent to the secretary’s desk. From the corner of her eye, she caught an outdoor shadow moving across the blinds. A moment later, someone knocked on the door.
She peeked through the slats. A tall stranger wearing an unzipped coat stood in front of the door. He held a large yellow envelope in his bare hand.
Julie hadn’t asked Lucas what kind of agent he was, but his short brown hair combined with the pale blue shirt and dark tie visible under his coat suggested he worked for one of the many governmental agencies in Washington, D.C.
An hour had elapsed since she called him. The odds were she was looking at her saving angel. She opened the door. “Agent Lucas?”
“At your service.” A warm smile softened his rugged face, marred with a scar above his left eyebrow. “And from the sound of your voice, I’d say you’re the unfortunate owner of an unlucky minivan whose name I didn’t catch.”
His clever introduction was the breath of fresh air she needed this morning. “My van has been renamed Wreck, and I’m Julie. Please come in.”
Silent chuckles shook his shoulders as he stepped inside and closed the door behind him.
“A detailed account of the accident is in there along with a description of the driver and the make, model, and license plate of his truck. I also included all my coordinates in case someone at your insurance company wants to contact me.”
She accepted the envelope with gratitude. “This will make dealing with them that much easier, Agent Lucas. You saved my sanity this morning. I owe you more than a few thank-yous.”
“Then would you join me for brunch? If you’re not busy, that is.” A slight frown appeared on his forehead. “I don’t mean to imply you’re not busy or you wouldn’t be in your office on a Sunday. This isn’t coming out right, right? Feel free to stop me before I make a complete fool of myself.”
The man was articulate and confident, and his sudden discomfit seemed out of character, which she found endearing. “Are you asking me out, Agent Lucas?”
“Yes. No. Not exactly.”
Amusement bubbled inside Julie’s chest.
“That doesn’t sound too flattering,” she teased. “Didn’t you tell me you had an unpleasant task to accomplish, or have you already take care of it?”
When he took a long breath, she found herself holding hers. Sharing Sunday brunch with a stranger would be insanely irresponsible. And invigorating.
“I’m faced with the unpleasant duty of attending my mother’s brunch alone. If you’re free for an hour or two, I can promise you the food will be excellent. There are no strings attached. And if you wish to leave within five minutes of our arrival, I’ll be glad to drive you back here.”
Over the years, she’d been forced to attend so many parties she’d learned to recognize the telltale of a dreadful gathering when she heard one. “Is it going to be that bad?”
“Will your mother throw me out if I speak my mind?”
A mischievous glimmer flickered in his dark brown eyes. “Probably, but I hope it won’t stop you.”
“I…” Live in the moment, Julie. Matthieu’s voice resounded in her head, a comforting echo from the past. “I would be happy to accompany you, Agent Lucas.”