Read Second Chances Online

Authors: Randi Cardoza

Second Chances

 

 

I originally wrote this book in/or around 1999.  It was originally a work of fanfiction.  Most if not all of the characters names have been changed. I do not own any of the charcters that the original fanfiction was based upon. 

 

This book is dedicated to my family and my wonderful husband, Mike.  I wouldn't be brave enough to continue with my writing career without him.

Chapter 1

 


I can’t do it! I refuse to work with him,” Kenzi Fromier argued with her boss, Mac Grant. She knew the inevitable result but she felt like yelling at someone.
“May I remind you, Ms. Fromier, that I am your boss and I will tell you with whom you are working? Shawn Douglass is the best outside consultant this agency has and you are going to be working with him despite your past involvement,” Mac replied tersely as he sat his coffee mug down with a thud.
“I’ve been working on the Wilson case for six months. I finally have a good solid lead and you call him in to
help
me?” Kenzi said tossing her file down on Mac’s desk.
The pages fluttered open to show a snapshot of a five-year old little girl with shoulder-length curly black hair and bright emerald eyes. Kenzi’s eyes were drawn to it like magnets every time she opened the folder.
“Janey Wilson has been missing for six months and up until now there’s been no clue as to where she might be. Douglass is coming in and that is that,” Mac said slapping the file closed.
At that moment, Shawn Douglass the one and only strutted through the door. Kenzi closed her eyes as she felt a pain tear at her heart. He was the only one who knew her reasons for joining the FBI, and yet he hadn’t discouraged her.
“Kenzi, Mac, I was told I would be consulting with you on this case. What do we know?” Shawn asked as he took a seat in front of Mac’s scarred desk.
“Agent Fromier, you are the one who knows the case. Tell him everything,” Mac said leaning back in his chair and running his fingers through his thick silver hair.
“Okay, this is Janey Wilson,” Kenzi said as she handed Shawn her open folder. “Her father is a very wealthy and influential business man. While he and his wife were away on business, Janey was abducted from her home. There’s been no ransom demand or contact with the family at all.”
“So what are we going on then? Intuition?  A lead?” Shawn asked as he scanned the file and noticed Kenzi’s neatly written notes.
“I got a phone call yesterday from a woman who used to work for an investigator. She was hired as a nanny for a wealthy couple on an island off of South Carolina about three weeks ago,” Kenzi replied and self-consciously licked her lips. “She was fired a couple days ago because the mother said she was stealing from them. After talking to quite a few people in the town, my contact was told that no one remembered her being pregnant. She just all of the sudden had a baby.”
“So this contact is telling you this child she was a nanny for was abducted? Sounds like a woman who is pissed off about being fired to me,” Shawn said crossing his arms over his chest.
“I thought so at first, but then I did some checking on her. This is the only job she’s ever been fired from, in fact, all of the other people she’s worked for as a nanny were sorry to see her go because she was so good with the children. Does that sound like someone who would steal from an employer?”
Shawn had to admit she had a point but there was still the slightest possibility that the whole thing was a fake.
Kenzi could tell she hadn’t convinced Shawn of anything and quickly added, “She used to nanny for a private investigator's baby, she knows the law and knows that if she made a false claim she could get jail time. She also described the girl detail by detail down to the small crescent shaped birth mark on her foot.”
“Maybe she saw the reward posters the parents have started to distribute,” Shawn hedged but knew Kenzi was right, they were onto something.
“The birth mark wasn’t mentioned in the posters, so how could she know about it? Her track record doesn’t lead us to believe that she’s the kidnapper. We need to check it out,” said Mac as he broke into the conversation.
“I’ve already sent a resume backed up by the bureau, to the agency this woman worked for. My source at the nanny agency told me they’ve viewed it already and were contemplating giving me a call,” Kenzi replied.
“Damn it, Fromier, you know you’re not supposed to do those kinds of things without my okay! What would you do if I reassigned you to another case?” Mac thundered.
“I would still go if they called. This is a little girl and I’m not going to let her kidnappers get away,” Kenzi replied just as loud.
Shawn sat back and watched Kenzi try to get past Mac. She’d changed since they’d last worked together. Her hair was long and straight, not in any particular style, and her body was still small but it was evident that she’d been in training and building up muscle. She was still the beautiful golden girl he'd known practically since birth.
“Douglass, you’re going to be working as their gardener. It looks as if Agent Fromier hasn’t missed a step. She knew someone would be working with her, she just didn’t know who,” Mac said breaking up Shawn’s thoughts.
“Actually, I figured you would be calling Shawn. The name on the resume I sent in for the landscaping engineer was Shawn Corwin. The name on my resume is Kenzi Evans,” Kenzi chimed in.
“Fine, wait for the calls and arrange transport to the island. Shawn keep an eye on Kenzi and the girl. Pull them out if there’s any reason to believe they are in danger,” Mac said dismissively.
Kenzi followed Shawn out of the office and down the hall. The South Carolina coast was a long way from southern Illinois, just how had they managed to get the girl and not be noticed?
“Fromier and Douglass, you both have messages waiting,” called a young receptionist.
Shawn’s eyes about popped out of his head when he saw her. She was about Kenzi’s height but with bright red hair, a large bust and clothes that proved she liked to show off for men.
“Thanks, Veronica,” Kenzi called as she grabbed the nearest phone to check her voice mail messages.
A smooth voice with a trace of a southern accent spoke.
“Miss Evans, my name is Patricia Mortimer. My husband and I have reviewed your resume and would like you to fly in for an interview regarding a nanny position for you to meet our daughter, Molly. Please give me a call back at
505-555-9836. Thank you.”
Kenzi hung up the phone and looked expectantly at Shawn. He was still on the phone but held up a piece of paper saying, “When do we leave?”
Kenzi quickly called Mac to tell him what was going on and then made arrangements for her and Shawn to arrive separately on the island.
Kenzi raced home to throw some things in a bag. Purposefully, she left her Sig at home because with the money these people made there was no doubt they would have her bags searched.
Calmly she called the Mortimers on an untraceable cell phone to tell them she had received their message and discuss travel plans with them.
The phone rang as soon as she hung up and she could hear Shawn’s voice on it.
“What do you want, Shawn?”
“You don’t have to do this you know? Don’t try to rescue everyone because you couldn’t…” Shawn was saying but Kenzi cut him off.
“I don’t care what you think. That’s not my reason and you should know that better than anyone. See you at the Mortimer’s house!” Kenzi said and hung up the phone.
Shawn slammed down the receiver of the phone. She was too high strung for this and that was a way into danger.
He threw clothes into his bag. Making sure there were only cut-off jean shorts and old but decent looking khaki shorts, and t-shirts in the bag plus a suit, just in case, Shawn was pretty much done packing.
“Okay, Sunshine, it’s time for you to go to Grandma Megan’s house,” Shawn said picking up his little yellow lab puppy and heading out the door.
Megan was waiting at the door for him and his six-year old little sister, Mia, ran to him to get Sunshine.
“Shawn, Shawn, mommy said I can watch Sunshine while you’re gone,” Mia said dancing around his feet and reaching up for the puppy.
“Okay, Mia Mya. You better be careful with Sunshine, remember she’s my baby,” Shawn teased as he bent to tickle her.
Mia kissed his cheek and ran back in the house with Sunshine close behind.
“You’ll be careful, won’t you?” Megan asked following him to the car.
“Yeah, I always am, aren’t I?” Shawn asked as he hugged her.
“Watch out for Kenzi, too. She doesn’t always know what she’s getting herself into,” Megan suggested and then added when Shawn looked at her quizzically, “Megan called to tell me Kenzi was off on an investigation. It kind of fits that you both would be working together if you’re leaving at the same time.”
“Mom, she doesn’t realize what she’s doing. She can’t make everything better by finding all of these abducted children,” Shawn said with a sigh.
“She needs to think that way right now, Shawn. It’s kind of a therapy for her to think that way, okay?  It gives her Megan that one day, she'll find her baby,” Megan said as Gabe, Shawn’s father, came up behind her.
“Be careful, son. You best get going or you’ll probably miss whatever flight you’re leaving on,” Gabe said as he gave Shawn a brief hug.
“I love you, and I’ll call as soon as I can. Bye,” Shawn said as he got in and started the car.
“They can’t fight what happened forever, Gabe.  Kenzi needs to heal and Shawn needs to realize she needs his forgiveness even though he doesn’t blame her,” Megan said leaning back into Gabe as Shawn drove away.
“Come on, Meggie, let’s go. Mia’s trying to give Sunshine a bath in the backyard,” Gabe said pulling her back to the house.

 

Chapter 2
Kenzi hated to fly. It made her ears pop and her head ache but the thought of landing made her grip the seat even more. Ever since her senior class trip to Paris in high school when the plane had crashed, she had feared flying but Shawn had been with her then so it wasn’t as bad.
Squeezing her eyes shut Kenzi waited for the plane to fall to the ground in a ball of fire. Moments later a stewardess was tapping her on the shoulder and telling her that they would be leaving the plane in a few minutes.
Kenzi practically flew off the plane when it was time. She was waiting outside the airport for a cab with directions to the Mortimer’s house when she bumped into Shawn.
“How was the flight?” he asked in a tone only she could hear.
“Fine. You really don’t plan on sharing a cab with me do you?” Kenzi replied.
“It would be too much of a coincidence if we both show up together. I’ll wait about fifteen minutes and then catch a cab,” he said and with a fake grunt of disgust he turned and walked back into the terminal.
Kenzi waved at a cab and quickly jumped in with her suitcase before the man who was standing next to her could elbow her out of his way.
It wasn’t more than a couple miles to the ferry across to the island but it seemed like forever while they were waiting. Finally, the reached the island and Kenzi jumped back into the cab.
A short while later she was staring at a security gate emblazoned with a large M. The cabby pushed the button and quickly she told him her name and her business so the security people would let her in.
She was ushered inside quickly and her suitcase was taken up to a guest room. A tall Mediterranean woman strode quickly into the room.
“Ms. Evans, I presume. I am Patricia Mortimer. Please take a seat,” she said gesturing with one hand towards a sofa.
“Yes, I am Kenzi Evans. I am so sorry I was away when your call came in. My aunt’s death was very unexpected,” Kenzi replied sticking to the story she and Mac had discussed shortly while she was on the plane.
“Yes, I’m sure. Our last nanny was fired because she tried to steal some priceless family jewels. I gather I don’t have to worry about that with you?”
“No, ma’am. My father is a very wealthy man, I’m sure he would buy me whatever jewels I ask for if I wished to ask him,” Kenzi replied.
“If your father is wealthy then why are you working in such a low class career?” Patricia asked.
“I actually do quite well in this line of work.  Besides, I love children. Ever since I was a teenager all I’ve wanted to do is take care of them. Plus, I love being a nanny. You never know where you’re going to go or who you might meet.”
“Why not just have children of your own?”
“Well, my husband and I divorced a few years ago and there were no children. I honestly don’t believe I could have another relationship with a man like I had with him,” Kenzi replied.
“I apologize for bringing up your painful past. If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you? Your resume says twenty-eight but you seem so much younger.”
“I am twenty-eight and will be twenty-nine in October. I have a tendency to look young because of my hair but I try to keep my skin in good condition,” Kenzi replied.
“Do you have any questions for me, Ms. Evans.”
“How old is your daughter, Mrs. Mortimer?”
“She’s almost six. As I told you on the phone her name is Molly. Please call me Patsy, by the way.”
“All right, may I meet Molly?” Kenzi asked standing up.
“Of course, she’s in the play room. It’s up the stairs and the eighth room on the left. I’m going to lay out on the patio please join me once you and Molly get acquainted.”
Kenzi slowly trudged up the stairs and counted doors until she reached the eighth door on the left. Slowly she turned the knob and the door swung open.
The room was full of toys but Kenzi automatically noticed the mirror on the wall, most wouldn’t realize it but it was a double-sided mirror. So she was to be observed with Molly before she was given the job.
Hardly giving the mirror a glance, Kenzi nodded to the maid who was sitting in a rocking chair watching Molly play. The child looked sullen but Kenzi couldn’t tell just yet if she matched the picture of Janey Wilson.
“Hello, I’m Kenzi Evans. Patsy told me to come up here and introduce myself to Molly,” Kenzi said shaking the maid’s hand.
Kenzi could hardly contain the smile she felt creeping up on her lips when she saw Molly, or rather Janey’s, face. If she wasn’t Janey, she was her twin.
“Hi, Molly. I’m Kenzi, you’re mommy told me to come up here and visit with you,” Kenzi said as she crouched down to speak to Molly.
“Will you play with me?” she asked handing Kenzi a bright pink bear in a white tutu.
“I would be honored,” Kenzi replied as she sat down besides Janey, then reminded herself that she must think of her as Molly until they could get her out of the Mortimer’s house.
They played for a while and then Kenzi suggested they go downstairs to meet Mrs. Mortimer. Molly didn’t look like she wanted to go but she did anyway.
Kenzi walked with Molly down the stairs and followed the housekeeper’s instructions to get to the back patio. She could have gasped at what she saw out there.
Apparently, Shawn had arrived and Mrs. Mortimer liked him as a lot more than a gardener. Kenzi had had a few dates where the men were like octopuses but Mrs. Mortimer proved that women could be that way too.
She was kissing Shawn with all her might, while groping his butt and any other parts she could manage to get her hands on. Kenzi finally cleared her throat before walking fully onto the patio.
“Ah, I see you and Molly have become friends. So what do you think Molly, will she do?” Mrs. Mortimer asked.
Shawn glared at Kenzi then Mrs. Mortimer but didn’t say a word. She could practically hear what he was thinking but tried to keep her grin to herself.
“I like her…mommy,” Molly said reluctantly.
Shawn glanced at her face and instantly recognized her as the girl from the photograph Kenzi had shown him.
“Ms. Evans, this is Mr. Shawn Cowin, our new landscaping engineer. Mr. Cowin this is Ms. Kenzi Evans, she may be our new nanny if Mr. Mortimer agrees,” Patsy said as she lit a cigarette in a long white holder.
At that moment Mr. Mortimer walked out on the patio. He barely glanced at Shawn but did a double take when he saw Kenzi.
“If she’s the new nanny applicant she’s hired,” Mr. Mortimer said as he leered at her.
Kenzi smiled cheerfully but was thinking
What have I gotten Shawn and myself into? Neither of them care who they sleep with as long as it’s not each other.
Molly just stared at Kenzi and Shawn with a somewhat happier look on her face.
 

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