What You See
SONS OF THE SURVIVALIST, BOOK 3
She will risk everything to rescue her friend.
Frankie’s BFF and four-year-old son are trapped inside a fanatical militia’s compound. In Alaska, no less. Wilderness rescues are so not in the New Yorker’s skill set. But she’ll figure it out. She must.
Bull’s new roadhouse server is a mass of contradictions.
The city girl’s reasons for being in Alaska don’t add up. Bull’s been burned by liars before. So, why is he falling for this crap again? Maybe it’s her big brown eyes, exuberant personality—or her generous, compassionate heart. Whatever the reason is, he cares. If she’s in trouble, he’ll do his damnedest to get her out.
The huge Alaskan is terrifyingly compelling--and heartwarmingly concerned for her.
But Frankie refuses to involve Bull in the deadly mess. Her plan to rescue her bestie will work without anyone getting hurt. As she tries her best not to fall in love, she doggedly acquires each skill she’ll need.
Getting shot, though…that hadn’t been on her to-do list.
PRAISE FOR THIS SERIES
It doesn't matter what genre it is, there's one constant when it comes to Cherise Sinclair books: the woman can WRITE. Whether it's writing tortured heroes with a heart of gold, or immeasurably strong heroines that are fully capable of fighting their own battles, Cherise just delivers each and every single time. ~ Dirty Girl Romance
Ms. Sinclair is a comfort read for me. She knows how to give me heroes who can take charge but in that protective, not possessive way that I love and heroines who may suffer but have that inner strength that makes them survivors.
~ After Dark Booklovers
Before Frankie could start on her lunch, two models stopped in for advice on dealing with an overly handsy agent.
Then a male model got sent to her office to discuss his temper, which was causing problems with…oh, just about everyone. After a chat, she gave him a card for a therapist who understood the odd stresses of the modeling profession.
He scowled. “This’ll ruin my rep.”
“Hey, this is New York.” Frankie motioned to the skyscrapers outside the window—probably still a great sight to someone from Nebraska. “Everyone’s in therapy.”
His lips curved, and he grinned reluctantly. “Yeah, okay. Thanks, Francesca.”
Before she could snatch a bite, a new model stopped in, an eighteen-year-old who was having problems coping. So young.
Frankie dealt out her usual advice—having friends elsewhere and cultivating hobbies. If a person’s only form of validation came from her career, then any upset in the job world could be devastating. Someone with a variety of interests could shrug off an ugly comment about her appearance by thinking, maybe I messed this up, but I’m a good cook and great with people and can beat anyone at Monopoly.
Once the girl was settled and thinking more clearly, Frankie rearranged schedules and recruited an older model who agreed to serve as mentor.
The office empty again, she glanced at her burger. Cold. Yuck.
Oh, well. Ruined lunch or not, she did enjoy keeping people happy and making things run smoothly. This was what she was good at.
What her family needed from her.
“Baby, you’re the sweetest thing I’ve seen today.” The silky-smooth voice from down the hall was all too recognizable—as was the line. Her ex-husband was trying to con another woman in his quest to get to the top.
Wanting to gag, she considered shutting her door. Trying to warn Jaxson’s newest target wouldn’t work—Frankie would simply be considered a vindictive ex. Then again, if he hadn’t had an ironclad contract with Bocelli’s, she really would have asked Mama to show him the door. So, yes, maybe she was a little bit vindictive.
Stopping in the doorway, Jaxson gave her a patronizing smile. He knew he was drop-dead gorgeous and could have any woman in the world.
Except her, at this point.
These days, oh-so-perfect males froze her emotions like a midwinter blizzard.
“Did you need something, Jaxson?”
“Love, Francesca, I need love.” His voice was raised enough for his latest conquest to hear.
She snorted. “I think you’re getting adoration mixed up with love. Buy a dictionary.”
He scowled, then spotted her lunch. “Pitiful. You know, if you’d go on a diet, fix yourself up, you might get a little love—or even adoration. Try it some time.”
“Really?” she cooed in a breathy voice. “You really think so?”
Before he could respond, she gave him a thin smile and turned her attention to her in-basket. “I’ll take it under advisement.”
With a grumble that sounded insulting, he disappeared.
She shook her head. Not your best moment, Frankie. She didn’t usually let his slurs or her family’s obsession with appearance make her feel like the ugly runt of the litter.
No, she wasn’t up to model standards, but she didn’t want to be a model. I’m healthy, pretty, have a lovely, lush body, gorgeous hair and eyes, and even better, a marvelous personality.
Exactly so. Now move on.
Exasperated with herself, she tossed the cold burger and fries into the wastebasket and returned to perusing her mail.
Announcements. Office supplies. Schedule changes. Usually applications and resumes went to Mama, but, currently, Frankie received the business-related ones. If she ever wanted a vacation, she would need an assistant who could take her place, not a shared admin. Right now, anytime she mentioned time off, everyone in her family insisted she couldn’t be spared. That she was needed there, making things work right and smoothing over the entitled-diva messes.
Frowning, she picked up the last piece of mail. Addressed to Francesca Bocelli, care of The Bocelli Agency.
I need help so bad.
I’m trapped. Obadiah joined a militia—the Patriot Zealots—and brought us into their compound. He won’t let me leave. In fact, we moved someplace even more isolated—Rescue, Alaska.
You were right, Frankie; he was such a mistake. He’s getting meaner, and he lets the leaders—
The rest of the sentence was blotted out.
If I don’t make it out, can you try to get Aric away from them? Here are papers I managed to fix up in case you need them.
I know you’ll want to call the police for me, but you mustn’t. One of the Rescue police is a member of the Patriot Zealots. Don’t call the FBI or others. Just don’t.
But…please, Frankie. Get Aric out.
Frankie realized her palms were pressed together in front of her chest. As if prayer would fix this. Kit, what have you fallen into? She opened the other papers. There was a form, witnessed by a couple of people, giving guardianship of Aric, Frankie’s godson, to her.
It made sense. Aric wasn’t Obadiah’s birth son; the boy was three when Kit fell prey to the creep.
There was also a handwritten list of the reasons why Frankie had been nominated as guardian and why no one else, especially Obadiah, should get oversight of the child.
Pictures of Kit and Aric were enclosed. Frankie picked one up.
Since the picture of Aric showed him as around two years old, Kit’s first husband had probably taken the photos. Even though Aric wasn’t his, he’d been good to the boy, even when addicted to narcotics. He’d died of an overdose before the marriage was a year old.
Poor Kit had crummy luck with men. While she was still reeling from her husband’s death, Obadiah scooped her up and married her.
Frankie riffled through the photos and found none from this year. The religious fanatic of a spouse probably didn’t believe in cameras.
Aric would be turning four this summer. “Get Aric out.” The little boy was in danger.
As the words on the papers blurred, Frankie realized her hands were trembling. Cazzo. Fuck! She didn’t know what to do—but she had to do something.
Roommates for much of college and a couple of years afterward, she and Kit were sisters-by-choice.
Frankie’d been Kit’s birthing partner and helped raise little Aric until Kit married the first time. When the newlyweds moved to Texas, Frankie had bawled her eyes out.
Sure, she had lots of friends, but none like Kit. No matter how much time or distance—and Texas was certainly distant—they always picked up where they’d left off.
“Amica mia, you should have come back to New York when your husband died.” Instead, Obadiah had deluded Kit until she’d disappeared into “the little woman”. The perfect wife.
Frankie had met the bastardo only once for a few seconds at the wedding. The conservative crackpot had already decided she was a bad influence on Kit. He’d pressured Kit until she’d stopped calling, writing, or visiting.
Unwilling to cause problems, Frankie had honored Kit’s withdrawal. Obviously, that had been a mistake.
Before Obadiah, they’d always been there for each other. Through missed job opportunities and celebrations and relationship disasters. After Kit moved, they’d spent hours on the phone. When Kit’s husband died, Frankie had flown to Texas, cared for Aric, and kept things going while Kit mourned.
When Frankie’s marriage fell apart, Kit had come to New York. After lots of handholding and enduring the wailing and weeping—because Frankie wasn’t a silent sufferer—Kit had pushed her out of the house and back into living.
Although not back into dating. Kit had always been more of an optimist there, which seemed strange since she had lousy taste in men. The dominant guys she fell for inevitably turned out to be creepers or controlling or basic assholes. Kit’s miserable childhood had left a glitch in her nice-guy radar.
But Obadiah? “You really picked a bad one, this time.”
Frankie read over the letter again.
But there was no way she’d leave her bestie or her godson with some abusive asshole. With luck, all Kit needed was someone pulling strings to get her and Aric out.
I’m good at making things happen.
If Kit needed more than that, well… Frankie pressed her lips together, determination rising inside her. She’d do what she had to do.
She punched the office intercom button and waited until the shared administrative assistant answered. “Hey, Nyla. How would you like to hold down the hot seat for a while?”
Her family would just have to cope.