His Redemption

By: A.F. Crowell

Chapter One

~Brody~

There weren’t many people I let get close. Not after the disastrous relationships I’d had over the years. I was cautious with my trust. But one person had always been there for me. She never judged me. She loved me unconditionally.

Jane.

Jane had been my mother’s best friend for as long as I could remember.

When my parents died in a plane crash more than ten years ago, Jane stepped up and took care of me. Which is why when she asked if her niece could stay with us for a few days, I said yes.

Anything for Jane.

***

Yesterday

Jane and I had just left the home of Leila, my ex, and her husband, Jaxon, to spend Christmas evening with my beautiful, eight-month-old daughter, Lillian, who was gurgling happily in the backseat.

Jane’s cell phone chirped. Glancing over, I saw her pull her phone out and reply to the message. Turning, she looked back at Lillian. “She’s so adorable. Those gorgeous red curls like her momma.”

Looking up in the rearview mirror, I couldn’t help but smile. “She is, without a doubt, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever set my eyes on.”

Jane’s phone chirped once more. With a heavy sigh, her shoulders fell. “I hate to ask, and I wouldn’t if it weren’t important, but would you have a problem with my niece coming to stay with us for a few days? She’s having some problems at work and has some time off for the holidays. Her father is out of the country on business and I don’t think she wants to be alone.”

“Absolutely. It’s your house, too.”

“Thank you, honey. I promise she won’t be in your hair.”

“No trouble. She’ll stay in one of the spare bedrooms. It’ll be nice to have someone else in the house, and I’m sure you’ll love the company. How long has it been since you last saw—wait, what’s her name?”

“Her name is Emmery. And it’s only been a month. When I went to Connecticut in November for Thanksgiving to see Richard, she stopped by for a few days. Before that, it had been several years,” Jane said, taking off her seatbelt as we pulled into the garage.

Once we got the presents all unloaded and put away in the nursery, I decided to look over some contracts in the office until after Lil’s nap.

An hour or so later, I heard Jane cooing, “Well, hello there, sleepyhead.” I exited the office and I walked out to the kitchen.

“Are you hungry, my sweet angel?” Jane babbled at Lilly playing with her toes.

“I’ll feed her,” I said, walking to the fridge. After her bottle, I took her upstairs. “Do you wanna take a bath, Lilly? You wanna get in the big-girl tub?” She cooed back at me. I took that as a yes.

Washed, dried and in her jammies, Lilly and I were lying in the middle of my bed playing with her feet when Jane knocked, came in and said, “I wanted to let you know that my niece will be here tomorrow.” Stopping at the foot of the bed. “Hi, sweet angel. Are you having fun with Daddy?”

Lilly rubbed her face back and forth on the comforter. “I think someone’s ready for bed. Why don’t you let me put her down?” Jane asked as she reached for Lilly. “I’ll read her a little bedtime story.”

“Sounds good. You do that and I’ll take a shower. Afterwards, maybe you and I could talk?”

“Of course, dear. I’ll be downstairs when you are ready.” She scooped Lilly up and held her for me to kiss good night.

“Sweet dreams, princess. Daddy loves you.” I kissed the top of her head and rubbed her perfect little cherub cheek.

Thirty minutes later, I was sitting in my office when Jane walked in. “Do you have a few minutes or would you rather wait ’til later?”

“Now is fine. I wanna get to bed soon.” Pushing back from the desk, I stood and walked to the door. “How about we go to the living room?”

“Sounds good,” she agreed.

Sitting on the couch, I turned to look at Jane. “So, this niece of yours, what are her work troubles?”

“Emmery’s a horse trainer and travels with her horses around the U.S. A few days ago she was in one of the stalls getting one of her horses ready when she overheard two men talking. She wasn’t supposed to overhear and tried to sneak out. She didn’t make it out without someone seeing her, and yesterday, when she was in the barn with another trainer, a man approached and told her to forget what she heard.”