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Captive Hearts Healed

In a world where everyone seems to be moving forward with their lives, Lynsi, a talented researcher, yearns for love and family. When Jaxon, a dedicated lawyer, involves her in a high-stakes legal case that could cost them everything, they embark on a perilous journey to uncover the truth. As danger mounts, their quest becomes a race against time, and the ultimate question looms: Will they find justice and love, or face a tragic end? “Captive Hearts Healed” is a gripping romantic suspense that explores the power of sacrifice and redemption, perfect for those who crave relatable characters and thrilling mysteries. Join Lynsi and Jaxon in their heart-pounding adventure today!


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In a world leaving her behind, she yearns for love and family. When a high-profile legal case jeopardizes his life, she sacrifices all to fight by his side.

Lynsi, a talented researcher, watches her friends embrace family life, while she craves a love of her own.

Jaxon, a dedicated lawyer consumed by his work, unwittingly endangers them both by involving her in a 17-year-old cold case. A treacherous journey unfolds, teetering on the brink of tragedy.

Together, they face a new reality, battling danger at every turn. As peril escalates, the ultimate cliffhanger looms: What happens if justice eludes them?

“Captive Hearts Healed” is a gripping romantic suspense, a tale of love, sacrifice, and redemption. For those who adore relatable characters and thrilling mysteries, this novel offers a riveting escape.

Join Lynsi and Jaxon’s heart-pounding quest for truth and love. Dive into “Captive Hearts Healed” today!




March 19, 2002

Peter Scobie walked into the bathroom. “Hurry and finish with your bath, baby girl. You should’ve been in bed thirty minutes ago. Your brother’s already asleep, or should be,” he added.

He walked two doors down to the bedroom and peeked through the crack in the door. His son sat on the floor playing with the yellow dump truck he’d gotten a few days ago for his fifth birthday. Tapping lightly on the door, he asked, “Petey, are you asleep, yet?

Prepared to be angry, he couldn’t help but chuckle a little. “Good. Good night then.” He leaned over him and kissed his forehead.

Hearing giggling and running footsteps behind him, he turned in time to catch eight-year-old Luanne as she jumped into his arms, dressed in her nightgown and ready to be tucked into bed. A good little helper to her mother, she loved assisting with the care of her baby brother. Her mother would need that, especially in the coming days and weeks ahead.

He carried Luanne to the far side of the room, near the window. He moved the comforter, sat her on the sheet, and covered her up. “You better get to sleep now. Don’t do anything to wake your brother,” he whispered, gave her a knowing wink, and kissed her forehead. “Good night, baby girl.”

“Night Daddy,” she said. Luanne turned toward the wall, tucked the blanket under her chin, and snuggled deeper into her pillow.

Missing his children would be the worst part of leaving, but he’d messed up. He’d gotten mixed up in some shady stuff he couldn’t get out of, and soon dangerous people would come after him. He didn’t plan to wait for them to strike. It could be any moment.

Telling his wife, Amie, would be hard, but it’s what he had to do tonight as soon as she returned home. With his bags packed, his girlfriend would pick him up after midnight. Amie would believe his leaving meant he loved another woman more than his family. Yeah, sure there was another woman, and he had been unfaithful, getting caught up in Shauna’s world. In truth, his leaving was meant to keep them all safe–to keep that life from touching their innocence.

Amie was attending a retirement party for a co-worker—a deserved night out and likely her last for a while. Why had he messed up their lives? The easy money he’d earned went to his head, and he wanted more, then more.

What everybody said was true. You don’t miss what you have until it’s long gone. He missed his family already though because they were as good as gone from his life.

At the bedroom door, he turned and looked at his kids one last time. He memorized their features, not wanting to forget a thing. His eyes misted as he backed out of their room, shutting the door behind him.

A knock at the front door alerted him to a visitor. “It had to be Shauna because Amie had her own keys. Why was she here already? He’d told her not to come for him until 1 a. m.

He trotted down the stairs and swung open the door. “What—” He saw the light glisten off the blade, and he threw up his arms a beat or two too late.  It sliced through his flesh.  With ease, it sliced through his flesh, moving deeper into his chest muscle. Evident from the pulse rhythm in his own ears, it had missed his heart or anything vital. When his assailant pulled it out and up, the blade became visible. A sharp butcher’s knife, one used to cut through to the bone, pierced him a second time.

He saw a hand, then an arm before blood splashed into his eyes, blurring his vision. The warm, sticky liquid turned cold as it covered and spread across his white t-shirt. Someone pushed, knocking him back further into the living room.  Slipping on the now bloody surface, his feet flew out from under him. He banged his head on the coffee table, then against the hardwood floor. Adrenaline pumped away his life’s blood, but he ignored it and the pain. He swung limp, weak arms, missing his target, but he kept fighting.

Two more stabs tore at his torso. Peter struggled to turn onto his stomach. His fingers grasped for anything within reach. After he succeeded, he tried to crawl away, but someone grabbed him from behind. A large hand clutched his jean-clad thigh while the other plunged the knife into his back over and over and over.

He lost count. His mind became muddled with unbearable pain but lucid enough to pray his children didn’t come running downstairs for that last glass of water as they did most nights or make a sound alerting the intruders to their presence. Then to Amie, he hoped she didn’t come home early. Oh God, I love them. Please save my family. He knew it was too late for him.

Chapter One


Present Day

A gust of wind parted the back of Lynsi Patterson’s hair. She struggled against it to open the aluminum-framed glass door. Another blast of air pushed her into the building. The one that housed the offices of Franklin, Jenkins, and Montgomery, Attorneys at Law. Once she’d cleared the entrance, the door closed behind her with a whoosh and a clang. She looked back at the contraption. That didn’t sound very good. The oil-filled hydraulic dampers would soon need fixing.

Lynsi’s father, now passed on, worked as a handyman for their own building after he retired. From listening to his stories, she had limited working knowledge of such structures. Lynsi missed him dearly and the memory of him brought tears to her eyes. One escaped and she brushed it away, straightened her shoulders, and carried on as usual.

She made a mental note to let Jax’s secretary know about the gadget. Jax was Jaxon Montgomery, a partner in the firm, and her domestic partner. His secretary called her before she’d left work. He asked her to meet him in his office for their standing Friday night date.

The gated door on the elevator stood open as if it waited for her. When that happened, although seldom, it made her feel a little special. Silly yes, but it’s the little things in life that gave her joy. The feeling quickly evaporated. After she’d entered and turned around, she found a leather-clad man staring down at her. He wore a motorcycle jacket and jeans, and a dingy gray t-shirt that matched his scruffy beard. A red bandana was wrapped around long, dark, oily hair. The doors started to close but jerked to a stop when the man’s tattooed fingers snaked around the frame. Lynsi cringed.

He nodded. The scent of cheap cologne, mixed with days of perspiration, floated around the close quarters. It became stronger, choking her as their shoulders touched. She coughed, placed a curved finger under her nose, and pushed the button to the third floor with her free hand. “Four,” he said, leaning against the back panel and propping the sole of his shoes against it. He proceeded to whistle a strange tune.


Lynsi felt his gaze burning into the back of her head as she pressed the button for him. Trying to ignore his stare, she watched the immediate surroundings through her peripheral vision. If he made a move, it could give her a head start. Did he think her an object to gawk at?

When the doors opened, she rushed out. Not looking back, she expelled a deep breath. Relief replaced her fleeting moment of apprehension and guilt washed over her. She chastised herself for the stereotypical reaction she’d had to his appearance. Ever since what happened to her friends last year, she’d learned to trust her instincts.

Jax’s office sat around the immediate corner from the set of elevators in the beige suite. They’d named each section according to its interior color scheme. Each suite had a different color from carpeting to walls to ceiling tiles. There were three other corridors, the blue, the green, and the white suites. Not very original but what can you do? Lawyers, at least the ones she knew, were intelligent but not very imaginative when it came to interior design—being strategist more than artsy types. There were a few, like Jax, who had a good eye for paintings.

Marilyn Parker, Jax’s administrative assistant, stood at her desk. She stroked, perhaps absentminded, her pronounced ‘baby bump’ while speaking into the phone. Now listening, she covered the receiver and whispered to Lynsi, “He’s expecting you. You can go on in.”

Lynsi smiled and mouthed, “How are you?”

“I’m good,” she said continuing to whisper. She turned to the side. “Approaching the home stretch now.” She did a thumbs up and smiled wide. Her short dark hair bounced around her chubby cheeks.

Lynsi opened the door to Jax’s office, and he glanced up. Holding his phone in one hand, he waved to her with the other. Then he pointed her toward the white leather chairs near the far wall. “I’ll be done here in a moment, and we can go.”

She checked her watch. They still had a few minutes before they had to leave to make their reservations on time at Rossietta’s. Owned by husband-and-wife chefs, Rossi and Etta Marino—a lovely couple she’d met a few times. She placed her purse in the chair, walked to the window wall, and gazed out. Late-day traffic scurried about below as the streetlights sprung to life. Across the street, a store vendor ushered out his last customer while removing his apron. Another lowered the metal gate before slipping inside, locking his door, and pulling down the shade.

Jax set the phone in its cradle with a broad smile and jumped up from his desk. “You’re early,” he said. She turned and he ran toward her, arms held apart awaiting her.

She met him in the middle of the room, and he kissed her cheek. The smell of fresh aftershave suggested he’d freshened up in his private restroom. “Not really. You just lost track of time again. Another case?”

“Indeed, but we’ll talk about it over dinner.”

“We need to hurry anyway, or we’ll be late.” She retrieved her purse, and he escorted her past Marilyn’s now-empty desk and the darkened suite. They moved through the empty corridors until they reached the door of the parking garage. He opened Lynsi’s car door. He always parked in the reserved spot near the elevators. It was the slot reserved for him when he’d made partner in the firm.

Jax bypassed Main Street, taking his favorite shortcut. He avoided the one-way, heavy traffic, making the drive in a few short blocks. They ran from the car to the restaurant to get out of the wind and to make up more time. With two minutes to spare, a panting Lynsi and a gasping Jax sprinted to the Concierge’s desk.

A new employee stood behind the mahogany desk, uniformed in a smart black suit and matching tie. He clicked a few buttons on his keyboard and asked, “Name please?”

“Jaxon Montgomery. We have standing Friday night reservations for two for . . .” he said and looked at his watch, “. . . well, now, 6:30.”

“Very well.” The man grabbed two menus, slid them under his arm, and stepped out. “This way please.” He led them to their favorite table near the kitchens.

Most people wouldn’t think their location ideal, but Lynsi loved watching the different meals as they came out of the kitchen. Etta gave each dish a unique artistic flair. Each meal also provided enough food to satisfy her hunger. Savory aromas soon wafted around them, ranging from the pungent spice of garlic to the sweet glaze of honey. Her stomach grumbled in protest of the lunch she’d skipped earlier. Well, not completely. She ate an apple on the run.

On Fridays, she and Jax both left work and had an early dinner. Sometimes, they’d take in a movie before going to their apartment on South Hampton Street. Typical date night—the same thing almost every Friday.  Lynsi wished they would do something different now and then.

She yearned to window shop, go ice skating, or visit an ice cream parlor, and perhaps go dancing occasionally. Why did it always have to be the same thing? They were in a rut . . . but at least they took time to be together some weeks.

With busy lives, they needed this time. More times than not, one or the other ended up canceling, and it was normally Jax. Lynsi admired his passion for his work, representing the wrongly accused. Still, she sometimes resented the time it took away from them.

“How’s your steak?” Jax asked, breaking into her thoughts. He cut another piece from his tender juicy ribeye.

“Excellent as usual? Yours?” In the room behind them, silverware clanged and jingled while plates rattled.


She knew he wanted to talk about his new case, so being the perfect girlfriend, she asked him about it. “So, what’s this new case you’re starting?”

“How’d you know I had a new case?”

She laughed. “By the gleam in your eyes. I’ve been with you long enough to know when you’re excited about something new.” They’d been dating a little over a year and living together for four months, without a proposal in sight. She sighed at the thought.

He wiped his mouth on his napkin and took a sip of water. “You’re right. It’s s new case. I’m representing Amie Scobie.” He smiled. “I’m eager to get started and—”

“Her name sounds familiar. Where have I heard it?” Lynsi narrowed her eyes while trying to remember.

Jax sat straighter. “It was all over the news a few years ago. She’s been in prison for seventeen years for murdering her husband.” He straightened his tie.

She nodded her head. “That’s right. The jury convicted her of first-degree murder and she’s serving a life sentence.”

“That surprises you?”

Lynsi fished the last bit of salad from her bowl and held it on the end of her fork. “Well, yes it does. How will you represent her when she’s already serving time? Is it her parole you’ll be handling?”

“Her parole, no. I’m going to petition the court for a new trial. It’s my belief she’s innocent, and her children have grown up without their mother for all these years.”

“I feel sorry for the kids. It had to be hard on them to lose their mother so soon after their father. Who raised them?

“Her parents and her husband’s sister shared joint custody. I’m sure they were well taken care of.” He pulled the cloth napkin from his lap and wiped his mouth. Placing it on the table beside his plate, he leaned back in his chair.

“Possibly, but I’m speaking emotionally. It’s good that they had a family support system to count on. I don’t remember their exact ages, but still, losing your mother at any age is bad, especially losing them at such young ages had to be inconceivable.”

“The daughter was the oldest, and she was eight when her father died and nine when her mother left for prison. Her brother was three years younger. I’ve spoken at length to the daughter. She’s the one that brought her mother’s case to my attention. She seems to be well adjusted. I’m sure the grandparents and aunt have made sure they’ve had everything they need, both physically and emotionally.”

“Besides, orphaned from birth, I did well. My foster parents were eccentric, but good people.”

“You’re an exception.” She smiled. “Maybe they did get what they needed, but it’s their mom, and they didn’t have her with them for over a decade, almost two.” Lynsi’s eyes became misty at the thought. She decided to change the subject from the emotional to how it would affect their lives.

She wouldn’t even take the rare opportunity to press Jax to reveal details about his own childhood. Not this time. “It’s going to be hard to prove her innocence.” She took a deep breath. Not only was it going to be hard, Lynsi knew it would consume all his time. They could say goodbye to Friday night dinners and any other aspects of date night for the foreseeable future.

When Jax got his hooks into a case like the one, he tended to forget everything else in his life, and that meant her too. He took her for granted and she couldn’t compete with the job he loved. Sometimes she wondered who’d win if he had to pick between the two. She didn’t want to find out. Lynsi pushed the rest of her salad around in the bowl, lost in her own thoughts and dreading this new case.

Lynsi knew Jax loved her, and he’d hinted a few times that he wanted to marry her someday, but would someday ever come? She couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for herself. Then Amie Scobie’s children intruded her mind and, although no longer babies, getting their mother home would be more important.

He took a sip of his water and leaned across the table. “I was hoping you could help me.”

She perked up a bit and smirked. “But how. I’m not a lawyer, a paralegal, or even a legal assistant/secretary. How can I help you with something like that?”

He wrapped his hand around hers. “That’s true, but it’s not a lawyer I need. Someone with your organizational skills would be of tremendous value. With Marilyn going on maternity leave soon—”

She pulled her hand from under his and took the cloth napkin from her lap to dot her mouth. She wanted to have something to do with her hands more than anything else as she tried to calm herself. She would’ve screamed if they weren’t in public. Her voice raised an octave when she said, “So, you want me to be your Administrative Assistant?” Then she lowered her tone. “You know how long and how hard I had to work to move up from that position at Morgan Fashions. Well, I’m finally there, and I don’t intend to go backward career-wise. Besides, I have my own position. I’m second in command at a respected men’s fashion magazine.” She sat motionless, staring into his sapphire eyes.

He cleared his throat. “It wasn’t my intention to insult you. A temp will cover Marilyn’s job while she’s away. I thought if you can get away from the magazine and help me with this case, we’d be able to spend more time together.” He wiggled his thick, black brows. “It could be fun to work together again. Remember how close we became on Jon Clayton’s case, and of course, you were a big help.”

An image of them together, all day every day, compelled a gentle smile through her gloom. And it was true, they did make a great team then, and she’d even surprised herself at how fast she picked up legalese. She’d minored in criminal justice in college. Getting closer appealed to her too, but she didn’t answer him, yet.

He took her hand in his, his fingers sliding between hers, tickling and teasing as he caressed them. “What do you say?” He puckered his lips into a slight pout and tilted his head to one side. A gentle grin split his lips, showing his perfect white teeth. “Huh? Come on, please work with me on this case. I want you with me on this. Please, I can’t do it without you.”

Darn! It was so hard to say no to this man no matter how much he infuriated her. She could almost hear the wedding bells. Yeah, right! She almost rolled her eyes but caught herself. “If you’re sure, I’ll see what I can do. I’ll have to run it by Trevor, of course, to make sure he’ll be okay without me for a few days. How long would you need me?”

“A couple of weeks at least.”

“Okay. I’ll ask him.”

Jax took the leather server book, filled in the gratuity, signed it, and stood. Walking around the table, he pulled out Lynsi’s chair and helped her with her coat. Placing a hand to the small of her back, he led her to the front of the restaurant.

From within the glass enclosure, they watched as citizens rushed about outside, trying to get into either nearby buildings or cars parked along the road. Would they go anywhere as long as it was away from the cold gusts swirling around them? It was hard to believe fall had just begun. Winter apparently wanted to make an early appearance in New Jersey this year. The previous week, they’d had an untimely dusting of snow, then two days of summer-like temperatures. The weather couldn’t seem to make up its mind.

Lynsi pulled her scarf and coat collar tighter around her neck. Jax held her other hand as they left the warmth of the restaurant and began the trek to their car parked about a block away. They hadn’t gotten very far when a blast of wind rushed over them.

A man jogging by bumped into her, knocking her off balance. Her knees buckled and she fell into Jax. He caught her before she hit the cement. Had the rush of air unbalanced the man? A sharp pain digging into her arm drew her attention to what he’d really been after. Her purse strap snapped apart and gave way. She grabbed for it but could do nothing to stop him. The man, his face covered in what appeared to be dirt, soot, or paint, she couldn’t tell which, tucked the purse inside his ragged coat and dashed toward the next pedestrian crossing.

Jax lifted her from his chest, brows furrowed, and his serious sapphire eyes gazed into hers. “Are you okay?”

She rubbed her sore arm and pointed toward the crosswalk. “H-he stole my purse.” Temporarily paralyzed, tears slipped from her eyes.

The scruffy man pushed his way through the crowd standing at the crosswalk. Not waiting for the lights to change, he dashed into the street and zigzagged through oncoming traffic as their horns blared.

Jax turned away and toward the thief’s path, a trail growing cold, but Lynsi clutched his coat sleeves, stopping his pursuit. He turned back and wrapped his arms around her.

The robber quickly disappeared from their sight.

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