A Little Dare(6)

By: Brenda Jackson

Ignoring the pain he felt in his hand, he breathed in deeply when it hit him that he was the father of John Doe. No,

she’d called him AJ but she had named him Alisdare

Julian. He took a deep, calming breath. For some reason she had at least done that. His son did have his name—at least part of it anyway. Had he known, his son would also be wearing the name Westmoreland, which was rightfully


Dare slowly walked over to the window and looked out,

suddenly seeing the kid through different eyes—a father’s eyes, and his heart and soul yearned for a place in his

son’s life; a place he rightly deserved. And from the way the kid had behaved earlier it was a place Dare felt he needed to be. It seemed that Alisdare Julian Brockman was a

typical Westmoreland male—headstrong and stubborn as hell. As Dare studied him through the windowpane, he

could see Westmoreland written all over him and was

surprised he hadn’t seen it earlier.

He turned when the buzzer sounded on his desk. He took the few steps to answer it. “Yes, Holly?”

“Ms. Brockman is ready to leave, sir. Have you completed the paperwork?”

Dare frowned as he glanced down at the half-completed form on his desk. “No, I haven’t.”

“What do you want me to tell her, Sheriff?”

Dare sighed. If Shelly for one minute thought she could just walk out of here and take their son, she had another thought coming. There was definitely unfinished business between them. “Tell Ms. Brockman there’re a few things I need to

take care of. After which, I’ll speak with her again in my

office. In the meantime, she’s not to see her son.”

There was a slight pause before Holly replied. “Yes, sir.”

After hanging up the phone Dare picked up the form that

contained all the standard questions, however, he didn’t

know any answers about his son. He wondered if he could ever forgive Shelly for doing that to him. No matter what she said, she had no right to have kept him in the dark about his son for ten years.

After the elder Brockmans had retired and moved away,

there had been no way to stay in touch except for Ms. Kate, the owner of Kate’s Diner who’d been close friends with

Shelly’s mother. But no matter how many times he had

asked Kate about the Brockmans, specifically Shelly, she had kept a stiff lip and a closed mouth.

A number of the older residents in town who had kept an eye on his and Shelly’s budding romance during those six years had been pretty damn disappointed with the way he had ended things between them. Even his family, who’d thought the world of Shelly, had decided he’d had a few screws loose for breaking up with her.

He sighed deeply. As sheriff, he of all people should have known she had returned to College Park; he made it his business to keep up with all the happenings around town. She must have come back during the time he had been busy apprehending those two fugitives who’d been hiding

out in the area.

With the form in one hand he picked up the phone with the other. His cousin, Jared Westmoreland, was the attorney in the family and Dare felt the need for legal advice.

“The sheriff needs to take care of few things and would like to see you again in his office when he’s finished.”

Shelly nodded but none to happily. “Is there anyway I can see my son?”

The older woman shook her head. “I’m sorry but you can’t

see or talk to him until the sheriff completes the paperwork.”

When the woman walked off Shelly shook her head. What had taken place in Dare’s office had certainly not been the way she’d envisioned telling him about AJ. She walked

over to a chair and sat down, wondering how long would it be before she could get AJ and leave. Dare was calling the shots and there wasn’t anything she could do about it but

wait. She knew him well enough to know that anger was

driving him to strike back at her for what she’d done, what she’d kept from him. A part of her wondered if he would

ever forgive her for doing what she’d done, although at the time she’d thought it was for the best.

“Ms. Brockman?”

Shelly shifted her gaze to look into the face of a uniformed man who appeared to be in his late twenties. “Yes?”