The Stolen by Jason Pinter
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Jason Pinter is the bestselling author of the THE STOLEN, THE GUILTY and THE MARK, which was nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics award, the Barry award, the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and was optioned for film. His critically acclaimed Henry Parker series has been published in more than 10 countries in over half a dozen languages. Jason’s weblog, “The Man in Black,” was named one of the top mystery blogs by Library Journal and one of the top writing and publishing blogs by Associated Content. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and is a founding member of Killer Year. He lives in New York City with his wife Susan and their dog Wilson, and is currently at work on his next Henry Parker novel.
James was grimacing through his last scraps of food when Shelly heard the doorbell.
“That’s got to be Daddy,” Shelly said. “He probably forgot his keys again this morning. James, would you let your father in?” James didn’t move. “Did you hear me?”
"I’m cleaning my plate like you told me. I can’t answer the door and eat at the same time.” He smiled at this catch-22. Shelly sighed, though silently proud of her son’s intelligence.
“Fine, you can stop eating if you let your father in. But if I hear that video game start up before you finish your social studies homework you won’t watch television until you graduate college.”
James sprung up like he’d been in an ejector seat, bolted from his chair.
Shelly smiled at her daughter. Tasha. Her beautiful, young daughter, who would grow up to be strong and vivacious like her mother had never been. Shelly felt an ache in her stomach, placed her palm on Tasha’s cheek. Tasha smiled at her, that big goofy grin full of baby teeth.
“Mom?” James’s voice bellowed from the hallway. “There’s a kid here. Do you know anyone named Daniel.”
A napkin fell from Shelly’s hand and fluttered to the floor.
“Wha…what did you say baby?”
“Daniel. There’s some kid at the door says he knows you. Wait, huh? Uh, mom? He says…he says you’re his mom.”
Shelly leapt from her seat. She dashed through the house, nearly knocking over the coffee table, and sprinted into the front hallway.
The wooden frame was open to reveal the screen door. Daniel was standing behind the screen, looking confused as to why he hadn’t been allowed in yet. Shelly covered her mouth to prevent a scream from leaving her lips.
On the other of the door side stood a boy Shelly both knew and didn’t know. He was about five foot three with a lock of dark hair that fell over his hazel eyes. His father’s eyes. His limbs were gangly, full of sharp angles, like he’d grown a great deal in a short amount of time and the flesh hadn’t caught up to his bones. Everything and nothing was just like she remembered.
“Baby, oh my god…”
She gently pushed James away from the door and tore open the screen. The boy stood on the front porch with a look of slight bewilderment, a twinkle of recognition, a blurry memory slowly coming into focus. He didn’t move. Instead the boy’s eyes met Shelly’s as though waiting for something, and before another second passed Shelly Linwood gathered the boy up into her arms and squeezed him like there was no tomorrow, until his arms tentatively wrapped themselves around her body and held on. She remembered how he felt in her arms, and though heavier, he was the same boy she’d held in her arms for the first five years of his life. She showered the boy’s head with kisses until he pulled away slightly, an embarrassed grin on his young face.
“Oh my god,” she whispered. “Oh my god, oh my god oh my god. Baby, is it really you?” The boy shrugged, then was muffled as Shelly attempted to squeeze the life out of him again.
1) Name two things that Jason can't do at the same time.
2) Someone's standing at Jason's front door. He (or she) has urgent business with Jason. Who is this person, and what do they want?
3) What did five-year-old Jason like to squeeze?
**Come back Friday to read chapter one in its entirety! A very nice weekend treat!!**