A Sneak Peek of the Sequel to Losing Cadence: Finding Sophie
Richard sat in his villa in the Bahamas, the warm ocean breeze and sounds of the lapping waves coming through the large, open doors of the massive deck. He was fixated not on the magnificent view, but on his computer screen that was livestreaming his daughter’s twelfth birthday party. He felt the adrenalin coursing through his veins as he knew his time was drawing near. He saw her beautiful smile, her sweet face.
“Happy birthday dear Sophie, Happy birthday to you!” played through the speaker. Sophie took a deep breath, focusing intently on the twelve candles on what appeared to be a yellow cake decorated with pink flowers. She blew with great effort, ten of the twelve candles smoking in defeat, as her friends joked about the two she’d missed. He ached to be there with his family, in Christian’s place, where he belonged.
The cameras were his companions; they helped him be part of Sophie’s life. He was there for all major events through that small eye nestled so inconspicuously that most top agents wouldn’t be able to uncover it. Leo, the ex-CIA agent who helped him in the dark days after Cadence left him to die in the fire, was a genius at this gig. The hideous scars from the third-degree burns on his face and body were a constant reminder of that day; for years, he had wished it had been his last. But in Richard’s world there was always a plan, then another, and another one after that. Richard had backup upon backup, which saved his life when a guard who was stationed nearby arrived just in time to save Richard from being burned alive or bleeding out from the deep stab wound in his chest. That knife had only been an inch from fatally puncturing his right lung. The heat of the fire felt as though it was tearing apart his soul, or what was left of it. The thick, dark smoke engulfed his body, and he felt the sharp, throbbing pain of the wound in his chest as he tried to breath.
He recalled those final moments on that burning deck. “Let me die,” Richard whispered.
“Not a chance,” Leo responded, dragging Richard’s body away from the burning log home, then wrapping his chest in what felt like a tight bandage. He didn’t remember anything after that as he passed out from the pain before being driven quickly away in an ATV through the dense Oregon forest.
He was brought back from those dark memories by the live video of his Cadence putting her arm around Sophie. Sophie smiled, her expression reminding him so much of his own. Her eyes and hair giving away the secret of whom her real father was. Yet she had her mother’s beautifully shaped lips and nose, set perfectly on her porcelain skin. How he longed to put his arms around them both. Yearned for the warmth of their arms around him. Ached every day and every night for their love.
Just then Christian came between them and Richard turned away from the video, his hands making tight fists and his breath quickening. He couldn’t bear to watch anymore, and stormed out of the room as the recording continued. He would watch more of his wife and daughter later, as was his daily ritual.
As he walked outside the villa and onto the soft, white sandy private beach, he breathed deeply to calm the rage that seeing Christian always caused. Soon, he promised himself. Soon this torture would come to an end and he could have what belonged to him.