Hope and Nick are on leave from the Army when Nick receives word his sister has gone missing. Beth, a want-a-be investigative reporter, has been digging into the disappearance of her childhood friend who's been missing for five years. They soon discover she isn't the only one unaccounted for in the area and the closer they get to the answers that will lead to Beth, the more dangerous it becomes.
Thrown into the volatile situation are the personal struggles of Nick and Hope. Nick, suffering from PTSD, is a powder keg ready to explode. Hope, facing her own demons, is his lifeline to sanity. She has to convince him he needs help or their whole world might come crashing down. Nick is a proud Ranger though. Admitting his weakness could destroy the respect and trust of the men who depend on him. It's not a risk he's willing to take.
Hope heard a woman holler and jerked her head to the left.
A man wearing a black hoodie stood next to her rental car with Hope's backpack.
"Hey, put that back!" Hope started across the street, but the man took off running through the park.
Hope dropped her package and chased after him. Like running an obstacle course, she dashed in and out of small groups of tourists, picnic tables, and trash barrels, quickly gaining distance on the thief. Hope exited the park, ran into the street -- nearly colliding with a SUV -- and pursued him down the sidewalk. He darted down an alley and Hope followed. The adrenaline rushing through her veins wiped out any fear of repercussions as to what might happen once she caught him. All she cared about was getting back that laptop.
Halfway down the alley, he stumbled and fell against a clutter of trashcans. He shoved them over into her path and kept running. Hope jumped over the cans, thankful for the years of physical training the Army had insisted on. She was right on his heels now. A few more feet and she would have him. For a brief second she considered the possibility that he had a gun and this could be a very bad idea.
Shoving commonsense aside, she tackled him around the waist.
Her right elbow and knee hit the cement at the same time. Pain shot through her joints. The thief drew back his arm. Hope jerked her head back but not quick enough. Solid bone struck the corner of her left eye and her grip loosened on him. He squirmed from her arms. She reached for the backpack, dangling on his arm, and managed to grab one of the straps. He attempted to rip it free but she kept a death grip on it, allowing the momentum to pull her up. As she came up, she pivoted and swept his leg out from under him, causing him to lose his balance -- and his grip on the bag. He fell back then scrambled to his feet and ran down the alley.
Hope grabbed the backpack with both hands and knelt over to catch her breath. Whew. Thanks for having my back, Lord.
On the walk back, Hope thought of the thumb drive and phone in her pockets and checked to make sure they weren't damaged in the scuffle. She checked the flash drive first and it appeared fine. She wouldn't know for sure until she accessed it on a computer. Hope pulled the phone from her right pocket. The protective case was cracked but the phone itself seemed to be working. She saw Nick had called. She didn't even hear it ring so he must have called during her pursuit. Hope called him back but it went straight to voicemail. She was about to leave a message when she noticed everyone in the park looking at her. Guess they've never seen a mad woman chase after a thief before. She shoved her phone back in her pocket and kept walking.
"You had me worried sick, girl." Kory stood with a deputy at Hope's rental car. "Are you completely insane?"
"I got it back." So it wasn't the smartest thing to do. And the guy did get away. At least she wouldn't have to explain to Beth what happened to her laptop.
"Are you alright, ma'am?" the deputy asked.
"I'm probably going to have a shiner tomorrow but other than that, I'm okay." She looked down at the broken glass underneath the backdoor. "Good thing I got the insurance."