Embattled Return (Lost and Found #6) by J.M. Madden

Prologue





Dear Shannon, My Brilliant Fucking Wife…



Hey, babe. I love you. I know you’re going to come into the hotel room dragging ass after being in classes all day, but I wanted to let you know that everyone is okay and breathing. As soon as I finish this email I’m heading to bed myself. I promised you I would let you know what went on today.

You know, when I offered to watch the kids while you went to this damn conference, I had no idea what the hell I was agreeing to. Yes, they’re my kids, but I had no idea what holy fucking terrors they’d begun to morph into! My God, woman, what the hell did we doom the world to by bringing these future despots to life?

This computer system or whatever the hell it is you’re learning had better be fucking worth it!

Your parents are on their way to Arizona now. They were an incredible help and want you to call them when you get a minute.

I went to pick up the kids from preschool at four-thirty, just like you said, and I will never do it again. Chad or Zeke can go get them for me, or Duncan, since he sent you to the damn conference. The two girls that work there (is it Candice and Nene?) need to be sainted or something. As soon as I got out of the truck and started rolling into the building, women swarmed me. Have they never seen a man in a wheelchair before? One woman with brown hair in the tightest fucking ponytail I’ve ever seen insisted she open the door for me. Whatever. I’ve had people do that before so I let it roll. But then she followed me! Asking me if I needed help finding my own kids. I finally had to tell her to fuck off. You should have seen the outraged look on her face. I thought I was done with her, but the look changed into something truly terrifying.

“Oh, you naughty boy,” she said, smiling this evil-ass smile. Then she tried to give me her damn business card!

Do all men get hit on this way or was I just special?

To make matters worse Flynn was in there picking up Raven. You know for a fact he’s going to tell all the guys at work about the harpy that tried to pick me up.

The women that work there (they really need a raise or a bonus or something, babe, seriously) fought off the rest of the women trailing along behind me and found my kids. I put the harnesses on them, told Flynn to leave and made those kids chase Raven out of the building, pulling my ass all the way like sled dogs. I think I might have run over one woman’s foot, but if she hadn’t been so close it wouldn’t have been an issue.

We got to the truck and mounted up, thanks to Flynn, again. Since we were both there at the same time do you think he’d mind picking our kids up while he’s getting his own? Then I wouldn’t have to run the pity gauntlet.

Anyway, Wyatt said he was hungry so I pulled through Micky D’s and got them each a kids meal. Yes, I KNOW you told me not to, but they were crying and shit! I forgot the bag of snacks you packed. I had to do something! They chowed down and we took off. But within about three minutes Wyatt said he didn’t feel good. Approximately twenty-three seconds later he was spewing not-so-happy nuggets all over the back of my seat. As I sit here now I still get occasional whiffs of vomit, and my mouth waters. It was like that time I ran through Carmella’s dog shit when she was a puppy and I got it into the tread of my wheels. It took forever to get it all out! Remember? And I gagged constantly. Same now, ugh…So, I’m glad they were dressed warm because we came home with the windows down on the truck. They loved catching the snowflakes in the back seat and eating them. When we got home I left the windows open while I took the boys inside. I didn’t figure the extra moisture on the vomit could hurt…Thinking I would save time I stripped their little asses down and we all three rolled into the big shower. On the one hand I’m patting myself on the back for getting them clean and ready for bed early. On the other hand I’m worried that they have a new game. I’m sorry, babe. I really am. Don’t let them shoot you with the shower hose. I told them no but then they were giggling like crazy and it was so damn cute. I hope I wasn’t this bad when I was a kid. Maybe that’s why my mother gave me up. *insert cynical laughter*

So, I wrangled the little monsters out of the shower but I might have swung Caden too hard. He yakked in the shower. Or maybe he was laughing too hard. I left it running with cold water in the hopes that it will magically go down the drain with no assistance… I’ll check before I head to bed. Happy Meals, the meal that keeps on giving.

By the time we all three got dressed (just FYI, I have the biggest peepee ever!, according to both boys!) it’s heading toward 6. Because they yakked I didn’t think they’d be hungry, but we sat on the couch and watched Paw Patrol for a while. It’s pretty cute, by the way. I don’t mind them rotting their brains on that. Within about half an hour they were demanding food again, so we headed into the kitchen. Thank you for getting the family sized box of Honey Nut Cheerios. By the time we’d all three eaten a bowl of cereal and I had cleaned up what they’d spilled, and Carmella cleaned up the ones from the floor, we’re down to about a quarter of a box. Her farts now smell awesome though!