Of course, the first thing on the agenda before leaving Vegas had been to take advantage of a quickie wedding. Again, Kynan called in a favor. One of the local judges had gladly married us at the Jameson offices in Vegas with my parents and Mike in attendance.

Obviously, Sam had been there, too. Standing right in between Leighton and me, our arms all wrapped around each other. While no vows had been exchanged, the marriage certificate had been signed by an esteemed member of the court.

The next day, we’d managed to get the entire house packed and loaded. We’d kissed my parents goodbye with promises they could come visit us very soon, and we’d hit the road.

I’m sure no one understands the importance of why I had to marry Leighton right away, but I’d wanted that paper sealing our future together before we took our first steps together as a family. Didn’t matter what our names changed to. Didn’t matter where we lived. We had an actual court decree that said Leighton, Sam, and I belonged together forever.

There’s a knock on the front door. Regrettably, Leighton jumps, her face frowning with worry.

“Relax, babe,” I say with a gentle kiss. “It’s just Kynan.”

I leave Leighton in the kitchen unpacking the plates and utensils. It’s amazing how fast we were able to pack up an entire household and move. Within two days of us tying the knot, we’d filled up a large U-Haul with our belongings and headed east to Pennsylvania. Eventually, I’m going to take a few buddies out to Denver to pack up the remainder of their house there, but we need to get settled first.

We’re renting for now, not wanting to make a rash decision by buying sight unseen. Kynan found this gem of a four-bedroom house nestled in the rolling hills about thirty miles north of Pittsburgh. It’s placed on over three acres, where Mike and Sam are currently walking around to check things out.

I move to the front door, knowing Kynan will be there. I’m surprised when I open it to find he’s brought his wife, Joslyn.

I hug her, shake Kynan’s hand, and invite them both in, then point toward the kitchen. “Leighton’s in there unpacking. We’ve got some coffee on if you want some.”

Joslyn smiles as she heads that way. She’s not met Leighton yet, but she’s well aware of what’s going on. Besides, she knows Kynan’s here to talk business, and I’m sure she’s here to welcome Leighton to the area. Joslyn’s the team mother to the Jameson employees and their families.

I lead Kynan through the living room and into a room we’ve set up as a home office, then close the door behind us.

“How are things going?” he asks.

I wave him off, the question feeling irrelevant. “The house is great. Incredibly grateful to you for finding this place for us, letting me come to the Pittsburgh office, and getting us new identities. But let’s talk about the important things right now.”

Kynan moves over to the window, peering over the pretty side yard bordered with apple trees before meeting my eyes. “Our team landed in Beirut this morning. It’s going to take a few days, but we should be ready to move mid-week.”

He then lays out the entire plan. A team of six Jameson men supported by a SEAL platoon offered to us by the U.S. government since it’s as important to them to retrieve an American citizen as it is for us to bring our friend back. I’m not going to be joining them, which is my only regret, but… Leighton and Sam are my priority now.

If we’re lucky, Malik will have been rescued and returned to the States by this time next week.

We discuss a few minor details, but my input isn’t necessary for the most part. Kynan employs a brilliant strategist by the name of Dozer Burney, whom he stole from NASA, and we have one of the best cyber experts in the world on our team as well. Bebe Grimshaw.

Speaking of, I ask Kynan, “Is Bebe going with them?”

Kynan shakes his head. “She’s going to provide remote support. Plus, she’s settling into her new normal now, too. You both have a lot in common.”

“Yeah,” I say with a chuckle. That’s for sure. Bebe’s been laying low herself over the last year with a target on her back, too. That was recently resolved, thanks to an undercover government agent who came to her rescue and whom she subsequently fell in love with.

“As a matter of fact,” Kynan continues. “You need to get with Bebe. She wants to get the boys together.”

Bebe has a son Sam’s age. They only live about twenty minutes from us, Bebe also preferring country living to the city. I’m sure that’s why Kynan found us a house in this area.

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