Susan Stoker coming soon

I’ve been writing all morning, but I owe you all an excerpt from Justice for Hope, don’t I? 🙂

You all said please so prettily. 🙂 ❤


Hope simply couldn’t ignore the man. For some reason, her eyes were drawn to him time and time again. Calder didn’t try to talk to Hope, but she was more than aware of his eyes on her. It should’ve been creepy, but just like last night, it felt more protective than anything else.

She was proved right when one of her customers put his hand on her ass and pulled her into his side as he said, “Hey, baby, how ’bout lettin’ me fill you up sometime?”

Before she could respond, someone jostled her from behind, forcing the man to let go as she stumbled from the contact.

“I’m so sorry, are you okay? I didn’t mean to run into you.”

Hope turned and saw Calder standing there. He put his hand on her elbow and pulled her away from the handsy customer.

“I’m fine.”

“Good. Wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt,” Calder said with a smile. He’d moved so he was standing between her and the table, and the badge on his belt was on display right in front of the man who’d touched her.

With a nod in her direction, and a wink, he ambled back to his table nearby. Hope didn’t have any further issues with the overly aggressive man at her table—or anyone else, for that matter.

Calder was friendly and gracious to everyone, and Hope overheard Audrey gossiping with Hannah about the fact he’d even requested that she tell the cook how good his omelet had been.

Hope wasn’t surprised when Billy poked his head out of the back office to let her know he was done eating his breakfast muffin. But she was shocked when, the second he saw Calder, he made a beeline for his booth.

Smiling big, he showed the medical examiner the badge he was wearing on his jeans.

Hope moved closer to the table, telling herself she was simply looking out for her son, not trying to get closer to Calder.

“Hey! That looks good, Buddy,” Calder told her son. “Fist bump.”

When Billy just stood there looking confused, Calder didn’t get irritated. Didn’t make fun of him. He simply explained what a fist bump was, then smiled at the little boy when he shyly bumped his small fist to Calder’s larger one.

“That’s it!” Calder said excitedly. “Good job. Hey, you hungry?”

Hope opened her mouth to tell Calder that Billy had already eaten, but her son bobbed his head up and down with such force that she blinked in surprise.

Calder patted the seat next to him in the booth and Billy climbed up without hesitation. It was a bit astonishing because, since Earle, Billy had been reticent around most men. Being kidnapped hadn’t helped either.

But he didn’t act the least bit shy around Calder.

Hope watched as Calder’s dark head leaned closer to Billy’s red-haired one as they examined the menu. Calder patiently read off every single item, trying to figure out what Billy wanted to eat. Billy could read, but he was apparently enjoying Calder’s attention and didn’t insist he could do it himself, as he would’ve if she was sitting with him.

Audrey wandered back over to their table then and Hope’s attention was diverted by one of her customers wanting to pay for his meal. By the time she looked over at her son again, Joseph had joined the duo in the booth. He was sitting across from Billy and Calder, and the men were watching Billy tuck into a stack of chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream piled high on top.

Hope wanted to be upset at Calder for letting her son eat so much sugar this early in the day, but Billy was obviously still hungry. She refused to make a scene over food when they’d had so little of it in the past.


Medical Examiner Calder Stonewall had been looking for Hope Drayden and her little boy for what seemed like forever. But when he found them, they weren’t suffering on the streets homeless, like he’d assumed. Hope had gotten a job and was doing the best she could to provide for her son. She was wary and reluctant to accept any kind of help, but after a tip changed her life, she had no choice. And when little Billy disappears, she’d take whatever help she could get to find him.

Justice for Hope, Sept 18, 2018