Home > A Hero's Chance (Baytown Heroes Book 1)

A Hero's Chance (Baytown Heroes Book 1)
Author: Maryann Jordan





“Trevor! Are you out of the shower?” Ryan Coates lifted his hand and banged on the door.

“Yeah, Dad!” The shout came just as the water turned off.

“Downstairs in five.”

“I’ll be there. I’ll be there. I can just grab a muffin!”

Ryan sighed and shook his head. “Not good enough. Five minutes, Trevor.” Turning, he walked past Trevor’s open bedroom door and glanced inside despite telling himself not to. The room was clean, but multiple shirts lay on the bed, a few on the floor, and at a glance, he could see at least two pairs of jeans tossed about, as well. When did he start worrying about what he looked like in the morning? Heading down the stairs, he was able to hear his almost-fifteen-year-old son still grumbling behind the bathroom door.

At the bottom of the stairs, he curved to the left and walked down the hall to the open kitchen. Whoever owned the house before him had knocked down a few walls to create a combined kitchen and dining room, divided only by a kitchen island.

At the time he’d been looking for a house, he was more concerned with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of the yard, and ultimately, the price tag. For the most part, he’d lucked out. It was a small house with only three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a powder room, and a comfortable family room. There was no formal living room, which was fine with him. One less room to furnish and clean. It did have a small extra room downstairs that he’d turned into an office with a foldout bed. With family close by, he’d never needed to use it as a guest room, but considering he hadn’t got rid of the old sofa-bed when he’d moved into the house, it was shoved into the corner.

Of course, none of the furniture in the house was very new. He made sure the kids’ rooms were furnished the way they wanted, the family room was comfortable, and the dining room table large enough for any friends the kids wanted to have over. As far as his bedroom, the furniture was cheap, but he’d splurged on his mattress. After eight years in the military and eleven years working in law enforcement, his back needed a good mattress.

The kitchen door led to a deck and generous backyard that was fully fenced. There was even a two-car garage. Not that he had two cars. But it wouldn’t be long before Trevor would need something. Christ… more money, and the insurance will take a dent out of our finances!

Entering the kitchen, his gaze landed on Cindy, already dressed, hair pulled back in a ponytail, backpack sitting next to the back door, and a bowl of cereal and glass of orange juice on the counter in front of her. Another bowl of cereal and a glass of juice was on the counter next to hers.

Her gaze lifted from the book her nose was buried in, landed on him, then shot over to the clock hanging on the wall. “He’s going to be late.”

Walking over to the coffee pot, he poured his first cup of the day, smiling at the sweetener and low-fat creamer sitting next to his mug. Twisting his head, he lifted a brow. “Taking care of your old man?”

“You’re not old, Dad,” Cindy said, her lips curving upward softly. “But you’re old enough you should take care of yourself.” Glancing at the clock again, she repeated, “And he’s still going to be late.”

The sound of heavy footsteps clomping down the stairs met their ears, and it only took a couple of seconds for Trevor to appear. “I’m here! I’m here!” he called out as he skidded to a stop right next to Cindy, in front of the extra bowl of cereal and juice she’d set out. “Thanks, Cin!” Pouring the milk, he began wolfing it down. In between bites, he said, “And I agree, Dad. You’re not old. One of the senior cheerleaders called you a silver fox. She said her mom said you were a real hottie in high school and that you only get better with age.”

Nearly spitting out his coffee, Ryan sputtered, “What the… you’ve gotta be kidding me!”

“It’s true, Dad,” Cindy nodded, her face blushing bright red.

Barely taking a break to swallow, Trevor continued, “I figure that works for me. I’ve already got junior cheerleaders looking at me, and I’m only a freshman. Everyone says I look like you, so if I’ve got your genes, then I’ll keep being a hottie, too.”

“If you’ve got Dad’s genes, then you’ll go gray early, also,” Cindy said matter-of-factly.

Trevor set his bowl down, looked at his dad, cocked his head to the side, then shrugged. “It works for Dad. It’ll work for me. I can keep being a hottie, and the girls will love it.”

Cindy rolled her eyes, a long-suffering expression on her face. Shifting her gaze over to her dad, she said, “You need to eat, too.”

“I’ll be fine with coffee for now—”

She opened her mouth to speak, but Trevor and Ryan said in unison, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

She lowered her brow and pursed her lips. “Well, it is!”

Seeing his daughter blink her eyes rapidly as though ready to cry, Ryan moved to the counter, bent deeply, and reached his arms out, placing them on hers. Her gaze lifted, and he stared deeply into the beautiful face of his thirteen-year-old daughter. She had always been pretty but now had definitely moved out of the awkward child stage and entered the already-beautiful-and-going-to-get-more-beautiful stage. Swallowing deeply, he wasn’t sure how he was going to be handling her getting prettier. “Thanks, baby. Believe me, I appreciate you making sure Trevor and I eat breakfast.” Her lips curved upward again, her smile warming his heart and starting his day the right way.

Trevor finished his cereal, lifted his bowl, and slurped loudly, draining the last of the milk. “Yeah, thanks, Cin!” Walking over, he rinsed out his bowl before putting it into the dishwasher.

Cindy and Ryan shared a look, his daughter obviously surprised that her brother remembered to take care of his dishes. She smiled and glanced at the clock again, jumping up to take care of hers, as well.

“Bus will be here in a couple of minutes. I just have to brush my teeth,” she called out as she hurried out of the room.

Trevor’s brow lowered, his expression blaring that he’d forgotten about brushing his teeth. “Shit—shoot!”

Watching him rush after his sister, Ryan called out, “Language, Trev!”

“Sorry, Dad!”

He leaned his hip against the counter, glad for the momentary reprieve before the sound of shoes on the stairs met his ears again. “Make sure you get everything. I’ll be on patrol this morning and won’t be able to get back to the house to get something if you forget it.”

“My backpack is ready,” Cindy replied, not surprisingly. Looking over her shoulder, she called out, “Trevor, your algebra book was on the sofa.” As usual, her voice was gentle as she looked out for her brother.

“Oh, right! Thanks!” Trevor raced out of the room and back again, shoving the well-worn book into his backpack. Pulling out a sheaf of papers, he tossed them onto the counter. “Forms for baseball, Dad. One of them is a sports physical.”

“No problem,” he replied automatically, glancing at the calendar on the refrigerator, wondering when they’d have a chance to add that to the list of activities. He walked around the counter and accepted a hug from Cindy, kissing the top of her head. “Have a good day, sweetheart. Don’t forget that your mom is picking you up from school, and she’ll bring you back after taking you out to eat.”

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