When December came to Stockton at the end of the year 1891, the month was cold and sharp. Kristina Barkley and her brother Jarrod Thomas Barkley Jr. were helping their newfound family with all the preparations for Christmas.
It never snowed in the San Joachin Valley at Christmas time. But this year was different. Sharp bits of snow stung Kristina Barkley's face as school broke for the holidays in mid-December.
Kristina was happy with her new father. The lawyer had done all he could to make her happy since she and her 16-year old brother arrived in Stockton last July after a diphtheria outbreak left them almost orphaned.
Since July, Kristina went through a court case, been kidnapped by the Sturges Brothers, been beaten up by them in a final showdown, fell in love with the new ranch hand, David Leonard, and bought her father a birthday gift for the first time ever.
In spite of everything though, Kristina still missed her mother. Her mother always knew how to brighten the holidays. Elizabeth Randall Barkley always managed to give Kristina and Jaddy gifts at Christmas. They were always hand-sewn.
Kristina rode her horse, Midnight, over to her father's office. The lantern inside the window spilled out in a warm, comforting light.
Kristina walked in the office. Lou Anne, Jarrod's secretary, looked up at her. "Hello Miss Barkley. Should I tell Counselor Barkley that you're here?" Lou Anne asked, her gray eyes framed by a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles.
"If it's not too much trouble, Lou Anne," Kristina said, rubbing her hands over her red face.
Lou Anne Chelmsford never admitted how much she liked Counselor Barkley's little girl. The child was kind and sweet and she acted so much like her father, it was strange.
Lou Anne entered Jarrod's office. Jarrod was preparing some notes for a huge case coming up the day before Christmas Eve.
"Counselor, Kristina is here," Lou Anne said.
Jarrod looked up at his secretary and smiled at her. "Send her in, Lou Anne," Jarrod said.
Kristina walked into her father's office. Jarrod's office was like him, elegant but warm and cheerful.
Kristina perched on the edge of her father's desk and watched him go over some briefs. "You spelled 'Procrastinate' wrong, Father," Kristina said, smugly.
Jarrod looked at his youngest daughter, annoyance and amusement written all over his face. While Jarrod loved this new daughter as much as her brother, he couldn't stand her being arrogant and smug. When she got this way the two of them would often get into huge arguments. But this time he wouldn't fight with her.
"Kristina when you become a lawyer you can spell words however way you think they should be spelled," Jarrod said, standing and kissing her cheek tenderly.
Kristina helped her father all afternoon with the briefs. After they closed the office, Jarrod treated her to a dinner at the Cattleman's Hotel. Then they went home ready for all the adventure this Christmas would bring them.
What father and daughter didn't know was how much danger would come this one special Christmas.
Kristina and Jarrod arrived at the ranch house later in the evening. The Barkley family usually congregated in the billiard room.
Jarrod and Kristina handed Silas their coats. "Hello Mr. Jarrod, Miss Kristina. They all in the billiard room waiting for you," the old servant said.
"Thank you, Silas," Jarrod said, wrapping his arm around Kristina's shoulders.
"Yes thank you, Mr. Whiting," Kristina said, politely.
"Miss Kristina, I done tol' ya, I works for your papa. I'se just Silas," Silas said.
"And I told you Mr. Whiting that my mama said I should respect people older than me," Kristina said.
"You didn't respect your papa when you first came here," Silas said.
Kristina blushed with shame as she looked at her father. Silas definitely had her there. "You're right, Silas," Kristina said.
Jarrod looked at Kristina as she avoided looking at him.
"What's wrong, Honey?" Jarrod asked, turning her head to look into her clear blue eyes,
"Father, I feel bad for the way I treated you. I know you just wanted to help me. Did I hurt you that night? You know when I said I didn't want to live with you?" Kristina asked.
"I won't lie and say you didn't hurt me, Kristina. It felt like you had put a knife in my chest," Jarrod said.
"I'm sorry. I realize now how much you actually cared for me. I mean, how many fathers would let me get away with pointing out your spelling errors?" Kristina teased.
Jarrod laughed out loud and kissed his daughter lightly on the ear as they walked down the hallway. Kristina took a deep sniff. The house had a gingerbread smell to it.
When they reached the study, they heard Nick Barkley's booming voice.
Kristina grinned as her loud uncle got louder. Sounds like Uncle Heath got some more money out of Uncle Nick," Kristina said, her voice full of amusement.
Jarrod smiled at his daughter as he opened the door.
When Jarrod and Kristina entered the study, Nick was arguing with Heath. Both cowboys were holding cue sticks.
"Uncle Heath, did you beat Uncle Nick in pool again?" Kristina asked, grinning broadly.
"Yeah, Uncle Nick here is bein' a sore loser," Jaddy said, his blue eyes laughing at his sister.
Kristina giggled at the grumpy expression 9on her volatile uncle's face.
"Just remember the saying, Uncle Nick, 'You win some you lose some," Kristina said.
Every Barkley in the room, except Nick, cracked up at Kristina's joke.
"So, how was school?" Audra asked.
"Fine, Aunt Audra. I took my exam for math. I don't know how I did. I hate math. I don't see where I'm going to use it when I become a lawyer," Kristina said.
"Honey, you may need it. Let’s say for example that we’re going to sell a piece of property. A lawyer has to know figures to sell that piece and to draw up the legal papers," Jarrod said.
"Father, can you show me how to do that?" Kristina asked.
"Of course. You have two weeks off from school. I'm planning a little surprise for you and Jarrod for Christmas starting tomorrow," Jarrod said.
"What's that got to do with showing me how to draw up deeds?" Kristina asked.
"I can show you on the way to the surprise. It takes a train to get there. And you, Jarrod, and I can talk about how some business matters go here," Jarrod said.
"Will we be back here in time for Christmas?" Kristina asked.
"We'll only be there 4 days and then we'll come home," Jarrod said.
Kristina and Jarrod got involved in a billiards game until bedtime.
Kristina fell asleep that night warm and comfortable in her warm bed, unaware that her father's Christmas surprise trip would spring into a dangerous adventure.
The next morning Kristina woke up before the other members of the house did. She pulled back the draperies covering her window.
The sight was breathtaking. The Barkley ranch was covered in snow. White, feathery snowflakes drifted lazily to the ground.
Kristina dressed quickly in the cold room and stole down to the kitchen. Silas was preparing breakfast in the warm kitchen.
"Good morning, Silas," Kristina said.
"Oh good morning, Miss Kristina. You're up awful early is you, child?" Silas asked, turning to her.
"Yeah. I looked out my window this morning and I just couldn't go back to sleep. If Father asks where I am tell him I'm in his study reading one of his law books," Kristina said.
"I'll tell him, Miss Kristina," Silas said.
Kristina walked down the hallway to Jarrod's study and walked in the small room. Kristina lit the lantern on her father's desk and sat it on the table in front of the settee.
Since her arrival in July, she had read all but two of her father's law books. She pulled out the thicker of the two and started to read.
The hours slipped by as Kristina read. At eight o'clock the door cracked slightly, but she didn't hear it.
Jarrod Barkley had heard from Silas that Kristina was in his study reading a book when he entered the kitchen that morning.
When breakfast was served he went to the study to fetch Kristina.
She was bowed over the thickest law book in his collection; her black hair tumbled over her shoulder.
Jarrod sat on the settee next to her and pushed back her thick black hair.
Kristina looked up into her kind father's vibrant blue eyes. "Good morning, Father," Kristina said.
"Good morning, Honey. I just came here to tell you it's time for breakfast," Jarrod said, laying one hand on her face and twining his fingers in her hair.
"Goodness, what time is it?" Kristina asked.
Jarrod pulled his pocket watch out and opened it. 8:05.
Kristina gasped as she realized how fast the morning went.
"Father, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it was that late," Kristina said.
"Don't worry about it. After we eat, I'm going to take you to that surprise I promised. Pack a few clothes for a few days in your carry on," Jarrod said.
Jarrod and Kristina walked down the hallway to the breakfast room, not prepared for the surprises this trip will bring.
Meanwhile in a place called San Quentin, a prisoner was being paroled. His name was Cass Hyatt. He was sent to prison 15 years earlier on the charges of attempted murder.
Hyatt was packing up his mere belongings. His cellmate, Cal Lorch watched him.
"What are you gonna do, Hyatt?" Lorch asked.
“Get back at the man who locked me up; Counselor Jarrod Barkley,” Hyatt said.
"You gonna kill him?" Lorch asked.
"No. Beat him up. If that new wife of his is still around she can watch her fancy husband take a beating," Hyatt said.
"And if she's not?" Lorch asked.
"Well, I think Lawyer Barkley may have had kids by her. So his son or his daughter can watch their old man take a beating," Hyatt said.
"I don't think Barkley would let you hit him in front of his wife and kids," Lorch said.
"He has offices in San Francisco. He has to go there sometime," Hyatt said.
Back at the Barkley ranch, Kristina kissed her grandfather, grandmother, aunts and uncles as she stepped up next to her father in the rig.
"Good-bye, Kristina! See you in three days!" Audra said.
"Good-bye, Aunt Audra! Bye Uncle Heath! Make sure you cheat Uncle Nick out of more money," Kristina teased her temperamental uncle.
"Pappy, get this clown of a niece away from me before I take a stick to her!" Nick growled.
Kristina giggled and her blue eyes shone like beacons.
"I'll do that, Brother Nick," Jarrod urged the horses forward and grinned at his excited daughter, her hat and scarf askew.
"So Father, where are we going?" Kristina asked.
"I told you Kristina Elizabeth Barkley; it's a surprise. You'll see when you get there," Jarrod said.
Kristina grinned at her big brother. He was in the back watching the snowy landscape.
"So Jaddy, are you looking for a place to bury my face in the snow?" Kristina asked.
"Maybe Kris," Jaddy teased his little sister.
"Jarrod Thomas Barkley Jr., if you ever dunk your sister in the snow, I will spank you," Jarrod lectured his son.
"Father, I was teasing her!! I wouldn't really dunk her in the snow, "Jaddy said.
Kristina yawned and went into the back of the rig. She pulled a worn blanket over her shoulders and fell asleep for the remainder of the trip to town.
Jarrod and his children arrived in town an hour later. The town was like the Barkley ranch; everyone was preparing for Christmas.
Jarrod parked the wagon at the livery stable. He got into the back of the wagon, picked up his sleeping daughter, and they all went to the train station.
Jaddy walked beside his father in total silence. In the last few months he’d been thinking a lot about his father and mother’s failure at marriage. The more he thought of it, the more he blamed himself for their separation.
His father was happy to see him when he came, but when Jarrod found out about Kristina Jaddy got ignored a lot and Kristina got all their father’s attention.
Jaddy’s mind went back to the string tie he bought for his father’s birthday a few months back. His father loved it, but Kristina’s cigar trimmer won more praise.
When Jaddy worked with Uncle Heath on a fence or helped Uncle Nick with a difficult horse that was the only time he felt he counted for anything in his new family.
I guess I should be more understanding. It’s not Kristina’s fault that the family spoils her. It’s just that I feel that I can never be my father, Jaddy thought miserably, not watching where he was going.
Jarrod stopped and Jaddy kicked him in the leg, accidentally. Jarrod almost dropped Kristina, but Jaddy gripped his sister’s elbow to keep her from falling.
“Jarrod, you watch where you’re going,” Jarrod snapped.
Jaddy averted his eyes from his father’s face, feeling the pain of Jarrod’s words bring tears to his eyes.
“Yes Father. I’m sorry. I just had a lot on my mind,” Jaddy said.
Jarrod and Jaddy walked into the station and Jaddy sat down, his sister sleeping across the room on a empty bench, unaware of the trouble that will bring father, son, and daughter closer together.
When Kristina woke up an hour later, she was on the train, her father's warm winter coat wrapped around her shoulders.
Jaddy was looking sullenly out the window, and Jarrod had a stack of paperwork in front of him. Kristina slipped quietly off the seat and sat next to her brother.
"Jaddy, are you okay?" Kristina asked.
Jaddy turned his light blue eyes toward his sister.
"What makes you think I'm not okay?" Jaddy asked, his voice tight with tension.
"Oh I don't know. You just look kinda upset. Did I do something wrong?" Kristina asked.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Kris. You're just a kid," Jaddy said.
"I must have done something. Are you angry with me?" Kristina asked.
"No. I'm not angry with you," Jaddy said.
"Then what's wrong?" Kristina asked.
"I didn't want to involve you in my problems. But now it looks like I have to. Sis, while you were sleeping I was thinking of Mama and Father's marriage," Jaddy said.
"Yeah, what about it?" Kristina asked.
"I feel a little worthless sometimes. I feel as if I was the reason Mama left Father," Jaddy said.
"Jaddy, it wasn't your fault. Months ago when I was in town with Father, and I thought it was my fault, he told me that it was my fault. That he loved you and Mama, but he let being a lawyer be his whole life," Kristina said.
While Kristina was trying to comfort her distraught brother, Jarrod looked up from his notes.
"Kristina, I thought you were asleep," Jarrod said.
Jaddy bristled slightly as his father ignored him. Again. Kristina felt her brother's hand in her small hand go tense like iron bars. Kristina squeezed his hand gently to give him a little encouragement.
"I was. I just wanted to talk with Jaddy for a few minutes, Father," Kristina said.
Jarrod nodded at his son. Jaddy grinned a lopsided grin at his sister. "Kris, I'm going outside for a breath of fresh air. Thanks for trying to help me feel better," Jaddy said. He leaned over and gave Kristina a light peck on the cheek.
Kristina looked out the window at the snowy landscape. She felt like crying for her big brother that felt like he didn't count. This Christmas I'm going to try to make Jaddy feel wanted, Kristina thought resolutely.
Jarrod looked at his quiet daughter. She had her hand propped up against her chin. She was looking at the landscape and pulled his wool coat tighter around her thin shoulders.
"Kristina, what's wrong?" Jarrod asked.
"Father, do you love Jaddy?" Kristina asked point-blank.
"Yes. Why do you ask?" Jarrod asked.
"Do you know that he thinks that you hate him?" Kristina asked.
"Did Jarrod tell you that?" Jarrod asked.
"No. He didn't have to. It's easy to tell if you look at him. His eyes give it away. He blames himself for Mama leaving you," Kristina said.
"Kristina, he told you that?" Jarrod asked again.
"Yes. Sir. I also have the feeling that he wants your attention. I grew up without a father, but Jaddy wants the father he remembers when he was three," Kristina said.
"Honey, people change," Jarrod said.
"I know that. They have to. But Father, go to him. He wants your attention. Let him know that I'm not your only child," Kristina said.
Jarrod stood up at his daughter's words and left the compartment in search of his son.
Jaddy stood outside at the railing of the train. His tears fell in scalding rivulets down his face.
He moved back inside where it was warm, and collapsed on the ground burying his face in his knees.
Jarrod sat down next to Jaddy and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. Jaddy looked up and saw his father through his tears.
"What are you doing here? Didn't you want to show Kris how to do a bill of sale?" Jaddy asked, unable to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
Jarrod flinched slightly at the splintered, bitter voice.
"No Son. I wanted to spend some time with you. Since you came back to live with me I haven't been able to talk much to you," Jarrod said, trying to be patient with his angry teenager.
"I can see why. I mean havin' to pull Kris out of the croup. Then going through a court case with her and also last night spending the time going over a case with her would make you busy," Jaddy said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Jarrod grabbed his boy's face and forced him to look at him. "Jarrod Thomas Barkley Jr., if I ever hear those words out of your mouth again I'll spank you! And also young man, I'm here because your sister felt sorry for you and told me some truths. So I won't spend the trip telling her about the legal end of selling things. I'm going to spend my time on this train talking to my son," Jarrod said.
Jarrod and Jaddy walked back to their compartment and sat talking in a tense manner until the train stopped in San Francisco, California.
"San Francisco! Next stop San Francisco!"The conductor yelled through the train. He poked his head through the compartment that Jarrod and his children were in. "Folks, next stop San Francisco," the man said.
"Thank you,"Jarrod said.
Jarrod put all his legal papers in his valise, as Kristina handed him his coat. Jaddy and Kristina buttoned up their coats and picked up their carry-on bags from the racks above.
"Jarrod, Kristina, I would suggest that you stay by me at all times. San Francisco is a big place and it's very easy to get lost,"Jarrod said.
"Father, don't worry so much. Kristina and me know how to take care of ourselves,"Jaddy said.
Jarrod fixed a stern look on his son, while Kristina kicked her brother in the shin.
"Ouch! Kristina what did you do that for?"Jaddy asked.
"Jarrod Barkley, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?"Kristina asked. Her blue eyes were as angry as her father's.
"No,"Jaddy said obstinately.
"Well I would kinda like Father to be with me in this place. The sounds out there are a little frightening,"Kristina said timidly.
The train jerked to a stop, throwing Kristina back into her seat.
Kristina stood up weakly and tied her scarf around her neck.
Jarrod grabbed his valise and Kristina's hand and they all walked off the train into the freezing cold, not noticing they were being watched.
Kristina stood shyly by her father's side as they moved through the crowded San Francisco depot. The wind pushed back her jet-black hair and whipped her scarf around her slender neck.
Her father helped her up onto a horse-drawn trolley. Kristina held her father's hand with one hand and her small valise with the other.
Jaddy stood by the railing of the trolley, the wind pushing back his wavy black hair. Jarrod released his daughter's hand and moved over to his silent, angry son.
"Jarrod, I'm glad we had a chance to talk," Jarrod said, laying his hand reassuringly on his son's shoulder.
Jaddy looked up at his father. The concerned look in Jarrod's eyes made him tear up. Jaddy closed his eyes, his hurt melting away with the tears. Jaddy threw his arms around Jarrod's neck, crying wildly.
"Father, I'm sorry! I just felt left out. All you pay attention to is Kristina lately. I don't begrudge her for getting to know you," Jaddy hiccupped, as he buried his face in Jarrod's chest.
Jarrod rubbed his hand through Jaddy's hair. He pulled Jaddy's head back and looked into his vivid blue eyes. Jarrod pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his son's eyes. Then he wiped his own.
"Well Little boy, are you ready to look over San Francisco with your little sister and myself?" Jarrod asked, good-naturedly.
"Yes Father. Forgive me for being impossible. I guess I just feel bad. I want to be seen and heard sometimes like Uncle Nick does," Jaddy teased.
Jarrod laughed out loud at his son's bounce back to a good mood.
"You are just like your Uncle Heath! You can get angry, but you hide it very well," Jarrod said.
Jaddy grinned. Jarrod and his son moved back into the warm trolley and Kristina smiled a warm smile at her big brother.
While the Barkleys had gotten off the train from Stockton a person watched them. Cass Hyatt was due the following day. This particular person who watched them leave the train had a personal score against the Barkleys. His name was Rizley.
18 years before Jaddy Barkley was born Heath and Nick were falsely imprisoned in the man's prison camp.
Jaddy and Kristina's father realized how late they were so he went looking for them. He found his brother's in the prison camp. Heath had burned his leg and was very ill from the burn and whipping he'd gotten before Jarrod arrived.
Jarrod had threatened the man with imprisonment and said he would bring the Circuit Judge. Before Jarrod arrived with the Circuit Judge and the Marshall Heath had been placed in a sweltering iron box and left there.
The warden Rizley, the town sherriff and a man named McGowan had been found guilty of abuse and sent to San Quentin.
Rizley had just recently gotten out of prison when he heard that Cass Hyatt was soon to be out.
The next morning after a sumptuous breakfast Jaddy, Kristina, and Jarrod braved the cold to walk to Jarrod's office.
Kristina clung to her father's side the whole time. She was a little nervous around the big crowd of the city and she refused to let go of Jarrod's hand. They walked from the Nob Hill district to the business district where Jarrod's office was.
Becky Carmichael, Jarrod's secretary in San Francisco, smiled as her employer entered the office. "Counselor, welcome back!" The beautiful blonde said warmly.
At one time Becky had been in love with her handsome boss, but when he told her that he was married and had a son she knew that Jarrod didn't love her.
"Hello Becky. Becky, these are my two children, Jarrod and Kristina," Jarrod said.
Becky looked at the two siblings. Both of them looked like their father. The boy was an exact image of Jarrod, but Kristina had thinner lips. Must have been inherited from the mother, Becky thought.
"Welcome. I hope you like San Francisco," Becky said.
"Thank you, Ma'am. Honestly it's okay, but I'd rather be somewhere less crowded," Kristina said.
"I understand, Dear. I'm from the country too. The city can be amazing," Becky said.
Jarrod and the children entered the office and Jarrod pulled out some paperwork that Becky had put on his desk. Kristina perched on the edge of the desk to look over the papers with him.
The first paper was obvious. "Father, this paper needs a clause to make it more binding," Kristina said.
Jarrod smiled at his daughter and stroked her hand that was next to his hand on his desk. "Yes I think you are right," Jarrod said.
"Sis, how do you know that the paper needed that?" Jaddy asked.
"I'm a genius." At the look of "Yeah right." on her brother's face she then changed what she said. "Actually I spend my time reading Father's law books for extended periods of time. I'm going to know about the legal bindings in contracts and deeds," Kristina said.
"When I finish my work how would you two like to go eat on Fisherman's Wharf?" Jarrod asked.
"What's Fisherman's wharf, Father?" Jaddy asked.
"You'll see, Son. You'll see," Jarrod said. Kristina helped her father all the way to lunchtime. When lunchtime came they locked the office door and walked in the direction of the wharf. The were unaware that Rizley watched them leave from across the street.
Fisherman's Wharf was crowded and smelled like fish. The wind brushed Kristina's face in a cold flood. The only part of her that wasn't chilled was her hand, gripped in her father's left hand.
Kristina shivered slightly as the freezing wind struck her face like tiny sharp needles.
Jarrod walked into a building. A man in fancy-looking clothes walked over to Jarrod and curtsied.
"Ah Monsieur Barkley, welcome to our restaurant," the Maitre'd said, in a heavy French accent.
"Thank you, Jean," Jarrod said. Jean helped them off with their coats and escorted them to a table.
Kristina, Jaddy and Jarrod were sitting elbow to elbow at a small table.
Jaddy pulled on the collar of his chambray shirt a few minutes later. Jarrod looked at his son, concerned. "What's the matter, Son?" Jarrod asked.
"Nothing Father. It just feels kinda warm in here," Jaddy said.
"Jaddy, you're always warm. Mama said that when you were little, about 2 or 3 maybe, you'd kick the covers off on the coldest days of the year," Kristina said.
"You're a fine one to talk, Little Sister. Mama and me know that you got cold on the hottest days of the year,""" Jaddy retorted back to her.
"Can't argue with you there," Kristina said.
Jarrod sat, amused at his children's teasing. It reminded him of how He and Nick had been as boys. And also when Heath had arrived when he was fourteen. Jarrod felt a passing sadness at the thought of his children growing up without him. He didn't hate Beth for what she'd done. In fact even though she was dead he still loved her as much as when he first married her.
Jarrod was lost in his thoughts when Kristina nudged her father's foot with her own.
Jarrod looked up at this beautiful girl he had the privilege to call "Daughter." In the 6 months that she had arrived at the Barkley ranch, she had become a vital part of his life.
"What is it, Honey?" Jarrod asked, reaching across the table and squeezing her hand.
"Jaddy wanted to ask you something," Kristina said.
Jarrod nodded his head to his son. "Father, is there a place where I can wash my hands?" Jaddy asked.
"Yes. There's a water closet down that way," Jarrod said.
"Water closet?" Kristina asked, puzzled.
"Yes, Honey. It has running water in it," Jarrod said.
Jaddy took his leave of Jarrod and Kristina, while both talked of water closets. Twenty minutes later Jarrod looked at his pocket watch worriedly. Jaddy hadn't come back.
Kristina took a sip of water as her father looked around the restaurant for his missing son. He looked over at his daughter, seemingly unaware of his dilemma.
"Kristina, I want you to sit here and eat your lunch. I have to go looking for your brother," Jarrod said.
Kristina looked around also, trying to get a glimpse of her older brother. Before Jarrod could stop her, she bolted out of her seat and in the direction of the water closets. She raised her hand and started to knock on the door.
"Jaddy! Jaddy!" She screamed.
Every diner in the restaurant stopped eating to stare at the girl knocking at the door.
Jarrod stood up and hightailed it for the water closets. He reached out and grabbed her wrist.
He pulled her into an embrace and let her cry as much as she wanted.
"Kristina, I'm going to take you to my office. While you are there, I'm going to search for Jarrod," Jarrod said, cupping her cheeks with his hands and pushing her face up so she could look at him.
"No! I'm coming with you!" Kristina said.
"You're not coming with me. You're going to stay at the office and behave yourself. You're a Barkley and it's time you started to behave like one," Jarrod said sternly.
"He's my brother," Kristina tried one last argument to sway her father's decision.
"Look, you are not going with me. You are going to do as you are told and not argue anymore about it,"" Jarrod said.
Jarrod laid his hand on the back of her neck and forced her to march. Kristina's eyes filled with tears as she was taken to her father's office. She laid down on her father's soft leather couch and buried her face in the buttery cool leather as the tears started to fall.
Jarrod looked over at his sad daughter and walked over to her. He took his hand and ran it through her jet-black hair. He leaned over and kissed her ear gently. Kristina pushed up on her elbow and hugged her father as if he was never coming back.
Jarrod and Kristina broke the embrace. Jarrod walked out of the office and Kristina laid back down on the couch, sound asleep.
When Jarrod was looking for his son and Kristina was asleep, Jaddy was safe and sound in the Fisherman's Wharf district. Or not.
When he went to go wash his hands in the water closet, Rizley and Hyatt grabbed him, drugged him and carried him away.
When he woke up hours later, he had broken ribs and felt blood running down his nose in a torrent.
He tried to get up, but the pain in his ribs kept him where he was. He had felt this much pain since the time he'd tried breaking a wild stallion at the ranch. 'Of course Father was furious when I'd done that,' Jaddy thought with grim amusement.
Jaddy knew he had some broken ribs. The pain was enough to attest to that. Jaddy also knew that if he didn't get out he'd be dead. He looked around his empty makeshift prison and examined everything.