About The Green Children:
Only two men dare take on the mysterious Sycamore wilderness: Maxim Dwyer is a small-town detective with attachment issues who faces off against a rival from the county police. Diego de la Torre, a biker troublemaker with an anti-authority complex, walks a fine line between responsible citizen and vigilante outlaw.
Together, the unlikely pair isn't always on the same side of the law, but they are the girl's best hope. Unfortunately, things in Sycamore are rarely what they seem. Maxim and Diego have more problems than they know, and if those don't catch up with them, whatever lurks in the forest will.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he demanded as he kicked open his door. The woman clutched at him like glue.
"My daughter," she rasped. "My eight-year-old daughter is out here."
And then Diego immediately understood the mad look in the woman's eyes, the shimmer of sweat on her skin despite the crisp breeze. She wasn't crazy. She wasn't a tweaker. She was a mother living her worst nightmare.
"Slow down," he said, grabbing the woman by the shoulders. She was slender. Thin nose, narrow lips—everything about her was fragile except for her wide, gaping eyes.
She shook against his grasp. Her long brown hair, almost black, swung wildly as he held her.
"You need to calm down for a second," urged Diego. "Look at me."
"She's out here."
"Look at me."
She turned to him and brushed the hair from her face. Her light-brown eyes met his and relaxed for a moment. He glimpsed them in their normal state, at ease, welcoming. Kind. The woman had a natural beauty that was elegant and soft.
"What happened to your daughter?"
She took a breath. "We were hiking in the woods. Just ten minutes ago."
"Up there," she sputtered, pointing north to the trees. Besides the access road, the area was heavily wooded. The Sycamore forest, they called it.
"She came to the highway?"
The woman became exasperated again. "I don't know."
Diego searched up and down the 40. The only clear sightlines were along the road. He hadn't seen any pedestrians before pulling over. If the little girl was only a few minutes away, she wasn't on the street.
"Okay," he said, grabbing the woman's head to lock into her eyes again. "Don't worry. We'll find her." She returned a slight nod.
The biker climbed into his truck and reached for the CB.
"Hey, Harry. You there?"
It took a second to raise the man, but he answered.
"Diego? What's it look like?"
"Uh, I'm not there yet. I might be a little late."
Harry's voice immediately grew coarse. "You better not be. Not again."
"I'm serious, Harry. Call up Chuck to cover for me."
"I'm not gonna call Chuck 'cause I've got you."
Diego hissed. "There's a missing kid out here. This is an emergency."
"It's always an emergency with you, Diego. Can't you—"
The biker switched off the radio. He didn't have time to deal with his boss.
"Take me to where you last saw her," said Diego with comforting confidence.
The woman smiled at him. There was something alluring about a smile from a stranger. Not a business smile like a cashier might flash, but an earnest one from the heart. Maybe the appeal was in what came next. In the desire to get to know the person better. In the possibilities ahead.
Diego remembered that smile because he realized he might never see it again.