Books One & Two of The Joel Series By . . . Ted Louis
Physically and sexually abused by his father, then locked in a garden shed without food, Joel spends the night digging his way out through the hard dirt floor with only his hands and a sharp stick. As he reenters the house, he is confronted by the sight of his abuser shooting and killing his mother. After being threatened by his father, the traumatized boy flees the house and wanders in a daze.
Crane Johnson, a wealthy twenty-nine year old bachelor, volunteers time coaching with a policeman friend in the policemen's baseball league for teenage boys. At the completion of one of the team's games, he discovers a lone boy about twelve years old sitting in the bleachers. The boy, dirty, disheveled and unable to speak, appears to be traumatized and can't or won't reveal who he is or where he lives. The boy attaches himself to Crane.
Later Crane discovers that the boy, now known as Joel, has three brothers who were found by police abandoned and locked in a closet of their home.
Set in the beautiful and peaceful South Texas hill country, Crane uses his wealth to fight official corruption and prejudice to keep Joel and his brothers.
Continuing the story where Joel: Escape from Abuse ended; several months have passed since Crane Johnson adopted five abused boys. They have settled into a somewhat normal family, if you can call a thirty-year-old bachelor raising five active boys, ages 6 to 13, as normal. A serious, life-threatening illness strikes Joel. Crane strives to maintain the family unit, care for his sick son and run the consulting business he owns in San Antonio. The family has to temporarily relocate to Houston while Joel is in the hospital. The glue that holds the family together is their housekeeper and surrogate grandmother for the boys, Hildy. Along the way, other children in need cross the family's path and are helped to a better life. Crane's wealth allows him to solve most of the difficulties that come his way. The one exception is his social life. He is frustrated at every turn by family or business obligations. A near disaster happens when the family returns to San Antonio upon Joel's release from the hospital. The private jet Crane has chartered is forced to make an emergency landing. Each difficulty the family encounters strengthens the bonds that hold the family together.