Town of Chance: Sweet Caroline(10)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Her sister was very quiet and Shelby felt the intensity of the moment.

“Cameron never cheated on me, but if he thought I might stray, or if one of his buddies got too close to me and I smiled or laughed with them, he got angry. Usually took it out on me later when we were alone. He’s a big man, Shelby. He was a soldier, he’s a cop, and he has this powerful reputation and connections. I’m a nobody. A woman with a college degree I worked my ass off for and struggled to pay for and now what do I have to show for it? I can’t even use that degree for a job because I can’t prove that I have the degree and the experience. So who keeps winning here?”

She was so frustrated and Shelby heard it in her voice and saw it in her eyes and her body language.

“Don’t give up hope that you won’t get a job in town. These are good people and everything always seems to have a way of working itself out. Look at me. I’ve been working for Mr. Pace for the past year. I got that job on a whim and on a recommendation from Marlena and of course Eliza, Mr. Pace’s cousin. He pays me off the books and I’ve proven my professionalism and capabilities. You’ll prove yours, too.”

“I sure do hope so, or you’re going to get tired of supporting me.”

“It will never happen. We’re all the family we’ve got. Hell, the only person I truly trust completely is you.”

Caroline scrunched up her nose and tried to stop the tears from flowing but it was no use. Shelby stood up.

“I don’t want you to get hurt because of me, but I had no place else to go. I’m so scared that he’ll find me. That he’ll beat me again. I don’t want to ever go back there or ever see Cameron again. Something tells me that I haven’t seen the last of him.”

Shelby hugged her sister and cried with her.

Please God protect us. Protect my sister, so that she may never feel pain again.

Chapter 2

State trooper York Mantel was driving through Chance when he caught sight of two women walking down the street and entering his mother’s clothing boutique. At first he wasn’t sure if the platinum-blonde was the same woman he helped on the highway over a week ago, but then he saw the black cast. It was warm out, about mid-eighties, and both women were dressed in skirts and tank blouses. Very conservative and classy. That was when the other one turned before walking into the shop and he saw that it was Shelby Ann. She was good friends with Marlena, his friend Mike’s woman.

An interest or maybe a curiosity arose inside of him about the woman Shelby was with. They both had platinum-blonde hair, were both very petite, and it was obvious they knew one another. He wondered if they were related. It was so strange, but he couldn’t stop thinking about her from last week. He wasn’t certain if it were merely an attraction to a gorgeous young woman, or if it were his gut instincts telling him that the woman wasn’t willing to give him much info and avoided his questions. Both got his curiosity growing.

He was tempted to go inside and say hello to his mother and meet the woman again, but then he thought better of it. She may think he followed her and was some stalker. He didn’t need his mother knowing how they met and trying to play matchmaker. Ever since Hunter, his brother, returned from his final tour of duty, she’d been hinting around about getting older and how they weren’t getting any younger either. That they should consider settling down instead of running around like bachelors. He pulled the cruiser into a parking spot in front of the sheriff’s department. Who was walking outside, but his other brother C.J. He gave a wave as he got out of the car and met him.

“Hey, what are you doing around here? I thought you were off from work today?”

“Davie called in sick. A replacement won’t be in until four. I didn’t have any plans for today anyway. How is it going?” York asked C.J.

“Well, some dipshits ran their four wheelers through Mrs. Murphy’s garden again. This time she got out her shotgun and took some shots at them.”

“Jesus. She’s going to take one of them out sooner or later. You need to find them boys.”

C.J. chuckled. “I bet she scared the crap out of them. I doubt they’ll go back but she wants them punished. She’s worked real hard on that garden and wants to win the zucchini bread contest next month.”

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