Cherry Hill 2-Finding Happiness

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Chapter 1





“ Welcome to Cherry Hill,” Autumn McCainely said aloud as she read the sign and drove the beat-up Toyota into town. Her heart was racing and she wondered if this place would be a new start for her, or just temporary as her fears eventually weighed havoc on her brain and made her leave again. She wasn’t sure. Just as she wasn’t too happy about her aunt calling her cousin, a woman Autumn had never even met before, and telling her about what Autumn went through. She gripped the steering wheel tighter, and hoped the fearful sensation in her chest would dissipate before she found the house and had to speak. Right now her voice sounded shaky. As she pulled onto the main street she was trying to read the signs to see what direction to go in when she had to hit the brakes. A cop was walking across the way and he looked mean, and sounded mean, too, as he pointed at her. “Pay attention, kid.”





Kid?





She was petite, like five feet three, and weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet, but with her large breasts and big ass she sure didn’t look like a kid. Well, maybe behind the wheel of the beat-up Toyota, and wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses, possibly. He turned to stare at her, and she worried her bottom lip and quickly kept going. She could still see him in her rearview mirror, and he was looking at her license plate. What the hell for? That panicked feeling began to grow as she stepped on the gas and got through town and to the developments of homes outside of it. The cop was good-looking, tall with blond hair and those dark sunglasses. He had to be over six feet. It intimidated her and she didn’t trust cops, not a one. Learned her lesson big time, and she had the bruises and the scars to prove it. She swallowed and looked for the right street. Tulip Lane. It was kind of cute, as were the other houses on the street, and then behind them there were farms and larger spreads of land. It was a pretty nice setup. When she got to the end of the block she saw the two large pillars and a private entrance to a very large farm. She could see the barn in the distance, then a big white house to the right and a detached garage with a building above it. Must be the apartment her aunt’s cousin, Bridget had described to Autumn’s Aunt May.





Before she even reached the driveway, three large men and a woman with long blonde hair came out of the house. Her aunt was in her fifties and said her cousin was in her forties, but this woman looked young, and her men, seasoned and good-looking cowboys who appeared real serious. She felt that bit of embarrassment encroach along her skin and knew she was turning red and felt her breathing change. She reminded herself she was far from Connecticut, and Connor. She turned off the ignition and got out of the car, glad to stretch her legs. She drove for hours, seven in total today. She took a deep breath, eased her palm along her ribs, the pain still there from being broken, and she smiled.





Reaching her hand out, the attractive older woman smiled wide and drew her in for a hug.





“My God, you are gorgeous!” Autumn gasped, and Bridget pulled back. “I’m so sorry. I plum forgot about your injuries.” She reached out and caressed the long ponytail that hung over Autumn’s shoulder and against her chest. “I can’t believe it. We have the same hair color, and even the same eyes. Shay, Ken, Brady, come over here and meet my cousin Autumn. Ain’t she something else?” Bridget said and released her. The three men stepped forward, and Autumn gulped. They were good-looking men, dark hair, dark eyes, big muscular shoulders, and they looked like military.





“This is Shay, he’s a state trooper, and Ken and Brady run things on the ranch and do some work for the government. They’re good men, were Marines so don’t you worry about a thing.”





“Nice to meet you, Autumn. I hope the ride was okay,” Shay said to her and eyed her over in a way police tended to do when sizing people up. She kept her shoulders straight and reached out to shake his hand. He was so big her small hand was lost in it. He stepped back, and then she shook Ken’s and Brady’s hands next.





“Hmm, I think we’re going to have our hands full big time, don’t you think, fellas?” Bridget said to them.





“We got it covered. So, Autumn, let’s show you around and then we can drive over to the apartment you can stay in unless you’ll be more comfortable in the house with us?” Shay asked.





“Oh, thank you, but I’ll be fine in the apartment. Aunt May said the rent is four hundred a month with utilities?” she said as they started walking toward the house.





“Not for family it isn’t,” Bridget said and then placed her hand on Autumn’s shoulder and guided her toward the large front porch with the big cushioned rocking chairs on it. She had planters in boxers around the area and of course some flowers hanging, too.





“This is gorgeous.”





“You’re welcome to come sit out here any time you want. I don’t get to enjoy it nearly as much as I should. Been real busy with my baking business and catching up with orders and then delivering them. Takes a lot of time.”

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