Cherry Hill 3: Starting Over(3)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

“Thank you, and you are stunning. How far along are you?” Adalee asked.

“Seven months,” she said, smiling, and caressed her belly.

One of the men did the same, and the sight tugged at Adalee’s heart. “I’m Brad, these are my brothers, Roman and Felix.” The one blond-haired man introduced them. She shook their hands, and the men smiled and squinted at her.

“New in town, have you met Sheriff McCabe?” the one man who looked on guard asked her.

“Not yet, I just got here about fifteen minutes ago.”

“Well, be sure to check in with him. He likes to meet the new members of Cherry Hill, give you a warm welcome and see if you need anything at all,” he said, and they looked at her like they had questions.

Her mom came back in with a box. She started to undo it to check out the glasses and then held one up.

“Here they are. Beautiful ones,” her mom said.

“I love them, and Michelle will, too,” Cassidy said.

“Great, would you like me to wrap them for you?” her mom asked.

“You don’t mind?”

“Of course not, come walk over here and see what paper you like,” her mom said, and two of the men walked over with Cassidy to see the paper, but the one man, Felix, who had been on guard, remained.

“So where from New York are you from?” he asked her.

“The city.”

“Really? I haven’t been to New York since about 2010. Was on leave from the Corps with my buddies, and we went for a weekend. It was a lot of fun. Busy though.”

“Oh yeah, big time. They don’t call it the city that never sleeps for nothing,” she said to him.

“What brings you to Cherry Hill?” he asked, and she couldn’t help but feel like he was interrogating her, and she put up her guard instinctually.

“Haven’t seen my mom in a while. I’m looking to help her out with the boutique and see if Cherry Hill is for me,” she said.

“Well, I’m sure you’re going to love it. Welcome,” he said, and his girlfriend or wife came over, and he slid his arm around her waist and pulled her close.

Cassidy smiled at Adalee. “Layla, you’re going to have your hands full. Your daughter is stunning.”

Her mom hugged Adalee’s arm. “I’ve missed her and am so glad that she’s home. I know she’ll love Cherry Hill.”

“Well, thank you again,” Cassidy said as Brad paid Angelina, and then the three men and very pretty blonde walked out of the place.

Adalee turned toward her mom and raised one of her eyebrows up at her.

Layla looked at Angelina. “You didn’t tell her?”

“She would have rushed to conclusions.”

“Tell me what? That there’s some sort of weird cult around here?”

Both women chuckled.

“Not a cult, sweetie. Let’s explain, Layla,” Angelina said, and then both women began to talk about the town, about the rules of the town and about ménage relationships.

Adalee exhaled and narrowed her eyes at her mom. “So it isn’t something pushed on every single woman in town?”

“No, not at all, it just seems to happen. Like fate,” her mom said.

“Yeah, kind of don’t really believe in that.”

Her mom appeared as if she had a secret.

“Mom? What?” she asked. Her mom looked at Angelina, who smiled.

“I kind of didn’t mention John and Keith to you.”

Adalee’s jaw dropped. “No. Don’t even tell me you are involved with two men? You’re in a ménage?” she asked and then gulped.

“You’re going to love them. They can’t wait to meet you.”

“Holy shit,” she whispered, and Layla chuckled.

“They’re quite the catch. Good men who adore your mom. They wanted to go with her to New York when you were injured, but they weren’t even dating. They had just started to court her.”

“I don’t know how I feel about this,” Adalee said.

Her mom covered her arm and gave it a squeeze. “I’ve been alone since your daddy passed away. Not one man since then. It’s been a whole lot of lonely years, and no one touched my heart like your daddy, until I met John and Keith.”

“Jesus,” she said and exhaled, but she could tell her mom obviously had strong feelings for these men, and she was right—there had been no other men over the years. Her father’s death had been brutally hard on them. She wanted to be supportive. She gave a soft smile. “Well, I can’t wait to meet them.”

“See. That wasn’t so bad,” Angelina said to Layla and squeezed her shoulder.

Layla chuckled and then nibbled on her lower lip, indicating her mom truly was worried about Adalee’s reaction. There sure was a lot of information to digest, and something told Adalee there was more to come.

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