Cherry Hill 3: Starting Over

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer



Prologue



Adalee Scope took a deep breath and leaned against the wall. Her heart felt as if it were going to burst through her skin and right out of her chest. Her gun in hand, blood oozed from her side, and she felt the pain increasing, and the adrenaline beginning to leave her body.

Don’t pass out. Don’t pass the fuck out. There, right there. Get them. Stop them. Don’t let them get away. She closed her eyes, had lowered her police radio enough that she could hear dispatch trying to speak with her and wanting an update.

Shots fired! Officers down! she had yelled into the radio as she fired her weapon. Now here she was trying to figure out how many there were and whether backup would get here in time. Her radio went off again, dispatch asking for an update, saying help was on the way. The fucking update was that her partner and two other officers were dead. The three men who killed them and shot her were right around the corner. One was injured. She shot him in the chest. She could hear them speaking in Spanish, and they were moving to a van. Her vision blurred, and she thought about her partner, Eddie, his family, wife, kids, the other two cops who lay dead, and how her own father had died in the line of duty when she was only six years old. Everything was going through her head so fast as she processed things in seconds, yet it felt like minutes.

She peeked around the corner just as another guy, a fourth one, was coming toward her, shocking the hell out of her some more, but she didn’t hesitate. The move surprised them both. He drew his weapon, and she shot him in the head. He went down, and she heard the yelling, couldn’t understand exactly what they were saying, but the tone was fear and panic. She moved along the wall as the other men came out of nowhere and took shots at her, and she knew it was do or die.

Bang, bang, bang.

She took them out, heard the sirens blare in the distance, and felt the strike to her arm, to her hip, sending her onto her ass. I got them. I didn’t let them get away. I got them.



* * * *



6 Months Later



Adalee got out of her dad’s old blue Mustang GT. A classic car he had cherished and her mom couldn’t give up or sell but instead passed down to Adalee when she graduated from the NYPD police academy. Adalee appreciated that car, took great care of it, and only took it out on the weekends. After being forced to retire because of an injury to her leg that needed a lot of time to heal, and some PTSD, she left New York and headed to her mom’s home in Texas. A place her mom talked about for the past year and a half, where she opened up Layla’s Boutique. Her mom loved fashion as well as bath products lotions and anything that made a woman feel good about herself. Her mom, Layla, would send her things all the time and talk about Cherry Hill and all it had to offer. Adalee was resistant, but she needed change. Needed out of the city, out from the chaos, and to have a new start. She smiled when she entered the main roadway in town and saw all the storefronts and people. It looked like a movie set, almost fake it was so beautiful, so clean and abundant with flowers. It was hard to keep her eyes on the road while also taking in the sights. The storefronts looked antiqued, like they had been there forever, and she remembered her mom mentioning something about the town being over ninety years old or something like that.

When Adalee was shot multiple times and recovering in the hospital, her mom came to see her, and her mom’s friend and partner in the boutique, Angelina, took care of the store along with some other town people. Her mom said that the town was family oriented and everyone helped out one another in times of need. Adalee was tough though and very independent, despite now having a slight limp, but with physical therapy, it should go away entirely. She had all her medical reports and therapy session information transferred to the local doctor and local physical therapist.

She spotted her mom’s storefront right away. The fancy lettering, the cool multicolored old brick front, and industrial look to it. There was a perfect spot two storefronts past it, and she parallel parked and took a deep breath and exhaled. Before she even made it out of her car, she heard her name and saw a group of people by the storefront, including her mom, Angelina, three other women, and several men. She locked her door and got to the sidewalk, hugging her mom tight as people she didn’t know smiled wide and welcomed her to Cherry Hill.

“My God, you look fantastic. How is your hip?” her mom asked, holding onto her. Her mom was a few inches smaller, about five feet three, but their jet-black hair and royal-blue eyes were identical. Her mom wore her hair a little past her shoulders, and Adalee wore hers longer than she had in a while, midback.

“A little stiff from the ride, but it will be fine. I can’t wait to see the place,” Adalee said, and they smiled at the friends from town who started going their separate ways.

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