Town of Chance: Sweet Caroline(5)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer



His eyes seemed to look at her lips and then her chest again.

She handed him the wipes. He pulled them out and started cleaning his hands. “Thank you, Miss,” he said to her again. She wanted to tell him her name and then thought better of it.

“So, you know where you’re headed? Don’t need directions, or an escort?” he asked and smiled then winked and her heart melted. He was gorgeous.

She shook her head and felt her cheeks warm.

“No, sir. I appreciate your help, though. You give state troopers in South Carolina a good rep,” she said, trying to break the awkwardness she felt blushing in front of the man. He was older than her, too. At least thirty, maybe.

“Well that’s good to hear, darling,” he said and gave her a wink. She got a little worried that he might ask for her number or something, and she started to repack the trunk. When she turned he was helping her.

“Oh please, you don’t need to do that. You’ve done so much already.”

“It’s my pleasure…”

He waited for her to give him her name.

“Natalie.”

“Natalie. Nice to meet you. Maybe we’ll meet again sometime.” Then his radio went off, and her panic button ignited. She stumbled for the right words as she closed the trunk and started heading toward her door.

He replied back into the radio on his shoulder.

“Be careful and have a safe trip,” he said to her and she opened her car door and watched him head to his patrol car. He looked at her license plate and she felt panicked that he was memorizing the numbers and would find out they were fake. Shit. He paused a moment to look at her. She did the same thing and looked at him. It was so odd, and something was exchanged between them and she couldn’t help but to smile when she got into her car. She watched him pull out first, his lights still going and the siren indicating he was going on a call.

She sat there a moment, remembering how she used to worry about Cameron, but also about how much his profession and the fact that he was a soldier had attracted her to him. Then she became sad again as she put the car in drive and carefully pulled back onto the highway. Cameron wasn’t the man, the soldier and officer she had hoped him to be. Maybe in her mind she tried to create the man she yearned for. Instead, he abused her and controlled her, and perhaps since she wasn’t good at reading people’s true character, she certainly shouldn’t be entertaining an attraction to another man. Especially not one in a uniform.



* * * *



Shelby Ann was working at her desk and kept glancing at her watch. It was getting dark out and her sister should have arrived thirty minutes ago. She had wanted to leave work early but then got caught finishing up an e-mail and typing a report onto the computer. At least she had the weekend to catch up with Caroline and help her settle in.

“Shelby Ann?” She heard her name and looked up to see her boss, Kenneth Pace, standing there. He was dressed in a designer pair of pants and a white dress shirt and red tie. He was extremely handsome to boot and when she looked at him she thought about what Marlena said to her today at lunch. Then her gut clenched and the fear hit her hard. She swallowed.

“Yes?”

He walked closer, squinted his eyes at her, and then licked his lower lip. “Are you feeling okay? You’ve been preoccupied all week and you keep looking at your watch.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I was just finishing this up for you. If you don’t need anything else, I would like to head home.”

He stared at her, his dark brown eyes looked her over and she couldn’t help but feel an attraction to the man. She reminded herself that she was done with men for quite some time and that Caroline was her priority. Her sister would need her help and guidance in getting back on her feet again and coping with the memories of the abuse. She knew. Shelby still suffered from nightmares.

“You did a lot of extra work this week. How about we grab some dinner together?” he asked her and she stood up and started to put her things away. She panicked.

“I’m sorry. I have plans this evening, and company coming to the house.” She saw his eyes darken and a look of anger perhaps flash across them. It made her instincts kick in and her defense mechanisms rise. Men could not be trusted. They got jealous, they became possessive, and then they struck.

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