Romance Fiction posted November 5, 2023 Chapters:  ...34 35 -36- 37... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Emma gets a new guitar. What does Jake want?

A chapter in the book Guided by Faith

Chapter 23

by barbara.wilkey

Depend on God in every part of your life, and He will guide, protect, and comfort you. Will God guide Emma's life? If He does, will she listen?
Seth and Emma met 23 days ago.


"Are you asking about church?" After Emma nodded, Seth said, "I figured you'd go."

"Think it would be okay if Molly attended?"

"I doubt Pastor Pat can deny you anything. I'm concerned about Ace. He won't want to leave her."

"We'll figure it out in the morning." Emma crawled into her sleeping bag.

Seth checked the doors and turned off the lights before he got in his.

After studying Molly, Emma sighed and reached for Seth's hand. "Goodnight."

Seth used his thumb and caressed her hand. "Goodnight."


Chapter 23

After Seth parked in the church parking lot, he opened Emma's door. "I'll carry Molly."

As Emma climbed out, Ace jumped from the pickup bed. Seth shook his head. "Buddy, you can't go inside. You'll have to wait here."

Ace followed but waited inside the vestibule as Emma and Seth entered the sanctuary.

Pastor Pat rushed to Emma and hugged her. "I'm sorry I didn't come by. Hazel Hunter died early Friday morning, and I've been with her family."

"I understand. I know you prayed and were with me in spirit." Emma glanced at Seth. "This guy never left my side." After the pastor nodded toward Seth, she kissed the pastor's cheek. "Thank you for helping with the veterinarian bills."

"I don't know what you're talking about." Pastor Pat turned toward the pulpit. "I'd better get busy."

Once they sat beside her parents, Seth handed Emma the pillow holding Molly.

Pastor Pat welcomed everyone and then stared at the back door before he motioned for an usher. "Amos, please open the door. We have a distinguished member of our police force in the vestibule." He faced Seth. "Chief Carter, ask Ace to sit beside you."

When the door opened, Seth said, "Ace." Once the large dog entered, he gave him hand signals on where to walk. At Seth's side Ace sniffed and licked Molly before he lay down.

"Now, I'll begin." Pastor Pat mentioned happenings in the life of the church. After he announced all the Apostles' Creed classes, he added, "Seth's leading a young adults' class that meets Wednesdays from six until seven o'clock. There's room for one more. See me if interested."

Pastor Pat held out his hand. "Emma, please come forward." He waited until she handed Molly to Seth. "Emma's leading our youth groups. Please share what's happening with the youth."

Emma explained what they'd discussed and then all the fundraisers. "One teen suggested a fifties themed dance. I think it's a great idea. Wednesday when we meet, we'll schedule it along with the rest of our activities."

As Emma started toward her seat, Pastor Pat said, "Emma, wait. Last Sunday you were in the car accident which damaged your guitar." He went to the organ and held up a guitar case. "The congregation donated money to replace it." He handed it to her. "All we ask is for you to bless us with songs."

Tears streamed down Emma's cheeks as she opened the case. "A Gibson! It's too much. I can't accept this."

Pastor Pat put his arms around Emma. "We wanted to do this for you. The congregation was anxious to help." Once Emma got her emotions under control, he asked, "Could you play for us?"

Emma released a deep breath before she played a few chords. "Thank all of you for this. I'm sorry. I'm overwhelmed." She took some deep breaths. "Okay. I'll sing 'Shine, Jesus Shine'. Feel free to join me."

The congregation asked for a few special requests that she willingly sang. When Emma rejoined her parents, Seth, and the dogs, Seth held her hand. "You, okay?"

"Not really," she whispered.

"I'm here."

She briefly touched her head against his arm and whispered, "I know. Thank you."

When the service ended and the congregation gathered on the lawn, Ms. Sadie came up and hugged Emma. "We were happy to replace your guitar. We watched you grow up and love you."

Emma kissed her cheek. "Thank you."

Sadie's eyes met Seth's. "Take care of her. I can't wait for the fifties dance. Save me a dance."

Seth shook his head. "I'll save you two."

"You know I'm holding you to that, don't you?"

"Sure do."

Ms. Sadie held Emma's hand. "Bye, dear." She followed her ride to the car and said over her shoulder, "I'm wearing my dancing shoes to the bakery next week."

Before long, Susan and Keith came up, and Keith asked, "Ready to head to the house? Seth, you know you have a permanent seat at our dinner table, don't you?"

Seth chuckled. "I didn't but do now. Thank you. We'll follow." He pointed toward his pickup. "I parked over there."

As they headed toward the vehicle, Mr. Elliot walked up with Marc beside him. George said, "Ms. Winters, your voice is beautiful. You never mentioned your guitar was damaged. You should've. We would've seen to it that it was replaced."

"Thank you."

"What day next week is good to get together?"

"I work every day but come to the bakery. We can talk in Dad's office."

Marc stared at Molly on the pillow which Seth carried. "What happened?"

Seth used his free hand and gently petted her. "She was attacked. We're not exactly sure by what."

"Will she be all right?"

"Probably. She's a fighter." Seth chuckled. "In her opinion, she won."

Mr. Elliot glanced around the emptying parking lot. "We need to get going. I'll see you in the middle of the week."

Emma nodded. "I look forward to it."

Seth and Emma continued toward his pickup.

At her parents' home, Emma said, "Mom, as soon as I give Molly her medicine and some food, I'll help in the kitchen."

Seth followed Emma. "I'll hold Molly." As he did, he said, "While you were singing Molly held her head up. I think it helped."

"I hope so."

A little later, Keith and Seth went outside while Emma and Susan finished preparing dinner.

As they shot hoops, Jake drove up and greeted both men before he said, "Seth, I figured you'd be here. I need your department's support. Can we talk?"

"It's Sunday," interrupted Keith, "Why don't you stay for dinner? I'm sure this can wait an hour or so."

Jake agreed to share dinner as Pastor Pat joined them.

Emma stood at the door, called to the men, and then said to her mom, "Jake's here. I'll set another place."

Once everyone had entered the dining room, Emma walked up to Jake and held both his hands. "Thank you for helping pay Molly's vet bills." She pecked his cheek and then turned toward her parents. "Mom, Dad, thank you for the help with the vet bills. I hope you all know I appreciate it, but I'd have figured out some way to pay them myself."

Jake grinned. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I have no clue what she's talking about. Do you?"

Everybody agreed they didn't.

Finally, Susan said, "Let's eat. Pat, will you bless the food?"

When they'd finished eating, Emma and Susan gathered dishes, as Seth's eyes met Emma's. "Jake and I have something to discuss. We need to go to the police station. I don't know how long it'll take. I can either drop you at your place or come back and get you." He paused. "If you want, I can ride with Jake, and you can take my pickup home."

Pastor Pat joined the conversation. "I'll take Emma home."

Emma nodded. "I'll wait here. If it gets too late, I'll ride home with Pastor Pat."

Seth glanced at Ace lying next to Molly. "Pastor Pat, do you mind giving Ace a ride? He doesn't like leaving that fur ball."

Keith teased, "She's hardly a fur ball any longer."

Chuckling, Seth agreed, "You're right. I didn't believe there was a dog under all that, but I was wrong. Ace has decided it's his job protecting her."

Jake grinned. "Like his handler has appointed himself protector of her owner."

Pink touched Seth's ears. "No idea what you're talking about." He hesitated. "Are we going to do this or not?"

Later that evening, Seth knocked on Emma's door. When she answered, he said, "I thought I'd drop by and get Ace. I hope he didn't cause problems."

"Of course, not. He's always a perfect gentleman." Emma studied Seth's face for a few moments. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing." He exhaled. "In the morning, I need to leave about four-fifteen. We have a joint mission. I've already spoken with your dad. He'll be by just before seven to get you."

"Thank you." Emma fingered her braid, before she asked, "Will it be dangerous?"

"Probably not, but there's always the possibility something could go wrong."

She checked the time. "Since you have an early morning, you'd better get home." She turned toward Ace. "Buddy, you need to leave."

Seth stepped further in the room. "Before I go, I'll help give Molly her medicine and some food."

"Thank you. I appreciate it."

They worked mechanically avoiding conversation and eye contact.

Before Seth left, he said, "I have an idea how Molly can sleep with you." He glanced around the room. "If we move some chairs to the side of the bed she sleeps on, she won't risk rolling off. You'll be on the other side. She'll still be on her pillow. What do you think?"

"It'll work."

They moved chairs along the left side of the bed to ensure Molly couldn't fall off.

After Seth left, Emma watched him drive up the lane. "Dear God, thank you for all you've done for me. Please protect Seth and all the officers taking part in tomorrow's mission. Amen."

She sighed and got ready for bed.

I'd also like to announce that a dear friend and great author just released a novel 'Grain of Wheat Broken Promises' by Charles Ezell. We know him as Ben Colder. You can find it on

Thank you YouTube for 'Shine Jesus Shine'

Character List:

Police Chief Seth Carter - hero and Beaverton's Police Chief

Emma Winters - heroine and waitress at her parents' bakery and bookstore, but just graduated college with a teaching degree.

Winters - the bakery/bookstore Emma's parents own.

Carl Jones - Seth's good friend and right-hand man

Susan and Keith Winters - Emma's parents and owners of Winters' Family Bakery and Bookstore

Molly - Emma's almost four-pound Pomeranian

Ace - Seth's German shepherd, a trained K-9

Pastor Pat - Pastor of the Church and Emma's Godfather

Jake Baker - Seth's mentor and Winters' family friend

Ray Hudson - Works at the bakery

Peggy Barton - Emma knew her in high school and is the assistant librarian, she's making a play for Seth

Linda Holton - the town librarian

Mayor Castle - mayor of Beaverton

George Elliot - city council member, from old money, and father of Marc Elliot

Marc Elliot - troubled teenager

Ronald Calhoun - dated Emma her senior year of high school

Dr. Mason - veterinarian who took care of Molly



Thank you google images for the photo of a small dog after it's been attacked. I also want to thank YouTube for 'Shine Jesus Shine'.

Chapter 23 is posted in its entirety. This post I had intended posted it in its entirety because it's a shorter chapter. Of the reviewers who commented on the length, 4 said they liked it and 1said it was too long because it took too long to read. This post is a little over 1550 words.

Question: Someone has said they see no romance in this novel. I'd like your opinion on this. Thank you.

Thank you for dropping by and reading. I appreciate your help and the time you took to read it.
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