Romance Fiction posted November 26, 2023 Chapters:  ...37 38 -39- 40... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Seth and Emma continue to talk.

A chapter in the book Guided by Faith

Chapter 25 B

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 25 days ago.


Emma was silent as she thought for a few moments. "The woman you and Jake talked with and who died in rehab was my mother, wasn't she?"

Seth nodded. "Yes."

"You've met her. What can you tell me about her?"

"Emma, are you sure?"


"Your mom was fifteen when she had you. She was living on the streets, struggling to take care of herself. There was no way she could support a baby. Her love for you is why she put you up for adoption."

"Why was she on the streets?"


Chapter 25 B

"Your mom was on the streets because she'd run away. Her older brother and his friends were sexually molesting her. When her mom didn't believe the accusations, she felt she had no option but to leave."

"She was hooked on drugs."

"Her pimp hooked her, his way of controlling her." He paused. "From what I could tell she once was as beautiful as you. Life dealt her one raw deal after another." His eyes met hers. "Nothing Ms. Barton said was true."

"She was a homeless prostitute, a drug addict, and has no idea who my dad is."

"Only because of circumstances not by choice. There's a difference." Seth stared over Emma's head and then his eyes met hers. "When I met your mom, my opinion of you never changed."

Emma tilted her head. "Is that a good thing?"

Seth grinned. "I hope so. You matter to me."

Emma studied him a few moments before Seth's stomach growled. "Are you ready to eat?"


"Good." Seth held out the front of his T-shirt. "Give me a minute. I need to change." He went into his bedroom and closed the door.

Within moments, Emma heard struggling sounds coming from his room. She knocked on the door. "Is there a problem?"

"I can conquer this shirt."

"Seth, I'm coming in."

A faint smile crossed her lips when she saw Seth tangled and fighting with the T-shirt. "Stop, just be still. I'll help." Once he stopped, she lifted the shirt over his head and handed it to him.

He tossed it into a trash can. "Thank you. It had a bullet hole and blood. I haven't had a chance to change since I got home."

She pointed to the closet. "Is it okay if I get one?" After he nodded, she said, "Which one do you want?"

"Just get one!" As soon as the words and tone escaped his mouth, he closed his eyes and exhaled. "Emma, I'm sorry." He walked into the closet as she stood there. He took his good arm and drew her to his chiseled, bare chest. "I'm sorry. Please forgive me."

They stood in silence.

Emma backed away and gently touched the bandage under his sling. "I'm sorry I caused this. I need to leave. I knew I shouldn't have come." She attempted to walk by him.

"Emma. Don't go." He touched her hand. "Please."

Swallowing, she said, "Seth?"

"We need to talk," he interrupted.

"Everything's been said that needs to be."

"It hasn't." He glanced at his hanging T-shirts and reached for a blue one. "Please help me with this, then we'll eat. I'm starving. It'll be better to talk after I eat. Really it will."

Once the shirt was on, Emma set out the food, and they ate in silence.

Seth carried some dishes to the sink. "I'll take care of this later."

"I don't mind. It's the least I can do after getting you shot."

He took her hand and led her to the couch. "The dishes can wait!" After a few deep breaths, he said, "Sorry. I don't mean to snap orders. I'm in pain and angry with myself. My carelessness almost got you raped, and it got me shot. It's not your fault. It's mine. That's what I want to talk about."

They sat on the couch, and Seth began, "Monday evening after dropping you at your home, I went back to the station."

"You had some work to finish."

He cringed but ignored her comment. "I knew by leaving you alone, I was putting you at risk. I knew you were being stalked and probably in danger. I didn't know exactly who, but knew it had to be the man who siphoned your gas, attempted to grab you at the hardware store, and cut your screen. I'd seen the same car watching your house at various times."

She fought back tears. "All this time I thought you enjoyed being with me. You were with me because it was your job. I feel so stupid." She stood. "I'm leaving while I still have some dignity."

Seth stood and grabbed her arm and drew her into a hug. "You're wrong. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I care for you a lot."

She stepped back and her tear-filled eyes glared at him. "Don't touch me."

He removed his arms. "Emma, I'm sorry you're hurt. Please let me finish." He rushed the next sentence. "If you were only a job, I would've had one of the other officers stay with you. You're a lot more to me than a job." He took her hand. "Please sit. There's more that needs to be said."

After they both sat, Seth continued, "When I returned, I heard Ace barking. I was lost in thought and didn't pay attention. I knew that bark was one of danger. I ignored him and opened the door without thinking. I got myself shot. My carelessness and selfishness put us both in danger. I'm sorry." She stood. "Please don't leave. I don't want this to come between us. We need to talk it out."

Glancing toward the kitchen, she said, "I'm taking care of the dishes. Leave me alone while I do it."

He nodded.

Almost finished with the dishes, Emma broke down in tears.

Seth came to her and put his good arm around her. "I deserve your anger." He closed his eyes and took a few breaths. "You shot a man because of me. I don't know how to fix this. I don't know what to do or say." Still holding her, he said, "Your well-being is important to me. Please don't keep this bottled inside."

Emma took time to think before she answered, "This man was plotting to get to me. I don't understand why. We're both human and mistakes happen. He would've eventually gotten to me. I don't blame you for anything." She wiped her eyes. "As for killing somebody, I wish it didn't happen, but my choices were you or him. I'm glad it was him."

"Will you do something for me?" After Emma nodded, Seth continued, "Would you talk with Pastor Pat about it? I'm worried so much has happened that it hasn't fully sunk in. Officers need to go to counseling before they return to the street if this were to happen to them."

"I can't believe he won't approach the subject, at least once."

"You're probably right." Seth petted Ace's head. "Finally, our friendship. I know emotions have been spiraling out of control, but my feelings for you haven't changed. Early Monday morning, the hug we shared surprised me at how much it meant to me." He took a breath. "When I returned, all I could think about was you." He shook his head. "We needed to immediately do an-after-action report, and I gave the officers a break because I needed to see you."

Emma studied Seth for a few moments and then threw her arms around his neck. "Thank you."

As he returned the hug, he said, "You had me worried for a minute." Another hug lasted a while. Their eyes met and their lips almost touched. Seth backed away. It's too soon. Too much has happened. But... Seth took a deep breath. "Fill me in on the news. How's Molly?"

Studying Seth for a few moments, Emma said, "She's getting stronger each day. Tomorrow's her last dose of antibiotics. I think she's getting tired of the liquid food and wants real food, but she needs to wait until I take her to the vet Saturday." Emma paused and took out her phone. "I'll call Dad and see about getting a ride to work tomorrow."

He put his hand over hers. "You probably need a little more time. Carl will be coming to get me later in the morning. Call your dad and tell him you'll be in later."

After she called, she said, "You just got out of the hospital, you probably shouldn't go in tomorrow."

"I need to be there for Ms. Barton's arraignment and to pull security for your summer reading program." He grinned and teased, "Neither of these are negotiable."

"You're teasing."

"Only slightly."

As Seth yawned, Emma stood. "You must be tired. I need to head home."

"It's dark. You're not walking by yourself."

"You're not walking me. I won't let you."

Seth took out his phone. "Carl, are you busy?" He listened. "Good, could you come by and escort Emma and Molly home?" Again, he listened. "Thank you." After he put the phone away, he said, "He'll be here in a few minutes and he's glad my personality has improved."

"Imagine that." Emma reached for Molly's bag. "It's time for her medicine."

"I'll help."

"It might be difficult with one arm."

"I can do it. She's small."

After Molly took her medicine, Emma picked her up and walked toward the door.

"Where are you going?"

"Mother Hen, I'm taking my dog outside to use the bathroom, unless you want her to do it on your carpet."

"Really funny." Seth shook his head. "Ace, go with the ladies." He stood in the doorway and watched.

When Emma re-entered, she said, "You're very bossy."

"You've mentioned it before." Seth yawned again as he answered his phone. After listening, he put it away. "There's a disturbance at a bar. Carl will be here after he takes care of it."

"Seth, go on to bed. I'll wait for Carl." When he stared at her, she said, "I promise." She curled up on the couch. "I'll be right here when he comes."

He turned toward his bedroom. "If you promise." When she nodded, he said, "I can't wait to get rid of this sling."

"When does it come off?"

"In a week. Then I can be almost normal while it continues to heal."

"Is there anything I can help with?"

He grinned. "Not really, besides you promised to stay on the couch until Carl gets here."

"Ha ha, Goodnight."


Seth crawled out of bed when Ace notified him somebody had pulled into the driveway. As he went to the door, he grinned at Emma asleep on the couch. When Carl was inside, they both studied her.

Carl asked, "Chief, what do we do?"

Grabbing a blanket, Seth said, "Help me cover her. She'll be upset in the morning but let her sleep." He grinned. "She's upset with me most of the time anyway."

As Carl headed toward the door, he said, "I take it you've worked things out."

"We did. We're good. Thank you for asking. I'll call for a ride to work. You'll be bringing Emma too."

"I figured." Carl left.

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

Mickey Casey - Man stalking Emma and she killed him



Thank you, Google Images, for a photograph of a lady sleeping on a couch.

This is the second part of Chapter 25 and a little over 1700 words. I wasn't able to edit every day this week because my young granddaughters were visiting for Thanksgiving, and I choose to spend time with them. I did edit numerous times before. I hope there isn't' tons of errors, but there may be.

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