Romance Fiction posted December 17, 2023 Chapters:  ...40 41 -42- 43... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Emma is offered a job.

A chapter in the book Guided by Faith

Chapter 27 A

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 28 days ago.


He waited in the hallway until Emma returned. "Emma, are you all right?"

She wiped her eyes. "Not really. There was nothing private. Even sleeping or taking a bath he was with me."

"I'm sorry." He held her hand. "Even if Jake would let me, I wouldn't look at them. I respect you too much."

She swallowed. "Thank you." She dried an escaped tear. "It seems he was jealous over you. You were in danger too." She touched his wound.

"Thanks to you, I'm fine. Remember it was my carelessness that allowed him into your house and got me shot." Seth put his arm around her and drew her close. After a few moments he said, "I probably need to get back."

Emma nodded. "I'm going to set up the room for the kids. Will I see you later?"

"I'll be there for the high schoolers."

"Good." Emma smiled. "I have a car. I'll give you a ride home."

"I heard. We'll grab something to eat on the way."



Chapter 27 A

Early Friday morning Emma parked in the lot beside Winters and asked Seth, "What time's your doctor's appointment?"

"Eleven. When I'm finished, I'll come by and let you know how it went." Seth held up his arm. "Hopefully, I can lose the sling. I'm sure you're getting tired of helping me with my shirt."

"I'm getting used to it, sort of."

He chuckled. "Sure, about that?"

"Not really." As she went inside the bakery, she added, "I'll have beignets ready for your morning coffee."

"Can't wait." Seth crossed Main Street toward the police station.

Seth came by the bakery after his doctor's appointment, and Emma was in her dad's office. He stood in the doorway and held up his arm. "No sling."

Emma's eyes lit up the office. "That's great! You can put on your own shirt."

"I've been thinking about that. I'm going to miss the help," teased Seth.

With raised eyebrows, Emma started to say something, and then stopped.

Keith chuckled. "Emma, this is the first time in your life you didn't have a comment."

Seth faced Keith. "What does it mean?"

"I don't know. It's never happened before."

Emma's lips formed a pout.

Seth walked over and held his arms out. "Come here." When she went into them, he said, "We're teasing."

"I'm not sure."

Glancing at his ringing phone, Seth held it out. "I'd better get this." After he did, he said, "I'm needed at the station. I'll be back for lunch, probably a late lunch."

She nodded. "Not a problem. We'll make sure lunch's available."

It was close to three o'clock when Seth returned to Winters.

Keith walked up to him. "You mentioned you'd be late. What can I get you?"

"Since I'm this late would a Cuban or the steak sandwich be easier?"

"There's one of those new salmon sandwiches left. Would you prefer that?"

Seth nodded but his eyes focused on Emma and the man she sat with at a table. "Who's Emma talking with? I've seen him around, but we haven't met."

"That's Tim Matthews. He's the principal of the upper elementary school in town. I think he's offering Emma a job."

"It'd help solve her financial problems."

"Sure would." Keith turned to leave. "I'll be right back with your order. You want coffee too?"

Seth grinned. "Of course." He continued watching Emma.

Mr. Matthews said, "I know this is a strange place for an interview, but I've been impressed with everything I've heard, from the summer reading program to the church youth groups. When this position became available, I didn't want to waste any time."

Emma inhaled a deep breath. "Mr. Matthews, I'm honored you've offered me this job." She scanned the area. "When do you need an answer by?"

"When do you think you'll have an answer?"

"Monday's a holiday. How about Tuesday morning."

He stood. "Tuesday's fine. I'll speak with you then."

Emma started to walk toward Seth but paused and went to Mr. Matthews as he opened the front door. "Sir, I can give you an answer now. Yes, I'll accept the fifth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teaching position."

He offered his hand. "I'm glad you'll be part of our staff. Come by my office Tuesday and sign the paperwork."

After Mr. Matthews left, Emma faced Seth. He grinned as she got closer. "Are congratulations in order?"

She did a little dance. "Yes. It felt right. I knew God would guide me. I have a teaching job starting in August." She threw her arms around his neck.

He lifted her off the ground and twirled her around. "Great!"

Seth's phone rang and he exhaled as he answered. "Okay, give me a couple of minutes to finish eating." His eyes met Emma's. "I need to get back to the station. Do you have time to sit with me while I finish?"

Emma glanced around the dining room. "We're not busy. I do." She studied Seth for a few moments. "Is there something we need to discuss or just spending time together?"

He grinned. "Spending time together. Is that okay?"

"It is." Emma pointed to Seth's sandwich. "I see you ordered the salmon. What do you think?"

"We did a good job putting it together. Any new ideas floating around in that pretty little head of yours?"

"Not right now. I'll let you know when I need a Guinea pig."

Seth took his last bite and wiped his mouth with the napkin. "I'll be back around six o'clock. I'm hoping a little earlier." He winked. "See you then."


A few minutes after six o'clock, Seth arrived at the bakery and saw Ronnie Calhoun following Emma around. Seth listened, "You and that cop can't be a couple. I've never seen you on a date. Why doesn't he take you out? Give me a chance and I'll show you how a real man treats a lady. Let's go to dinner tonight. The whole town saw him hug and kiss that woman in the center of Main Street the other day."

"It was his sister."

"That's what he told you."

Before Emma could answer, Seth said, "Emma, you don't need to defend me. As for dating, I didn't know we needed to check with you." He offered Emma his hand. "Ready to leave?"

She accepted it. "Yes."

Inside the car, Seth said, "Why don't we go to a restaurant in Cedarville tonight?"

"Seth, you don't need to."

"He's right. I should take you out more often. So much has happened that time has slipped away. You were just offered a teaching job. We should celebrate."

As Emma drove down their lane, Seth said, "Go ahead and park in your garage. Ace and I'll walk home. I don't have a sling. I can drive tonight."

Emma nodded. After she parked, she opened the back passenger door and picked up Molly on her pillow. "Maybe tomorrow you can lose the pillow. We'll see."

"I'll carry Molly."

"I have her."

"On the way home, you were quieter than normal. Is everything all right?" asked Seth.

"Everything's okay."

"I'll pick you up around seven o'clock. Will that give you enough time to get ready?"

"Seven's good."

Seth, with Ace by his side, knocked on Emma's door at six-thirty-five.

When Emma answered, she said, "You're early. I'm not quite ready." Her eyes widened as she stared at his blue jeans and shirt. She glanced down at her dress. "I guess I'm overdressed. I thought we were..."

"Going to a restaurant?" interrupted Seth. "We were. On the ride home, I got the impression you thought things were moving a little fast. That's why I'm early. Maybe you'd be more comfortable going for Mexican and bowling."

Emma's green eyes sparkled. "I would. Thank you."

"You look amazing, but maybe a little over dressed," teased Seth. "I'll wait while you change."

When Emma came from her bedroom, she wore a blouse and blue jeans.

Seth grinned. "You still look amazing. How about Ace stays with Molly while we're out?"

"Good idea."

Inside Seth's pickup, he studied the windshield. "Emma, I wish you would've said you were uncomfortable with going to a restaurant. Was it the way the invitation happened?" He hesitated. "I know we talk, but I need you to include talking about things bothering you. I noticed you were quiet and had to guess as to why. Why didn't you want to go to a restaurant?"

She swallowed. "I didn't want you to spend that much money on me."

He cocked his head. "What? I don't understand."

"While in college some girls explained what their dates expected," she exhaled, "sort of a payment in return for the money spent on them." She studied her passenger window. "After graduation, Ronnie commented about the amount he'd spent on dates, so I owed him..."

"Enough said," interrupted Seth. "I understand." He took her hand. "I built the dog porch and all I expected in payment was your help. If I expected more, I'd have already tried something, right?"

"That makes sense. I've dated a little but nothing serious. I'm new at this relationship thing."

"Our almost eight-year age difference concerns me." He gulped. "But I'm willing to see where this goes."

She exhaled. "I feel you've questioned whether I'm a fully functional adult."

Seth chuckled. "So far your antics have only impressed me."

"Are those the times you've shaken your head?"

He nodded. "Yes."

"Then you've been impressed a lot."

"I have." Squeezing her hand, he asked, "We good?" When her smile lit up the inside of the pickup, he grinned. "Ready for Mexican?"

"I am."

He turned the ignition key.

As they sat at a table, Emma noticed Seth cringe and touch his shoulder wound. She started to say something, but the waitress, Sally yelled, "Emma! I'd heard you're back."

While the young ladies talked and giggled, the owner, Ted came over and hugged Emma. "I'm glad you're back. I see nothing's changed. Sorry, Chief. These two were good friends in high school. They lost touch through the college years. I guess they needed to catch up. I'll take your order, or it may never get put in."

They both ordered and then Sally left. Seth reached across and took Emma's hand, shaking his head.

"It wasn't me."

"That's true."

Setting crispy corn tortilla chips, queso, and guacamole on the table, Ted said, "I'll keep Sally busy."

Grinning, Seth said, "Thank you."

Emma dipped a chip. "I'm sorry about that."

"No reason to be."

"But it's a reminder of our age difference."

"It happens when Ms. Sadie's around and she's almost ninety. Quit worrying."

"I guess you're right."

After they'd eaten and walked to the pickup, Seth teased, "Ready to get beaten at bowling?"

Emma stopped walking. "No." When his eyebrows rose, she continued, "I don't think we should go bowling. I've noticed you've cringed and touched your shoulder a few times. It's healed enough, you don't need the sling, but I don't think it's healed enough to bowl. I'm sure you still have restrictions."

He nodded. "I do, but I bowl with my right hand."

"I'm sure you balance the ball with your left."

"You're right." He opened the passenger door. "Any ideas?"

After she climbed inside, she said, "Not really." She smiled. "But I'm not ready for the night to end, are you?"

He sat behind the steering wheel. "Me neither."

As Seth started the pickup, he said, "There's not a lot to do here. We could go to Cedarville."

"I need to go tomorrow to get the youth group stuff for July 4th." She hesitated. "Why don't we go to my place and play a game, maybe Scrabble?"

His eyes met hers. "Are you comfortable with that?"

"Most of our time together has been in each other's homes. Now's a little late to be worried about it."

Seth chuckled. "I guess you're right."

When Seth parked, his eyes met hers. "You've been quiet. What's going on?"

"I don't want our relationship to change. I like it the way it is."

He grinned. "Maybe nothing needs to change. We've already been dating. Calhoun just caused us to be aware of it."


"I have something to tell you." Swallowing, Seth tapped the steering wheel before he continued, "When I went back to the station that Monday evening..."

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



Today's quote from what I've learned from my research. "You wanna be different? Take her to church, not to bed. Buy her flowers, not shots at a bar. Commit to her, don't use her. Be a man, not a boy." Those men are out there, we just need to wait for them.

Thank you, Google Images, for a photograph of a job interview in a restaurant.

Chapter 27 in its entirety it would be around 4000 words, too long for FanStory. Reviews just want the fast money. Again, I have broken a chapter into two segments. This is the first part of Chapter 27 and is a little under 1900 words. I will post it high to reward the reviewers.

Yesterday, I rewrote part of this chapter. I hope I didn't make it worse. Thank you for dropping by and reading. I appreciate your help and the time you took to read it.
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