Romance Fiction posted March 3, 2024 Chapters:  ...51 52 -53- 54... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Molly gets a friend.

A chapter in the book Guided by Faith

Chapter 35 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 36 days ago.


Jake patted Seth on the back. "Good recovery."

"I guess, but Emma never said anything about her feelings for me."

"I think the kiss she gave you said it. Remember this is new to her. Give her time."

"Do you think it's too soon?"

"I've seen you two together. You have a special relationship. I think you'd better hurry up and marry her."

They followed the others into the kitchen.


Chapter 35 B

As they sat around the dining room table and sipped lemonade, Pastor Pat answered a knock on the front door and then led George Elliot into the room.

"I'm glad you stopped by." Susan pointed to an empty chair. "Please have a seat. We're relaxing and having lemonade. Would you like a glass?" When he agreed, Susan left to get it.

When she returned, George said, "There are a couple of reasons I'm here. First, despite the problems my son has caused, Emma welcomed him into her youth group and has shown true Christian love. She's changed our lives. Since I'm a decent businessman, I know of one way I can help your family. I know nothing about cooking or baking, but I'm able to help with the contractors. They're bullying Ray."

Susan frowned. "I'm not surprised. They caused Keith problems, too."

"Do you know if the blueprints in Keith's office are up to date?" asked George.

"They should be, why?"

"The counter area goes into the new bookstore area. The contractors are telling me it's not supposed to go that far."

"Daddy and I talked about that," interrupted Emma. "We want people browsing the bookstore to be able to buy coffee and pastries. So yes, it's supposed to go into the bookstore. We don't want them carrying books into the dining area or at least make it less likely."

"Thought so, but I wanted to check. I can handle the contractors." He paused. "Chief Carter, I understand you have some teenage males who were found unconscious in an abandoned house."

"I've tried to keep that quiet. How'd you find out?"

"I never realized how much people talk while drinking coffee. I have no details, but there's a rumor they were involved with hazing."

"Did you hear this from some teenage girls?"

"Sure did."

"Thought so." Seth nodded toward Jake, stood, and removed his phone. "Excuse me. I need to make a phone call."

Visiting continued until George left.

Just after dinner, Seth received a call and headed toward the door. "I'll be right back. He soon led a man and a German shepherd into the dining room.

After introductions were made, Seth said, "Emma, Jose trains police working German shepherds. He trained Ace. Jax's handler was killed in the line of duty a few months back and Jax hasn't adjusted well. Because of that, he can't be assigned a new handler. He needs love, compassion, and understanding. I happen to know those are areas where you excel. Jose has agreed to allow you to adopt Jax."

Tears welled in Emma's eyes. "After he recovers from his grief, will I have to return him?"

Jose grinned. "No, Emma. He's officially retired. You're his new forever owner."

Emma knelt in front of Jax and put her hand out for him to sniff. "Hello, I'm Emma. I think we'll become best buddies." Molly butted between them, as she continued, "This is Molly. She struggles with behavior, but I'm sure you'll be able to help her. Ace has worked miracles with her. She was worse."

Jax made a doggy, "Hmm?"

Jose said, "I see we have a good match. Thank you, Seth for the recommendation." He glanced at his phone. "Sorry to rush away, but I'm needed back in the city."

Seth led him to the door. "I'll walk you out."

When Seth returned, Emma got off the floor and walked to him. "Thank you."

He grinned. "You thought I wasn't taking you seriously, right?"

She avoided eye contact. "Maybe."

Seth put his finger under her chin and lifted it, so their eyes met. "I take everything you say seriously. I just may not comment."

They spent the rest of the evening welcoming Jax and making him comfortable.

When it was time to get ready for bed, Seth took Emma aside. "I'm needed at the station."

"I'll walk you to your pickup."

Jake called, "Seth, you about ready?"

"Almost." He studied Emma. "Will you be all right tonight?"

She avoided eye contact. "I'll be fine."

"You're not convincing. Are you sure?"

"We've kissed. You shouldn't stay."

Seth leaned over and kissed her. "I'm going to do it more often too, but that doesn't answer my question." He grinned and shook his head. "How about I return and if you're asleep, I'll leave? If you're awake, I'll stay. If you're worried about me staying, you'd better be asleep."


Kissing Emma again, Seth said, "Goodnight. I'll return later."

As Emma watched Seth leave, she whispered, "I love you."

When Seth entered the police station Carl greeted him. Jake arrived a few moments later and asked, "Where's Calhoun? Let's get this started."

Carl pointed. "Room two."

Jake glanced at Seth. "How do you want to handle this?" He chuckled. "I can't allow you to place a hand on him."

"Not even for Emma?" teased Seth.

"I know it's tempting but, no."

Carl, Seth, and Jake entered the room. Ronnie studied each one. "I haven't broken any laws. Why am I here?"

Seth shoved up his shirt sleeves. "You haven't done anything illegal, per se." His eyes met Calhoun's. "I'm positive the reason you're pursuing Ms. Winters is because she turned you down in high school and your ego can't handle it, even after all this time. She's the one who got away." Seth paused. "That goes along with the reason we're here. After we've talked, I'm calling your boss, Paul Temple. It seems Ms. Winters' grandparents' will stated very clearly that she wasn't to learn of her inheritance until her twenty-fifth birthday. You've broken the parameters of the will."

Ronnie closed his eyes. "There's no reason to make that call. It was an innocent mistake."

"It wasn't an innocent mistake. You did it for personal gain. You hoped Emma would get angry with me, leaving the door open for you."

Seth grinned. "Emma knew better than to believe you. As for her father's dying wish, that's a lie. I have a pretty good idea where you got that information, but it's wrong."

Removing his phone, Seth made a call, "Hello, Paul, this is Chief Carter. I have some information I thought you'd be interested in..." Once the call ended, Seth faced Ronnie. "I hope your resume's up to date. Paul didn't sound happy. You'll probably receive a phone call within a few minutes."

After Ronnie left, Jake patted Seth's back. "Buddy, that went well. Ready for your next guest?"

Seth nodded. "Carl, escort Ms. Barton in."

Once Peggy sat, Seth sighed. "I had hoped you spending a few days in jail would solve my problem. It didn't."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"I know you're the person who told Ronnie Calhoun that Keith Winters' deathbed request was that I promised to marry his daughter."

"He did. I was told that..."

"No, he didn't," interrupted Seth. "My last conversation with Mr. Winters is none of your business. I happen to know the nurse who was with us told you about our discussion. I'm hoping you're the one who embellished it. Just in case, Dr. Holden and I'll have a conversation. Either way she had no business discussing anything that happened in that room. If you continue spreading lies, I'll figure out a way to have your probation revoked. Have I made myself clear?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Good." Seth released a deep breath. "Carl, escort her out." As he watched her leave, he said, "She's unreal."

When Carl returned, Seth's eyes first met his and then Jake's. "Ready to talk with two teenage girls?" He faced Carl. "You contacted their parents, right?"

Carl checked his watch. "Yes, they'll be here in about ten minutes."

When Carl escorted the two teenage girls and their parents into the room, Seth waited for them to be seated and then completed the introductions. "I've brought you in tonight because I've received new information about a case. The classmates these girls discovered remain in the hospital. First, I'll read your Miranda Rights."

After he finished, he faced the parents. "I've asked you to join us as a courtesy. Legally, I can speak with the girls without you present. Just so you know they can be tried as adults. I hope it doesn't come to that."

Opening a folder, Seth read, "According to the Texas Education Code, hazing refers to any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off campus, by one person or acting with others, directed against a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are students at an educational institution.

"Individuals participating in, encouraging, or are knowledgeable of harmful hazing are subject to hazing charges." Seth explained the penalties, before he closed the folder. "Our investigation revealed these boys were hazed; forced consumption of any substance that would result in unreasonable harm, such as alcohol, drugs, or food." He turned to Jake. "At first I thought I'd talk with them together, but I've changed my mind. Sheriff Baker, would you interview one while I interview the other?"

When Jake nodded, Seth continued, "Officer Jones, make sure the video is turned on in each room."

After conducting the interviews, Seth met Jake and Carl in his office. "Before we release the girls, we'd better bring in the others. The girls could warn them." He paused. "Carl, send patrols around the abandoned houses within a five block radius of where we found the boys. It's Saturday night, so they'll be partying. I bet they won't go back to the same house, but they'll be in the same area." With a grin he added, "Who would've thought of a gang, CWB, Crazy White Boys. They're stupid, but creative."

Once eight teenage boys were behind bars, the three men watched and commented on the girls' interview videos.

Jake stretched his legs. "Since tomorrow's Sunday, they won't be arraigned until Monday. Let's get some sleep. Seth, you going back to Susan's?"

"Initially. If Emma's asleep, I'm going home. If not, I'm staying." When Jake's eyes widened, Seth said, "She's afraid since we kissed, I'd better not stay."

Chuckling, Jake replied, "She's priceless."

"That she is."

As Seth approached Susan's, he turned off his headlights. I don't want to wake anybody. He glanced up at Emma's window. Her lights are on. It's pretty late. Maybe she fell asleep with them on. After he parked and stepped out, he heard guitar music. She's awake. He walked up the steps and then opened the front door. Approaching the stairway, he grinned at scrambling noises.

After rapping softly on Emma's bedroom door, Seth opened it. Both German shepherds glanced from Seth to Emma lying in bed. Molly jumped up and down on the bed. He picked her up. She licked his face, so he whispered, "I'm happy to see you too. Is your mom asleep?"

Watching Emma for a few moments, he kissed her cheek and whispered, "I guess you're asleep." He shook his head. At least you're doing a good imitation. He turned to leave.

In the hallway, Seth closed her door. Now, what?

While he stood there, he heard Emma, "Ace, stop."

Seth opened the door and watched Ace nuzzle Emma.

Emma released a breath when she noticed Seth's muscular frame fill the doorway. He grinned. "Ace didn't want me to leave. I wonder why?"

Avoiding eye contact, she said, "No idea."

"Maybe he wanted you to play another song."

"You heard?"

Seth stepped closer to the bed and removed his cowboy boots. "Move over. It's late."


He lay beside her. "Goodnight, Emma."

Emma laid her head against Seth's shoulder. "Goodnight."

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

Sheriff 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

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

Elizabeth Higgins - 'Lizzy' pregnant teenage girl

Calvin and Gretchen Higgins - Parents of Elizabeth Higgins



Thank you, Google Images, for the photo of a hazing.

Chapter 35 is divided into two parts. It's a very long chapter, around 4000 words. This is the second part of the chapter. It's a little over 1950 words. I'm starting to wrap up the loose ends. There are 37 total chapters, so Seth and Emma's story is close to the end. So far it appears the final chapter will be posted March 17, unless I combine some more chapters.

I appreciate the time you took to read this post. I appreciate the help editing. Thank you.
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