- Chapter 26 Bby barbara.wilkey
This work has reached the exceptional level
Emma learns more information about Mickey Casey.
Guided by Faith
: Chapter 26 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 26 days ago.


Emma parked by the bakery. "The car is perfect. Thank you." As she got out, Marc walked up. Emma said, "I lead the church teens' youth group. We meet tonight at seven o'clock. You're invited if you'd like to attend."

"I'm...on...bail. My trial date hasn't been set. I also go to school in Cedarville."

"You're here now, so maybe you could meet some other teens and hang around with them. We're planning some activities, like whitewater rafting. You're welcome."

Marc asked, "Dad, can I?"

"I don't see why not. Thank you, Ms. Winters."

She continued toward the bakery. "Good. I hope I see you tonight."


Chapter 26 B

From inside Winters, Emma glanced out the front window and saw Seth heading toward the shop. He stopped in front of a lady, threw his arm around her and kissed her cheek. Emma watched for a few moments. He did it again. This time he lifted her with his one arm and hugged her.

I knew what Seth and I have was too good to be true. Emma walked past her dad. "I need some air." She continued through the kitchen and into the alley.

Before long, Seth with his hand on the small of the lady's back came into the bakery. "Keith, where's Emma? I'd like to introduce her to my sister, Abbey."

Keith's eyes widened. "Your sister?"

"Yes." Seth's eyebrows rose and he pointed outside. "She saw. Not good."

"She's out back." As Seth headed toward the alley, Keith handed him a clean dishtowel. "You'll need this."

Seth accepted it. "You're right."

In the alley, Seth paused and studied Emma. She had her back to him. "Emma, why are you out here?"

She sniffed. "I needed fresh air."

"This is the opposite of fresh air." He moved in front of her and used the towel to dry her cheeks. As she prepared to say something, he said, "Please, listen. Then ask questions."

Again, Seth dried her eyes and cheeks. "The lady you saw me hugging..."

"And kissing," interrupted Emma.

"And kissing," he exhaled, "is my sister, Abbey. I wasn't expecting her. Her husband, Gary accepted a teaching position at the university in Cedarville. He's filling out paperwork, so she came to get Grandma's house key," he touched his shoulder, "and check on me. She'll only be in town maybe thirty minutes. They'll move into the house before school starts."

"Your sister?"

"Yes, my sister. There are only two females I spend time with, you and Molly." His eyes met Emma's. "Are you ready to meet Abbey?"

Emma took the towel from Seth and dried her eyes. "Yes."


As they walked inside, Abigail met them partway. "Emma, I'm glad to meet the woman Seth keeps talking about."

Studying Seth's deep brown eyes, Emma asked, "You told her about me?"

"Of course, he has. He talks about you all the time."


Seth touched Emma's arm and grinned. "Really."

Emma swallowed. "I'm sorry. I'm surprised." After she exhaled, she continued, "Abbey, I'm glad to meet you. It'll be nice having you closer."

Keith grinned. "I think it'd be nice if you came to our Sunday dinners."

Nodding, Emma said, "That's a great idea."

Smiling, Abigail said, "I'd like that and I'm sure my husband, Gary would too, but I'm not sure you're ready for a six-month-old little boy and a two and half year-old little girl."

Emma faced her dad. "I'm sure we would. Right, Dad?" After Keith nodded, she asked, "Where are the kids now?"

"With Gary's parents. That's why I'm in a hurry. They're not used to little ones. We need to drive back to Austin and rescue them."

After she answered and then hung up her phone, Abigail said, "That was Grandma. It seems Micah woke up from his nap rather grumpy." She smiled. "Micah inherited Uncle Seth's temperament. He can be as sweet as honey, but when he's grumpy he's..."

"A grizzly bear," interrupted Emma.

"You know my brother too well," teased Abigail.

Seth exhaled. "I'm being ganged up on."

Emma's attempt to hide her smile failed. "Are you disagreeing with us?"

"Not really, but..."

"But nothing." Abigail took his arm. "I need to leave. Emma, it's great to finally meet you. We'll be seeing each other again very soon." She smiled. "Just remember my dear brother tends to be stingy with words, so you don't always understand what he's thinking."

Seth shook his head before his eyes met Emma's. "As soon as Carl gets here, I'm going home to get the key, and then we'll follow Abbey to Cedarville. I need to talk with Jake." He glanced at his watch. "I'll be back in time to walk you to the church. See you then."

Almost thirty minutes later, Jake walked into Winters. He hugged Emma. "Pumpkin, you look surprised."

"Seth's on his way to Cedarville to talk with you."

"I'm here. I've been meeting with Pat." Jake hesitated. "I'm wondering if you're available to come with me. Pat and I have something to discuss with you."

Emma glanced at her dad, who nodded. "I guess." After a moment, she said, "Dad, Seth said he'd meet me here. Please tell him I'm at the church."

"Sure will."

As Jake put his hand on the small of her back and led her to the church, Emma asked, "What's this about?"

"Nothing you need to worry about."

Once there, they went to Pastor Pat's office. He immediately offered them a seat.

Before he sat, Jake closed the door.

Watching, Emma said, "Now, I'm really worried. Have I done something wrong?"

Pastor Pat said, "No." He tapped a pen on his desk. "Jake, Seth, and I have a few concerns."

"Should we wait for Seth?" asked Emma.

When Jake shook his head, Pat continued, "First, we feel you need some counseling concerning the incident Monday evening. I'd like to set that up."

"Seth and I have talked about that. We figured you'd contact me. When do you want to do it?"

"Saturday morning around nine o'clock. That shouldn't interfere with the rest of your day. Will that be all right?"

"Yes. Where?"

"I think you'd be most comfortable at your place."

Emma nodded. "Okay. Come hungry, I'll fix breakfast."

Chuckling, Pastor Pat said, "I hoped you'd suggest it."

She stood. "If that's everything, I'll get back to the bakery."

Jake took some files from a briefcase. "It's not everything, Emma. Now comes the hard part. Please have a seat."

"What are those?"

Studying the closed files, Jake inhaled a deep breath. "We found Mickey Casey's Cedarville apartment."

"Does Seth know about this? Why isn't he here?"

"I haven't told Seth, yet." As Emma's eyes widened, Jake continued, "Part of what we found I won't share with Seth, but you should know about it."

Emma almost whispered, "You're scaring me."

"I understand. That's why I wanted Pat here." She glanced at Pastor Pat and nodded. Jake continued, "You're not the only female Casey stalked. You're the only one who survived. We're in the process of contacting their families so they can get closure."

"No!" Her hand covered her mouth.

"There are six others in as many states. He left immaculate notes and photographs on how and where he stalked them. He took four trophies from each victim and detailed the time and places he raped and murdered them. Finally, he left maps where he buried their bodies."

Tears welled in Emma's eyes. "I'll pray for those families. I know I shouldn't be selfish, but what about me?"

"He'd already taken three trophies. The fourth one is always taken after death." Jake removed a pink collar from his briefcase.

"That's Molly's. The day we moved into the cabin she lost it in the weeds." Her eyes met Jake's. "He took it off her?" When he nodded, she asked, "He watched me from the first day I arrived?"

Jake tapped the folders. "Pumpkin, he stalked you while you were still in college. He took photos of you there."

"Can I see the photos?" She hesitated. "You said three trophies. What else did he take?"

Holding up a sheet of paper, Jake said, "We'll get to the photos in a minute." He handed her the paper. "Here's his second trophy."

Emma took it and read it. "I wrote this."

"When?" asked Pastor Pat.

"The Friday evening after the tornado."

Both men nodded, as Jake asked, "Can you tell us about the song?"

She swallowed. "Seth and I had cleaned up the branches lying around both yards. We had a hotdog roast and ate s'mores. We talked and got to know each other. It was almost a perfect night. Why?"

Pastor Pat asked, "So you wrote this song about Seth and your budding relationship?"

She nodded. "How did he get it? I thought I'd lost it."

"It seems Casey was jealous over your relationship with Seth." Jake held up a large barrette. "He took this too."

"I wondered where that went. Seth used it after my accident to tie back my hair. I was too sore to braid it."

Jake opened a folder. "Now, for some photos. He scratched out or stabbed Seth in the ones you're both in. I won't show you all of them. In some, you're in various stages of being undressed?"

"He took nude photos of me?"



"He took some through the window and some inside your home."

"How'd he get in my house and why didn't Molly bark? Who's seen them? Has Seth?"

"We don't know how he got inside, or why he didn't act then. He seemed to work within a timeline. No, Seth has not and won't see them. Only the officer who found them and I have seen them. I wanted you to know in case they're needed for evidence. Since Casey's dead, I doubt they ever will."

Jake showed Emma some of the photos in timeline order starting while still in college and ending the day before he died."

"That's a picture of Seth and my water fight. He's documented everything."

"He did." Jake held up a folder with other photos. "There are still these, but you don't need to see them."

Seth walked in. "Don't need to see what?"

"Seth!" screamed Emma.

Pastor Pat put his hand on Emma's arm. "It's all right." His eyes met Seth's. "Jake has information about Casey. It's a little unsettling."

He reached for the folders. "I need to see these."

Jake pulled them closer. "You don't. At least not all of them." When Seth cocked his head, Jake filled him in on everything until the photos. "There are photos documenting Emma from college until he died. I'll show you some. There's no reason for you to see them all."

Emma received a text. "It's Dad, I forgot my guitar, so he brought it. I'll get it then I'm going to get the room ready for the kids." She left.

Seth watched her leave and then faced Jake. "Are there nude photos?" After Jake nodded, Seth said, "I'll be right back."

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."

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


Author Notes
Today's quote from what I've learned from my research. I'm pleased so many of you agreed with last week's quote. "When a man has genuine feelings for a woman, making love to her is not the first thing on his mind." I'm sure there are exceptions, but interesting point.

Thank you, Google Images, for a photograph of a couple hugging on the street.

This is the second part of Chapter 26 and a little over 1900 words. If I posted Chapter 26 in its entirety it would be around 4000 words, too long for FanStory.

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


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