Cherry Hill 5:Love Heals All Wounds

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Prologue



Maya Hennessey looked out toward the water. The lake by the park was beautiful as the sun cast its light through the trees and the shade around her. She tilted her head back, closed her eyes and exhaled. When was she going to feel normal? When would she not feel so scared, so on edge? She opened her eyes and looked around her. Everyone was suspicious, a potential criminal, or male set out to do her harm. It had only been a month since she was attacked in her home, nearly raped a second time. Tears stung her eyes. Why was she such a target to men? She didn’t flirt, she minded her business, she tried acting tough, normal, capable despite living in fear.

That uneasy feeling began to simmer. Twenty minutes. That’s how long she lasted here today. Twenty and now she had to get back to her car, get back to her place even though she didn’t feel safe there. She needed to find a new apartment or cottage. Something. One that didn’t constantly remind her of the attack, and also was around more people. She could ask Jeremiah, maybe Charlie or even Kane. The sheriff would know. As she stood up and ran her hands along her hips and made sure her sweater covered her waist, she started to walk down the path, the busiest one to be sure to remain around a lot of people, and headed to her car. Just as she approached the small set of stairs, she saw the deputy patrol car. Nash Weathersen, like clockwork, was there and with a concerned expression that turned into a small smile. “Hey,” he called out to her. She swallowed hard. She felt uneasy seeing him because he was there when she was attacked by Hurley Jones, but she also felt relief, safety, and that was just stupid. She lowered her eyes, and he closed the space between them and leaned toward her like he might kiss her cheek. She looked away and tightened up. He remained where he was, placed a hand on the butt of his gun, and the other on his hip.

“How are you doing?”

“Fine,” she said, and some people were coming up the stairs. He placed his hand on her hip and guided her closer to his patrol vehicle and out of the way. Nash towered over her by more than a foot. He was very good looking, had a little gruff along his cheeks, deep blue eyes, and light blonde hair. He didn’t immediately lift his hand from her hip as she now stood by the patrol car. It was like he enjoyed touching her or having her close. Maybe he was just being extra nice to her. Men did that around Cherry Hill. Women were to be protected and cared for. So why had she been a victim more than once?

“Beautiful warm day today. Heard tonight might get a little chilly,” he said to her. The weather. Always an easy subject to converse about. Made for a light conversation, so why was her heart pounding inside of her chest, and why couldn’t she stop inhaling his cologne and enjoying it?

“Yes, I heard that, too.” She inhaled, smelled his cologne, and it reminded her of that day. How he held her and remained by her side even as the paramedics took care of her. She was intimidated by Nash before, and his brother Alex, a Texas Ranger who was just as big and commanding as Nash was. His other brothers Rhett and Kase she didn’t really know.

“How about you? All good around Cherry Hill today?” she asked him, forcing herself to have a normal conversation.

“All good, sweetie. Where are you headed now? Want to grab something to eat or some coffee? I can take a break,” he said to her and licked his lower lip.

“I think I’m going to head back to the cottage. I have work tonight.”

“You’re working a lot. I thought you were going to take things slow and ease back into a routine.” He had such a deep, strong tone to his voice. It both unnerved her and aroused her. She shouldn’t feel these things for Nash. He was just being extra nice and was truly upset by what he, Jeb, and the other officers walked into.

“I think keeping busy is a good thing,” she whispered.

“You should give me your schedule so I can be around to follow you home at night.”

“Nash, that really isn’t necessary. You have better things to do than to watch over me and babysit.”

When he reached out and clutched her chin, she tightened up. Her eyes widened, and he stared down at her. “Sweetie, I don’t mind. In fact, if you would let me, I’d love to spend more time with you.”

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