Despite her outward strength, small-town judge Drea mentally prepares herself for the release of the one of the area’s nastiest bad boys. He’s threatening to pay her a visit, but she’s one tough judge who’s not scared of anything — least of all a muscled ex-con.
My younger sister Ever is sweet but overly concerned for my safety. “I’m perfectly fine. Nobody is coming to hurt me. You can go.”
She eyes me suspiciously and rubs her swollen tummy. “All right, but I don’t feel good about this.”
I smirk at her. “And what are you going to do if he does try something? Threaten to give birth right here on the braided rug?”
She cocks her head to the side. “Very funny. I just wish you would agree to stay with Logan and me for a few days. Just to be on the safe side. You are the judge who put him in prison for years, you know.”
I cross my arms in front of my chest. “I’ve sentenced a lot of criminals.”
“But he’s the worst that Middleburg has ever seen!”
I laugh. “Are you forgetting that cold case murder that was just solved last year?”
“OK, besides that. And that hasn’t even gone to trial yet. This one did, and he’s a bad guy.”
I could tell her she’s just being as small-minded as all the old-timers who drink coffee at the bowling alley every morning, judging everybody who ever did so much as jaywalk in this town.
I should remind her that the man has paid his debt to society and has the right to be free now. But something stops me.
I can’t protest too much or she’ll figure it out.
So I just have to play her off with my midwestern compulsion to never be a burden.
“While I relish the idea of a few sleepless nights in your tiny house by the river with your very randy husband making you moan all night long, it’s a hard pass.”
Looking at Ever’s face, she’s not denying it. She still bites her lip and blushes just thinking about her doting husband. A part of me wishes for that feeling, that feeling of being looked after and fussed over by the person who shares my bed and my life. Sometimes it hurts to watch Ever and my brother-in-law Logan together. I’m jealous but I don’t show it. I’m the stalwart big sister. The protector.
I’m also the judge who has served as officiant for every wedding in this town in recent years, and it’s starting to feel a little more raw every time I’m asked to do it. But I don’t say no. I’m the sweet and accommodating judge everybody wants for their wedding.
Ever tries every other angle to get me to leave with her, but I’m staying put.
I kiss her on the cheek before she leaves. “If it makes you feel better, I’ll call for a patrol car to drive by sometime tonight. And I promise I’ll call you if the boogeyman shows up, OK?”
She pouts at me and I finally have to shut the door to compel her to leave my front porch. And to think she used to be the wild one who needed my protection as a child.
When she’s gone, I draw myself a bath with lavender salts and have a nice soak to relax my tired feet. After my bath, I pad around the house, closing all the windows on this cool summer night, and draw all the curtains shut. All except one: my bedroom window.
I leave it wide open while I watch some TV on my laptop. Any woman in her right mind, alone in a big, old isolated house in the country would close up every last window and lock them before drifting off at night, but I am not in my right mind.
No, I’m ready to completely lose my mind and my whole self. Just as soon as my partner in crime gets here.
#1 Take Me Home is FREE for a limited time!
All other books are only 99c each!
All free in Kindle Unlimited