Manual Autumn Keeps Her Secret (Richland Chronicles Book 3)

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Place dab of frosting atop each cookie. The Breeze Inn Ebbtide. You and yours can chillax in beautiful beach cottage comfort in the very spot where MKA pens her bestselling novels. Smaller group? Time to confess. I bought a Christmas gift this week. In this new novella, Christmas is coming, but Weezie Foley is doubly distracted. First and foremost by her upcoming wedding to her longtime love Daniel. Use this form to claim your gift. I had such fun reuniting with these two characters, helping Weezie plan her wedding, sending her on a junk jaunt to New York City, and watching BeBe work on The Breeze Inn.

The full slate of tour dates is listed at right as well as on the Events page of my website. Most of my collections of bottle-brush trees, snowmen, Santas and Shiny-Brite ornaments were once inexpensive dime-store finds, which I usually find at junk shops and estate sales. I take great joy every year in unwrapping them and arranging them around my house. Putting them away after Christmas is a different matter though, right?

Had the girl no manners at all? She chewed and swallowed, then waved the half-eaten apple toward the book in his hand. Her descent obligated him to put aside his book and stand up. She hopped lightly to the ground in front of him and removed the fruit from between her teeth with her left hand. At your service. She took another taste of her apple, then held the half-eaten piece of fruit out to him. If we had a rope, we could make a swing. Curiosity got the better of him. If you swing out from the bank as far as you can and let go of the rope, you fall right into the pond.

Resolutely, he shook his head. I have to study. The result had been a snapped tree limb that had broken his arm, three weeks of punitive confinement in the nursery, and a sound thrashing from his father. Phillip smiled ruefully to himself. A sudden tightness squeezed his chest. He also remembered watching her cry over the blasted thing. The door on the other side of the tall brick chimneystack opened, and he gave a silent groan into the darkness. Speak of the devil, he thought with chagrin.

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He straightened in his chair and looked over the low wall that separated his balcony from that of the house next door, confirming that the object of his thoughts had indeed come outside. She carried a small oil lamp in her hand, and by its soft yellow light, he could see that she no longer wore her kitchen apron. Instead, she was even more informally attired in a long white nightdress and wrapper.

She walked to the wrought-iron rail, pausing about half a dozen yards from where he sat. She placed the lamp on the floor nearby, then straightened and turned toward the rail, lifting one hand to her neck. Phillip tensed in his chair as she slid her fingertips beneath her braid and began to rub the nape of her neck. She was clearly unaware of his presence, and he knew that in such a situation, offering a slight cough was the appropriate thing for a gentleman to do.

He did not do it. Instead, he remained perfectly still as she tilted her head to one side and began massaging the muscles of her shoulder and the side of her neck. She groaned, and with that tiny sound, lust washed over him, an inexorable wave of heat and hunger that was so powerful, he could not move. Between thin, curling ribbons of cigar smoke, he watched her, riveted, as she raised her arms above her head to stretch her aching muscles. The lamplight outlined the shape of her body through the gauzy layers of her nightclothes, and the dark silhouette of her shape called to something inside him that was deeper, darker, and far more primitive than gentlemanly honor.

Look away, he told himself, even as his gaze slid downward over the deep, inward curve of her waist, the undulating outward curve of her hips, the long, lithe shape of her legs. The lust in him deepened and spread, smothering him until he could not breathe. She let her arms fall to her sides and leaned forward, resting her forearms on the rail.

The effect on his body was the same. She moved as if to turn around, and he jerked his arm down so that if she looked in his direction, she would not see the glowing tip of his cheroot in the darkened corner, though he was sure this attempt to remain unnoticed would be in vain. The wood smoke and other pollution in the London air masked the scent of his cigar, but surely, she would sense his presence just the same. How could she not? His body burned with lust. To his surprise, however, she did not seem to perceive him sitting in the shadows.

She bent and picked up the lamp, then crossed the balcony and went back into her rooms without even glancing in his direction. The door closed behind her, but Phillip did not move from his chair, for he knew that if he stood up, he would go after her. Like a compass needle compelled by magnetic force to veer toward true north, he would follow her. He would enter her rooms. He would touch her. He doubted he could stop himself. The realization that he had so little governance over his own body appalled and angered him.

He closed his eyes, striving to remain where he was, while inside him, honor warred with lust. He sat there, eyes closed, taking slow, deep breaths, waiting for honor to win. He sat there for a very long time. Chapter 6 Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown, some gave them plum cake and sent them out of town. Emma and Prudence had done an excellent job piquing the interest of the ladies in the area, for cooks and servants began lining up outside the front door two hours before the shop was due to open.

When Miss Foster and Miss Simms, her shop assistants, pulled back the curtains a few minutes before seven, the queue was halfway down the block. Maria smiled, peeking between the draperies of the drawing room window at the queue of people that extended nearly the length of the block. She let the curtain fall, feeling a wave of nervous excitement so intense she could hardly breathe.

She continued upstairs to the bedroom and changed into a clean shirtwaist and skirt, donned a fresh apron, patted her hair, and went down to the shop. For the past half hour, her maids had been bringing up baskets of bread and trays of pastries from the kitchens, and her shop assistants had been arranging them in the display cases on fluffy piles of cream-colored illusion. Maria surveyed the array of cakes, buns, and tarts. Though she made a few changes to the displays— tucking in a fresh camellia here, sprinkling a few rose petals there—she was well pleased with what she saw. Everything was just as she had envisioned one month ago.

She took a final look around to ensure that everything was in readiness, then she unlocked the till of the polished brass cash register and nodded to her shop assistants. Miss Foster and Miss Simms drew back the curtains one by one while Maria watched the faces of people outside as they clamored for a look at her wares. When she saw heads begin nodding with approval, her nervousness eased away into satisfaction and relief. From that moment on, pandemonium ensued.

For the next two hours, she and her assistants endured grumbles and complaints as they took orders for the morrow, apologizing profusely for the lack of goods available and promising solemnly to plan better in future. By the time the clock struck six, teatime had come and gone, and traffic through the shop had dwindled almost to nothing. All three women were grateful, for they were exhausted. She felt a friendly warmth at the sight of him, and she smiled in return. Oh, the horror! May I have them for tomorrow, then?

You and Miss Foster must be dead on your feet. You may go home. He sends his cook. But now, his words made her uncomfortable. This is a respectable neighborhood. Though she hated giving Phillip credit for anything, he might have been right about guarding her reputation. That would give Phillip the excuse he needed to exercise the morals clause in her lease and have her evicted. But I am in rather deep waters. A profession of some sort. But they no longer interest me as they once did. You know how he loves being in charge of everything. She knew.

Clever of Phillip, she had to admit, to give Lawrence something so well suited to his temperament. He had the charm to persuade people to open their purses. My first task is to make the arrangements for our May Day Ball, which benefits London orphanages. The earl is in Italy at present, so Phillip is borrowing his home for the event. And your brother is friends with him? His more disreputable friends allow him to flirt with the wild side of life without actually doing anything immoral.

I came to talk with you about the ball. I need your help. I need a menu for the supper. The Hawthornes did an enormous amount of philanthropic work, and had always been a very powerful, influential family. Invitations to their charity events were among the most sought after of the season. Even the Prince of Wales had been known to attend their parties on occasion, and if ever there was a man who appreciated good food, it was the Prince of Wales.

Oh, to make a dessert that might be eaten by the Prince of Wales!

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Excitement began rising up inside Maria like champagne bubbles. Phillip will never allow it. Not for a while anyway. Or have you forgotten that little jaunt to Scotland you and I planned twelve years ago? He made me renew my promise to stay away from you. Did you know that? Of all the idiotic notions! And this is the perfect opportunity to prove that to him.

Phillip could just revoke it. I will have given you my word, and Phillip would never force me to go back on it. Still, how could she refuse the opportunity Lawrence was giving her? Just thinking of it brought her excitement rushing back with such intensity that she felt dizzy. She took a deep breath, trying to quell her excitement enough to think.

Meticulous planning would be required to handle the work. But those chefs would be necessary, not only to do the work provided by Lawrence, but to assist with the flood of business that would surely follow from other clients. He grinned, looking relieved. Not like last time. It felt strangely awkward to see him look at her that way now, awkward and a bit disconcerting.

Maria felt a sudden impulse to change her mind. What events you have planned, the dates they are to take place, that sort of thing. That will take about a fortnight. Where should we meet? Do you have an office? The shop is closed on Mondays. I only ask because Phillip reminded me—and quite rightly—that we need to consider your reputation.

Your offices will do nicely. My secretary will have the details of the other events ready for you at that time as well. All right? Anyone who counted in London society would taste her pastries. They could praise her…or they could condemn her. Maria pressed a hand to her stomach, feeling suddenly sick.

What had she done? She was out of her mind. And how would Phillip react when he learned what his brother had done? No matter what explanations Lawrence gave, Phillip would put the worst possible connotations on it. Maria took a deep breath and shoved aside any consideration of what Phillip might think.

He ought to toss her out on her ear. Even though it was obvious his brother had sought her out, not the other way around, it still exasperated him. What magical quality did she possess that, even after twelve years, Lawrence still found her irresistible? He pondered that question as he watched his brother halt on the corner. Lawrence must have been quite preoccupied, for as he glanced up and down Half Moon Street for a break in the traffic, he did not even notice Phillip standing by their front door. Instead, he crossed the street in the direction of Piccadilly Circus.

It was growing dark, and by the light of the lamps within, he could see her as she walked from window to window, drawing the curtains. She rose on her toes, arms stretched overhead, and he remembered her in a similar pose only a few nights ago. Instantly, he felt that desire for her stirring once again inside him, a desire that had only been extinguished the other night after a cold bath and many long, sleepless hours, a desire that once again threatened to flare to life because of a mere glimpse of her through a window.

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Without thinking, he started toward the front door of her shop, then stopped, realizing—much to his chagrin—that he had the answer to his question. Maria Martingale was like true north—she possessed a magnetic pull that was almost impossible for a man to resist. Even he was not immune. Phillip prided himself on his self-control, but even he felt an almost unbearable temptation to go to her.

No wonder Lawrence, so amiable and easily led, could not stay away. Though he did not know why she was still unmarried at twenty-nine, he suspected she had received a number of offers. Phillip muttered a curse under his breath, turned on his heel, and retraced his steps toward his own house.

Yes, he ought to toss her out now, before history repeated itself and Lawrence made an irrevocable mistake, a mistake that under these circumstances would be impossible to prevent. Unless… Struck by a sudden notion, Phillip stopped again, and it occurred to him that he must look the veriest fool, dithering on the sidewalk this way. He resumed walking to his own house as he considered the ramifications of his idea. It was certainly feasible, he thought as he gave an absent-minded nod to the footman who opened the front door for him.

And, most important, it would work to separate his brother from Maria—at least temporarily. He handed over his hat, gloves, and walking stick to his butler, then went up to his study, preparing to put his idea into motion. Other pressing business matters have arisen which compel me to remain here. I want you to escort Colonel Dutton on a tour of our shipyards in my stead. And you were quite right to ask for more responsibility, as I acknowledged the other day.

What about the May Day Ball? After all, Rose Park will be yours one day. Chapter 7 Out of the frying pan, and into the fire. Especially when that bakery had just agreed to take on some of the most prestigious events of the London season. She interviewed dozens of apprentice pastry chefs, finally hiring two. During the hours the shop was open, while Miss Simms and Miss Foster waited on customers upstairs, Maria taught her apprentices, Miss Dexter and Miss Hayes, her methods for making the lightest scones, the tenderest puff pastry, and the flakiest strudel.

The contract Lawrence had promised was delivered to her shop by his secretary, but that document did little to banish her apprehension over catering her first significant social event. She focused all her energies on preparation, knowing that was the best way to ensure her success. She never fell into bed before midnight, but she always rose before dawn to do it all again.

All her efforts proved worthwhile. By the time she arrived at Hawthorne Shipping to meet with Lawrence, she was satisfied that she had a comprehensive selection of unique and elegant desserts from which he could choose. The central foyer of Hawthorne Shipping was a large room, plainly but elegantly furnished in the modern style. There were several leather Morris chairs, a floor of polished wood with a plain but luxurious rug. There was also a large mahogany desk, its many cubbyholes filled with letters, packages, and documents. Behind the desk, a stairway led to the upper floors, and to her right was an open doorway, through which she could see mustachioed clerks, with green baize eyeshades on their foreheads and armbands on their shirt sleeves, pouring over stacks of ledgers.

The door to her left was closed, but on the other side of it she could hear the distinct tap of typewriting machines. The clerk who sat behind the desk before her stood up as she approached, giving her an inquiring glance over the pair of gold-framed pince-nez perched on the tip of his nose. How may I assist you? Lawrence Hawthorne, please. He folded his hands together and smiled at her with a patient sort of superiority. Hawthorne has contracted me to prepare the dessert menu for their annual May Day Ball. He requested this meeting.

Hawthorne would be unable to attend such a meeting. He is in Plymouth at present on a matter of business. Hawthorne, madam, I cannot answer that question. Hawthorne accompanied his brother to Plymouth. She lifted her head. Hawthorne expected to return? However, I believe his schedule dictates a return to London in mid-May. The clerk blinked at her above the pince-nez on his nose, uninterested in her difficulties. Hands folded atop his blotter, that superior little smile still on his lips, he said nothing. He simply waited as if expecting her to scurry away. Maria had no intention of doing so.

Witherspoon accompanied Mr. In for a penny, in for a pound, she thought, and took a deep breath, hoping she was not about to make a huge mistake. She doubted it, too. But she had no intention of allowing all her hard work go to waste. She will determine what is to be done. Her grace will withdraw her contribution, of course, and she will feel compelled to explain her reasons for doing so to the marquess.

Jones stopped her. Thank you. Jones handed her over to an elegant-looking silver-haired gentleman, murmured something to him in a low voice, and departed with obvious relief. Fortescue eyed her with disfavor, his manner only slightly less condescending than that of Mr. Cyres with a message for his lordship regarding the May Day Ball? Wait here, Miss Martingale. I will determine if his lordship is available to see you.

He closed the door behind him, leaving Maria to wait. She picked up one of the newspapers lying on a nearby table, but she had barely sat down in one of the leather chairs opposite Mr. Fortescue reappeared. There was a brass radiator instead of a fireplace, and the lamps were electric, with shades of green-and-amber stained glass.

Phillip rose from his chair behind a large, uncluttered mahogany desk as she came in. He was immaculately dressed, as always, and in his dark blue suit, aubergine waistcoat, and silver-gray necktie, he looked very much the wealthy, successful man of business, while still managing to exude that ineffable quality of hauteur that proclaimed him one of the highest-ranking peers of the realm.

Please sit down. Cyres, who wishes to make a contribution to the May Day Ball. But I confess, I am somewhat confused as to the reason she would send you on such an errand. That is a somewhat cryptic reply, Miss Martingale.

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  5. You have succeeded in arousing my curiosity. She plunged into speech. I know she will. She sighed and gave up any attempt to be tactful. I came here to see Lawrence. Thought I was out of town, did you? Starting with the May Day Ball. The menu, price estimates, that sort of thing. But when I arrived, I learned that you had sent him to Plymouth, and that he had taken his secretary with him. So I asked to see you instead. So I am forced to discuss the matter with you.

    In hindsight, I realize I should have anticipated something like this. Nor am I surprised that my brother left town without informing you of his departure, since he is quite careless about considerations of that kind. What does surprise me is that you think for one moment I would agree to retain you as my pastry chef. And it would be deuced difficult to find someone of my skills to do the May Day Ball at this late date. She set her dispatch case on his desk and unfastened its buckles, then pulled out the document in question.

    Specific events, number of guests, quantities of goods supplied, detailed menus, prices, and fees to be determined as required, etcetera, etcetera. Right there at the bottom. Lawrence Hawthorne, your dear brother, the man you put in charge of all your charity events. What would you have had me do? This is the sort of opportunity no professional pastry chef would ever refuse. How many times do I have to say it?

    He came to me. I did nothing to encourage him. He muttered something under his breath. As loathe as I am to admit it, the fact that Lawrence has always had the foolish inclination to follow you around like a panting puppy is not your fault. Instead, he folded his arms and tilted his head to one side, studying her.

    Cyres truly a friend of yours? I do have friends, you know. You were once one of them. But she made no mention of a contribution to my orphanage fund. Does she really intend to make one? Provided you keep to your word. Leaning back in his chair, he subjected her to a hard stare. A false axiom, but many believe it. That is why I decided to strike out on my own. To prove myself. Why these questions about my bona fides?


    I tried to buy you off with money, but you refused it. I offered to move you to other quarters, but again you refused. If I wish to be rid of you, this seems the only course I have left. I should thank Lawrence for providing it. My character is still deficient in that regard, Miss Martingale. I am quite serious. Instead, she sighed, feigning disappointment. When I came home from France, I noticed how inheriting the title had changed you.

    It was not a change for the better.

    Lawrence still treated me as a friend and as an equal, but you did not. With my title and my position to consider, we could no longer be friends. Yet you still felt it necessary to take him away from me as well. People are not made happy by it in the long run. You were infatuated! It was several moments before she could speak. Me or his inheritance.

    He could never have borne that. How could you have been so cruel to us? I used my influence to save my brother from making a disastrous marriage. A poor marriage choice is irreversible. Did you think how much it hurt me to lose your friendship? Or did you just not care? Good day, Miss Martingale. She picked up her dispatch case, rose from her chair, and started toward the door. His voice followed her. Friendship is not possible between a marquess and the daughter of the family chef. That is the world we live in. An elopement always engenders talk, but between people of such disparate classes as my brother and yourself, it would have been far worse than a few titters behind your backs.

    Many families would have refused to receive either of you. He cares a great deal. I love my brother, but I also recognize his flaws. Lawrence has never been good at facing up to unpleasant realities. The social snubs, the dwindling invitations, the gossip, would have eaten away at him, bit by bit, destroying him and you and any love that might have been between you. Outside the building, she walked along the Embankment, breathing deeply of the dank air coming off the river, trying to banish the anger she felt. It was a blustery spring day with a chilly wind.

    A cab slowed invitingly, and Maria hesitated with a glance at the sky. It looked like rain, but even though she had forgotten her umbrella, she did not lift her arm to wave the hansom down. She felt like walking. He was always so complacent, she thought in frustration, as she strode along the Embankment. So sure of himself. Who was he to decide what was best for everyone else? Why did he always have to assume he was right about everything? Maria paused and turned toward the river.

    Phillip, not Lawrence, had been the one to insist she be allowed in their tree house, and that it was all right for a girl to learn how to fish and play football. Maria made a sound of self-reproach. Galling to look back as a woman and see how silly she had been as a girl. But Lawrence had been home for the summer, and it was to him she had turned instead. Galling as it was to admit, Phillip had been right again. Maria sighed and turned around, staring up at the carved stone lions of Somerset House. It began to rain, but she scarcely noticed, for she was still caught in the past.

    So young and desolate and alone. She took a deep breath and forced herself to look on the bright side. The rain stopped, and the sun came out. With it, her melancholy mood vanished. She straightened away from the balustrade, shaking off the past as she went down to the Temple underground railway stop to begin the journey home. She was halfway to Mayfair before she realized that she and Phillip had never discussed the details of the May Day Ball. Chapter 8 God sends meat, and the devil sends cooks. Both of them had been wont to tag after her like panting puppies.

    The fact that he still had that foolish inclination was a galling thing to acknowledge. She stopped walking and as she turned to stare out over the river, he tried to recall just when this stupid need to be near her had begun, but he could not pinpoint an exact moment. In those days, of course, it had all been so simple and innocent—just the desire to be with a girl who had a pretty smile and was jolly good fun, who played a decent game of chess and could make him laugh.

    The summer he was seventeen, it had become something far less innocent. A gentleman did not shag the daughters of the servants. You were different after your father died. She was wrong, of course. It was the fact that being friends with her had ceased to be enough, and anything more had never been possible. Desperately trying to stay away from her himself, Phillip had kept busy with estate matters and tried to deny that anything more than a mild flirtation was going on.

    By the Embankment below, she stirred, bringing his attention back to the present, and he watched as she turned away from the river. She leaned against the balustrade behind her, and when she tilted her head back, he tensed, thinking for a moment she could see him observing her through the window.

    But no, he realized, she was looking at Somerset House, and he relaxed again, his mind returning to the events of the past. Odd, he thought, closing his eyes, how everything that day at Kayne Hall was a blur except those few brief moments alone with her in his study. He could barely remember confronting Lawrence, but he could recall every detail of being with her. With a violent effort, he shoved the past out of his mind and opened his eyes to find she was still standing by the Embankment.

    He reached out as if to touch her face, and his fingertips hit the window glass.

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    Damn it all, why was she standing down there in the rain with no coat and no umbrella? He wanted to go down there and pull her back inside where it was warm and dry, but he could not do it. He would not. Where she went, what she did, were not his concerns. His palm flattened against the glass, and he closed his eyes again, imagining that it was her warm, silken skin he touched rather than the hard, cool pane of the window, giving in for a few brief moments to what had never been anything but fantasy.

    This time when he opened his eyes, she was gone. He turned away from the window, reminding himself that fantasy was all it could ever be. Fortescue had also provided the date and time of each event, but he had forgotten to mention when Phillip wished to meet with her to discuss further details. She sent one of her maids next door with a note for him requesting an appointment as soon as possible to approve her dessert selections for the May Day Ball and to discuss the quantities required.

    The next morning, she received a reply from his secretary, informing her that in regard to the selection, she had his permission to serve anything she liked. His lordship, she was told, implicitly trusted her judgment on such matters, and a personal appointment would not be necessary. They load him into a county pickup truck and race him to the front of the neighborhood. Then it barrels closer to the house, toward the front porch, and to Farrah. She turns to one. Then she prays again — for herself, for Farrah, for anyone else wounded.

    Paramedics lift Sarah into the ambulance beside her. The deputies know each other from the office, but mostly in passing. Then the pain sets in, a massive and overwhelming agony. She retrieves her cellphone, now filled with texts and calls. The MRAP barrels down Ashton Drive again toward the house, this time within feet of the front porch and the area where the Hopkins' children are hiding. Now for the shooter. At the same time, law enforcement leaders from around the state have been calling to offer help. They will send whatever he needs. This incident is going to be over in 10 minutes. But when Seth emerges, he thinks: You piece of dirt.

    Fred Hopkins emerges from the house. With tensions so high, seven officers wounded, at least one dead, what if one of his deputies shoots the unarmed suspect? Just days before, Terrence Carraway had decided he finally felt ready to retire. His wife, Allison, had been nagging him for a year to leave. When Terrence had stopped at home just a few hours before the shooting, Allison promised to fill it out for him. In the other room, Rashad Carraway has just read chatter on Facebook about several police officers shot in Florence. The Carraways head to a local hospital. They figure Terrence, a brawny man, suffered a minor injury, maybe a graze wound to an arm or leg.

    An officer greets Allison at the hospital. When she turns the corner to the ER, fear sets in. The round careened at an angle, burst a lung and ravaged his spine. She jerks away. Emotions boil over. This is the man Allison has loved since age 16, when, as two teens from opposite sides of town, they would fall asleep on the phone together.

    This is the policeman who recognized the inherent dangers of his job and shaped his life around protecting his wife and son. The nation awakens Oct. One officer killed and six wounded, the headlines read. Ambushes have claimed the lives of officers in recent years in cities such as Dallas and Baton Rouge, La. No one figured it would happen here.

    Officers throughout the state place black bands across their badges in mourning. They feel the gut punch of one of their own killed in the line of duty. Through the haze of pain medication, she sees her gaping wound for the first time. Pins hold her lower leg in place. Hours earlier, doctors warned her parents before emergency surgery that they probably would need to amputate her lower leg. But her mom begged them to do everything they could. Her parents prayed. Surgeons saved the limb. As details about the ambush unravel publicly, Arie avoids the news. Farrah is hospitalized 3 miles across town.

    Supporters rally, starting the hashtag FightFarrahFight. They speak of a giant man with a generous heart — a peacemaker. They recall how he knew people in town by name, started a summer camp for disadvantaged children and mentored countless young men. In the parking lot, mourners leave a tribute: a Florence police cruiser adorned with bouquets, balloons and a teddy bear.

    Next to it, a photo of Terrence in uniform rests on an easel. The next day, the man implicated in the ambush hobbles into a small courtroom in Effingham. Deputies hold his arms to steady him. After the ambush, paramedics took him to a hospital for a head injury. Now in court for a bond hearing, both eyes sink into flesh bruised black and purple. He hangs his head, eyes closed, facing a murder charge and six counts of attempted murder. Several hulking deputies stand along a wall, arms tightly folded, hard stares fixed on the accused killer.

    Fred slumps in his chair. He blames their colleagues for the shooting and later will compare law enforcement officers who fired on his house to the Gestapo and the Soviet secret police, both known for vicious treatment of their citizens. He's outraged that the police fired hundreds of rounds at his house with his children inside. Meanwhile, Seth also faces a judge that day on a charge related to the alleged sexual assault. Soon, he will face an additional count, this time involving a child under 11 years old. They talk and hug and even laugh together.

    The women grow close. She believes God put her at the shooting for a reason, although she wonders what it is. She improves physically. Every day she walks a little farther with a walker. First, she aims to reach a window in the hallway. Then she adds on more and more steps. The effort is painful. One leg is seriously wounded from the gunshot, and doctors grafted skin from the other thigh to repair it. She feels like she can barely move either. She and Sarah meet up in a hallway and hug.

    Sarah is being discharged, too. The women emerge in the main lobby, a three-story atrium. Arie is in a chair stretcher, Sarah in a wheelchair. Cheers erupt at the sight of them. All around, people line balconies and staircases. There are relatives, police, nurses, doctors, community members.

    This fanfare is all for them. The two clasp hands, just as they did in the ambulance 16 days earlier. Given her weakening condition, each surgery forces an agonizing negotiation of risk and hope. When he returns, he has a look on his face. Like Arie, Farrah was petite. But she was athletic and smart and showed Arie that she, too, could succeed in law enforcement. Sheriff Boone describes how Farrah was more than an investigator to many.

    Terrence has already been laid to rest inside its mausoleum. Black and blue flowers perch beside his vault. A cemetery director releases a lone white dove. Instead of flying away, it soars around the grounds once, then returns to land atop her casket, a sentry. She hates the man she has accused of sexually assaulting her and her little sister. And she is left to grapple with the trauma of the shooting compounded by suffocating layers of guilt.

    Farrah had gone to the house to help her that day. My pain Runs Deeper then the ocean. I cried when they told me they amputated your feet but now Your walking In Heaven my hero!!! Their house eventually sells, but the owner takes a hit financially.

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    Others keep blue lights glowing outside their homes to show support for police. Those who stay have a hard time putting the tragedy out of their minds. Additional charges are forthcoming in both the shooting and the sexual assault case, authorities say. Sheriff Boone wants the solicitor to seek the death penalty for Fred.