Town of Chance:Believing in Love(3)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer



“Not their full attention in that way. They just like to be in control and feel like they’re protecting me like a sister.”

“Honey, I don’t think they’re thinking thoughts associated with a sister. I saw them at the hospital with you. They took turns watching over you and Parker was caressing your hair and whispering to you as you lay there recovering. Don’t you remember any of it?”

“I remember waking up several times and they were keeping their distance. They were all business, like they were bodyguards or something. By the time I was ready to be discharged, and Max asked me if I accepted their guardianship over me, I realized they didn’t really have feelings for me in a romantic way but felt more obligated to watch over me. Especially with my cousins claiming guardianship of Shelby and spending all their time loving her.”

Missy Ann smiled. “Shelby looks so happy now. I wouldn’t write off the Hayes brothers. Maybe they’re feeling just as unsure about you that you feel about them?”

“Well, the last thing I need to do is choose the wrong men to trust. I’m just not ready to date anyone or to get romantically involved. I don’t know when I’ll feel safe enough.”

“Well then, do like I suggested and try to accomplish some of the goals and dreams you’ve had. Now is a better time than any.”

She thought about that a moment and then smiled. “Why the hell not.”

“Oh, you may want to keep your adventures under the radar, especially with Parker texting you all the time.”

Eliza Grace looked at the phone and texted back.

All good. No need to text me any more. Thanks.

She hit send and as soon as she did she felt guilty as well as sad. It was strange, but she was used to Parker texting her, checking up on her and as much as it annoyed her, and made her realize that him and his brothers weren’t attracted to her, the more she became accustomed to receiving those text messages, and liking them. She was such a loser. She hadn’t a clue about men, and certainly not about men like Tazer, Lynch, Burker, and Parker. They were Special Ops. They had more strength, confidence and capability than she could ever imagine even having an ounce of. They probably saw her as weak, petite, fragile, and vulnerable. She didn’t want to feel that way or appear that way. Just because she had a petite body didn’t mean she was weak. She was well endowed, worked out all the time to stay in tip top shape and she did fight off those guys in college until help arrived, just like she fought off the men who abducted Shelby until she was knocked in the head. The drive and determination to not be weak was there when she needed it. That self-confidence to go after what she wanted no matter how intimidating things were, kept her driving toward success. But she had her limitations still. Perhaps Missy Ann had a great idea. Maybe if she achieved some of her goals and overcame challenges, then she could be in a better place and be ready to actually date and have a boyfriend.

She started to think about a bunch of different things, and the first thing that came to mind was singing at Luther’s. She had auditioned for a small café in Cambridge before she got hurt. It was a minor job but it was something she wanted to try and do and just to get into the open mic night had been hard. Maybe she needed to reach a bit higher with that goal and really challenge herself. Getting an audition at Luther’s would be the first step. Getting a chance to sing with the band in front of a crowd of two hundred would surely build her self-confidence, or destroy it. She felt the instant fear and anxiety about taking the chance. She looked at Missy Ann. Her first thought was to tell her about her idea but then she decided if she wanted to succeed she really needed to do this on her own. Her belly quivered and her heart began to race.

She looked at the phone, surprised that she thought about Parker and wondered what he would think. It was crazy. She was allowing him control that he didn’t need to have. She was trying to make his care into something it wasn’t. If him and his brothers liked her and wanted to make her their woman, wouldn’t they have tried to kiss her by now? Maybe touched her possessively and told her they wanted her?

It just confirmed the reality of their care. They were helping out her cousins and watching over Eliza out of responsibility and nothing more. As guardians they were to be aware of everything she did and where she went and who she was with so she would never be in potential danger. They hadn’t even asked her what she was up to. Boy, were they going to be surprised when they saw the calendar.

She exhaled and then thought about singing. What would they do if she actually sang at Luther’s in Charlesburgh? It was a rowdy place, had a reputation as the hottest bar in South Carolina because of all the things that went down there and all the big shots that hung out there. Just thinking about that made her feel scared and intimidated. It was definitely the place to make her get over her shyness and fears and start living her life. Maybe then the Hayes brothers wouldn’t see her as a little sister, but as a woman capable of accepting challenges and overcoming fears on her own without their guardianship.

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