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Public Reviews
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Title: Chronicles of Rowan Ashfield (CoRA)

Chapter: 1

Author: Elle

Streets of NYC

Unknown female-- (Rowan), vampire hunter but a vampire too, has a gun

James- vampire, fake ID, tall


Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:

Just a few notes here on the things I noticed. Since this is your first chapter, this is our introduction to your kind of vampires. You talk about Rowan (unknown in this chapter) as noticing the temperature of the night. Maybe so more details of the coldness or heat bothering/not bothering her? Does she react to the temperature like humans? Also, back to your main character's name not being mentioned, I think it should be. Maybe when she asks for the vampire's ID, he can ask for her name. Maybe he wants to report her to her supervisor, so she gives him her name but knows he is giving empty threats. I noticed that your writing style uses a lot of “as” and “while,” as in a character is doing this while doing that. I think your sentences would have a better flow if the sentences were shorter and the words “as” and “while” were kept to a minimum.

You changed the ending of this chapter too! I remember reading it before this and the ending was very, very different! I miss that ending. This one seems too... lackluster. But that's my opinion, of course.

Overall, I really like what you did to this chapter and to the story in general. I've been with it since the beginning, and there have been some major improvements. We get a clear picture of the world you are setting up for this story in this chapter.

Line Edits:

Chapter 1

I walked down the packed street, wishing I could listen to my music rather than the shouts of drunken girls and their equally drunk friends. I sped up, hoping to leave the annoying sounds behind, but the butt of my gun jabbed me painfully with each step so I slowed down again. I really needed to get a new holster. [ “Perhaps for my birthday...” ]--(Quotation marks or italics. I usually use italics for thoughts, that way there isn't a confusing between heard dialog and thoughts.) I thought to myself, pulling my hoodie closer to my body. It wasn't too cold of a night[ , ]--( . ) I was actually a bit sweaty under the hoodie. [ Had I not been on duty I would have felt better leaving it at home, but working meant being armed, and being armed meant a holster of some kind which resulted in me needing a jacket or something to conceal my weapon.]--(This sentence is a little chunky. Maybe split it up?) It wasn't a good idea for my weapon to be visible, in case any humans spotted it. Sure, I could use my influence to make them forget, but that took effort, and I didn't want to have to do that every time someone noticed my gun.

I reached the end of the block and waited for a chance to cross the street. The St. Marks area of Manhattan had less organized street blocks than, say midtown, so often one street would merge into another. I knew the area pretty well, and didn’t really bother to read the street signs unless I was looking for a particular area to be in. I felt for the butt of my gun again to ease my nerves. I always felt better with it in my hand, but barring that, some form of contact always made me feel safer when I was working. I looked both ways out of habit and crossed the dark street. Just ahead, I noticed a couple walking out of a small club. The man had his arm around the woman and was gently nuzzling her neck while she giggled loudly. I narrowed my eyes at the romantic scene and felt for my gun again as I stalked closer to them. They turned the corner and I quickened my pace to catch up to them. The street they’d turned onto was deserted[ , ] and I knew this would be the perfect street for the guy to pull whatever his end goal was. I didn’t bother to conceal my footsteps anymore, even going out of my way to clumsily kick a bottle across the ground. The guy didn’t turn around, but I could tell he’d heard me as he straightened up his stance and pulled the woman closer to him. I smirked at his discomfort and decided to make my move.

"Excuse me," I said, getting the attention of the couple. The man stiffened and turned around slowly to face me while the woman stared at me with innocent wide eyes. [ She was a petite woman with dyed pink hair and was actually shorter than me, which was sad considering I barely reached 5'4.]--(Another clunky sentence here. I would cut it off at “hair” and start a new sentence.) She wore a faded pink shirt with a [ moustache]--(mustache) on it and a light blue jean skirt. Ankle height boots completed her outfit[ , ] and I almost couldn’t restrain myself from rolling my eyes at her choice of clothing. I turned to the tall brunette man who had at least a foot on both the girl and I. For a moment, I considered how awkward kissing must be for them before I looked up into the piercing blue eyes. [ This is a very real thought. It also hints that Rowan may be lonely and thinking about kissing because of her lack of it. It is a good bit of information.] He pressed his thin lips together and crossed his arms with an irritated sigh.

"Can I help you?" the man said caustically. I gave him sharp look as I bit back the urge to give a snappy response. I had to be professional and courteous, even if he wasn't. I could be as rude as I wanted if he ended up being a threat but not a moment before that. Besides, there was a sense of pleasure that I was annoying him through my inconvenient interruption, and I couldn’t resist prodding that sore wound.

"Do you realize the time?" [ New paragraph here. You are pairing Rowan's dialog with the man's actions, so it makes it seem like the man is speaking here. ] The man looked down at me condescendingly, a sneer growing on his face.

“What, are they importing you people from England now? There aren’t enough fucking hunters in this country as it is?”

“Scotland actually,” I corrected before I repeated the question. He huffed, fuming as he rolled his eyes while I tried not to smirk, glad to be annoying him. I reminded myself that he was taller and more muscular than I was and that I shouldn’t overestimate my own abilities. Vampire hunter or not, I had my limits for who I could take in a fight, and I only overcame bigger enemies by out-thinking or avoiding direct contact with them.

"I am quite aware of the time. We just got out of the movies and it started late. I'm just dropping her off and then I'll go," the man snapped. I didn't like his attitude but there was no love lost between us[ , ] so I tried my best to ignore how much of a dick he was being.

“There's no exceptions. I'll need to see your card."

"Jesus, every time with this!" the man [ exclaimed]--(readers know he exclaimed this because of the exclamation mark.), throwing his hands up thoroughly irate. "We just got stopped twice already. Maybe if you people let us actually get home we'd be able to be there before the curfew!" This was a blatant lie; I’d just watched them leave the club together, but I stayed silent. The man was making it way too easy to fuck with him.

"Or, you know, maybe you should go to the movies earlier. That seems like a better idea instead of getting pissed at me[ ." ]--( ,” ) I replied calmly, trying not to grin as the man got angrier. I was enjoying this too much, but I didn't care. "Cards please." The man huffed again before pulling out his wallet and digging through it for the card. His girlfriend stood there mutely watching as he pulled out the card and practically threw it at me with a [ "here!"]--(“Here!”) I caught it easily and shot him a glare as a warning he needed to watch himself before reading the card. It had his picture, and the name James Doland next to it along with his age, which read "125."

"Does she know?" I said as I pulled out my phone to scan his card.

"Yes, of course." he [ snapped]--(This was used already... How about shot? Snorted?) as the phone loaded. I turned unaffected to the woman who now stared at me nervously.

"Do you know what he is?"

"He told me, but I'm not afraid of him. He’s a vegetarian type and whenever I let him feed off me he's always gentle. He's my soulmate." I looked up from my phone to see if she was joking. She seemed serious[ , ] and I could feel all the things I wanted to say bubbling up inside of me. [ Tell us some of her thoughts here. ] I hated having to be so polite in front of sheer stupidity and not comment on it. Instead[ , ] I stared at her before giving a fake smile and replying[ , ] "Of course."

"Can we go now? You heard it from the girl herself. Is that enough for you?!" I was about to answer when my phone beeped and flashed red. The ID had been fake. I pulled out my gun just as James grabbed the girl and bared her throat, his fangs revealed.

"I'll kill her."

"I thought you were soul-mates[ , ]" I said with false concern[ , as I put]--( . I put) my phone into my jeans and my left hand joined my right hand to hold the gun. [ James growled and pulled her closer to him and the girl whimpered. ]--(There are three 'ands' in this sentence.)


"Shut up!" we both shouted at her, eyeing each other after.

"Let her go. Or don't, I'll shoot you both either way."

"What?!" the girl shrieked gaping at me in horror. James smirked, not believing my threat.

"You can't shoot her[ , ]--( . If) you could have you would have done it already."

"Well[ , ] I would like to avoid shooting her. A stupid little girl like her isn't really worth all the paper work, but I don't really care. As long as I get you as well[ , ]" I said matter of fact, clicking the safety off. "So choose[ : ]--( . ) I shoot her and you die, or I don't and you die." [ New paragraph ]James growled at me and shoved her away from him to run away. She wailed like a lost child as she fell to the ground, grabbing onto his pant leg and making him stumble. I smirked at the scene as I shot James in the leg. [ More description here. Was there blood? A sound of the gun? What does such a loud sound sound like for a vampire? ]He howled in pain and went fully down. I stalked over to him and kicked him over onto his back pointing the gun at his heart before firing one round. [ He gasped as it hit him and then was consumed by flames. ]--(Again, you are telling here, not showing. More descriptions. This can be a very powerful part with some more details. It is our first look at your spin on vampires and how they can die.) The girl gaped at where her precious James had been before turning to me.

"How could you?!"

"He just used you as a hostage[ , ] you stupid bitch[ , why]--( . Why) are you still defending him?" I shouted back, clicking the safety back into place and putting my gun away. The girl rushed at me and tried to hit me in her rage. I easily dodged her pathetic attempts and was able to pin her arms behind her.

"I should have just shot you. At this rate, I might still kill you. Getting a bit hungry you know."

"But you can’t do that. You just saved me. You're the good guy[ , ]" she whimpered. I chuckled softly and bared my fangs as I turned her around to face me. Her lips trembled and she cried softly and her makeup was already starting to run.

"No, I’m not allowed to kill you, as much I’d be doing natural selection a favor[ . ]” I took her chin in my hand and made her look into my eyes, waiting a couple of seconds for my influence to effect her. When her eyes became blank I knew it had worked.

“Can you hear me? Nod if you can.” The girl nodded her head slowly[ , ] and I smiled slightly before continuing.

“You just broke up with your boyfriend. You were walking home and someone tried to rob you. That’s why you were crying. I helped you get it back. You’re welcome. Now go home.”

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
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for entry "Chapter 8
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 8

Author: Sara

Police station


Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:
This chapter is looongggg! Lol There are a lot of setting changes. I think you may want to split this one chapter into two. You definitely have enough content to fit into two chapters. Besides that, it was a good chapter! I like the next step into Jordan and Jennifer's relationship. I like Jordan's little plan. It is clever, and I think it is the only thing that would get Jennifer to go on a date with him.

Line Edits:

Bongo drums beat a tempo inside Jennifer's head as she forced herself out of bed. [ I really like this first line. ] It seemed like she'd had less sleep on the ranch, where she was supposed to be relaxing, than she did in the city. She heard Chloe's high pitched voice before she made it to the kitchen. Tension took up residence between her shoulder blades. She forced a smile and pushed the door open. Chloe spotted her and charged, [ hitting ]her with enough force to rock her back. The door [ hit]her in the butt as her daughter's hands clamped around her waist.

“Guess what Mama. The vet said he thinks Junebug will make it.”

Jennifer raised an eyebrow. “Junebug?”

Chloe nodded fiercely. “My filly.”

Jennifer's head tilted to the side. “Your filly?”

Her daughter stepped away. “Momma, are you feeling okay? You're repeating everything I'm saying.”

Jennifer rubbed her temples. “I didn't get much sleep. And I'm a bit lost on what you're talking about.”

Chloe sighed. “The baby horse that was born this morning? Remember her?”

Jennifer nodded.

“Pa told me I can have her. I named her Junebug. The vet said he thinks she'll be okay, even though she's early. Isn't that great?”

“Yeah baby. That's wonderful.”

Chloe grabbed her hand and pulled her to the table. She pointed at a chair. “Sit.”

Jennifer opened her mouth to protest[ , ] but Chloe tapped her foot. She sighed in reluctance and took a seat across from Pa. The room began to spin. She crossed her arms on the table and laid her head on them. A few seconds later, she felt a tap on her right shoulder. She twisted her head and squinted out of one eye. Chloe held out a cup of coffee and two white pills. Jennifer smiled with gratitude and took both.

“Thanks sweetie.”

She shrugged. “No problem. I figured you'd have a hangover. I guess that means you wouldn't want breakfast either. I've heard greasy fried [eyes]--(eyes!? Lol Eggs?) aren't good on a morning after stomach.”

Just the thought of food caused Jennifer to feel like retching. She downed the pills with a large gulp of coffee and shook her head. She grimaced as streaks of pain shot down her neck.

“I wish I could blame this on a hangover, but I think it's a migraine.”

Chloe sat at the bar and swirled around. “You haven't had one of those in forever. Do you need to go to the doctor?”

“No, I'll be okay. But I don't think I'll be up to doing much today.”

Chloe bit into a piece of toast. “Then I have a great idea. How about I spend the night with Skylar tonight? You can stay in bed all day and sleep in tomorrow morning. Miss Roxy can bring me home when you feel better.”

“I can't impose on Roxanne. It wouldn't be fair.”

Skylar peeked over Chloe's shoulder. “I talked to my mom about it yesterday. She said it was fine.” [ When did Skylar get in the room? Was she hiding? I think Jennifer would notice her in the room and mention her. If she was hiding and pops out now, maybe add more detail. Maybe add Jennifer's reaction to the surprise too. ]

A day of rest did sound good[ , ] and Chloe deserved to have some fun. Glancing at her daughter's hopeful eyes, she couldn't say no.

“Okay. But I'll pick you up. No sense in Roxanne making two trips out here.”

Chloe and Skylar high-fived.

“I'm glad both you charming ladies are happy to see me.”

A jolt of pleasure ran through Jennifer at that sexy voice. She raised her eyes and met Jordan's. He winked as he passed by the bar.

“Help yourself to some coffee and breakfast[ , ] Chief.”

He shook his head as he filled a coffee cup and gazed longingly at the platter of food on the bar. “I wouldn't want to impose.”

Chloe shrugged. “Momma's not eating so there's extra.”

He looked over, his face twisted in concern. “You okay?”

“She has a migraine.”

Jordan's mouth twitched. “Or a hellacious hangover.”

Chloe giggled. “That's what I thought.”

“I can hear the two of you. It's not a hangover damn it.”

Chloe and Jordan shared a look and laughed harder. He grabbed a plate and piled it high with food before taking a seat next to Jennifer. The smell of the bacon wafted to her, causing her stomach to dance in protest.

“Sure you don't want some?”

Jennifer glared at him. “I'd rather eat nails.”

Chloe stood up and put her hands on her hip. “Hey, my cooking's not that bad.”

Jennifer bit her cheek and looked at her daughter. “I know baby. I just don't feel like eating anything right now. But if it would make you feel better, I'll try something small.”

Chloe waved a hand through the air. “Don't worry about it. The chief looks like he's enjoying it enough for the both of you.”

Jordan sopped up some egg yolk with a piece of toast and popped it into his mouth. He washed it down with a swig of coffee and nodded. “Dang right. You're an awesome cook[ , ] Chloe. I might have to start coming here instead of the diner. Just don't tell Kay that. She's liable to kick my butt.”

Chloe beamed. She walked over to the coffee pot and brought it to the table. She topped off Jennifer's half empty mug before rotating around, taking care of Jordan, Ma, Pa, and Scott.

“So Chief, what brings you by this early in the morning?”

He slid a glance at Jennifer and grinned at Pa. “Besides the pleasant company of your granddaughter and the good looks of those two ladies over there?” He nodded to the island. Both teenagers blushed. “I wanted to see how the filly was doing. And I need to talk to Jennifer about something.”

“My baby's doing great.”

Jordan laughed. “Why am I not surprised that another [ Matthews']--(no apostrophe) lady has taken a love of horses. What're you going to do with her[ , ] Chloe?”

She shrugged. “Ride her when she's big enough, I guess.”

“You gonna barrel race?”

Chloe frowned. “What's that?”

Jordan shook his head. “Jennifer, you should be ashamed of yourself for never letting Chloe experience a horse show.” He turned back towards her daughter. “The rodeo's coming through town next weekend. There'll be a barrel racing competition. How about I take you and your mom? I think you'll enjoy it.”

Chloe seemed to think it over for a few seconds. “Okay. But it's not a date.”

He nodded, solemn. “Yes ma'am.”

Jennifer could hear her bed calling her name. She wanted to give in to the temptation to pull the shades and hide under the covers. “Jordan, is it important?”

His eyebrows arched. “The rodeo? I'm sure a lot of folks would think so.”

“No, I meant what you wanted to talk to me about. I'm ready to go lay back down.”

He cleared his throat and looked around the room. His mouth twisted into a mischievous grin. “Well, I wasn't planning on doing this with an audience, but will you be my date for the party tomorrow night?”

Jennifer felt frustration build in her chest. She'd already told him she wouldn't go out with him. Why was he persisting?


Jordan seemed unfazed by her answer. “Give me a few minutes to make my proposition. If you don't like it, you can turn me down and there'll be no hard feelings.”

Jennifer rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Jordan, don't badger me. Nothing will make me chance my decision.”

Pa tapped the table. “Jennifer, at least hear the man out. Looks like he took the time to work up a good speech.”

Jennifer waggled her fingers through the air and stared into her coffee. Streaks of milk swirled through the black liquid. She cupped the warm cup in her chilled palms and took a sip.

“Maybe this isn't a good idea. Forget I asked.”

Pa's cup clanked against the table. “No sir. You came out here, intending to talk to her. Do it. She's just being cantankerous. She never was a good drinker.”

Jennifer scoffed. Like he would know. She'd never been drunk around them.

She felt Jordan's eyes on her and looked his way. He seemed indecisive. She winced.

“Sorry. I'm cranky. Say what's on your mind.”

His jaw flexed. “Okay. First, you should know it wouldn't be a real date.”

Jennifer wondered why the admission bothered her. She refused to acknowledge the disappointment. “Then what would it be?”

“A friend, helping a friend. Last night, one of my deputies confided that he has an interest in Roxanne, but she keeps turning him down. You know how stubborn she is. He asked me if I had any ideas on how to get her to go with him to the party tomorrow night. I got to thinking about it, and realized Craig's the kind of guy Roxy needs. She's been alone for so long. She needs to be around a guy that can prove they aren't all the same.”
Jennifer rolled her eyes. “If Roxanne doesn't want to go out with him, I won't try and intervene.”

Skylar walked over and put her hand on Jennifer's arm. She knelt down and looked up at Jennifer with pleading eyes. “Miss Jennifer, please do this. Mr. Jordan's right. My mom needs to date. She won't admit it[ , ] but I know she's tired of being alone. I hear her crying late at night sometimes. And I see the way she looks at happy couples.”

Jennifer thought about it. Is Roxanne ready to get back out there but too scared to try?

“What did you have in mind[ , ] Jordan?”

He smiled. “I can go to Roxanne and tell her I want to take you to the party[ , ] but you won't give me the time of day. I'll tell her I think you'd be more comfortable if it was a group dating sort of thing, so there's no pressure. She's a good friend, just like you are, so she'll agree that we should go together. I can mention that my friend needs a date, which would be good because she's not interested in him and knows there wouldn't be any awkwardness between them. She can pretend that it's a real date and she doesn't want to go by herself so she'll ask you to tag along too.”

Jennifer tried to keep up. “So, you're going to switch the scenario around, except you'll be the desperate fool instead of your friend?” [ This isn't a bad idea... lol Pretty clever! ]

His eyes narrowed for a brief second before he nodded. “Basically. You know she'll agree to it.”

“I don't know. It sounds a bit fishy.”

Skylar stood up. “Please[ , ] Miss Jennifer?”

Chloe came to stand beside her friend. “You should do it Mom. Roxanne's your best friend. This could be good for her.”

Jennifer frowned. Even Chloe's on Jordan's side? She groaned. “Fine. Be here at six tomorrow night. I'm going to bed. Nobody bother me unless it's an emergency.” Jennifer stood up and reached out to brush a wavy piece of hair from her daughter's forehead.

“Come say bye before you leave?”

Chloe nodded. Jennifer heard the voices get louder as she walked into the hallway. She whimpered as pain ripped through her brain tissue. She hustled to her room and fell across the bed, hoping she wouldn't regret her decision to help Roxanne.

[ There is a POV shift here. It has to be clearly marked somehow. A lot of publishers request *** to separate POV changes. ]Jordan felt like he was walking on air as he headed to his truck. Part one of his plan had worked. He’d even managed to convince Chloe it was for Roxanne's own good. Now, he just had to finish phase two: getting Roxy on board. He hadn't lied about Craig wanting to go out with her, or her constant refusals. He'd just left out the part that he was gaining something from the whole scenario: some legitimate alone time with Jennifer. He heard footsteps behind him and turned around. Chloe was stomping towards him, her face red. He stopped and waited for her to catch up. [ Ah ha! Sneaky!]

“Everything okay?”

She cocked a hip out and glared at him. Her finger poked his chest. “You better not be trying anything fishy mister.”

Jordan arranged his face into a mask of innocence. “What do you mean?”

She scoffed. “Come on. I can see right through that charade you pulled in there. If this is your way of getting my mom to fall for you, I'd suggest thinking it through. She's still married to my dad and he'll be here soon to bring us back home.”

Jordan scratched his jaw. “That's not what this is. If you had a problem with it, why didn't you say so in there?”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah right, and listen to the lecture? Besides, I didn't want Skylar to get upset.”

Jordan's mouth twisted into a frustrated smile. “Yeah, better not piss off a friend that you won't be seeing much longer, right?”

Chloe stamped her foot. “Whatever. Just remember what I said. No funny business.”
She whipped around and marched back to the house. Jordan watched the door close behind her before getting into his truck and heading back to town. Once he got to his office, he flipped through his messages. His chair slammed down as he dropped his feet to the floor and reached for the phone. He dialed the number Phyllis, the dispatcher, had wrote down and waited for someone to pick up.

“Atlanta Realty. How can I direct your call?”

“John Mooningham, please.”

“One moment. I'll see if he's available.”

Classical music replaced the snooty voice. He groaned. Give him Hank Williams any day over that instrumental crap. He continued flipping through his messages. His hand hovered over the second to last one. Your mother called...again. He'd avoided her for a week now. If he didn't call her back, she'd make his life miserable. He needed to check on his sister anyways. If he could get a word in. His mother's latest topic seemed to be his bachelor ways. She wanted him to settle down and give her more grandbabies. As if one wasn't enough.

His thoughts turned to Jennifer. What would his mom think if she found out he was trying to see her again? He laughed to himself. She'd probably start planning our wedding.

“This is John Mooningham.”

Jordan pushed thoughts of Jennifer from his mind and focused on business. “Hi, this is Chief Jordan Taylor. I've received a complaint about one of your realtors, a Phillip Argen. There seems to be a suspicion that his identity has been stolen. Is there any way you could tell me if he or your agency is interested in a place called Bar M Ranch.”[ I was just wondering when Jordan was going to look into this mystery man. I feel like his visit happened so long ago! I would think Jordan would look into this sooner. That's just my opinion, of course. He seems to be a very involved cop, especially when it has to do with Jennifer.]

Papers rustled on the other end. “I don't have a note of that. Where's it located?”

“In Collinsville, Georgia. It's about an eight hour drive from Atlanta.”

Jordan heard a grumble. “What sort of ranch is it?”

“A horse ranch. An offer of three million dollars has been made.”

Mooningham laughed. “Yeah right. You're dealing with a con artist. With the way the economy is right now, the price of rural properties is at a low. The owners' would be lucky to sell for half that. Did they place a listing with my company? Because I don't see anything in our system.”

Jordan jotted down some notes. “No sir. As a matter of fact, the ranch isn't up for sale. The visitor told Mr. Matthews, that's the owner, that he has a client interested in purchasing a horse ranch with a good reputation and found the Bar M Ranch through a search on the internet.”

Wood slammed and hinges squeaked. “That's preposterous. That is not the way we do business here. Now, you said you think the con artist is misrepresenting my company, and one of my realtors?”

“Yes sir. He even left a business card for Phillip Argen.”

“Hold on one moment please.” [ I was just thinking... Would Jordan record this phone call for evidence? ]

The music resumed. Jordan leaned back in his leather office chair, and considered the various possibilities. A few moments later, the music shut off and Mooningham came back on the line. “As I thought, Phillip has no knowledge of your area or the property. I'm afraid you are dealing with an identity theft. I'd like to file a report and press charges for misrepresentation, fraud, and identity theft.”

Jordan transferred Mooningham to one of his deputies. He spun his chair around so he could pull a Coke from the mini-fridge behind him. After popping the top and taking a swig, he pressed the intercom button.

“Phyllis, send in Craig and Albert.”

He rapped his knuckles on his desk while he waited for the deputies. Once they were seated, he filled them in on the conversation with the realtor.

“Did you finish making the rounds of the other ranches?”

Both men nodded. Craig sat forward, his elbows on his knees. “No one else has been approached.”

Jordan cursed.

“What do you think it means boss?”

He looked at Albert and shook his head. “I'm not sure. We need to find this guy. I'm going to have Jennifer and her daughter come by. Albert, I'll need you to do a sketch of the man. Craig, I want you to stop by the bank, the hotel and Bed and Breakfast, as well as the real estate agency, to see if anyone recognizes him.”

“You got it boss.”

After both men left, Jordan picked up the phone. He started to dial his mother's number but chose Jennifer's instead. When he heard her groggy hello, he balled his fist up and punched his leg. In his eagerness to hear her voice, he'd forgotten that she wasn't feeling good.

“Hey Jennifer, it's Jordan.”

She groaned. His throat tightened. He didn't want her to be disappointed at hearing from him. Maybe he was pushing her too fast. He had to say something though to cover his ass.

“I just wanted to let you know that I talked to the agency in Atlanta, and the agent confirmed we're dealing with a fake.”

He heard fabric rustle. An image of Jennifer laying in bed, her hair fanned across her pillow, her arms stretched out to pull him down next to her flashed through his mind. He forced the thought away as he shifted in his seat. He had it bad when just the thought of her had him hard.

“That's great. Now what?”

“Tomorrow, I'd like you and Chloe to come in and give a description of what the guy looked at. My deputy's going to make a sketch and we'll pass it around town to see if anyone recognizes him. Then we'll run it through the criminal database. My guess is a man like this has a criminal past.”

“Doesn't that take a while?”

“Probably a week[ , ] but it's better than sitting on our hands, waiting for him to come around.”

“Yeah I guess.”

“Did you see what he was driving?”

Jennifer was silent so long Jordan wondered if she'd hung up. Maybe she'd fallen asleep. He thought of having her nestled against him, her head in the crease of his shoulder. He shook his head and cursed his stupidity.

“No, I didn't pay attention. Maybe Chloe did.”

“Okay, we'll find out tomorrow. You go back to sleep. I'm sorry I woke you up.”

“It's 'kay. I'm glad you told me what you found out.”

He loved the sound of her husky voice. She was starting to slur her words.

“We still on for tomorrow night?”

Idiot. Don't pressure her.

“Sure. It'll be nice. I haven't been with a man in years.”

Jordan froze. He wondered if she'd meant that the way it sounded, or if her fuzzy brain had her forming words the wrong way. The discomfort in his jeans grew worse. His heart picked up speed.

“I hope you'll enjoy it. Sleep well Jennifer.”

“Thanks. You too Jordan.”

The phone clicked off. Jordan sat there feeling like an idiot. He'd been getting excited, thinking she was being seductive. What a chump. The light lit up for his personal line. He pressed the button and uttered a greeting.

“You should be ashamed of yourself[ , ] Jordan Taylor.”

He sighed. “Hi Mom.”

“I need you to come to dinner this Sunday.”

Jordan racked his brain for an excuse. He knew the dinner would be another excuse for match-making. He waved his hand around, stopping when he realized it was still stained from the fire.

“Sorry Mom, but I have a huge case to solve.”

“Don't [ give? ] me that mess. Your father always managed to put his family first.”

He's also retired now.

“I know Mom, but I really need to figure out who started the fire at the Matthews' place.”

He heard his mom's breath suck in. “Was anyone hurt? Oh I hope there wasn't too much damage.”

This was one of those times he wished he could lie to his mother. “No ma'am. It was just the barn, but it could easily have been the house. Two men almost lost their lives.” A bit of an embellishment, but close enough.

She groaned. “Jordan, if you'd just settle down and get married, I wouldn't have to keep arranging these disastrous dates for you.”

“I know you're ready for more grandbabies, but I want to choose my own bride. I promise it will happen.”

“Yeah, when I'm too old to enjoy them.”

Jordan laughed. As much as she tried to butt into his life, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Her transformation from the meek, depressed woman she used to be was nothing short of amazing. His thoughts turned to Jennifer, again. He needed to get to the diner.

“Mom, I love you but I have to run.”

“Fine. But promise you'll come out soon?”

“Soon as I get a chance.”

He hung up the phone and stood up. He grabbed his hat off the coat tree near his door and settled it on his head.

“Phyllis, I'll be out patrolling. You can reach me on the radio.”

“Be safe Chief.”

He nodded to the aged woman wearing a headset over her stiff helmet head and stepped into the bright sunshine. He looked left, then right. People were all around, getting ready for the weekend. Most of the stores would be closed until Monday. He crossed the street and went left. Five buildings down, he pulled open the glass door to the diner and stepped in. Fried onions and fresh coffee tickled his nose. He spotted his target at the cash register. He strode forward, nodding a greeting or shaking a hand on his way.

“Roxanne, got a minute?”

She looked up, her eyes bloodshot. He held back a laugh. Maybe Jennifer wasn't the only one with a hangover.

“You look...awake.”

She glared at him. “Don't think I won't pop you just cause you're the chief.”

He held up his hands in surrender. “Sorry.”

“I can spare a little time for ya. I need a break anyways. Seems like everyone decided to bring a megaphone this morning to talk.”

Jordan arched an eyebrow. The noise level didn't sound any louder than normal but he chose not to point that out. He led the way to a booth in the back, along the wall and waited for her to sit down.

“You going to the party tomorrow night?”

Roxanne shrugged. “Thought about it. But changed my mind.”

“Can't find a date huh?”

Roxanne scoffed. “You know I don't do the clingy girl thing.”

Jordan feigned disappointment. “That makes my plan a bit more difficult.”

He knew she wouldn't be able to resist his bait. “What plan?”

“I want to help Jennifer get over her ex. By falling for me.”

The redhead threw her head back and cackled. “That would be great, but you must not know much about Jennifer. She's not moving on until her daughter lets her.”

“Chloe gave me permission to take her to the party tomorrow night.”

Roxanne stopped chuckling to stare at him, her mouth open in shock. “How'd you manage that?”

“Well, I might have tricked them into thinking it was to help you.”

Her mouth tightened as she dipped her head and stared at him. “Explain.”

He sighed. “I told Jennifer I needed her to go out with me, so you'd give Craig a chance.”

Roxanne sucked in a hard breath and sat back against the red pleather. A tear in the seat caught a strand of her hair. She gave it an impatient tug.

“What kind of crap are you pulling?”

“I'm an idiot. I've asked Jennifer out twice and she keeps rejecting me. Then last night, Craig asked if I had any ideas for how to get you to go on a date with him. I knew you'd do anything to help Jennifer, and the same for her, so the double date idea came up.”

“Craig's part of this too?”

Jordan shook his head hard. “Of course not. I don't even want him to know that I tricked you into going as his date, if you agree.”

“If I don't?”

Jordan's hands shook. He hid them under the table. “Then I may never get another chance with Jennifer.”

Roxanne cursed under her breath. “Jackass.”

He grinned. He had her.

“Don't think this means either of you are getting lucky. Tell Craig to meet me there. I'll be early so me and Jennifer can get ready.”

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for entry "Chapter 7
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 7

Author: Sara

The ranch

Jennifer- gets caught in pain by Ma, gets caught in the heat of the moment with Jordan

Jordan-has a hot moment with Jennifer, tries getting close to Chloe so that he can pursue a relationship with her mom


Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:
Short chapter here. It was mostly clean! Most of my line edits are just the small comma things. I think it is funny that Jordan and Jennifer's relationship is like two teenagers. They keep getting caught in the heat of the moment. It's funny and ironic. Good job!

Line Edits:

“Jennifer? Are you okay?”

Jennifer grimaced as she struggled to stand up straight. She met Ma's concerned look and forced a smile. “Sure. I think I'm still a bit drunk.”

Ma's mouth turned down. “How much did you drink young lady?”

Jennifer harrumphed. “Two margaritas. I didn't even finish the second one before Jordan made me leave.”

The older woman shook her head and patted her hair, which hadn't moved a bit. “You'll feel like crap tomorrow. Make sure you sleep in.”

Jennifer tried to step around the bar. Her stomach cramped[ , ] and she gasped as she doubled over. Ma was at her side in an instant.

“Drinking doesn't cause pain like that. You tell me the truth right now young lady.”

Jennifer began to hyperventilate. She tried to suck breath into her tight lungs. Her knees went weak[ , ] and she slumped to the floor.

“I'm fine[ , ] Ma. I'm just dizzy and my head hurts a bit.”

Ma gripped her arms like a steel vice. “You never could get away with lying to me[ , ] Jennifer. Do I need to go get your Pa?”

She groaned. “No ma'am.” She had no other choice. “Promise me you won't tell anyone else. Not even Momma or Pa.”

She looked through the curtain of her hair. Ma's face showed her internal struggle. Jennifer tried to calm her nerves. Finally, Ma nodded, her mouth pinched into a tight line.

“I have stomach ulcers. They're not severe, but I get painful flare-ups whenever I get stressed. Drinking probably didn't help. I didn't want any of you worrying about me.”

Ma sat on the tile floor in front of Jennifer and bit her lip. “Oh my. I should have warned you years ago that it runs in the family. Your momma had them and so have I and Pa. I'm sorry[ , ] Jennifer. We didn't want you to worry either.”

Jennifer sat back against the island and sighed. One of these days, they would all quit keeping secrets.

“You need to get back in the bed. Being out there isn't good for you.”

Jennifer struggled to get to her feet. Ma stood up with [ an ]--(delete?) ease belying her age and held out a hand. Jennifer allowed Ma to help her stand up and tested her legs. They felt stronger now. She smiled and Ma moved away.

“Ma, I can't stay in here. I'll go crazy. I need to be able to see what's happening so I don't worry.”

She shook her head. “Just as stubborn as your grandpa. It's pointless arguing with you[ , ] but I'm warning ya now. I see you starting to feel bad, I'll haul your butt right back to bed, even if it means everyone finds out what's wrong.”

Jennifer grumbled. “You'll have to beat Jordan to me.”

Ma smirked as she poured lemonade into a collection of glasses she'd placed on a wooden serving tray. “Ah, he's taking care of you too huh? He's a good man.”

“More like bullying me. But yeah, he's trying to help me. I'm going out. I love you[ , ] Ma.”

She pressed a kiss to Ma's cheek before shuffling out the back door. She ran into Jordan as she reached the corner of the house. He glared down at her, his hands wrapped around her waist.

“What are you doing up? It hasn't been an hour.”

Jennifer shoved hair out her face. “Jordan, I feel better.”

He shook his head and tried to pull her towards the door. “I don't care. We agreed that you'd wait an hour. Now go back to bed.”

Jennifer jerked away and put her hands on her hips. “Look, I appreciate you helping me[ , ] and I know you're just trying to take care of me, but you're not my boss. If I want to come out here, I can. You can't do anything about it.”

Jordan cocked his head to the side and lifted his [lip]--(lips?) in a smug smile. “I'll get Ma.”

She shrugged. “Go ahead. Ma knows. You have nothing to hold over me.”

[ Expect ]--(Expect or Except? I was confused on which one you meant here.) your daughter.”

“Chloe wouldn't care.”

Jordan's expression softened. “You don't mean that. She loves you and would never want anything to happen to you.” He pulled his hat off and shoved his hands through his hair.

“I'm sorry. I should back off and let you do what you want.”

He started to walk away. Jennifer grabbed his arm, not wanting them to part on such an uneasy vibe. “Jordan, I have you to thank for my quick recovery. I'm too stubborn and I wouldn’t have went inside. I would have collapsed in front of everyone.”

He smiled. “Glad I could help. Look, this may be a bad time, but I have something to ask you. It's going to make you angry[ , ] but it's my job to ask.”

Jennifer hugged herself. She didn't like the sound of that. “Okay.”

“Does Chloe smoke?”

She gasped and stepped away. She looked up at him, hurt that he would think so low of her. [ Hmm... I know what you are trying to do here, but I can't help but think some people may not like this working here. It makes smoking sound offensive. I know you smoke and probably don't mean that. I think if you delete the “hurt that he would think so low of her” part, it would still work. The next piece of dialog explains her feelings again.] “I can't believe you'd think I'd let my daughter do something like that.”

He raised his hands, palms out. “No, that's not what I'm [ implying]. I know you'd never permit her to do it, but kids in the city are on a faster pace than the kids out here. The fire was caused by a cigarette, and the careless manner [ implies]it was a teenager.”

“So you automatically assumed my child, right? Well[ , ] I can assure you it's not her. She dumped one of her boyfriends because she found out he smoked.”

Jordan stalked towards her. “You let her date? She's too young. I better not catch a boy near her while she's here or I'll beat them.”

Jennifer lifted an eyebrow. “Isn't that against the law?”

“Fine. I'll arrest them.”

Jennifer giggled. “[ don’t' ]--(don't) I think you have anything to worry about. Country boys aren't her type. And for the record, no she wasn't allowed to date. It was the typical teenager thing. Find a person you like that you go to school with, and see them during school hours. I don't even think she's had her first kiss.”

Jordan sighed. “Thank God for that.”

Jennifer's insides did a funny dance. He seemed to truly care. A lot more than her own father had. He hadn't seen a problem with letting her go out on dates unchaperoned. Yet another thing they constantly fought about.

“Do you think it could be one of the other kids? I know it wouldn't be Skylar.”

“Jason's next. It won't be Brandon. He's been against smoking since his grandma died of lung cancer three years ago.”

Jennifer grabbed Jordan's hand. She tried to ignore the calloused palm scraping against her fingers. “Not Ashleigh's mom.”

“No. Brad's.”

“Ashleigh never told me about it.”

Jordan narrowed his eyes. “What would you have done? It's not like you would have come back for the funeral. You haven't showed your face since you ran away.”

His accusation soured her stomach. “Don't judge me. You don't know what I went through after you moved away.”

He tilted his head in a quick bob. “I guess you're right on that.”

Jordan shifted his weight to his right leg. He doesn't want to walk away either. Jennifer knew she was in dangerous territory. Her breath started to come a little faster. Jordan's eyes dropped to the tight fabric of her tank top, which hugged her breasts. She licked her lips. He stepped closer. She held out a hand, whether to stop him or pull him closer, she wasn't sure.

“Can I talk to Chloe? I know you're adamant that she doesn't smoke, but maybe she'll be able to help me figure out who [ is ]--(does agrees better in the sentence)

Jennifer frowned. “You want to use my daughter as a spy?”

“You want to know who burnt down the barn, don't you?”

Jennifer leaned against the back of the house. “Of course. But I don't like it. What if the kids realize what she's up to? They'll shun her. She just started making friends.”

Jordan stepped closer. He brushed a strand of hair from her cheek and let his finger linger against her skin. “She'll be fine. You don't give her enough credit.”

His head began to descend towards hers. She closed her eyes. Push him away. His mouth settled over hers, demanding she return his kiss. With a groan, she opened to him. Her hands settled on his broad chest, roaming over his muscled pecs, his thick shoulders and down to his thick biceps. It was a direct contrast to Rick's toned but thin body. This was a real man; the body of a man who worked for his muscles. She doubted he'd ever been to a gym. [ I'm having a hard time believing that he would kiss her in this moment. It doesn't feel very romantic. They were just talking about suspicions and her daughter. I don't feel the connection between them two. The disconnects makes the kiss feel random. Maybe add a few more words between them and set the mood more? Maybe about him leaving and her running away.]

Jordan's hands settled around her waist, his fingers dancing along the hem of her shirt. When he dipped his fingers beneath and started a path up her ribs, she felt her heart lurch. He pressed against her, his erection settling against the juncture of her thighs. She rubbed against him. Her hand inched down his arm, towards his waist. She stretched, grabbing his butt through the tight khakis. He tore his mouth away from hers and feathered kisses along her jaw. When he reached the pulse point at her throat, she thought she would die.

“You taste so good.”

Jennifer murmured something in response. She felt his hand teasing the flesh of her breast before he shoved the fabric up and dipped his head. His mouth closed over one pebbled nipple. She felt her panties grow wet. When he used his teeth to nip at the aching tip, she almost screamed with pleasure. His hands dropped to the waistband of her jeans. He tugged at the button without disturbing the attention he lavished on her right breast. With one last lick, he switched to the left.

“Has anyone seen my mom?”

Jennifer's eyes popped open. Jordan froze. He jerked away at the same time as she started to push him. She jerked her shirt down and tried to smooth the wrinkles out. She felt her face flame. She searched Jordan's expression in the dark. His eyes were glazed with passion and the evidence of his desire pressed against his pants. She panicked. If Chloe spotted that, she'd know what they'd been up to. Jordan followed her gaze and grimaced. He reached down and adjusted himself so that his erection was less obvious.

“Thank you.”

[ The switch in POV needs to be marked here.]He shrugged. “No need embarrassing all three of us.”

Jordan clenched his hands as he waited for the teenager to find them. His dick pressed against his waistband painfully. He needed a cold shower. Or to bury himself in Jennifer's wet core. In a way, he was glad Chloe interrupted them when she did. He wasn't sure he'd have stopped otherwise. He would have taken Jennifer right there against the wall, like a sex-crazed teenager. Her gratitude bothered him. He hated that she thought he would ever do anything to put her in a bad light with her daughter. Maybe if he told her how important it was for Chloe to approve of him, she'd be more open to giving them a chance. He almost snorted aloud at that thought. Jennifer'd been through a lot with her ex, and he knew she wasn't ready for anything yet. He'd realized at the bar that he didn't want a casual fling with her. He wanted something else; possibly more than she'd ever be willing to give.

Chloe was the key. If he could get her approval, he just knew Jennifer would be less likely to fight what was developing between them. He heard footsteps a second before he spotted a shadow coming towards the back of the house. He shot Jennifer a reassuring grin and waited.

“What the hell are you two doing?”

Jordan jerked back.

“Chloe Rachelle, what have I told you about that kind of language?”

She snorted. “Don't preach to me. I'm not the one hiding in the dark with some strange man. I hope I didn't interrupt y'all having sex.”

Her tone of voice said she'd have liked nothing better. He used his peripheral to check on Jennifer. Her hand was on her stomach again. She looked at a lost for what to say. He stepped in.

“Young lady, do not disrespect your mother like that. She's not that type of female[ , ] and I refuse to stand by and let you [ imply]--(imply again?)otherwise.”

Chloe rolled her eyes. “You put my mother in a compromising position then have the nerve to tell me to have respect. That's classic.”

Jordan put his hand on his jaw and pushed. His neck popped in the heavy silence. “You kids sure are different than when we grew up. I'd be missing some teeth right now if I'd talked to my parents like that.” [ AMEN!]

He froze in surprise. He prayed she wouldn’t continue that line of discussion. He couldn't handle the painful thoughts of his past. [ This part is a bit confusion. Was he freezing in surprise at what he had said? Or at his response to it? It is unclear.]

“Oh poor you. I bet you use that abusive parent line to sucker vulnerable women like my mom all the time don't you? Too bad it doesn't work on me.” [ See, he didn't use an abusive parent line. It didn't feel like he was saying his life was abusive at all. It just seems like he was speaking in general. Maybe add a line or two in his dialog about his own parents specifically.]

Jennifer jumped in between the two. She glared at Chloe. “Young lady, you apologize right now. There's a lot you don't know about Jordan, including the fact that his father really did beat him, as well as his sister and mom.”

Chloe's eyes flashed with sympathy before she masked it. “Sorry then.”

He shrugged. “It's in the past[ , ] and I try not to think about it. But you should know if it wasn't for your mom and her family, it would have been a lot worse for me. They let me hang out here a lot so I wouldn’t have to stay home with him. There were times my mom stood up to him so he would beat on her instead of me. It almost broke her.”

Chloe flinched. “I guess that's why you don't like me acting like this to her[ , ] huh?” She
nodded at Jennifer.

He nodded. “People often take their moms for granted and never know the extent of what they do for their children.”

Chloe turned towards her mom. “Is that true?”

Jennifer glared at Jordan before returning her attention to her daughter. “Yes baby, it is.”

“Will you tell me about the things you've done for me?”

Jordan saw Jennifer tense. He wanted to kick himself in the ass for putting her in this position. If she swung at him, he would deserve every second of the pain.

“Maybe when you're a bit older. Some of it's a bit hard to understand.”

Chloe chewed on her lip as she thought it over. “Deal. So, what were you two doing?”

Jordan stepped around Jennifer and knelt towards Chloe's ear. “If I tell you, you have to keep it a secret.”

Her eyes widened. “Eww, gross. Maybe I don't want to know.”

He laughed. “It's not that.”

Her mouth rounded. “Then what?”

“I found out that the fire started from a cigarette. Jennifer was trying to help me figure out who it could have been.”

Chloe poked him in the chest with her index finger. “My mom doesn't smoke, and neither do I. You better not be trying to blame us or I'll pop you.”

Jordan straightened and tossed his head back. His laugh echoed through the night. “Boy, you are just like your momma. No, I think it was one of the other teenagers, but I know if I ask around, they'll deny it and I'll never catch them.”

Chloe bounced up and down. “Can I help? Please?”

He pretended to think about that. “I don't know. Aren't you worried they might think you're a snitch?”

“Hel-ck, no. Someone destroyed my family's property and almost killed an innocent animal. I want to see them pay for it.”

“Then I guess you're my right hand man.”

She beamed up at him. “As long as I don't have to wear a badge. I doubt that gaudy star would go with my outfit.”

Jordan winked at Jennifer as Chloe walked back around front. He didn't know if he'd ever get used to Chloe's swift mood swings.

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Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Title: Evanescent

Chapter: 2

Author: Ashley Williams

E's house

Evangeline-- go to prom, kisses Xavier, feels terrible, finds out her mother has cancer and she needs to live with her not dead father in Romania

Xavier-- broke up with his Romanian girlfriend, wants to tells E his feelings but then it is a let down because he needs to leave anyway

E's Mother-- reveals to her daughter that she has cancer and she will be living with her father in a different country

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:

The same things I mentioned for the first chapter still apply here. It is mostly the small grammar things (like the commas and dialog tags) and the “show don't tell” writer rule. I pointed out some moments in the line-edits where I wanted to see more. E's humor comes across well in the writing, and I think that if you show more details, more humor can be written in. That is a strong part of the writing. It won't hurt to add more. You'll see that I stop with the edits halfway through. That is just because I figured you could apply what I did in the first part of the chapter to the second with the grammar and such.

While reading chapter 2 and thinking back to chapter 1, I noticed something. I know this is your first draft, so your first round of big edits and rewrites is still ahead of you. I think there is a lot that needs to be cut out when you do them. There are parts that don't contribute to the plot and are just extra, unneeded information. It seems to weigh down the action and drama. For example, we don't need to know what a character eats for breakfast or goes to lunch with a friend if it does not contribute to the plot or tells the readers important information about the characters. I just want you to keep this in mind when you edit and when you write things in the future. I feel like a thirteen page chapter can really be cut down into six or seven pager. The story will still have the same plot. Nothing will be hurt; it will be improved with a better flow, tighter structure, and cleaner story.

Besides all that, the shift in this chapter with the diagnosis of E's mother was interesting. I was wondering how E was going to get to Romania, since that was where the story was heading . I'm excited to find out about E's father and what is going on with his side of the family. Now there is also a chance for E and Xavier's relationship. Great suspenseful ending. It suceeds in wanting the reader to go on.

Line Edits:
Looking in the mirror I couldn’t help but feel like a full blown Disney princess. [ Great comparison!] [ My hair is all done up in a cascading side sweep with a dozen little crystals artfully placed throughout and my makeup is breathtaking complete with smoky eyes and shimmering lips.]--(Lonnnggg sentence) My dress is the color of buttermilk and has expertly placed crystal and cloth flowers in various places, while the back was a low Vee that is covered with lace.

Xavier texts me to [ tell me ]--(Me is mentioned twice. How about changing this to “say”?)that he’s on his way over, and my stomach does a little flip of it’s own accord. We still hadn’t had our talk about what had happened before he’d left for Romania[ , ]--( . In) fact, I hadn’t really talked to him at all about anything except prom preparations since he’d come home yesterday.

Ten minutes later[ , ] Xavier pulls up in his fancy Mercedes Benz. When he steps out of the car[ , ] I find it momentarily hard to breathe. He looks breathtaking in a classic black suit with his hair perfectly [ What is “perfectly mussed”? Describe this more. Let us see it instead of just telling us. It will be better to picture him. ] mussed up.

“E, you look….amazing[ . ]--( , )” he says with an ear splitting grin on his face. I try to hide the fact that it makes me feel mighty good that I put that smile on his face. [ Did I already say that I love the nickname, E? Love it! ]

“Thanks. Stop staring at me and let my mom take pictures[ , ]” I say trying to be funny, but Xavier regards me with greedy eyes and quickly turns to my mom to say hi.

After an agonizing half hour of pictures and a mortifying lecture from my mother about being safe[ I think a long dash will work better here ]if you catch my drift[ long dash here too] Xavier escorts me to his car and we head to prom.

“Please forgive my mother for putting you through that awful talk[ , ]” I say trying to hide my immense embarrassment.

“Yeah, I wasn’t exactly expecting that, but I’m glad to say I’m thoroughly informed on the topic.” I roll my eyes at him, hoping that he’s not talking from experience. Yet looking at him in all his glory I cringe knowing that he probably is. I decide it’s time for a subject change.

“So how was Romania?”

“Ok, I guess. My dad is pushing me to take over the family business when I’m done here, and my brother is basically bat s*** crazy.”

“Oh, sounds like a whole lot of fun.”


“So I take it you’re moving back there when we graduate?” I know the answer I’m hoping for is not the one I’m about to get, but it still stings when I hear it. [ This sounds awkward...]

“Yeah.” [ he sound]--(He sounds) a little disappointed.

“Well, that sucks. I guess I’ll go back to being friendless.” I sigh. “God we graduate in a week. We only have a week left together. Promise me we’ll end it with a bang.”

“Promise. Prom is a good start right?” he asks.


“Okay so I[ , ] Xavier[ , ] promise to make tonight the perfect night for my best friend E.”

“Ditto[ , ]” I say, then giggle like a child.

“Good we’re here.”

Xavier parks the car[ , ] and we walk to the banquet hall arms linked. Once inside the palatial building we line up to take pictures and then make our way to our table. We’re seated with people that Xavier and I have talked to on a few occasions, but everyone gets along fine.

Dinner comes out after a half hour of mingling and people arriving. The halls packed[ , ] and everyone is dressed in their finest. Penelope[ , ] a stupid wench[ , ] that has hated me forever glares in my direction, no doubt because she’s jealous that I’m the one sitting with Xavier and not her. Too bad it isn’t like that I want to explain to her. He has a freaking girlfriend, a beautiful Romanian girlfriend. [ While reading this paragraph again, I wonder if a high school girl like E would refer to a girl as a wench. It threw me off because I don't feel it is too believable. It feels like she is trying too hard. Maybe bitch? ]

I butter my roll and try not to let the thought ruin my night. The roasted chicken is divine[ , ] and being that I’d avoided food all day to squeeze myself into this dress[ , ] I probably look like a starved dog eating it.

The post-dinner music starts playing and group by group the dance floor starts to fill up with wreathing teenage bodies. As I look out across the dance floor from our table, that is rapidly becoming empty, I realize that even though I dislike a large amount of people here I’m still going to miss this part of my life. I glance at Xavier, and then the thought hits me that it probably isn’t high school I’m going to miss.

Xavier had kept me sane for the past four years, and while I know that college is a time for people to grow and make new connections, I knew I was going to have a hell of a time letting go of that particular relationship.

Xavier must have caught my contemplative stare[ no comma here ] because he nudges me playfully with his elbow.

“You good?” he asks.

“Yeah, just thinking[ , ]” I reply.


“None of your business[ , ]” I say playfully.

“Fair enough. Shall we?” He gestures to the dance floor.

“I guess.”

Xavier leads me to the dance floor, and even though this is the most played out thought in the world, I feel like a total princess. Xavier is solid beneath my hands and has a firm grasp on my waist. It feels so right, which sucks so bad since the feeling is only one-sided. One of the worst feelings in the world has to be when your feelings aren’t returned by someone you care about so much, because there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it, except move on.

“You look beautiful tonight.” Whenever Xavier got serious his accent always got a little bit thicker. [ Good bit of information. ] The knife in my heart twisted a little. Why did he have to say these things?

“Thanks. You clean up pretty nice yourself.” I lay my head on his shoulder knowing that this is probably not good for my psyche.

To my surprise[ , ] he pulls me tighter against him as he expertly dances to the slow rhythm of the song. I close my eyes for a brief moment and just pretend that he’s mine. The song stops and my unhealthy fantasy is shattered.

“Come here. I want to talk to you[ ,” he ] says softly in my ear.

He takes my hand[ , ] and we walk out onto the balcony overlooking a well manicured lawn.

“E. Last week at my apartment[ ...” He ] runs his hand through his hair.

“Are we really doing this now? We were having such a good time.” A glimmer of anger sparks in my chest. He promised not to ruin this night.

“When else are we going to do it? We have a week left. A week isn’t that long E.”

“I know. Please stop reminding me.” My anger slowly starts to melt to sorrow. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do without you here[ , ]” I whisper into the warm night air as a lone tear escapes from my eye.

“Don’t do that[ , ] E.” He brushes his thumb across my cheek. His touch reminds me of what happened before and I want to cry even more. This is so unfair. “It’s just I don’t want you getting hurt. There are things going on you just don’t understand, and I can’t even begin to explain.”

I laugh at the familiar excuse that I’ve heard in almost every romantic movie I’ve seen. “Isn’t that how it always is?”

“Yeah I guess so.” [ he ]--(He)pauses. “E? Can I kiss you?”

I’m floored by his request. All I can do is nod, when inside I’m cheering like a deranged Philly’s fan. Without warning his lips, his soft warm delicious lips are pressed against mine, and I feel like I’m going to explode inside. I’m gripping the lapels of his shirt trying hold on for the sensuous ride, and then his tongue slips inside my mouth, and in that instant my world only consists of him. He tastes like rain and honey, with a tinge of copper weirdly enough. [ From the beginning, I thought Xavier was a werewolf. Now I'm thinking vampire.]

He pulls away too soon, and I realize that I’ve become the other girl in that moment. I don’t know what Xavier and Naomi’s guidelines are in regards to cheating, but I’m pretty sure normal people count kissing as a big offense. Even though I secretly hated the girl I still didn’t feel right kissing her man.

“Xavier, what about Naomi? Is that what kind of guy you are?” I step back for a moment and realization hits me. “Is this what kind of girl I am?” I whisper mortified with my behavior. Anger was making a comeback.

Before he can answer one of the teacher chaperones comes out to break up our little love fest. We go back in and sit in silence at our table for the rest of the night. My senior prom is officially ruined, not to mention the fact that Xavier broke his promise, not only to me, but I’m sure to his girlfriend back home too somehow.

Once the music starts dying down I suggest to Xavier that we should head out. He nods looking frustrated and we head to the car. The drive home is silent and awkward. [ Show us how it is awkward and silent. I want to know! Don't just tell us. ] Maybe it’s for the best that graduation is next week and that Xavier is moving back home.

When we pull up to my house[ , ] I get out of the car without saying anything to Xavier. I’m full of shame, and hurt, and physical dissatisfaction. Before I can escape the stifling atmosphere of the car though Xavier grabs my hand. I try to pull away, but I have very little fight left in me.

“Look at me[ , ] E[ , ]” he says. I refuse at first, but then find that my head is turning of its own accord.

“What could you possibly say that would make any of this better?” I ask on the verge of tears again.

“Naomi and I, we’re over. I broke up with her.”

“Oh god, you broke up with her tonight because of this? It’s my fault. You guys were so happy, and I opened my big mouth, in more ways than one and now you aren’t together.” I was a home wrecker. What’s worse is that he had to of broken up with her on the phone. I hear Xavier laughing.

“Why on earth are you laughing right now?” I ask[ , ] shocked.

“First of all I broke up with her the night I landed in Romania last week.” He smiles. “But it is your fault.”


“I couldn’t stop thinking about you[ , ] E. I wasn’t all that happy with her anyway, not as happy as I am with you.”

I stare at him through the car window with a mixture of horror and shock. The thought briefly crosses my mind that he’s messing with my emotions but the look on his face assures me that he is dead serious. Somewhere buried deep under the swirling torment of emotions I’m dealing with a little ray of hope bursts through. One thought keeps popping up in my head like a blinking neon sign. HE BROKE UP WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. [ Hahahaha! ]

“I don’t even know what to say.”

“I just want you to know how I feel.”

“Where does this leave us then?” I ask hope rising in my chest.

“I don’t know. Would it be smart to start something when we aren’t going to be living in the same country for much longer? It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that things are so complicated.”

Disappointment floods my being. For the second time in my life I’m being turned down by Xavier. The difference this time is that he’s telling me that he has feelings for me but we still can’t be together.

“You’re probably right.” I laugh trying to hide the hurt that is consuming me. “Just promise me that after this weeks over we will still be friends[ , ]” I say.

“I promise. Nothing will ever change that[ ,” he ] says smiling.

I stifle a yawn.

“Someone a little tired?” Xavier asks.

“A smidge[ , ]” I say.

“Well I’ll go then. Sweet dreams E.”

Pulling myself away from the car I make my way to my room, stopping briefly to talk to my mom. Once inside my room I strip down to my underwear and don’t bother to put on pajamas. I collapse into my bed pulling the covers around me and fall into a deep sleep.

Two days later

Monday mornings are the worst, especially during finals week. I feel a little twinge knowing that it’s my last week as a high school student. I brush my mane of thick black hair, apply a tinted lotion on my almond colored skin, and black eyeliner around my green eyes. When my routines complete I check myself in the mirror one last time and approve.

I’m running a little late for school so I scoop up my bag and keys and rush out the door. Among the boring humdrum of my life there is one thing that always makes me smile. My car. My car is the most amazing, piece of machinery in the world, at least to me anyway. It’s an 81’ trans am, looking like it did the first day it rolled off the assembly line. Pearlescent white with blue accents including the classic screaming rooster on the hood. It is the only thing that I had of my father. He left my mother before I had been born. It always makes me mad when my mother talks about him. I hadn’t known him, so it never saddened me that he was gone, I just have always disliked the fact that I had grown up without a father. I missed the idea not the person. I force the dark thoughts from my mind as I hop in the driver seat and start it up, it’s engine revving to life. I would never get over that wonderful purring.

My drive to school is like any other, boring and uneventful. It takes me 15 minutes to drive from my home to my school. I go to a private school just outside of Philadelphia called Maxwell Academy.

The grounds of Maxwell are typical of any other high class private school, with perfectly manicured lawns and topiaries that match the perfectly groomed students that dwell within its walls. To me it looks more like a private garden than school grounds, but still its a peaceful place to come to every day. Plus if it’s a sunny warm day it’s a great place to eat lunch.

The building itself looks modern, a glass and steel structure that reflects the structured learning that took place inside. The halls, bathrooms and classrooms are always kept tidy in a Stepford sort of way.

The student and teachers are a whole different story. The people who go to Maxwell Academy are distinguished people of society. The mayors daughter, and other wealthy children went here. They are complete assholes and bitches, typical rich snobby people, especially to me being that I am on scholarship, or as they like to call me “the charity case”. I never really had fit in here, not that I really want any of these types of people in my inner circle, but sometimes it’s nice not to feel like a total loner. I am nothing like them, and have absolutely nothing in common with any of them. Where they are polished and proper, I’m sharp edged and ill mannered at times. Most of my teachers dislike me because I’m not one of them, and because I never quite follow their prim and uptight rules. Other than that I’m a good student pulling all A’s every semester.

I walk into my first class, the one I dread most. History has to be the worst subject ever. My History classroom is average size for a high school classroom, with bookshelves lining the right wall. The windows are small and barley can be considered proper windows, but they do for the hour that we sit in the class. My teachers desk is a large heavy wooden piece that looks as if it belongs in a museum.

Because this is the first class of the day the teacher is often late, which gives people in the class time to chat about useless teenage crap. I look around at my classmates and envy that useless teenage chatter. Xavier’s not in my first class so I have no one to talk to. I sigh at my pathetic life.

“Ugh, Evangeline must you sit next to me? Your loser stench is suffocating me.” Penelope snickers.

Ignoring her I get my notebook and pen out. Penelope is a bitch plain and simple, she hated everyone except her perfectly chosen clique and gorgeous boyfriend Paul. When we were in ninth grade and taking biology she though it’d be a good idea to play a prank on me. We had been studying about dissection of animals and it was lab day. She decided that she was going to pour formaldehyde in my purse, which didn’t go over to well with me. So with all my anger backing me I punched her in the face, which of course, got me kicked out of school for the rest of the semester. And what did Miss Penelope get? Absolutely nothing. I truly hated her.

Professor Milo appears and begins class, which in fact isn‘t much of a class being that it‘s one of the last. Instead of teaching a lesson he hands out a small tome, that serves as our test. I look at it in disbelief, there had to be over two hundred and fifty questions. Trying my best I answer the questions knowing there’s no way I’m getting above a C on the test.

The bell pulls me back to reality and I ramble on to my next three classes, which are all study sessions not actual finals. Once I’m done with the first half of the day I head to the lunch room to grab a bite to eat before going to the library. Walking into the lunch room, which is more like a restaurant, I stop, look across the room and see a familiar and completely welcome face. Xavier.

He quickly pays for his food and leaves the cafeteria in a rush, as I wave in his direction which makes me look like a certifiable moron. That’s weird why was he ignoring me? Walking up the main flight of stairs and into the library, I shake my head wondering what the hell was going on. Once I’m in the library I feel my nerves unwind. Libraries are my weakness, well actually anyplace that has a large amount of books is. I love to read, it always helps me to escape my extremely boring existence.

My calm feeling only lasts a second because when I look over to the library desk I see Xavier checking out a book. Again he looks at me with those beautiful violet eyes. How in the hell had he gotten up here without me seeing him? He walks toward me with a friendly smile on his face.

“What the hell Xavier? You totally blew me off downstairs. Not cool man. Not cool.” His smile disappears.

“What are you talking about. I came to the library first because I knew that was where you’d likely be. Bookworm.” He smiles revealing flawless teeth. My hormones must be on overdrive.

“Really?” I say incredulously, “So your bat s*** crazy twin brother you talk about all the time is roaming the halls of Maxwell?” I roll my eyes.

His violet eyes turn dark and all traces of playfulness disappear. “s***. Look I have to go take care of something.” He says as he rushes toward the door. He turns back briefly and says, “See you in class okay.”

I nod and quickly realize that I may have been right. I hadn’t heard many stories of Xavier’s twin brother but every time he did talk about him it was about how crazy he was.

I go to my next class in a complete daze. While walking to my desk I feel a strange sensation. When I look to the other side of the room I see Xavier, or possibly his twin. I know it’s Xavier when he waves me over. Walking over to the desk next to him, which so wonderfully happens to be my assigned seat, I see Penelope give me the death stare.

“Okay , so what’s the deal. You freaked out in the library, and just left me hanging. Come on spill before Mr. Smith walks in and bores us to death.” I say.

He sighs, and I know instantly he was hoping that I had forgotten his earlier weirdness. He looks out the window and I slap him on the arm.

“Damn Evangeline, your stronger than you think.” I role my eyes in his direction to clarify the fact that he was a big ol’ wimp. “Fine. My twin brother is in town.”

“Really? Why though, you’re only here until Saturday. Why would he come here now? And why would he be at our school?” I say trying to push down the sadness I was feeling. I only had four days until graduation and five days until Xavier left for Romania for good.

“I don’t know but, he’s dangerous.”

“ He can’t be that dangerous.” I roll my eyes thinking he’s overreacting. “So he really is your evil twin eh?” I laugh uncontrollably but I’m alone in my reverie. Xavier is looking quite serious. “Jeesh who died?” I say mockingly.

His expression turns from seriousness to anger in an instant, and I realize that someone did die, and he was pissed about it.

“Did someone close to you die?” I ask hoping the answer is no.

“No. My family is, well was, investigating a murder on our land. That’s why I went home last week.”

“Holy hell Xavier, that’s some heavy s***.” I say baffled.

“Yeah tell me about it. They somehow think my brother was involved and I wouldn’t put it past him either.”

I’m a little scared now. His twin brother, who by the way is in my school at the moment, may or may not have murdered someone. “Your brothers here, and you aren’t concerned for anyone’s safety?” I’m nervously ringing my hands.

“Are you scared?” he asks sincerely.

“Hell yeah I’m scared.” I respond.

“Don’t be. I’ll protect you.” I want to laugh, but he says it so fiercely that I hold my laughter in.

At that moment the teacher comes in and all the murmuring ceases. He drones on and on about some miniscule subject that no one cares anything about. It is a wonder I pull off A’s all the time. Somehow things just come to me. I had been like that since I was little. The whole class period I feel Penelope’s eyes on Xavier and I. She is completely pissed, and I have no idea why. I mean he has a perfectly identical twin, minus the fact that he‘s probably a psycho. Not to mention the fact that she already has a perfectly gorgeous boyfriend.

“Xavier you hungry? Lets go get some grub.” I smile at him, hoping for some reason that he says yes.

“No, I’m going to have to decline today. I need to catch up on some school work and study for finals and everything.” He replies. I’m disappointed but I’ll live.

Fortunately that is my last class of the day so I can leave. Because of my scholarship I’m only allowed to take the core classes and not any electives, which was no bother to me since it eliminates me from having to take gym. So I walk out of the school and into the parking lot where I find my wonderful car waiting for me. There is something on the windshield though. I go over to it and inspect it then pluck it out from between the windshield and windshield wipers. I look at the paper in disbelief.

Leave him alone or you will be sorry.

Wow! What grade are we in? Penelope sounds like a whiny baby who hadn’t gotten her way. I crumple up the note and throw it on the ground. I open up my car door and get in. When my engine roars to life, I see Xavier standing a few yards from my car and think that he has changed his mind and wants to skip. He starts to walk over and my heart skips a beat. He really is gorgeous. But as he gets closer I realize that it isn’t Xavier but his twin.

Once he is near my car he bends down and picks up the crumpled note. I go to say hi to him but he cuts me off as he throws the note in my car window.

“You dropped this,” he says with a hateful tone, and then walks away.

Well that was a creepy. I drive off the school property and towards my home. Once I get there I unlock the front door and go inside, and up to my room to get started on my homework. While I’m completing a set of vocabulary words for Spanish, I hear my front door open and my mom walk in.

“Hi mom,” I scream down to her.

“Hey baby, can you come hear real quick, we need to talk.” she says with what sounds like a little bit of worry, in her voice.

“Yea sure be there in a sec,” I answer as I get off my bed, walk out into the hallway and begin to go downstairs.

My mom is sitting in the kitchen looking worried out of her mind. I wonder what’s going on, and become a little worried myself. Her black hair is a disheveled mess gathered at the top of her head in a messy bun. Her face, freckled from too much sun exposure, was twisted in an expression of pain. It was like she was empty.

“Hey mom,” I say cautiously.

“Hey, honey, look we need to have a serious talk.” she paused for a couple seconds.

“Shoot” I say.

“All right first off, we have to talk about your father.” She says looking tired and hurt. “He wants to see you. I contacted him…”

“WHY would you do something like that, he left us remember? Why would you even want to talk to him. And I don’t give a s*** if he wants to see me, because I don’t have any desire to see him.” I say anger coloring my words.

“Honey I had to contact him.” She pauses, “I’m, I’m-,” she begins to cry, tears rolling down her cheeks silently.

My mother wasn’t a person who openly cried unless something really bad was happening. My heart is beating a million miles a minute, drowning in all the possibilities of what my mother is about to tell me. I just stand there like an idiot, not knowing what to say or how to act.

“Mom, what’s wrong?” I look at her pleading with my eyes for her to tell me what is going on.

“Honey, I, I have cancer.” she says it sounding so final and defeated. My heart drops, so surprised to hear that come out of her mouth. Why this? Of all things why did my mom have to have cancer. My gut is telling me to be worried, and my gut was always right. But I have to console her, convince her, and maybe myself, that everything would be just fine.

“Yeah, but mom, there’s doctors for that. Technology is so much better now, and there’s medicines. Your going to be just fine.” I say frantically searching her eyes for some reassurance.

“No, I have pancreatic cancer. There’s nothing they can do. The doctor said that I have a few more months if I’m lucky.” I look at her feeling the tears well up behind my eyes. She looks at me and gathers me into her arms. My stomach is the consistency of jell-o as I rack my brain for any possible way to save my mother.

I refuse to let her die. I have no one else in my life except Xavier and he can‘t take the place of my mom. She can’t just leave me, she can’t. I turn on my heel and run up to my room not wanting to deal with all this. I lie on my bed crying out everything I had in me until I had nothing left to cry out.

She follows me to my room.

“Honey I can’t do anything about the cancer and neither can you but I talked to your father. He has everything figured out ok?” I look at her like she’s crazy. But she’s so frail and tired looking I decide not to fight with her. She looks at me. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow after school.”

The next morning I wake up still in my clothing from yesterday, and my homework that I neglected to finish, splayed out on my bed. For the first few seconds after I wake up everything seems great. Then yesterday’s events flood into memory, and I remember that my mom is dying. There is no way I’m going to school today. I pull the covers up over myself and then grab my computer to try to find my own way to help my mom.

As I search through thousands of useless pages of information, my mom walks in and gives me a disapproved look. She looks so frail and weak, and I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed her deteriorating before. I hadn’t seen her go from bubbly amazing mom, to this sagging defeated women in front of me. I was a horrible daughter. I gather my knees to my chest wanting to crumple up and die. Like my mom had read my thoughts she looks at me and smiles.

“Why aren’t you at school?” she asks.

I look at her, disbelief coloring my face. “What do you mean why am I not at school?”

“I mean exactly what I’m saying. Why aren’t you at school? Just because I have an illness, does not mean you are allowed to skip school Evangeline. Especially when it‘s your finals week. It‘s Tuesday and your Math and English finals are today.” she looks at me sternly a little bit of my normal mother shining through.

“Your illness? Jesus Christ mom you have cancer. Not only cancer but pancreatic cancer. I’m not going to sit at school while you sit at home dying. I won’t do it!”, I’m yelling now unable to control what comes out of my mouth, “You can’t just leave me alone to go off to some foster home. You are all the family I have, and you can’t just die!” By this point I was sitting on the floor with my back against my bed and my hands covering my teary face.

“Honey. You listen to me right now. I’m not leaving you alone. Like I said I’ve made plans, Okay.”

“What plans mom, I can’t go to college now. I mean I know I’m eighteen and I can live on my own now, but I don’t think I can function if I lost you let alone make enough money to support myself.” My sadness was turning into anger now. My mother might as well have signed her death certificate. It was like she had nothing to fight for.

“No your not mature enough to do that you and I both know that.” I wanted to deny it but she was right. She had done everything for me up until now and I couldn’t see myself without her, not yet. “Your moving to…..” she pauses with a worried look on her face. “….to Romania, with your father. ”

The moment it left her lips everything inside of me shuddered. My father? The man who left me and my mother to go off on his jet setting life? And he lives in Romania too? What the hell? I was heated with anger, betrayal, and surprise. My mind didn’t even

register the fact that Xavier’s family coincidently also lived in Romania.

“I don‘t want to live with someone that I don‘t know. Even if he is my biological father. The only thing that I share with him is blood.” The hurt I was feeling seeps into my voice.

“Exactly! You don’t know anything, I’ve kept you so sheltered from the truth. It’s so incredibly complicated. More than you or anyone else can even imagine. You have to believe me. When you go with him I promise he’ll explain to you. And I‘m begging you to please do as I wish after I‘m gone. ”

“And why can’t you explain it mom? Huh?” I say. She tries to speak, but I hold my hands up. “You know what mom? Just save it okay. Just leave me alone for a little bit. Just looking at you makes me want to scream. GET OUT!!” I yell.

She looks at me, not even phased by my meltdown. Turning to leave she says, “I’m sorry truly sorry. I love you and you know that. I know you do. When your ready to talk I’ll be down stairs. I‘ll tell you what I can.”

God she acted like what she had just told me was a minor thing. It wasn’t though. My whole life I had been told that my dad had left us because he was a selfish prick. That the only thing he had left was the car that I now drive. Now I had a living breathing father who lived in creepy Romania. My gut lurches.

I had to go live there now. With all of its superstitious citizens and everything. My life is truly sucking right at this moment. I lay in my bed for a couple of minutes trying to distract myself from thinking about everything. Since it isn’t working very well I get myself up and dressed and decide to just go to school late. At least it would distract me somewhat. I completely ignore my moms wishes to talk and rush through the door telling her I’ll talk to her when I get home.

When I arrive at school I go to my first final and breeze through it within 30 minutes which leaves me with some time to kill until my second one. I pull out my iPod and start listening to some music. The bell rings and I shuffle my feet to my second final which also goes by quickly. Before I realize it, it’s already lunch time so I head to the lunch room to get some food. Thankfully not many students had arrived in the dining hall, which allows me to pick a table in the corner of the room. I sit there picking at my gourmet meal, not really wanting to eat. Maybe I should of just stayed at home and spared myself the misery of trying to distract myself. Just as I decide that I am going to leave I feel a tap on my shoulder. I twist in my seat to see Xavier standing behind me.

“Hey Xavier,” I say trying to sound happy to see him.

“Hey you look awful.” he says playfully.

I look down at myself not even caring that I hadn’t changed out of yesterdays clothes. A lone tear slipped down my cheek.

“Hey what’s wrong?” Xavier grabs my hand in a gesture of comfort.

“Nothing.” I manage to choke out.

“Nothing? I know you better than that E. Come to get Gyros with me?”

“Eh, I don’t know. Just not in the mood, I just have some stuff going on. You know?” I say, not wanting to sound pitiful.

“Trust me, I know.” he looks at me with a warm smile. “All the more reason to go with me.”

“I….,” I don’t really know what to say to get out of it

“I won’t take no for an answer Evangeline.” he chides.

“Fine.” We make our way out of the cafeteria and into the parking lot to his car. He makes a stupid joke and I laugh.

“See your feeling better already. It’s what my presence does to women.” I roll my eyes at his ridiculousness, glad he’s there for a distraction.

We get in the car and make our way to the gyro place.

He pulls into the only available parking space which is a block away. We get out of the car and walk to the restaurant. The restaurant is a little hole in the wall, mom and pop shop that has been around for a while. I always liked coming here because it was never busy and it was a place where I knew that I wouldn’t run into anyone that I disliked.

Once we’re inside we find a table and look over the menu. At least he does, because I already know what I want. After we order our food, an awkward silence sets in. I look up to gauge what he’s thinking, and when he catches me I smile stupidly.

“So? Any news on the situation back home?” I ask.

He runs his long fingers through his dark silky hair. I watch mesmerized. “My brother, I wish he would’ve just stayed home. I don‘t know why he followed me here.” he laughs. “Sorry, I’m probably boring you with my family drama.”

“Not at all, I mean after he left the note on my car yesterday…” as soon as the words left my mouth, I regret saying them. For a second anger flares in Xavier’s violet eyes.

“He wrote you a note?,” I nod, “What exactly did it say?” he asks.

“Well, I mean nothing to get angry over. Just don’t worry about it okay, it’s really no big deal.” I’m getting flustered now. I don’t want to say anything to piss off Xavier or his brother. Especially his brother.

“What did it say, Evangeline?,” he gives me a stern look.

I sigh feeling defeated. “It said, ‘Leave him alone, or you’ll be sorry’. But really, like I said, no harm done. So there is absolutely no need to say anything. Ok?” I plead hoping he’d leave it alone.

“I’m really sorry, Evangeline, really.” he says looking truly pissed.

“Look lets just forget about it. Pretend it never happened. Please.”

He gives a curt nod. “Yeah, fine. Forgotten” he says. It isn’t very convincing, but I just let it slide wanting to get off this subject.

I look around wondering where our food is. That’s when I see a women sitting in a seat by the window. She’s frail and the color is gone from her skin. Her head is wrapped in a scarf, and I know that she’s a cancer patient, and just like that my mood is brought so far down I feel like hiding under the table. I need to get out of here, because I’m about to break down and cry. I can feel the tears pooling in my eyes, but I’m not about to let Xavier see me like this.

“Are you alright? You look kind of upset again.” Xavier asks.

I can’t bring myself to talk, so I just nod.

“Not very convincing, Evangeline.” he says as he grabs my hand. As soon as touches me I feel so warm and so protected, like nothing in the world can hurt me. “If you want to talk we can. I‘m your, what are we exactly? We haven‘t talked much about it since prom night.” he smiles.

“I don’t know Xavier, I mean you’re leaving in a few days so is there really a future for us?” I say as more disappointment and melancholy seeps into my life. I start tearing up a little.

“Lets worry about that later. What else is wrong though? You look really upset.” He looks so concerned and I know I can’t keep this from him. After all he’s known my mom for a while now, he’s even called her mom on a few occasions.

“It’s just family stuff is all. My moms kind of sick and I’m a little worried about her.” Major understatement but I’m not in the mood for a pity party. I’m two seconds away from breaking down. I have to get out of there. “I’m really sorry but I have to go.” I gather my belongings, lay a ten down on the table and rush out of the restaurant without looking back. Hurrying down the street I duck in an alley, fall to the ground and break down, sobbing like an idiot. My whole life is topsy turvey, my mother is really dying and the truth of it hits me like a ton of bricks, and to add on to that once she’s gone, I have to go to Romania and live with a man I don’t know anything about. Not to mention the fact that this man was the father who had abandoned me.

“Evangeline,” Xavier calls. I hear his footsteps coming, but I can’t stop crying. “Evangeline, let me take you home.” He just looks at me not judging, not prying, just there. I nod and we make our way to his car.

The ride home is quiet. I want to tell him everything, but I keep my mouth shut. When we reach my house I realize that I’d left my car at school. It’s already five o’clock, and I’m not in the state of mind to go all the way back to school and drive all the way back home, so I decide to just leave the car and get it tomorrow.

“Um, do you think you could give me a lift to school tomorrow? We left my car there.” I ask.

“No problem. If you need anything call me. Seriously. Any time. You know that though right?” he looks at me with sincerity.

“ Yeah. Ok. Well see you tomorrow I guess?” I say, and turn to walk away, but then turn back unsure of myself. “Xavier, thank you.” I smile and turn to go into my house.

While I’m walking up to my house I think about the first time I met Xavier.

It was my first day at Maxwell, and coming from a suburban public school, I really wasn’t expecting the harsh cold stares I would get upon entering my first class. It was obvious that I was a charity case, but I didn’t really think that it would matter. All of my life I hadn’t really put a lot of value on what others thought of me, which made me awkward at best in social situations, so when I sat down in my first class and heard people whispering things, about the impoverished, I blushed furiously. As the day went on it was more of the same which just pissed me off more and more. I was never good at keeping my temper in check. So when I was at lunch and a girl came over to me and

handed me a wad of food stamps, (where she got them I didn’t know), I was ready to wail off and hit her. I drew back my arm to do so, but before my fist hit its mark a handsome boy stepped in my path and stopped me. “It isn’t worth it, you’ll get in major trouble.” I argued with him, but then he turned around and told the blonde bimbo off. It was at that moment that I had found an unlikely ally in this handsome rich kid. I later found out that we had a lot in common, like the fact that we both loved cars and had grown up attending car shows. While he liked classy, quiet, and distinctly European cars, I liked loud obnoxious, American classics. He hated all the other kids at Maxwell so alls we had was each other. We hung out on weekends all the time, went to movies, went to the mall, we even went to a school dance with each other once and completely hated it so we ditched and went to my house and ordered pizza instead.

I go to the bathroom and hear the shower running, so instead I go to my room and wait for my mother to get out. I check my email and then start reading a book I had recently gotten from Barnes & Noble. When I check the clock again I realize that an hour has gone by. I go out to the hallway and still hear the shower running. My heart almost lurches out of my chest. She’s fine just taking a long shower, I tell myself, but deep down I know better. I push the bathroom door open and yank back the shower curtain. My mothers body is laying limp on the floor of the bathtub.

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for entry "Chapter 6
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 6

Author: Sara


SOOOO many characters... but the main ones are...


Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:
Woah, there are A LOT of characters in this chapter and in this story. It is hard to keep track of all of them. I actually think most of them aren't even needed, and maybe should be cut out. The story is so fast paced and there is not much description with people and what is going on, that the amount of characters creates confusion. I found myself stumbling a lot with this chapter, and I think that's why. When a character is introduced, there is little to no physical description about him/her. When they speak, there is a lack of dialog tags too, so it becomes very hard to follow who is who and who is saying what. The main characters are fine, but besides them, I think there should be a limit on the secondary ones. Maybe five or six. Stick to who is important to the plot and forget the stand-ins and extras.

A lot happens in this chapter. It's a long one too. You had be full attention during the fire and the teenager chaos, but you lost me when Jordan was talking to the other men. I think that was mostly due to the character confusion, but I also think it was because nothing much happened with the other men. It was just Jordan showing off his machoness to Jason's dad. I think that whole section could be taken out. That would eliminate some of the characters and not hurt the plot (unless it is essential to the plot, since I don't know how it ends).

On a side note, I am still a little confused on Jennifer's sickness. I don't know how depression and ulcers could cause such effects. I get the pain, but the nausea, dizziness, vomit, passing out, etc. Sometimes I think she may be pregnant and it is not what she thinks at all. It just makes me wonder if there is still more the Jennifer than the reader knows at this point.

Line Edits:
Chapter 6
Jennifer giggled as she sipped the last of her margarita. “I forgot how good these things are. It's been years since I had one.”

Roxanne picked up the empty pitcher. “Well I think you've made up for it tonight.”

She stuck her tongue out. “You helped. I can't help it[ . ] I'm a lightweight.”

A waitress appeared with two new margaritas. “From the gentleman at the bar.”

Roxanne and Jennifer glanced over. A young guy in a cowboy hat and tight jeans tilted a beer their way. Roxanne smiled. “Looks like you have an admirer.”

“No way. He's looking at you.”

The cowboy stood up and sauntered towards their table. He stopped next to Jennifer's
elbow. “Would you like to dance?”

“Thanks but I think I'm a little too tipsy to be spinning in circles.”

He laughed. “Then how about we grab a booth and get to know each other?”

“Thanks but I'll stay here. It would be rude to leave my friend alone.”

His smile disappeared. He put a callused hand on her arm. “I just shelled out twelve dollars for your drinks. I think I deserve something for them.”

Roxanne stood up and grabbed both glasses. “She said she's not interested punk. You can have them back.” Before the guy could move, she dumped them over his head.

“You bitch. You're going to regret that.”

Roxanne rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”

He raised his fist. Someone grabbed him from behind and pulled his arms behind his back.

“You have two choices. You can leave now, or I can arrest you for disturbing the peace.”

The [ kid]--(I didn't see a kid at first. I thought he was a grown man, not like a young guy, Maybe mention him being young before? Or an actually big bad cowboy) craned his neck to see Jordan towering over him. He gulped. “I'll go home.”

Jordan let him go and waited until he'd walked out the door before turning towards the table.

“Ladies, why am I not surprised to find you starting trouble?”

Roxanne got back into her high bar stool and laughed. “Not us[ , ] Chief. We were trying to enjoy ourselves. That creep started it.”

Jordan shook his head. “Looks like you chose a bad way to finish it. I think y'all should call it a night.”

Roxanne blew a raspberry. “You've become a party pooper since you became a cop.” She grabbed her purse and winked at Jennifer. “See you tomorrow.”

Jennifer tried to grab her arm as she sashayed past the table. Roxanne evaded her. Jennifer almost slipped off the chair. Jordan grabbed her and sat her up right.

“You're drunk.”

She shrugged. “So.”

“How are you getting home?”

Jennifer squinted at him through one eye. “I'll walk.”

Jordan shook his head and helped her from the stool. He shoved her bag into her hands and herded her towards the door. “That's six miles. I'll take you home. You can get Scott to bring you back tomorrow for your truck.”

Jennifer tried to jerk away from him. “I can take care of myself.”

“Don't make me arrest you.”

“You're an asshole.”

“And you're mean when you drink. Let's go.”

Jennifer let him settle her into his truck. She closed her eyes to avoid the bright neon lights of the bar. Her head started to pound. She groaned.

“I can't believe I got this wasted.”

As Jordan drove over the bridge towards the ranch, he laughed. “That tends to happen when you're not used to drinking.”

“Everything's spinning. You're going too fast.”

“I'm only doing 35. Close your eyes.”

Jennifer slumped against the door and felt her eyelids grow heavy. She started to dose off when she heard sirens. She gripped her head with both hands.

“Turn it off. It's so loud.”

Jordan slowed and pulled over as a fire truck passed them. His radio chirped, requesting officers to respond to a fire. The dispatch rattled off the address of the ranch. Jordan swerved back on the road and slammed on the gas. Jennifer's head bounced off the window.

“Fire? What? Did you know?”

She tried to study Jordan in the dim light. He clenched his jaw.

“No. I was making my usual round at the bar when I saw you and Roxanne in trouble.”

He took the turn onto the ranch driveway at high speed. The truck bounced along the graveled road. Jennifer leaned towards the windshield and gasped as she saw flames attacking the back side of the barn. She jumped from the truck before he'd put it in park and ran over.


She stumbled as she tried to spin towards her daughter's voice. Chloe ran into her arms.

“I'm so glad you're home.”

“What happened?”

Chloe pulled away. “You're slurring. And you stink.”

Jordan stopped beside them. “She's drunk Chloe. Her tolerance for alcohol is too low and she didn't realize the signs to stop. It wasn't intentional and the bartender told me she only had two drinks.”

Jennifer shot him a go-to-hell look. “I think I can manage my daughter's questions on my own.”

Jordan shrugged and walked away. “I was just trying to keep her from getting mad at you.”

She looked down at her daughter. “Are you?”

Chloe tapped her foot. “No, but I should be. Geez. As if a fire isn't bad enough, now I have to take care of my drunk mom too. Let's get you inside.”

Jennifer tried to stand up straight. “No thanks. I want to stay out here. What happened?”

Chloe watched her a minute before shrugging. “I don't know. Look, at least sit down somewhere before you fall over.”

Jennifer let Chloe pull her to the porch. A high pitched squeal came from the engulfed barn.

“What was that? It sounds like someone's inside.” Chloe gripped Jennifer's hand.

“Crap. There's a horse in there.”

“Momma, someone has to save her.”

Jennifer pulled her daughter to her as she tried to run towards the fire. “It's too dangerous baby.”

Chloe sagged to the stairs, sobbing. A new commotion caused Jennifer to look over. Through the thick curtain of smoke, she noticed someone rushing into the barn, followed by someone else a few seconds later.

Jennifer stood up and moved closer to the barn. Chloe ran past her and stood in front of the entrance. Pa grabbed her shoulder.

“Chloe, you don't need to be out here.”

She shrugged his hand off. “I'm not going anywhere. What horse is in there?”

Pa scratched his head. “We put Lady in there earlier. She's having problems with her pregnancy. The vet didn't think she needed to be out to pasture.”

Jennifer put her arms over her daughter. “Who went in?”

Pa gave the barn a worried look. “Brad.”

“I saw two people.”

Pa met Jennifer's eyes. “Brandon followed him.”

Jennifer's stomach churned. If something happened to either of them, it would tear
Ashleigh apart. “You have to send someone in to get them.”

He nodded. “I'll do it.”

“Pa no.”

Chloe took Pa's hand. “They'll be okay.”

“Everyone stay out. We can get her out but it'll take a minute to calm her down. The fire's on the other side and hasn't made it through the wall.”

Robert rushed by. He rounded the corner of the barn, untouched by the fire. A few seconds later, he ran towards the fire truck. After talking to the firefighters, he came towards Pa.
“I told the boys to spray the ground. The grass is so dry, it'll spread quick. They've almost got the fire under control around back.”

“That's good to hear.”

Robert nodded. “How the guys doing?”

Jennifer rolled her shoulders. “Brad said they'll get Lady out. I wish they'd hurry. It's smoky in there.”

“Momma, look. They're coming out.”

A hush settled over the crowd watching the fire. Brad walked towards the open door, his hand holding the reins. Brandon walked on the mare's other side. A gust of wind stirred the smoke, pushing it further into the barn. The horse panicked and reared back. Brad stumbled and fell against the metal gate of the first stall. Brandon tried to grab the reins dragging the ground.

“Dad, you okay?”

He stumbled to his feet. “Yeah. I'll get her. You get out.”

Chloe's fingers dug into Jennifer's skin when Brandon refused.

“You first. You're hurt.”

Robert patted Pa's arm and jogged into the barn. After talking to Brandon for a second, he grabbed Brad's arm and pulled him out of the barn and off to the side. Chloe stepped closer to the double doors.

“Chloe, please stay back. I'm going to check on Brad.”

She maneuvered through the throng of people and knelt down beside him. His face was black with soot. She grabbed his wrist and checked his pulse.

“I'm fine.”

Jennifer punched him on the arm. “For now. But Ashleigh's going to hurt you when she realizes you put yourself in danger.”

Brad struggled to sit up. “I had to save her. We can't afford to lose her or that foal. It's already been sold. Where's Brandon?”

Jennifer turned around and searched. She spotted him stumbling out of the barn. He fell to the ground. Chloe and Skylar surrounded him. She saw Chloe point towards the house and Skylar run off.

“He's out.”

“The horse?”

“I don't see her.”

She heard Chloe squeal Brandon's name and turned around again. He was on his feet, heading towards them. [ If he is on his feet and running toward them, how is he leaning on Chloe? I pictured him running away from her. ] Chloe put her arm around his back and let him lean on her. Red lights bathed the area, followed by a shrill siren as an ambulance pulled up near the barn.

“Look out!”

Jennifer watched in horror as the horse came galloping out of the barn. She headed straight for Chloe and Brandon.

“Chloe! Move.”

Brandon lunged to the side, pulling Chloe with him. They landed in a heap, with Chloe sprawled on top of him. Two of the other ranch hands rushed after the horse. Jennifer looked at Brad, torn over what to do.

“I'm fine. Go check on the kids.”

Jennifer ran over, her legs still wobbly from the alcohol and the adrenaline pumping through her blood. Skylar reached the twisted up teenagers at the same time as Jennifer. She looked down at them and shook her head.

“I guess the water's for you huh? Looks like you need a cool shower to settle those hormones. Geez, I've heard of falling over a hero, but this is a bit much.”

Chloe rolled her eyes as she tried to stand. A hand appeared near her face and she reached up. She got to her feet and stepped away from Jordan.

“Thanks Chief. But he needs the help.”

Jordan helped Brandon up and looked around. When he spotted two paramedics, he waved them over.

“He hurt?”

“Smoke inhalation.”

The woman pulled Brandon towards the ambulance, with Chloe and Skylar right behind him. Jennifer looked at Jordan once they were alone.

“I didn't say thank you before.”

He shrugged. “No big deal. Looks like I would have been heading here anyways. Killed two birds with one stone.”

Jennifer's hands shook as she shoved them into her pockets. “I can't believe any of this. Do you know what happened?”

“Not yet. I'm waiting on them to get the fire out before I talk to the chief.”

“Will you let me know?”

Jordan rubbed the back of his neck. “Depends on if it's arson or an accident.”

Jennifer gasped. “It had to be an accident. No one would ever do something like this to Pa.”

“The paramedics said Brad's okay, but they're taking him to the hospital for an x-ray of his head. He has a knot from where he whopped it.”

“Momma, come here.”

Jennifer sighed. She shot Jordan an apologetic look and hustled over to the ambulance, where the paramedic was arguing with Brandon.

“Keep that mask on or I'm admitting you to the hospital until tomorrow.”

He pulled the plastic from his face. “I'm okay. I need to check on my dad.”

He stood up and doubled over in a coughing fit. Jennifer put a hand on his shoulder and pushed him back down. She placed the mask over his face and crossed her arms.

“You're dad's fine. Now listen to the lady.”

He tried to remove it again. “I don't need this.”

Chloe put a hand on his leg. “Brandon, please wear it for a few minutes. It's better safe than sorry. Your dad would be worried if he finds out you're in the hospital.”

Skylar snorted. “He'll be mad too when he finds out it's because you're being stubborn.”

Brandon grinned at Chloe and took a deep breath. “Okay. But only for five minutes.” He looked at the paramedic. “Can you check her? She fell pretty hard.”

Chloe stepped back. “I'm fine.”

Brandon grabbed her hand. “If I have to wear this ridiculous thing, you have to let them make sure you didn't get hurt.”

Jordan came over just as the paramedic declared Chloe fine and allowed Brandon to remove his mask.

“They're taking your dad to County General. He asked me not to let you come up there. Can your mom pick you up?”

Brandon shook his head. “She's in Clarksville with my aunt. It'll be a few days before she gets back.”

“Well you need to let her know what happened in the morning. No sense worrying her tonight. You got a place to go?”

He shrugged. “I can stay at the house.”

Jennifer cleared her throat. “You are not staying home by yourself after something like this. You can spend the night in the bunkhouse.”

“It's fine[ , ] Miss Jennifer.”

She shook her head as they stepped away from the ambulance. It drove off, with Brad strapped to a gurney in the back. “I won't hear any arguments[ , ] young man. You're staying here.”

He bowed his head. “Yes ma'am.”

Three teenage boys walked up to the group.

“What's up[ , ] Brandon[ . ]--(?) Saw you wearing that thing over your face. Must be embarrassing to get so excited in front of a beautiful lady.”

Skylar shoved Chloe behind her. “Beat it[ , ] Jason.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You gonna make me?”

Her hands balled into fists. She took a step forward. Brandon stepped in front of her. “The [ Matthews' ]--(No apostrophe here. It is just Matthews because it is not possessive.) don't need your crap right now Jason. Why don't you and your friends get out of here?”

Jason leaned over so he could look at Chloe. “I'm not going anywhere until I meet the new girl.” He sauntered past Brandon and Skylar and held out his hand to Chloe. “I'm Jason. These are my homies, David and Slick. Is your name Angel, cause you look like you came from Heaven.”

Jennifer rolled her eyes. Please don't let Chloe fall for that crap.

Chloe put her hands in her back pockets and nodded at the three boys. “I'm Chloe.” She twitched her head back. “That's my mom[ , ] Jennifer.”

The boy named Slick winked at Jennifer. “How you doing[ , ] Mommy? Guess we know where Chloe gets her looks.”

Brandon glared at him. “Back off.”

Jason shot him a hostile look. “You can't claim both ladies for yourself. We'll be nice and let you have the old lady. Chloe's too hot for a punk like you.”

Chloe's hands went to her hips. “I'd hate to tell you[ , ] Jason, but it takes more than a few cheesy lines and some macho bs to get with me. I'm pretty sure you don't have what it takes to handle a girl like me.”

Jason's face turned red. “Sweetheart, I'll handle you in ways you've never heard of.”

Jennifer had heard enough. “Little boy, you need to be leaving now.”

Skylar nodded. “Yeah. Why are you here anyways?”

“Dad heard there was a fire and came out here. We rode with him. Didn't know we'd get to see Brandon looking like a wimp. That makes the trip worth while.”

Chloe tossed her hair. “He's a hero. He risked his life to save our horse. You should show him some respect. I doubt any of you would have the balls to try something like that.”

“Got that right. I ain't willing to die for some dumb animal. A person would have to be crazy or stupid.” He looked at Brandon and smirked. “Which are you?”

Brandon lunged from Chloe's side and tackled Jason to the ground. He raised his fist over his shoulder. He cut the swing just in time to miss Jason's face and jumped up. He cast a glance towards Jennifer and Chloe before stomping off. [ That happened really fast... I don't know what happened exactly. One minute he tackles him and the other the kid jumps up and walks away?]

“Geez. Talk about anger issues. He can't even take a joke.”

Chloe rolled her eyes. “You're an asshole.” She ran off in the direction Brandon had went.

“You did that on purpose to make him look bad in front of Chloe and her mom. My guess is it backfired. See ya around chump.”

Skylar followed the other two teenagers. Jason stumbled to his feet and shot a glare at Jennifer before walking off, his two friends right behind him. Jennifer couldn't help but smile. Her daughter hadn't fallen for his crap and had stood up for herself. She sensed Jordan coming up beside her. [ Sensed? I know sometimes there are hints to tell a person someone is coming, but sensing the person exactly seems superhuman to me. Or supernatural, which I know this story involves neither.]

“I see you met Jason Espinal. He's a punk. Hope he didn't bother you and Chloe.”

She turned towards him. “He tried, but Chloe held her own. I don't think he expected her to shoot him down like she did. It makes me proud to see she didn't fall for his crap. She's smarter than her mom, that's for sure.”

Jordan wiped sweat from his forehead before settling his hat back on top. “[ That how]--(sounds strange) her father got you?”

Brandon saved her from having to answer. He shuffled his feet and clasped his hands in front of his legs. [ Wait... He ran off. All the kids ran after him. How is he there? So confused.]

“Miss Jennifer, I just wanted to apologize for my actions. I hope I didn't frighten you or Chloe.”

Jennifer smiled. “Not at all Brandon. Do you mind me asking why you didn't hit him?”

“I'm not a violent person ma'am. I try to walk away from conflict because fighting doesn't solve anything. If I'd been smart, I would have ignored him. I know he was just trying to get under my skin. But I couldn't stand his disrespect. You and Chloe don't deserve that.”
Jennifer reached out and hugged the boy. “Your parents did a damn good job of raising you to be a gentleman.”

He shuffled back a step in embarrassment. “Thank ya ma'am. Could I ask one favor of you?”

“You saved our horse and my daughter. I think that entitles you to just about anything you want.”

“Keep Jason away from your daughter. I don't want her getting hurt.”

“I don't want that either. To be honest, I didn't like him but I can't tell her not to talk to him. She's at that rebellious age where she'll be around him just to get at me.”

“You need a distraction.”

Jennifer raised an eyebrow. “You got any ideas?”

Color stained his cheeks as he shuffled his feet. “Well I don't know how you'd feel about this, but she needs to find a decent guy, who won't treat her bad or take advantage of her.”

Jennifer faked a cough to hide her smile. She saw Jordan kneel to the ground. “Do you know anyone that would be good for her?”

He cleared his throat. “Not off the top of my head but if I think of one, I'll let you know.”

“You do that.” She turned and saw Chloe standing by the porch. Jason stood at her side, trying to get her attention. [ I thought Jason left with his friends all pissed off. He's still there? I'm even more confused now.] She looked miserable. The horse nickered, giving Jennifer an idea.

“Brandon, could I ask you a favor?” When he said yes, she said, “Could you go over and tell Chloe I'd like her to check on Lady for me while I'm talking to the sheriff.”

Brandon looked in Chloe's direction and narrowed his eyes. “That sounds like a good idea ma'am.”

Jennifer shook her head as she looked back at Jordan. “It's like a teenage soap opera.”

“Brandon's a good kid.”

She smiled. “He reminds me of you around that age.”

“You saying I'm not as gentlemanly as I used to be?”

“I don't know. You're a bit intimidating with that gun and those handcuffs.”

His long finger brushed the stainless steel. “Don't worry. I haven't had to use them in a while. I'm a bit out of practice. Would you be willing to let me refresh my skills on you? Just in case I have to arrest someone later tonight?”

“That depends. Does it include a frisk?”

He stepped closer to her. His beard brushed her jaw as his warm lips caressed her ear. [ I never knew Jordan had a beard. I don't think this was mentioned before. I saw him as a clean shaven kind of guy. I don't know about down south, but up here the cops have to look a certain way. It's part of their uniform. A beard wouldn't be allowed.] “Of course it does. I may need to go so far as a strip search. You know, just in case a suspect is hiding something under his clothes.”

Jennifer shivered. She couldn't believe she was standing there, flirting with the police chief. The images his words provoked caused a flood of warmth through her body and settled between her legs in a dull throb.

“Sounds to me like you're bending the law a bit. If you didn't find anything suspicious with the frisk, there's no need to get me naked.”

His tongue darted out and licked the shell of her ear. “I'd need to be thorough. You might have picked up a few tips living in the big bad city.”

“I bet this is a line you use on all your admirers.”

He leaned back with fake shock. “I have admirers? I never would have guessed. I wonder if that's why I get all those fresh baked treats. I thought it was a thank-you for my service.”
Jennifer laughed and pushed against his hard chest. “You're incorrigible.”

“I'm entranced.”

Pa's voice rose to a high pitch as he called for Robert. Jennifer gave Jordan a concerned look and he grabbed her hand. They ran over to wear a crowd had started gathering around the pregnant mare.

“Pa, what's going on?”

“Lady's in labor. It's too soon. Now, I have to decide whether to take the foal, which could result in [ its' ]--(its) death, or let nature take its course. That could mean both animals don't make it.”

Jennifer heard Chloe giggle. She looked to her right and saw her daughter being nuzzled on the cheek. She placed a hand on her stomach as it began to sour. [ Who is she here? It's hard to tell between Chloe and Jennifer.] She could feel the bile rising up her throat and stumbled. Jordan put an arm around her shoulders to hold her upright before anyone noticed.

“Jennifer, maybe we should take the children inside. They don't need to be out here, in case something bad happens.”

She nodded and let Jordan lead her towards the mare's head. “Chloe, I think you and Skylar should get cleaned up. It's been a long night. Lady needs to rest until the vet gets here.”

“But Momma, I don't want to leave her.”

Jordan put a soothing hand on Chloe's back. “None of us do, but so many people around is too much excitement for her. If you want her and the baby to survive, we have to let the vet do his job. That means having everyone get away from her.”

Chloe's eyes brimmed with tears. “Do you think they'll be okay?”

He smiled. “I'm sure she's going to be strong, knowing she has a good friend like you for support.”

Chloe nodded and followed Skylar towards the porch. Jordan cleared the rest of the people out before turning back towards Jennifer. “You need to go inside and rest.”

“I can't let Pa stay out here by himself.”

“Scott and Robert are with him. Come on.”

Halfway to the house, Jennifer's feet stumbled. Jordan turned to her as she doubled over. “What's wrong?”

She sucked in a deep breath and winced as she stood up straight.

“It's your stomach isn't it? What can I do? Do you need your medicine?”

“I need to get to my room, before anyone sees me.”

He supported her weight until they were at the back of the house. He looked around to make sure no one could see them and swept Jennifer into his arms. When he reached the hall, he set her back on her feet and helped her into her room. As soon as she entered her room, the nausea hit hard. She lunged for the bathroom. She felt hands on her head, pulling her head back as the vomit came up. Embarrassed, she tried to push him away. He didn't budge.

Once she'd finished throwing up, Jordan pressed a warm washcloth into her hands and flushed the toilet. He helped her up with a hand under her breasts and leaned her against the sink so she could brush her teeth. He disappeared. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and whimpered.

“No wonder he ran away. You look like hell.”

He appeared at the doorway, a glass of water in his hand. “You're always beautiful Jennifer.”

“I'm okay now. You should get back outside before someone looks for you.”

He pushed her down on the bed and pulled her right foot up so he could take off her tennis shoe. “I'll go once I've got you settled in. Do you need help changing?”

Jennifer frowned. “What's wrong with what I have on?”

He reached for her left foot. “It'll be uncomfortable to sleep in.”

Jennifer put her feet on the floor and tried to stand up. “I'm not going to bed right now.”

“You most certainly are. You've had a long night. You need to recuperate from the mix of alcohol and stress.”

“Jordan, you're not my father. You can't tell me what to do.”

He grabbed his side. Metal clanked as he held up his handcuffs. “Do not make me use these.”

Jennifer glared at him. “Go ahead and try. I'll scream.”

“Go ahead. Everyone's outside.”

“I have a cell phone.”

He reached into her pocket and plucked it free. “You can have this back when you promise you'll go to sleep.”

“Give me my phone and get out of my room.”

“You're not in the position to make demands[ , ] Jennifer.”

She sagged back against her pillow, too weak to keep up the confrontation. “Why are you doing this to me?”

“Because I care about you.”

Jennifer sighed. “I'll make you a deal. I'll lay down for an hour. After that, I'm getting up and coming back outside.”

Jordan held out his hand. “I guess that'll have to do.”

He touched the screen on her phone and pressed a few buttons. The beeping noise filled the tense silence.

“Are you going through my phone?”

“No. I'm programming my number. If you need anything, call me.”

He tossed the smart phone on the blanket near her leg and leaned over. She expected him to kiss her on the mouth and cringed. My breath has to smell horrible. He moved his head up a notch and pressed a tender kiss to her forehead. Before she could beg him to give her a real kiss, he spun around and walked out of the room.

[ The switch in character POV needs to be marked by paragraph separation or some kind of indication marks. ]Jordan walked back outside, his thoughts still on Jennifer. She looked disappointed when he hadn't kissed her. He had been going to, but she'd moved her head like she didn't want him to. The fire fighters were rolling up the hoses as he rounded the house. The chief spotted him and headed his way.

“What's the verdict?”

“We found a cigarette butt in the grass, bout ten feet from the barn. Figure that's what started it. The ground's so dry it spread quick.”

Jordan glanced towards the barn. “How'd it get to the barn? It should have expanded out towards the pasture.”

“There was some hay sticking out of a crack in the wall by the back stall. The flames caught it. But Pa said the stall was cleaned out, nothing but dirt cause they ain't used it in a while. So the fire climbed up the wall. It's lucky that there isn't more damage.”

Jordan nodded. “Did you bag the butt?”

“Yeah, my lieutenant has it in Engine 1. We were going to send it to the fire marshall's office, but you're welcome to it if you want to investigate. My guess though is it was an accident. Someone was careless[ ;]--(delete. Comma or period) probably a teenager who almost got caught.”

Jordan thought about that as he walked towards the fire truck. Does Chloe smoke? He knew it wouldn't be Skylar or Brandon. He spotted a cluster of men standing by the barn entrance. He changed directions.

“Hey men. How's it going?”

All five men turned towards him and echoed a greeting. He studied all of them. No one seemed nervous by his presence, but that could be explained by the fact that they didn't know what started the fire.

“You figure out what happened, Chief?”

“They have some theories. Nothing concrete yet. Guess we all see why there's a burn ban[ , ] huh?”

One man laughed. “At least you'll get some overtime chief. Though I don't know about the tax payers having to cover your date with the boss's granddaughter.”

Jordan's hands clenched as he studied Allen, Jason's dad. “It wasn't a date. She needed a lift. Seems I would have been coming out here, regardless.”

Allen grunted and pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket. He tapped one out and put it in his mouth before patting his pants.

“Anybody got a lighter?”

The other four men shook their heads. “You're the only one who smokes.”

He rolled his eyes and put the cigarette behind his ear. “So sue me.”

Jordan glanced around the group. “Did anyone see anybody out here before the fire started?”

Robert walked up. “We were all in the bunkhouse, having a meeting. Seems some of the men think it's okay to come in late.”

Allen looked at the foreman. “Does the fire mean we get a vacation?”

Robert's bushy eyebrows dipped low over his narrowed eyes. “Why would you think a stupid thing like that?”

He shrugged. “I figured getting the barn repaired would be top priority. I ain't a carpenter.”

Richard shook his head. “There's a lot of things you aren't, Allen. But you will be unemployed if you don't have your ass here, on time in the morning. Any moron can swing a hammer.”

Allen put his unlit cigarette back into his mouth and chewed on the filter. He glared at the foreman before stomping towards his car. Jordan followed him.

“Hey Allen. Be sure to get your boy and his friends before you leave.”

He whirled towards Jordan. “Frank has a car. They can come home when they're ready. I think Jason's busy getting to know the new girl.”

Jordan tensed. “They'll leave now, or I'll throw them in jail for breaking curfew.”

“You got a problem with my kid[ , ] Chief?”

Jordan stepped closer. He lowered his voice to a menacing growl. “Your son seems to have the same trait you do. He doesn't care about the folks around him. I won't have him here trying to stir up trouble with Brandon. There's been enough problems for the night.”

“Then why don't you make that kid leave?”

“Since his dad's in the hospital, he'll be spending the night here. So, what's it gonna be? You gonna make him leave, or do I haul him off in handcuffs?”

“I feel ya[ , ] Chief. He'll be out of here in a few minutes.”

“Hey Chief, got a minute?”

Jordan turned around and spotted Anthony, the vet's son, and a ranch hand, waving at him. He jogged over. “How's Lady?”

“They're pulling the foal. Dad hopes it'll work better than letting Lady stay in distress.”

“That's good. You heard anything about what happened?”

“A cigarette. Who all do you know that smokes 'round here, besides Allen?”

Anthony thought it over. “That's it. He's pretty good about putting his butt out instead of throwing it on the ground.”

Jordan nodded. “That's what I figured. It had to be a teenager.”

Anthony looked around. “But which one? There's been a few here tonight.”

“That's what I need to find out.”

“Whoa, who's that?”

Jordan had a feeling he knew before he even turned around. His eyes clenched as he saw Jennifer shuffling through the kitchen.

“That's Pa's granddaughter.”

He glanced at Anthony. The man's eyebrows had rose in interest. “Wow, she sure grew up. She here with her husband.”

Lie you idiot, before he gives you some competition. “Nah, they're getting divorced. She's trouble man. Watch yourself. That daughter of hers will rip your throat out.”

Anthony laughed. “You mean that lil' blond over there?” Chloe giggled as she rubbed the horse. “Yeah, she looks ferocious. Hey, my dad's here so I'm going to see if he needs any help. Good luck.”

Jordan stood in the middle of the yard, torn between going after Jennifer, and interrogating the teenagers. He scratched his head and sighed. Chloe was his top suspect right now, and it would probably be better to talk to Jennifer about it before confronting the girl. He headed towards the house, his heart pounding and his palms sweaty. Time for World War Three.

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for entry "Chapter 5
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 5

Author: Sara

Ranch house
Jordan's house (not much detail here)

Jennifer- makes a connection with Chloe and the horse, finds out some things about her that she didn't know, gets a phone call from Rick

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:
As I was reviewing what the publisher, I came across something I never knew before. I wanted to let you know what they told me. Apparently you can only have one scene break per chapter per character. I never knew that. I have been struggling with that myself. It had been shortening my chapters a lot. I noticed that you have Jennifer in this chapter twice in different scenes. I don't agree with what the publishers say, but I just wanted to pass the information along.

Line Edits:

Chapter Five
Jordan pulled into his garage and shut off the car. He checked the notes he'd taken at the ranch. He agreed with Jennifer's daughter. Something wasn't right. He'd already left a message with the director of the real estate agency to call him back tomorrow. Two of his deputies were circulating the town now, asking to see if the man had visited anyone else. He'd debated on assigning an officer to watch the ranch, but he didn't want to scare anyone. The chances were, they weren't in danger. Most scam artists moved to a new target once they realized their plan wouldn't work.
He walked into the house and went towards his room, stripping off his uniform before falling into the bed. His blood still boiled with the after-effects of kissing Jennifer. She'd been just as affected, he was [sure]. He [sure] hadn't expected it to be like that when he decided to kiss her. Even though he'd told her he wasn't going to make love with her, that was where they'd been heading. If his hand had gotten onto her breast, he would have lost control. He groaned as he felt his erection pulse. He needed a cold shower[;]--(delete) or a new train of thought.
Chloe. He received mixed reactions from her[;]--(,) just like her mother. One second she couldn’t stand looking at him, the next indignant because her mother had insulted him. He had to win her over to his side if he wanted a chance to explore things with Jennifer. Ma had told him a few years ago that Jennifer only stayed in her marriage because of Chloe. She didn't know the truth about her creep father and Jennifer wanted to keep it that way. How do I make her see I'm what her mom needs when she thinks her father hung the moon?
Jennifer deserved to be happy. She'd been alone too long. She could turn out like Mom. He cringed at the thought. No matter what he had to do, he would keep that from happening.
Jennifer sat in the window sill of her bedroom, lost in a book. She struggled to remember what was happening on the pages, while her mind continued replaying the incident with Jordan. She still couldn't believe the way she'd acted. She hated sex [lies! lol], and any of it's other, more innocent activities. Yet, she'd thrown herself at him like a mistress, ready to be ravaged. If he hadn't been so quick on his feet, everyone in the kitchen would have known the truth. All the hard work she'd put into repairing things with Chloe would have gone out the window. She had to be careful around him. He was dangerous. He could make her forget that she didn't need a man in her life. She was strong and she could manage on her own.
A ruckus outside caused her to drop the book. It landed against the hardwood floor with a thump. She bent down to retrieve it before glancing outside. The book fell to her lap as her fingers went slack. Spirit stood in the back yard near the fence, bathed in moonlight. She jumped up and ran to the back door. Just as she was about to step from the shadows and approach him, she heard a sniffle above her.
“Hey boy. It's nice to see you again.”
The horse snickered. Jennifer's hand gripped the wood door frame so hard her knuckles ached. She wanted to go back inside instead of ease dropping. Her feet ignored her command.
“I've been hoping to track you down but I haven't gotten a chance to learn to ride yet so there wouldn't be a point. But don't worry. I hope we'll become friends soon.”
Jennifer sighed. First thing tomorrow morning, she was dragging her daughter to the corral.
“It'd be nice to have one friend I don't have to pretend with. I doubt you would understand that. You've got it made. You can go wherever you want, without asking permission or worrying about meeting expectations. I wish I could be like that. It's been so long since I've done anything without worrying about the consequences. Back home, I walked on eggshells. My parents fought all the time. I'd hear them arguing about me every now and then. I've tried so hard to be the perfect daughter, so they could just be together instead of feuding. It didn't work. So my mom moved me out here.”
Jennifer eased to the ground. Her chest felt tight. She didn't know Chloe had heard her and Rick fighting. She started to stress about which ones she'd witnessed.
“You know, I hated her at first, for making me come here where I didn't know anybody. Now, I think she did the right thing. She's different here. It's like she's happy. I just wish she could be like that with my dad. He always seemed happier when he wasn't with her either. Is it selfish to wish they could be like that together? I want my family back.”
Chloe's voice broke. Jennifer's composure shattered. Tears filled her eyes and ran down her cheeks. Why can't she talk to me like this?
“I know it's a slim chance[,] but I'm going to do everything I can to help them work things out. But don't worry. I'll visit you before I leave and I'll come back to see you when we move away.”
Spirit pawed the ground and bowed his head to nip at the grass.
“Well, it's late[,] and I'm sure you don't want to stand around here listening to my problems. Thanks for coming to see me. Bye.”
Jennifer heard the click of the French door as Chloe shut herself inside. She wrapped her arms around her legs and buried her face against her knees. She wondered if she should go back to Rick. Maybe if she just accepted the way he was, things wouldn't be so bad. She would never be happy, but at least her daughter would be.
“Are you sure he won't throw me off?”
Jennifer sat on the top rail of the wood plank fence and watched Chloe grip the saddle horn. Pa stood next to her, his hand on the reins of the ten year old mare.
“I'm positive. She's as harmless as a kitten.”
Chloe groaned. “I hate cats. It's always the innocent looking ones who hurt the most.”
The same goes for people[,] sweetie.
“You'll be fine Chloe. You'll never get to ride Spirit if you can't handle Daisy.”
Her spine straightened. “What do I do?”
Pa smiled. “Just relax. Move with her. Get used to the feel of her before we go any further. If you get scared, just tell me and I'll stop.”
Chloe bit her cheek as she nodded. Pa clicked his tongue and began to walk. The horse stayed beside him in a slow walk around the circled corral. Jennifer's phone rang. She glanced at the caller id before jumping down. She walked out of Chloe's hearing distance before answering.
“Hi Rick.”
“Hi yourself. Where's my daughter? She isn't answering her phone.”
Jennifer glanced over her shoulder. Chloe had the reins in her hand now. Pa was showing her how to use them to steer the horse's movements. He climbed on Thunder, a six year old steed and maneuvered him beside Daisy[.] The horses started walking in unison towards the barn.
“She's getting a riding lesson.”
“Damn it Jennifer, my daughter isn't some inbred hick. Get her off that beast before it hurts her.”
Jennifer sighed. “Rick, she wants to learn and I'm not going to stop her.”
“You need to come back home before that place corrupts her.”
She debated on telling him of her decision to move back. “I'm still thinking that over. I need to get some things straightened out before I made a final decision.”
“There shouldn't be anything to consider. You're my wife and you belong in my house.”
Jennifer shook her head. “Rick, I won't be your wife again until you quit seeing other women. Are you ready to do that?”
“I'm a grown man Jennifer. I can do what I want.”
“Well[,] I'm grown too. Which means I can make my own decisions as well.”
“You're a female. You don't have that luxury.”
“Why'd you call Rick? I'd think you'd be happy not to have to deal with me cramping your style.”
She heard him grunt. “The Dean has a party planned in two weeks. There's talk that he's going to promote me to head of the department. I have to show him that I'm a responsible adult and can handle the position. He's expecting to see my wife and daughter there.”
Jennifer turned around when she heard Chloe call her name. She grinned as she watched Chloe nudge the mare into a trot. She waved and gave her a thumb's up.
“Sorry Rick[,] but we won't be there. I'm no longer part of your charade.”
“Damn it[,] Jennifer, quit being a bitch. You owe me this after all I've done for you.”
Jennifer snorted. “I haven't gotten a thing from you in the past sixteen years we've been married. You just helped me make my decision. Chloe and I are staying here. Good luck with the job[,] Rick.”
She hit the end button and put the phone back into her pocket. It felt good not bowing to Rick's demand. She should have done it sooner. The gate rattled as Chloe shut it. Her boots kicked up dust as she ran towards Jennifer.
“Did you see me? I had her running.”
Jennifer ruffled her daughter's curls. “I did. Congratulations. You're a natural.”
She beamed. “Do you think I'm ready to ride Spirit yet?”
Jennifer put an arm around her daughter's shoulders and headed towards the house. “Maybe after a few more lessons. You'll be on him before you know it.”
A pickup truck pulled up near the barn and two men got out. Jennifer shaded her eyes and waved when she spotted Brad, Ashleigh's husband. Chloe tensed.
“Who's that?”
“You remember my friend Ashleigh from the diner?” Chloe nodded. “That's her husband Brad. I remember one time when he chased us around the yard with a large frog.” She shuddered. “We got him back by sticking a lizard in his sleeping bag one night.”
“You hate frogs but you'll touch a lizard?”
Jennifer shrugged. “Frogs give you warts. Jordan didn't believe me when I told him. He carried one in his shorts for a while. One day, it got out and fell into his boot. He ended up with four of them on his foot.”
Chloe watched the two men talk to Pa before dropping the tailgate and pulling out bails of hay. “You and Jordan were pretty close[,] huh?”
Jennifer nodded. “He had a hard life at home so he hung around here a lot. Pa let him help out on odd jobs so he'd have a little extra cash. Not that he ever kept any of it. He gave it all to his mom.”
“Did you ever date?”
She shook her head. “He gave me my first kiss when I was fourteen. He found me at my secret spot and told me his mom was moving them away. I didn't see him again until he pulled me over.”
Chloe sat on the steps and glanced at Jennifer before looking back at the barn. “What spot?”
Jennifer laughed. “I told you it's a secret. Put it this way. It's one of Spirit's favorite places so once you start riding him, you'll see it.”
She didn't respond. Jennifer cocked her head to the side as she glanced towards the truck Chloe seemed so interested in watching. At first, she figured Chloe was shocked to see men doing real work. As she looked closer, she realized the second male wasn't a man, but a teenager. He glanced their direction as he wiped sweat from his brow.
“You seem pretty interested in Brandon.”
Chloe jumped. “What? No. I'm just surprised at how sweaty they're getting. It's so gross.”
“Um hmm.”
Chloe pushed against Jennifer's leg. “Don't you have to be getting ready to go out?”
Jennifer checked her phone for the time. “Yeah, I do. Are you okay with that?”
“I'm not sure. I don't like the idea of you going to a bar and drinking but I realize that it's been a really long time since I've seen you go anywhere. You kinda deserve it. Just be careful and don't go home with any guys.”
Jennifer brushed a kiss against Chloe's head. “No worries kiddo. I'll be fine.”

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for entry "Chapter 4
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 4

Author: Sara

The Ranch house
Jennifer's car

Jordan- finds out Jennifer's on medication for depression and ulcers, he is concerned for her, kisses her in the laundry room, wants a relationship with her, even though she rejects him, he is determined to get what he wants
Jennifer- has a reaction to Jordan's kiss, realizes how tired she is from the city life, is still struggling to be a good mom to Chloe
Chloe- discovers the real estate agent isn't who he says he is, is clever
Phillip Argen- a real estate agent that wants to buy the ranch property for his client, something off about him

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:

We have some romance here between Jordan and Jennifer! They were caught in the laundry room like two teenagers! Ha! I thought that was so funny and very accurate since they started a relationship as kids and now they are going back to it. I enjoyed this chapter. We get introduced to a possible villain, and there is a lot of tension between characters.

Line Edits:

Chapter Four
“I'm glad you made a friend.”
Chloe sat in the passenger's seat, staring out the window. She'd been quiet since they left the diner.
“Yeah, I guess. Probably not a good idea though. I doubt I'll see much of her once we get back to Atlanta.”
Jennifer sighed. “Are you excited about the party?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah right. A bunch of hicks and a loser band. It should be a blast.”
Great. We’re back to where we started. “At least you'll know a few people there.”
“Look, I don't want to talk about the damn party or the people you think I should be hanging out with. I like my old friends just fine. And I'm not sure your precious Skylar would be a good influence. She's apparently into older men, and she thinks you should [take the police chief,]--(This implies something dirty... I don't think her daughter would be thinking that of her mother. Take the police chief and do... what?) when you're already married.”
Jennifer pulled up in front of the house and shut the truck off. “Chloe, I-”
She jumped from the truck before Jennifer could figure out what had happened. She sat there for a few minutes, wondering if she’d done the right thing in moving her daughter from everything she'd ever known. You had to do it. There wasn't a choice. She got out of the truck and collected the shopping bags. As she came into the house, Chloe was crying on Julie's shoulder. She looked at Jennifer with an unspoken question in her eyes. Jennifer shrugged. Chloe's shoulders tensed and she turned around. When she spotted Jennifer, she ran up the stairs. The slam of her door seemed to echo through the house.
“What happened?”
“I have no clue. Everything was fine until Skylar and Brandon started talking about some kid named Jason. She flipped a script. She even cussed me out in the truck. Mom, I don't know what to do anymore. Maybe I should take her back to Atlanta.”
She shook her head. “Absolutely not. You let me and your grandmother talk to her.”
Jennifer put Chloe's bags on the stairs and walked to her room. She tossed her dress on the chair by the door and fell across her bed. [A pounding on her door woke up her up.]--(maybe hint that she had fallen asleep. Maybe heavy lids or blurry vision.) She glanced at the clock, and realized she'd been asleep for over an hour. She sat up and called for the visitor to come in. Chloe opened the door and stuck her head in.
“There's someone here to see Pa.”
“Are you getting up?”
Jennifer stood up and righted her clothes. “Did Pa need me for something?”
Chloe rolled her eyes. “I don't know. I can't find him, or anyone else.”
Her tone made Jennifer realize she was still mad at her. She smoothed her hair into a ponytail and walked to the door. “Okay, I'll talk to him. Go check in the barn. That's usually where you'll find Pa if he's not inside.”
Chloe jumped back as Jennifer got near her. “The man's on the porch.”
Jennifer groaned as she jogged to the front door. Of course Chloe hadn't invited the visitor in. She was used to the city, where you didn't talk to strangers. She pasted a smile on her face and swung the heavy oak door open. The man turned around with a smile. He frowned as he saw her.
“Come on in. My daughter has gone to get my grandfather. Would you like a drink while you wait?”
The man shook his head and sauntered into the house like he owned it. He looked around with a predatory gleam to his eyes. Jennifer felt relief that Chloe hadn't brought the man into the house without someone supervising him. Something about him felt off, not that Jennifer could figure out what.
“I hope the child makes it fast. I have other business to attend to.”
Jennifer raised an eyebrow as she showed him into the living room. She stood at the door with her hands in her pockets as he walked around, looking at the family photos. He ran a hand over the piano before stopping to examine the large painting placed over the mantle. She heard footsteps behind her and glanced back to see Pa coming. She sighed in relief when she noticed Scott, Ma and Julie on his heels.
“Afternoon sir. I'm Ed Matthews. What can I do for ya?”
The man walked over and shook Pa's hand. “I'd like to have a word with you in private, if that would be okay.” He shot a pointed look at the group of people standing behind Pa. Scott moved to Pa's side and glared at the man.
“I can't do that. Whatever you got to say to me can be said in front of my family.”
The visitor gritted his teeth, causing a muscle to jump in his cheek. Jennifer's discomfort went up a notch. I wish Jordan were here.
“Very well then. My name's Phillip Argen. I'm a real estate agent from Atlanta. Here's my card.” He passed Pa a shiny white card with a prominent agency embroidered on the front. “Shall we have a seat?”
The man moved to the couch as if he were hosting them and waited for everyone to be seated. Pa chose his favorite easy chair and Ma perched on the arm. Julie and Scott sat on the sofa across from Phillip and waited.
“I have a client who's interested in purchasing a successful horse ranch. After doing some research on the internet, I found your place and realized it would be perfect.”
Pa frowned. “My land ain't up for sell.”
The man smiled. “I understand you haven't thought of it, but I'm sure after hearing my client's offer, you'll be more than happy to accept it.”
“Money doesn't [make a matter]--(is this a southern phrase? I've never heard of it. It just seemed a little off to me) to me. This ranch has been in my family for five generations. I plan to keep it that way.”
“Sir, surely you could start a new tradition. Three million dollars isn't the type of offer you turn away.”
Pa stood up and put his hands on his overall straps. “Mister, I suggest you leave now and tell your client and anyone else that this place ain't for sell.”
Phillip stood up too. “I can see you need a few days to think it over. How about I come back Sunday?”
Pa turned to his wife. “Ma, get my gun out of the cabinet. I think this man needs a lil' encouragement to leave.”
Phillip's eyes widened as Ma left the room. “How dare you threaten me. I can have you arrested.”
Pa shrugged. “Go ahead and try. We'll see who gets put behind bars first.”
Ma came back in with a shotgun and passed it to Pa. He cocked the hammer and waited. Phillip's mouth flapped open and closed a few times before he straightened his shoulders and marched towards the front door. As he reached for the handle, he glared towards the living room.
“This was the wrong choice. I'll be seeing you again soon.”
The door slammed behind him. Pa uncocked the gun and passed it to Scott as he slumped into the chair. Jennifer rushed to his side in concern.
“Pa, are you okay?”
He nodded. “Been a while since my temper got that worked up. Took a bit outta me.”
Jennifer put a hand on his shoulder. “Maybe you should go lay down for a while.”
Pa scowled at her. “I got enough people worrying about me[,] youngin'. Don't you start too. I'll be fine in a few minutes.”
Jennifer wanted to argue but she worried it might be too much so she held her tongue. She walked out to the porch and took a seat on the wicker chair. She leaned her head back against the cushion and closed her eyes. As if she didn't have enough to deal with, now she had to worry about her grandfather's health. What if he decides to sell the ranch? Where will we go?
She opened her eyes to see Chloe standing at the steps, her arms wrapped around the white pillar.
“Yeah[,] baby?”
Please don't let her freak out again.
“I didn't like that man.”
Jennifer twitched her nose. “Me either.”
“He made me feel weird. And he was a liar.”
Jennifer shook her head. “You don't know that[,] baby.”
Chloe sat in the swing and pressed a few buttons on her phone. “Don't be mad, but I ease dropped on the conversation. I know it was wrong but none of you would have let me in there.”
Jennifer sighed. “It's okay. I would have done the same thing. And I guess it concerns you to. If Pa decides to sell, we may be moving back to Atlanta.”
Chloe shook her head. “I know I've been acting like a brat, but I'm not ready to leave just yet.”
“Me either. I forgot how much I love it here. It's so much slower than the city. I've been going at top speed for so long, I didn't realize how tired I was until we got here.”
“Pa can't sell to that man.”
“If that's what he wants to do, there's not much we can say.”
Chloe stamped her foot. “No, you don't get it. That man wasn't who he said he was.”
Jennifer sat up and stared at her daughter, wide eyed. “How do you know that?”
“I thought it was weird that he made a six hour drive for a place that isn't that popular. I did a search like he claimed to do, and this ranch came up as the thirtieth search result. So, I checked out the agency. They have profiles of each of the agents. When I checked his name, I found this.” (Did she have his business card? How did she know the agency and all that?)
She passed the phone to Jennifer. While Jennifer looked at the screen, she pushed the swing into a slow motion.
“That doesn't look like the same guy.”
Chloe shrugged. “I agree. That man was pudgy and he had mean eyes. I thought about telling him his comb over did a horrible job of hiding that huge bald spot at the back of his head, but I remembered my manners. I didn't want you to get mad at me for being rude.”
Jennifer couldn't help but laugh. It sounded like something she would have thought of when she was that age. “I'm glad you didn't say anything. He didn't look like the type of man to handle criticism very well. He got pretty mad at Pa for turning him down.” She handed the phone back to Chloe. “I wonder what he really wanted.”
Chloe sighed. She put her head back and stared at the ceiling fan. “As much as I hate to say this, I think you need to call Chief Taylor. He needs to know there's a fraud in town. The man may be pulling that scam with everyone. I'd hate to see someone fall for it.”
“I'll get his number from Ma.”
“Do you think we need to tell Pa?”
Jennifer played with her hair as she thought about it. “No. He's upset enough as it is.”
She stood up and started to walk into the house. She paused and turned towards Chloe. “Thanks for the help[,] baby. I'm glad I have such a smart daughter.”
Chloe stood up and shrugged. “Well[,] I know how illiterate you can be when it comes to the internet, so I figured I had to do something. This is their home, and mine for now. It's part of my heritage and I'll be danged if some old fart takes it away before I get a chance to ride Spirit.”
She followed Jennifer to the door. “Mom?”
Jennifer turned around. “Yeah?”
Chloe threw her arms around her waist. Jennifer stood still for a brief moment before enclosing her daughter in her arms. She put her head on Chloe's head and clenched her eyes closed [t]--(to) keep the tears from falling.
“I love you. And I'm sorry I got angry with you earlier.”
Jennifer sniffled. “It's okay. I know you're going through a lot too. I don't blame you for being angry.” She pulled back and looked down at her daughter. “I hope you know you can tell me anything. No matter what it is.”
Chloe nodded. “I know. Sometimes, it's just hard. Especially when I know it's something you don't want [t]--(to) hear.”
Jennifer found Pa in the kitchen, talking to the ranch foreman, Joe. He had a glass of sweet tea and a piece of pie, half eaten, sitting in front of him on the table. She felt relieved to see some color had returned to his cheeks. She brushed a kiss along his brow.
“Where's Ma?”
“She's out back, working in her flower bed. I think she's waiting on you. Said she had something important to talk to you about.”
“Great. I'll see you in a bit.”
She walked through the laundry room and out the back door.
“I'm over here. Why don't you help an old lady out and I'll tell ya what ya want to know.”
Jennifer grabbed a knee mat and a pair of gloves. She placed it a few feet from Ma and knelt down.
“I want you to know I could get put in the doghouse for telling you what I'm about to tell ya, so you have to promise not to go telling Chloe I told ya.”
Jennifer shook her head. “Ma, there's a lot of telling in that sentence. How about if you don't hurry up and tell me what she told you, I'm gonna tell Pa that you're trying to marry me off. Then he'll tell you a thing or two about telling people things.”
Ma huffed. “Well I see how interested you are in getting my help. And I ain't tried marrying you off[;]--(...) yet. But don't push me. Now, the reason Chloe got upset is the party. Before y'all left, a boy asked her to a dance. She said she'd come home early to ask you about it, but you didn't give her a chance, because you'd told her y'all were moving.”
Jennifer groaned. “I remember that. She'd been so excited, but I figured it was because it was the last day of school.”
“Yep. She got upset because you didn't ask her if she was okay with the move and that she didn't have any warning. When she told the boy she couldn't go with him, he told her that he didn't care because he'd found a girl who's mom wasn't a controlling bitch.”
“That little creep. I should go back to Atlanta and kick his ass.”
Ma laughed. “Chloe took care of it herself. She broke his nose. When she got home that day, she heard you yelling at Rick on the phone.” [Woah, when did that happen? I don't remember this... Am I losing it? I may be. Lol]
Jennifer dropped the shovel. She felt a panic attack coming on. She remembered that conversation. “Ma, how much of it did she hear?”
Ma glanced at her in concern. “Just that you were moving and warning him not to come here starting anything. She said you told him all you wanted was his signature on the divorce papers and for him to still be her dad.”
Jennifer breathed a sigh of relief as she fought against the darkness trying to pull her under. “Ma, if she'd come in five minutes earlier, she would have heard me cussing him for sending his girlfriend to my house to get some of his stuff. Do you think she knows about him cheating on me?”
Ma shook her head. “No, I don't.”
“I shouldn't have moved here. I thought it was the right thing to do. I was trying to take charge of my own life, but it seemed to cause more problems. I can't stand the thought of losing Chloe.”
Jennifer sat back on her haunches and removed her gloves. She heard giggling over her head and looked up. Chloe had her French doors open. She gulped and looked at Ma, close to hysteria. Ma waved her hand through the air. “Don't worry. She didn't hear anything.”
“Ma, I need Jordan's number.”
Ma gave her a smug smile. “Thinking of getting a date with Mr. Sexy[,] huh?”
“Not exactly. I need to talk to him about something important.”
“Get me a pen from inside and I'll write it down for you.”
Jennifer stood up too quick. Dizziness hit her at the same time as the nausea. She groaned as she placed a hand to her stomach. Crap. I forgot my medicine.
“You know what? I'll just drive into town and catch him.”
Ma winked. “You want a few minutes along with him, huh? Not that I blame you.”
Jennifer rolled her eyes and started towards the back door when she heard a sexy voice filtering out of the open kitchen window. She looked back at her grandma.
“What did you do? You promised no match-making.”
Ma raised her hands in innocence. “Hey, this isn't my doing.”
“I wonder why he's here?”
She heard him ask Pa about her and whimpered. Ma raised an eyebrow. “Guess that answers that question. Jennifer, close your mouth before a bird flies in and makes a nest.”
Jennifer clamped her teeth together. “What do you think he wants?”
“If you don't go inside, I'll call him out here so he can tell you in front of me.”
She scrambled to the door. Her reflection caught her attention and she shoved her hands into her hair to try and fluff the limp strands out. Ma snickered behind her. Irritated with herself, she shoved the door open and ran inside. She slammed into the solid wall of [his]--(Jordan's) hard chest. His hands clamped around her arms to keep her from stumbling backwards. She pushed him away and looked up. He smiled down at her and she swooned towards him again.
“You okay?”
She pulled herself together and nodded. “You knocked the breath out of me.”
He laughed. “Sorry. I think that's the first time I've made a woman breathless. It's usually weak knees that get them.”
“What do you want?”
He raised an eyebrow. She realized how rude she sounded and winced. “Sorry. It's been one of those days.”
Jordan shrugged. “It's okay. I seem to make you uncomfortable.”
“That's ridiculous.”
He took a step towards her. “Is it?”
She tried to step around him. “How about we go into the kitchen?”
He reached behind him and shut the door. She frowned. Her heart raced.
“I think it's better to stay in here for this.”
Jennifer felt her stomach dip. Is he going to kiss me? Am I going to stop him. He reached into his pocket and pulled something out. Curiosity caused her to look down. He twisted two brown bottles so that the label faced up. Her hand reached out to snatch them away. He pulled them from her grasp.
“How did you get those? You didn't tell anyone about them, did you?”
“Nobody knows I have them, except Ashleigh, who gave them to me. She got them from Annie. What are they for?”
Jennifer tried to grab them again. He held them over his head. Jennifer put her hands on her hips. “It's none of your business. Now give them here.”
He shook his head. “No. Are you sick?”
“Jordan, give me the damn bottles.” [Maybe say medicine bottles... I thought she meant liquor bottles.]
“Tell me why you need them.”
Jennifer jumped up to try and get them out of his hand. She couldn't reach. She shoved her hair out of her eyes and huffed. “If you want to know so bad, why didn't you ask Ashleigh.” She thought about kicking him in the leg, but she didn't want to hurt him. “Why did she even give them to you? I asked her and Annie to keep quiet about needing medicine. Isn't it against the law for a person to have someone else's medicine without their permission?”
“There's always circumstances, such as this when it's okay. Annie was going to bring these to you when she closed. She ran into Ashleigh and started asking a bunch of questions. Ashleigh ended up with them after they talked.”
Jennifer rolled her eyes. “Still doesn't explain how you got them.”
He smiled. “I pulled Ashleigh over for speeding. When she told me she had [t]--(to) bring these to you and get back in time to take Brandon to the movies, I volunteered to make the trip for her. She threatened to beat me up if I told anyone.”
She couldn't help but laugh. That sounded like Ashleigh. “Well thank you.”
He shrugged. “Jennifer, I'm not trying to be nosy. I'm concerned. I'd hate to have something happen to you.”
She sighed. “Look, it's nothing serious. That's why I don't want anyone knowing. Everyone would worry for nothing.”
“Okay, well I know you're taking medicine and I'm going to worry until I find out what it's for.”
“You're not going to give up are you?” He shook his head. She threw her hands into the air. “Fine. One's for an ulcer, and the other is for depression.”
A frown settled between Jordan's eyebrows as he passed the bottles over. “That's why you came back here isn't it? To hide out while you're getting better?”
Jennifer shrugged. “Partly. My life was spiraling out of control. I couldn't take it anymore.” [Would depression make her dizzy? Or an ulcer? Is she lying?]
“So your condition, is it serious?”
Jennifer saw the concern in his eyes. She gasped and put her hand against his chest. “It's not that bad. The ulcers haven't gone away because I've been so stressed. And I don't have severe depression. It's more like anxiety attacks. I've never thought of committing suicide or anything like that.”
She saw color began to return to his cheeks. She wanted to kick herself in the butt. How could I have forgotten what he went through with his mom?
“Promise me you'll come to me if things get bad? I'll help you through it.”
She forced a smile. “I promise. Thank you for bringing these to me. And for caring.”
He reached out and brushed a strand of hair from her cheek. “How could I not care? You were my best friend. I wouldn't have made it through everything without your help.”
Jennifer saw him lowering his head. He was going to kiss her. She couldn't force herself to move away. Calm down. He's just going to brush his lips across yours. Like when we were kids.
His mouth settled over hers, tender and with little pressure. She relaxed and waited for him to pull away. She felt his hands wrap around her and bring her against his body. Her mouth parted on a sigh. His tongue slipped between her lips, lightly exploring. She wound her arms around his neck and pressed closer. Jordan moaned as he deepened the kiss. It lit a spark in a dark recess of Jennifer's body. She felt on fire. One of his hands drifted down her arm to settle at her waist.
He shoved the other into her hair and forced her head back. She wiggled against him, trying to ease the pressure building between her legs. Kissing Rick had never been like this and it frightened her, as much as it excited her. She felt Jordan walking backwards, pulling her with him. Their mouths never separated. He stopped and spun them around. She felt the cool metal of the washing machine brushing her calves before he lifted her by the waist and deposited her on top. He settled between her legs. Jennifer crossed her ankles behind his back, holding him to her. She rubbed against the evidence of his desire.
Jordan's fingers found the hem of her shirt and he began to lift it up. She froze and pulled away.
“What's wrong?”
She stared into his glazed eyes, unable to form words. She placed a finger against her pulsing lips.
“I can't do this.”
He frowned. “Do what?”
She shook her head and tried to squirm away. He kept her pinned against him.
“I can't have sex with you.”
Jordan's hands fell from her and he stepped away. He walked to the other side of the laundry room while she jumped down and righted her clothes. She found a clean towel folded on top of the dryer. Retrieving her medicine from the floor, she wrapped them up and tucked the fabric under her arm.
“Jordan, look[-]--(long dash)
He spun around and glared at her. “I can't believe you think that. Yes I want you, but I would never try to act on it where someone could catch us. I have more respect than that.”
Jennifer ducked her head. “I'm sorry. I just assumed[-]--(long dash)” She let the sentence die off.
Jordan snorted. “That I'm some bastard after a quick lay.”
“No. I know you're a good guy, and I don't doubt that if you did have sex with me, you'd expect a relationship to go with it. The problem is, I can't give you that. Any of it. My life's complicated enough as it is.”
She watched him jerk off his Stetson and shove his hands through his wavy brown hair. The strands stood on end. “It seems you've forgotten something about me. When I want something, I don't give up. Ever since I saw you yesterday, I can't stop thinking about you. We started something fifteen years ago and apparently the chemistry's still there. You can hide behind your sickness, your divorce, or your family but I won't go away. I'll be waiting for you to realize we deserve to give this a shot.”
Jennifer couldn't think of a response. She walked towards the door leading to the hallway.
“You may want to fix your hair before we go out. Otherwise, everyone's going to know what we were doing.”
Jennifer reached up and touched the disheveled strands. She put the towel between her knees and smoothed her hair into a simple ponytail. She leaned her head back and looked at him.
“How's it look now?”
He smirked. “Better. But your lips are swollen. It looks like you've been making out in a closet.”
His hand reached around her and twisted the door knob. She stumbled into the kitchen.
“Well, well, what have we here? Aren't you two a little old to be hiding in the closet?”
Jennifer's face flamed as she spotted Chloe sitting at the bar. Betsy beamed at them, as if proud to see they were together.
“Pa, you know how it is. Women just can't resist me.”
He winked at Jennifer as he walked around her and took a seat at the table. Chloe tapped her foot.
“What were you two doing?”
Jordan gave her an innocent look. “We were having an argument. I forgot how difficult your mom could be. You know, she even called me an idiot because I told her the door opened out, instead of in. So, I proved my point. I guess it's a good thing she didn't land on her face. That would have taken away some of my gloating.”
Chloe glanced to Jennifer. She shrugged. “What can I say. I don't like to be wrong.”
The teenager's eyes narrowed. “What else were you arguing about?”
Jordan thanked Betsy for the coffee and took a sip. “Jennifer doesn't think she should have to pay her ticket, since we're old friends. I told her it doesn't matter because the law's the law and I won't bend it for anyone.”
Chloe's mouth dropped open. “Momma, I can't believe you'd think you should get out of it.”
Jennifer groaned. She was going to make Jordan pay for this. “I didn't say I should get out of it. I just asked if he could drop it to a warning, since I didn't know the light was broken.”
Chloe looked back at Jordan. “Chief, I promise you she'll pay the ticket, and donate a little extra to your department. It's the least she could do for insulting you.”
He gave the teenager a sheepish smile. “Well thank[,] Miss Chloe. But don't be too hard on her. She's just not used to the small town life anymore.”
“Momma, did you ask the chief to come by so you could talk to him about that thing?”
Jennifer frowned as she tried to figure out what Chloe was talking about. A few seconds later, it dawned on her. “I did, but I haven't had time to discuss it with him. Maybe you should join us and tell him yourself.”
Jordan frowned. “What's going on?”
Chloe slid off the bar stool and walked towards the hallway. “It's private. You could say it's a legal question we have. Do you have time to discuss it?”
He stood up and joined Chloe at the door. “Sure.”
Jennifer followed them to Pa's study and shut the door. [Maybe describe the setting here? What does the study look like. I don't think we've seen it before.]
“What's going on?”
Chloe told him about the fraudulent real estate agent, and her discovery. Jordan listened and took notes.
“I'm glad you had the sense to check into this Chloe. This sounds like a serious matter and I assure you, I'll get to the bottom of it.”

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for entry "Chapter 3
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 3

Author: Sara

In town
Kay's diner

Kay—the diner owner
Skylar—a friend that Chloe makes
Brandon—Ashleigh's son

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:

I found almost nothing in this chapter to comment on! I don't know if you take that as a good thing or bad, but I think it's great! I only found a few things with grammar and punctuation. I also noticed that a lot of characters get introduced or brought up in this chapter. I like them all, but I did wish I had a little more physical description of them. That's my only real critique for this chapter.

Great job here! I love your characters and the way they speak (even though I'm a Yankee!). The dialect gives a good sense of the setting and the characters. I gives a homey feel too.

Line Edits:

Chapter Three
Jordan drove down Main Street, his stomach rumbling. He'd overslept this morning and skipped breakfast. Now, he was paying for it. As he passed Delaney's, he spotted a blonde teenager walking down the sidewalk. He put on his blinker and pulled over. He got out of his truck and settled his hat on his head. Two men stood in front of the hardware store, staring at Chloe. His hands clenched into fists and he started to walk in their direction. They turned on their heels and disappeared into the dim store. He switched paths.
“Hey Chloe.”
She jumped as she whipped towards him. He noticed her white knuckled grip on her shopping bags. At least she's on guard.
“Oh, hi Chief.”
He nodded towards her bags. “Doing some shopping?”
“Yeah, I needed something to ride in.”
“I see you got your hair cut too. It looks good.”
Chloe watched him with a wary look. He mentally kicked himself. She was from the city, which meant she wasn't used to friendly conversation. She probably thought he was a pervert.
“Well, I saw you walking and wanted to make sure you didn't need a ride back to the ranch.”
She hitched her purse higher on her shoulder. “No thanks. Momma's meeting me at the diner in about ten minutes. We're supposed to buy something for the party this weekend.”
Jordan stroked his jaw. “Did you check out Devina's? She has formal wear. You two ought to be able to get what you need.”
Chloe's eyes lit up for a brief moment before dulling again. “I doubt they have the kind of dresses I'm used to wearing but I guess it'll have to do. Where is it?”
He pointed behind them. “Right next to the diner. You can look around until your ma gets back or you can head to Kay's. She fills up pretty fast at lunch hour so you may want to go ahead and get a booth.”
“I'll wait. Thanks for letting me know Chief. Have a good day.”
He watched Chloe trot down the sidewalk. Her attitude confused him. Yesterday, she had come at him with tooth and nail, yet today, she seemed almost meek. Like she was afraid of him. His hands clenched into fists as horrible thoughts filled his head. If he found out her father had something to do with her polar opposite attitudes, he would kill him. He glanced around town, hoping to spot Jennifer walking towards him. He would love to get a few moments alone with her. He didn't doubt that the second she was with her daughter, Chloe's anger would resurface.
After a minute of hopeless searching, he went to Kay's. Chloe said they were eating lunch there. Maybe he'd get a private minute with her then. He walked into the small diner and glanced around. Half the booths were already filled and there were only a few small tables left in the middle of the room. Jordan made his way to the Formica counter and took a seat near the register.
“Afternoon Chief. How's your day so far?”
He smiled at Kay, the owner, as she filled his coffee cup. “Thanks. It's slow so far.”
Kay grinned, her false teeth starting to creep out of her mouth. She closed her mouth and shifted her [jaws]--(jaw?) She nodded her head in satisfaction and pulled out a notebook.
“What can I get ya today?”
Jordan tapped his knuckles on the plastic covered menu. “Chicken fried steak, mashed 'taters, green beans, and a corn muffin.”
“I'll give ya three muffins. I know how much ya like 'em.” She winked as she walked towards the kitchen. Jordan sipped his coffee as he alternated between the clock and the door. He hoped Jennifer would be coming in before he had to leave.
Jennifer pulled up outside Kay's and got out. She'd called Chloe's cell phone and found out her daughter was looking for a dress.
“I hope she's done by now.”
The bell tinkled over the door as she walked into the cool store.
“Mom, I'm back here.”
Jennifer weaved her way through the racks of formal wear. “Any luck?”
Chloe shrugged. “I've looked through everything but this rack. I hope I find something.”
Jennifer sat in one of the chairs along the wall and waited. Her eyelids were starting to droop when Chloe's voice startled her.
“Are you wanting this one?”
She sat up and watched Chloe talking with another teenage girl, around her own age. The black haired girl tilted her head to the side and studied the dress Chloe had pulled out.
“Nah, you had it first.”
Chloe shrugged and walked into the dressing room next to Jennifer's seat. Clothes rustled then she came back out, a disgusted look on her face. She held the hanger out to the girl.
“Here. It looked horrible on me.”
“Thanks. Check this one out. I bet it would look rocking, with your coloring.”
The girl passed Chloe a pale pink dress with spaghetti straps and a puffy white skirt. A few minutes later, Chloe came back out smiling.
“This is the one I want.”
Jennifer sighed in relief. “Great. Let's go.”
Chloe frowned. “Momma, you still have to pick something out.”
The second girl came back out, her face twisted in a comical look of horror. “Oh Gawd, this has to be the worst dress in the whole store.” She put the item back on the rack. “What'd you think of the one I gave you?”
Chloe grinned. “It's perfect. You were right. You've got a good eye.”
The girl shrugged as she tossed her long black hair over her shoulder. “Thanks. I'm Skylar, by the way.”
Chloe held out her hand and introduced herself.
“You're new to town[,] huh?”
She nodded.
“You going to the anniversary party this weekend at the Bar M?”
Chloe's eyes widened. “How'd you know about that? You going too?”
Skylar laughed. “I think Ma and Pa invited the whole town.”
“You're related to them too?”
Skylar grabbed another dress off the rack. “You must be from the city. That's what everyone calls them. Are you the great-granddaughter?”
“How'd you know that?”
“They've been talking about you getting here for a few weeks now. They've all been pretty excited. I gotta try this one on. I think it's the right one.”
Chloe turned back towards the dresses with an intense look of concentration. She jerked three free from the metal bar and shoved them at Jennifer. “Try these on.”
Sixteen dresses later, Jennifer had one Chloe thought was suitable. They checked out and made their way to Kay's, Skylar in tow.
“You girls find a seat. I'm going to say hi.”
She felt Chloe's eyes glaring at her as she walked towards the counter. Jennifer watched the small woman bustling around. When she finally stopped, Jennifer tapped her on the shoulder.
“What can I get ya sweetie?”
“How about a hug for the girl you considered a second daughter?”
Kay spun around, her mouth gaping open. “Well I'll be. What are you doing here?”
“I'm hoping to get a good lunch. From the looks of this crowd, there might not be any food left.”
She squeezed the waitress before stepping back.
“I heard you were coming home.”
Jennifer fingered her ponytail. “Yeah, I had to get away. I couldn't handle the pressure of the city or my marriage any longer.”
Kay squinted. “I heard he was a piece of work. Don't you worry. You don't need a man. Sometimes doing everything alone is easier.”
Jennifer laughed. Kay was a bit of a feminist, ever since her ex-husband had run out on her [thirty two]--(thirty-two) years ago. “I'm hoping he'll stay out of the picture but I doubt my luck's that good. He'll come for us and start a big scene.”
Kay's mouth rounded into an 'o'. “He doesn't want to do that. Our new police chief doesn't put up with nonsense like that. He'll go to jail quick.”
“Maybe Jordan'll give me a break, given our past.”
The older woman shook her head. “Doubt that. He doesn't bend the rules for nobody. He even wrote his own ma a ticket a few years ago.”
“She shouldn't have been speeding.”
Jennifer whirled around and gasped. “Jordan, you scared me.”
His lips tilted upwards, creating a dimple in his left cheek. “Sorry darlin'. Glad to see you're talking 'bout me though. Hope it was something good.”
“Hey Mom. We're over here.”
Jennifer looked around Jordan's broad shoulder. Chloe sat on her knees in one of the window booths, waving her hand. “Uh, I gotta go.”
Jordan grabbed her arm as she squeezed by him. “Do you have a date for Friday night?”
She glanced down at his tanned hand against her pale flesh. “I'm going alone.”
“Want to go with me?”
She shook her head. “I don't think that's a good idea.”
“Why not?”
Jennifer sighed. “Jordan, I'm about to go through a messy divorce. I can't think of having a new relationship right now.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Who said anything about a relationship? It would be a casual date, between two old friends. A way to keep the women of this town from mauling me to death. I'm a pretty eligible bachelor, ya know.”
“Modest aren't you? Sorry, but I still have to pass. It was good to see you.”
Jennifer made her way through the crowded diner to the booth. Chloe glared at her as she sat across from her.
“Mrs. Matthews, do you know who you were just talking to?”
Jennifer glanced at the chief as he walked towards the door. He waved their way and left. “Yeah, that's Jordan. We were friends way back when.”
Skylar sighed. “He's so cute. I hope he stays single until I'm eighteen. I want to marry him.”
Chloe scoffed. “Why?”
“Oh come on. He's gorgeous. And he's a really good guy. He got a thing for you Mrs. Matthews?”
Jennifer shook her head hard. “It's nothing like that. We're just friends.”
“Too bad. Y'all look good together.”
Chloe slammed her menu down. “Her and my dad look better. I can't wait for you to meet him. He's the greatest guy in the world.”
[Jeniffer's]--(Jennifer's) appetite disappeared as nausea gurgled in her stomach. She held back a groan.
“You ladies know what ya want?”
Jennifer jumped at Kay's high pitched voice. She shot her a look of concern. “You okay sweetie?”
She nodded and bit her lip. “Hey, can you tell me where I can find Roxanne? I can't wait to surprise her.”
Kay glanced at the neon clock over the kitchen partition. “She ought to be here any time now. Her shift started three minutes ago.”
The bell over the door tinkled, and Jennifer turned around. She winked at Kay, who called a busty redhead over to the table. She stood in front of Jennifer to block her from view.
“Roxy, I got a question for ya. What was the name of that girl you used to hang out with all the time? Ya know, Martha's granddaughter.”
Roxanne popped her gum and frowned. “Jennifer. Like you'd forgotten.”
Kay shrugged. “Been a while since she's been around. My mind don't work like it used to.”
Roxanne laughed. “Yeah right. You know the order of every person in this diner, before they even sit down. Why'd you ask about her?”
“The chief was just in here and we were talking about how quiet it's been. Got me to thinking of all the trouble you two girls used to get into.”
“Yeah, most of it was Jennifer's idea too.”
Jennifer poked her head past Kay's side. “Hey, I seem to remember you coming up with a few crazy ideas too.”
Roxanne squealed and nudged her mom out of the way so she could pull Jennifer to her feet. “What are you doing here? When'd you get here? Why didn't you call me?”
Jennifer giggled. She'd missed her best friend. “I moved here yesterday, actually and I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“Well it's a good one. I'm so happy you're home.”
“Hey Chloe, did you know your mom knew mine?”
Jennifer turned to look at Skylar. “You're a Ubanks? Oh Christ. Chloe, you are not allowed to hang out with her.”
Roxanne elbowed her in the side. “Hey that should be my line. You're the one who always got us caught. Like that time you plowed through the fence in Pa's truck because you'd decided to run away to Hollywood.” She looked at her daughter and winked. “I was such a great friend I spent two weeks of my summer helping her fix it.”
Jennifer put a hand on her hip. “Um, you helped because you didn't want me to tell anyone that I was on my way to pick you up. I seem to recall you were eager to marry Bon Jovi.”
Roxanne blushed and looked at her mom. “Gee thanks. Now I'm going to be in big trouble.”
Kay tapped her foot. “Even worse if you don't get your butt to work.”
Roxanne stuck her tongue out and walked backwards towards the counter. “Jennifer, you and me have a date tomorrow night. Meet me at Chug's at seven. Talk to ya later.” She whirled on her heel and disappeared into the kitchen.
Skylar looked at Chloe and grinned. “I think it's so cool that our moms are friends. Guess we're like them huh?”
Chloe scowled but murmured what could have been a yes. After they placed their order, Jennifer sat back and watched her daughter. She looked different with her hair shorter. It was starting to curl and brought out the color of her green eyes. She looked a lot older. Someone tapped on her shoulder, bringing her from her thoughts. She looked behind her and smiled.
“Hey, I'm glad you could make it.”
She slid over so Ashleigh could sit beside her. A tall teenage boy pulled a chair up from an empty table nearby and flipped it backwards so he could straddle it. Jennifer stared at him for a minute.
“Tell me that's not Brandon?”
Ashleigh nodded. “Yeah, it is. He's gotten tall huh?”
Jennifer raised an eyebrow. “I'd say abnormally gigantic. He looks a lot like Brad.” She held out her hand. “Hi, I'm Jennifer. I doubt you remember me. You were seven the last time I saw you.”
He smiled. “Yes ma'am, actually I do. Momma talks about you enough.” He turned his head and nodded to Skylar before focusing on Chloe.
“Is this your youngin'?”
Jennifer nodded. “That's Chloe.”
Ashleigh sighed. “Wow, it's like looking at a photo from years ago. I remember when you dyed your hair blond. It wasn't a good look for you but it works for her.”
Jennifer cringed. She remembered her attempt at being platinum blond. It had made her look like a ghost with her pale complexion.
“Brandon, quit staring. You're freaking her out.”
Jennifer glanced from Chloe to Brandon. He snapped his mouth shut and looked down at his hands. She hid a smile. Their food arrived and everyone waited until Kay had walked away before conversation resumed.
“You still going to the party this weekend B?”
Brandon shrugged as he snagged a french fry from Skylar's plate. “I wasn't going to but Frank talked me into it.”
Skylar giggled. “I heard about him decking you. That's what you get for trying to pawn him off on Jason.”
Ashleigh leaned her elbows on the table. “What do you mean by that?”
Brandon groaned. “Thanks Sky. Bust me out.” He looked at his mom. “Frank begged me to go the party so he wouldn't have to hang out alone. I told him he could always chill with Jason. He popped me in the eye. So, I agreed to go.”
Ashleigh put a hand to her chest. “You told me you'd gotten that during football. How dare you deceive your overworked mother like that.”
“Sorry Mom.”
Chloe frowned as she took a sip of her milkshake. “Why would your friend hit you for saying he could hang out with someone else?”
Brandon's eyes widened as he opened his mouth. He shut it quick without saying anything. Skylar nudged Chloe's arm. “You have to excuse him. He's not used to talking to babes like us. Jason's this womanizing creep. He thinks he's God's gift to women and treats everyone like crap. B and his buddies don't like him. Frank considered it an insult that B would think he'd hang out with him.” She looked Chloe over. “Ya know, you're just his type. He's going to come after you hard. It's a good thing you got me and B to keep you from falling to his charm.”
Jennifer put her hands in her lap and clenched them together. The last thing she needed right now was Chloe getting interested in a guy just like her dad. Not that she'd be able to say anything. If Chloe found out Jennifer didn't want her to do it, she'd take pleasure in defying her.
Chloe looked back at Brandon. “Is he that bad?”
Brandon shrugged. “He likes to degrade women. He takes advantage of innocent girls, gets what he wants then dumps them. This is a small town. It doesn't take much for the females here to think all us guys are the same. Makes it hard for the good ones to prove them wrong.”
Chloe glanced at her plate. “Oh. I know guys like that.” She looked at Jennifer. “Momma, can we go? I promised Miss Betsy I'd help with supper and I still have to get my riding lesson.”
Jennifer nodded, wondering about Chloe's sudden withdrawal. She tossed some money on the table and hugged Ashleigh bye. She caught Roxanne's eye and made a phone gesture with her fingers. Roxanne responded with a thumb's up.
“Brandon, it was good to see you again. Skylar, if it's okay with your mom, you can spend the night at the house tomorrow night while we go out.”

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Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Title: Evanescent

Chapter: 1

Author: Ashley Williams

Evangeline's home/ her bedroom

Book store

Xavier's apartment

Evangeline-- known by her nickname E, is the main female character in the story, don't know her age yet, has a secret 'not so secret' crush on her one and only friend Xavier, her family doesn't have much money, doesn't have a dad, has a record for picking bad guys, is jealous of Xavier's girlfriend, gets her first kiss and gets into a brief argument with Xavier before leaving his apartment, loves reality T.V. and True Blood, is also fascinated by legends and mystical creatures

Xavier-- seems to be the main male character of the story, E's best friend, lives in Philly in his own apartment, don't know his age yet either, his family has a lot of money and power somehow, seems to be hiding a secret from E, has a girlfriend back in Romania where his family lives names Naomi, works at a book store (but his family has a lot and overabundance of money), is fascinated with legends and has pictures of them all over his apartment, goes back to Romania for a 'family emergency' on a private jet

Naomi-- Xavier's girlfriend back in Romania that calls him a lot

E's mother-- no husband anymore, goes out drinking with her friends once in a while, gets wasted this time and E finds her passed out on the couch

Xavier's father-- has a phone conversation with his son, doesn't want him to tell E something, yells at him on the phone to come back to Romania

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:

Hey there, Ashley!

I finally got a chance to read through your first chapter. I wanted to give you a brief explanation of how I review, since you are still new to writing.com and this is your first review from me. As I read, I edit line-by-line. You will see all my comments in the line edits below this. They are marked in red. I try to give a thorough review. I focus A LOT on grammar and the little things that most ignore when reviewing. That way, when you edit, it is easier for you. So if you see a lot of red in the line edits, don't worry! I don't want you to freak out or anything. Most of it is grammar and easy fixes. I also write my impressions while I read, so you might see my reactions, like laughter or my silly thoughts. I do this so that you know what the reader is thinking when they read your work for the first time. You can then see if those reactions are the ones you wanted to achieve.

Now, on to my thoughts on your story. I thought you have a lot of things set up here. There is a lot of mystery and hints to what is going to happen in the future. That's great! I also love your main character names. I am all for different, unique names. I'm not a Jim, Bob, and Mary kind of writer either. I also like how Xavier is from Romania. It adds to his mystery. There are little details I like in here too, like E's love for reality television and her not-so-skinny skinny jeans. They are great tidbits that add to the character and give your writing humor.

I did see a constant switch from present tense to past. I started marking it in the line edits, but I figured if I just told you here, you could check it out when you go through a round of story edits. I was surprised you decided to write this in present tense. That is incredibly hard to do! It is difficult to stay in the present tense, and things get even more complicated with flashbacks and inner thoughts. Most stories (romance especially) is written in 3rd person past tense. I'm not telling you that you should switch, of course. I admire your drive to challenge yourself. Writing in 1st person present tense may be difficult, but if you are sure your story will sound the best written that way, go for it! The only way to master it is to practice it. As I was reading, I also came across a couple of long sentences. I do this too and have been scolded for it too. When you are on a roll and the words are coming so easily, it feels right to stretch out those sentences. In reality, it makes what you are trying to say confusing and awkward. This is an easy fix. It just requires the breaking up of the sentences and deletion of excess words. Nothing too crazy there!

I hope this review helps you. As I said before, don't be afraid of the red marks. Most of my marks are little things, like grammar mistakes and punctuation. We all make those mistakes! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I hope you are enjoying being on writing.com. It has helped me so much in my writing. I have been a member since 2008, and I have met many published authors and have helped edit their work. There are agents here that scope out new talent too.

Keep writing!

~Analeigh Henning

Line Edits:

The bedroom glows an eerie blue, as I sit [ in my dark room]--(I would delete this because it is a repeat of the first part of the sentence. You already said bedroom and that it is glowing blue, so no need to say room and dark again.) watching a rerun of Real Housewives of New Jersey. My mom is out for the night with a group of her friends, which leaves me all alone in our medium sized suburban home. We [ didn’t]--(don't) really have money so to speak[ , ]--(. In) fact we were living pay check to pay check[ , ] but mom and I made it work.
One of the ladies on the screen is screaming about some insignificant little problem in her otherwise glamorous life. Don’t get me wrong[ , ] I’m practically a reality TV addict[ , ]--( . My) favorite shows [ being ]--(are) the Real Housewives franchise, but something irked my soul about how these women, who really had nothing to complain about, were constantly bickering and arguing with one another. My mom and I always joked about how funny it would be to see them thrown into our lives for a couple of months, to actually see them struggle.
I look around my room feeling extremely lucky that I had what I did have even though I had no possible idea how we afforded it.
I [ hated ]--(hate) being home alone, a fact that I [ didn’t]--(don't)think [ was ]--(is)going to change with age. I have one friend named Xavier [ What an awesome name!], and he [ was]--(is) busy at work so I couldn’t call him to come hang out. After being home for such a long time by myself and with night finally settling in outside, I decide instead to go visit him at the bookstore he works at.
I put on a pair of skinny jeans, although I’m not so skinny,[ I love this bit. It's a corky comment that says a lot of the character's humor and her physically] and pull a t-shirt over my head. Walking down the steps I realize that Xavier probably [ hadn’t ate]--(this sounds awkward) yet and figured I’d surprise him with some grub. I go back into my room and grab my wallet then head down the stairs, put on some vintage combat boots, and my leather bomber jacket and head out.
Pulling out of the drive way[ , ] I think of where I should go to get some food[ . When] I glance at the clock I realize that it’s almost 9 which means that Xavier will be done in 30 minutes anyway. I figure I’ll just hang around the shop until he closes up and then we can go get some food after.
The shop is about five minutes from my house so I’m there in no time. I park on the street opposite of the shop, and meander across it and into the bookstore[ , ]--( . The) little bell announcing my arrival. The store is empty, of course, being so close to closing time.
Xavier is in the back of the store stocking up[ , ]--(no comma here) and looks up quickly to greet his customer.
“E!” he says[ , ]--( . ) “What are you doing here?” He gets up from his work and comes to give me a hug.
His tall muscular frame envelops me in a hug. When he stands back I try hard not to stare at his perfectly white teeth[ , ]--(no comma here) and deep green eyes. His hair is short and styled to perfection as usual.
“Mom was out[ , ]--( . ) I was freaked out being home by myself, and I’m hungry. I [ figure ]--(figured) you’d be too. I was thinking we could go get something to eat after you’re done here.”
“Perfect, I’m starving[ . ] I’ve been here since school let out.” He smiles.
His cell starts vibrating in his pocket[ , ] and he picks up[ , ] putting his finger in the air signaling for me to wait.
“Hey babe,” he says, “I miss you too[ ….. ]--(ellipses are only three periods: '...') Yeah I’m coming home for Easter…[ space here] I can’t wait to see you either…[ space]--(All) right talk to you later.”
In no way were Xavier and I together or in a relationship no matter what my mother wanted to think, but it didn’t change the fact that every time I heard him talk to his girlfriend, it rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn’t like I had feelings for the kid[ . ]--(He'd) been like my brother ever since he’d arrived from Romania four years ago. He was gorgeous of course, tall and muscular, black short hair, and dressed like he belonged on the cover of Vogue, but I had never felt anything romantic towards him. At least not until a few months ago when he’d started dating some girl from back home.
Xavier spent summers and holidays with his family who lived in Romania, so when he came home from Christmas break he told me that he was in a relationship with a girl back home. [ At first it didn’t bother me, but when the incessant phone calls from her didn’t let up, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d lost some time with him to his anonymous woman. ]--(This sentence reads a little awkward. Maybe reword?)
He wouldn’t talk about her, which was perfectly fine by me, but I guess a small part of me wondered if it was because he didn’t trust me, which was unlikely, or if he was just trying to save my feelings from being hurt, which was equally crazy.
I mean maybe he was reliving the days when he’d first transferred here. All the girls in my school had been crazy about him, including me, but for whatever reason he took a liking to me, and we’d been attached at the hip ever since. I had been in ninth grade and like everyone else was swooning over him, but unlike everyone else I had the guts to speak to him, and low and behold he spoke back. I finally got enough courage to ask him on a date, but he’d turned me down. It was devastating at the time, but I’m glad things had worked out the way they did. Still, sometimes a small part of me hoped and wished that one day he’d want to be more than friends.
“Hey E, wanna help me close up? It doesn’t look like anyone is going to come so we might as well go early.” he says.
“What do I look like? Free slave labor?” I smirk.
“You read my mind[ , ]--( . Now) get to it before I have to break out the whip.” He quirks his eyebrow sexily at the innuendo he’d just made. I feel my face flush.
Xavier knew I hated any kind of talk about anything sexual[ , ]--( . He) didn’t know that I only had a problem with it when it involved him. So, maybe I liked him a little more than I let on, but I’d rather have a friendship with him than try to have something more and screw the friendship up. Most of the time it was easy to ignore my feelings for him because he was so easy going, but other times, like when he was on the phone with a certain woman from Romania, it was harder.
“All right fine, what do you want me to do?” I ask.
“Can you finish putting these books away on this shelf.”
I look at the pile of books, then back to him rolling my eyes. “Yeah I guess.”
“You’re my favorite person you know that.” He smiles his perfect knee wobbling smile, and I roll my eyes trying to ignore the pull I’m feeling towards him. He turns and walks toward the cash register.
“I highly doubt that[ , ]” I say quietly under my breath.
He returns again, “What do you mean you doubt that? You are most definitely my favorite person.”
How the hell had he heard me? I’d barely heard myself say that.
“Ok sure Xavier[ . ]--( , )” I exclaim lamely. [ I don't think this dialog tag works here. Something can't really be exclaimed lamely. My suggestion is just taking out the adverb all together, since most publishers don't like adverbs. The readers can tell her tone by what she says already. ] “Can we just hurry up? I’m freaking starving.”
“Yeah I’m almost done.” [ He looks a little hurt by what I’d said, but what was he supposed to expect, when he had what I’m sure was a perfectly beautiful girlfriend back in Romania. ]--(This sentence read a bit awkward. I think it is just because it is so long. Breaking it up into smaller sentences can help with the flow.)
We didn’t talk for the rest of the time that we worked, which disappointed me a little. I finish stocking the books on the shelves and get up to go apologize. When I round the corner to where the cash register is I see Xavier standing there talking on the phone again, probably with his girlfriend.
“Yes…I get it[ ….]--(...)” he sounds irritated. “Yes dad I get it…I’ll be home as soon as I can…No of course she doesn’t know[ …..]--(...)but Dad[ , ] listen[ , ] I really think I should tell her.” Xavier flinches as the voice on the other end raises and bellows so much that I can hear it from my spot 15 feet away. “You’re right dad I just thought it might make things smoother…[ space here ]I’ll leave tomorrow morning.” Leave? Maybe there was a family emergency.
I pretend that I’m just coming from my chore[ , ]--(delete) and act like I hadn’t heard anything at all.
“Xavier, I’m done. Ready for some food?” I ask.
“Yeah sure, sounds good.” [ he ]--(He) doesn’t sound like he cared either way.
“Who pissed in your cheerios?” [ that]--(That) earns me a small grin.
He runs his hand through his hair. “Just family issues. Lets go get some food though.”
“Fine by me, what do you want? Mexican, Italian, Indian, Jamaican?” I ask.
“Italian sounds good[ , ]” he says.
“Are you sure you’re even hungry? You look real bummed out right now[ . ]--( , )” I state as I look at his perfectly sculpted face.
“Yeah, I’m hungry, but I’m bummed too.”
“Well lets talk over dinner[ , ]--( . How about) we go to Luigi’s, I’d sell my soul for a slice of pizza.”
“Sounds good, should we take separate cars or what?”
“I don’t care, I could be out all night if I wanted. You know how mom is when she has her nights out. She either comes home extremely late, or is so drunk when she does come home that she can barely function. So it doesn’t really matter to me.”
“All right, well since you hate being by yourself, totally childish by the way,” he chides, “you can just crash at my house or vice versus.”
Normally a guy asking a girl to stay over his house for the night meant one thing, but I’ve stayed over Xavier’s house plenty of times before. I didn’t have any family so whenever things got too heavy at home I usually crashed at his place.
“Yeah sounds good.”
After closing up the shop[ , ] Xavier and I grab our things and take his car to Luigi’s. We pull into Luigi’s parking lot a few minutes later[ , ]--(delete) and walk inside. The place is pretty dead, so we decide to order our pizza and take it home.
By the time we get to his place my stomach feels like a black hole. I rush up the steps balancing the pizza on my hand[ , ] and he tosses me the keys from down below. I walk into his apartment, which is every bit as fascinating as him, and set the pizza down on the kitchen table.
His father was obviously well off if he could afford for his son to live like this abroad. The loft apartment is located in downtown Philly in a prominent area[ , ]--(delete) and perfectly blended old world charm with modern necessity. Throw in Xavier’s eccentric taste and you had this place. There were statues and paintings of various creatures and legends on the walls[ , ]--( . My) favorite was the one that hung above his bed. It was a painting depicting six figures[ , ] each a different human legend[ , ] and they were all holding hands. A witch, a faerie, a demon, an angel, a vampire, and a werewolf, I don’t know why I felt so drawn to it, but it woke something up inside of me every time I looked at it.
My stomach grumbles.
I go back toward the kitchen where Xavier is savoring a slice of pepperoni pizza. Being the perfect guest, I actually get a plate, instead of eating like an animal. After loading said plate with three slices of pizza I make myself comfortable on the futon couch turning the T.V. on.
“We are not watching any reality television[ , ]” Xavier says.
Fine if he was going to be that way[ , ] I huff inwardly. I flip though the channels trying to find the one thing he hated more than reality television[ , ]--(delete) and came to one of my favorite shows. True Blood.
“Seriously Evangeline?” he groans.
“What? It’s not reality television[ , ]--( . )” I say as sweetly as possible. I pat the space next to me, and he reluctantly walks over and plops down on the seat.
“So who’s your favorite?” I ask him jokingly. When he rolls his eyes I continue to blabber on details about the show. “I happen to love Eric[ , ] the tall sexy blond vamp, but I mean I’d totally do Alcide too[ , ]--(. He's) a werewolf by the way.”
“Oh please E! This show is ridiculous[ , ]--( . It's) not even a realistic portrayal.” He looks down at his lap as soon as he says it.
“Well duh idiot, vampires and shape shifters, and faeries aren’t real[ . ]--( , )” I reply.
“Right, I just meant they don’t portray the legends correctly[ . ]--( ,)” he says nervously.
Hmm, that was weird it was almost like he actually did believe those things were real. I brush off the weird feeling I get.
“So what about your family issues? Spill[ . ]--( , )” I say.
“Oh there’s some family drama going on back home. I have to leave tomorrow.”
“What! How long are you going to be gone?” I ask frantic. The senior prom, was three weeks away, and Xavier and I had planned on going together. It wouldn’t of been such a big deal had I not already gotten my dress and paid for my ticket.
“I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping I’ll be back by the prom.” [ he ]--(He) shields himself from my wrath.
“Your hoping? Well that’s just great Xavier. I already bought the dress and the ticket. I really hope for your sake that your aren’t lying about a family emergency so you can go shack up with your girlfriend for a while.” I’m shocked that managed to slip from my mind and out of my mouth.
Xavier must have been shocked too because he looks at me like I’m nuts.
“Oh my God. Xavier I’m sorry, that was totally out of line. I hope everything is okay back home. I should probably go since I’ve made a complete fool of myself. Have a good trip.”
“E. How are you getting home, you don’t have a car remember? Just stay, I will completely ignore the fact that you just called me a liar. Promise.” [ he ]--(He)smiles and I know I’m forgiven. I still feel incredibly awkward though, so I decide I’m just going to go to bed.
“What time are you leaving tomorrow?” I ask so I know to be up and ready so he doesn’t have to wait for me.
“Probably around ten in the morning. Dads sending his private jet, so it’s not like I have to rush. I can take you home too.”
“Okay sounds good.” I go to the bathroom and rinse my face. [ new paragraph here]“I can’t believe you said that E[ , ]” I whisper to myself in the mirror.
Walking out of the bathroom I go to the hall closet and grab a spare blanket. In the living room I pull out the futon and make myself comfortable, watching T.V. as I try to fall asleep.
Right before I’m ready to dose off, Xavier walks in. My breath hitches. He’s wearing a pair of worn gray jersey pajama bottoms[ , ]--(delete) and no shirt. I try to look away[ , ]--(delete) because all of a sudden my heart feels like it’s in my throat, and I can barely breath. His chest and abs are so toned and muscular[ , ]--(delete) that all I want to do is run my hand down them. There’s a slight trail of dark hair leading to parts of him I can’t think about without coming close to combusting.
“Hey E. Can I ask you a question?” he says.
“I guess[ . ]--( , )” I manage to squeak out.
“I don’t want to piss you off, but after what you said, I just want to know that your okay with me being with Naomi.”
I scoff.
“Xavier that’s your business not mine, and as long as your happy with her than I’m happy for you.” I sound like I’m rehearsing a badly clichéd movie line[ , ] but it’s all I could say since my heart felt like it was being ripped to pieces. Why did the guy you always like have feelings for someone else? Maybe I just couldn’t pick the right guys? Maybe I was just like my mother, always picking total douche bags, although Xavier wasn’t exactly a douche bag. He couldn’t help how he felt or how I felt.
“Ok E. Goodnight.”
“Night.” For the first time in a very long time I weep silently and pitifully for something that I could never have until sleep claims me.
When I wake up the next morning I have that weird feeling of, where am I, for a brief second. Xavier is still asleep so I quietly pad into his bedroom to wake him up. Looking down at him in his peaceful sleepy state I have the incredible urge to curl up in bed with him and hope that he misses his flight out.
Then I remember that he’s got a freaking jet. I pull my phone out of my waistband and check the time. It’s 9:00 am.
“Xavier, get up[ , ]” I say sleepily.
He stirs briefly. His hand shoots out quicker than any normal persons hand should, and latches around my wrist pulling me down on top of him. My [ hearts ]--(heart's)beating out of my chest as he flips us so that I’m now underneath him. I don’t think anything has ever felt so right or so good in my life, but I’m also aware of the fact that he is still half asleep and doesn’t know what he’s doing. All thoughts vanish though when he begins to kiss me. As first kisses go this has to be the absolute best. I let out a groan of pleasure as his callused fingertips caress my sides and travel dangerously close to my breasts.
“Mhm, Naomi. You’re so beautiful[ , ]” Xavier says. [ Ouch, that's a heart breaker! LOL ]
The fire inside me freezes instantaneously and is replaced by something that is so awful and depressing I want to fling myself off a bridge. I slap Xavier across the face, which thankfully wakes him up. I know it isn’t exactly his fault since he was not all there but it doesn’t make the hurt any less painful. My heart feels like its going to break.
“f*** you Xavier[ . ]--( ,)” I say as I climb over the bed and out of his room before he sees my tears.
“Wait Evangeline[ . ]--( , ).” he says. I ignore him and go grab my stuff.
He follows me out of the room in all his gorgeous, just-woke-up, glory. I roll my eyes.
“E. I’m sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry about.” I sniff. “You were horny and you thought I was your girl. Nothing to really explain. It’s probably my fault anyway for hoping that maybe-” I stop myself before I shatter the air of nonchalance, in regards to my feelings for him, that I’ve built up all these years.
“For hoping what E?” he asks[ , ] eyes pleading.
“Nothing. I’m leaving. I’ll catch a cab[ . ]--( , )” I tell him.
“Come on E. Do you even have money for a cab?”
“That’s really not your problem or business. I’ll f***ing walk if I have too. I’m not staying with you for another second I know that much.”
“Why?” [ He ]--(he) asks.
“Things went too far Xavier. I cannot un-remember that kiss. It was my first you know? And I’ve been trying ever since you turned me down 4 years ago to not have feelings for you. It was going good too, until that happened.” I gesture with my hands.
“E. I don’t know what to say.”
“There’s nothing to say. Don’t even worry about it. I’m going home. Have a safe flight. I’ll talk to you when you get back.” Without looking at him I walk out of his apartment with my stuff bundled in my arm and tear streaks staining my face, looking like a five dollar hooker.
When I get home, a cab, a bus, and twenty dollars later, I find my mom has passed out on the couch. By no means is my mom an alcoholic or anything it’s just that every once in a while she’ll go out with her friends and get completely trashed. I like to attribute it to the fact that she had me at a young age and never really got to party much. The debate is still up as to why her friends are like that though.
In the kitchen I grab some bread and pop it in the toaster and then pour myself a glass of iced tea.
I take the plate of buttered toast and cup of iced tea with me up to my room where I switch on the television and put on cartoons. I’m trying desperately to forget about what happened at Xavier’s apartment. Eventually I decide that being that it’s Sunday I should get some laundry and homework done.
A few hours pass by in a haze when a text pops up on my phone.
Hey E.
Of course it’s him. I find that I’m completely speechless, well, textless anyway. I don’t even know how to begin to approach the situation. I settle for something easy.
Hey. I text in response.
Are you all right? We left things in kind of a weird place.
We sure did.
What you said, about hiding your feelings? Is that true? And for how long E?
Oh God. He was really asking that?
Don’t really want to talk about that. Look can we please just forget about the whole thing.
Is that what you want?
Yes please. You’re my only friend. I don’t want things to be weird.
Fine, I’ll forget about it for now. But we’re having a serious discussion when I get back.
Who are you my father? J/k Fine we can talk when you’re back. When exactly will that be btw?
I promise I’ll be back for formal. [ Formal or prom?]
Good. =]
Ok I’ll talk to you later.
Text or call when you land please.
Will do.
The next few days go by in an absolute haze of boringness. Finally Thursday turns into Friday and I can barely contain my excitement for the prom tonight. Maybe most of my excitement had to do with the fact that Xavier had gotten home the previous night, but no one but me needed to know that.

for entry "Chapter 2
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 2

Author: Sara

The ranch (kitchen)
The doctor's office lobby

Jennifer- is settling into her home again, at the ranch she feels better, she is sick somehow and needs medicine for dizziness

Betsy- the ranch cook


Chloe- is still struggling to make a home, but she is slowly settling in and connecting with small things


Jordan- comes over for dinner, surprising Jennifer, Chloe is rude to him, but he is understanding

Ashleigh- an old friend of Jennifer's, a nurse, is curious of Jennifer's need for medicine

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:
On to chapter 2! Another good chapter here. The only thing I saw is what we have discussed before with the dialog tag lines. Some times it gets a little confusing with who is talking when it goes back and forth and back and forth. Besides that, this is moving along nicely!

Line Edits:

Chapter Two
Jennifer rushed into the kitchen as she heard voices outside her downstairs bedroom door. She'd spent so much time reminiscing about the past, she hadn't had time to change clothes before dinner. Her pants felt stiff and her shirt stuck to her clammy skin. She'd kept her hair in a haphazard ponytail. Chloe looked at her as she walked through the swinging door. She waited, expecting criticism.
“Mom, supper's ready.”
Jennifer hesitated a minute before replying. “What are we having?”
“Pork chops with white gravy, mixed greens, corn bread, homemade mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. And Miss Betsy made three different kind of pies for dessert. Can you believe they eat like this every day? I'm going to be a size 5 by the end of the month.”
Betsy, the ranch cook, spun around, a wooden spoon in her hand. She pointed it at Jennifer. “What's this I hear about microwave dinners and fast food? I taught you to cook when you was a youngin'. I know you ain't been in the city so long you forgot how.”
Jennifer felt her face grow warm. “Um, I was always so busy, it was just easier.”
Chloe's brow furrowed. “Man, I've been eating mystery meat all this time when I could have had food like this? What a ripoff.”
“I'm so sorry. You do realize there are kids out there that complain about not having fast food, right?”
She shrugged. “It got old. Miss Betsy, can you teach me to cook?”
Betsy beamed, her face melting into a mass of wrinkles. “I'd love to baby girl.”
Ma grabbed the bowl of mashed potatoes and nodded towards the dining room door. “Let's get this food outside before the men start complaining.”
Jennifer grabbed the plate of cornbread and followed the line of women. As she stepped into the dining room, she stumbled, almost dropping the plate. Ma looked back at her, a knowing smile on her face. “You okay?”
“What is he doing here?” [Who?]
Ma glanced at the table then back at Jennifer. “The chief comes for dinner at least once a week. Is there a problem with that?”
Jennifer gulped. She set the plate on the table and wiped her sweaty palms down the front of her jeans. Jordan looked up at her and smiled.
“Hiya Jennifer.”
She nodded as she took her seat between Pa and Chloe.
“Why are you here? I thought dinner was for family.”
Ma gasped. “Chloe, don't be rude to our guest. We usually have extra company. The chief, some of our ranch hands, or just other friends of the family. I expect you to be nice to all of them.”
Chloe's mouth pursed. Jordan started to stand up. “If it's a problem for me to be here, I can go.”
Jennifer stood up. “You will not. My grandparents invited you here. I refuse to let you leave because my daughter is being a brat. Chloe, if you can't be respectful, you can go to your room.”
Everyone was silent as the dishes were passed around. Once everyone had their plates fixed, Jordan looked at Chloe from down the table.
“Chloe, how do you like the ranch so far?”
She shrugged. “It's alright, I guess. I miss the city.”
Pa took a drink of water. “She gets her first riding lesson tomorrow. She saw Spirit today.”
Jordan's mouth tipped up on the right side. “He has a way of capturing a lady's attention. Your ma sure was obsessed with him.”
Chloe glared at him. “You know about Spirit?”
He nodded. “Rode him a time or two. He's partial to the ladies though. A pretty thing like you ought not have a problem bending him to your will.”
Jennifer watched the exchange, hoping her daughter wouldn't embarrass her.
“I'm sure it'll be my intelligence that brings him round. My dad taught me to use my head and not my looks to get what I want in life.”
Jordan bobbed his head once. “A wise lesson to learn. It's good that you know the secret to life so early.”
Chloe rolled her eyes and looked at Jennifer. “Momma, do you think Daddy will buy me a horse when we get back to Atlanta?”
Jennifer's hand clenched around her fork. She felt bile rise to her throat. She gulped hard to swallow it down. Jordan looked at her and frowned.
“I thought you'd moved back here.”
Pa's fork clattered against his plate. He grimaced and took a sip of water. Ma started to stand up but he stood [his head]--(instead?). She dropped back into her chair.
“They have, but Chloe's got it in her head that they're only here for a short time.”
“Oh, I see.”
Chloe twirled her head and shot Jordan an evil glare. “I doubt that. You're used to the city life. You couldn't imagine the cultural shock I'm going through.”
Jordan chewed his food and swallowed. “Actually, I can. My mom moved me and my sister to Birmingham when I was fifteen. I lived there for years before I moved back. This place has a way of getting into your blood. You fall in love and can't break free.”
Chloe rolled her eyes. “Are you married[,] Chief Taylor?”
He shook his head and met Jennifer's eyes. “I guess I haven't found the right girl yet.”
Jennifer dropped her gaze to her plate of untouched food. Her stomach hurt so bad she couldn't manage to enjoy the good meal.
“I can help you out if you're interested. I'm a pretty good matchmaker. Facebook's a great place to meet women.”
Jordan choked on his drink. “Thanks but I think I can handle it myself. Match-making hasn't gone too well for me in the past. I think I'll let nature take it's course. I'll meet the perfect woman when the time's right.”
Chloe shrugged and went back to eating. Talk turned to the topic of the ranch. Once everyone had a plate of pie, Ma tapped her spoon on her glass. Everyone turned to her.
“Jennifer, Chloe, the reason we asked Jordan here today was because we wanted to discuss our anniversary party, which we'll be having this Saturday. Jordan's sister is dating a guy who manages a great country band. Did you find out if they'll be available?”
“Lisa told me they'll do it, and even give you a discount.”
Ma grinned. “That's great. Everything else has already been taken care of. Is Lisa going to be able to attend?”
“She's still on bed-rest so I doubt it. But she sends her best.”
Jennifer put her fork on her plate and pushed it away. “What's wrong with her?”
Jordan looked at her. “She's pregnant. It's been a bit difficult on her so the doctor ordered her to rest for the next three weeks.”
“Tell her congratulations. That's great. I can't believe she's having a baby. Seems like she should still be a child.”
“Time flies by fast Jennifer. Things change.”
Jennifer set the dirty dishes on the counter by the sink. A wave of dizziness hit her. She leaned against the refrigerator until it passed.
“Thanks for dinner. It was great. I'm going to watch TV until bed.”
Jennifer opened her eyes in time to see three sets of eyes turn from Chloe to Jennifer, then back. Julie shook her head. “We have to clean up before anyone can enjoy their nightly activities.”
Chloe put her hands on her hips. “Why do I have to help? I didn't have chores at home unless I was in trouble. I think moving out here should be enough punishment to take care of anything I do in the next ten years.”
Julie slammed a skillet on the counter. “Young lady, I have had enough of that attitude. You can be angry all you want but you will have respect. You should remember that your mother has been in your shoes. She survived and so will you. Now, while you're here, you will help clean up after meals, do the laundry, and clean your own room. What you do with your spare time is up to you.”
Jennifer waited for Chloe's rebuttal. She glanced at every female before huffing. “Fine. What do I need to do?”
As Jennifer helped do the dishes, she thought over what had just happened. How did Mom do that without starting a fight? Thirty minutes later, Jennifer sat around the kitchen table, a cup of coffee warming her chilled hands. Chloe had decided to go to bed instead of watching TV.
Julie took a sip of coffee. “So, how did it feel to see Jordan again?”
Jennifer kept her eyes down. “Surprised. I didn't know he was back. I figured he'd be settled down in Alabama somewhere, married with kids.”
Ma smiled. “He couldn't keep his eyes off you. Maybe you should try that relationship y'all started.”
Jennifer laughed. “Ma, we were fifteen. Things like that never last.”
Ma rapped her fingers on the table. “I don't know about that. Your pa and I started dating when I was thirteen. Thursday, we'll be together fifty years.”
“Things were different then Ma. The divorce rate is higher now. I mean, look at me. I never thought I'd be a single mom.”
Julie reached over and patted Jennifer's hand. “That's because you weren't with the right man, sweetheart.”
“Well I think I'll pass on try number two. Relationships are too complicated.”
Ma shook her head. “You deserve a second chance. Jordan's the man you were meant to be with. Everyone knew it when you were kids and life knows it now.”

Jennifer woke the next morning with a pounding headache. She'd tossed and turned all night, only to fall asleep just as dawn broke. Her thoughts, and her dreams, had been filled with Jordan. Seeing him again woke up a dormant part of her she didn't know existed[;]--(,) a sexual awaking.
“Morning Momma. Did you have a good night?”
She took the cup of coffee Julie held out for her and smiled at her daughter. “Pretty good. You?”
Chloe threw her head back. “Oh my god. My bed is so comfortable!”
Jennifer glanced at the clock over the sink. “I can't believe you're up this early.”
She shrugged. “I heard Ma and Pa get up, so I decided I should too. Guess what. Miss Betsy let me cook the eggs this morning. She showed me how to make Spanish omelets. I made yours special, with extra peppers.”
Jennifer hoped her face didn't reveal the dread she felt. She hadn't been able to handle spicy food since three years before. Not that she expected Chloe to know that. There was a lot her daughter didn't know. She was a virtual stranger. It's Rick's fault. Jennifer ignored the voice. It was her fault too. She should have fought harder to connect with her daughter instead of letting her husband be the priority.
“That sounds great. Thank you.”
Chloe beamed. Jennifer couldn't believe it. She couldn’t' recall the last time Chloe'd smiled at her, or did anything for her.
Ma bumped Jennifer with her hip as she walked by. “Can you go into town for me after breakfast? I need a few things and you need to find something to wear for the party.”
Chloe squealed. “Shopping. Momma, can I go? I'd really like to get some normal clothes. Nothing I have is right for the ranch life.”
Jennifer studied her daughter's pink name brand tank top, plaid capris, and one inch wedges. She had to agree. It wasn't suitable for horseback riding. She smiled. “Of course. I wonder what your grandpa's going to think when he finds out you bought more clothes.”
She shrugged. “I'm sure he'll be okay, as long as he doesn't have to carry them up to my room too.”
Everyone burst out laughing. The tight knot of tension in Jennifer's stomach began to unravel. Forty minutes later, Jennifer and Chloe were on their way to town.
“It is pretty out here.”
Jennifer agreed. “Just wait until fall. You wouldn't believe the color of the leaves.”
She flinched. Way to go. Remind her she's here for good.
“Mom, do you mind if I get my hair cut too?”
Jennifer shot her daughter a glance. “Are you sure? You've always loved your hair long.”
Chloe fingered a silky blond strand. “Yeah, it's hotter here than in Atlanta. And I think it's time for a new look.”
“Sure. I have a few errands to run. Do you mind if I just give you some money and let you go on your own. We can meet up for lunch at the diner.”
“Sure, I guess.”
Jennifer kicked herself. Chloe sounded so disappointed. “I can wait until later to do my stuff.”
Chloe waved a hand through the air. Jennifer couldn't help but smile. Just like her grandma.
“It's fine. I've shopped by myself a thousand times in the city. I'm sure I can handle myself here.”
Jennifer dropped Chloe off at Super Clippers and drove towards the doctor's office on the outskirts of town. She needed a refill on her medicine. The lobby was empty and she was in the back within ten minutes. A high pitched shriek caused her to whip around. She banged her elbow on the metal cart next to her.
“Still a klutz I see.”
Jennifer laughed and threw her arms around the blond nurse. “Still causing distractions, as always. How are you?”
Ashleigh, one of her best friends, squeezed her. “I'm great. Still married to Brad and working my butt off. What are you doing here?”
Jennifer bit her lip. “The doctor's office or the town?”
She sighed. “I moved back here with my tail between my legs. Me and Rick are getting a divorce. And I'm here because I need my medicine refilled.”
Ashleigh's mouth turned down. “Are you sick?”

for entry "Chapter 1
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Title: Coming Home to Love

Chapter: 1

Author: Sara

Jennifer's car
The ranch

Jennifer Matthews- the main female, is in the process of a divorce, has a 14-year-old daughter named Chloe who she wants the best for, is struggling with her feelings for Jordan and her commitment to her daughter, knows Jordan from her past, up and leaves where she lives with her daughter to go back home to her family's ranch, has a difficult time controlling her daughter

Chloe Rechelle- Jennifer's daughter, fourteen-years-old, wants to move back to Atlanta with her dad, believes it is Jennifer's fault and thinks her mother and father's relationship will continue on the way it was, is stubborn but shows interest in riding horses, can be hot tempered and creates a challenge for her struggling mother

Jordan Taylor- the main male character, knows Jennifer from his past, use to be best friends, never got to form a relationship but seems interested in making one now that she is back, is a cop, pulls over Jennifer for a broken taillight.

Julie (Ma)- lovable, is concerned about her daughter and granddaughter, is glad they are back at the ranch, wants Jennifer to find love again, knows how to deal with difficult children

Pa- the head of the household and the ranch

Scott- I was kind of confused on who Scott was. Maybe I missed his introduction, but I felt like he popped into the story without warning.

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:
I couldn't remember if I sent you my edits for this in an email before, so I figured I would send it through RH just in case. Looking it over again, it made me remember how much I enjoy the characters you have crafted for this story. I love how you included the southern dialect too. It really helps make Jennifer's family feel real. It's funny because I just read Ann's first chapter of Heart of an Officer and her main male was a cop too. It just shows show sexy a man in uniform can be! Haha! I think you have the makings of a great first chapter here. I got a good sense of the main characters and Jennifer's main concerns and conflicts (both inner and outer).

Line Edits:

Blue lights flashed in the rear view mirror. Jennifer sighed as she pulled over to the side of the road.
“Way to go. We didn't make it ten feet into the city limits and you already got the cops after you.”
Jennifer shot her [fourteen year old]--(fourteen-year-old) daughter a warning glare and rolled down the window.
“Reach in the glove box and get me the registration and insurance card.”
“This is a sign you know, that we ain't meant to be here.”
Jennifer fished her wallet out of her purse. “Chloe, I really don't need this right now.”
“Maybe you'll get lucky and the cop's related to you. After all, the sign said when you're here, you're part of the family.”
“Chloe Rechelle, I told you that's enough. Sit there and be quiet.”
Chloe crossed her arms over her chest and slammed her back against the leather seat. Jennifer tapped her fingers on the steering wheel as she waited for the cop to reach her door. She watched [his]--(him) approach through her driver side mirror. She couldn't help but admire the broad shoulders, tapered hip[,] and long legs. A white Stetson covered his head and shielded his face from her perusal. His brisk stride brought him to her window.
“Afternoon ma'am. Can I see your license, registration, and proof of insurance?”
The officer's thick southern drawl warmed her insides. She stared into startling blue eyes. [I thought his Stetson was blocking her view of his face?]
“You going to stare at the man all day or give him what he needs?”
Jennifer jumped in surprise. “Oh, uh sorry.”
She handed the items over. The officer's callused hand brushed against hers. She jerked away.
“Thanks. I'll be right back.”
Jennifer watched him retreat to his car. The khaki pants pulled tight over his rounded butt.
“Geez. Quit drooling.”
Jennifer rolled her eyes. “I wasn't. I just wanted [missing words here?] why he pulled me over.”
“Why don't you ask him? He's coming back.”
He appeared back at her window. “Here's your things. Do you know why I stopped you?”
She shrugged. “We were just discussing that.”
He nodded towards the back of her truck. “You have a taillight out.”
Jennifer frowned. “Are you sure? I've been on the road for six hours and haven't had anyone stop me yet.”
“Your license said you live in Atlanta. The cops there have a lot more important things to worry about than that.” [Is he saying he doesn't have important things to worry about? I feel like a cop wouldn't admit to that... lol]
He did have a point. “I'll have my step-dad take a look at it when I get home.”
“Good. Get it fixed soon. If you'll just sign the ticket, you can be on your way. Review all the information to make sure it's correct.”
Jennifer scanned the cop's handwriting. “My address isn't the same. I'm moving back here. Do you need to change it, or keep what's on my license?”
He pulled out a notebook and clicked his pen. “You'll need the new one. What is it?”
“212 Matthews [Dr.]--(Drive)
His eyebrow disappeared under his Stetson. “The Bar M?”
She nodded. “It's my grandparents ranch. We'll be staying there for a while.”
He wrote something down. “Are you Jennifer Matthews?” [Wouldn't he know this from her license? Or does the license have her married name and he knows her from her maiden name?]
“Yeah. Why?”
The officer smiled. “You don't recognize me, do you?”
She studied him a bit more. He had a strong jaw line, covered by a growth of beard, a full lower lip. His nose was crooked at the bridge; probably from being [broke]--(broken at one time). She couldn't place [his] face, but the eyes seemed familiar. She glanced at his name tag and gasped.
“Jordan Taylor?”
He winked. “I'm surprised you remember me. Welcome back.”
“Thanks. I didn't know you were here.”
He leaned against her truck and crossed his left leg over his right ankle. “Yeah, I moved back years ago. I'm the chief now.”
“That's great. How have you been?”
“Pretty good. You?”
Jennifer felt herself grimace. She tried to force her face into a blank mask. “Not too bad. Glad to be home.”
He tilted his head to the side and looked at the passenger seat?”
“This your daughter?”
“Chloe. Sweetheart, this is Jordan. An old friend of mine.”
She rolled her eyes. “Hi.”
“We should get together one night for dinner, after you get settled in.”
Chloe leaned forward and glared at Jordan. “She's married.”
He stared back. “What has that got to do with two old friends catching up?”
Jennifer felt her stomach roil. “I appreciate the offer, but I think I'll pass. It's going to take a while to get Chloe settled in. She's not used to being out of the city.”
Chloe snorted. “We won't be here long enough for me to adjust. Dad'll be here soon to bring us back home.”
Jennifer shot her daughter a warning glance.
“Well, maybe you'll change your mind. It was great seeing you. Be sure to get that taillight fixed[;]--(delete) unless you want me to pull you over again.”
Jennifer gulped. He was flirting with her. She took the ticket he held out and put it over the visor.
“He'll come back if you don't drive off.”
Jennifer's hand shook as she turned the key and put the truck in gear.
“I can't believe he asked you out.”
“What's that supposed to mean?”
“Oh come on. You look like crap. And you're married. I thought small towns looked down on infidelity.”
As Jennifer drove over the Tishacomb River bridge, she tried to ignore her daughter's hurtful words. It wasn't the first time Chloe had insulted her. She seemed to enjoy hurting her mom's feelings[;]--(. It was) a way to get back at her for something that wasn't all her fault.
“Chloe, I've already told you, your father and I are getting a divorce. If I was going to date someone, it wouldn't be cheating.”
I'm not like your father.
“You're just going through a mid-life crisis. If you fixed yourself up a bit, Dad might pay you more attention. Things would be better between you.”
I'd have to be twenty years younger to get your dad's attention.
“Oh gross. Look at that water.”
Jennifer watched the churn of the muddy river below.
“That's just from the banks washing out from the rain. It'll be clearer in a week or so.”
“I doubt that. I hate it here.”
Jennifer turned onto the gravel drive leading to the ranch. As she rounded the curb, she saw her family sitting on the porch. She smiled.
“I don't even know these people.”
Jennifer put the truck in park and forced her cramped hands to relax. “Well[,] maybe you should introduce yourself. They're your family and you're going to be seeing a lot of them from now on. They're really excited to have you here.”
She got out of the truck without waiting for her daughter's answer. She walked around the front of the vehicle and ran into her mother. Julie gripped her to keep them from stumbling.
“Baby, I'm so glad you're here. We expected you an hour ago.”
Jennifer squeezed her mom. “I know. I had to stop a few times for Chloe, then I got pulled over by the Gardens.”
Julie gasped. “What for?”
“Broken taillight. How come nobody told me Jordan lives here?”
Julie leaned back and smiled. “Ah, you saw him[,] huh? He looks pretty good, doesn't he? Not that he wasn't the cutest thing when he was a teenager.”
“He asked me out to dinner. Chloe had a fit. I hope he wasn't offended by her attitude. She has one with everybody these days.”
Julie waved a hand through the air. “I'm sure it didn't affect him any. He was your best friend after all. He should be used to it. You go say hi to your grandparents. I'll get Chloe.”
Julie started to step around her. Jennifer grabbed her hand. “Careful Mom. She's not too happy about being here.”
“I've dealt with this sort of thing before, remember? I'll be fine.”
Jennifer watched her mother walk over to the truck before turning back towards the porch. Her grandfather grinned and held out his arms. Jennifer ran into them. She buried her face in his neck and breathed in the comforting scent of leather, butterscotch and horses. She felt some of the tension drain from her.
“Welcome home[,] sugar pie. It's so good to see you.”
She grinned and nodded her head. She felt his stubble pull at her hair.
“I'm so glad to be back here. Everything's just as I remember.”
“Are you sure your staying? I don't want that swindler you call a husband trying to take you away.”
Jennifer pulled away and looked into Pa's aged face. “Nope. I won't be leaving, no matter what he tries.”
“Well[,] he won't be starting no trouble with you here. If he steps foot on my property, I'm shooting him.” [That's a father!]
Jennifer gasped. “Pa, you can't do that. He's lower than dirt, but he's still Chloe's father. She loves him. That's why I haven't told her about his affairs.”
“Jennifer, I know you're grown and you can do what you want, but you need to remember how you felt when you learned your mom lied to you. It didn't turn out well. And maybe, if she found out what that jerk put you through, she would quit being so defiant towards you.”
Jennifer chewed on her thumb. “Pa, I know it's not the right thing to do, but I can't hurt her. She's been through enough already, with the divorce and move. I'll tell her when the time's right. Right now, I'm taking it one day at a time.”
He pulled on the straps of his overalls. “You know we'll support you no matter what[,] sweet pea.”
“Move you old coot. It's my turn. You go see Chloe, but don't scare her. She ain't seen ya since she was a baby.”
Pa grunted and moved over so his wife could reach Jennifer. She smiled at the older woman, who was beginning to remind her of Paula Deen.
“See sweetie, you have to make sure a man's trainable before you marry him. I know a few good choices in town. I'll give you their numbers.”
Jennifer shook her head. “Hi Ma. It's good to see you too.”
“Oh you know I'm glad you're here. I've been waiting forever for you to come back. This is where you belong. Now, about those dates.”
“Ma, I just got here. Can't you give me time to get settled in before trying to plan my next wedding.”
Ma shoved her hands on her ample hips. “I ain't trying to marry ya off. I'm just trying to help ya out in a certain area. Women your age have certain needs, ya know[,] and I doubt that bastard husband of yours took care of them.”
Jennifer felt her face grow warm. “Ma. Please.”
“Oh come on. I may be old, but I ain't dead. There ain't nothing wrong with using a man for a lil' pleasure.”
Jennifer buried her hot face in her hands. “I'm not ready for any of that Ma. I need to focus on my daughter right now. But when it's the right time, you'll be the first to know.”
Ma huffed. “Jennifer Nikole, I never thought you'd be a chicken. Just because your husband didn't turn out to be the prince charming you'd hoped doesn't mean you should give up on love. It can come out of nowhere, as long as you're open to it.”
[Jenifer]--(Jennifer)threw her hands into the air. “Alright Ma. I won't resist if I mean my soul mate. Other than that, relationships are off for now.”
“Good. Now, let's get y'all in the house. Supper'll be ready soon and Betsy'll get us with a broom if we're late.” She turned towards the stairs before glancing back over her shoulder. “You better be ready. She's gonna fuss at you. You're too darn skinny. You better not be on one of those darn diets. There ain't nothing wrong with a woman having meat on her bones.”
Jennifer grabbed two of the suitcases her step-father had unloaded from the truck and headed towards the porch. Julie had Chloe by the arm and was pulling her towards the house. She'd made it to the top step, Jennifer one below her, when a noise from the left side of the house made her stop. Jennifer slammed into her back and dropped the bags. She tensed, ready to do battle. Chloe kept her head turned towards the noise. Jennifer glanced over to see what had her daughter's attention. She gasped.
“Oh my God.”
Chloe nudged her mom. “Do you see that? It's gorgeous.”
Jennifer nodded. “I can't believe he's still alive. I remember seeing him my first day here too.”
“Why isn't he in a pin with the other horses?”
“Spirit's a wild horse. He roams Pa's land as he pleases.”
Chloe leaned closer to Jennifer. “Can you ride him?”
Jennifer laughed. “I chased him for three years before I finally got on him. He made a huge difference in my time here. I wouldn't have made it through without him.”
And Jordan. She shook her head.
“I want to ride him.”
“Maybe you should let Pa or Scott teach you to ride first. I'm sure they wouldn't mind.”
Chloe shrugged. “I guess.”
Spirit tossed his head, his white mane flying in the breeze to settle against his muscular neck. He pawed the ground before trotting back behind the house. Chloe watched him disappear before stomping up the steps and across the [porch]. Jennifer grabbed the bags and marched across the [porch]. Chloe stood in the middle of the bags, her face bright with excitement.
“Did you see him? He was amazing. Someone has to teach me to ride.”
Jennifer groaned mentally. She could just imagine the older [women's]--(woman's) disapproval over Chloe's demand.
Scott laughed. “Chloe, you wouldn't have it in your mind to chase that horse, would you?” [Who's Scott? I don't think we get a description of him.]
Pa grinned. “Of course. She's just like her momma. I'll teach you to ride sugar pie, tomorrow morning.”
“Okay. Where's my room?”

Review by H.A.B.
Rated: E | (4.5)
Very descriptive and very capitivating. I've never read anything like it. This is refreshing and very well-written. Good job! I can't wait until I can read more of your stuff.

~Analeigh (Your friend from class)
Review of Chapter One  
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Title: Andress

Chapter: 1

Author: Raven

Kitty Kitty Strip club

Andress- main character, mysterious, Irish decent, visits a grave, vampire, has old manners
Charlotte- curly brown hair, wears heels, works in a strip club as the head mistress, is interested in Andress, loves challenges

Grammar: (line edits)

Just my personal opinion:
I see a lot improvement from the last time I read this. It has a lot of potential! I made some suggestions in the line edits for you.

Line Edits:
Chapter One:

Deep in an August night, the crescent moon hung with tiny balls of fire. The crisp breeze [hollowed]—(howled? Hollowed doesn’t make sense here) through the crack of trees. The brown leaves that had fallen crunched under the black thick sole boots as they tramped through at a steady pace. Patches of moss that grew on the sides of the trunks looked as if they were going to consume the tree whole. The spots without leaves showed thick green grass that had just been watered by the evening rain.

The forest soon thinned to reveal a deserted graveyard. The darkened figure paused and looked out into the space. [Not a creature stirred not even an ant.]—(contradicts with the owl line. I would take it out all together.) The earth began to sleep with the day roaming creatures. In the far distance, an owl cooed calling out to the night crawlers it was time to emerge. Feet stretched once more to proceed onto the grey stone path that led throughout the yard. He ¬¬stomped over the path and walked between headstones, glancing from one to another, intrigued by the different shapes and different sizes. However, they were all very much the same. They held births, deaths, names, and loved ones underground in coffins. A few feet into the cemetery, he stopped. The side of the black trench coat was pushed to the side revealing a bouquet of a dozen purple lilies. Matching black gloves took three from the band and placed them down by the tombstone repeating the process for two other stones. A gold cross was pulled out of the pocket and brought up to blood red lips for a kiss.

“Scíth I Síocháin,” a thick Irish accent poured onto the simple three words.

“What do those words mean?” a soft child like voice spoke behind him.

[Finally]—(She was just revealed to him, so “finally” doesn’t work here.) He turned around to face the young woman who stood before him. She had long brown hair with mountains of curls that sat on her shoulders and under her jaw. It made her face look slim and beautiful. She had light blue paint on her eyes and a pink on her lips. He was memorized in the crystal blue eyes that sparkled brightly in the moonlight. Blush was added to her cheeks making them look fuller. She wore a simple black dress-velvet with modest cut bust line; the length fell to her knees.

“Rest in peace…” his voice low but with a bass tone, “in Gaelic.”

“Ireland…You are a long way from home,” she mused.

“Sort of…So what is a young lady like yourself doing out in a graveyard at this time of night? You know there are monsters out here.” He pointed out and [ watched] as she walked around him with perfect balance on thin black high heels. He [ watched] her eyes travel over him. [He almost grinned realizing she was looking him over.]

“You know, visiting some graves like yourself. And I am a big girl. I can take care of myself[ , thank] you very much. I do not need someone with a dick to protect me. And besides sometimes the people that say they will protect you do not,” she said with hurt attached to it.

“That is very true. They say those who are the closet hurt you the most.”

“I know, it is completely daft. That’s why I have [ said: ‘Screw the world’ and ‘You better watch out because here comes Charlotte, to kick the world up and down the galaxy.’” ] She was really feeling her mini monologue and had waved her hands about. “So Mister Mysterious, what’s your name?”

“Why tell? When I can keep it a mystery?” he returned a question.

Charlotte looked into his eyes, the hazel in them seemed to glow in the dark and perked her interest. She enjoyed figuring out mysteries. And this man was one. “Well Mister Mystery, can you walk me to my job?” she asked. [I was thinking, when first describing his eyes, saying something like this: “His eyes, she noticed, were a mixture of colors—honey brown entangled with emerald, specks of blue and gray. It was as if they fought for the privilege to shine in the little light the moon provided.” This way his eyes appear unquie, instead of saying hazel. It can also be a trait that is mentioned also, that makes him stand out.]

“I thought you were taking on the world?” His brow perked in interest.

“Tomorrow’s another night, and I would enjoy the company.” She slipped her hand onto his arm securely.

“Well[ , ] why not, I don’t have anything better to do.” He curled his arm in walking with her to the nearest opening of the black iron fence that surrounded most of the graveyard. When they made it onto the cement each step was sounded with a click of her heel.

“Going to work now? Is it not a little too late?” he asked.

“Not for my job. We are open late.” She gave a little smile as her baby blues looked up to him. His expression was so serious; his lips hugged one another in a flat line. He had small brown hairs above his lip only visible up close. The small, narrow nose made her smile. Men with big noses and large nostrils just creped her out reminded her of her pig of a father. She wondered if his name fit his appearance-dark and serious. With her heels on, he was only about a foot taller then her. Charlotte was amazed how strong he felt, most men she came around were not fit and did not take care of themselves.

“Are you going to make me guess where you work? Or am I suppose to know through telekinesis?”

“It could be fun you guessing.” She paused, seeing his more serious expression decided not push it. “Do you know the Kitty Club on Madison and Broadway?”

“I know of it, yes.”

“I work there. Helps pay for school.” She shrugged slightly looking away.

Hazel]—(Those) eyes glanced down to see her watching their footsteps.

They soon approached the corner with packs of starving men outside. Some were waiting for other friends and some were just smoking. From the sidewalk, the customers would walk up a few wood steps onto the entrance porch where a built bouncer sat on a stool. He let some walk in and checked identification cards on others. Tinted windows wrapped around the building and a side sign that blinked and lit up in neon lights reading “Kitty Kitty.” The green and yellow really drew attention from people who were driving by. Some cars passing by honked and whistled.

He glanced back to Charlotte[ , ] amazed she could work in such a place.

“Well[ , ] I have to go, thank you for the walk.” She leaned up on her toes placing her warm rosy lips to his cold smooth skin. She gave him a sweet smile and turned to head down the alley way for a side door.

“Charlotte[ , ]” he called.

She stopped and turned.

“It’s Andress.” He curved his hand, bowing with a nod.

She looked at him for a moment. “Andress, why don’t you help yourself to a show, you might come to enjoy them.”

There was a gleam in her eyes that made his head nod up and down. Charlotte disappeared into a creaking door which slammed shut. Andress heard the bolt lock slide to seal the door from intruders. His eyes shifted to observe the men not far in front of him. Most nights, he spent wandering the streets mocking those who entered such a place. However, tonight, his curiosity over took his body and before he knew it he was walking through the threshold. Half-naked woman [ swarm]—(swarmed) the place, delivering drinks to crowds of men who were ready to vomit from too much alcohol. While others were grabbing the bottoms of any girl, [ he]—(they) could reach. It made Andress want to rip their heads off-so disrespectful.

He sauntered across the floor, his boots thumping on the hardwood floor below. Andress stepped over bottles and walked around people taking a seat on the sidewall that had a decent view of the stage. [ What does the place smell like? It has to be awful and he has intensified senses, so he has to notice. ]

“Hey cutie, can I get you something to drink?”

“Vodka on the rocks-straight up.”

The girl left and came back in a few minutes with his drink. She made sure to rub her breast against his arm and bend so he saw down her black and pink bra. He [ rolled his eyes] a bit when she left.

Dancers began to emerge on the stage. Instantly there were screams and loud whistling. Andress [ rolled his eyes ], What a bunch of dogs. Sometimes he wished that people still had manners[ , ] even if it was a thin slice of respect. It was one of the true reasons why he [ shyed]—(shied) away from the real world. He stayed out of sight. His normal routine included a drink at a bar, roam through the graveyard and back to the apartment with some female company that wouldn’t be going home [for] at all.

He brought the glass to his lips, pouring some of the burning liquid into his mouth and let it stream down his throat.

Each girl walked out in their own outfit, not one was the same. One wore neon green, another stayed with traditional colors like black, red, and pink. Some had a bikini cut another a hipster cut, some with strings others none at all. However, they all wore stello heels, made it more appealing to these desperate men. Some of the dancers went to the floor, going to a man to make a dream come true somewhere. A few moments later, another female emerged behind the curtain. She wore a black and purple corset top that tied in the back with a short leather skirt. Instead of stellos, there were knee high heel boots, with the long zipper on the side. Most of her long chocolate curls were pinned up in the back. He watched waiting for her to turn around. When she did, he was partly surprised, it was Charlotte. He had thought she would be wearing something like the other ones. To his surprise, she was the leader of the dancers, she talked to the crowd, started games, choose men for them.

“Hello Kitty Kitty people, and welcome to another night of dancing. Tonight, each dancer will choose a man to take back stage, for a private show. Who knows[ ? ] Maybe one of you fellows will get lucky.” A wide sexual grin swept her lips as she looked around the room. Her gaze settled on Andress for a moment and then turned to the dancers. “We’ll start with five dancers at a time. After all, we need some entertainment for everyone else. I, myself, will choose last, making it a little more exciting…” She chose five girls to go, whispering something to each of them. The rest went back to bringing entertainment to the people. Charlotte disappeared behind the curtain once more. Some men yelled for her to return to the stage, taking a few steps towards the plateau. Security stepped forward in reaction, to make sure they did not jump onto the stage and chase after her.

Andress lifted his drink once more to his lips, instead of a simple sip; he finished off what was left. The girl who served him instantly came over as if she was waiting for him to finish every drop before she disturbed him once again.

“Another one, gorgeous?” she asked, with an innocent grin that spread on her lips like wildfire. It clearly showed that she would have much rather have been on stage with the other beautiful girls but must have not made the standards for a show girl.

Pathetic… “No thank you,” he answered.

She took the old glass and wiped the wooden table with an old damp cloth. “I’ll be back with your check.” Her indifferent tone [ leaking]—(leaked) from her words as she briskly walked away.

Someone has their panties in a knot.

Charlotte quickly walked back onto the stage, lighting up the dullness in the room. “Come now, are we enjoying the time? Or we just being a bunch of bums!” [ she]—(She) extended her arms out and waved on the crowd. All the ears of the men lifted hearing her voice-loud but songlike. She triumphed the stage with enuthusim and a wide sexual grin that made men drool even more. “Alright so we had another set of girls come out and choose a lucky guy. Now it is my turn.” The spiked heels clicked as she stepped down the three black stairs onto the floor. The spot light followed her swinging hips through the crowd. Her finger skimmed across some cheeks and chins, the men melting into the tiny touch. Her eyes followed from one male to another until they settled on Andress.

“I think tonight…” she paused for dramatic effect. “I am going to settle on tall[ , ] dark and handsome. With a little dash of mysterious in the mix. Sorry boys. Maybe another night, you can get lucky.”

She walked up to him, the spotlight on both of them. Growls of anger echoed through the place. Many dissatisfied customers went to the bar for another drink and demanding a dance from a girl. Charlotte’s hand rubbed down Andress thick arm to take a hold of his hand. Her other hand was held out in front of her as she curled her finger, motioning for him to come.

Andress stood slowly almost as if he was deciding to go with this. His hazel eyes locked onto Charlottes. Before he could decide, he was already walking pass a security shirt and entering through a doorway. Charlotte led him down a dimmed narrow hallway. Several round lights were burnt out or missing. The walls looked like their color was a deep forest green, but no one could be certain without proper light. There were a few dents in the walls and stops where the paint had chipped away. The back looked pretty run down.

“The owner plans on fixing up back here[ , ]” Charlotte said suddenly.

“How did you…” he started

“I saw your eyes wandering, silly. I am heartbroken that they are not on me[ , ]” she teased.

He gave a breathless chuckle. “For someone I just met, you sure want a lot of my attention.” He counted.

She responded with a [sexy] smile over her shoulder. [“Well because I am like catching eyes of sexy men.]—(awkward) It makes me feel more confident.” She pushed open the door to her domain. The door was formed from cheap wood with a gold painted handle. Inside revealed a half couch, half bed in the corner. A pole was positioned towards the one side and almost to the wall with the entrance, but was centered in front of the futon. There was a closet on the left with closed doors made of wood that were painted white. These doors {c:red }[ hand ]—(had) small white circle knobs that did not move. Then there was another door next to the closet that matched the entrance door. Charlotte pulled him in more to shut the door and lock it.

“Planning on keeping me as a prisoner?” he asked jokingly.

“Why not? It could be fun. I can figure you out.” She side stepped and walked to face him. “Why don’t you stay a while?” [ She]—(she) said as she ran her fingers up his chest and over his shoulders, making the trench coat start to slip off.

Andress straightened his arms slightly behind his hips to let it fall to the heel of his boots. It revealed a black short sleeve collared shirt that buttoned down the front. The buttons matched the shirt making them almost invisible to the naked eye. The shirt hugged his chest, showing creases of his tone breasts and abs.

Charlotte slowly started to undo the buttons to get to his chest. When she reached the bottom she pulled out the shirt from his pants. Her hands were warm against his icy skin as they crawled over [ this toned chest.]—(him) “So cold...” she stated [ softly out loud.]—(opposites. Doesn’t make sense)

He could not tell her the true reason why[ . ] A screaming woman was something he did not want to deal with. Andress quickly thought of a reason.

“The reason behind the trench coat.” It was best he could do she did not need to know.

She pressed onto her toes to run her lips softly over his neck directly over the thick vein in his neck. Charlotte moved the soft skin [to brush] along his strong jaw bone and to his lips where she paused for a moment. Should she? She asked herself. While she debated her hands also pulled off his shirt letting it hug his trench coat on the floor.

A small shiver ran down Andress’ spine from the softness of the touch. His eyes fell to look at her and she closed the space for a kiss. Their lips met and a small spark ignited inside him. He knew what wanted to come out but was not ready for that. His arm suddenly scooped under her bottom and carried her to the couch. Andress laid her down and leaned over her. His fingers started to glide along her curves starting at her knees and made his way to the back of the purple corset.

She chuckled breaking away from the kiss. “In a hurry?” she asked not wanting an answer and he did not give her one.

He tucked his face under her jaw to move his lips along her neck. Her skin was so warm, so smooth. He could almost taste it, the sweet rich blood. It would warm his tongue and then smear down his throat and send excitement through his whole body, making him take whatever he craved. But something screamed at him no.

“You are making me out to be a turtle and you the hare. Do you think it is a race?” she said in a laugh.

He stopped and pulled away. “What did you say?” he asked looking down at her.

“Does it matter?” [ she]—(She) gazed over his expression and sighed. She then repeated herself. “You are making me out to be a turtle and you the hare. Do you think it is a race?” [“The words whistled in his ears.” Maybe? A body reaction? You don’t need to tell us all the information now, but something to give us a hint of why he stopped.]

He got up and sat down next to her. His feet went flat on the floor and his fingers went through his hair. His mind was racing. Could it be? Is it possible? Again?

Review of Nano Novel  
Review by H.A.B.
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
This is a good start. I like the way the story beings. It really draws the reader in. I also like how Eliza does not have an education, but has to rely on what she reads in books.

Suggestions I have for you is:
-You have Eliza rolling her eyes twice in a matter of a few paragraphs. The repeating gesture sticks out. Maybe just switch the action to something else. (Shaking head, crossing arms, etc.)
-Some of the dialog contains run-on sentences. "Yes dear, I know dear, I just know that you might not always want to be alone watching over horses." and "Deary, don't think that I agree with you not finding yourself a good lord to love, I just meant that your father couldn't have picked a better way to get your back up about the whole thing."

I really hope to read more of this. Eliza seems like a very interesting character, and I am interested to see where this story takes her.
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