Friday, June 19, 2020
















LOVE’S MUSES
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LOVE’S MUSES

Recognizing His Rival

Book 2


Kristina L. Allen



      
      
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book contains adult language and adult themes and is not intended for younger audiences. 
Copyright © JUBILEE Dream Publishing
December 2014 

Revised Original Copyright ©November 2013 
Kristina L. Allen-Sakowich All rights reserved.
 




ISBN-978-0-9862894-8-4




DEDICATION


To Michael, who believed in me when no other human did.
      







 PROLOGUE
Katie Lynn Moore popped into Nick Thomas’s life one night in one of his meet and greet lines in lieu of her niece, who at the last moment, before meeting her idol, got cold feet. When Katie first touched him, she lit him up in a brand new way with the jolt-giver’s touch that he had heard so much about from his grandfather. When Nicolas Paul finally put to rest the Prince Charming act, Katie fell crazy in love with the sweet boy from Nashville, labeled by her as a grandfather’s treasure. 
Katie’s love and devotion to a terribly depressed and contrite former fiancé kept her from a new and exciting love with her Nicolas Paul. She vowed to return to him when her beloved deputy was back up on his feet and could accept with grace, the truth that his Katie-bear would never be his Mrs. Wells.  Nicolas Paul knew how fragile her jigsaw-puzzled heart was from all the pain and loss she had suffered in her past, and he vowed never to break Katie’s heart, if she would trust him with it. 
Six months after they fell madly in love, fear of a repeated broken heart kept Katie from returning to her PC as she called him, transforming Nick into a broken-hearted superstar on the rise. Fast forward two years later and superstardom had taken Nicolas Paul and altered the sweet country boy into an over-indulgent, alcoholic playboy with groupies vying for time between the sheets with him, which he was all too willing to oblige. 
The book that Nicolas Paul had inspired Katie to pen that night became a record-setting viral book and had catapulted this shy kindergarten teacher to instant fame against her will. A fierce rivalry began between the superstar and the freshman viral author, whom Nick thought was just some out-spoken obscure author, unhappy with his public persona. 
LOVE'S MUSES Recognizing His Rival picks back up at the Cheapside Bar and Grille in Lexington, Kentucky, in one of Katie’s treasured memories of her past, the day she and her deputy became irreparably bonded for life.  






Part 1
RETURNING TO THE PRESENT REALITY
           
           







  
Chapter 1
I WON’T LET GO NOT NOW NOT EVER

Freshman viral author, Katherine Lynn Petersen Moore knew that she could take refuge in her own private security force in Kentucky State Trooper, Scotty P. Wells. She dreaded an inevitable face-to-face confrontation with country music’s newest obnoxious, playboy drunken superstar, Nick Thomas, with whom she once fell madly in love. Katie knew that she could rest in the knowledge that if Nick Thomas was there at the Cheapside Bar and Grille on her birthday celebration, exactly two years to the day after that magical date, and if he did pick any kind of fight, her faithful State Trooper would defend her honor and take Nick Thomas out, which in a small way, Katie looked forward to as a remote possibility. She let herself get lost in the memory of that very special day, more than five years prior, when then Deputy Scotty not only came to her rescue to save her from herself, but chose on that day, to sacrifice his own life, if necessary, to find a way to convince Katie to live for both of them. 

****

Katie had just accepted a date request from Deputy Scotty at the oddest of places. The two were sitting on a steel beam above a swift moving river in Wilmore, Kentucky that late autumn morning. When her foot slipped on the wet dew of the morning as she began to rise, Scotty’s quick reflexes caught her arm as soon as he saw her go down and it pulled more than half of his body over the edge. His right arm hooked around a steel beam and that was what kept both from a watery-death.  
Shock and terror gripped both of them, causing them to pant in that cold chilly moist air, as if trying to recapture all the oxygen that fear had drawn from their lungs. Katie’s eyes widened and her nostrils flared in horror as she looked up at the terrorized face of her new best friend in Scotty. He looked down at her body dangling from his grip and then down at the racing river, lapping at her more than two hundred feet below, waiting to consume its next victim. She hollered up to Scotty when she noticed his body nearly halfway over the edge, fearing him falling with her.  
“Oh my God! I’m going to fall!” Katie screamed. Her body dangled as her legs kicked furiously as if to try to step on something, but the empty air space denied her advantage of any kind. “Scotty, let go of me, right now, or you’ll fall too! Let go right now!”  She screamed, begging him to save himself. 
“No way!” He screamed back down to her. “Now, you hold on to me. I can pull you up, you have to help me.” With every bit of strength he could muster, he pulled his body up further back onto the crossbeam to lay flat on it giving him better leverage. He stared at the racing water as if it were thirsty and waiting to take its next victim. “Nope, she’s not going in there!” he yelled down to the mean and hungry racing river then to the love of his life. “Katie, hold on! I’ve gotcha! I’m not letting go! Reach up with your other hand and grab my arm!”  
Katie’s dangling; dead-weight body was pulling Scotty’s head and shoulder over the edge. With his right shoulder forced into a beam, his right arm remained tightly hooked around that beam as he held on to her sweating hand with his left hand, as his right shoulder hung over the rafter. He felt her hand slipping while he was maneuvering his body further onto the crossbeam.  
“I’m slipping. Scotty, just let go, please! I don’t care anymore, but you can’t fall. You have to live,” she called up to him in desperation.   
“Stop that! Hold on! Do NOT let go! I’ve got you. Reach up for my other hand. I’m hooked on with my foot.” He feared that his shoulder would dislocate and that shear pain in and of its own would force his hand to let go of her hand. He had to secure her to him. Most of his body was stable on the crossbeam. “Grab my arm with your other hand. I can pull you up; now reach, Katie, REACH!”  
Beads of sweat dripped from his forehead on that chilly day filling the already swollen river, as he gazed in a panic into the eyes of the woman with whom he was in love, fearing these could be the last seconds of him being able to do that. Moments ago, he was freezing on that bridge, now his uniform was wet with sweat. Every muscle in his body was tense and rock hard. His perception of the distance between Katie and the river kept changing in an illusion that took over his sense of reality. One minute she was ten feet over the water, the next it seemed as if she were a thousand feet above her potential grave. His fear of heights was never higher than at that moment, but his determination to get this woman in his arms, was greater.  
Katie looked up into Scotty’s eyes and saw the desperation of a man, clinging to the hope of his ability to be able to save her. The veins in his forehead were bulging, and the muscles in his face were tight, as he kept holding his breath, clenching his jaw and grunting while desperate to pull her up to him. He started to slip over the edge a bit more, as his other hand started slipping and losing its grasp from the sweat of his palms.  
“Scotty, you’re slipping! Now, just let go!” Katie started to open her hand and loosen her grip on his.  
“Don’t you do that, damn it! Katherine Lynn, you hold my hand. Oh, God, please Katie, don’t let go of me, please!”  
She started crying, begging him to save himself, while he cried for the same, but opposite sentiment. He had to find a way to prevent her from letting go of him. The sweat in his palm was making him lose his grip on her hand, and she was trying to let go of him. He wrapped his leg around a beam, pulled her up as much as he could then let go of the rafter with his other hand reaching for his handcuffs. He held his breath, gritted his teeth, and then was able to raise her just high enough to cuff her wrist to his, so that she could not let go. He hooked his arm back around the rafter again, pressing his shoulder blade against the steel rafter, just before his legs slipped from their grip causing his body to jerk and the handcuffs to be pulled taut.  
“Scotty, why did you do that! Now, you’re going to fall, too. Undo those cuffs and let go of me, or you’ll fall too!”  
Fear now gripped Scotty that her wrist could dislocate if she let go of his hand. He knew time was running out. With the love of his life securely attached to him, he called down to her letting her know just how much he loved her. 
“Katherine Lynn Petersen Moore, I won’t let go, not now, not ever. If I have to go down into that water with you, I will. I love you, damn it. I am in love with you; I have been since I first laid eyes on you. So, I won’t let go, now don’t you either!” 
Katie looked up, puzzled and shocked at his profession of love, assuming it was just his way of trying to get her to not give up and let go. “No, Scotty, just let go, please!”  
“You listen here, Katie, if you are going to die today; I am going to die with you. I can’t live without you, I don’t want to live without you. Now, it’s your choice. We either both live and walk away from this damn bridge, or we both fall from it. You choose. Which is it, honey?” His voice broke with sobs as he let his declaration of love fall down to her as well as his tears. “Are we going to walk away today together, or are we going for a swim and float together into eternity? I can pull you up, but you have to grab on with your other hand. I can do this. Please Katie, live for both of us. I know you can do this.”  
In his mind, he was not sure that he could hold on much longer with his other arm. The pain of the weight forcing his neck and collarbone into the steel was becoming unbearable.  
“I can’t do it! I can’t do it.” Katie’s fear of dying increased a thousand-fold fearful now of taking Scotty with her.  
“Yes, you can, you little light weight, now just do it. Swing your legs for momentum and then hook it around the rafter, right over there,” his eyes pointed to the closest piece of steel that could take a hundred pounds of dead weight off his aching arm. He crooked his head up toward the sky. For the first time in his life, Scott Patrick Wells prayed out loud, screaming up to God with frantic tears. “Oh dear God! Please, please don’t let me lose my grip. Please give me the strength to pull her up!” Never in Scott’s life was he ever more afraid and desperate than now. The panic in his heart rose to new heights. Scotty had nerves of steel, but at this moment, they were more like frayed thread.  “Reach up and I’ll pull. Honey, please, reach up. I need you in my life. I want a happy life with you and make lots of babies. You’d make beautiful babies.” 
“Scotty, please just un-cuff us and let go.”  
“No damn it, no! Katie, I won’t let go, not now not ever! I mean it, never!.” Katie had to choose to live for Scotty, or cause his death. She felt the desperation in his voice and began to believe his proclamations. This determining factor caused her to give it her best shot, and she began to swing her legs to get some momentum. She reached up and got a hold of his arm with the other and both hands holding one arm, made her feel that much lighter. As he pulled, she was able to hook her leg around a rafter. It made her one hundred and twenty-five pounds feel a great deal lighter than the dead weight that he was desperately trying to hold on to seconds earlier and felt slipping away.   
“Good girl, now, push with your leg. I got you. I’ll pull you up to the beam right here. Wrap your arms around it once you get up and hold on for dear life, mine and yours, baby!”  
She pushed with her one leg that she could repel on the nearest rafter and in one giant tug; Scotty had her laying on top of the beam next to him. She wrapped her arms around the cold steel, not feeling the cold sting of it, but heat from her muscles contracted and tense and now flexed holding on to the rafter. He crawled toward her and put his face right next to hers. Deep sighs of relief swept over both of them as they shook with the fear of what just happened.  
“Oh, thank you God! Thank you Katie,” Scotty said with tears swelling his eyes, dropping his tears two hundred feet into the racing river. A deep burst of sobbing sprung forth, releasing all that tension and fear that moments ago overwhelmed his hope to save her. Scotty was free to allow his heart to drown in love and tears for his Katie. His sobbing was so forceful; it was as if he were shaking the bridge.  
When the reality hit Katie that she nearly took his life with hers, hysterical weeping overcame her. Katie cried in rhythm with him. Her cry stemmed from fear and guilt, while his from his love and gratitude. She began berating herself, washing over herself with the culpability of the fact that she nearly killed this wonderful man. It filled her heart full of remorse and self-loathing, nearly consuming her, as if to force her back into the river.  
“I almost killed you, Scotty. I could have killed you. I’m so sorry. Oh, Scotty, I’m so sorry.”  
“Stop it! Katie, now, you listen here.” She continued to look down with waves of regret, picturing both of them falling into the river. “Hey, baby, now, look at me,” Scotty said, holding her face up toward him. His eyes caught her eyes’ attention. “You did not almost kill me. I chose to climb this daggone bridge. I could have stayed on the ground, but if you were going to jump or fall, I was going with you. I love you, I really do. I didn’t just say that to get you to save yourself. I’ve been holding it in all this time, afraid to tell you, but today I was more afraid of losing you, forever. I can’t live without you. I don’t want to live without you. This was my choice.” 

“Oh, Scotty, thank you. You’ve been the best new friend I’ve ever had since Matthew. You’re my family now, like he was my family the first day we met.” 
“Good, I’m glad, because this is partly my fault, you know?” 
“How?”
“I knew how depressed you were, grieving after your Laurie and your Michael all over again, when you lost her. I should have tried to get you some help, instead of thinking I could cheer you up, honey, I’m sorry for that.” She looked into his eyes of love, with her bottom lip quivering from his taking her life under his charge. “Now, I’m going to get you that help and see that you get well, even if I have to be with you every moment. I’m going to even go as far as trying to find you another reason to live, whether it be for me, or someone else.” She released one hand from the rafter and put her cold hand on his five o’clock-shadow.  
“Oh, Scotty, I’m so grateful for what you’ve done and for your feelings toward me. I love you for that. You’re so special to me. After what you’ve done here, today, I can’t throw away what you were willing to give your life for— my sorry ass.”  
“What are you talking about, you have a great ass!” The humor of the comment broke all the tension and lightened the atmosphere causing both of them to laugh out the tears and regret.   
“So, you’ve been looking at my ass and checking me out?” 
“From the first time I saw you at the open house at the Village when we first met.”  
“That long ago?” Katie scrunched up her nose in shock that he had his eye on her that far back.  
“Yep, three years and counting, sexy,” he said nodding very slow with seduction in his mind. “That first time I saw those beautiful eyes, and then when you turned the other way, you had a gorgeous ass to match,” he said laughing. She laughed and shook her head. “Gorgeous teacher, I was window shopping then, babe. Now are you going to let me purchase the whole store?”  
“What about your reputation as a ladies’ man, Scotty? What about all those badge bunnies that will hate me?” 
“I meant it when I said they were just practice. I was just waiting for you to give me the go ahead to leave them all behind?” 
“Even Collect, I mean Colletta?” She asked, dropping her eyes in shame. Scotty laughed at one of his old girlfriend’s nicknames, for the men and diseases she collected, as was reputed of her. 
“Especially, Collect. I never felt anything for her that I’ve had for you, baby. So, what do you say? You gonna give me a try to let me help you and make you happy?” 
She nodded her head and her giggle warmed Scotty’s heart giving him hope. Their fear and anxiety turned into rejoice and a new lease on life for Katie.  
“So, you really meant it when you said you loved me, you weren’t just saying that to make me want to live for you?”  
“Katie, didn’t I just cuff myself to you while you were dangling two hundred feet above that daggone river?” 
“Yes, I guess so.” 
“Well, truth be known, not only would I not have climbed this bridge for anyone else, I’ll be damned if I would cuff myself to someone like that, ready to fall, with anyone other than you.” 
Katie started crying. “Oh Scotty, it’s the best thing I’ve heard in years. Thank you,” she said with her crying voice.  
“Why are you crying, this is a good thing, right?” 
“A very good thing,” she said in her flood of tears. 
“Are you going to cry every time I say something good?” Katie giggled and nodded.  
“You know me, Scotty, anything makes me cry.”  
“Yes, and I love how cute you are with those abundant water works. You know I fell in love with you that first time I saw you, but I became hopelessly addicted to you those weeks I stayed with you, after your Laurie died. I have a confession to make about that night?”
“What?”
“Well, Katie, I was not on duty that night. When I heard the call come over the radio at my house, I got on my uniform and requested to be one of the deputies that came with the chaplain to break the news to you. I wanted to be with you, then. I wanted to hold and comfort you. I felt like I was partly to blame. I busted that damned Brandon so many times; I should have just killed him myself one of those times, then your Laurie would be here, but I’m glad he’s dead. I just hate that he took your Laurie with him, the bastard.” Katie began to cry, remembering that night, the third worst night of her life, with Michael’s dying being the first and catching him cheating being the second.  
“Oh, Scotty, that’s so sweet and wonderful, just like you. It was not your fault. Don’t blame yourself. You’ve done so much for me since then. You gave up your vacation you had planned and used up all the days of vacation you had left, so I wouldn’t be alone those first two weeks. I owe you so much.” 
“Well, then, can I collect on that debt by having you as my girl? Shit, I’ll be the luckiest deputy on the department.”   
“Deputy Wells, how the heck can I turn down a guy who looks as hot as you do in that uniform, and who was just willing to give up his life for me?” She smiled, giving him the thrill of a lifetime.  
“Oh, Katie, you’ve made me so happy. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this day, even if it had to be two hundred feet above that daggone river.” Katie giggled, and Scotty laughed, even more madly in love.  
“You know, Scotty, it’s one helluva a way to ask a lady out, I gotta say that, climbing a bridge, risking your own life and saving hers just to get her to say yes to a date.”  
“Yep, so, now I’m responsible for it. I want you to know that I meant what I said” 
“Which thing?”
“Now that I have you, Katherine Lynn Petersen Moore, I won’t let go, not now, not ever,” he said with tears of gratefulness. Katie burst into tears again, as she maneuvered her way over to him, to put her forehead up against his and relish in this most tender moment. 
“Oh, Scotty, don’t ever let go of me.” 
“I won’t, not now, not ever, like I said.” He took her hand in his and kissed the inside palm and then put it up to his cheek. He then put her hand down back on the beam to get his grip back and keep from falling when the reality of where he was, hit him, again. He started to sweat profusely, again. “Umm, but first, I have one very first special request of my new girlfriend.”  
“What, you want to kiss me here up on this bridge?”  
“Oh hell, I want to do a heck of a lot more to you, but not on this bridge. How about you just help me down? I’ve had enough of looking down at that stupid river. I’m not sure I can move.”  
“I’ll save you my hero. Un-cuff us, and we’ll crawl off together. You can do this; you are my strong, handsome hero of a man. You’ve got this; I know you can do it.”    
Scotty debated keeping them cuffed together, however, he realized that if he fell, he would take her with him, and he could not risk that. He reached for his keys and un-cuffed them. His sweaty hands slipped and he lost his grip on the cuffs, dropping them into the river. They both watch the cuffs fall the excess of 200 feet, splashing into the river and disappearing forever. Their eyes both opened wide, knowing that could have been them. Katie pursed her lips when she looked up at Scotty who shook his head. She started crying, again. Scotty wanted to comfort her, and he put his hand on her face.  
“Well, I’m going to have a hard time explaining that to Sheriff Jenkins.”  
“Are you going to tell him?”  
“Katie, I may be crazy enough to climb this stupid bridge to save your cute ass, but I’m not stupid enough to tell anyone, especially my boss, geez Kate.” They both laughed and held hands locking their fingers.  
“You are the bravest, most wonderful, hunkiest deputy in that department, and I’m the luckiest girl in the world, because you not only saved me, but you want my sorry ass,” she said cackling.  
“Well, with my male ego being stroked like that, I can’t imagine what the other part being stroked by you is going to feel like. I’m going to predict absolute ecstasy.” He raised and lowered his eyebrows in a flirtatious look.   
“Geez, you men, two hundred feet above a swift moving river, balancing on a four foot beam having almost lost your life, and the first thing you think about is sex, honestly.”  
“That’s what makes us so great, honey!” Katie shook her head and giggled.
“C’mon my pervert in that sexy uniform, maybe if you’re a good boy, I’ll let you put your new cuffs on me when you are issued another pair.” She got up on all fours and started crawling with Scotty close behind her.  
“Oh hell, that’s worth scurrying off these stupid freezing beams. Let’s go baby, I’ve been waiting six months for this.” She paused and looked back.  
“Umm, Deputy Wells, six months isn’t that long, you know.”  
“The hell it ain’t when I gotta look at you and from this angle,” he said looking at her behind. “It may as well have been an eternity.” She giggled and shook her head. “Now, let’s go, my sexy bear cub.” She shook her head. 
“Okay, I have one question, Scotty,” she said looking back. 
“What’s with all the bear references, I don’t get it, do you think I’m fat?” He chuckled. 
“No, silly, it’s from all those times I’ve watched you read Winnie the Pooh to those kids at the library. I watched in awe of your gift with kids and kept thinking I wanted you as my loving bear cub.” Katie shook her head and giggled. 
“I do love those stories, that’s my favorite.” 
“No, really? I mean you have it plastered all over your kindergarten class, I think that people might know that about you, by now, my Katie-bear.” They both laughed and Katie turned to crawl the rest of the way off the bridge with Scotty sweating bullets, more nervous than when he first climbed toward her, but thankful to be leaving. When they reached solid ground both fell on the street laying down with their bodies spread out perpendicular, relieved to be on the ground. They both paused and took in deep breaths of relief. Scotty rose and crawled over to Katie and leaned over her, propped up by his elbows. 
“I’m so glad we are here, on the ground, and I never want to get any higher off the ground than a church altar with you, you hear?” Katie smiled and nodded as she reached her arms up and pulled him down into a hug. He breathed grateful love into her neck, giving her a small peck on it. He rose up and stood, putting his hand out for her to stand next to him, and she tucked her body in under his arm.  
“Hey, I have to call your brother-in-law. He called frantically looking for you.” Katie started to cry at the thought of scaring Matthew like that.  
“Scotty, I feel awful. I hope he can forgive me.”   
“I’m willing to bet that he’ll be so happy to see you, that whether or not to forgive you won’t even cross his mind. He’s pretty wrecked right now with worry. Shit, Katie, you scared the crap out of me, when I saw you up there. Don’t you ever go pulling a stunt like that, again, you hear? You know, I’m supposed to take you in for a mandatory seventy-two hour lock up at Eastern State. It will be permanent on your record as a suicide attempt.” 
“Oh, Scotty, you wouldn’t do that would you? I promise I’ll be good.”  
“How about we just say that I found you lost in the woods. It will be our secret for no one else to know.” 
“Okay, I can do that.”  
“I could get in big trouble for breaking procedure, but I don’t want you locked up anywhere besides the bedroom of your farmhouse with me as your warden and you as my prison bitch.” Katie laughed and they both rose. Scotty got up first, putting his hand out for her to grab and he pulled her up close to him. There was a moment of hesitation, as he wanted to kiss her, but fear won out, and he walked her to his cruiser.  
She turned to face him with admiration. This moment called for a kiss. She reached up, pulling his cheek to her lips, and she kissed him tenderly. With that move and with her face as close to his as it was, Scotty took full advantage of the moment. He planted a long, passionate, hard kiss on her lips. She pulled away from that kiss a bit shocked.  
“I’m sorry, too soon?” He asked a bit discomfited.  
“No, sweetie, too hard.” She reached up to his face, pushing it a way just slightly, then leaned in and gave him a tender kiss, soft and loving, caressing his standardized, deputy’s crew-cut sandy-blonde hair. With their feet both securely on the ground, another part of his anatomy rose to the occasion, and he pulled away, clearing his throat.  
“Now, that’s more like it,” she said. Scott smiled at her, giving her that look of want. He raised his eyebrows at her and pulled in his lips. He cleared his throat again and backed up just slightly more.  
“Umm, we better call Matthew, now,” he said trying to hide his reaction. Her eyes fell toward his manhood, and with just as much awkwardness, she coughed out that uncomfortable moment. He then chuckled and she giggled, knowing they were both thinking the same thing. With his breathing increased and his pupils dilated, this time out of want, instead of fear, he put his hand behind her neck, fisted a section of her hair and pulled her in for a kiss, not as tender, but not as rough. He pulled her body in close to his, letting her know of his want. He was lit up, ready to show her his brand of law enforcement between the sheets, but her less than enthusiastic reaction was more of grateful appreciation between the sheets.
It was eerily reminiscent of the time Michael did that to her on that first day of love, when she received her first passionate kiss from him. This time, her response was noticeably less than the insatiable desire she had back then when she was eighteen years-old and madly in love. It was a bit of a disappointment for her, as her thoughts went immediately to Michael and she began to miss and mourn for him during that kiss. Guilt pushed her away from his lips and then her body away from his. She coughed and looked up at him, a little embarrassed and with a lot of remorse. He misinterpreted the look on her face as her not being ready.  
“Sorry, I’ll take it back a few notches, okay?”  
“Yeah, sweetie, you kiss great, but from all those other aggressive ladies in the county, you are going to need just a little work with someone like me, but I’m a teacher and I teach,” she said with a chortle.   
“Teach me baby, teach me.”  
Katie’s former brother-in-law, Matthew Joseph Moore had already once called Scotty to see if he made any progress, but he only reached his voice mail. After leaving a message, he got back on his knees and continued to beg God for Katie’s life. Moments later, his phone rang and he noted it was Scotty’s number.  
“Matthew, I found her. She’s safe with me.” Katie could hear the deep sobs of relief over the phone. Matthew was hysterical with relief. Katie motioned to Scotty to give her the phone.  
“Matthew, I’m so sorry I worried you. Can you ever forgive me?” she asked crying into the phone.  
“Oh, Kate, I’m just so glad to hear your voice.”  
“Matthew, I love you so much.”  
“We love you too. Put Deputy Wells back on, please.”  
“Hey Matthew,” Scotty said trying to hold back the tears with Katie under his arm and attached to his heart, for the rest of his life.  
“Deputy Wells, there are no words to thank you. I’m so glad you found her. I owe you such a debt of gratitude.”   
“The name’s Scotty and I’m just so happy I found her. I’ve been in love with her forever, and someday, come hell or high water, I’m gonna marry her.” Scotty chuckled looking over at Katie, grabbing her hand. Tears streamed like the Kentucky River down Katie’s face as she leaned into his strong arm, hugging and rubbing it.  
“Well, Deputy Wells, you’d be a welcomed member. I am forever grateful.” Matthew and Scotty disconnected the call, and Matthew began cleaning Katie’s home singing a joyful repertoire of hymns of thanksgiving.

****








     



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