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Lost and Found Baby

Written by Hope White

Chapter Three

She fought him. Of course she would. She hadn’t a clue it was Luke. Or would that make her fight harder?

Skipper barked, anxious to protect Luke, and the baby cried. If the shooters were still on the property, all four of them were goners.

“Katy, stop. It’s me. It’s Luke.”

She froze. He wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. “Skipper, quiet.”

The dog obeyed, but paced anxiously.

“Katy, I’m going to remove my hand.” He released her.

She scrambled to her feet and drew her firearm, aiming at his chest.

“Skipper, right here,” Luke ordered, fearing the dog might charge Katy to defend him.

The dog rushed to Luke’s side. Luke turned the knob on the lamp for more light and picked up the baby. When he glanced at Katy, he noticed her hand tremble as she aimed her gun at him.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “I didn’t recognize you.”

She did not lower her weapon.

“Is that your child?” she asked.

“No.” He rocked the baby and kept his distance.

“Whose child is it?” she asked.

Not Hi, Luke, how are you? I’ve missed you or even You’re a complete jerk, which he totally deserved.

“Honestly? I don’t know,” he said.

She shot him a look, one that would have been cute on Katy ten years ago. Tonight it bordered on contempt.

“You’re bleeding,” she said.

“Yes.”

“Explain what’s going on.”

“I woke up and found this baby in my kitchen.”

“Found her,” she said, her voice dripping with disbelief.

“Yes, ma’am.”

The gun still aimed at his chest, she spoke into her shoulder radio, requesting backup.

She refocused on Luke. “Why are you in the barn?”

“We fled the house, but my truck was blocked. I figured we’d hide out here until help arrived.”

“You called in the shots fired?”

“I did. It sounded like a semiautomatic weapon.”

“I didn’t see any damage.”

“They shot out the kitchen windows in back.”

“Who?”

“I don’t know.”

She pursed her lips in disapproval.

“Katy—”

“Deputy Shepard,” she interrupted.

Right, a reminder that sweet Katy, the girl he’d pledged a lifelong friendship to as a kid, had been replaced by a hardened cop, in part because of the loss of her brother two years ago. A brother who’d admired Luke so much he’d followed him into the service.

“I’m sorry,” Luke finally said. Words a long time coming.

Silence filled the barn. The baby had quieted and the dog watched Luke for direction.

“Did you bring trouble back with you from the war?” she said.

Did guilt, shame and self-loathing count?

“No,” he said. “I honestly don’t know what this is about, Katy. I need your help.”

And not just to escape a mystery shooter.

Katy sighed and holstered her weapon. Just as she opened her mouth to respond, something crashed on the ground behind her.

Flames spread through the barn.

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About the author

I was born and raised in the midwest and migrated to the Pacific north...

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Hope White

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