“Catherine Crawfield. You’re Justina Crawfield’s girl, aren’t you? From the Crawfield Cherry
“Yes, sir.” Politely and blandly, as if I didn’t have a care in the world.
“Well, Catherine, it’s nearly four a.m. Why are you out this late?”
I could tell him the truth about my activities, except I didn’t want to sign on for hard time. Or an
extended stay in a padded cell.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I decided I’d drive around.”
To my dismay, he ambled to the bed of the truck and shone his light in it.
“Whatcha got back there?”
Oh, nothing unusual. A dead body under some bags and an ax.
“Bags of cherries from my grandparents’ orchard.” If my heartbeat were any louder, it would deafen
“Really?” With his flashlight he poked at a plastic lump. “One of ’em is leaking.”
“Don’t worry.” My voice was almost a squeak. “They always leak. That’s why I carry them in this old
truck. They’ve stained the bottom of it red.”
Relief crashed through me when he ceased his explorations and returned to my window.
“And you’re driving around this late because you couldn’t sleep?” There was a knowing curl to his
mouth. His gaze took in my tight top and disheveled hair. “You think I’m going to believe that?”
The innuendo was blatant and I almost lost my cool. He thought I’d been out sleeping around. An
unspoken accusation hung between us, nearly twenty-three years in the making.Just like your mother,
aren’t you? It wasn’t easy being illegitimate in a town so small, people still held that against you. In
today’s society, you wouldn’t think it mattered, but Licking Falls, Ohio, had its own set of standards.
They were archaic at best.
With great effort I restrained my anger. My humanity tended to shed like a disposable skin when I got
“Could we just keep this between us, Sheriff?” Back to the guileless blinking of my eyes. It had worked
on the dead guy, anyway. “Promise I won’t do it again.”
He fingered his belt as he considered me. His large belly strained against the fabric of his shirt, but I
refrained from commen
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