Smashwords version Sweet Surrender

Smashwords version Sweet Surrender by Georgette St. Clair Read Free Book Online

Book: Smashwords version Sweet Surrender by Georgette St. Clair Read Free Book Online
Authors: Georgette St. Clair
to run the bakery for her for the summer.”
    “Law school, eh?”
    “Hey, when I get my degree, I’ll save a fortune in legal fees from
bailing my sister out of trouble.” The sad thing is, she was only half joking. “So you bail her out a lot?” He leaned on the counter, facing her,
a lock of brown hair falling on his forehead. Little lightning bolts of heat shot through her body.  Stop
being so respectful, you idiot, she thought. Take me now, on the kitchen table. She swallowed hard, and forced herself to concentrate. “I know how that sounds, but she had it really, really rough
growing up.  Penelope’s my half-sister; I was four when she was born. My
mother was a widow when she married Penelope’s father, and then she had
Penelope and gained all this weight and never lost it, and he lost interest in
her and ran off with another woman. And she took it out on Penelope with a
vengeance.  She’d buy me pretty new clothes for school and buy Penelope ugly
old stuff from Goodwill.  On Christmas she’d give me a whole pile of new
toys and give Penelope a few beatup second-hand thrift store pieces of junk.
She’d literally forget Penelope’s birthdays. It was horrible.  And when I
stuck up for Penelope she’d give me this evil look, walk out of the room, and
not talk to me for days. Neither Penelope or I stayed in contact with her when
we grew up and moved out.”
    Her hands were shaking, and she clenched them into fists at her
sides, her stomach turning sour at the memories she was dredging up. “She sounds pathological.” Rafe shook his head in sympathy,
 wincing at the thought of growing up in a household like that. Not for
the first time, he thanked his lucky stars that he’d grown up with two
wonderful, loving parents – for as long as he’d had them. He looked at Poppy with compassion.
    “But that’s not your fault, is it?  Penelope’s a grown woman.
How long do you have to keep paying for the sins of your mother?” “I know, I know. But inheriting this bakery was a godsend.
Penelope was drifting around from job to job, always getting in trouble, and
suddenly she had something to focus on and it seemed as if she was finally
growing up and acting like an adult. I really want to save it for her.” He looked at her, his expression serious. “Did it occur to you that this guy breaking in, and Penelope’s
so-called accident, might have been connected somehow?” She stared at him, shocked.  “How could they be connected?
 I mean…he yelled out the words jezebel, scarlet woman, that kind of
stuff, when he climbed in the window…he’s just crazy.” “When you were giving the police your report just now, I didn’t
hear you tell them that. You need to call them tomorrow and let them know, so
they can add it to their report. You do know about the vandalism that happened
before your sister’s accident?” Poppy shook her head, feeling a chill wash over her. “Somebody spray painted the words Die, Jezebel, and You’ll Burn In
Hell, Scarlet Harlot, on the wall of the bakery. Two separate occasions. And
somebody slashed the tires of the clerks who worked there.” “How do you know all that?” A wave of shock and dismay rolled over
Poppy. She felt the ground shifting under her feet.  “My…my sister told me
that the store clerks just up and quit.” “Well, that would explain why, wouldn’t it? And I know all that
because I live in the neighborhood, and I work from home right now, doing
freelance work for my uncle’s company.” “Why’d you quit being a cop?” She didn’t know why she asked, but
at her question, a look of pain washed over his face. “I’d rather not talk about that right now. I’ll tell you some
time, I promise you. Let’s get back to the attacks on the bakery.” Attacks on the bakery.  Hearing it described like that made
her feel faint. “My biggest concern is that the attacks are escalating in their
level of violence.“ His voice took on a professional

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