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Justice : A Small Town Age Gap Romance (Love Stories From a Small Town)

Justice : A Small Town Age Gap Romance (Love Stories From a Small Town)

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Main Tropes

  • Age Gap
  • Small Town
  • Second Chance

Synopsis

On the verge of finally having the family he’s always dreamed of, a small town sheriff fights to clear his name when a woman makes an outrageous accusation against him before he loses the love of a lifetime.

All I wanted was to keep my little family together.

After a year and a half of being everything to everyone, though, I made a mistake that rips my life apart.

The timing couldn't be worse, because I was so close to having everything I dreamed of.

But that mistake isn't quite willing to only disappear without a fight... and she has her sights set on the one thing I love most.

Intro into Chapter One

The scent of Dan’s cigarettes still coated everything. No matter how much time passed or how often I scrubbed the inside of the truck, he never stopped haunting me on my drive home from work.

Today, when we had nothing better to do, Tommy and I fixed the gear that kept missing. Like I drove it straight off the showroom floor, the old blue heap purred like brand new again when I took the first hill up the driveway. 

Kind of a silly thing to be so excited about, I guess. Still, I couldn’t wait to take Mercy for a drive so she’d understand how hard I’d worked to bring this thing back to life.

The long, steep gravel drive had a deep trench down the length from the last hard rain that came through. So, I crept up, careful not to let the tire fall inside the rut when I made the turn for the house.

By the back door, where Dan liked to chop wood, was the clothesline he put in for her right after she moved in with him. 

Stepping out from behind the tiny fitted sheet, Mercy wiggled her fingers at me when she spotted me through the windshield.

Bathed in sunlight, her chestnut hair picked up every shade of red and gold imaginable. Though I spent every day with her, the way she glowed like an angel made my heart flutter each time. I can’t lie.

The door closed behind me, and I tilted my head a bit when I found the little white-haired chunker lying on the blanket between Mercy and the house. “How’s my number one girl doing today?”

So fast that I almost missed it, Mercy’s lips jerked when she dropped the folded towel into the basket by her feet. “Tuckered out.” 

Sighing at the clothespin that broke in half when she pulled it away, Mercy yanked another towel from the line. “She didn’t go to bed until after midnight and had me up at four on the dot to replay that damn beaver documentary.”

Smirking at how much she favored her father already, I tugged the floppy hat over the splash of sun spreading out over Dani’s cheek.

The clothes basket slid onto the porch as Mercy sat on the edge. “Then this little stinker had the audacity to fall asleep the minute I set her down out here.”

I shoved my hand into the flannel throw and lowered myself next to the baby. Every crack of my joints made me cringe as I tried to find some spot that didn’t make me feel too old. “Your driveway got washed out pretty bad last night.” 

The sole caretaker of this place now, I motioned to the building behind me where I hung out every evening. “I’ll take the tractor out after supper and scrape it again for you.”

A half-gone glass of sweet tea left her lips, and she laid it back on the step. “Thanks.”

Though she’d always sort of lived in her head, she was more withdrawn these days, only staring off into space. The tinking of the cooling engine got my attention, and I motioned to it. “I got the truck all tuned up and running good.”

Dropping my ear toward the pickup, I watched her bend in half and scratch her fingertips through her hair. “You want to go out for a ride when she wakes up?”

“Um,” — when she snapped up again, her teary eyes pleaded with me to stop as she struggled to catch her breath — “not unless you got your heart set on it or something.”

Like a river about to rage, her fists clenched as she tried to fight back the jiggle of her lip with her front teeth. “Today’s been kind of rough, and I’m so tired.”

As quickly as I could crawl off the blanket, I came to my knees in front of her and grabbed her hands just as they covered her face. “It’s okay.”

Afraid whatever magic that man left behind for us would disappear from this world, Mercy had locked herself up in this house since the funeral. 

I have to admit, I was here every day for the same damn reason. “We don’t have to do anything. I just thought a change in scenery would do us all some good.”

My thumbs rubbed over those purple divots under her eyes as I nodded back at her. “But it looks like you need a long nap instead.” 

With nothing left in the world but each other, I did whatever I had to for us to stay together. That she depended on me for everything was everything to me. I lived for it. “So, go on.” Pushing the long bunch of hair from her face, I ducked down so she wouldn’t ignore me. “I got her.”

Barely knowing which direction to go in anymore, Mercy shook her head as she pushed me away, always afraid she relied too much on me. “You don’t have to do that. She can come to bed with me.”

I pushed my fingers against her mouth. “I’m where I want to be, Mercy.” My eyes motioned over her head to the door. “Go.”

With a slight nod, she pushed her hips back and lifted herself from the porch floor. “I won’t be but an hour. I just want to close my eyes for a little bit.”

Cool air, still scented in Dan’s soap, rushed out of the kitchen door, making her gasp when she opened it, freezing her in place until I yelled back at her. “Take your time.”

The promises I’d made to my best friend replayed in my mind constantly, and I shook my head at the most important one. Smiling at whatever they dreamed of, my little blue-eyed baby stole my heart again every time I looked at her. “I’m never going anywhere without the two of you. I promise.”

In my life, I’d failed at being a man, a father, and a husband over and over again. But I liked to think that Dan never had a better friend than me. 

Like the genius he was, he had everything worked out to the letter. So, when I lay beside Dani and stared at the puffy white cloud, I nodded at it and the note in my pocket that Dan had dated for me to open this morning. “Okay, brother. I’ll do it.”


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