Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Chapter Three, page 1 of 12)


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Carmen trudged through the sticky mud toward the chicken shed. There was no point in getting all worked up. Obviously Alex was showing off for Katie. After all, he had less than two weeks to convince her to move back to Houston. How he expected to achieve that by feigning interest in the goats was a mystery, but at least he cared enough to make an effort. A month ago, before the letter announcing his visit, she would have said otherwise. Why the sudden interest in Katie? Did it have anything to do with the fact that she would be twenty-one soon, and gain control of her inheritance? How much of his wealth actually belonged to Katie? Now there was a thought - not a very nice one, either.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a cacophony of squawks and wings beating against the chicken coop walls. She broke into a run, screaming for Katie. Something was after the chickens - probably that dad-burned skunk again.

Her foot slipped on a large wet rock, spilling her face first into the mud. For a long agonizing moment her knees and elbows took turns at the ground, but finally she made it to the chicken coup door. She turned the wooden latch and threw the door open, ducking as a chicken flew over her head. It took an instant for her eyes to adjust to the dim coop interior, and then she found herself staring into the desperate eyes of a red fox.

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