A Tutelarius Love (Chapter Five, page 1 of 10)


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Clara was right. Megan immediately recognized the blue mustang when it emerged from the brush that bordered the drive. She also recognized the driver. It was the man who had watched her from the station...the man on the airplane. She quieted a sudden rush of excitement with a reminder that he was probably being paid to visit.

She hacked at the brush with the weed whip. It would make a formidable weapon if he was anything other than what she suspected. Suspected? Only the tiniest shred of doubt remained in her mind, and that was probably born of wishful thinking, not logic.

He parked the car and strolled over to her, stretching out a browned hand in greeting. What clever disguise would this law student use?

His smile was warm. "My name is Justin Keaton. I wanted to welcome you to Arkansas."

He had the southern drawl down to an art and his deep warm voice added a realistic touch. Where could Dad have found him on such short notice? Hesitantly she accepted his hand.

"Thank you. Do you live around here?" Surely if he did, Clara would have known him.

"I have a room outside of town. I'm doing some work at a broiler farm down the road a piece."

She released his hand and he immediately withdrew it. There were no motels in town, so he must be staying with someone - and surely Clara would have known that, too. He was dressed in a spotless white pocket T-shirt and white sneakers - hardly clothes for a farm hand. And speaking of hands, his were smooth and free of calluses. He braved her scrutiny with a small twinkle in his eyes and a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. His air of cool confidence was more than likely the result of frequent business contacts - one of Denton's colleagues?

He tucked his thumbs into the back pockets of his faded jeans. "I believe Clara said your name was Megan?"

That was a clever move - using Clara as a source for his information. Even so, it was annoying. Why didn't he simply state his purpose? She shot him a sour look.

"Megan O'Hara, and I'm from California. All of which you should know if you've actually been around here long...everyone else seems to."

He regarded her thoughtfully for a moment and shrugged. "They don't mean to be nosy. They're just interested."

"I know." He was going to continue the charade. Did he think she was that gullible? She took a hacking swing at the grass.

He moved toward her. "You have to let it fall. You'll wear yourself out that way. Here, let me show you." He gently coaxed the whip from her hand and took a few steps away from her. "Let the weight of the whip work for you, not against you." He brought the tool down in a smooth effortless motion that cut the grass neatly. As the whip continued and reached the peak of its arch, he let it fall again, whipping more grass with the other side of the blade. With side to side swings, he quickly cut a small area of grass. His swing resembled that of a golfer and she surmised he had plenty of practice.

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