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


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The serpent raised its ugly head, the beady black eyes measuring Megan as its tiny forked tongue flicked in her direction. The leathery coils of its shiny body lay in a heap, stacked at least three tiers high.

Heart pounding, she slowly retreated, pausing only when the heel of her shoe reached the edge of the porch. Then, never taking her gaze off the snake, she backed down the steps. Selecting the back door key, she finally tore her attention from the serpent and took a step toward the back of the house. Before her, the knee-high grass waved with a slight breeze of warning. How many of the snake's relatives lurked in the grass?

Taking a deep breath, she lowered the groceries to the steps and retained her grip on the broom. Wasn't this why she had come to Arkansas? To prove she could take care of herself? She balanced the broom handle in clammy hands and slowly advanced up the steps. What if she was bitten? How long would it take to get medical attention? She hesitated and then shook her head, muttering to herself again.

"You can't stand here all day. You came here to test yourself, and here's the first challenge. Don't flunk."

Extending the broom as far as possible, she gently nudged the snake. She shuddered involuntarily as it slowly uncoiled, stretched across the porch and eventually disappeared off the edge into the tall grass.

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