Resisting the Hero:An Accidentally in Love Novel(7)

By: Cindi Madsen

He was going over to Kaleb’s later today. And there, it wouldn’t be so easy for her to run away from him.

Faith wandered the familiar streets of Cornelius, noting everything that had changed in the past six years. Most places were the same, with the exception of an upgrade here and there. Lake Norman glittered in the distance, coming into view between the buildings. She’d spent her childhood on that lake. Boating. Swimming. Fishing.

Flyers advertising the upcoming Fall Festival hung on the lampposts. They’d close off this section of town and set up booths in the middle of the street, leading all the way to Magnolia Park, where there’d be live music and contests. Faith had already signed up for the Fallen Officer 5K that’d take place early that morning. It was why she’d dragged herself out of bed and forced herself to go run—she wished she were in better shape, but she wanted to contribute however she could, so she’d walk the end of the race if she had to. Afterward, she’d go to the festival and fill up on delicious, artery-clogging food. Anna was going to set up a booth for her pottery, too. She’d been talking for months about how excited she was to have her vases, bowls, and plates on display for such a big event, and how she hoped to make some extra money before the baby arrived.

Bigfish Bait and Tackle shop came into view, and Faith quickened her pace. While she was closer to Paul’s age, she and Brynn had suffered through fishing excursions together. The guys used to roll their eyes and complain about the smell when she and Brynn would sit on deck and paint their nails—the guys were covered in fish guts half the time, but apparently nail polish was too stinky to handle. They’d kept in touch through Facebook, but Faith hadn’t seen Paul or Brynn since she’d left six years ago.

I hope they’re in the shop today. If not, she’d ask Paul Senior how to find them. Her stay here would be much easier with familiar friends to hang out with. As she neared the shop, she spotted a girl with dark hair delivering a grape soda to a guy sitting at a table, laptop out in front of him.

Faith’s heart dropped. If someone had converted Bigfish into a trendy café, she might cry. Not that she was in a huge need of fishing supplies, but Dad used to love the place. He’d go in to “grab just one thing” and end up talking to Paul Senior for hours. Losing little places he loved felt like losing even more of him.

“Faith Fitzpatrick?” The girl straightened, and Faith realized it was Brynn. Her hair was dyed dark, but her features were still the same. Though the cut and color highlighted them and fit her more vintage style.

“I hardly recognized you,” Faith said, meeting Brynn halfway for a hug. “You look great.”

“Thanks. You too.”

“For a second, I was afraid someone had turned Bigfish into a café.”

Brynn grinned at the guy seated at the table. “Someone thinks it’s a café that serves grape soda.” She bounced on the balls of her feet, joy clear on her features. “This is Sawyer. My boyfriend.”

“Weren’t you on the football team at Hough High?”

Sawyer pushed out from the green wrought iron table and stood, wrapping an arm around Brynn’s waist like it was second nature. “That was me. Back before I learned to appreciate the arts. And awesome girls who were passionate about them.”

Brynn’s grin widened and he kissed her cheek.

Faith couldn’t help but stare for a moment. She could clearly see how in love Brynn and Sawyer were. That was what she wanted: a guy who was serious about settling down. A guy who wouldn’t look around at other girls and see what he was missing. She’d been so stupid in her relationship with Jeff, thinking she’d tamed a player. From now on, she was staying far, far away from those types.

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