Hearts of Sacrifice

Hearts of Sacrifice

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

Bad boy Hunter Cartwright always has been the black sheep in his loving but prosperous family. He's overshadowed by his big brother Billy who everyone loves and looks up to. When tragedy strikes, it is a wound that cuts deep and one that separates Hunter from everyone who loves him. Eight years after his abrupt departure, Hunter makes his return home to Oregon. Much has changed including the girl he grew up with Sophie. She's always been around as his sister Michelle's best friend and his friend too once upon a time. Sophie dates his younger brother Evan now. The fiercely competitive Evan is none too thrilled with his return just like Sophie. Can Hunter make amends to his family and regain all he's lost including the friendship of the one girl Sophie who means more to him than he ever realized?

Summary

Bad boy Hunter Cartwright always has been the black sheep in his loving but prosperous family. He's overshadowed by his big brother Billy who everyone loves and looks up to. When tragedy strikes, it is a wound that cuts deep and one that separates Hunter from everyone who loves him.

Eight years after his abrupt departure, Hunter makes his return home to Oregon. Much has changed including the girl he grew up with Sophie. She's always been around as his sister Michelle's best friend and his friend too once upon a time. Sophie dates his younger brother Evan now. The fiercely competitive Evan is none too thrilled with his return just like Sophie.

Can Hunter make amends to his family and regain all he's lost including the friendship of the one girl Sophie who means more to him than he ever realized?

Chapter49 (v.1) - Unmasking the Menace

Author Chapter Note

Michelle tries her best to enjoy her charity party...<br /> <br /> “Honor and vigilance are what our nation’s armed forces represent. <br /> An act of valor…their willingness to answer our country’s call <br /> is a constant reminder of duty, honor, and sacrifice.”<br /> --Unknown <br />

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: August 14, 2018

Reads: 398

Comments: 4

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: August 14, 2018

A A A

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CHAPTER FORTY-NINE – Unmasking the Menace

 

Michelle slipped away from the crowd when she felt her phone buzzing.  “Hi, Momma.  How’s Daddy?” she inquired with concern with her finger to her ear.  Her mother was at the hospital as she had been all week with Daddy seeing about his recovery from heart surgery.

Momma sounded cheery as always.  “Fine; fine.  You know your dad.  He’s been joking with the nurses and trying his best to leave here before his time which I have had to halt about three times already.”

Michelle laughed with relief, glad Daddy was up to mischief as usual.  “That’s so wonderful to hear.”

“Easy for you to say.  Your dad can be a handful.  He’s often worse than you kids!”  She chuckled.

Daddy spoke up in the background.  “Now quit telling on me, Flo!”

“Anyway, how are things there, honey?  I sure wish I could be there.  From the press coverage your dad and I see here on TV it looks amazing.”

“I wish you both could be here in person, Momma.  It’s all turned out better than I could plan.  I still feel though that I should have just canceled to be there with you and Daddy,” she said guiltily.

“Oh, you know neither of us would have wanted that, honey!  You’ve worked so hard on this event for Cartwright Charities.  To think of all the assistance, you will be able to provide food banks across the nation with the proceeds!  Your dad would never forgive himself if you canceled everything on his account.”

Daddy yelled in the background, “Have a good time for me, Chelle, and tell me all about it tomorrow, okay?”

“And me, too,” Momma added with her chuckle.  “You know how I adore a good party.”

“I know.  I learned from the best.”  Michelle sighed and smiled in amusement. 

“Promise you’ll not worry so much about your dad and enjoy the fruits of your labor,” Momma said with her stern voice.  “Remember that you can’t forget to have fun.”

Michelle smiled even wider.  “Promise, and I won’t forget.”

“Okay, honey, I will not keep you.  Just wanted to check-in to see how things were going.”

“See you tomorrow, Chelle!  Love you!”  Daddy hollered.

Momma followed him with her own, “Love, honey.”

“I love you both.  Bye!”  Michelle hung up shaking her head at her parents.  She then took in a deep breath as she put her phone away and looked around at her party.

Still, she worried after Daddy but tried to put on a good front the way Momma taught her.  Pretending turned into the real thing though.  Michelle found herself having a splendid time dancing and chatting with her guests as they all enjoyed the festivities of the evening.  The party was phenomenal with the turnout of all the elite of area in their finest regalia! 

The charity fundraiser turned out precisely as Michelle envisioned.  The treasurer informed that there were a few additional donations at the party which she was sure more than met their goal.  Every detail came together without issue.  Michelle was astounded, just like everyone else from her staff.  So much organizing went into every detail, but in the end, she could see its worth.  She imagined with the turnout and press coverage; it would be the best fundraiser to date for Cartwright Charities. 

Gazing around at the partygoers enjoying themselves, Michelle spotted Scully the faithful from a distance and smiled at him.  To help him blend in, he exchanged his formidable black suit for a fitted black tuxedo.  He offered her a slight nod in acknowledgment as he remained aware of the surroundings.  When not watching out for her, she often wondered after his thoughts.

Michelle could not believe how refined he appeared, though.  Even with her compliment of him as they left the condo that evening, Scully only nodded.  It didn’t surprise her in the least his lack of response for she grew to understand his simple ways.  Living with the man for the last several months, she learned a lot.  He was terribly polite and quiet.  He rarely watched television, and when she did find him not in his official capacity, he could be found in the study reading a book.

Sophie explained that the reason behind Scully’s reserve was that he understood his place.  He dared not to interfere in her life due to that invisible line drawn in the sand.  Her best friend also mentioned that Michelle and he were attracted to each other.  At the moment, Sophie could not be more right when she looked Scully over again in approval from his clean-shaven jaw to his muddy brown hair swept away from his youthful face in his standard military short style.  The only thing Michelle was not confident of at all was Scully’s feelings.

The need to use the women’s facilities was upon her for she drank her fair share of champagne that evening.  Feeling satisfied in what she accomplished, Michelle relieved herself and then washed her hands at the sink.  She dried her hands and then touched up her makeup a bit before she sought to leave the restroom that was surprisingly vacant.  The door opened to her before Michelle could touch it and saw a masked man stood before her.  She adjusted her own mask back over her face when she stopped walking abruptly in surprise. 

“The men’s is just over there,” she instructed pleasantly pointing further down the hall.

The towering man flashed a brilliant smile that unnerved her in its familiar quality.  She frowned slightly, but he stepped away from her and dipped a bow.  She smiled at ease with her hand over her heart and walked back toward the ballroom.  After only a few steps, strong arms grabbed Michelle from behind.  She screamed in fright only to find a soft cloth slapped over her nose and mouth.  With each unavoidable intake of breath, the sweetness invaded her nose and mouth.  Michelle felt the swoon come upon her even while she heard rapid footfalls drawing closer.  She tried to fight the hold of steel-like muscle hidden by the tuxedo he wore.  The unconsciousness came regardless and rendered her helpless. The world spun away to nothing, and she felt lost to it.

Hunter glowered at Scully laying on the floor looking livid and bleeding out through the hand clutching at his side.  “What the hell do you mean he took, Michelle?!  Who did, dammit?!” 

The wound at his side appeared deep; however, it failed to keep him from struggling to his feet.  In concern, Sophie reached into her silver purse and called 911.  “Oh my God!  Kirk!”

Clenching his jaw, Scully failed to reply as he fled from them.  However, that was when he ran into the other Cartwright brother and stumbled back down to the floor on his hands an knees.  “What the hell?!” Evan exclaimed as he watched the man slowly come to his feet as Sophie helped him with her phone still in hand.

“Haven’t you chased after enough men—” Evan scolded as he approached them only to halt as his brother also met them. He cut himself off with the clench of his jaw when he saw the state of Scully, sweating profusely, a dark red stain spreading at his side and his sister nowhere around. Evan asked instead, “Where’s Chelle?”

Scully struggled to stand on his own even as Sophie gaped at him when he slipped from her touch.  “That bastard has her.”

Evan ground his teeth.  “You have one fucking job!  One!  You let some fucking bastard take our sister?!”

“Stop it, Evan!  Blaming him doesn’t change anything!” Sophie snapped irritably. 

With each step, Scully’s pace away from them increased to a full sprint.  He headed toward the service elevator just behind Hunter.  The door already closed and the indicator at the top told how it slipped down to a lower floor.  He looked back at Sophie’s scared expression and the anger radiating from Evan’s. 

Scully stumbled but stayed on his feet.  He applied his pocket square to his injured side.  Staying upright somehow as his vision blurred, he remained determined to stay conscious.  Scully needed to keep his word.  Miss Cartwright needed him!

Ahead of everyone, Hunter already disappeared down the stairs he found.  He called the service elevator before he left which opened before Scully who breathed irregularly.  Impatience sent Hunter seeking an alternative route for fear he might lose track of his sister who apparently had been abducted, most likely by her psycho ex-boyfriend.  He called Yavin on his cell for his assistance toward the back of the convention center in the hope of intercepting the kidnapper.  Maybe the bodyguard could slow down the man’s escape with Michelle. 

Sophie finally finished giving details to the police and hung up the phone while following Scully.  She came to his side to help him again.

“You need medical attention!” she chastised with the sling of his free arm over her shoulder.

“Help me, or I go alone,” he stated while moving inside the service elevator.

Evan ran after them when the doors popped open and stabbed the bottom floor.  “How the hell could you let this happen?!” he roared darkly.

Scully lowered his head in the shame and anguish that washed over him.  Sweat still drenched his face while he pressed at the wound in his side and winced with a grunt.  “He got the jump on me with a taser and then stabbed me.”

Sophie gasped in her shock as she looked up at the bodyguard.  There was only one man she knew that was stupid enough to try something like this.  “Kirk took her, didn't he?”

Scully nodded his confirmation recalling the wild malice in the man’s light brown eyes.  He shivered in worry for Miss Cartwright.  They just had to get to her before Kirk slipped away.


© Copyright 2020 Amy F. Turner. All rights reserved.

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