Love Takes the Cake

Love Takes the Cake by Betsy St. Amant

Book: Love Takes the Cake by Betsy St. Amant Read Free Book Online
Authors: Betsy St. Amant
Tags: Ebook
to try and slow him down. “Is—is she okay?”
    All she knew was they’d been standing in line to get a cupcake, when he’d grabbed her arm, said, “Melissa’s in trouble, we’ve got to go,” and ushered her out of the banquet room. It was the first time since she’d known him that he hadn’t opened the truck door for her.
    He had barely given her time to climb in before he gunned it across the parking lot.
    He either hadn’t heard her question or was ignoring her. She decided—for once—not to assume the worst, and repeated it. “Will? Is she okay?”
    â€œI don’t know.” He bit the words off sharper than he probably meant to, but he didn’t apologize.
    â€œWhat happened?”
    â€œDon’t know that either.”
    Not a very productive phone call, then. Charlotte swallowed back her defensiveness and took a deep breath to attempt to calm her own nerves, reacting to his. He was obviously under a lot of stress and worried about his sister. She could forgive the lapse of manners.
    And forget the questions. Guess she’d find out on the scene—wherever that was.
    His truck screeched into the driveway of a small but cozy-looking yellow house. A wooden ramp climbed one side of the porch, concrete stairs laced in ivy on the other. A tiny picket fence lined the majority of the yard. He skidded to a stop and had his door open before the keys were even out of the ignition.
    Charlotte hurried to catch up as he rushed toward the front door to what she presumed was Melissa’s house.
    â€œMel!” he bellowed, rattling the knob. “Mel! It’s me. Can you open the door?”
    Charlotte’s heart rate kicked up a notch. What was going on? Had Melissa hurt herself? Had an accident? If so, why had she called Will and not 911? She didn’t understand.
    â€œMEL!”
    â€œIt’s locked.” Her voice, tiny and exhausted, finally sounded from inside. She said something else Charlotte couldn’t catch, and she raised her eyebrows at Will. He shook his head, having missed it too. He looked ready to kick the door down.
    â€œDo you have a key?”
    â€œYeah, somewhere.” He searched through his key ring, fingers shaking. “I never have to use it. She’s always home and has it unlocked when I come.” Judging by the trembling of his hands, he seemed full of enough adrenaline that Charlotte wondered if maybe he should kick in the door, just to release it.
    He fumbled the keys twice, then dropped them. Charlotte took them from his unsteady hands. “Which one?”
    â€œThe red plated.”
    She quickly inserted it into the lock and he wrenched the door open. “Mel! Where are you?”
    â€œKitchen.”
    Charlotte followed him around the corner, through a cheerful living area decorated in aqua and coral. Melissa had good taste. She stopped short before she plowed into Will’s back.
    â€œOh, Mel.” This time, his voice sounded broken, more than angry or panicked. Then he rushed to her side, providing Charlotte her first view of Melissa, sprawled on the wooden floor. Petite, dark-haired, freckle-faced Melissa.
    And the wheelchair on its side halfway across the kitchen.
    â€œWhat happened?” Will’s hands hovered over her body, as if he wanted to help but wasn’t sure where to start.
    â€œDon’t even ask.” She sounded more agitated than hurt. Clearly, the apple didn’t fall far from the Martin tree.
    Melissa met Charlotte’s eyes and found a smile. “We meet at last. Didn’t expect it to be like this.”
    â€œMe either. Can I help?” Charlotte stood near the kitchen door, afraid to get in the way.
    â€œNo, we’ve done this before, unfortunately.” Melissa winced as she attempted to move. “Just straighten my leg out for me, Will.”
    He obliged, carefully. “Nothing broken?”
    â€œHow would I

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