Let the Dead Lie
A widower with four adopted daughters, Emmit McKay likes to keep a handle on things. But nothing can prepare the former FBI sharpshooter for the battles coming to his small hometown. Especially the one which arrives in such a tempting package.
Savannah Walker moves to Blue Creek to take over as principal of the school Emmit’s daughters attend. With a masters’ degree in education and a no-nonsense attitude, she is caught off guard by the behavior of the McKay girls and never expects to fall in love with them—or in lust with their father. But her intimacy with the family stirs up rumors and unearths secrets.
Savannah and Emmit cannot deny the chemistry which draws them together, but the closer they get, the more dangerous the stakes become. When a murderer is hidden amongst you, you can’t let the dead lie.
The new principal took his breath away. She had creamy skin, golden-brown hair, and eyes that shone like sapphires. She was small and slender but had curves he couldn’t miss. She was almost the exact opposite of Gracie, who had been both model slim and tall. Emmit knew he was staring, but he wasn’t the only one.
“Pops, what’s the matter witcha?” Fletcher wanted to know, jumping out of Casey’s lap and moving toward him, sizing him up. “You’s ain’t sick, are yah?”
Emmit shook his head to clear it. He glanced back at Principal Walker as she, too, became aware of the girls once again. He tweaked Fletcher’s nose.
“Nah, kiddo, I’m fine, just fine,” he said as the principal held out her hand.
“Mr. McKay, I presume, I’m Savan…um, Principal Walker. Sorry you had to come out here,” she said and after one brief shake, dropped his hand.
“Ma’am. Well, you being the new principal and all, we were bound to meet sooner or later.” He almost smiled, then motioned to his girls. “Who wants to explain to me what happened this time?” He looked from one guilty face to another. Feet shuffled and hands clasped.
“Daddy, it was all a big misunderstanding. Things were said, and then one thing led to another, and well, here we are,” Alexandra explained in the wispy voice he knew she’d been practicing in the mirror.
“We’s gots in a fight, Pops. No big deal; nobody even bled. Just a little dirty s’all,” Fletcher said with a shrug. Charlie gave him her “sorry, Pops” eyes and smiled while biting her lip.
“That’s all, you say? Ms. Walker, maybe you can enlighten me.” He faced her again, all business.
“For heaven’s sakes! Someone tell him all of it,” Casey demanded, and Alexandra spoke up, going into detail. When she was finished, Emmit took a cleansing breath, then studied Casey curiously.
“Then what are you doing here?” he asked her.
“Oh—” Ms. Walker interjected. “She’s suspended for two days.”
“What!” the rest of the room said in unison.
“Yes, two days’ suspension for cutting class, not leaving the room when I asked her to, being disrespectful, and destroying my personal property.” She finished primly, having ticked off each offense on her fingers.
“Casey, you did those things?” Emmit asked in disbelief. His oldest took a deep breath, then nodded. “Answer me!” He had rules about nodding. His girls knew he hated it when they didn’t answer him outright on important matters.
“Yes, sir, I did,” she replied, straightening her spine.
“Why in the world did you? Hell, Casey, that’s not like you to be so disrespectful. Would you have done that to me?” It came out harsher than he intended. Casey flinched, and he cringed. He squatted down to be eye level with her.
“Casey, honey, I’d like an answer.”
“She wouldn’t let me stay.” She pointed to Ms. Walker then to herself. “I’m the big sister! I’ve gotta protect what’s mine,” she whispered, pushing the glasses back up her nose. The action couldn’t mask the hitch in her voice. Her answer hit him in the gut.
“That’s no excuse to behave that way, and you know better,” he reminded her, standing now. He caught the sympathetic look that blanketed Ms. Walker’s eyes before she could cover it. If she felt bad, that made two of them. His other three daughters were silent as they always were when one of them got into trouble.
“That’s a fair punishment, Ms. Walker, and she will be getting you a new mug.”
“Yes, sir,” Casey said, so only he could hear.
“What about the others? What’s their punishment?”
“Being that it’s Thursday, they’ll have out-of-school suspension tomorrow, and detention all next week. Fighting is against the rules.” She paused, then added, “Marylou will have the same punishment. Of course.” They all stared at her. Ms. Walker cleared her throat. “It’s only fair, seeing as she started the fight, don’t you girls think so?”
Emmit smiled. That was how to win over his girls. Beautiful and smart, a dangerous combination to a man like him.