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When You Call My Name - fb3_img_img_4524ccb7-011f-54c3-93df-81531bdb2dba.png

When You Call My Name

Sharon Sala

When You Call My Name - fb3_img_img_14a2b434-3b22-50b1-ac93-30d923d65fe8.jpg

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Epilogue

Chapter 1

It’s all your fault. You let me down…let me down.

Wyatt Hatfield shifted in his seat and gripped the steering wheel a little tighter, trying to see through the falling snow to the road ahead, doing everything he could to ignore the memories of his ex-wife’s accusations. Shirley and his years with the military were things of the past.

This soul-searching journey he’d embarked upon months earlier was for the sole purpose of finding a new direction for himself. He’d fixed what was wrong with Antonette’s life with little more than a phone call. Why, he wondered, couldn’t he find a way to fix his own? And then he grinned, remembering how mad his sister had been when he’d interfered.

“At least I’m in her good graces now,” he muttered, then cursed beneath his breath when his car suddenly fishtailed.

His heartbeat was still on high as he reminded himself to concentrate on the more pressing issues at hand, namely, the blizzard into which he’d driven. The windshield wipers scratched across the icy film covering the glass, scattering the snow in their paths like a dry, whirling flurry, while the heater and defroster did what they could to keep the interior of his car warm.

But as hard as he tried to concentrate on driving, her voice kept ringing in his ear, complaining that when she’d needed him, he was never there.

“Damn it, Shirley, give me a break,” Wyatt muttered. “I was wrong. You were right. That should be enough satisfaction for you to let go of my mind.”

The car skidded sideways on a patch of ice and Wyatt eased off on the gas, riding with the skid and sighing in relief as the car finally righted itself.

He’d made the wrong decision when he hadn’t stopped back in the last town, and he knew it. Then the weather hadn’t been this bad, and getting to Lexington, Kentucky, tonight had seemed more important then than it did now. To make things worse, because of the severity of the snowstorm, he wasn’t even sure he was on the right road anymore. The weak yellow beam of the headlights did little to illuminate what was left of the road, leaving Wyatt with nothing more than instinct to keep him from driving off the side of the mountain.

And then out of nowhere, the dark, hulking shape of a truck came barreling around a curve and into the beam of light, slipping and sliding as Wyatt had done only moments before, and there was no more time to dwell upon past mistakes. It was too late to do anything but react.

Wyatt gripped the steering wheel, trying desperately to turn away from the truck gone out of control, but he knew before impact that they were going to crash.

“God help us all,” Wyatt murmured, knowing there was no earthly way to prevent what was about to happen.

And then the truck’s bumper and fender connected with the side of Wyatt’s car. Bulk and weight superseded driving skill. Impact sent Wyatt and his car careening across the road and then down the side of the snowpacked mountain.

The last thing he saw was the picture-perfect beauty of lofty pines, heavy with snow and glistening in the headlights of his car. Blessedly, he never felt the car’s impact into the first stand of trees…or the next…or the next, or knew when it rolled sideways, then end over end, coming to a steaming, hissing halt against a fifty-foot pine.

He didn’t hear the frantic cries of the truck driver, standing at the edge of the road, calling down the mountain and praying for an answer that never came.

The wind from the blizzard whistled beneath the crack in the windowsill across the room. Even in her sleep, Glory heard the high-pitched moan and unconsciously pulled the covers a little higher around her neck. She could hear the warm, familiar grumble of her father, Rafe, snoring. It signified home, protection and family. Directly across from Glory’s room, her brother, J.C., slept to the accompaniment of an all-night music station. Mixing with the wail of the wind and the low rumble of an old man’s sleep, the melodies seemed somehow appropriate. Glory’s long flannel gown added to the cocoon of warmth beneath the mound of covers under which she slept. She shifted, then sighed, and just as her subconscious slipped into dream sleep, she jerked. There was no escape for what came next, even in sleep.

Eyes! Wide, dark, shocked! Red shirt! No…white shirt covered in blood! Blood was everywhere. Pain sifted, filtering through unconsciousness, too terrible to be borne!

Glory’s eyelids fluttered and then flew open as suddenly as if someone had thrown open shutters to the world. She sat straight up in bed, unaware of the familiarity of her room, or the snow splattering against the windowpanes. Her gaze was wide, fixed, frozen to the picture inside her mind, seeing…but not seeing…someone else’s horror.

White. Cold, so cold! Snow everywhere…in everything. Can’t breathe! Can’t see! Can’t feel! Oh, God, don’t let me die!

Glory shuddered as her body went limp. She leaned forward and, covering her face with her hands, she began to sob. Suddenly the warmth of her room and the comfort of knowing she was safe seemed obscene in the face of what she’d just witnessed. And then as suddenly as the vision had come upon her, the knowledge followed of what she must do next.

She threw back the covers, stumbling on the tail of her nightgown as she crawled out of bed. As she flipped the switch, her bedroom was instantly bathed in the glow of a pale yellow light that gave off a false warmth.

The floor was cold beneath her bare feet as she ran down the hall to the room where her father lay sleeping. For a moment, she stood in his doorway in the dark, listening to the soft, even sound of his snore, and regretted what she was about to do. Yet ignoring her instinct was as impossible for Glory to do as denying the fact that she was a woman.

“Daddy…”

Rafe Dixon woke with a start. He’d heard that sound in his daughter’s voice a thousand times before. He rolled over in bed like a hibernating bear coming out of a sleep, and dug at his eyes with the heels of his hands.

“Glory girl, what’s wrong?”

“We’ve got to go, Daddy. He’s dying…and I’ve got to help.”

Rafe groaned. He knew better than to deny what Glory was telling him, but he also knew that there was a near blizzard in force, and getting down off this mountain and into Larner’s Mill might prove deadly for them all.

“But honey…the storm.”

“We’ll make it, Daddy, but he won’t.”

The certainty in her voice was all Rafe Dixon needed to hear. He rolled out of bed with a thump and started reaching for his clothes.

“Go wake your brother,” he said.

“I’m here, Daddy. I heard.”

J.C. slipped a comforting arm across his baby sister’s shoulders and hugged her. “Was it bad, Sis?”

The look on her face was all he needed to know. He headed back down the hall to his room, calling over his shoulder as he went. “I’ll go start the truck.”

“Dress warm, girl,” Rafe growled. “It’s a bitch outside.”

Glory nodded, and flew back to her room, pulling on clothes with wild abandon. The urgency within her made her shake, but her resolve was firm.

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