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She took his hand with shaking numb fingers.

   He took her to the corner and leaned down low to her. “Come home with me miss, I promise I’ll not hurt yur.  Yer never have to do anything like this again or come over here or anywhere else and play nice with the grown up men at the races.  Do yer understand me?”

   Jolene chewed her lip, scanning the men peering through the bathroom door at her like she was a full fried chicken box from at the Super Fried Kentucky Chicken.  And she didn’t think it was because they wanted to eat something for real…unless eating another person was possible. 

   Or unless she was fried up.  And right now she felt like mashed potatoes and gravy on heels.

   If she stayed here, at best, she would most likely get pawed again like she did by Chad.  At worst, something like what happened with Chad would happen again and eventually there would be nobody there to stop him.  She could easily be trapped where nobody could hear her screams. Some man might force her to do that stuff that Aunt Paula did with the men.  For certain Jolene didn’t want to do that with anyone.  She read her mamma’s romances and knew there was a knight in shining armor for her out there somewhere.  She wanted someone really
nice like her daddy. 

   Unfortunately,at this moment she had to rely on help from the horrible Irishman who stole her family property.  “How do I know you won’t do the same thing once I come away with you?”

   Patrick McCabe laughed softly.  “Now that is a smart girl to be thinking o’such things. But I’ve not a taste for little girls with red hair and fairy-dust-freckles, at least not baby girls at any rate.  I only like very grown up women.  Not to mention you’re a very scrawny girl at that.”    
 
   He paused and smiled kindly.”I swear on the Rosary you dropped on the floor that I’ll not do anything to yer.”

   Jolene looked in horror in the direction of the stall. Yes, she had taken her Rosary out when she walked into the bathroom.  It had been her mother’s Rosary.

   It gave her comfort.  It helped her cope with the loss of her parents and the demons of her dreams that brought back thenight her parents were killed.  It also gave her comfort at night and made her less afraid of Travis.

   The crystal beads winked under the florescent light.  Patrick walked over, reached down and picked the Rosary up along with her small handbag and gave it to her.  She opened her shaking palm and closed her fingers tight around the beads. 

   His eyes were smiling into hers.  “And yer deny being Irish.”

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