Michelle Marshall is a strong independent woman with a lot of baggage. Raped right before the start of her senior year of college, Michelle grows to be a caring, single mother to her daughter. Things begin to look pretty grim when the Charity House, the women’s shelter she founded, is on the brink of having to close its doors. That is, until Tyler Austin, a mysterious and handsome stranger comes into the picture. Helping Michelle resuscitate the Charity House, Ty also helps her learn to trust, love and feel what she hasn’t in years. Not everything is quite as perfect as Michelle would like though, as occasional hints lead her to believe something is not quite right. Her suspicions are confirmed when even more frightening developments occur and start to become…deadly.
Michelle spent the car ride crying. She couldn’t even bring herself to call Tiffani back and make sure she had taken all of the proper precautions. Ty called the police and made sure there were
units dispatched to the shelter. He also phoned Mya to let her know what was going on. He didn’t want Shiloh to worry, because he knew it was going to be a long night and Michelle wouldn’t be
home anytime soon.
They hadn’t even turned onto the street when the smell of burning wood filled the car. She could see the smoke rising above the rooftops, and all at once her denial quickly came to an end. As
they made their way through the many police officers and the four fire trucks, reality set in.
As they stepped up to where the house used to be, Tiffani ran over to them, while the other mothers and children stood staring at their former home in terror.
Tiffani threw her arms around Michelle. Her body trembled as she sobbed uncontrollably.
“Tiffani, where is Chanel?”
Tiffani fell to the ground. “She’s dead. She’s dead! Oh God, Michelle, she’s gone! She’s gone!”
Michelle turned to Ty, who had his eyes fixed on the shelter.
“Ty, please help me….” The voice that spoke not her own. She had not heard that voice come out of her before; it was weak and throaty.
Ty grabbed her just before she passed out.
When Michelle came to, she was in the back of an ambulance. Ty was sitting next to her along with an EMT. Ty leaned in and kissed Michelle on her forehead.
“Hey, baby. Are you okay?”
Michelle closed her eyes and nodded slowly. Was she okay? She wasn’t sure. Everything had happened so quickly that she hadn’t had time to process it all. Maybe there was nothing to process because whether she accepted it or not, her shelter was gone and so was her best friend.
“Is Chanel really gone?” she asked Ty.
“I don’t want you to think about that right now, baby. Just take
it easy, okay?”
Michelle lifted her head, fresh tears filling her eyes. “Answer me! Where is my friend? Where is Chanel?”
Ty looked over at the EMT worker who gave him an encouraging nod. “It’s true, Michelle. They couldn’t save her. I’m sorry.”
Lowering her head back down on the gurney, she cried. It was all too much. She didn’t know what to do. The thought of having to call Chanel’s parents and deliver the bad news overwhelmed her. There was so much that needed to be done and she had no idea where to begin.
About the Author
Erin Armstrong graduated from Franklin High School. She currently works for Easter Seals NJ where she assists families with children who are disabled. She has been with the company for three years. With Easter Seals, her goal is to always live by their slogan which is to enable individuals with disabilities of special needs and their families to live, learn, work and play in their communities with equality, dignity, and independence.
There is no greater reward to her than being able to make a difference in these families lives.
At an early age she knew that she wanted to be a writer. Some of her first stories she wrote when she was only ten years old. It wasn’t always easy for her and she struggled to find her niche. She has written several short stories but never published any of them. Eventually she was able to sit down and write down all of her ideas and was finally able to make her dream a reality.
Erin lives at home with husband of five years and her two boys Davien and Cameron. She enjoys spending time with them and watching them grow every day.
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