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A tall woman with brown hair, gray eyes, and a ponytail in her hair stood before us. The expression haunting her face was nothing welcoming. Instead, I felt judged, like I was being stripped of my pride. To prove the accuracy of my thought, I squinted at the rifle at her side, her fingers looped through the trigger. She was ready to pull that trigger with no regrets. It was as if she was trying to scare off bad news. Maybe she thought we were a couple of poachers or scammers scouting the area. No one likes poachers or scammers, especially when they're bothering them. 

In this area, I wouldn't be surprised if there were quite a few of them.

"Um, hi," I squeaked. Whatever slipped off the tip of my tongue, was a result of fear.

"My name is Hope." I held my hand out. She glanced down, studying the ridges of my hand like I was full of diseases. I bat my eyelashes and sent her a smile for extra support. Hopefully, she took that as I mean no harm. I let out a sigh of relief when I saw her grip loosened from around the rifle. She wouldn't set it down, but it was a start.

"Chrissy." She nodded. "Do I know you?"

"No, not exactly." I frowned. "Um, but someone we know may have passed through here. You might even know them too."

She narrowed her eyes, fixing her face on Reece now. Reece shifted uncomfortably, his eyes falling everywhere but her face. Then, her eyes met mine again. 

"Why would anyone you know want to come through here? And how would I know them?"

"Because they may have gotten lost and we're looking for them. We just want to make sure. Is it okay if I show you a picture of her? I have one right on my phone," I said.

She sighed and shook her head. "Sure, go ahead."

"Thank you so much, we're sorry for bothering you. I promise we'll be out of your hair in no time." My smile widened. I scrolled through my phone in search of the picture. But before I could find it, the woman distracted me. Her breath fanned my skin as she leaned closer, focusing on the bracelet around my wrist.

"Hey, where'd you get that from?"

"What? My bracelet?" I tilted my head, frowning. She nodded slowly, a suspicious look taunting her face.

"My mom"—I cleared my throat, correcting myself—"my grandmother gave it to me when I turned ten."

"Oh." She backed away. Disappointment made itself clear over her features. I tilted my head further in an attempt to read her facial expression.

"Why? Does it seem familiar to you?"

"Yes, a little bit. I've seen that engraving before. It looks just like the one someone I know, had. But don't worry. I was out of line, I'm sorry." Chrissy placed the rifle on the edge of the wall behind the door. She then folded her hands in front of her, her lips falling flat.

"Well, are you going to show me that picture? I don't have all day you know." She chuckled. The tease in her tone gave me enough confidence to ask the next question on my mind. I inhaled and exhaled slowly, sliding the bracelet off my wrist.

"Does the name Diana Cohen ring a bell to you?" I dangled the bracelet in front of her face, watching her eyes nearly pop out of their sockets. Slowly, she gazed over the bracelet, studying my face again. Then, her eyebrows shot up as if she made the connection.

"Why don't you two come in?" She pulled the door open, gesturing inside with a nod of her head.

* * *

"When Diana's father passed away, she took it hard. Of course, Diana's always been in touch with her wild side, but it got to a point where . . . even I had a hard time controlling her. I knew I wouldn't be able to control her life forever, not without her father here to help. He was the glue to this family."

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