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Badar Consultant Agency
Co-Writer Blondemaverick*
Beta Reader HalenNikole
Beta Reader Heywood Williams
Co-Writer Z
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  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
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Badar Consultant Agency
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#1
0 - Black Heart - 1A
Blondemaverick
No Plagiarism!fFz2rY0uYJ6jkxRh0bM7posted on PENANA

Conna Holland had known there was something off about Sherwood from the start.copyright protection54PENANAEKtWWV6N2B

The first time they met, Woody had been moving a box into his new apartment. Keys between his teeth, he’d propped the heavy box against the door so he could free a hand to insert the key and turn. Awkward, slow, careful, he’d moved to open the door and go through. But then a smell made him pause. Apples. Cinnamon. Whiskey. He blinked, turned his head, and blew black hair out of his brown eyes. “Can I help you?” he wondered at the woman staring at him, her upper body leaning out of her own apartment.copyright protection54PENANALigkkHikch

She shook her head. “Do you need help with that?” she asked, gesturing. Her right hand was a teal colored prosthetic with silver, poseable joints and a purple paisley print job on the back of the hand. She used it to tuck a chunk of short blonde hair behind her ear.copyright protection54PENANA4iApPrHQDu

He smiled politely, using his foot to prop open the door. “Thanks, no.” What help would she be with that bad hand? he asked of himself, more curious than unkind.copyright protection54PENANAYiesebnkYq

“You’re Glenn Sherwood, right?” she asked him even as he disappeared inside.copyright protection54PENANAVKIc42Tnn6

Grunting, he set the box down in the entryway and peaked his head back out. “Call me Woody. You are?”copyright protection54PENANAEsofSeHz5l

“Conna Gene Holland. You can call me whatever you want. Where’d you get that cut on your forehead? It looks bad. The bandage is already bleeding through. Did you get stitches? If you did, they did a lousy job of it. You don’t get that kind of wound from moving boxes. Were you in a fight?” she asked, pushing her own bangs up with the false hand.copyright protection54PENANA33EivStTds

He blanched a little at the unceremonious questioning. “Disagreement with some stairs.”copyright protection54PENANAj9c2lg5fEs

Conna snorted. “That’s a lame story… You should learn how to lie better, Woody.”copyright protection54PENANAmiUKyMZfm4

“If you must know,” he said neutrally, “I was moving my stuff into the moving van and tripped on a patch of ice. Six steps later and my forehead connected with the landing ramp. Sliced it clean open. True story.”copyright protection54PENANABq8fID8bxl

“Well, if that’s true, why didn’t you lay down some salt beforehand? You’re moving in January. You should have known the risks. What, the movers didn’t warn you? That tells me something about you. You’re stupid… or you’re a bad liar, which is what I honestly suspect.” She smiled then, warm and genuine. “One of these days, you’re gonna have to tell me the story. I can keep a secret. I’m good at keeping secrets. You look like a good storyteller… secretly.”copyright protection54PENANAEQvQTR7Y7L

Conna had the conversational skills of a child, but for some reason, this charmed Woody.copyright protection54PENANAqt4leC8eSv

It didn’t help that she was pretty. It didn’t help that she smelled nice.copyright protection54PENANAitVrID5QPC

“Anyway,” she said suddenly, stopping him from saying anything in reply. “I’ve gotta go. I’m making apple moonshine in my bathtub. If you want to hang out later, just knock on your bedroom wall. I’ll hear you. The walls are paper thin in this place.” She went to close her door, but then she remembered something and opened the door wide, sticking more of her body out of her apartment, revealing that she was only wearing one bunny slipper because her other foot was another one of those teal colored prosthetics. “The Landlady is not so good at keeping secrets, you should know. That’s how I knew you had to be Glenn Sherwood. She told all the single ladies you were a heart throb, and to steer clear of you because you’re not married. As she put it, any man that good looking at thirty-two who isn’t married… is probably a pedofile.” The younger woman shrugged. “Misses Grinspea is a gossip, but she wasn’t wrong about you being a dreamboat.” Conna waved as she closed her door. “Have a good move-in, Mister Sherwood.”copyright protection54PENANActsIjmzrkH

Woody, pink in the face up to his hairline, slowly blinked at her closed door.copyright protection54PENANAcLag7pSfDK

Conna, for all her charm, was going to be a problem, he knew.copyright protection54PENANALWeGnWksN9

Because he did want to hang out with her. He wanted to know why she was missing an arm and a leg. He wanted to know if she was missing anything else. He wanted to know why she had such a dizzying smile. He wanted to know why she was making moonshine in her bathtub. He wanted to get to know how she’d come to live in Dareklind, and if she was staying long.copyright protection54PENANA4ZDxIXTioe

The apple smell was diminished, but still lingered in the hallway like perfume.copyright protection54PENANAZAZaR7zJnd

He already knew then. As the heat in his face cooled, his polite smile faded, and his expression became a grim sort of mask. He knew himself too well.copyright protection54PENANAu89JOxF8Zt

If he had any more contact with the woman next door, she would die.copyright protection54PENANAi4tVCbSwtg

54.80.247.119

ns54.80.247.119da2
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