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Standing His Ground: Greer (Porter Brothers Trilogy #2)
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The Porter brothers were raised to live and die by Three Rules.
Greer’s been searching for love in all the wrong places. He wants kids … and lots of them, so it’s time to get busy and find the lucky woman to share his bed and his life. Though there isn’t a lot to choose from in the small town of Treepoint, he has managed to narrow his choices down to three.
The strange thing is, the one he’s falling in love with remains a mystery, hiding her face and name in the messages she sends from behind her computer. The mysterious woman may dodge his questions about her identity, but it’s only a matter of time before she finds out that this Porter brother won’t back away from something he wants, and he wants her.
Come hell or high water, he will find the one who goes by KentuckyGirl and make her his, despite what anyone says, even her. And KentuckyGirl is going to find out the last Porter rule the hard way: A Porter always stands his ground and leads his prey into his waiting arms…
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The small church hidden away in the mountains was filled to capacity. The parishioners had traveled from several surrounding counties to visit the church Pastor Saul had chosen for the yearly revival of the branching sister churches who shared the same faith he had been forced to listen to every Sunday, because his grandmother had made him attend, despite the never-ending pleas he made to his parents not to make him go.
“Let’s get the hell out of here!” Greer whisper-hissed as he saw Pastor Saul nod his head toward one of the congregation members to open a glass case. The follower then took out a snake that was furiously twitching its tail. The sound of the rattler had some in the front row gasping in religious fervor that had been built by the pastor’s sermon.
“Shut your mouth,” his granny hissed from the side of her mouth. “They’ll throw us out if they hear you.”
“Good!” Greer hissed back mutinously. He tugged on her arm, trying to get her to leave the pew so they could sneak out the door at the back of the church.
Turning his head, he saw one of the deacons who was as old as dirt slide a bar across the door to trap the unbelievers inside.
His granny put a hand over her heart, her eyes widening fearfully as the snake tried to squirm away from the handler’s hold.
Greer’s hand tightened on her arm. Usually, when he was this scared, he had his father or his brother, Tate, nearby to give him courage. With only his grandmother at his side, surrounded by religious fanatics who had lost their ever-loving minds, it was hard not to run outside screaming where his father was waiting.
The thought of his father calling him a pussy had him sitting in place.
She jerked away from his touch. “Don’t.”
“You’re going to have a heart attack if we don’t get out of here.” His ten-year-old voice had no effect on her.
“I told you to save your strength. Don’t use your power on me. I’m old and ready to meet my maker. That sweet child is going to need all your help.” She twisted on the pew so she could face him. “Get ready,” she warned softly.
As the parishioners began to form a circle around the pastor’s daughter, Greer reluctantly stood up to help his grandmother to her feet.
“Remember, don’t let anyone see what you’re doing,” she whispered as they walked toward the front of the church. “Pretend like I told you to do.”
Greer’s stomach clenched nervously as he followed the suggestions she had drilled into his head for the last couple of months.
Two years ago, when she had taught him what to do, he had thought it was a game. Then, the first time she had brought him to one of Saul’s revivals, he had learned what she had expected of him.
The parishioners began chanting and dancing around the little girl whose eyes were widened in horror. She was frozen as two men stood by her side, holding her in place so she couldn’t run. The grown men were enough to scare her, while the snake that was brought closer was every child’s nightmare, not leaving her with a chance to escape.
“Do not turn away from the serpent. The Holy Spirit is with us today,” Saul intoned in a monotone voice as he took his daughter’s arm, making her take the twitching snake into her trembling hand. “Beth is not afraid, nor should you be.” Saul then began chanting unintelligible words as the snake grew angrier.
His grandmother nudged his side, reminding him to play along. Reluctantly, his feet began shuffling as if he were dancing, as the other parishioners were doing.
A loud yell from the back of the church had Greer turning to see Cash trying to fight several men in the aisle as he tried to reach Beth.
His yells were ignored, the church followers not distracted from the self-induced trance that fed their cruel eagerness to see anyone but themselves at the snake’s mercy.
Cash’s struggles knocked off the camera the pastor had set up to record the revival.
“Make the unbeliever leave. We don’t want him here!” Saul shouted, the gibberish he had been chanting disappearing.
“Let’s go.” Greer erratically danced closer to his grandmother, wanting to seize the opportunity to leave.
Sadly, she nodded her head toward Beth.
Turning back toward the front of the church, he saw the snake’s fangs flash out, sinking its glistening teeth into the little girl’s arm. He nearly tripped over his own feet.
For the last two years, he had tried to avoid the sickening sight of the pain-filled expression that came over her childlike features.
“Now, Greer, now!” his grandmother whispered frantically, pushing him toward Beth as she dropped to her knees.
The snake handler quickly stepped forward to take the snake away, while the parishioners began dancing even more frantically now, chanting their own gibberish.