An exception to every rule Hanson McCormick thought and in this case, especially, proved to be true. Sarah Monroe the woman he’d been following for nearly two weeks after in-depth research of her activities, appeared innocent. Although popular consensus suggested she’d bought her way out of trouble because of her family’s wealth; he doubted it and everything he’d witnessed thus far indicated his assumption was correct. He was positive Sarah Monroe was innocent and had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sure, in her youth, she’d acted out occasionally, nothing major, just balking at the lifestyle of her parents and their friends and one they’d no doubt mapped out for her which clearly didn’t sit well.

The photos he’d witnessed clearly indicated she was unhappy uncomfortable and even bored with the parties, the nightlife the extras afforded the extremely wealthy.

Instead, she’d chosen to back the underdog, those in need, volunteering both her time effort and funding (which had obviously pissed her parents off) but she hadn’t allowed their condemnation to stop her. Her active involvement suggested values that extended beyond getting and having and just existing. She was a doer and a giver.

It wasn’t difficult owing to social media’s unending intrigue with the rich and famous. Their movements were monitored nearly twenty-four seven. There was always someone with a camera or a phone ready willing and able to take potshots at them.

Delving into her background including interactions with family, friends, and the community at large including all of her extracurricular activities he’d learned first-hand how involved she was in supporting a variety of causes and it wasn’t lip-service. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and rolled up her sleeves whether she was assisting at one of the homeless shelters she volunteered at caring for and incredibly patient with everyone whether it was the lonely sick or downtrodden person that crossed her path, or at the rescue centers for abandoned pets where she mucked out stalls, washed floors, or cleaned up everything from feces to urine while caring for sick and terrified animals. Clearly, not the acts of a woman bent on chicanery. Sarah Monroe was innocent and either at the wrong place at the wrong time or she’d been set up suggesting a vendetta of some sort. It seemed he was in the minority since even some family members, friends and especially the law felt otherwise.

He was more concerned regarding the recent change in her demeanour – she was nervous and jumpy. Clearly, something was up. The past week, he’d watched as she constantly looked over her shoulder and although she attempted a calm facade, her body language spoke loudly. Tension, worry, concern.

Sitting outside her condo, he watched as she stowed a large piece of luggage in the trunk, dressed in a nondescript toque, jacket, warm pants and boots, thanking his lucky stars he always carried a suitcase in the trunk of his car for just such occasions.

She’d been travelling for five days heading deep into the backwoods an area that although beautiful was incredibly isolated. When she turned onto a logging road that led to a large group of cabins, he was even more curious. Was she meeting someone, was it a planned or unplanned vacation or was she looking for someone or something?

He parked his SUV at the far end of the parking lot and watched her head into the office. She came out a few minutes later with keys in hand, headed to her car and grabbed her luggage before heading to the far end of the cabins. He hoped he’d be able to snare a cabin nearby.

Alighting from the SUV, he grabbed his luggage and entered the office and asked for a cabin at the far end because as he had suggested, he liked his privacy. Luckily one was available and it was only two doors down from Sarah’s.

He pulled a warm jacket from his duffle bag and draped it over the back of a chair so he was ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Both hungry and thirsty, he found the fridge stocked, and a coffee pot. He made coffee and then snatching the making for a sandwich, settled down in front of the kitchen window overlooking the seashore to watch and wait, hoping for an opportunity to interact with the woman he’d been following.

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