A Husband for Christmas? The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal by @BarbaraWDaille #ChristmasinJuly #Christ
Title: The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal
Author: Barbara White Daille
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS?
Mitch Weston's back in Cowboy Creek, and self-proclaimed matchmaker Jed Garland has his single granddaughter Andi on his mind. Mitch is a lawman, good with the little ones and easy on the eyes. He and Andi were high school sweethearts, for heaven's sake! Why can't they see they're perfect for each other?
Because Andi already lost one husband to a dangerous job, and now she's all about playing it safe, for her sake and her children's. Being a cop is everything to Mitch. After discovering Jed's plan, Mitch and Andi come up with their own: they'll pretend to get engaged and then break up due to irreconcilable differences. Jed's got his work cut out for him—because this match needs a Christmas miracle!
The folks of Cowboy Creek had turned out in force tonight. The Big Dipper was packed. The rest of their group sat around a couple of tables.
“No seats in our corner,” Mitch said, attempting to hide a smile. Much as he liked Jed’s clan, he didn’t at all mind this chance to get Andi to himself. Maybe to finally get her to open up to him.
“It looks like there aren’t any seats anywhere,” she said, scanning the room.
“Guess we’ll have to go out front.”
She waved to the group in the corner and pointed to the door. They all smiled and waved back.
He trailed her outside to a table. Fortunately, it was on the sidewalk opposite the side of the shop where her family sat. At least he wouldn’t have the Garland clan sharing a play-by-play of the action.
He took a seat beside her and gestured at her cone. "What is that, anyway, plain old vanilla?”
“A poor choice compared to mine.”
“You think so?” She shrugged. “I don’t much care for that bumpy stuff you’re eating.”
“You mean rocky road.”
“‘Bumpy stuff,’” she repeated. “That’s what Robbie calls it, so of course Trey calls it that, too.”
“Nice kids,” he said. “I’ll bet you’re happy they’re getting so much time together now you’ve come for a visit. Trey’s happy, I can tell you that. He definitely looks up to Robbie.”
She froze with her ice cream halfway to her mouth. Slowly, she lowered her hand again and began fiddling with the paper wrapped around the cone.
“What’s the matter?” he asked quietly.
She shrugged again. “Just thinking.”
He thought, too, back to what he had said. Maybe this would be the opening he’d been waiting for. “I’ll bet your son looked up to his dad. Most boys do. How is he dealing with what happened to your husband?”
“He’s fine.” The chill he’d heard in her voice earlier had returned. “He’s too young to be aware of things.”
“What will you tell him when he asks where his dad is?”
“I don’t know. I’ll face that when it happens.”
“Well, you’re right. He is young.” Young enough to forget, something he wished he could say about himself. “That’s a point in his favor.”
“Favor?” She shot a glance at him, then looked past him into the distance.
Her level stare told him she wasn’t noticing the sun-drenched sidewalk, the strolling pedestrians, or the Sunday drivers coasting along Canyon Road.
He could feel her shutting down. Slipping away. He wanted her back. “Kids Trey’s age can easily mix up reality with what they see on the cartoons. Plus they’re resilient. They bounce back from things that hit adults like a ton of bricks. That’s all I meant. Sorry for sounding too blunt.”
“That comes with being a cop, doesn’t it? Because you’re used to dealing with tragedy.”
“Not as much as people think. For sure, not as much as they see on TV.”
“But you face it more than most people do.”
He gripped the cone in his hand. How had she managed to spin the questions back his way? “Yeah, we all see our share of life’s worst moments.”
“How bad was yours?”
He shook his head. “Nothing we need to discuss. Let’s just stick to the first topic. We were talking about your boy.”
“No, you were leading up to talking about my husband, and I was avoiding falling into your trap.”
“Another one of your interrogations.”
“I wasn’t interrogating you, Andi.”
“It felt that way,” she said sadly. “Tonight and the other times you’ve asked questions. You want to find out what happened in my past. What happened with Grant. But when I ask about your past, about how you got hurt, you change the subject.”
She had kept her voice pitched low, and still he felt uneasy. He wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of a grilling. He wasn’t ready to talk about what had gone down in LA.
He spotted a trash can a few feet from them. Leaning over, he sent his ice cream cone into the kill zone. “This isn’t the place or time to get into that.”
“Then where is the place? And when will it be time?”
He shrugged and said simply, “I don’t know.” Because nowhere and never wouldn’t satisfy her.
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