1420135090 (R)

1420135090 (R) by Janet Dailey

Book: 1420135090 (R) by Janet Dailey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janet Dailey
of hand.
     
     
    By now, Amy had gone up to her room and Muriel had retired to her rocker by the warm fire. Kylie finished cleaning up the cookie project and had wiped the table down. She started assembling the turkey sandwiches she’d planned for lunch, along with canned beans and some potato salad. She’d be smart to make extra food. Henry would be hungry, and if Shane stuck around to work on the bike, she could hardly turn him away. Maybe later on, she’d get the chance to caution him about her son.
    She was layering lettuce and sliced tomatoes over the deli meat when the snowmobile roared up to the back porch. As she stepped outside, dazzled by the brightness of sun on snow, Shane cut the engine. Spattered with snow and grinning like the happy boy she remembered, Hunter climbed off the back of the snowmobile.
    “Don’t track snow into the house,” Kylie said. “How was the ride?”
    “Awesome!” He stomped his boots on the porch. “I helped Shane shovel snow and clean the barn. It was hard, but it was fun. Shane said I was a good worker.”
    “I’m glad you had a good time helping,” she said, sensing Shane’s eyes on her. “Now go inside and get washed up for lunch. It’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
    “Great. I’m starved.” He hurried inside, leaving Kylie on the porch. She shivered under her thin pink sweater.
    “You and Henry are invited for lunch, too,” she said. “I made plenty of sandwiches and salad, and I’m warming up some canned beans.”
    “Thanks. I’ll tell Henry.” Shane’s face was ruddy with cold; the stubble on his jaw was beaded with melting snow. He looked mouth-wateringly handsome. But this was no time to let her hormones take charge of her brain—not when the issue was his influence on her son.
    “That’s a fine boy you’re raising,” he said. “We made a good morning of it.”
    “I need to t-talk to you about that.” Kylie’s teeth had begun to chatter. Goose bumps puckered beneath her sweater.
    “Sure, but right now I can tell you’re freezing. Get inside. We can talk later. Go!”
    Kylie ducked back into the house and closed the door. She could smell the beans she’d left warming on the back burner. They were beginning to scorch. Blast that stove!
    Rushing through the kitchen, she snatched the pan off the heat. The beans would be all right as long as she was careful not to scrape the burned part off the bottom of the pan. But sometimes it seemed as if that stove hated being used by anyone other than Muriel.
    At least the sandwiches would be fresh and good. Kylie sliced each one in half and arranged them on a platter. By the time she’d ladled the beans into a bowl and put everything on the table, Shane and Henry had come inside and Muriel had awakened from her doze by the fire. “Now that looks mighty good,” Henry said, holding a chair for Muriel and sliding it in as she sat down. It was a tender gesture—but did Muriel even notice such things?
    “Get your sister, Hunter,” Kylie said.
    “Never mind, I’m coming.” Amy appeared in the kitchen and took her place at the table.
    There was a beat of uncertain silence before Muriel offered to say grace, and again that awkward joining of hands. It was a nice custom, really, and Kylie supposed she’d get used to it. But with Shane’s big hand cocooning hers—his rough and cool, hers smooth and warm—her pulse surged into overdrive. And it didn’t help that Muriel’s prayer was going on and on.
    “. . . Lord, we thank You for keeping us safe during the storm and for our friends and family who are gathered here to enjoy this wonderful meal.... Bless us this holiday season that each of us will find the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts. Bless us with joy and gratitude for this day. . . . Amen.”
    The prayer had been a beautiful one, but with her pulse driving heat through her body, it had been all Kylie could do to concentrate on the words. As the murmured “amen” echoed around the table,

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