High Plains Hearts

High Plains Hearts by Janet Spaeth

Book: High Plains Hearts by Janet Spaeth Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janet Spaeth
and tell me, ‘This, too, shall pass,’ and it did.”
    She was filled with admiration for the woman who held together the family when members of it were falling apart. What a remarkable person she must be.
    Cora finally succumbed to curiosity and strolled over to investigate Jake’s keys. She took her time, though, as if saying to him she was in no hurry to look at the keys, but if it would make him happy, she’d humor him and bat them around for a while.
    “This is a wonderful cat, you know,” he said to Tess as he teased Cora with the ball on the key ring.
    “Why don’t you have one?” she asked. “You seem to be crazy about cats.”
    “I moved from a no-pets apartment to my house about a year ago, and I’ve been having some more construction done on it. I thought I’d wait until that was done, since the workers were in and out all day long with the doors open. Not good for a kitten.”
    “How do you like living in the Pines?” She felt as if she were being as curious as Cora, asking all these questions, but she really wanted to know the answers. “Aside from going to your house, the only time I ever get out there is to look at the Christmas decorations at night.”
    He grinned as Cora swatted the key ring, trying to get the ball free from the keys. “Done your sightseeing, or should that be light-seeing, yet this year?”
    When she shook her head no, he stopped playing with Cora and looked up at her, his dark eyes gleaming with an idea. “Tonight we can drive through town and check out the Christmas lights. It’s still a little early in the season, but down in the Pines a few folks have put up some pretty elaborate displays.”
    It sounded like fun. She hadn’t yet made the annual Christmastime circuit of town, gawking at the lights that brightened the winter nights, and going with him sounded even more fun.
    Especially if they went in his car. Not only were the leather seats incredibly comfortable, but his heater actually warmed the car. This was a wonder to her. Her old van’s heater vaguely blew out tepid air, only neutralizing the icy interior. She couldn’t stay in it long in the heart of winter, not without losing the feeling in her fingers and toes.
    He gave Cora one final loving nose rub and stood up. “I’ll come back around six thirty. We can do the grand tour of the lights and then have a late supper. How does that sound?”
    Cora looked up at him and meowed sweetly.
    “Sorry, old girl—you need to stay home and guard the angels. If you’re a good kitty, I’ll bring you a treat,” he told her.
    “You are going to make that cat as big as a barn,” Tess interrupted. “She’s already the size of a shed.”
    Cora’s tail switched once in haughty disdain before she walked away.
    “Guess you’ve been told,” Jake said laughingly.
    “Oh, I never listen to anything she says,” Tess responded, sniffing with contempt. “Cora is always so—oh, how can I say this—catty?”

Chapter 9
    T rue to his word, Jake appeared at Tess’s house at six thirty. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a package. “Cora, sweetie, want a treat?”
    “Jake, you’re going to make it so that she’ll never eat Meow Meals again. She’s going to expect only gourmet food and special snacks pretty soon. Already she’s getting snooty about Cat-Cat Yums, and she used to be wild about them.”
    “You’re right.” He looked properly chastised. “Well, I can’t very well go back on my offer now. I’ll have to give her these.”
    She grinned. “Indeed, you are a man of honor. I suppose it’ll be all right this last time, but you’ve got to go slower, or she’ll be the size of a horse and eat about as much, too.”
    Cora watched him somewhat suspiciously.
    He tore open the bag and sniffed it heartily. He grimaced and gagged. “How on earth can this be a treat? It smells like someone was sick in it!”
    He had Cora’s interest, and she trotted over. She batted the bag out of his hands, and

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