Second Chance Rancher

Second Chance Rancher by Patricia Thayer

Book: Second Chance Rancher by Patricia Thayer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patricia Thayer
Gus?”
    He shook his head. “I have a custody hearing in two days.”
    â€œWhoa, that was fast.”
    He nodded. “I think Ben is pulling some strings to get this in front of a judge. I don’t want to take Addy back to Denver, and with Dad still unable to get around, I need to ask...”
    â€œYou want me to stay with them while you’re gone?”
    â€œI don’t have anyone else to ask. If I hire a professional babysitter, both Dad and Addy would throw a fit.”
    â€œThey would throw more than that.”
    She caught his smile, and her heart raced.
    â€œSeriously, Kase, I can stay with them while you’re gone. How long?”
    â€œI wouldn’t ask if it weren’t for Addy. Dad would probably be okay by himself, but if something happened, like if he fell...”
    Laurel reached out and touched his arm. “It’s only a few days, Kase. The most important thing is you handle this case for your daughter.”
    He shook his head. “I don’t even want to think about it. I don’t know why Ben and Judith want Addy anyway. They never spent any time with her. Why now?”
    She hated seeing him so worried. “I’m sorry, Kase, that you have to go through this. Worse, I hate that Addy has to go through it. When do you want me to move in?”
    â€œTomorrow night. I’ll leave at dawn the next morning. Dad’s room is vacant, since he’s been sleeping downstairs during his recovery.”
    She’d be in the same house with him. “Of course.” She glanced away. “I’ll get Chet to take over my training for a few days. I still have to work two mornings this week, but since Addy will be in school... Will Gus be okay by himself while I’m at the office?”
    â€œYes, he has therapy, and he’ll get around all right by himself. I just don’t want him responsible for a four-year-old.”
    â€œI’ll have Mom stop by while I’m at work, or maybe Dad.”
    He shook his head. “That’s not necessary, Laurel.”
    â€œAre you kidding? Mom will probably drop by with a pile of food. I won’t have to cook.”
    He laughed. “I’ll leave money so you can bring home food from town. That way you don’t have to cook.”
    â€œSo you think I can’t cook?”
    â€œI couldn’t care less if you can or not. I just don’t want any extra work for you.”
    She smiled. “That’s nice of you, but I’m Diane Quinn’s daughter. I was cooking before I went to school.”
    â€œI figured you could.” His gray gaze locked on hers and his hand reached out and touched her cheek. She knew she needed to back away, but the pull of the man was too strong. That she ached for his touch made her angry. She was in big trouble, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself.

Chapter Eight
    The next evening, Kase sat at the kitchen table across from Gus and Laurel, eating Addy’s favorite meal, spaghetti. All the while his daughter chatted away about her day at school, excited that Laurel was spending the night.
    He was excited, too, but for a whole different reason.
    â€œChild, slow down,” Gus said. “Let Laurel eat her supper. You have two days to share all your news.”
    â€œIt’s okay,” Laurel told him. “I’m glad Addy likes her new school and that she’s making friends.”
    The child nodded, causing her blond curls to bounce. “I do. Lots and lots, but you’re still my bestest friend.”
    Laurel stroked the child’s hair. “That’s so sweet, Addy. Thank you.”
    Kase was touched at Laurel’s open affection. Although he was happy his daughter had female attention, what would happen when Laurel wasn’t around all the time? Would his daughter be devastated again?
    And how would he feel if Laurel found another man?
    A man who didn’t come with baggage, or a man who wasn’t fighting a

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