The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal by Barbara White Daille
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 highschool 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!
He noticed she hadn’t mentioned her husband. In letters, his mom filled him in on all the happenings in Cowboy Creek. No one knew about his relationship with Andi, but as he had worked with Jed, Nancy put special emphasis on everything concerning Garland Ranch. She had told him about Andi’s becoming a widow, losing her husband when he was killed in a car accident while traveling for his job.
“I was sorry to hear what happened,” he said.
Andi crossed her arms as if the sun had gone behind a cloud and left her chilled. Or as if she needed a comforting hug.He swallowed hard, feeling a small part of his anger slip away. Somehow, he managed to keep from wrapping his arms around her.
He could see the effect the loss had on her. While she was still as beautiful as ever, her face now looked stretched taut. Grief left her with nothing to soften her cheekbones or to fill the hollows beneath them.
Her eyes held a deep sadness. Tiny lines creased the skin in the outside corners. Those lines made him want to touch her. To stroke away her tension.
Instead, he reached into the truck for the box Nancy had sent along with him for the Hitching Post. The action gave him something else to do with his hands. It gave him time to pull himself together. Maybe, if he tried hard enough, that beat of time would let him swallow his remaining anger. For now.
He balanced the box on the truck’s hood and turned back to her. “I’m glad Jed sent you out here. It keeps me from having to track you down.”
He could see her nerves take hold in the way she brushed her hair away from her temple. The movement distracted him,again making him want to reach out to her. Unfortunately, the urge wasn’t strong enough to derail his thoughts for long.
He had all the sympathy in the world for her…but that still couldn’t give him answers. “What happened that summer, Andi? You were here one day and gone the next, and that was it. No note, no letter, nothing.”
She didn’t respond.
“You owe me an explanation, at least,” he said harshly. “You walked away from me as if I’d never existed. I thought we had something good going.” Something good? Hell of an understatement. “I guess, no matter what you’d said then, ‘thought’ is the keyword here.”
Over near the corral, a horse neighed and one ranch hand called out to another. Andi’s silence went on long enough to make him wonder if she would ever answer. But he’d had plenty of practice at holding on, waiting for a witness to make a statement or a perp to make a confession.
Which would she do?
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Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!
Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed “The End” to her first novel many years later…in the eighth grade. Now she’s writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life: https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.
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