Breakfast and Car Repairs
Cassidy gets more involved in her client’s life.
Cassidy watched as Channing did a slow death march over to the key rack attached to the wall. She knew he loved that pickup, it was his first car after all. But the fact that he’d shared kisses with Emma Winterbourne in it didn’t exactly elicit the same nostalgia from her.
He held the keys up. “She’s sensitive, so try not to step on the gas like you’re in the Indy 500. It runs well and only needs regular gas. Try not to park her too close to other cars. I don’t want any scratches on her. And—”
“Got it!” Joy snatched the keys and headed for the door.
“I have someone coming over to take a look at your car,” Channing added.
“Tell them good luck. Unless they’re a magician and a mechanic, I don’t know what else can be done.”
“We’ll pray he can make the intermittent black smoke cloud that shoots out from the muffler go away.” Cassidy moved closer to him and leaned against the counter. “Who did you find?”
But before he could tell her, there was a knock at the back door. Channing opened it. Cassidy was surprised to find Rusty, the bartender from the Bright Star, standing there. He was handsome, funny, and happy-go-lucky. He and Wyatt had been hanging out a lot lately and were becoming friends. He was a good bartender although Cal yelled at him for giving away too much liquor. Rusty was a throwback to that hunky cowboy that people wrote books about. She’d imagined that if they were in old Western times, he’d be the faithful companion who never left a friend in a fight. Cassidy could see the jaw-breaking smile form on Joy’s face. Apparently she thought Rusty was handsome too.
Rusty grinned and touched the brim of his hat. “Morning, everybody.”
“Thanks for coming, Rusty.” Channing ushered him into the kitchen.
“I take it the white car outside needs to be looked at?” Rusty removed his hat as he entered.
“You got it. You might want to stand back when you turn it on and wear a gas mask.”
“Rusty,” Cassidy said, sweeping an arm at all the food. “Have some breakfast? There’s plenty.”
“I’d love some bacon and flapjacks.” He rubbed his six-pack.
“Have a seat. I’ll get you some orange juice.”
“Hi, I’m Joy.” Joy extended her handed and smiled even harder. “That piece of crap out there is mine.”
“Well, how do you do, Joy.” He shook her hand. “I’ll do my best to bring it back to life.”
“Yes. Joy needs it to get around with her son, Isaiah.” Channing moved between them and motioned to Isaiah.
“Hey, little man.” Rusty smiled at Isaiah, who waved hello but continued eating his pancakes.
Cassidy knew Joy would be late for her shift if she didn’t get going. Too bad she was too busy drooling over Rusty.
“Joy.” Cassidy coughed. “You’re going to be late for work. I’ll walk you out.”
“But, I have a few minutes.” Joy remained rooted to the kitchen floor.
“No, you don’t. The highway traffic around here is tricky on the weekend.” Cassidy narrowed her eyes.
“OK. OK. Scoot…” She kissed Isaiah on the head. “Be good.”
“I will, Mom.”
Cassidy walked her out of the house and over to Channing’s truck, which he’d pulled out of the garage for her. “My husband’s really attached to this truck. Just take it easy.”
“I will, but you both have expensive cars. Why does he care about this beat-up old clunker?”
It’s more about what it represented in his life. It was his first automobile. Kind of like a rite of passage.”
“Oh.” Joy opened the door and threw her bags on the seat. She looked at Cassidy for a while. “Are you sure the babysitting is OK? You don’t have any kids. He may be too much for you.”
She could see the look of concern on Joy’s face. Joy didn’t know them and she was leaving her child with them in a strange place. That took a lot of trust.
“I know our getting acquainted phase has been accelerated, but I want you to know Isaiah’s in good hands. I am the happy aunt with a bunch of nieces and nephews. Most of them live here on the ranch. You can see that the house is child-proofed and we’ll make sure he’s fed.”
Joy’s face softened a bit.
“Trust me, this isn’t standard operating procedure for me either. But I promise I will take good care of him. Before you know it, we’ll have this all worked out and you can breathe again.” She smiled.
Joy nodded. “Scooter is a great kid. He won’t be any trouble, but if you need me, just call me on my cell phone.”
Joy got into the truck and turned it on. The old thing purred like a kitten. She rolled down the window. “So, Rusty. What’s his situation?”
Cassidy folded her arms over her chest. “Think of Rusty as Blake County property.”
“Ah, man.” Joy frowned. “You mean I can’t even flirt with that hunk of country goodness in there?”
“Focus, Joy. First we have to get your domestic situation resolved before you jump back into the dating pool. Besides, I think Rusty’s too tame for you. He doesn’t have a record.”
“There’s always hope.” Joy winked and drove off.
“She’s going to wreck my baby. I just know it,” Channing murmured from the doorway.
She rolled her eyes. “Your truck will be fine. And I’ll try not to take offense that you refer to your truck as your baby.”
“You know what I mean.”
“No, I totally get it. You had fond memories of Emma Winterbourne in that truck that you’d like to preserve.”
“We’ve made a few good memories of our own.” He went over and put his arms around her waist and kissed her.
Channing and Cassidy’s love story continues! I hope you enjoyed the pre-edited excerpt! Release date September 23rd!
In case you missed it!
Channing and Cassidy met in Tempting Fate (Book 9)!
Banner photo credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc.
Copyright © 2016 Rhonda Laurel. All Rights Reserved.