Revealing the truth
could change everything…
Just as things start to come together for single mom Avery Hammons, her carefully ordered world is flipped upside down by the unexpected arrival of Grayson Stone, a man from her past. Now Grayson wants to be part of her and her daughter’s lives, even as he plans to return to California. But can Avery trust the man who once abandoned her with her little girl’s heart…and her own?
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The door to room 204 in the Pleasant Residential Care center squeaked open. Avery Hammons glanced that way but didn’t greet the visitor. She finished taking the vitals of her patient, then gave the redhead at the door a questioning look.
“There’s an incredibly gorgeous cowboy waiting for you at the front lobby. He might be all hat and no cattle, but I’d take him if I wasn’t happily engaged.” Assistant to the administrator of Pleasant Residential Care, Laura Anderson, winked.
“Gorgeous cowboy type?” Avery asked after settling her patient’s arm back on her bed. She smiled down at the woman, hoping to reassure her. “Margie, your pulse is strong and your blood pressure is better than that of most twenty-year-olds. In another month you’ll be back to walking Dudley in the park.”
Margie Duncan drooped a little, her mouth pulling down in a slight frown. That look had become one of her few signs of discontentment. She’d been a model patient in the four weeks she’d been at the facility, recovering from a fractured hip. “I’m so sorry for making a fuss. I just felt a little funny when I got up a bit ago. You’re probably right about being anxious. And I can’t wait to get home to that silly dog.”
The same silly dog who had wrapped a leash around Margie and tripped her as she went down the front steps of her house a month ago. Avery smiled past the worry she felt for her patient. As a supervising RN, worry was a big part of her job.
“You don’t have to apologize, Margie. That’s what I’m here for. Also, you could have your daughter bring Dudley in for a visit. I won’t tell.”
“Could I really?” Margie’s face lit up at the mention of her poodle.
“I don’t see why not.”
From the door, Laura cleared her throat. “About the visitor…”
The last thing Avery wanted was a visitor. Especially a male visitor. The only man she could think of was Tucker Church. They’d been on a few dates, nothing serious. She doubted he would visit her at work, especially since she’d made it clear they were just friends and would remain friends. Avery doubted she would ever be at a place in her life where she let someone be more than a friend. It seemed trite to say but she was content with her life as it was. She had a job she loved, people in her life whom she loved and she was building the home she’d always dreamed of. Why complicate things?
Fortunately, Tucker, as a friend, knew her and her past. He knew her heartaches and her secrets. That made it easy to explain to him why she wasn’t keen on new relationships.
“You’d best get out there to your visitor,” Margie encouraged.
Avery winked at the older woman. “Guess I have to go see who this amazing visitor is and what they need with me. What does it mean, all hat and no cattle?”
Margie laughed at that. “That means he looks like he might be a cowboy but he’s probably never seen a cow in his life. I bet he has a pair of shiny boots that ain’t ever kicked up the dirt, and a hat that sits on top of his head like a city feller.”
“Gotcha.” She turned to Laura. “Do we know why our cattle-less visitor is here?”
Laura smirked a bit. “Community service. He said the law grabbed him on his way into town and gave him an ultimatum. Jail or community service that he failed to serve eleven years ago.”
“Eleven years ago?”
About the Author
Brenda Minton lives in the Ozarks. She's a wife, mom to three, foster mom to five and grandma to a princess. Life is chaotic but she enjoys every minute of it with her family and a few too many dogs. When not writing she's drinking coffee on the patio, wrangling kids or escaping for an evening out with her husband. Visit her online at www.brendaminton.net
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