It’s a wee bit early for the weekend, but I didn’t think you’d mind. Especially since I’m sharing an excerpt from the book that I wasn’t going to write! But why did I write it, you ask? Because you guys wanted me to. I thought I had told all that needed to be told about Pete and Josephine’s story, until I realized that there was a whole bunch that went into them actually deciding to get together. So here’s a little snipped of the final Hot on the Trail book, Trail of Chances: Trail’s End, coming June 10th!
“You’re sure you’ll be all right here?” he asked, his voice unusually gruff.
“Yes,” Josephine said hesitantly. “I suppose so.” She looked to Myrtle. Myrtle still wore her sly grin.
Pete rubbed his chin. “If Luke causes any trouble, you let me know. That boy’s close enough to being a man that he gets ideas in his head, but he’s not close enough to handle the responsibilities that come along with those ideas.”
“I know.” Josephine nodded pointedly to Myrtle to let her know Pete spoke the truth and Luke should be watched with both eyes.
“And Libby seems a bit moony after meeting that Teddy Simms earlier,” Pete went on.
“Teddy Simms?” Myrtle brightened. “He’s a fine young man with good prospects.” She turned to study Libby, who had taken a seat on a stump at the corner of the property and was now plucking the petals off of a wildflower with a far-away smile. “And that young lady of yours looks of an age to notice and appreciate a fine young man.”
“That’s what I’m worried about,” Pete grumbled. He rolled his shoulders, then glanced to the younger children on the swing. “That lot has more energy than a pack of prairie dogs in the sun.”
“We have several other children and their families boarding here at the moment,” Myrtle told him. “They won’t lack for playmates or adults with the energy to keep up with them.”
Josephine’s heart beat with bittersweet pride at the concerns Pete was expressing. He may have fancied himself a tough old dog, but he had a kind, fatherly heart under it all. It was a mystery why the man had never taken a wife and had children of his own.
“Stop your fussing, Pete,” Myrtle laughed. “A body would think you were ready to swoop in and adopt this lot yourself, what with the way you’re going on.”
Pete’s back was stiff in an instant. “I’m too old to start a family.” He snapped a sideways glance at Josephine.
“Well, don’t look at me.” Josephine was determined to call him out. “I’m far past the family age myself.”
“You’re still younger than all that,” Pete insisted.
“Then so are you.”
“I—” Pete thought better of whatever argument he was going to make. His shoulders loosened, and he tugged at the bottom of his vest. “I’m going to be late for supper at the hotel if I don’t get a move on.”
Without another word, he turned and marched away. Josephine watched his retreating back, mouth opened in scolding indignation. And yet, she couldn’t think of anything to call after him.
To top it off, Myrtle clamped a hand to her mouth. That did nothing to hide her smile. But all she said was, “Well, well.”
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for June 10th! =D