I’m still on my In Death series re-read, currently on Fantasy in Death. It’s sitting beside me right now, making me want to pick it up again, but I have a few things on the to-do list to check off before I can do that. It’s tax week, so that has to be finished today, and I have new words to write on this shifter story, plus I need to figure out dinner. I’m leaning toward a quick soup because its pretty brisk out today, not at all like spring, but that’s April in Pennsylvania. Soup will also mean I don’t have to worry about dinner tomorrow or the next day when I may not finish up the day-job on time, which is another plus. Then I can reheat and have more time to read and unwind.
Before I get back to the to-do list, I have a quick excerpt from Light the Way Home for you.
Nate breathed easier when he drove the truck onto the island from the ferry. Mort gave him a thumbs-up, so he waved, then steered toward home.
He hoped Hayden had behaved. It had been a long time since he’d entrusted his son to anyone besides his parents. He hoped Lucie was really up to the task.
When he got to the house, the porch lights were still on, but he couldn’t see more than faint light around the curtains downstairs. He climbed out of the truck, exhausted. He couldn’t even summon the energy to square his shoulders for what he might find inside.
The house was quiet. Completely silent. He shut the door softly behind him, toeing off his sneakers and shrugging out of his jacket before he headed into the kitchen. The supper dishes stood in the drainer. He frowned, then continued to the living room. Where he found Lucie sound asleep on the sofa. The ugly orange and brown afghan he kept draped across the back of the sofa was tucked up around her shoulders, and a lock of her dark hair had slid forward, over her cheek.
He hesitated, hating to disturb her sleep. He glanced at the clock. Almost two. Fuck, it was later than he’d realized. No wonder he was so tired. He rubbed one hand down over his face and took a slow breath. He’d just let her know he was home, and she should stay where she was. He bent over and touched her shoulder.
Lucie jerked awake, sitting up so fast she almost knocked her head against his chin before he straightened.
“Whoa,” he said softly, holding both hands out. “Easy, Lucie. Just me.”
Her wide eyes squeezed shut for a moment, and she let out a quick breath. “Sorry. You startled me.”
“It’s okay. I just wanted you to know I was home. Lie down, go back to sleep, it’s late.”
She met his gaze, her sleepy green eyes searching. “How is your dad?”
Tension squeezed his chest again. “He was in recovery when I left. The doctor pinned the bones in his leg back together.” He sat down on the coffee table.
Lucie surprised him by reaching over to pat his knee. “You must be very worried. I’m sorry.”
He caught her hand. “Lie down, Lucie. Or I can make up the bed in the guest room.”
“I can go back over to Harry and Mindi’s,” she said, covering a yawn with her free hand. “You should get some sleep. I imagine you’re exhausted.”
“You, too. Thanks for staying with Hayden. Did he give you any trouble?”
“Of course not. We played some picture dominoes, then read a couple stories, and he was out.”
“You didn’t have to wash the dishes.”
A faint smile touched her mouth. “I needed something to do. And I love your kitchen. You did that?”
Nate nodded and gave her fingers a gentle squeeze. “Go back to sleep, Lucie. Really.”
She shook her head, yawning again. “I don’t want to be in your way, and I have a bed just a few yards away.” She smiled once more.
He realized he was still holding her hand and released it, standing. “You aren’t in the way. I really appreciate your help.”
She eased to her feet, too. “If you need a hand again, let me know.”
“Do you have kids?”
Her smile faded. “No, no kids.”
“But you’re good with him.”
Her mouth turned down a little. “I dated someone for a few years who had a son a bit older than Hayden.”
“I’m sorry, it’s none of my business.”
She shook her head. “Old news. But I do miss Teddy sometimes.” Her smile this time was forced. “Let me get my shoes and sweater on, and I’ll get out of your way so you can sleep, too.”
Nate closed his mouth on a curse. He hadn’t meant to make her feel bad. “Lucie.”
She glanced back over her shoulder.
He didn’t even know what he’d meant to say, and it didn’t matter when a loud rumble of thunder shook the house.
So…what are you reading this week? And does it feel like spring in your neighborhood?
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