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.She couldn’t move back to L.A.without tearing her children away from their father, which she didn’t have the heart to do.So maybe she was worried about nothing.She couldn’t get herself into too much trouble with Dave nearly a thousand miles away.The images she’d begun to entertain of him called her a liar, but she knew nothing would come of their relationship.She’d never get involved with a man who was so much younger than she was.Especially one nowhere near ready to make a permanent commitment.“I received an offer on the house in L.A.,” she told him.“The renters want to buy it.”“Really? Are you going to sell?”She shrugged.“I could use the money.”“Do you have much equity?”“Not a lot.But it’d get me through a year or so.”“You don’t have to sell,” he said.“We’re managing.”“Thanks to you.”“I’m happy to help.”She twirled a lock of hair around her finger.“But you won’t be here forever.”“No.”“I ran into Reenie the other day,” she said.“You always run into Reenie.” He stretched out in the chair and crossed his legs at the ankle.“In this small a town, it’s tough to avoid her.”“This time I ran into her in the literal sense.”He scowled.“Not with your car…”“No.When I dropped Christopher and Mica off at school last Wednesday, I realized that I’d forgotten it was Chris’s turn to share snacks with the class.So I ran over to the grocery store, gathered several boxes of cookies and rushed toward the checkout.Next thing I know, Reenie comes around the corner and, bam, we collide.”“You’re kidding.”“No.”“What’d you do?”“I’d dropped everything, so I stooped to pick it all up.”“What’d she do?”Liz clasped her hands in her lap and stared down at her cuticles, which were finally beginning to heal.“She could’ve gone merrily on her way, but….”“What?”“She didn’t.She helped me gather what I’d dropped.”For a moment, Isaac seemed deep in his own thoughts.Then he said, “She’s a good person, Liz.”“I know.” Leaning forward, she toyed with the handle of her empty cup and changed the subject.She knew her brother liked Reenie.She suspected he might be attracted to her in a romantic sense.But she couldn’t dwell on that.She couldn’t lose both Keith and Isaac to the same woman.“Have you already sent in your grant applications?”He nodded and stood.“What are you going to do about the offer on the house?”“I’d like to move back to L.A.” She couldn’t help thinking of Dave again.“But I can’t as long as Keith’s here.Maybe when the kids are older.”“So you’re going to sell.”“Yeah.”“Mica and Christopher are very lucky they have a mother like you,” he said softly, and squeezed her shoulder as he passed by on his way to bed.Liz knew she should retire, too.Instead, she slipped downstairs and picked up the phone.* * *WILEY DURANGO, the owner of The Honky Tonk had remodeled and expanded shortly after Conner Armstrong had opened the Running Y Resort.Now, in the spring and summer, young families, executives, nature lovers, even college students came to Dundee to sample the Western experience.To capitalize on the influx, Wiley had added an extra room to his bar, with a mechanical bull.On weekends, he hosted live bands, and on Saturday mornings he had his waitresses give line-dancing lessons.Tonight, the bar was particularly busy, but Reenie couldn’t say she was having much fun.“You look distracted,” Beth said, drawing her attention from the people on the dance floor.Reenie took a sip of her Long Island Iced Tea so she wouldn’t have to bother gathering the willpower to smile.“Not really.I’m just listening to the music.”Shania Twain’s latest played so loudly Reenie’s ears were ringing, but at least the volume made it difficult to talk.She didn’t feel inclined toward conversation tonight.At the last minute, Keith’s parents had decided to take the girls to Texas to see Keith’s brother, who was at Baylor, and although Reenie had never particularly liked this brother, she was feeling a little left out.Texas should’ve been a family trip.But her divorce had changed things all the way around.It was good the kids were getting away with their grandparents, she told herself.Certainly she wouldn’t be able to provide the same experience.She wouldn’t be traveling anywhere in the near future, not alone with three children.For one thing, she didn’t have the money.“Are you missing your girls?” Beth said.“I’m trying not to think about the fact that they’re so far away,” Reenie replied.“When did they leave?”“This morning.”“They missed school today?”Reenie nodded.“But their grades are good.One day won’t hurt them.”“So shake off the doldrums.Sunday will be here before you know it.”“It’s not the girls,” Reenie insisted.Beth stirred her gin and tonic with her straw.“Is it Isaac Russell?”Remembering the picture of the adorable puppy Isaac had found, Reenie frowned [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]