His, Hers and...Theirs?
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They probably had a few staples she could use, like flour, sugar and salt, but she doubted theyТd have everything she would need. So after gathering a few items she had in her fridge and cupboards, she packed a box and carried it out to her car. Next she climbed behind the wheel, backed out of her driveway and headed for the ranch.
She wasnТt sure what sheТd do with the kids once she got there, but sheТd think of something. Her few, precious childhood memories were of the time she spent in her abuelitaТs kitchen, where they made homemade tortillas.
As she left Brighton Valley city limits, an idea came to mind. Maybe she ought to make cookies with the kids. Assuming that Dan wouldnТt be prepared with vanilla or brown sugar, she stopped at a little mom-and-pop market along the way. On the back of a package of chocolate chips, she found a cookie recipe, and she was set.
It was late in the morning when she finally arrived at DanТs place. One of the Queensland Heelers, although she wasnТt sure which one, seemed to recognize her as a friend rather than a foe on this visit, hardly barking at all.
УHey, doggie,Ф she said, as she got out of the car. УRemember me?Ф
It certainly seemed to.
She hadnТt taken two steps when the kids rushed out of the house, greeting her with happy smiles and chatter.
About that time, Dan stepped onto the porch wearing a blue plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up, revealing the muscular forearms of a man who worked the land. He also had on a pair of worn denim jeans and scuffed bootsЧnothing fancyЧbut he was certainly a sight for sore eyes.
Ever since heading home last Sunday afternoon, sheТd had repeated visions of the manЧand she wasnТt always dreaming when he came to mind. But today, in the flesh, she found him more attractive than ever.
УHere,Ф he said, closing the distance between them. УLet me take your bag.Ф
УIТm afraid IТve got more than just this to haul in.Ф She clicked the remote on her key ring and popped open the trunk, which was full of groceries.
УYou didnТt need to bring food,Ф he said. УIТve got plenty. And what we donТt have, IТll buy.Ф
УI know, but I wasnТt sure what you had in your pantry. And since IТm determined to make dinner tonight, I wanted to make sure I had all the ingredients. I hope you like Mexican food.Ф
He brightened like a kid whoТd been offered an early birthday present. УI love it.Ф
As he reached into the trunk to lift the box, she noticed the edge of a bandage on his forearm.
УWhat happened?Ф she asked, pointing to the gauze.
УThis?Ф He glanced down at his arm, then shrugged it off. УI got snagged by a nail in the barn. ItТs no big deal.Ф
УAre you sure?Ф It must have been bad enough to warrant first aid.
He gave her a donТt-worry-about-it grin, then lifted the box of groceries and closed her trunk.
Eva grabbed her purse from the front passenger seat of the car, pushed the lock button on the remote, then followed him to the porch, where two potted geraniums flanked the steps.
The wood slats creaked all the way to the front door, and they entered the house with the kids on their heels.
УI appreciate your help,Ф Dan said, Уespecially today.IТve got a lot of work to do and canТt spare Manuel to help me. HeТs got to stick close to the barn this morning.Ф
УYeah,Ф Kevin said. УThatТs because Sugar is going to have a baby, just like Jill.Ф
УNot just like Jill,Ф his sister corrected. УSugarТs baby is going to be a horse, and Jill had puppies.Ф
Kevin nodded. УWeТll take you to see them. Come on.Ф
УJust a minute,Ф Eva said. УI need to put away the perishable items in the fridge first.Ф
УWhatТs that?Ф Kevin asked.
Before she could explain to the kids, Dan excused himself and headed through the service porch and out the back door.
Eva couldnТt help but watch him go, with that long, lean cowboy swagger of his. Nor could she help missing his presence. He might think she was a pro at dealing with children, but she knew better.
УCan I help you cook lunch?Ф Kaylee asked.
УMe, too?Ф Kevin chimed in.
Back to work, she thought, tearing her gaze away from the handsome cowboy and offering the children a smile. УSure, you can help.Ф
Kaylee pulled a chair from the table and dragged it to the counter. УWhat are we going to do first?Ф
УIТll tell you what,Ф Eva said. УAs soon as I get the beans going, we can make chocolate chip cookies for dessert. How would you like that?Ф
Kevin let out a little whoop for joy, and Kaylee seconded his opinion with a clap of her hands.
After sheТd settled into the kitchen, Eva opened the pantry to see if the men did, indeed, have the staples sheТd needЧand they didnТt.
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