The Sergeant's Unexpected Family(7)

By: Carrie Nichols

“Do you—” Riley paused to open the exit door and glanced around “—want me to run a check on her?”

“Nah.” Brody’s chest tightened as the image of Mary’s dark, distress-filled eyes popped into his head. If they hadn’t brought her son to her by the time he got back, they’d have him to deal with. Something about this woman pulled at him, touched something he kept buried deep.

After the nurse left with a promise to bring Elliott, Mary unfolded the scrubs, stuffed her legs into them and eased off the gurney to pull them up, careful not to jostle her pounding head too much. At least these pants fit better than the shirt, but she still hated Brody seeing her like this. She would’ve sworn the thoughtless comments from foster parents no longer had the power to wound, but in times of stress those voices from the past threatened her self-confidence.

Even with her occasional blurry vision from the concussion, she’d noticed how Brody’s slim-fitting Western-stitched chambray shirt complemented his wide shoulders, and the rolled-up sleeves had revealed the corded muscles on his tanned forearms. His faded jeans had showcased his long legs. All that, and the scuffed boots, made Brody Wilson appear more cowboy than farmer. Having lived in Connecticut, she had no idea what Vermont farmers looked like. Maybe they were all just as mouthwatering as Brody.

It was crazy, but she’d thought about him from time to time since that brief meeting at the funeral. At times she’d wondered if her imagination had conjured up those deep blue eyes fringed with sinfully long eyelashes or the sculpted cheekbones. Nope. If anything, her memory hadn’t done him justice and her guilt deepened. She’d had no business noticing Brody while she’d been dating his brother, even if the cracks had already begun to show in their fledgling relationship.

She touched a hand to her brow. Plan your work and work your plan, Mary.

She’d tracked him down so Elliott could connect with family. So much for her plan of getting to know Brody, making sure of his character, letting him get used to the idea of being an uncle to Elliott. She didn’t want or need romance of any kind in her life, no matter how tempting the depths of those blue eyes. Roger had fooled her with his charming façade, and she wasn’t about to jump into another relationship. She blamed herself for not realizing Roger was one of those men who enjoyed the pursuit but not so much being a couple. And definitely not being a father. More fool her if she turned around and got involved with Roger’s brother, of all people. She had a son to consider in all her decisions from this point forward.

Pushing unproductive thoughts aside, she secured the drawstring at her waist. Too bad the deputy couldn’t get to her suitcase with her clothes. But at least with her purse and credit cards she could buy new clothes and pay for a motel room and anything she or Elliott needed. She’d received a severance package that included insurance for a short time and her natural tendency toward frugality ensured she had a decent bank balance to fall back on until she secured another job. She’d researched opportunities in the area and hoped to find something not too far away from Loon Lake and Elliott’s uncle.

Rather than try to get back on the gurney, she perched on a hard plastic chair to put her socks and sneakers on. Maybe the faster she got dressed, the sooner they’d bring Elliott. But when she bent over to pull a sock on, her headed pounded and the room swayed. She straightened, fighting the dizziness.

“Hey, hey, should you be up?” Brody dropped several bags and an empty car seat on the gurney. “Where’s Jan?”


“The nurse.” He glanced around the enclosed area as if he expected to find the missing nurse lurking in the corner.

“She went to get Elliott. They tell me he’s okay, but I need to see for myself.” She wanted her son, needed to feel his reassuring warmth and sturdy little body. Except for when she’d been working, she’d rarely been separated from Elliott. Even at work, he’d been in the nursery her employer had on the premises, so she often spent breaks or lunches with him. “Why won’t they bring him to me?”

Brody studied her for a moment, opened his mouth but shut it again. He bent and snagged the sock from her fingers. “Here, let me help you.”

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