The Sergeant's Unexpected Family(9)

By: Carrie Nichols

“For me?” He jerked his head back and turned to the newcomer. “Tell them I’ll be right there.”

The woman left, and he glanced back to Mary. “Wait right here. I’ll go see what this is about.”

“As if you wouldn’t want to wait for him.” The nurse sighed, then leaned toward Elliott. “Are you going to let me fasten you into your seat, sweetie?”

Elliott clung tighter, babbling something that ended with a hiccup.

“We’ll let him settle for a few more minutes,” the cheerful brunette said.

Mary hugged him close, needing the contact as much as he did. She tugged the toy clear of where it was wedged between their bodies and held it up. “Who’s this? Have you got yourself a new friend?”

“One of the police officers on the scene must’ve given it to him.” The nurse removed the sheet from the gurney and rolled it into a ball. “The women’s group at the church collected donations last year to buy enough stuffed bears so each of our deputies would have several in their cruisers for emergencies involving children.”

Mary’s throat clogged as she recalled the glimpse she’d had of a state trooper cradling her son while paramedics put her on a stretcher. “I’ll be sure to thank them.”

The nurse tossed the discarded hospital gown onto the sheet. “People around here stick together and help one another. It’s a wonderful community. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

Mary envied the other woman’s ties to a community. Would she and Elliott be accepted, grow roots here, if she found employment and decided to make Loon Lake her permanent home? “Do you have Uber around here? Or should I call a cab?”

“No Uber that I know of.” The nurse picked up the pile of laundry. “But don’t worry, I’m sure Brody will take you wherever you want. Did you have someplace in mind?”

“The nearest motel, I guess.” What else could she do? Driving back to Connecticut or anywhere was out of the question until she could rent a car.

“Oh.” The nurse paused, adjusting the bundle in her arms. “I’m not sure the doctor will agree to that.”

Mary had been digging one-handed in her purse for her phone, but the nurse’s words halted her search. “Why can’t I go to a motel?”

“It might take a day or two for the effects of the concussion to go away, and it’s best that you not be alone during that time.”

“But, I—”

“That’s no problem. Mary and Elliott will be coming home with me,” Brody said from the opening in the curtain.

Chapter Two

“Wait...what? No,” Mary protested. “We’ll find a motel room.”

Brody was still waiting for Roger to return his call. What the heck was Roger’s deal? His brother should be here, dealing with those beguiling dark eyes, hair that begged to be caressed and those long, slender legs that—Hold on! He needed to stop this...this... “Nonsense... I...uh, I mean, I have plenty of room.”

“Our Brody rattles around alone in that big house. Do him good to have some company,” Jan said cheerfully. She held the curtain open as the younger nurse left with the wad of laundry.

Brody rolled his eyes at Jan, but she was too busy entering information into the laptop attached to the wall to notice. He wasn’t anyone’s Brody, and he was content to rattle around alone, thank you very much. He preferred keeping his life uncomplicated. His gaze shifted to Mary. Yeah, he talked tough, and yet here he was bringing complicated with a capital C home with him. Damn that irresponsible Roger. Where was he, anyway?

The baby—his nephew—had recovered from his earlier outburst and was blowing spit bubbles, one chubby hand patting Mary’s chin. Brody tried to swallow the sudden lump in his throat as he watched the pair. He took a step closer.

“Really, I—mmmfff—” Mary stopped and pried Elliott’s exploring fingers from her mouth. “That won’t be necessary. Elliott and I will be fine in a motel.”

Great, now he sounded like an unwelcoming jerk. He stepped back.

His reaction—that frisson of awareness racing up his spine when he looked at her—wasn’t Mary’s fault. “All the local motels will be full. There’s an annual triathlon that attracts people from all over the country.”

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