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COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Coyote Creek Book Eight
BY KATIE O’CONNOR
Ken Flint is starting to get desperate. Three and a half years ago, his stubborn, selfish attitude drove the love of his life away, leaving him a single father to three kids. He’s been desperately trying to win her back, because he’s finally learned the error of his ways but mostly because he never stopped loving her.
Lindy Flint loved her husband and children, but she wanted more from life than to be a wife and mother, so she packed her bags, abandoned her family and their ranch for life in the big city. Now, she’s one of the highest paid criminal defense lawyers in the city and is slowly realizing that there’s more to life than work. She’s just not certain that her ex has changed. She’s giving him one last shot and going home for Christmas.
Can they find the middle ground between them, or will this Christmas together be their last?
COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Coyote Creek Book Eight
BY KATIE O’CONNOR
Ken leaned back in the chair facing Carl’s new desk. His brother had moved his office to his new restoration shop and hired a manager for his garage. The office was spotless. His previous one was clean, but well stained from the day-to-day work of running the town’s only garage. Ken propped his boots on the desk. Carl glared but didn’t complain.
“Dude, my boots are clean. These are my dress boots. I just got back. I haven’t even picked the kids up yet.” He needed to talk, and Carl was easy to talk to. He could talk to Jason who’d finally connected with, and married, the woman he’d loved since high school. He’d know more about unrequited love, but Carl was handy and level headed, and he wasn’t at home with his new wife.
“Weren’t you due home yesterday?”
“Yup.” He wanted, needed, to talk, but couldn’t quite bring himself to open up without the usual small talk and brotherly banter.
“And?” Carl was good. He never talked unless he had something to say, and he’d learned the skill of waiting out a conversation from their mother. Sue Flint could outwait anyone, and she could make you confess every little sin you’d ever contemplated with just a look. Back in high school, she’d been grilling him about something he’d done, he didn’t even remember what, but the friend who was with him confessed to flattening the principal’s tires. Carl had that skill and just wait Ken out, so he might as well get started.
“And, I went out with Lindy.”
“Wasn’t that the plan?” Carl smirked.
“Twice.” No sense wasting words by embellishing.
“Dude.” He drew the word into two accusatory syllables.
“I am so effed up.” He dropped his feet to the floor and buried his head in his hands. “I’ve got to let her go, but I can’t. I still love her. I still want her and need her. And she makes love like a goddess. She’s amazing.”
“You slept with her? You idiot! How are you ever going to divorce her if you’re sleeping with her. That’s just wrong on so many levels. Mom would kill you if she ever found out. You’ve lost the plot man. Totally lost it. Let me remind you, separation is the first step toward divorce. Separate, divorce. Only see each other to trade the kids. Never ever have sex. Never show your anger or say bad things about each other in front of the kids. It’s not a hard concept.” His tone was completely level yet managed to carry a wealth of accusation and disappointment.
“The concept is simple enough. The execution is freaking impossible. I still love her, and I would swear, on the ranch, that she still loves me.”
“Then why are you divorced?” He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at Ken.
“Hell, if I know.”
“Seriously? I’m your favorite brother, and you’re going to feed me a line of shit? I deserve better. If you can’t be honest with me, why are you here? Don’t waste my time.”
“She wanted more than I could give her. She wants it all. Motherhood, career, marriage. She can’t have a career in criminal law here, and ordinary jobs aren’t enough. I can’t give her that.”
“Could she be happy with family law? Warren Bailey and his wife are retiring soon. Coyote Creek will need a new lawyer. Someone who can do family law, estate law, small town stuff. It’s not big courtroom stuff, but it might be enough. Think about it.”
“That makes sense. I’ve had a similar idea, but honestly, she loves what she does. The courtroom is important to her. She loves trial work. But maybe I can find a way to make family law more appealing.” He fell silent, listening to the ideas playing in his head.
“I’m pathetic. I love her so much. I want her back. How pitiful is it that I need her? I’m useless without her. I’m functional and that’s about it. I’m borderline depressed and terrified I’ll mess up the kids.” It was so much deeper and more complex than he could put into words.
“It’s not pathetic. Love messes us up. I fell in love with Zaria after one weekend. Life and addiction tore us apart, but I never fell out of love with her. I nearly died when I saw her filling her car at the garage. Seriously, I thought my heart would explode with excitement. Life is weird. But know this, you’re a great father and you’re not messing up your kids.”
“Want to shoot some hoops? I’ve got a net out back.” He followed Carl through the showroom and the restoration area. Carl snagged a basketball off a shelf and they went outside. The entire back lot was new pavement. There was a basketball hoop on the west side.
“I can’t believe you put in a hoop.”
“What? It’s good stress relief for me and Jim, the guy from Saskatoon I hired to work with me. We shoot hoops over lunch.” He shrugged and tossed the ball at Ken. “First one to twenty-one wins. See if you can get it by me.”
“You’re going down. I’ve got at least seven inches on you.”
“Five, tops, and I’ve been practising. I’ll bet you a burger and a beer that I win.”
The score went back and forth until finally, Carl was up by three with just one point to go. “You ready?” he taunted.
“Ready. You’re not winning this.” They set in position for the shot. This was it, he had to win or he owed burger and beers. Not a big deal, but he should go pickup his kids.
“What exactly are you two doing?” Their mother’s voice interrupted the game.
“Mom,” they groaned in unison.
“I’m sitting at home with your children and you’re here playing ball with your brother. You should be ashamed.” She shook her head sadly sending her salt and pepper bob swinging.
“It’s not like that, Mom,” Ken pleaded. “I needed someone to talk to so I stopped here.” Bad move. He knew exactly what she’d say. He opened his mouth to prevent it.
She beat him to the punch and said exactly what he’d envisioned. “Kendrick Flint, are you saying you can’t talk to me, your own mother?” She clutched her chest dramatically.
“Yes. I mean no. Not at all. I can talk to you about almost anything.” Shoot. He shouldn’t have put in that qualifier.
“Almost anything?” And there it was; the guilt she could inflict with a look or single word. She had the mom guilt thing and evil eye down pat.
“That’s not what I meant. Don’t go faking hurt feelings, Mom. Please. Somethings a guy doesn’t want to share with his mother. At least not right away.” Again, with the stupid answer. When would he ever learn?
“What were you up to that you have to hide it from me.” She clutched her chest again. “Oh no! Tell me you didn’t go to the city for a hookup?”
Was there anything worse than your mother asking if you were out for a hookup. His sex life was none of her business. Unfortunately, even the question made him blush.
“You did not!” She pointed at him. “Did you leave your kids with me so you could hookup with some random stranger in a bar.”
“Not exactly,” Carl said with a laugh.
“Dude, shut up!” His goose was cooked now.
“Who exactly did you hookup with?”
Would she just stop saying hookup already? Geez. “Nobody, Mom.”
Carl doubled over in laughter, and the harder Ken glared, the harder he laughed. Jerk.
Sue’s frown morphed into an enormous grin. “Were you having sexual relations with Lindy?” It was a wonder she wasn’t jumping around with glee. She kept harping on him to try harder to win Lindy back.
“Ding, ding, ding,” Carl chortled. “The lady gets it in one.”
Ken rolled his eyes.
“Don’t you have work to do?” their mother asked. “I came here to talk to your brother, not you.” She made a shooing motion until, he headed inside, his annoying laughter ringing off the building in his wake.
“Mo-om.” How did he get out of this conversation? “I’ll just go get the kids now.” He started for the door.
“Freeze, young man. I have questions.”
Didn’t she always? He loved her to death, but she never let any of her children get away with anything. Not even her stepson Ira and he hadn’t joined the family until a couple months ago.
“I went to the city on Friday. I had business and then I took Lindy out for dinner.”
“And?” She packed a thousand questions into the single word.
“Then, I went back to my hotel room. Saturday, we went to iFly; it’s been one of her dreams. I thought if I helped a few of her dreams become reality it might win her over. Or something. Then we had dinner at her place.”
How did she do that? He’d confessed to their time alone without meaning to. She could be a government interrogator.
“And is that when you slept with her?”
“Who says I slept with her? Come on, Mom.”
“Well, your brother for one. Your guilty face for two.” She paused, her smile growing. “And was it lovely? Did she rock your world? Was it the best sex you ever had? You know, Ken, there’s nothing as wonderful as knocking boots with the person you love. Why just last week your father and I-”
“Stop!” He held up a hand. “I do not need to know that. Too. Much. Information. Mom, cut me some slack.”
“Yes, it was fabulous. Yes, I still love her and I think she still cares.” This conversation couldn’t end soon enough.
“And what are you going to do about it? Come on, let’s go for a burger and drink. Carl can meet us there for the beer you owe him, after we talk.”
“Who says I owe him a beer? The game wasn’t over.”
She patted his cheek. “Don’t be silly, Kendrick. You haven’t beat him in a game of one-on-one since you were fourteen. Basketball isn’t your game. You should challenge him to a lacrosse shootout, that’s where your strength lies. None of your brothers could best you with a lacrosse stick. Why do you think they always pick basketball?”
Well, son of a …
Katie O’Connor lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She married her high school sweetheart and is living her happily ever after.
She’s dabbled in writing since high school because something drives her to create stories. She swears that it’s impossible for her NOT to write. Unsatisfied with one genre, Katie writes contemporary romance, erotic romance and erotica. Recently, she’s crafted her first cozy mystery with the intention of publishing a cozy mystery series.
She believes in all things magical; including dragons, fairies, UFOs, ghosts, and house pixies. But most of all she believes in love, romance and hope.
Katie likes to make it up as she goes along and dreams of publishing a mixed genre novel. It is going to be an erotic, shape shifter, vampire, steampunk, sci-fi, murder mystery, adventure, romantic, western, historical, thriller. It will be her biography.
She lives life with humor, hope and copious quantities of caffeine.
Links to Katie’s website, blog, books, etc.
Mailchimp Signup: http://eepurl.com/Q2nRr
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.ca/Katie-OConnor/e/B007GZT1IO/
Katie’s Kittens: https://www.facebook.com/groups/345891595596122