Stroke of Fortune

Free Stroke of Fortune by Christine Rimmer

Book: Stroke of Fortune by Christine Rimmer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christine Rimmer
moved the play station and gathered that little darling into her arms. Lena giggled some more—and then rested her silky dark head on Josie’s shoulder. Josie kissed the black curls and patted the tiny back. When she turned, she found both Flynt and his mother still staring at her.
    She decided to ignore them. She rocked the baby gently from side to side and indulged herself in a fewmore little kisses—on that satin-soft cheek, on the perfect shell of a small, warm ear.
    At last, Grace turned to her son and asked a little stiffly, “Do you want me to stay with her until Josie can get her things and come back?”
    â€œI’d appreciate it. I’ve got a few calls to make.”
    â€œNo problem.” Grace set her book on the small table by the rocker and held out her arms.
    Reluctantly Josie handed Lena over. “I’ll probably be two or three hours.”
    â€œIt’s all right,” said Grace, holding Lena close. “We’ll manage just fine.”
    Â 
    Alva was lying on the sofa, as usual, when Josie got home. But she looked pretty good. Her oxygen was turned off and wheeled over into the corner. Day by day, the circles beneath her eyes seemed a little lighter, her cheeks a little less pale.
    She sat up. “Josie, honey, I’m thinking maybe I’ll fix us both some macaroni and cheese. I know you love macaroni and cheese.”
    Josie sat down beside her and took her hand. “Mama…”
    Alva looked at her with a mother’s knowing eyes. “Something’s happened. What?”
    â€œWell, it’s kind of a sudden thing, I know, but I’ve been offered a nanny job out at Carson Ranch.”
    â€œJust now? Today?”
    â€œThat’s right.”
    â€œA nanny job…watching the mystery baby?”
    â€œMama. How’d you know about the mystery baby?”
    â€œI may be under the weather lately, but I have a few friends in town. And I’ve also got a phone.”
    â€œEverybody’s talking, huh?”
    â€œAren’t they always?”
    â€œYeah, I suppose they are.” Josie rubbed the back of Alva’s thin, wrinkled hand. Her mother was only forty-five. But judging by her hands, she might have been seventy or more. “Mama…”
    â€œSpit it out, now, sweetie.”
    â€œWell, it’s a round-the-clock job. I would have to stay at the ranch five days a week. I’d come home every day, though, to check on you and I’d have two days off.”
    â€œYou talked to Gus over at the café yet?”
    Josie shook her head. “I’ll go see him next.”
    â€œOh, don’t look so serious.” Alva’s smile was a little wan, but it was a smile, nonetheless. “You know Gus. He’ll holler some and then he’ll say as soon as you want your job back, you got it.”
    Josie nodded. “I have to admit that does sound like Gus.”
    â€œHe knows a hard worker when he’s got one. This nanny job pay good?”
    â€œVery good.”
    â€œAnd you want to do it?”
    â€œYes. I do.”
    Her mother reached out, brushed a few strands of hair out of Josie’s eyes. “And not only for the money, am I right?”
    â€œOh, Mama…” All at once, there were tears pushing at the back of her throat.
    â€œWhat, now? What is makin’ you cry?”
    â€œI’m not crying. Not quite, anyway.”
    â€œTell me. Come on.”
    â€œWell, when it comes to love and all that, I only wanted to find a good man, you know? A nice, stable, solid kind of guy.”
    â€œWho is it?”
    Her mother’s sudden question took Josie by surprise. “What?”
    â€œOh, honey, I always suspected there was someone at that house when you were working there before—and then, when you quit all of a sudden and decided to head up to Dallas, I knew something was wrong. You had that look of a woman brokenhearted, but you weren’t

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