Putting Out Old Flames

Free Putting Out Old Flames by Allyson Charles

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Authors: Allyson Charles
one more piece of ammunition in his case to keep full custody of Josh.
    Annette took a deep breath and walked to the window. “No. I met Edward after.” Flicking the curtain open, she looked out. “God, how can you live here? When I drove in from the airport I thought I was in Mayberry.”
    â€œThey had a job opening and it was two thousand miles away from you,” Chance said. “Any resemblance to fictional towns is just a bonus.”
    â€œI’m suing for full custody of Josh.” She turned from the window, her expression as cool as though she’d just said she wanted chicken for dinner. “My lawyer says that since I’ll be married and able to provide a stable two-parent home for Josh, I have a good shot.”
    Rage flooded his veins, his muscles trembling with the effort it took not to throttle the woman. He took a deep breath, kept his voice even. “Stable? A bookie who was threatening your life came to our house. Spoke to Josh while he was playing in the front yard. You’re not even safe for our son, much less stable.”
    She sighed. “Don’t be so dramatic. And besides, I don’t owe any bookies, and I’ve been to counseling. I’m not gambling anymore.”
    Yeah, she didn’t owe bookies anymore because Chance had borrowed against his pension to pay off her debts. It had pissed him off, writing that check, cleaning up after the mistakes of a woman he’d stopped loving years ago. But it had been the best way to keep his son safe.
    He fisted his hands so tightly, the knuckles on his right hand cracked. “I don’t care what your lawyer says. You’re not taking Josh.”
    â€œEdward said you’d say that.” Her bright pink lips twisted. It was a mystery that he’d ever wanted to kiss that scheming mouth.
    â€œI would say he’s a smart man, but he’s marrying you.” He pushed off the desk. “I know Josh would like to see you while you’re in town. When do you want to come over?”
    â€œI thought I’d take him out to dinner,” she said. “There’s got to be some sort of pizza place that he’d like.”
    â€œNo.”
    She cocked her head. “This pathetic town doesn’t even have a pizza parlor?”
    Moving to this small town had been a bit of a culture shock for him, too, but Annette’s bitchy attitude was one more nail scraping down the chalkboard of his patience. “Yes, there’s a pizza parlor, but there’s no way in hell you’re taking Josh out by yourself. If you want to see him tonight, you can have dinner at our house.”
    Narrowing her eyes, she asked, “What exactly do you think I’m going to do? Kidnap him?”
    Chance remained silent.
    â€œChrist,” she muttered. “Fine. Dinner at your house. Remember, I don’t eat red meat anymore.”
    â€œGot it.” Steaks on the grill tonight. “How long are you planning on staying in town?”
    â€œAs long as I want to.” She jutted out her chin. “He’s my son, too.”
    Yes, unfortunately he was. And Chance understood her need to spend time with Josh. Respected it. But the way Annette was now, she could hurt their son more by spending time with him. Put him in danger.
    Maybe it was a good thing she was marrying that Edward character. It might anchor her to the West Coast, keep her far away from Josh.
    With a curt goodbye, and directions to his house, he left. Striding down the hallway, Chance kneaded the back of his neck. Now to find Jane. From one angry woman to another. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
    He punched the elevator call button, considered the metal doors in front of him, and turned for the stairwell. Jogging down the stairs, Chance knew the comparison between Jane and his ex wasn’t fair. Jane might have a reason to be a bit pissed off. Technically, he hadn’t lied. But he hadn’t been eager to share the

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