The Hearts We Mend

Free The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

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Authors: Kathryn Springer
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troops. What do you think of the color Ginevieve and I picked out for the nursery? Do you like it?”
    â€œIt’s perfect.” Tears misted Raine’s eyes. “Everything is perfect.”
    â€œI wouldn’t have gone to the grocery store if I’d known you were on your way home.” Evie backed toward the Jeep, remembering there was ice cream in one of the bags. “How long can you stay?”
    â€œNot very long. We have to unpack, and I promised Raine we’d go to the fireworks tonight.”
    â€œWe just wanted to stop over and say thank you.” Raine bent down to pet Diva, who’d decided she had been ignored long enough.
    â€œLet me put the groceries away, and I can help you load up the rest of your things.”
    â€œWe’ll help.” Cody jogged toward the Jeep and popped the hatch. He handed Raine a gallon of milk. “No heavy lifting.”
    Raine grinned. “Then I better take the ice cream instead.”
    â€œActually . . . you can take it with you.” Evie had bought a gallon of Mackinaw Island Fudge, Cody’s favorite. “And those two bags in the back. Consider it a housewarming gift.”
    â€œReally? Thanks!” Cody transferred the groceries to the backseat of the Datsun.
    Evie held the door open for Raine and noticed the empty hallway. “You took the boxes already?”
    â€œYou weren’t here, so Cody figured we’d have time to run them over to the house.”
    â€œIt didn’t take very long.” Cody brushed past them with what remained of Evie’s groceries on his way into the kitchen. “Besides that, we had to make room for the most important thing.”
    â€œWe already discussed this.” Evie rounded up the bags of frozen vegetables and began to deposit them in the freezer. “You can’t cut a square out of our concrete driveway and take your basketball pole and hoop.”
    Cody grinned. “I’m talking about this furry critter.” He reached down to ruffle the heavy cowl of golden-brown fur underneath Diva’s chin.
    A lump instantly formed in Evie’s throat, making it difficult to breathe.
    â€œI always wanted a dog, but we couldn’t get one because we moved around too much.” Raine dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around Diva’s neck. The dog leaned into her, the liquid brown eyes closing in bliss. “And Mom had this ‘no pets, no house-plants’ rule.”
    â€œMmm.” Evie rearranged the peas and green beans.
    â€œRaine insisted we stop at the store and buy her a new toy before we came over.”
    â€œIt’s so cute . . . It looks like a pink high heel.” Raine rocked back on her heels and smiled up at Evie. “Do you think she’ll like it?”
    â€œShe . . .” How old was the chili in that storage container anyway? “. . . She hasn’t had a new toy in a while.”
    â€œWe’ll be close to the park too.” Cody snagged an apple from the wicker basket in the center of the table. “Raine, Diva’s dishes are in the laundry room. Can you grab them while I put her dog food in the car?”
    â€œSure. Come on, girl!”
    Diva’s ears lifted at the word food , her plumed tail waving like a victory banner as she trotted after Raine.
    Evie closed the freezer door and started to unload another grocery bag. Shampoo—the brand Cody liked. Paper towels. Dog biscuits.
    â€œYou’ll probably want to take these too.” Evie slid the box across the table. “The turkey and cheese flavor are her favorite.”
    â€œDiva will adjust okay, won’t she, Mom?” Cody’s voice dropped a notch, his expression suddenly uncertain. “I mean, this is the only house she’s ever lived in.”
    Tell him, Evie. Tell him that Diva should stay with you.
    Tell him they’ll be busy with a newborn in a few months and a dog will be one more thing demanding their

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