outlined the details. “He was here last year as a bodyguard and decided he wanted to return. So he and a couple of other guys are opening a business. They’re calling it something different, but it’s basically a bodyguard school.” “A dangerous man. Is he good-looking?” Patience did her best not to blush. “Yes.” “So you’ve seen him.” “He, uh, came over to dinner the other night. You know, to see my mom and stuff.” Isabel pressed her lips together. “It’s the ‘stuff’ that’s so interesting. You still like him.” “No. Maybe.” She squirmed on her seat. “Okay, yes. I do. He’s that guy and now he’s all grown up and when I’m with him, I have trouble breathing.” Something flickered in Isabel’s eyes, then faded away. “That’s an impressive description. And I’m sensing a but.” Patience nodded. “But why now? While he was in the witness protection program, he couldn’t tell me who he was. Then his dad was captured and sent back to prison. Which meant Justice could do whatever he wanted. Obviously he didn’t want to get in touch with me.” “Oh.” Isabel straightened. “That’s an excellent point.” “He did find Ford. They’re friends. Now he’s back and my hormones are singing praises, but I’m telling myself I need to be careful.” “Yeah, you do. Men aren’t always who they seem.” Isabel reached for another chip. “It’s never easy, is it?” “No. I’m trying to be calm and adult about the whole thing.” She thought about the kiss and how it had left her weak in the knees. “If he’s opening a business, it’s not like he’s going to disappear again, right?” Because that’s what she couldn’t get past. Him leaving. Every man she’d ever cared about had left. “It’s a very good sign.” Patience drew in a breath. “I hope so. And while we’re on the subject of hope, I do have something to tell you about Ford.” Isabel looked at her. “Which is?” “He’s going to be here soon. Apparently he’s leaving the military and coming back to Fool’s Gold.” Isabel opened her mouth, then closed it. “He’ll be in town?” “That’s the rumor. I don’t have any details or dates.” “Oh God. No. I can’t face him. I wrote him for years. Not that I’m sure he got my letters or if he did, if he read them, but still.” “He would have liked your letters.” “You can’t know that. He probably does think I’m a stalker.” She covered her face with her hands. “I knew coming home would be complicated, but I didn’t think I would have to face Ford.” She dropped her hands to the table. “Is he married?” “I don’t know.” “He’s probably married. With six kids, right? And a dog. So I don’t have to worry. He won’t even remember me.” Patience reached for another chip. “I want to make fun of you, but I can’t, because I know exactly what you’re going through.” “That makes me feel better. You’ll tell me if you learn anything?” “Every detail.” “I’ll do the same for you. Not that I’m expecting to be in the middle of gossip central. When people come to the bridal shop, they tend to be past the dramatic stage of their relationship.” She picked up her soda. “You really think Ford’s married?” She sounded both horrified and hopeful. “He could be. And I’m sure he’s not nearly as good-looking as he was.” “Right. He’s old now and uninteresting.” She paused. “You said Justice is hunky.” Patience held in a sigh. “The hunkiest.” “Good. One of us should get the great guy.” “It’s too soon to know if he’s great or not,” Patience said. She wanted to believe he was, of course, but she had no actual evidence.
“Y OURS IS bigger than mine,” Patience said, walking around the warehouse. Justice chuckled. No matter the circumstances, she could always make him laugh. “I thought women liked to say size doesn’t matter.” She