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All I've Waited For by Lindsay Harrel

All I've Waited For by Lindsay Harrel

Author:Lindsay Harrel [Harrel, Lindsay]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Blue Aster Press


Chapter 11

Derek knew when to call in some backup. “So you’re going to stay the whole time she’s here, yeah?”

Heather rolled her eyes as her hands plunged into the bowl of cookie dough. “I told you I would.” She arched an eyebrow at Mia, who sat on the barstool at the white marble countertop coloring a picture of some Disney princess. “Uncle Elephant sure is on edge, isn’t he? I wonder why that is.”

Mia glanced up and scrunched her nose. “What’s ‘on edge’ mean?”

Derek ruffled her curls. “Nothing, Peanut. Mommy’s just reading into things.”

Rolling a ball of dough between her hands, Heather pursed her lips. “Am I? I don’t ever remember you inviting me—much less begging me—to hang out with you and Ashley before. Something’s definitely up.”

Walking toward the oven, he peeked inside, inhaling the calming scent of the chocolate chip cookies Heather had set inside only minutes before. “I just thought you’d be able to help us with some wedding stuff. You can stand in for Claire.”

“Mm-hmm.”

Fine, who cared if Heather believed him? Fact was he absolutely could not allow himself to be alone with Ashley again. That was why he’d invited her out to the vineyard, where he had the home advantage.

The doorbell rang and he pointed at Heather. “I’m counting on you.”

She plopped another dough ball onto the cookie sheet. “Even if I leave, Mia will stay if you keep plying her with cookies.”

“Cookies are my favorite!”

His niece’s sweet giggle brought a smile to Derek’s face, sustaining him as he trudged to the front door.

But as soon as he opened the door, his grin disappeared.

Ashley had a death grip on Claire’s binder, and her posture was so rigid that an army general would be proud. “Hi.”

“Hey.” His jaw clenched. “Thanks for coming over on a Saturday night.”

“Anything for one of my grooms.” Ashley moved past him. “Where did you want to set up?”

“In the kitchen. Heather and Mia are going to keep us company.”

Ashley’s shoulders sank like a balloon pricked by a pin. “Great idea.”

So he wasn’t the only one who regretted what had almost happened two days ago. Good. “Glad you approve.” He led her through the living room into the kitchen. The rest of the house was quiet tonight, since Dad and Nancy were at a movie and Christina lived in her own apartment in town.

Mia looked up at their arrival. “Miss Ashley!”

Ashley set the binder on the counter and leaned down to hug Derek’s niece. “Good to see you, Mia. It’s been a while. I wasn’t sure you’d remember me.”

“I’m four. I have a good memory.”

“I should have known better.” Ashley’s laugh swept through the kitchen. “Heather, whatever you’re making smells heavenly.”

Heather wiggled her doughy hands. “Nothing special. Just cookies. But you’re welcome to them once they’re ready.” Turning, she washed her hands in the sink, then flicked them dry before snagging a towel. “What are you guys working on tonight?”

“Now that we’re holding the wedding at the inn, we’ve got to figure out decorations.



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