Falling to Pieces

Falling to Pieces by Denise Grover Swank Read Free Book Online

Book: Falling to Pieces by Denise Grover Swank Read Free Book Online
Authors: Denise Grover Swank
Tags: USA
the day with you, it sounds wonderful.”
    All the happiness I had mustered fled. “I’m going to have to run back to El Dorado in about an hour.”
    Sadness crept into her eyes. “So you’re really doing this?”
    “Yeah,” I whispered. Should I tell her now? Was I just dragging this out for both of us?
    She wrapped my arms around my neck and snuggled into my chest, sadness oozing from her pores. “What about the sheriff’s deputy job?”
    Tell her. She deserves the truth . But she was in my arms and I wanted every moment I had left with her. If that made me a selfish bastard, so be it. “That’s on hold for now.”
    Rose pulled away and turned to the counter. “I need coffee.”
    My heart burst with grief. “I’m going to make you breakfast too.”
    “If you’re leaving in an hour, I’d rather just spend the time with you.”
    “Okay,” I said softly.
    There was a rap on the front door and she jumped. She had every right to be jumpy after last night. I trailed my fingers up and down her arm. “I’ll get it.”
    When I opened the door, I recognized Bruce Wayne Decker. He looked like the man who’d been on trial, yet he was different somehow.
    He looked at me and swallowed, but held his head high. “Is Rose here?”
    “Yeah.”
    “Can I speak to her?”
    There was a confidence in him that hadn’t been there before. I had no doubt that Rose had done that for him. She’d given him a job and believed in him when no one else had. Pride blossomed in my chest, and I cleared my throat to speak. “I’ll get her.”
    She was pouring a bowl of cereal when I walked in. “Rose, it’s for you.”
    “Oh.” She looked worried when she walked to the front door.
    I grimaced at the cereal then pulled out the last of the eggs to make her a quick omelet.
    I had to tell her the truth. She deserved to know, yet I was also smart enough to know she was like a pole cat. She’d stand up to my father to the bitter end. But I owed her the choice. I couldn’t make it for her. A small part of me hoped she’d agree to all the terms, but the rest of me was horrified at the thought. Even if it meant losing her.
    “I told you that you didn’t have to cook, Joe,” she said when she came back several minutes later.
    I twisted to see her sit at the table. “I know darlin’, but I wanted to make sure you ate something filling, something that’s not cereal.” I pulled a plate out of the cabinet and slid the omelet onto it, and set it on the table.
    She took a bite and kept her gaze on her plate. “Go ahead and spill it. I can always tell when you’re worried.”
    I’d hoped to put this off and spend more time with her. I’d hoped to make love to her one more time, but I knew the kindest thing I could do was to get this over with now. I’d tell her the truth. Maybe I’d tell her the terms, and she’d throw me out before I got to the part about my father threatening her and her family. If I looked like a bastard, so be it. Maybe it would make it easier for her. “This senate race might be tight.”
    She still didn’t look up. “I thought the race was unopposed.”
    “Someone else is going to declare he’s running later this morning. Frank Delany. Delany’s a family man, so they’ll be comparing me to him.”
    She hesitated. “Is that why you asked me to marry you?”
    “No. God, no.” I picked up her hand and searched her face. “I told you that I planned to ask you today. Before I knew about the senate race.”
    “What does that have to do with what you’re worried about?”
    “My mother is concerned.”
    She put her fork down.
    “You’re from a lower socioeconomic class than the opponent.”
    She tensed. “And you.” She finally raised her gaze. “I’m much lower than you.”
    “But we can spin that as a positive. Look at the nursery that you and Violet started. Voters love that kind of stuff. I told my mother that you might actually be an advantage. We can pull in voters who relate to you and

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