Her Christmas Prince (Love in the Keys)

Her Christmas Prince (Love in the Keys) by Caroline A. Godin Read Free Book Online

Book: Her Christmas Prince (Love in the Keys) by Caroline A. Godin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Caroline A. Godin
her
mother would be on her best behaviour with a stranger at their table
for Christmas.

    Callie
heard the keys in the back door at 6:25. As usual, Erin was right on
time. And cheerful.

    “ Hey,
girl. How are ya? Oh, coffee already? Rough night?” Her
friend knew her well, Normally Erin and Callie took a break after the morning rush around 10 a.m. and had their first
coffee together.

    “ Yes
and no.”

    “ Did
you break the news to Milly?” Callie nodded yes. “Really?!
And you're still alive, no bruises?” Erin was nothing if not dramatic. And funny.

    “ Well,
technically I didn't break the news to her. Henry did.”

    “ Henry?
Whoa, there. Back it up. Who is Henry? Maybe you'd better start
at the beginning.” With that pronouncement, there was a rap
at the door. Clint Barnes, a local police officer and one of their
regular customers, stood sheepishly at the door.

    Callie
lifted her hands up at Erin as if to say, 'what can I do?', then
walked over to the door and unlocked the door, flipping the sign
before opening the door and letting Clint in.

    “ Hey
ladies, sorry to be banging your door down, but we're driving up
island for a training seminar and I could really use a cuppa joe for
the trip.” He smiled sheepishly.

    “ Not
a problem, Clint. We were fixing to open up soon, anyhow. I'm just
moving a little slower than usual this morning.” Callie gave
him a welcoming smile and ushered him in.

    “ Well
hey, Clint. The usual this morning?” Erin greeted Clint
warmly. He was a favourite customer and though he'd only lived in
Sunnyside Key a few years, he was entrenched in the community.

    “ That
would be great, thanks, Erin. What kind of muffins do you have
today?”

    “ Not
sure, what kind do we have today, Callie? I just got in so I'm not
up to speed yet. Boss lady?”

    “ Chocolate
chip or pumpkin spice.”

    “ Ooooh.
Pumpkin spice, please. Do they have pecans?”

    “ You
know it, Clint. What is pumpkin without a pecan, I always say?”
Callie liked the easy banter that she had with so many of her
customers. Some would view serving coffee and snacks as a small
thing. But she provided a service to the community and really got to
know her customers. She belonged. And she liked it.

    “ It's
nice to see you so perky today. If you don't mind me saying, you
weren't your usual self this last while. And we couldn't help notice
the lack of a certain individual in town these days and sort of made
the connection.”

    “ I'm
fine, Clint, really. I appreciate your concern. But life is OK.
And sometimes you don't realize you're better off without them ‘til
someone is actually gone.” This was a home truth that had
come to Callie last night while she battled her insomnia. As much as
she felt deflated and rejected, it occurred to her that she didn't
actually miss Brian. Yes, she noticed his absence. But it wasn't
the same thing.

    “ Well,
I do hear through the coconut telegraph that you were out for dinner
with a handsome looking guy last night at the Grill House.”
Clint grinned at her. Callie looked at his with surprise. “Callie,
I am a police officer ... we do have our sources.” Clint
laughed.

    “ And
that, my friends, is the downside of living in a quaint little town
like Sunnyside Key. You can't hiccup without everyone knowing about
it.” Erin shook her head. It was amazing how news travelled
up and down the coast, like the wind.

    Callie
laughed. It was true. Come to think of it, she was surprised her
mother hadn't picked up on the good old coconut telegraph herself.
She hadn't mentioned Brian being absent. Interesting, maybe her mom
was losing her touch on the news front.

    “ Can
we get you anything else, Clint?”

    “ No,
I'm good. I guess that means you're not spilling on who your date
was last night.”

    “ Not
right now, Clint. But don't worry, I'll keep you informed if it
turns serious.”

    “ I
can always do a background check for you, it's no problem. Perk of

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