Kentucky Home

Kentucky Home by Sarah Title Read Free Book Online

Book: Kentucky Home by Sarah Title Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah Title
the colander full of potatoes. “But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, young man. Mal is a guest here, not free labor.”
    â€œI’m sorry if I made her mad; I really thought—”
    Libby sighed as she dumped the potatoes into the pot on the stove. “No, she wasn’t mad. She came in smelling to high heaven and smiling like a loon.”
    â€œSo if she’s not mad, why are you mad?”
    â€œIt’s just not right, Keith, that’s why.”
    â€œMiss Libby, it’s all right.” Mal stood in the kitchen doorway, wearing that floral skirt and socks, holding her dirty jeans. “I threatened him with bodily harm if he didn’t give me something to do.”
    Her hair was still tied back in that messy ponytail, and she wore one of Luke’s old sweatshirts with the sleeves rolled up at her wrists. She looked dead tired, and Keith had the sudden urge to go over to her, kiss those dark smudges from under her eyes.
    Libby patting his arm broke his reverie. “All right, I’ll forgive him. He always was a good boy.” She crossed the kitchen, grabbing Mal’s jeans, as she said, “to throw them in the wash presently.”
    Â 
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    To say an awkward silence descended on the kitchen would be an understatement. But Mal forged on, determined to—she wasn’t sure what, exactly, but it seemed very important that Keith like her. Even though she wasn’t entirely sure that she liked him. “So,” she said, rocking back on her heels with forced casualness, “did the mucking pass muster?” She winced.
    Keith rubbed the back of his neck, rocking back on his heels to mirror Mal. “Yeah, for a first-timer.”
    â€œWas there something wrong with my mucking? Should I go out and—”
    Keith grabbed her arm as she headed out the door. To the barn. To re-muck. In her socks.
    â€œIt was great. Mal.”
    It felt sort of weird and intimate to hear her name coming from his mouth. He said it like it was a secret, just for the two of them. She turned, his hand still on her arm, but gentle.
    â€œYou did a great job,” he repeated.
    Then she was flush against him, her hips against his. Her nose against his teeth.
    They looked at each other, stunned, for about half a second. Then Keith pulled her behind him and shouted, “No, Peanut! Out!” By the time Mal registered that she was still wearing the stupid stunned expression, that she was now pressed against Keith’s back, and that the dog of which she was terrified was trying to lick her toes, Peanut was out the door, corralled by a stranger in a used-to-be white cowboy hat.
    Inappropriate sexual tension was a great cure for fear of dogs.
    Keith turned and cupped Mal’s face in his hands.
    â€œMal? Mal, can you hear me? Are you going to throw up?”
    She fluttered her hands in front of her face, brushing him away. “I’m OK,” she said, keeping her eye nervously on the door.
    â€œIt’s OK, Chase took Peanut out.”
    â€œWho?”
    â€œPeanut. The dog. Do you remember?” He looked at her with concern, as if he thought she’d hit her head or something.
    â€œI know Peanut. I mean, I am aware of Peanut.”
    â€œHe makes sure of that.”
    â€œWho is Chase?”
    â€œOh. He works here.”
    No other information seemed to be forthcoming.
    â€œHe took Peanut out?”
    â€œYeah.”
    â€œIs Libby mad?”
    â€œShe doesn’t know yet.”
    â€œWell, I’ll say one thing for you. You have a loyal and affectionate dog.”
    â€œHe’s just excited because he hasn’t seen me all day. Usually he’s running around with me—”
    Mal looked up at Keith, who suddenly had a guilty look on his face. Oh, she thought. Oh. “Did you keep Peanut out of the stables today because you knew I would be working there?”
    Keith blushed. He blushed! It started in his neck and

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