Texas Strong

Texas Strong by Jean Brashear Read Free Book Online

Book: Texas Strong by Jean Brashear Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jean Brashear
and fear tugged at him. “I’ll take care of it, I promise.”
    “Thank you.” The fear receded, and damned if he didn’t feel something warm in his chest.
    He whirled away and headed for his truck.

    Chrissy watched as he wheeled his big pickup into the gap with an ease she could never have managed. In a matter of minutes, he had the trailer hitched up, then he returned to her window.
    “Okay, you sit here while I unload the back into the bed of my truck.”
    “I can help, Big Theo!” Thad volunteered.
    “No need,” Tank said, turning away.
    “Kids, stay here for a minute.” She stepped out. “There is a need,” she called to him. “I pay my way.”
    He looked back, exasperated. “It won’t take me but a second.”
    “It will take less if I help.” When he hesitated, she continued. “Do you have any idea how heavy those trays are when I have a big table?”
    He looked at her askance. “But you’re really little.”
    “No,” she fired back. “You’re just really big. But I’m still strong.”
    He closed his eyes. “Fine.” He continued to the back and opened the hatch. He grabbed one small box and handed it to her.
    She had to chuckle. “You’re not very good at accepting help, either, are you?”
    His head whipped to hers, surprise on his features. “Don’t get many offers.”
    And why was that? He was so private, though, that she didn’t push. “Well, you have one now. The kids can help, too, you know.”
    He glanced at the two heads in the back seat. “It’s not safe here on the road, and they can’t reach high enough for the bed of my truck.”
    His safety concern made sense. “Fine, but when we get to the house, they will help.”
    He shrugged, then grabbed two big boxes and a laundry basket full of miscellaneous items and walked to his truck. He set them down in the bed and shoved them up next to the toolbox, then took the box in her hands and set it down inside the toolbox.
    With him carrying so much, the relocation took next to no time. Soon the kids were loaded into the dual cab of his truck, Thad in his booster seat, and her car was locked up. As Tank pulled away, she looked back at it, afraid of letting it out of her sight. It wasn’t much, but it was all she could afford.
    “Don’t worry. I’ll be back to get it in just a little while.” In his eyes, she thought she saw understanding, and she smiled.
    “I don’t know how to tell you how grateful I am that you were driving down this road. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
    “Somebody would have come along and helped you. We’re right outside Sweetgrass.”
    Maybe they would have, but she wondered if any of them would have made her feel so safe.
    “You’re not very good at accepting gratitude, are you?”
    He shrugged slightly. “Don’t get much practice.” Then he said nothing else until they reached her new home.
    Leaving her to wonder what he meant by that.

Chapter Four
I’m sorry. I was going to clean it up, but I got called in. Leave the mess for me. Love, Jake.
    A s she read the scrawled note on the kitchen counter amid spilled coffee grounds and abandoned filters, Laura strolled, note in hand, to survey the dining room.
    Contemplated, for the first time in their marriage, walking away from the man who had once been her reason for being. For breathing.
    Oh, sure, there had been arguments, fights, disagreements. You couldn’t live with someone for so long and not butt heads, to say nothing of how much the raising of children could strain the harmony between you. She had a temper, and he was pigheaded. They had different ideas about almost everything.
    But somehow the marriage had worked. There had been spice in the friction. And love, so much love.
    What concerned her now was that Jake seemed clueless about how his obsession with work was affecting them. Once family had been at the center of his life, and his devotion had sustained her through the difficult parts of being a medical widow and a

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