The Gift

The Gift by Wanda E. Brunstetter Read Free Book Online

Book: The Gift by Wanda E. Brunstetter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Wanda E. Brunstetter
the chain.

    While Adam waited for his delivery to arrive, he went back to the main part of the store and headed to the first aisle, where the garden tools were kept. There he caught sight of a freckle-faced English boy who appeared to be in his early teens. The kid had his hands in the pocket of his jeans, and a worn-looking baseball cap covered most of his red hair, which was pulled back into a ponytail. He stood staring at the shelf full of gardening gloves and hand shovels and didn’t seem to notice Adam standing nearby. Adam thought it was strange that the boy was wearing a denim jacket, buttoned up to his neck. On a day as warm as this, he didn’t think anyone would feel the need for a jacket.
    Just as Adam was going to ask the boy if he needed any help, the kid grabbed two pairs of gloves off the shelf, along with two of the small shovels, and stuffed them inside his jacket. Then he turned, caught sight of Adam, and froze.
    Adam didn’t say anything at first, hoping the boy would take the items to the checkout counter to pay. Of course, that wasn’t likely. Most people who planned to buy something didn’t stuff the articles inside their jacket.
    Time seemed to stand still as they stared at each other. Adam didn’t back down, and the kid nervously broke eye contact, glancing toward the front doors. Adam didn’t have time to blink before the boy ran past him, headed for the exit.
    “Stop where you are!” Adam shouted, convinced the boy was shoplifting. He raced after him. “You’d better give me those items you took!”

    Glancing to her right, Leah saw Adam’s hardware store come into view. Thinking she might find some type of tool there to fix her chain, Leah pushed the bike into the parking lot and set the kickstand. She noticed the delivery truck that had passed her earlier was parked along the side of the store. The driver, talking on a cell phone, stood by the rear of the truck.
    Leah went up the front steps and reached for the door handle. The door flew open, and—
wham
!—a teenaged boy crashed into her, knocking her down. As she tried to clamber to her feet, Adam barreled out the open door, shouting for the boy to stop. In his haste, Adam plowed into Leah, and they both landed on the porch in a heap.

CHAPTER 7
    A re you okay?” Adam and Leah asked at the same time.
    Leah looked at Adam and bobbed her head. “When I reached for the door to your store, I never expected to get plowed down by that boy. He didn’t even look back or apologize.” She looked at her hands and noticed that they were a bit scraped. Nervously brushing them together, she added, “The least he could have done was to ask if I was all right.”
    “I’m sorry about that.” Adam stood and reached for her hand. “And I never expected to catch someone shoplifting in my store.” He grimaced. “I didn’t actually catch the fellow, now did I? Thanks to me tripping over you and falling, that young thief got away.”
    Leah scrunched up her face, realizing the hand Adam held in his stung more than she’d first thought it did.
    “Let me look at those hands,” Adam said, his voice filled with concern. Before she could react, he took her other hand and examined it as well. “I have some witch hazel in the store. We’d better get your hands cleaned off.”
    Leah quickly pulled back from Adam’s grip. Confusion mixed with a bit of irritation bubbled in her soul as she gazed up at him. Wiping her hands on her dress, she asked, “Are you suggesting that it’s my fault you didn’t capture the boy?”
    He shook his head. “You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
    “So if I hadn’t come to the hardware store, you’d have your merchandise back by now?”
    Adam shrugged. “Can’t say for sure, but there’s a pretty good chance I would have caught the kid.”
    “Maybe you should go after him now. Did you see what direction he took?”
    “No. Did you?”
    Leah’s hands went straight to her hips. “Of course

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