So, now that River's Bend (a spin-off from my Shelter Bay series, where Cooper and Rachel visit Shelter Bay and Chef Maddy makes an appearance) is finished, and the site's up, though some things, like the recipe page are still under construction (though there's a hot construction guy on the page to hopefully make up for the wait), I'm resuming Tuesday Teasers.
This is from River's Bend, which will be out this month. If you'd like an announcement when it actually goes on sale (in ebook for all formats and print, with audio yet to come), you can sign up for my newsletter.
City Hall was on Front Street, across from the town square, located between the sheriff's office and the post office. The bronze plaque on the cornerstone revealed that the red brick building had been dedicated in 1904. In addition to the offices of the city council, it housed various county, state, and federal offices.
As soon as Cooper entered the building, a harried looking man in his fifties, sporting a crew cut and wearing a brown, ill-fitting suit, came marching toward him.
"It's about time you got here," Mel Skinner complained without preamble.
"Nice to see you, too, Mel," Cooper said. "I came as soon as I got the call."
"Well, it wasn't soon enough. You'll never guess what the damn fool's threatening to do this time."
"You know I've never been much for guessing games. Why don't you just calm down and tell me why you felt the need to take me away from helping River’s Bend's newest resident settle into her rental house?"
His news stopped Mel Skinner in his tracks. "The widow's staying?"
"She's considering it."
"Does she know about this morning's fire?"
"And she didn't take off running?"
"Nope. My guess is that she'll stay."
The older man shook his head. "She's either crazy or a glutton for punishment."
"She didn't seem crazy."
A paradox, perhaps. Her stoic reaction to the disaster that had awaited her had proved her strength. The confusion in her wide eyes as his gaze had involuntarily settled on her lips had hinted at softness Cooper would like to explore further.
"Well, if she does decide to reopen the restaurant, she'll probably make it. Lord knows, she can't be any worse cook than Johnny, and he's always done okay," Skinner decided. "Of course it doesn't hurt that the New Chance is the only restaurant in town."
"That did tend to give Johnny a captive clientele," Cooper agreed. "So, getting back to my reason for leaving a pretty young widow in the lurch —"
"Young?" Skinner interrupted. "Nobody said anything about her being young."
"Well, she is."
"Early to mid thirties, I suppose. About Jake —"
Cooper thought back to Rachel's shiny raven hair and mist gray eyes and skin that reminded him of the porcelain dolls his three-times-great-grandmother had insisted on bringing across the country in their covered wagon. The dolls that, against all odds, had survived the journey intact and were now in the River’s Bend historical museum.
"Pretty enough, I suppose," he said noncommittally.
He knew that were he to tell the truth about finding her more than a little appealing, not only would he replace his dad as the hot new topic of conversation down at Harry's Barber Shop, the River's Bend grapevine would have him head over heels in love by lunchtime, engaged by dinner, and married before the week was out.
That's it for this Tuesday! I hope do get a card up tomorrow for Operation Write Home's Midweek Throwdown, and they'll be another Friday Photo from River's Bend.