I've been looking at the various manuscripts I have hanging around and came across this one in my files. This is actually a finished draft that just needs some more work and a little refining. This snippet is Chapter 8. Once I get my current WIP finished, it will be time to revisit Kaidance and Drew's story. Enjoy!

Kaidance couldn’t remember the last time she had this much fun. Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success and more enjoyable than the stuffy affairs they always had at home, especially after her father remarried. Thanksgiving at the Reed home was always in the dining room with the best china and the nice clothing. She remembered her father standing at the head of the table carving the turkey in front of everyone. It was a staid affair, boring and never-ending. It was “family time.” In truth, Kaidance and her father hated it. Their idea of Thanksgiving dinner was sitting in front of the television watching “Star Wars” with a turkey breast roast, stuffing, canned cranberry, and green beans. She missed that time with her father and in truth was always a little jealous of her stepmother because of it.

“Hey, you okay?” Drew whispered. He was leaning in close to Kaidance, concern on his face.

She looked at him and smiled. “Yeah. Just listening to Chris and thinking about those few Thanksgivings with dad before he remarried. This is the first time I’ve had this much fun in a long time.” She reached out and grasped his hand under the table, squeezing briefly.

“So, I looked at him and yelled, “yeah well this thorn is about to take you down.”  He looked at me and just...”

Kat looked at Chris, leaning in towards him from across the table. “Tex?”

“Yes, pumpkin?” Chris lowered his hands to the table, not even realizing he had been using them to emphasize his story.

“Shaddup.” She smiled at him.

Chris picked up his napkin and dabbed his lips. “Pumpkin?”


“Your rack is in your mashed potatoes.”

Kat looked down and let out a small squeal. “Dammit! I’m on duty in an hour too!” She grumbled as she wiped mashed potatoes and gravy from her tan uniform shirt. She looked over at Chris in disgust. “I swear I’m gonna...”


“Shut. Up. North.”

Chris’ grinned. “You’re the boss, dimples.”

Kaidance spits out her drink and found herself wiping her own shirt free of soda. “Dimples?”

Jo looked at Kaidance and tossed her another napkin. “Oh, trust me, this is mild compared to some of the things I’ve heard him call her.”

Kat grumbled something about Texas men and their damn Southern charm as she pushed away from the table and headed towards the bathroom.

Chris grinned as he shouted after her, “You know who found that useful, peaches? Nobody. Life would be exactly the same as if you hadn’t said anything.”

Jo stood up, patting Chris on the shoulder. “You’re gonna pay for that, I hope you know.” She followed Kat, calling out to the Sheriff to come to the laundry room for a moment.

Chris looked over at Kaidance. “So... how you holding up? Are you settling back in okay since coming home? You look great.”

“Thanks. I’m...trying to settle back in. I’m sure you heard about my last year...overseas,” she managed to say quietly.

Chris looked down at his plate before standing up. He began to gather up the plates. He had heard all right. Most of the people they graduated with had heard. The entire city had been proud of Kaidance and her service, the whole hometown girl making it to Captain and serving on the front line. And all of them had worried until she had come home. “I heard, darling. And I thank the good Lord every day you made it home safe.” He carried the dishes to the sink. “Believe me, it does my heart good to see you here and smiling, especially after everything.” He turned back to his friends and dropped a soft kiss on her head.

“Thanks, Chris.”

“Besides, you need to be here. Someone needs to keep this boy in line. Why the two of you never got together in the first place is well beyond my little ole thinking.” He shrugged and kept cleaning off the table. “Seriously, Kaidance, you need to make an honest man out of this boy. He’s outlasted me for the whole bachelor thing.”

Drew inwardly groaned at Chris’ comment. He wanted to kill him. He stood up and started clearing the food bowls off the table to keep Kaidance from seeing his own face turning a wonderful shade of beet red. He glanced over at her to see her studying him, one eyebrow arched in contemplation. He held her gaze for a few moments before turning to put the bowls on the counter.

Chris saw the look pass between them as he sat back down at the table. He began to hum. It was a tune he had hummed for as long as Drew and Kaidance had known him. Drew began to think that Chris wasn’t even aware he was doing it. And if he was, he was doing it on purpose. The humming changed to him actually going “dun-do-dun-dun” over and over again.

Drew stared at him for a moment and then looked at Kat and Jo as they returned to the kitchen, the Sheriff’s shirt miraculously without any evidence of mashed potatoes and gravy. “And this is why he was a bachelor until he met you.”

Kat realized she had missed something. Drew’s face was flushed and Kaidance was staring at him as if in anticipation of something. She looked at her husband who was gazing lovingly at her, his chin on his hand, a shit-eating grin on his face. Yeah, she missed something important. “Seriously? Some friends yous guys are, cause 35 years of that and none of you thought to help him break that habit?” She finally asked.

Drew shrugged and blinked. “We tried.” He rubbed his eye with his left hand before giving Kat a pained look. “God knows we tried. I think all that law jargon addled his brain worse.  Yeah.  I’ll go with that.”

Kat shook her head as she retrieved her sidearm and nightstick from the hall table. “Drew, that has got to be the most pathetic reason I have ever heard.” She picked up her hat and settled it on her head. “I suppose you’re safe so long as he don’t start talkin’ about chimichangas like Deadpool again...”

Chris looked at Kat in hurt. “I thought you liked my Deadpool imitation, sugar.”

Drew groaned, rolling his eyes. “You still do that? I swear.  The chimichanga thing is getting old.”

Chris stood up and picked up his leather jacket from the back of the chair. “Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s sort of awesome.” He looked at Kaidance. “So, Ellie is having some sorta shindig at the saloon tomorrow night. How about pumpkin and I pick you, Jo, and the good doctor here up about 8? Go do some shit-kicking and two-stepping? It’ll be good for you!”

Kaidance stood up and walked around the table, giving Chris a slightly more relaxed hug. “I don’t know, Chris. I’m not sure...”

“Aw now c’mon. I know you need to do some stomping on that hardwood floor. Get your boot scooting on.” He took Kaidance’s chin and made her look up at her. “This is my begging face.”

Kaidance looked at Chris, at the way he tried to give her puppy eyes and epically failed. “Sure.”

“Oh, hot damn! This’ll be fun. We’ll introduce pumpkin to some good old-fashioned Texas partying!”

“I’m so excited,” Kat replied drolly even though she couldn’t hide her grin.

Drew laughed. “Sounds good. I could use a night out.”

Jo shook her head. “Count me out. I have plans for tomorrow night that includes a bottle of black hair dye, a romance novel, and a bubble bath.”

Chris shook Drew’s hand and hugged Jo. “You just c’mon along if you change your mind, Jo.” He looked at Kaidance. “8 o’clock, darling.” He winked at her and pointed as Drew showed them out.

Kaidance watched them walk out and smiled, shaking her head. If Chris North still enjoyed a good two-step, she was in trouble.

 Copyright 2021, Beth A. Freely. All Rights Reserved.