Home > Waiting On The Rain (McKinneyWalker Brothers #3)(7)

Waiting On The Rain (McKinneyWalker Brothers #3)(7)
Author: Claudia connor

“Nice to meet you, Ava,” Mia said. “Hannah’s mentioned how much you’re helping her with camp preparations.”

“Oh, not much,” Ava said, turning the bottle in her hands. “Just answering a few questions.”

“Are you kidding? You’ve been a lifesaver, but we’re not talking about that tonight. I’m on a break from all things stressful.”

“Where’s Will now?” Mia asked.

“Nora’s friend from work took him. She’s changing his clothes, bless her. Hey, you guys should hit the cookie table.”

“We did,” he and Ava said in unison.

Hannah gave him a curious look. “Well, make sure you fill a to-go bag, or two. The McKinney women are obviously used to baking for an army. Please don’t make me haul all those cookies to my house.”

“Why doesn’t Zach haul his own cookies?” Nick asked.

“Because he and Nora are leaving on their honey moon tonight. But,” Hannah held up a finger. “I could stash all the leftovers in their freezer instead of mine. Then Nora can gain twenty pounds instead of me.”

Nick shook his head. “Why are women always worried about gaining weight? You can put cookies in my freezer any damn time.”

“Mine, too,” Zach said.

“Thank you both for your sacrifice. But still,” she said, turning to Ava. “Please, make a few bags to go. You could take one to your dad.”

“Thanks, he’d love that.”

The group chatted a few more minutes, before he and Ava were left alone to finish their beers. The band leader announced it was time for the tossing of the bouquet and called all single women. There were laughs and squeals as some women rushed to the dance floor and some were pulled along. The band leader called again, cajoling all the women to get up and get out there.

“You’re not going for that?” Luke asked.

“Ha. My hand eye coordination isn’t the best.”

“Sorry.”

She waved it off. “You wouldn’t catch me out there even if I could see.”

“Why is that?”

“Because getting married is the last thing I would ever do. And if I want flowers, I’ll buy my own.”

He’d bet there was a story in there somewhere. He heard it in the tone and in the words she didn’t say. He was tempted to press on that, dig for answers. Not smart for a man who didn’t want anyone digging into his.

A dark-haired woman walked swiftly up to their table. “Hey, Luke, Ava. Sorry to interrupt but have you seen any kids by chance? About this high, she held her hand at hip level. Blond hair? Probably into mischief?”

“You might check under the cookie table.”

She sighed. “Not again.”

“Hey. You didn’t hear that from me.”

“Thanks,” she said and went off in that direction.

“Was that Abby?”

“Uh…I’m not sure of her name. Married to my sister’s brother-in-law, Matt. You know her?”

“I’ve met her. She brings her daughter out to ride.”

And she remembered by the sound of her voice. Luke wondered how many people he could pick out by their voice alone.

“I should make those to-go bags before I forget.” She reached around her, then froze. “Shoot. My cane is at the table.”

Luke took Ava’s hand, wrapping her fingers around his bicep so that she walked beside him much like an escort. Her steps were tentative and hesitant and he slowed his pace to meet hers.

“Would it be better for you to walk behind me? Tuck your hand into my belt?”

He instantly imagined her small fingers slipping into the band of his pants and… “Never mind. I’m not asking you to put your hand in my pants.”

Her lips twitched. “Sounds like you were,” she said, her voice light and teasing.

They filled two bags for her parents then Luke led her back to her table where they’d left their cookies. And funny thing, he felt lighter, freer, with her on his arm than he had all day.

“Luke! Hey.”

One of his brother’s groomsmen approached him and Ava back at her table. Big guy, with a head of thick, wavy black hair. Bull, he thought his name was Bull.

“We need you outside, man. Nick said you had more stuff in your trunk.”

“Right.” And in the past thirty minutes he’d completely forgotten about his responsibility on the finishing touches for the bride and groom’s car. “Well…” He scooted his chair from the table, hesitated.

“Go,” Ava said with a wave of her hand. “Please. I’m sure your brother will appreciate the ‘stuff’ you have for him.” She grinned knowingly, then gestured to her cookies. “More for me.”

“Don’t eat them all.”

“I make no promises.”

 

As soon as Ava was sure he was far enough away, she dropped her forehead into her hand and took a deep breath. Wow. The man was… potent. And he was her friend’s brother. She shook it off and felt for her bag on the table. Finding it, she pulled her phone.

It had to be getting late. She’d gotten a ride with Hannah from the wedding to the reception, and had tentatively accepted a ride home though she wouldn’t put her friend out. She probably had a million things to take care of and she’d been sure she’d be ready to leave well before that. Though after meeting Luke she wasn’t as ready as she had been.

Ava barely had time to check the time on her phone before Hannah was beside her.

“Ava! Hey. Come on.” She leaned down, a hand on her shoulder, obviously primed to drag her out. “We’re doing the whole send off thing.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I’ll just hold down this table. And hey, I was actually about to call for a ride. You don’t need one more thing to do tonight.”

“What? No, don’t do that.” Hannah sat in the seat Luke had just left. “Nora’s and Zach’s co-workers have volunteered to hang til the end and make sure all the gifts are loaded. My sole responsibility is to get their son home and tucked in without noticing they’re gone. No small task, but we’ll be heading out soon. And come on, you can’t miss this! It’ll be fun!”

It might be, she thought. But it would also be a mass of people moving through doors and over curbs, all anxious not to miss something that she couldn’t see anyway. “I’m good where I am. Honest.”

“I could guide you through it.”

“Thanks, but no. I was just about to check on my dad.” She smiled at Hannah’s sincere offer, knowing she meant it. “Go! You can’t miss seeing them off.”

“Okay. If you’re sure.”

“I am. When she was alone again,” she asked her phone for the time, then the weather for tomorrow. She started to google a place nearby where she could do some indoor swimming for exercise. She loved the horseback riding and would be forever grateful to her sister-in-law for setting that up, but she needed to get in some real cardio.

She could do a local search with voice commands, no problem, but it was still a little loud in here to be getting directions so she dictated a quick text to her best friend, Maddie, instead.

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