Bayou Christmas (Cypress Cove #2) - Suzanne Jenkins Page 0,1

roast for Justin. I hope Spencer’s has turkey this early in the season.”

“If they don’t, you ask over at Café Delphine. She got hot turkey sandwiches on the menu today. She might be able to help you out.”

He took Brulee’s leash and held out his hand for Maggie.

“Gus, thank you. I will do that. I’m meeting Justin there for coffee in half an hour. I’ll run over to the grocery first.”

“Have the delivery boy bring your bags right to the boat. I got ice here.”

He pointed to the ice chest. Selling ice to fishermen was one of Gus’s income streams.

“I’ll do that, Gus. Thank you so much.”

He tipped his imaginary hat and smiled at her, handing over the dog’s leash. “I got news, but I’ll wait to tell you the next time I stop over to the cottage.”

She waited, watching him. “You got news?”

“Yes’m. But it’ll wait. If you have time, I’ll be by this afternoon. Don’t buy no sweets, either.”

Nodding, she’d happily wait; Gus always brought bags of treats for her when he came for coffee.

“Now I’ll be crazy all day wanting to know what your news is.”

“Don’t breathe a word of it yet, okay? This is for your ears only.”

“Not a word. Not even to Justin.”

“Oh god, especially not to him! Ha! You’ll figure out why when I tell you. Go. You’re making me all nervous now, and I’m about to spill my guts instead of waiting.”

“Gus, it’s not fair! I’ll be a wreck now! Are you okay?”

“It’s all good, I promise. Go, go!”

Giggling, she ran off with the dog. It was the first time she’d been in town when it was cool out that she could remember. Cars lined up at the bank, and there were no parking places at the curbs. Shoppers would have to park behind the train station and walk to their destination.

The first stop, Spencer’s Grocery. The air-conditioning was off, a rarity, and the doors were open. A split bug screen guarded each door opening, and she pushed one open for Brulee to get through.

“Now look at this. This dog is not your puppy, is it? She’s huge!”

Miss Spencer, dressed in stylish athletic wear with her hair cut short and perfect makeup, stepped down from behind the courtesy desk to scratch Brulee behind the ears.

“Three months,” Maggie said, smiling as she handed over the dog’s leash. “You got fresh turkey?”

“I believe we do! You run ahead, and I’ll keep Miss Dog here with me for company.”

Maggie grabbed a cart and headed to the poultry department. Miss Spencer was right, they had medium-sized fresh turkeys. Planning her menu, she stopped by the produce and got a bag of potatoes and the ingredients for her mother’s layered salad. Then cranberries, the stuff to make stuffing, and at the bakery, she bought a ready-made pumpkin pie. Justin liked apple, too, so she bought a bag of apples and would attempt a pie.

After she retrieved Brulee and paid the delivery boy to take her packages to the skiff, she crossed the dusty road to have coffee with Justin. He was waiting for her with his arms across his chest, leaning against the brick building, and a sultry feeling spread through her body, imagining those arms around her. Snap to it, she thought, before you get hit by a car.

“Hey,” he called out, taking a step toward her.

They stood face-to-face, staring into each other’s eyes, grinning, but not touching.

“Well, what do you know about that,” he murmured. “You are a sight for sore eyes.”

“Is that right?”

“Why does it feel like I haven’t seen you in a month?”

“Why? How long has it been?” she asked, amused.

“About twenty hours.”

“That long?”

Reaching for Brulee’s leash, he bent down and scratched her behind the ears, then held out his other arm, and she took it.

“My family,” he said, looking down at her again with a grin.

“Just about.”

“Who else?”

“Spooky.” His horse.

“Lord, I’d better not forget Spooky.”

Laughing, he let go of her and opened the door of Café Delphine. It was a throwback to another time, with slow-moving ceiling fans and glass cases filled with every bakery item imaginable, spanning ten feet of the front of the store.

“You want to sit at the counter or in a booth?” he asked.

“Let’s sit in a booth. I want to look out the window.”

They moved to the far end of the café so Brulee wouldn’t get in anyone’s way. After ordering their coffee, Justin took her hands in his, always needing to touch her when they were together.

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