I know, I know. Just because September is here doesn’t mean fall is. But we’re closer, so that’s enough for me today.

 

 

 

( Autumn trees – Depositphotos )

I’m writing today and tomorrow now that the household chores are out of my way, as are the errands, so today is just a quick fly-by post with a short excerpt from my novella for the Common Elements Romance Project, due out late this year.

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Nate schooled his expression to neutrality before he turned around. Hayden’s chin jutted stubbornly, and his blue eyes were narrowed. “I’m saying Lucie might be busy with something else right now,” Nate said evenly. “Maybe we’ll see her outside tomorrow.”

“I can knock on the door.” He crossed his arms on his chest, covering the spotted blue dog graphic. “She said we’d play later, and it’s later.”

“We can check,” Nate said, “but, buddy, you have to promise not to be upset if she’s busy right now. It’ll be suppertime soon, too, so we’ll be busy here.”

Hayden’s chin jutted out further.

“Just don’t get your hopes up,” he said, trying to keep his even tone from dropping in defeat.

Hayden bolted for the back door.

Nate followed more slowly, picking up his son’s jacket from the chair inside the door. By the time he stepped onto the bottom stair, he heard his son’s voice, then Lucie speak in reply, though he couldn’t hear the words. He expected to see Hayden’s shoulders droop when he cleared the lilac bush.

He was a little surprised to see the two of them walking into the middle of the neighboring yard while Lucie bounced the big yellow ball on one hand. Huh. He would’ve bet on her putting Hayden off. He paused at the open gate between the yards to watch them for a moment. They’d stopped in the middle and she crouched in front of Hayden, who chattered a mile a minute, and then she nodded as she pushed upright again.

Hayden jogged backward a few steps, grinning, then held out both hands.

Lucie gave the ball another little bounce before she tossed it to him.

His son caught it, giggling. “Too easy,” he shouted. He jumped once, then moved a few more steps away from her. “Ready?”

“Ready!” she leaned forward and held out her hands.

Nate wished he could see her expression.

Hayden lobbed the ball at her, and she caught it before it hit her in the face. His son’s laughter made him smile, shaking his head a little when the boy danced backward a couple more paces. “Throw it again!”

“You sure you can catch it so far away?” The tease in her voice made Nate relax. So Lucie Russo might be a nice woman. Obviously, Mindi and Harry trusted her, which meant she was okay.

But she seemed to be enjoying his son, genuinely enjoying him. Maybe she had nieces or nephews–she was comfortable, chatting with Hayden as they played catch.

He leaned on the fence to watch them.

“Daddy, come play with us!”

Lucie straightened and looked over her shoulder, eyes widening a little.

Nate felt a little kick in his gut at the appealing image–pink cheeks, pretty green eyes that tipped up just a little at the outer corners, full lower lip dropping a tiny bit. Lucie Russo was pretty.

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What are all of you doing on this long holiday weekend? Or during this holiday-shortened work-week? Extra reading? Something else fun? Let me know.

 

And here’s hoping we get to see some pretty fall leaf colors soon!

 

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