Suddenly Engaged (A Lake Haven Novel Book 3)(13)

By: Julia London


A moment later, Kyra heard the truck rumble awake as she stuffed the takeout into the fridge. “Ruby?” she called and stifled a yawn as she walked down the little hallway to the two bedrooms. They were small, separated by a bathroom. Ruby’s room had a twin bed with a pink cover. Kyra had decorated the walls with a Minions poster and pictures of flowers and of balloons she’d found on sale at Walmart. She’d bought a small white dresser at a thrift shop and had wedged that under the window. The closet was teensy—maybe three feet long and one foot deep—but it held Ruby’s things well enough.

Ruby was sprawled on the bright green shag rug, coloring madly on a pad of construction paper.

“Hey, pumpkin,” Kyra said. She stepped over her daughter and sank onto the bed, lying back with her head on Ruby’s pillow. She yanked a stuffed dog out from under her back and placed it on her stomach.

“Look, Mommy, I made a unicorn,” Ruby said and held up her drawing.

One day Kyra would know what Ruby’s talent was, but she felt pretty safe in saying it wouldn’t be art. The unicorn was a blob and its horn was twice the size of its body.

“It’s beautiful, Ruby. What do you have all over you?”

Ruby rolled onto her side to look. “I don’t know.”

“It looks like paint,” Kyra said. Ruby’s glasses were splattered, too. Kyra sat up and leaned down to have a better look. “Where did you get paint?”

“I don’t remember,” Ruby said. “I’m going to make a dog next. Mommy, can I have a dog yet?”

“Not yet. Come on, you can draw your dog after you have your bath. I brought some pasta.” She hoped she could salvage some of it, anyway. “Do you want some?”

Ruby shook her head no. “I’m full.”

Fantastic. Kyra had suffered Judgmental Megan for nothing. She bent over to pick up her daughter. Ruby was getting too heavy for Kyra to hold anymore, but sometimes she still tried, unwilling to admit that her baby was now a little girl.

Ruby giggled as they wobbled toward the bathroom and she slowly slid out of Kyra’s grip. “You’re dropping me, Mommy.”

“Because you’re getting so big!” Kyra said, huffing, pretending to struggle more than she was. She managed to get her daughter into the shoe-box-size bathroom and started the bath.

Ruby stripped off her dress. Her hair, a vivid and dark orange-red shade that sometimes made Kyra think of garnets, was a tangled mess of curls. Kyra often wondered where that hair had come from. Her own hair was black, thanks to her Greek heritage, and her eyes were brown. Ruby’s father’s hair had a reddish tint to it, but it had been more blond than red, or at least in her memory that was so. She hadn’t seen Josh since conception.

Ruby also had the most amazing blue eyes Kyra had ever seen. They sparkled like the surface of a pool, and in her glasses, they looked much larger than they actually were.

Kyra worked the hair ties out of Ruby’s pigtails, then picked up Ruby’s dirty clothes when she climbed into the bath and started to play with the red plastic Solo cup, her only bath toy. Another thing Kyra hadn’t had time to get for her daughter. She really had to fix that tomorrow. Not only could she not seem to feed her child properly, her child was playing with a red Solo cup in the bath.

“Dax has a dog,” Ruby said as Kyra began to wash her. “His name is Otto. He told me not to pet him. But he’s really nice, Mommy. He’s got brown eyes.”

Kyra glanced at her daughter. “His name is Mr. Bishop, and I think he has blue eyes.” Definitely had blue eyes. A very blustery shade of blue.

“The dog,” Ruby said with great exasperation. “His name is Dax, Mommy.”

“He is Mr. Bishop to you. By the way, did you get in trouble for playing in his yard today?”

Ruby considered the question. “No,” she said.

“Ruby—”

“I got in trouble for crawling under the fence and touching his stuff and petting his dog,” Ruby clarified. “His dog is big,” she said. “He likes it when you scratch his ears.”

“Listen to me, Ruby. You are not to go into that man’s yard again, do you hear me?” Kyra demanded.

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