Wild Heart (Viper's Heart Duet Book 2)(5)

By: Beth Ehemann

“You guys come on in.” Gam waved her arm, walking toward her house. “I made your favorite. Blueberry breakfast cake.”

“Yay!” Matthew threw his arms in the air excitedly.

As we stepped onto her creaky wooden porch steps, something off to the right caught my eye.

“That’s cool. Where’d you get that?” I said, taking a couple steps closer to the new, brightly painted coffee table that sat in front of her white wicker couch.

“You like that? I made it,” she said proudly.

“What?” I looked at her incredulously. “No, you didn’t.”

She nodded. “I sure did. Got a bunch of those pallets from the dumpster behind the grocery store and followed a plan I found on Pinterest. I made it, then I painted it. Voila.”

I looked back and forth from her to the table a couple times, processing what she’d just said.

“What?” she asked defensively after I didn’t respond.

“I just . . . wow. I can’t believe you did that. You’re almost ninety. Shouldn’t you be rocking in a chair, knitting your handsome grandson a sweater?”

“I would, but I don’t think it would fit past that swollen head of yours,” she joked as she turned and opened her screen door.

I leaned down, close to Michelle’s ear. “Speaking of swollen heads, I have two . . .”

She let out a quick gasp seconds before I took a sharp elbow to the ribs.

We followed Gam through the door and instantly . . . it smelled like home. Her house was small but cozy, and it always smelled like cinnamon and sugar.

“Mmmm,” Michelle hummed with a smile on her face. “It smells amazing in here.”

“Thanks!” Gam replied proudly. “I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and made a double batch at four o’clock this morning.”

Michelle pulled her brows down low. “You what?”

“She’s always done that, didn’t you know?” I answered with a laugh. “When she can’t sleep, she cooks. Sometimes it’s meatballs, sometimes it’s spaghetti. This morning, I guess it was a double batch of blueberry breakfast cake.”

Michelle looked from me to Gam in amazement, her eyes wide. “I had no idea!”

“Eh! Stupid insomnia.” Gam waved a quick hand. “I just figure instead of lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, why not wake up and cook?”

Michelle giggled. “I don’t even want to cook when I should be cooking, let alone when I should be sleeping.”

“I don’t know why you’re not tired at night,” I said in an accusatory tone as I picked up a piece of paper from her kitchen table. “What’s this about?”

Gam glanced at the paper and let out a tiny chuckle. “That’s nothing.”

“What is it?” Michelle craned her neck, trying to read over my shoulder.

“It’s a letter. ‘Dear Ms. Finkle . . . We are writing to alert you of an official complaint we’ve received from a neighbor about you and another individual driving human transporting vehicles through his or her flowers.’”

“Human transporting vehicle?” Michelle asked in a confused tone.

“I think it’s a Segway,” I answered dryly.

Michelle’s mouth dropped open, her blue eyes as wide as they could go as we both looked up at Gam in unison. She stood at the sink with her back to us, her shoulders shaking slightly.

“Are you laughing?” I asked in disbelief.

As she turned slowly, she reached up and wiped the corner of her eye with a tissue. “Sorry. It’s just so funny.”

“Wait. This is for real?” Michelle exclaimed. “When did you get a Segway? And who were you with? Whose flowers did you ruin?”

Gam walked across the kitchen and handed Matthew an oatmeal cookie, then broke another one into small pieces for Maura and set them on her stroller tray.

“It wasn’t that big of a deal. Marge ‘I-Haven’t-Had-A-Boyfriend-In-Forty-Years’ Cooper got her undies all in a bunch and called the office on me and Regina for having a little fun.”

“You skipped the part about getting a Segway,” I grumbled, feeling more like her overprotective father than her grandson.