Mobile Office Videos
Eighteen year old Ashley Cooper visits her new neighbors.
Clancy shook his head. "Carl said maybe Eddie or Earl, but he's just guessin'."
"And no idea where they're holed up?"
Another head shake.
After a long pause, Clancy offered reluctantly, "You want I should hang around the saloon for a coupla days, wait 'til they show up and follow'em back to where they're goin'?"
Jeremiah declined, and watched the smaller man thump and hobble across the wooden floor to the exit. He couldn't imagine Clancy, with his russet hair and wooden leg, being much of a stalker.
Whatever his background was, Brody had a way with children, Jeremiah admitted to himself as he watched Kent try again-and fail again-to make a proper bowline.
"Here," Brody said, straightening up. He lifted Kenny from his side to a standing position on the stairs in front of him. In that position, Kenny's head was right beneath Brody's chin, and he could direct Kenny's hands as need be. "Like this . . . ."
He was good at it, too, Jem thought-patient and not taking over for the boy, just pointing where the rope should go, nudging it-and Kenny-in the right direction.
"Papa!" Kent hollered around Brody's bicep, holding the finished knot triumphantly above his head.
Jem nodded, a wide, sincere smile creasing the corners of his eyes. "Mr. Easton will have you climbing into a crow's nest in no time, won't he?"
Brody smiled, but his attention had already shifted to Jamie, who'd mastered the bowline and moved on to securing the porch railing with a clove hitch.
When he'd first started hanging around the ranch house, it'd been plain to see that Brody had no experience with children, but under the tutelage of Jamie, Kenny, and the gregarious Miss Lily, he'd improved rapidly, bringing three lengths of rope now instead of one for knot-tying lessons. And he'd long ago stopped looking curiously from Kenny to Jem and from Jamie to Colt. They were just children to him now, no matter who'd gotten who on whom.
Kenny skipped over to hang on his father's knee. "What's a cow's nest, Papa?"
Everyone laughed at that, and Jem stood, lifting Kenny with him. "Let's see if we can find a picture of one, shall we?"
Kenny's eager chatter drifted out through the open library window, an echo of Jamie's occasional comment from Brody's side. Lily had been "knotting" with them ten minutes earlier, but now she was napping with the dog, both of them curled on the floor by Catherine's chair. Brody smiled when he looked around to find her, his eyes softening as everyone's did when they looked at Lily, as pretty and porcelain-fine as a china doll.
Catherine had noticed it, too-Brody's inexperience with children and his rapid climb to familiarity with hers. He'd been awkward with them at first but not shy or condescending, and her children had sensed that. He spoke to them like they were small adults, asking questions about what they were doing and listening to their answers. From being around the family, he learned naturally how to break a large topic into bits a child could comprehend.
Even Topper liked him now.
Her husbands, on the other hand . . . Cat smiled as she snapped her thread off at the end of a seam. Mr. Easton's manners were surprisingly impeccable, but Jem and Colt were wary and didn't bother to hide it, asking more detailed questions of Mr. Easton than was strictly polite. Catherine tolerated most of it, because they were wary on her sister's behalf, but occasionally she shot a glance at Colt after some comment too gruff for her liking. Jem got a few quelling looks himself, but more often it was Colt, not bothering with "stupid rules," as he called them.
She smiled, capturing her husband's attention.
Colt rolled his eyes and winked.