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Authors: Carolyn Brown

Getting Lucky

BOOK: Getting Lucky
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

About the Author

I Love This Bar

GETTING

Lucky
Copyright © 2010 by Carolyn Brown
Cover and internal design © 2010 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover design by Dawn Pope/Sourcebooks
Cover photo © William Albert Allard/Getty Images, © Jupiter Images
Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Source books, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567 4410
(630) 961 3900
FAX: (630) 961 2168
www.sourcebooks.com

Printed and bound in the United States of America
QW 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To Sarah, Cesar, and Codi;
Brandy and Braxton;
Kara, Makela,
Brenton, Bethany, and Seth

Chapter 1

JULIE DONAVAN, THE NEW KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, WAS on her knees consoling a little boy named Chuck on the first day of school when she noticed movement coming in the door. She gasped when she looked up. Her eyes widened and high color filled her cheeks. The most striking cowboy she'd ever laid eyes on had just walked through the door. Well, she had laid eyes on him one time before, but that time they'd been two-point-five sheets to the wind. One less drink that night and they'd have stopped before they got to the motel. Two more and neither would have remembered a damn thing. But the combination had been just right and now he was there in her kindergarten classroom in Saint Jo, Texas.
   Her first thought was, "Damn, he looks even better with hair."
   Her second was, "What in the hell is he doing in Saint Jo, Texas?"
   Her third was, "Oh, shit, what do I do now?"
   The man stopped in front of her and looked down. "Hello, we are the Luckadeaus. This is my daughter, Lizzy; she's in your class this year."
   
And I'm the woman you met in Dallas six years ago,
she wanted to shout at him.
Remember me? I'm Red.
   Griffin waited for her to finish with the little boy, his pulse racing and his heart thumping. God Almighty, he'd never been this attracted to a redhead before. That was his brother's choice of women. No one had told him the new kindergarten teacher was knock-down-gorgeous or that she had eyes that could see straight into his soul. Desire shot through his body—or was it plain old lust? Either one was something he hadn't allowed in a very long time and he was determined he would get control of it before he spoke again.
   Julie's daughter, Annie, came running from across the room, her jet-black pigtails bouncing on her shoulders, the white poliosis streak in her hair parted so that the majority of it was on the left side. She stopped dead in her tracks in front of the other little girl.
   They eyed each other for several moments, mirror images of each other, doubles in almost every sense of the word. Jet-black hair with a white streak from the forehead back several inches, crystal clear blue eyes, a slight dent in their chins.
   Finally Annie grabbed Lizzy's hand and said, "Come sit by me. My momma is the teacher; she won't mind."
   Lizzy let go of her father's hand and ran off with Annie, her jet-black ponytail waving from side to side, the white streak in her hair slicked straight back.
   Neither of their parents could peel their eyes away from the two little girls giggling together. Julie felt the world tilt backwards on its axis and the concrete floor of the Saint Jo, Texas, elementary school tremor as if Texas was having a rare earthquake.
   "Who are you?" Griffin whispered. Desire took a backseat to shock. His blue eyes narrowed into slits. Who was the redhead and where had that child come from?
   "I'm going to be your child's teacher, but we knew each other a long time ago. You don't remember?"
   He shook his head. "I've never met you before in my life but that little girl could be my Lizzy's sister, with that white forelock."
   "It's time for school to start. We'll have to discuss this later. Guess they each just met their double," Julie said. If he wanted to play dumb as a box of rocks, then she could do the same thing.
   He spun around and marched out the door without a backward glance.
   Julie would have liked nothing better than to follow him screaming like a fish wife, but she had a classroom of kindergarteners waiting. However if G. Luckadeau thought he'd gotten off easy, then he'd best think again—and this time with the head on his shoulders instead of the one behind his zipper. That visual sent her staggering backward to hold onto her desk and look out over more than a dozen little children, all looking to her with a bit of fear in their eyes. She had to get her raw nerves under control and teach a class. She had to put aside the multitude of sinful thoughts— the foremost of which was homicide at that point. Not far behind it was anger and running a close race was the urge to pick up Annie and run as fast and far as she could.
   "Okay, class, it's time for us all to meet each other," Julie said. Her words came out as though she'd been running a mile, but she took two deep breaths and composed herself. "This is Chuck Chester and he's five years old. Can the rest of you stand up beside your desk and tell me what your name is?" She led Chuck to the desk directly in front of hers and settled him in. She always had one child in her classroom like Chuck: backward, dressed poorly, almost malnourished but not enough to call the authorities, unsure of himself. It broke her heart but it happened every year.
   Both Annie and Lizzy turned to look at the little boy—Lizzy on his left, Annie on his right. Annie popped up from her seat and said, "I'm Annie Donavan and that is my momma." She pointed at Julie.
   "But in the classroom I'll be Miss Julie, won't I?" Julie's naturally lovely smile was strained amid the turmoil in her chest. She tried to control the inner chaos tearing up her nerves like a class five tornado ripping across Texas, but she was so pissed off it was impossible. She wanted to strangle Mr. Luckadeau until his pretty blue eyes popped out and rolled around on the floor like ping-pong balls. How in the hell had he come to live right there in Saint Jo and, more importantly, why? He had to live close by for his daughter to be enrolled in her classroom. How many more little white-forelocked kids were running around the county, and how many more women had he sweet-talked into sleeping with him?
   Lizzy hopped to her feet and said, "I'm Lizzy Luckadeau. My daddy is Griffin Luckadeau and I almost didn't get to come to school, but I cried and cried and Marita said I would be safe."
   The principal, Mrs. Amos, stuck her head in the open door. "Could I have a word with you?"
   Julie motioned her inside. One hour into the first day and Julie was sure she was already fired. G. Luckadeau had most likely gone straight to the big dog in the office when he saw Annie and insisted that hussy mother of hers be fired on the spot.
   Mrs. Amos stopped in front of Julie's desk and lowered her voice considerably. "I want to make you aware of special arrangements for Lizzy Luckadeau. Her father, Griffin, was going to homeschool her but finally agreed—with lots of talking from me and his housekeeper—that Lizzy needed to come to school. That's why you didn't see her name on the student sheet. He just made up his mind last night. She is not to leave this school with anyone other than Griffin or Marita; I'll point her out to you if she comes to pick up Lizzy. And Lizzy is never to ride the bus home."
   "May I ask why?" Julie asked softly.
   "Nervous father. That's as much as I can say. Amazing how much Lizzy and your Annie look alike. You sure you've never been in these parts or ever known Griff?"
   Her boss knew the secret. Her twinkling eyes said it all. The very thing Julie was running from had circled back around and taken a huge bite out of her ass when she least expected it.
   "No, ma'am. Didn't even know Saint Jo existed until I heard about the job," she said.
   "Well, they say everyone has a twin. Guess those little girls found theirs early on in life," Mrs. Amos said as she left the room.
   By the end of the day, Lizzy, Annie, and Chuck were inseparable.
   When the last bell sounded a thin woman with dyed blonde hair and four inches of dark brown roots appeared in the doorway and yelled at Chuck to hurry. He cringed at the sight of her and dropped his glasses in his rush.
   "You break those again, boy, and you're gettin' in big trouble. They said if you had to have another pair, we'd have to pay for them. So if you break 'em, you won't be able to see. Now get a move on. We've got places we need to go."
   Chuck rushed out and they were gone.
   Julie wanted to mop up the floor with that woman. Her hair did resemble a mop that had been left out on the clothesline to dry, and Julie was tired of seeing children mentally as well as physically abused; she'd taught long enough to recognize the signs of both. She'd barely cooled down from that episode when the light was completely obliterated in the doorway by one Griffin Luckadeau. Would the day never end? From lust to shock to anger and now back to lust. Damn! He was every bit as fine a cowboy as he had been a soldier. And still he had a puzzled look in his eyes, as if he'd never seen her before. Well, he'd best think hard and long, because he'd seen every square inch of her and they'd done a hell of a lot more than exchange phone numbers. Annie was proof positive of that.
   Lizzy ran to his side, grabbed his hand, and started to chatter about Chuck and Annie being her new friends. Griffin picked her up and hugged her close, then shot one more look over his shoulder at Julie. He'd remember someone that pretty even if it had been a long time ago. He'd racked his brain all day and not one memory surfaced. Why would she think she'd known him?
   Julie hoped he choked to death when Lizzy went running in their house telling
her
mother about the little girl in the classroom that looked just like her. Mr. Griffin Luckadeau was fixing to find out just what it meant to face off with a mad woman. His wife would never believe that he hadn't been unfaithful when she clapped eyes on Annie.
   And that made Julie the other woman, a part that she never, ever intended to play after the pain of confronting the other woman in her own husband's life. In her defense, she hadn't known Griffin was married when she wound up in bed with him six years before. He wasn't wearing a wedding band. She might have had a few drinks too many, but she did remember checking for that particular item and there wasn't even a white ring where it should have been.
   After all the students were gone, Julie and Annie shut and locked the door and headed home. Julie's hands shook as she put the key in the ignition of her truck. For a long minute she sat in stunned silence, her head on the steering wheel, while she tried to tame a million memories and racing thoughts. It was a useless endeavor; taming her thoughts was like attempting to take the wild out of a Texas longhorn. Some things simply weren't possible.
   "Momma, why does Lizzy look just like me? And Chuck didn't like that stuff they put on his plate in the lunchroom today so I gave him half my sandwich," Annie said.
   Julie started up the engine and headed north toward her new home. "Let's go home, baby. We've got lots of things to do. You aren't the only little girl in the world with a white streak in their hair. We just haven't seen any of the others. And why didn't Chuck eat his lunch?"
   Annie exhaled in impatience. "Because he don't like fish sticks. He said they make him puke. I gave him half of my sandwich."
BOOK: Getting Lucky
13.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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