Myrtle Sue Henderson, widowed, didn’t count on her mother-in-law moving in with her when her husband passed over. But Myrtle Sue’s loopy in-law troubles aren’t her only family baggage—she’s ailed with three adult children who use her like she’s a pair of Depends. With a daughter and two grandchildren attempting to escape an abusive husband, a second unmarried daughter who is pregnant with twins, and a son who refuses to grow up, she’s at her wits end.
Myrtle Sue didn’t figure she’d ever meet another man she’d care for, until she went to church to get away from her troubles, only to find more when her mother-in-law causes chaos and hits an elderly man with her cane and helps herself to money out of the collection plate. That’s how she meets Zack. She figures once he meets her dysfunctional family, he’ll run as fast as he can—away from them.
Sonja’s eyes widened, and she grinned.
I thanked God Adam was blind to Hazel’s faults. “Thank you, Adam. You have no idea how happy I am that you’ll be here for Hazel.” And I really meant what I said.
Hazel walked into the kitchen and glanced around. “Who’s here? Oh my goodness! It’s my son Harold. How are you, honey?” She bent over and kissed Adam’s cheek. “And why don’t you ever visit your mommy, you naughty boy?”
I rolled my eyes and waved toward Adam. “Hazel, Harold’s been dead for twenty years. This is Adam, Sonja’s friend from the hospital. Remember? He’s a nurse, and he stays with you while I work.” I should’ve added whatever we paid him was worth every penny. He really was good to her.
“Oh, yes, Adam, dear.” She frowned at me. “Why can’t you be kind like Adam, Myrtle Sue? You’ve always been so mean to me.”
Sonja grinned. “Hi, Nana. How are you?”
“I’m fine.” She took a seat and grabbed a muffin. “Who are you? Are you Violet’s daughter?”
Sonja narrowed her eyes at her grandmother. “Nana! I’m Sonja, your granddaughter. Myrtle Sue and Don’s daughter.”
“Of course.” She laughed and pointed at her head. “You know how it is when you get old. Someday your mother will be just like me.”
Shuddering, I mumbled, “God forbid.”
“I hope you made roast beef for Father,” Hazel said.
“Yes, of course, and I made garlic rolls,” I lied, and then whispered, “Sonja, want some garlic tied around your neck?”
Hazel pointed at the stove. “Good. And remember, he likes carrots and noodles around his roast beef.”
Adam stood and smiled. “Well, I’ve got to go now. I’ll see you on Monday, Nana.”
“Okay, honey.” She reached into her pocket. “Here’s a dollar. Get yourself something to eat. You’re rather skinny, you know.”
“Thanks,” he said, kissing her cheek.
I walked him to the door.
He handed me the money. “I’ve tried giving her the money back, but she gets mad. You take it.”
I brushed away his hand. “No, Adam. You keep the money. Whatever you get, you deserve. You’re very good with Hazel. Good luck with your new friend.”
Five minutes after Adam left, my son, Terry, arrived.
Terry kissed my cheek. “What’s to eat, Ma?”
I hugged him. “Muffins.” Terry wasn’t pretty like Adam. Instead, he had a rugged look, more like a cowboy. He had those fabulous blue eyes but not the long lashes. His nose showed signs of his youthful fist fights, and his dimples added to his charm. I can’t tell you how many girls called the house for him in his teen years. And yet at the age of twenty-three, he still hadn’t found a special woman.
He grabbed a chair and sat. “Muffins? Don’t you have any real food?”
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