If my husband hadn't driven his pickup through the living room picture window on his way out of my life, I might never have met Amanda Marie. As it was, that gaping hole and sagging roof attracted the eye of her fix-it father, causing him to brake his van and apply for the repair job.
It was Sunday, the day after Jared had played dodge'em with the house and the house hadn't dodged. I figured I couldn't get anyone to do repairs until Monday, so I hung a "Beware of Dog" sign out front and spent the morning back in the kitchen, trying to ignore the hole in my life.
"Hello!" a man called out from the direction of the living room.
It hadn't occurred to me that some fool would ignore the dog sign and come in through the smashed window, taking a chance on the sagging room collapsing on him. I charged toward the living room and ran smack into him in the hall.
Stepping back, I untangled myself from the arms that had clamped shut around me like some kind of trap that sprang closed when it was touched.
"What are you doing here?" I snapped, trying to sound forceful.
"I thought you could use some help."
I raised my eyebrows. "With what?" I took another step back, folded my arms in front of me, and gave him the once-over. Mid-twenties. Average height. Dark hair. A little thin. But strong, I thought, remembering his arms around me. And, I reminded myself, in spite of his good looks, he was a stranger. He could be an ax murderer for all I knew. He didn't look like one, but with my ability to judge men, that might make him all the more likely.
"I'm a carpenter, and," he nodded in the direction of the living room, "you obviously need one."
"You were just out driving around and happened to notice that?"
I remembered all the stories I'd heard about fly-by-night types that took your money and left you in the lurch, so I was about to say no, when a child's voice called out.
A girl of about six was picking her way through the wreckage of my living room. My heart thumped faster at the thought of accidents and lawsuits. Could my living room now be labeled an attractive nuisance? It had attracted two people already.
"Amanda Marie! I told you to stay in the van."
"It's too hot out there," she pouted. Then she looked around the room, and her eyebrows shot up. "Somebody wrecked your house."
She looked small and fragile, standing there in the midst of broken beams and splintered glass, her knit shirt damp with sweat. Her pixie haircut framed a sweet face with the biggest, brownest eyes I had ever seen. I fell in love.
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