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He shrugs. “We can help each other out. There’s a woman down at city hall that keeps asking me out and doesn’t want to accept that I don’t want to go out with her. So you’ll be helping me out too.”

“Let me get your breakfast burrito,” I tell him before going back into the kitchen. He wants to fake date. Of course, I should have known it was going to be something like that. How stupid can I be?

I walk out with a smile plastered to my face and set the plate down with two breakfast burritos on it. “I’m happy to help you. I’m glad the favor works in both ways.”

Even though I did my best to not allow myself to get excited about the “date” the night before, now it’s confirmed we’re both doing each other a favor, I’m disappointed. Scott is helping me out, so I refuse to let him know that I had hoped it was the real thing.

“So the favor you’re doing me is bigger than mine. I can be your wing woman and help you find a woman you want to date.” The words put a bad taste in my mouth just saying them.

“You don’t have to do that,” he says.

“Don’t mention it,” I tell him, smiling, and then thankfully another customer comes in for me to help.ScottThe week started off great. I was looking forward to going to the charity ball with Carrie and then she made it her own personal mission to find me a woman. Why didn’t I just tell her that I wanted her to go with me?

Every day since she’s asked me what I’m looking for in a woman. Finally, I broke down and told her, pretty much describing Carrie in detail. Beautiful, funny, good dancer, knows how to have fun, nice, caring, willing to help others. I mean, I described everything I know about Carrie. But she didn’t get it. She just wrote it all in her notebook as if she’s actually searching for a woman for me to date.

It’s too late to come clean now, especially after she’s started narrowing down the town’s most eligible women. I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this.

And now I’m having to deal with Crawford. He was caught drinking on the job and blew just under drunk on the breathalyzer. I had no choice but to formally discipline him and suspend him. I was already told that I’m going to have to appear at the hearing and give my own recommendations. With the way Crawford has been performing, I know that the only answer I can give in good conscience would be dismissal.

Right or wrong, I still don’t look forward to being a part of taking a man’s career away from him. A lot of training and money goes into becoming a police officer, but with all of the failure to perform warnings that Crawford received, not to mention his interest in young women, and then topping it off with drinking on the job—well, I don’t see how I could recommend anything less. At this point, he’s done it to himself.

I’m finished for the day and am not hungry for food, but I’m aching to see Carrie. Nothing can ease my stress and sadness better than one of her smiles.CarrieEver since the night Scott brought me home, my mom has been behaving like she wants to be recruited as a detective. She keeps popping into the bakery asking me all kinds of questions. Today, she doesn’t even give me time to answer before she’s popping out the next question.

“When are you going to see Scott next?”

“What are you wearing to the charity ball?”

“Why haven’t you mentioned you were dating the sheriff?”

“Mom, slow down, it’s not a big deal. You act like this is the first date I’ve been on,” I say to her. I know it’s hard for my mom to believe, but I have been out on dates before. “Here’s your order. Aren’t you supposed to be meeting your quilting group?”

She looks at her watch. “Yes. Shoot. Okay, honey, we’ll talk about this later.”

She’s walking out the front door just as Scott is coming in.

Scott laughs off the owl-eyed look that my mom is giving him, and his easy laughter and smile warms my body and eases the stress headache my mother had given me.

“You want a coffee?” I ask him, sort of surprised to see him so late in the afternoon.

He seems to think about my question and sits down at the end of the counter. “Uh, no, I don’t think so.”

“What’s wrong?” I ask him. He’s still smiling, but I can tell something’s bothering him.

He just shrugs. “I’m having trouble with one of the officers.”

“I’m sorry. Do you want to talk about it?” I ask him.