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“It was hysterical,” she said. “I get rare glimpses of your sense of humor and I love it.”

“It doesn’t make an appearance often, but when it does, it’s usually inappropriate.”

“That’s even better. And Luke, I can come back this weekend. Now that I don’t have to work the weekend!”

“That’s wonderful! Tell the guy thank you from me. We can start shopping for Baby Girl Benoit.”

“Aw, don’t you want her to be an Esprit?”

“How about we hyphenate her name? Benoit-Esprit.”

“I love that. Perfect, Luke.”

They talked about what he was up to that day, and then she said she had to take a nap. “I won’t sleep long because I need to sleep tonight. But I’ll call you later.”

“Later it is,” he said. “Have a good sleep.”

She cuddled into her blankets and shut her eyes, a niggling concern that she couldn’t pinpoint keeping her awake. And then it came to her. He didn’t tell her he loved her.


Luke had just ended the call from Bridget when Katrina Blanchard called up from the staircase leading to the attic conversion that he had nearly finished.

“Do you have a minute?” she asked.

“Of course. I was just going to call you to come up and look at the trim and tell me if it’s what you had in mind.”

She looked around, smiling. “It’s perfect. It exceeds my expectations.” She praised him for the work he’d done.

“How nice,” Luke said, embarrassed with the accolades. “As long as you and the sheriff are happy.”

“He’ll be thrilled. Luke, we’d like to offer you some of our baby’s castoffs. I know you said you’re having a girl, but this is stuff that a girl could use, as well. Justin and Maggie are also offering all their newborn girl stuff. I know it’s your first baby and you might not want hand-me-downs…”

“I’d love them,” he said. “I’ll take whatever you have. We were going to drive into St. John’s Parish this weekend to shop. It’ll save us having to start from scratch.”

“Is Bridget coming home already?”

“We’re taking turns going back and forth,” he said, realizing how ridiculous that sounded, especially since they were just going to befriends. But Katrina didn’t know that.

“You probably want to have alone time and I totally get that, but if you want to get together, I’ll arrange something with Maggie.”

“Thank you. I’ll ask Bridget and let you know.”

Because she worked twelve-hour days, three days a week, they’d have a long weekend together. She called him that night before bed.

“I’m leaving here Friday morning and will see you at one p.m. Can you pick me up or should I get an Uber?”

“I’ll pick you up. You’re not taking an Uber from New Orleans.”

“Oh, right. Duh. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see you.” She really meant it, too. But he didn’t respond the way she thought he would.

“Your cousins want to load us up with their baby things. Are you okay with castoffs?”

“I love them,” she said. “I’m clueless about what a baby needs.”

“They asked if we could get together, too.”

“Are you okay with that, Luke? I’d like to see them.”

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