Boone rolled his eyes. “Laugh all you want. You two could take pointers from me. Annie and Ruby would thank me for it.”
Declan looked over at Liam. “How are things going, by the way? Is Ruby getting acclimated to town?”
“Honor invited Ruby and Aidan to the Wildlife Center today, so that’ll be a fun trip.” Liam frowned. “Everything was going pretty smoothly until we were blindsided by a visit from Pops yesterday.”
Cameron walked up just at that moment. He stopped in his tracks and gaped at Liam. “Pops is here in Love?” He sank into a chair.
Liam swung his gaze up at his brother. “At least, he was last night. Sorry. I thought you knew.”
Boone slapped the menu down on the table. “What did he want?”
“Not to catch up on all times, that’s for sure.” Liam drummed his fingers on the table. “He came for Ruby.”
“Ruby?” Declan asked. “Gareth isn’t the sentimental type. It’s hard to believe he heard about Ruby and was so moved he came back home. That’s not his style.”
“Something tells me Liam has more to tell us,” Boone drawled. “Spill it!”
“He came to find out if Ruby was fit to return to duty. He was flown here by hi
s employer to ask Ruby if she wanted to return to search and rescue.” He clenched his fists on the table. “It took every impulse in my body not to toss him out on his ear. He basically wanted to be able to go back and tell his bosses that Ruby was ready to go back to work.”
Cameron scoffed. “Maybe he got a bonus or something out of it. Wonder if Jasper knows.”
“This is so typical!” Boone snapped. “Did he even see Aidan or ask about Emma? He’s never even met Gracie. He didn’t show up at Cam’s wedding or mine. And I’m not even sure he’s aware that Honor is back in Love.”
“You’d think one of these days he’d get his act together,” Declan grumbled. “You guys know my dad isn’t any better. At least Gareth shows up once in a blue moon.”
Liam grunted. “To stir up a hornet’s nest. Ruby and I got into it about the whole idea of her returning to search and rescue. It didn’t end on a good note, I’m afraid.”
“Did I miss something?” Cameron asked, a quizzical expression stamped on his face. “How can she resume that career with amnesia?”
“They were sending out feelers about her coming back down the road. That’s the sense I got from his probing. Little by little, Ruby is remembering bits and pieces, so it’s very possible. She remembered me and Aidan. She even had flashbacks about Rufus and what happened to him during the rescue.”
“So I take it you would have a problem with her returning to search and rescue?” Boone asked, gazing at him intensely.
“Of course I would.” Liam frowned. “It cost my family everything. We lost Ruby for two torturous years. The truth is, we might never fully get her back. We’re still in limbo, Boone. And there’s no guarantee that we’re ever going to get back what we lost. Why would Ruby ever want to go down that road again?”
Boone held up his hands. “I see where you’re coming from, but as a member of law enforcement, I just have to tell you that it seeps under our skin...it becomes part of our identity. Ruby may feel compelled to go back to service.”
His brother’s words were not the ones he wanted to hear. But he couldn’t afford to ignore them. Boone was one of the smartest, most perceptive people he had ever known. He was his go-to person for advice. As always, his words were golden.
“What can I get y’all to eat?” Sophie chirped as she walked up to the table with a pencil and small pad in hand. “The salmon frittata with red potatoes on the side is real popular today. And Hazel is making a mean frozen hot chocolate with three types of chocolate.”
“Sophie, I’m going to have the bison burger with truffle fries,” Cameron said. “And a tall glass of water.”
“Just a cup of the caribou stew and some flatbread,” Boone said, sitting back in his chair and folding his arms across his chest. “Oh, and one of those frozen hot chocolates.”
Liam smiled. When Cameron had first opened the Moose Café Boone had been skeptical of the specialty drinks. Now Boone considered himself a connoisseur of all the various drinks on the menu.
“I’ll have the same,” Declan added. “That’ll really hit the spot. I have to make a run to Seward later on. I might stay over if the weather kicks up. There’s a storm brewing.”
“I’m going to have the turkey wrap with avocado and bacon,” Liam said, looking up at Sophie, who was patiently waiting with a perky smile on her face. Matter of fact, Liam realized, he couldn’t remember ever having seen Sophie without a sweet disposition. She was a true Georgia peach.
“You always order that,” Sophie said with a grin. “Next time I’m going to skip asking you,” she teased.
“I’m a man who knows what he wants,” Liam quipped, handing the menu back to Sophie.
Sophie leaned down so only Liam could hear her. “I met Ruby at the tea party. She’s everything I imagined she would be. I’m rooting for the two of you. Your family is in my prayers.”