Home > Raid (Unfinished Hero #3)(8)

Raid (Unfinished Hero #3)(8)
Author: Kristen Ashley

I sucked back root beer, wishing it was vodka.

Then I sat back and lifted my feet up to the coffee table, saying, “You’re rarely wrong, Grams.”

“Damn tootin’,” she replied. “And, get this,” she started, so I looked at her to see her eyes open and her head turned to me. “He asked if there was anything he could do around here. Says his Momma sent him to check on me, make sure I was okay and that the house was in tiptop shape. I told him I had to pay that Crane boy twenty dollars a week to mow my lawn and cut back my bushes. He said he’d be out every Friday to see that’s done and won’t charge me a penny. I took him up on that, you better believe it.”


What was going on?

Years, Raiden Miller didn’t know I existed. He took off, was gone for years more. He came back and for months he still didn’t know I existed. And suddenly he was everywhere I was?

I straightened, taking my feet from the coffee table and began, “Grams—”

She waved a hand at me. “Don’t take away my fun.” Then she smiled and leaned my way. “Every Friday, him in my yard, sweatin’ and mowin’ my lawn. Even old women need a thrill.” She settled back and closed her eyes. “That right there’s gonna be mine.”

If I didn’t act like a klutzy, dorky idiot every time I was around him, I would be there every Friday to watch Raiden mow the lawn, too.

Instead, I would do my best to be in Bangladesh.

I put my feet back up on the coffee table and sucked back more root beer. I knew it would be useless to argue with Grams, tell her favors never came for free, explain what my Dad reminded me of time and again. You paid for it, like Dad did, sending up money for Grams to pay the Crane kid, or you did it in the family.

You didn’t owe anybody.

And I was thinking, even for a ninety-eight year old woman, you really didn’t owe Raiden Ulysses Miller.

On this thought, Grams straightened like a shot two seconds before Raiden showed on the porch.

Ninety-eight or not, she had the hearing of a German shepherd. Always did.

“Good! You’re back!” she cried then snapped her fingers at me. “Hanna, go get your afghans. The taupe one. And the cream.”

I couldn’t see me, but I was relatively certain my eyes bugged out, and I was relatively certain because I could feel them protruding from my head.

“Raiden, child, sit. Let Hanna show you her handiwork.” She threw a bony, wrinkled hand toward the loveseat then leaned that way over the arm of her chair to get closer to Raiden, who was folding himself in and grabbing his tea. “My precious Hanna, she not only makes, but designs the most divine afghans you’ll ever see and feel,” she bragged.

“Grams—” I tried to cut in.

“I know this not only because I have three, but also because she sends them everywhere, even all the way to New York City, and not one of them sells for less than two hundred and fifty dollars.” She nodded as if Raiden had cried, “No!” (which he didn’t) and kept babbling. “Some of ‘em, the better ones, are worth five hundred dollars.”

“Grams!” I snapped.

“This I gotta see,” Raiden drawled, and my eyes shot to him.

“Get ‘em, precious,” Grams ordered. “All of ‘em. The pink one too.”

I tore my eyes from an amused Raiden and looked at my grandmother.

“Grams, he’s a guy. He doesn’t care about afghans,” I told her.

“He cares about five hundred dollar ones. Any fool would wanna see a five hundred dollar afghan,” Grams shot back, then looked to Raiden. “All three of mine would cost that in one of those fancy shops Hanna ships them to, and let me tell you they’re worth every penny. I sit out here, dead of winter, one of Hanna’s afghans around me, snug as a bug. Like it’s August in Looseeanna, but without the humidity. I’m not joking.” Grams turned a proud smile to me. “That and her preserves, makes her livin’, and it’s a good one.” She looked back to Raiden. “Now tell me, how many folks can say they make a livin’ off knittin’, crotchetin’ and cookin’ fruit? Don’t answer. I’ll tell you. Not many. To pull that off, you gotta have sheer talent, like my Hanna.”

Again, her head turned my way.

“Well, you gonna get those afghans or what?”

I wanted to say, “Or what.”

Instead, I put my root beer down, hauled my behind out of the chair and went into the house.

Spot was on the pink afghan. He was not pleased with me moving him and therefore hissed and batted me with a paw.

“Don’t complain to me, buddy. It’s the old biddy who sent me on this errand,” I muttered.

Spot was not mollified and he shared this by hissing at me again while trying to sink his teeth into my wrist.

I escaped the Spot Attack, found the other two afghans and headed out.

“Look at those!” Grams cried like I just unveiled three masterpiece works of art. “Decadence in blanket form!”

I tossed them over the back of the chair I’d been sitting in and smoothed them out.

Truthfully, I was proud of my afghans, and Grams didn’t lie. They cost that much because the wool cost a fortune. It was the best of the best. And they were pretty; loose weave, tight weave, patterned. I was proud of them.

Even so, my eyes moved very slowly toward Raiden.

His eyes were aimed at the blankets, but he must have felt my gaze because they lifted to me.

“Gorgeous,” he said quietly, and he sounded like he meant it.

Warmth suffused my body.

“Thanks,” I replied just as quietly.

“Told you,” Grams stated. “Now you should try her preserves.”

Oh no.

I’d had enough.

“Actually, I have to get to work cleaning the house,” I said quickly.

“And I gotta get back into town,” Raiden said on the heels of my statement, and he did this while standing. He looked down at Grams. “You call Crane, Miss Mildred. Tell him you got a new lawn service. I’ll be here next Friday.”

“I’ll do that, child,” she replied then turned to me. “Walk our caller to his car, will you, chère?”

This just never ended.

Before I could do it or find an excuse not to, Raiden spoke.

“No need. Don’t have a car since I walked here. I can find my way, and I’m sure Hanna wants to finish up so she can sit back and enjoy her visit.”

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