“The one my father saved?”
“Mm-hmm.” He leaned on the counter. “And now that Clemens has called in that debt, neither of us has much say in the matter.”
“Does that mean you’re in?”
She laughed bitterly. “Refuse an order from Clemens Kincaid? I’m a lot smarter than I look.”
“You look plenty smart to me.” She did. There was a bright, determined spark in her gaze. Like a woman with a plan. It was both encouraging and unsettling. “What do you do?”
“What’s my trade, you mean?”
“I do hair. I guess I should look for a salon in town, see if I can rent a chair. Or maybe get my foot in as a receptionist.”
“Are you planning on staying here?”
She gave him an odd look. “You must have a different definition of married than I do.”
“I just thought…you didn’t bring much with you.” So much for his deductive powers.
She shrugged. “I figured we’d get to know each other, make sure we were compatible enough to make it work, then I’d get the rest of my stuff.”
At the word stuff, she glanced at the tattoo on the inside of her left wrist and her mouth bent in an odd way. His gut told him that tattoo was significant. He wondered what it meant to her. When she was ready, he was sure she’d tell him. “If you want to get groceries, that would be good. I’ll drop you off at the store, then head into the office. You can call me when you’re ready to go and I’ll come get you and bring you back.”
“Okay. Happy to do it.”
“I’ll be right back.” He jogged upstairs to the small safe installed in the wall of his walk-in closet. He punched in the code, took out three hundred dollars, locked it back up and returned to the kitchen.
He put the money on the counter. “That should cover it.”
She nodded at the bills. “Yeah, definitely. Anything you don’t like?”
“No. I’ll eat whatever.”
The radio attached to his shoulder squawked. “Hank?”
He pinched it to respond. “Birdie, you’re supposed to call me Sheriff.”
“Why? You forget what your job is?”
Ivy laughed, quickly covering her mouth with her hand.
He sighed and spoke into the radio. “What do you need?”
The doorbell rang. Ivy held up her hands and whispered, “I’ll get it.”
He nodded and listened as Birdie rambled on about a tourist with a parking ticket complaint, turning to watch Ivy.
Maybe he’d find a way to let Birdie go and make Ivy the new receptionist. He’d have to see if there was a rule about the sheriff’s receptionist having a record. Ivy sauntered toward the front door, her hips swaying gently. Even if there was a rule, maybe an exception could be made. Having her at the station would be a great way to keep an eye on her.
Which, as it turned out, was quite a pleasurable activity.
Ivy opened the door and stared into the face of the woman who’d brought her a beer and a burger last night. The bartender from Howler’s. Hank’s sister. She had a large brown sack in one hand. The grease-stained bag gave off delicious aromas and Ivy realized in that instant Hank had ordered the food from Howler’s.
Oh boy. This was gonna be fun. “Hi there.”
Bridget stared back. “You look famil—aren’t you the woman they arrested in my bar last night?”
“In the back parking lot and not an actual arrest because the charges were dropped, but yes.”
Bridget frowned, which made her no less pretty. Bridget’s deep auburn looked like it was bottle-enhanced, but so what? It worked really well on her. There was something reassuring about Hank’s sister being well put together. “What are you doing in my brother’s house? Are the holding cells full?”
“No! He brought me here. In fact…” Ivy took a breath, the truth on the tip of her tongue. “We’re going to be—”
“Bridget.” Hank hustled past Ivy to take the bag from his sister’s hand. “You should have sent one of the bar backs.”
Bridget frowned. “Why? So I wouldn’t see you shacked up with a perp?” She clucked her tongue and shook her head. “I know you haven’t gotten any in a while, but this is sad.”
Ivy put her hands on her hips. “I’m not a perp.” Well, she sort of was. Still. Harsh. Interesting that Handsome Hank hadn’t been scoring lately. What was up with that? She’d have thought the local talent would be all over Mr. Single-In-Uniform.
“Bridget, it’s not what you think, and I’ll explain later,” Hank said. He started to close the door.
Bridget stuck her foot in the way. “Why not now?”
“Shouldn’t you be watching your bar?”
“Don’t change the subject.” Bridget shot Ivy a look. “What are you doing here?”
Ivy answered, “Like I was about to say, we’re supposed to be mar—”
“Later, Bridget.” He glared at Ivy.
Ivy crossed her arms. “What’s the matter? Don’t want your sister to know you’re about to get hitched to a Kincaid?”
Bridget swiveled toward Ivy like she was on a pivot. “What did you just say?”
Hank muttered a dirty word. “Living room. Both of you.”
Bridget’s face was screwed up six ways to Sunday, but she stepped inside. He shut the door, steam almost visible from his ears. Poor guy. Apparently, he’d wanted to keep his nuptials a secret. Too bad. Ivy had enough secrets to keep to be adding one more to the list. He pointed toward the interior of the house and both women headed in that direction. He followed after them.