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Lessons Learned

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SWEET
Word Count: 84,440
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Two disastrous dinner dates make widow Annie Crenshaw put her social life on hold while she focuses on raising her teenage son. To provide a stable home life, she works two jobs—one at the local hospital and the other her housecleaning service. Her life is going according to plan until she starts working for Dr. McCabe who awakens emotions she buried years ago.

Chiropractor Jim McCabe wants to get his life on track following the humiliation of being jilted on his wedding day. He doesn’t hate women but has vowed never to become involved seriously with another one. Then Annie comes to clean his home and makes him think twice about having a committed relationship. He has his work cut out convincing her she can have a personal life and be a good mom at the same time. Whose vow will be the stronger?


“Am I the topic of conversation in the family, as well as the local watering holes? If so, find another subject.”

Gordon held up his hands. “Don’t get huffy. I only made the statement based on experience. We shared a room before the folks built the big house.”

“I apologize, you’re right.” Jim laid aside the note pad and ran his knuckles along his jaw. “Housework was never my idea of fun. I’m behind. Been giving serious thought about hiring someone. Once every two weeks or so should be enough.”

“Unless you’ve changed a great deal, you probably need someone to come in twice aweek. Have you done laundry lately? Or are you taking it over to Mom?”

“I’m not so desperate I’d run to Mom. Not yet, anyway. I did a load of towels this week. My dress shirts go to the cleaners. If I run out of underwear, I buy a couple packages.”

“You’re a real piece of work.” Gordon chuckled and shook his head. “If you’re genuinely interested in having someone clean for you, Kelly has a friend, Annie Crenshaw, who has a cleaning business on the side. Do you want me to get her number?”

“If she does cleaning on the side, what does she do full-time?”

“Works ER admitting, over at St. Anthony’s, with Joanie and Kelly’s sister-in-law, Barb Smith.”

“Is she married? All I need is a woman in the market for a husband or significant other—don’t try to tell me they’re not out there.” He didn’t want any entanglements. “If she’s young, tongues will wag.” The thought shouldn’t have entered his mind. He couldn’t picture a younger woman wanting to clean houses.

Gordon’s head jerked back. “Would it make a difference?”

“Don’t act surprised. Definitely. I prefer someone who is…older…settled…not on the make.” Preferably, a grandmotherly-type, but I won’t tell Gordon, he’ll give me a boatload of crap.

“Don’t flatter yourself.” He leaned sideways and rested his elbow on the desk. “Annie’s a widow and has a teenage son. According to Kelly, the woman’s a hard worker.”

“How does Kelly know her?”

Gordon scowled. “They met at Rev. Moore’s Widow’s Support Group.”

Jim nodded and put out his hand, encouraging his brother to continue. “And?”

“After Annie’s husband passed away, she had a load of medical bills. She works extra jobs to pay them.” Gordon shook his head. “Sometimes you flabbergast me. What difference does it make how they became friends?”

“You gotta admit, your wife thinks everyone is wonderful.” He narrowed his eyes and set his jaw. “Have you met this paragon of virtue?”