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Dedicated to Lee Benoit, for your enthusiastic encouragement
Grace Shawcross cursed up a blue streak when the books she was trying to artfully display tumbled and landed in a heap on the table.
"Wow, that was quite a mouthful." There was laughter in the voice of Jamie Porter, her assistant.
Grace turned and gave him a sheepish smile. "Sorry. I'm all thumbs this morning." She picked up a book that had slipped from the table onto the floor.
"Yeah, I've noticed that. Are you okay?" Jamie joined her at the table and started fixing the books.
Grace grimaced. "Today's the day I meet my mother-in-law for the first time." Her nerves were evident in her voice.
Jamie frowned. "I thought Laura's parents were both dead?"
"Sarah is actually Laura's god-mother, but she raised Laura. Sarah is as close to a mother as she has. Laura adores her." She said the last quietly.
"And you're worried that you won't measure up?" Jamie guessed.
Grace sighed and her shoulders slumped. She could only nod as her stomach churned uncomfortably. At this rate, she was going to wind up with an ulcer before she even met the woman.
"So how come you're just meeting her now? You and Laura have been together for nearly a year." Finished with the display, Jamie moved to the counter and hoisted himself up to sit on it.
Grace turned to face him, and leaned back against the table. "Sarah's a photographer, a bit of a vagabond. She spends most of her time traveling." She looked down at the toes of her shoes. "What if she doesn't like me? Laura thinks the world of her..."
Jamie jumped down from the counter and came to her. Without hesitation, he wrapped his armsaround her and caught her up in a tight hug. "What's not to like?" he asked, pressing a light kiss against her hair.
She laughed lightly and hugged him back.
"Hey, get your hands off my woman." Grace and Jamie turned in unison at the statement and the jingle of the bell over the door.
Grace smiled as the unease in her stomach was replaced by the more familiar, and far more pleasant, flutter she always experienced when she saw her lover.
Releasing Grace and stepping back, Jamie laughed. "You don't need to get the shotgun out, she's not my type. Doesn't have the right bits for a start."
Laura grinned as she fairly bounced into the store. Grace had noticed a particular lightness in Laura's step since she had found out that Sarah would be arriving to celebrate Laura's thirtieth birthday. "Just as well for you. I don't just use my scissors for cutting hair."
As Jamie laughed, Laura pulled Grace into her arms. Grace shrieked in surprise as Laura dipped her low. "I'm very possessive of what's mine."
Laughing breathlessly, Grace punched Laura playfully on the arm. "You know I love it when you play cave woman, but not in front of the children!"
Laura pulled Grace back upright and gave her a theatrical leer. "Later."
Jamie made a gagging sound and went to attend to the customer who had entered and was looking at Grace and Laura with undisguised interest.
Laura rolled her eyes. "Can I see you in private for a moment?"
Grace took her hand and led her back to the office. When the door closed behind Laura, Grace looked at her curiously. It surprised her when Laura closed the distance between them, a look of determination on her face.
When she reached Grace, Laura maneuvered her back until Grace's butt bumped against the desk. Her hands went to Laura's shoulders.
Grace smiled suddenly. "Oh, I see. Feeling a little frisky?"