“Your grandmothers said you needed my help.” Steve placed a large cup of coffee on the counter, pushing it toward me.

I held in my sigh…a cross between annoyance, resignation and appreciation of a man’s hotness. One thing Steve had going for him was his keen insight on how a peace offering made meddling a little better–especially, when his offering combined caffeine and chocolate into a delicious beverage. Once again, I’d forgive his attempt to play knight-in-shining armor to the damsel-in-distress my grandmothers kept insisting I was.

“Can’t say that I do.” I lifted the foam cup to my mouth and blew on the steam.

Steve’s mouth quirked up. Darn him. Why did he have to be gorgeous? It would be so much easier if he lacked manners, never showered, and my grandmothers loathed him.

“Hope was very insistent I come over this morning and help.” Steve crossed his muscular arms over his chest.

“What a surprise?” You’d think I’d get used to it by now. This was pretty much how every day of my life started since moving back home to Eden, West Virginia. For some reason, my grandmothers Cheryl and Hope think I needed…with a capital N…a man. More specifically Steve Davis, a neighbor and an assistant prosecuting attorney in our town.

It’s not that I have anything against lawyers …or hot guys for that matter…I had served as a legal specialist in the JAG Corps of the US Army. I liked the law. I believed in it. Well…believed and put faith in it until it smacked me around and made me run home for cover. The real issue I had with Steve was that he had the potential of running a background check on me through official means. Not a skill you wanted a significant other to have when you have something to hide. If someone googled me they wouldn’t find much. A twenty-something-year-old who is employed in her grandmothers’ scrapbooking store, and lived right next door to them, was a yawn fest for most men. My life revolving around my grandmothers gave me this needy, clingy vibe that kept men’s roving gaze from hovering over me for too long.

Except for Steve for some crazy reason. He didn’t seem like the type of man who’d want a needy woman. Maybe he thought there was a little more to my spinster ways than being the shy type. And it was that thought keeping me determined to clutch onto my single-forever status.

Steve remained standing there. The quickest way to get back to my job, currently circling new scrapbook supplies lines our customers might be interested in, was to find something for Steve to do for me. He meant well. I also knew he didn’t have a choice as my grandmothers were experts on appearing fragile and delicate when it suited their purpose…like snagging me ‘my man’. I loved my grandmothers dearly, embraced their spunk and spirit but would rather they left my love life–or preferred lack of one–to me.

Steve pointed toward the hallway leading to the office where Grandma Hope was working on the books. “It seems maybe Hope is the one who needed the help. I’ll go check with her.”

I don’t think so. If he came to help me, I should at least get some of my tasks done. And I had just the one in mind. “Well…there is one thing, but I hate to ask.” I batted my eyelashes and gave him my sweetest smile. “The paper racks get a little wobbly especially when customers are taking sheets from the bottom rows. Would you mind seeing if you can stabilize them for me?”

“Not a problem. I’ll take a quick look then see what supplies I’ll need.”

“Okay.” I scooted my rolling chair closer to the counter then propped my elbows up. Steve got on all fours, backside facing me, and jiggled the paper racks.

“That louse.” My fellow co-worker and friend Marilyn Kane flounced into the store. “Sorry I’m late but you won’t believe what my husband–” She stared at Steve and then at me. “I’m not even going to ask.”

“He’s helping. You know the paper racks are wobbly.”

“Faith Patience Hunter!” Grandma Hope stood in the middle of the store, hands planted on her ample hips. “What are you making poor Steve do?”

Grandma Cheryl stood beside Hope, beaming. “That’s my girl!”

You can read more about Faith in Cropped to Death, the first book in the new “Faith Hunter Scrap This” mystery series.

** Christina is giving away one (1) copy of CROPPED TO DEATH. Contest open to US residents only and ends November 22. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the author
Christina Freeburn wrote her first book in the ninth grade, mostly during algebra class which she doesn’t recommend. She served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook area among layouts, paper, bling and stuffed Disney characters. Her novel, Cropped to Death, brings together her love of mysteries, scrapbooking and West Virginia.

You can visit Christina on Facebook, on Twitter or at her website.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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