The Dangerous Protector (Puffin Harbor, #2) by Janet Chapman Read Online (FREE)
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“I can’t decide if you’re the most patient man I know or the dumbest.”
Duncan Ross set his drink down on the bar and followed Keenan Oakes’s gaze to the booth in the back corner of the pub. “I prefer cunning to patient,” he said as they watched the two chatting women. “Patience implies that I’m waiting for something to happen, whereas cunning denotes a plan.”
Kee turned narrowed eyes on Duncan. “And does this plan involve any actual dating, or are you saving all of your energy for the honeymoon?”
Duncan shot him a grin, picked up his drink, and looked back at the booth over the rim of his glass as he took a sip. Willow Foster and Rachel Oakes were both hunched forward, whispering to each other across the wide oak table. Rachel suddenly sat back in her seat with a laugh, and Willow just as suddenly leaned away, folded her arms under her breasts, and snorted loudly enough to be heard over the hum of the crowded pub.
Duncan quietly chuckled. “It’s going to be one hell of a honeymoon.”
Kee slid his empty glass toward Duncan, nodding for a refill. “Inviting half of Puffin Harbor to your wedding before you’ve secured a bride is not a good plan.”
Duncan felt a dull flush creep up the back of his neck. If he ever found out who had started that rumor, he was going to kick some serious butt. Having his love life bantered about town was not only not part of his plan, it could very well be the death of him. Duncan picked up the bottle he’d opened just a few minutes ago and absently ran his thumb over the embossed crest on the cap. “Have ya ever known me to fail in an objective once I’ve made up my mind to go after something?” he asked softly.
“No,” Kee said. “But then, wife hunting isn’t exactly your usual objective. And Willow Foster isn’t exactly…easy prey.”
Duncan had started to refill Kee’s glass, but instead he set the bottle down again. “Willow’s just scared, is all. It’s a holdover from what she thought had happened between her mom and dad and Thaddeus Lakeman. Unlike Rachel, who thought passion was the root of all evil, Willow still thinks commitment is a four-letter word. All I have to do,” Duncan said softly, finally refilling Kee’s glass, “is convince Willow that marrying me won’t be the end of her life as she knows it, but the beginning.”
“Yeah, that’ll happen,” Kee said with a snort, picking up his drink. “Just as soon as you stop acting like a caveman.”
“Troglodyte,” Duncan said, puffing his chest and smoothing down the front of his shirt. “She calls me a troglodyte.”
Kee stopped in mid-sip. “To your face?”
Ignoring Kee’s question, Duncan looked back at the booth. Willow was glaring now, her snapping hazel eyes reflecting the firelight from the stone hearth as she leaned on the table again and whispered something to her sister.