Thursday, June 4, 2015

Case Study No. 2002: Kristy Madison

2830 Montana Creeds Dylan by Miller, Linda Lael
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Montana Creeds: Dylan
by Linda Lael Miller

Hardcover: 377 pages
Publisher: HQN (2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607516985

Hailed as "rodeo's bad boy" for his talent at taming bulls and women, Dylan Creed likes life in the fast lane. But when the daughter he rarely sees is abandoned by her mother, Dylan heads home to Stillwater Springs ranch. Somehow the champion bull rider has to turn into a champion father - and fast.

Town librarian Kristy Madison is uncharacteristically speechless when Dylan Creed turns up for story time with a toddler in tow. The man who'd left a trail of broken hearts - including her own - is back...and this time Kristy's determined to tame his wild ways once and for all.



Kristy Madison bustled around her big kitchen, opening a can of food for her white Persian cat, Winston, gathering her notes for that night's book-club meeting at the library, grabbing her cell phone off the counter where she'd been charging it during a quick trip home for supper.

She wished she could stay in tonight, soak in her big claw-foot bathtub and read a book, but the reading group had been her idea, after all. And it had turned out to be a popular one - twenty six people had signed up.

Privately, Kristy wondered how many of them simply wanted a close-up look at Briana, Logan Creed's love interest. Before Briana had taken up with Logan, she'd been just another single mother, pulling down a paycheck at the casino on the outskirts of Stillwater Springs, homeschooling her two boys, Josh and Alec, and generally minding her own business.

Kristy bit her lower lip. Thinking of Logan inevitably led to thinking about Dylan, and that was still too painful, even though it had been five years since she'd seen him. He'd been in town recently - the busybodies had made sure she knew - but he hadn't sought her out, and she'd been half again too proud to chase him down.

Looking at her own reflection in the dark glass of the kitchen window, Kristy saw a slender woman with fashionably mussed, midlength blond hair, blue eyes and good bone structure. But there were shadows under those eyes, her hair needed a trim, and what the hell good did bone structure do a person, anyway? She looked okay in the picture on her driver's license - that was the extent of the advantage, as far as she'd been able to determine.

Winston, ignoring his food bowl, gave a loud and plaintive meow and slithered across the cuffs of Kristy's black jeans, leaving a dusting of snow-white hair.

Now, she'd have to lint roll - again.

Other women carried mints and lipstick in their purses - Kristy had a tape-covered stick.

"I know," she told Winston gently. "You want to cuddle and watch Animal Planet, but I've got work tonight."

Winston's reply was another meow - this time, he'd turned the "pitiful" meter up a few notches.

"You can have an extra mackerel treat when I get home," Kristy promised. "I won't be late - nine thirty at the outside."

Winston, unappeased, turned and made his way between the various paint cans and wallpaper samples littering the kitchen floor. With a disdainful flip of his bushy white tail, he disappeared into the dining room.

Kristy had been renovating her big Victorian house forever, or so it seemed. She was used to tripping over stuff from Home Depot, and so was Winston, but all of sudden, it seemed more like a never-ending hassle than the noble restoration effort she'd undertaken as soon as she'd signed the mortgage papers.

"I'm tired of my life," she told her reflection. "I want a new one."

"Too bad," her reflection replied. "You made your bed, and now you have to sleep in it. Alone."

No husband. No children.

A few more birthdays, a few more cats, and she'd qualify as a crazy old maid. Kids would start saying she was a witch, and avoid her house on Halloween.

Kristy turned away from her window-self, tugged her purse strap onto her shoulder, dropped her cell phone into the bag, along with her notes and a copy of that month's book-club selection, and headed for the back door.

No matter how blue she might be, the sight of the Stillwater Springs Public Library always lifted her spirits, and this evening was no exception. She loved the squat, redbrick building, with its green shutters and shingled roof. She loved being surrounded by books and readers.

She and a few other people who'd grown up in or around the small western Montana town had fought some hard battles to get the funding to build and stock the library after the old one burned down.

Parking her dark green Blazer in the spot reserved especially for her, Kristy hurried toward the side door, keys jingling. The main part of the library had closed early that night for plumbing repairs in one of the restrooms, but the two small meeting rooms would be open - the reading group in one, AA in the other.

She hung her purse on a peg, washed her hands at the sink in the little kitchenette between the meeting rooms and started wrestling with the big coffee urn.

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