Appliances should never be allowed to break on a Monday morning.
Meg Brennan unplugged the toaster oven, launching sparks and puffs of smoke into the kitchen of the Trout Run Bed and Breakfast.
“Should I call the fire department, Aunt Meg?” Six-year-old Tia Petrino sprung from the cedar bench that lined one side of the table.
Meg scooped the blackened pastries from the oven and tossed them into the sink. “That won’t be necessary.”
Tilly placed her elbows on the table and her hands under her chin. “Oh, man. Those were the last three doughnuts.” Her lower lip rolled.
Meg pulled in a slow and steadying breath. One day at a time. That’s how she’d handled things since her sister and brother-in-law abandoned their triplets and the B&B last year. She glanced toward Tucker sitting at the end of the table. The poor child hadn’t smiled since his parents left. First his father and then his mother. “Tuck, we don’t have enough time for your favorite chocolate chip pancakes, but would you like some cereal instead?”
“I don’t care.” He shrugged his shoulders and opened the book in front of him.
Meg considered his words. Sadly, Tucker didn’t seem to care about much of anything.
The front doorbell chimed. Meg glanced at her watch. Time was like an icy road this morning. The kids had to catch the school bus soon.
“I’ll get it!” Tilly bolted toward the front of the house. Her yellow tennis shoes with pink laces screeched against the hardwood floor.
The child had never met a stranger. Meg tossed the red dish towel on the granite countertop and moved toward the hall. The front lock clicked, and the hinge in need of tightening on the screen door squeaked.
“Wow! Are you a real-life cowboy? Like the ones we see on TV?” Tilly’s question echoed down the hall.
“I was interested in a room, but I noticed the tarp on one side of the house. Are you open?”
Meg’s ears burned at the familiar deep voice.
Excerpted from Searching for Home by Jill Weatherholt, Copyright © 2021 by Jill Weatherholt. Published by Love Inspired.