Falling for the P.I. (Entangled Bliss) (Still Harbor) - Victoria James

Chapter One

“I’m sorry, but I can’t take a man who wears white jeans seriously,” Kate Abbott said, eyeing her sisters with what she hoped was a drop-it expression. Really, she hadn’t given the topic much thought, but she was running out of excuses. Her sisters gave each other a knowing look and then turned in their seats, looking for another unsuspecting target. Apparently, she had missed the memo that said tonight was all about finding Kate a man.

Kate lifted her pint of beer, taking a sip of the cool beverage, and leaned back in the worn leather booth with a sigh. The Lucky Irish Pub was filled to the brim, round tables and booths packed with friends celebrating the beginning of the weekend. In a town as small as Still Harbor, there was only one decent place to go for drinks, and it had become a landmark in the community. “Besides, it’s October. Isn’t there a fashion rule about that sort of thing?”

Alexandra McAllister, her youngest and most loud-mouthed sister, leaned forward. “We’re so onto you. Finish that beer and find someone who remotely interests you.”

Kate gave the room an obligatory glance and then shrugged. “No one here interests me.”

“We went to the trouble of getting a babysitter for the girls. We planned this night so you could actually have fun, not act like a ninety-year-old woman with a bad attitude. You need a man to get your mind off everything.”

“No,” Kate said, making eye contact with their waitress and then waving her over. “I don’t need a man. What I need is a giant plate of nachos.” She smacked her lips together and looked down at the menu.

Cara Hamilton, her other sister, made a sorry attempt to snatch the menu from her hands and glared at her when Kate hugged it close to her chest.

“Hi ladies, ready to order?” the young waitress asked, smiling down at them.

“Yes, I need something really bad to eat, like a dish where everything on the plate is fried,” Kate said, ignoring her sisters’ loud sounds of displeasure.

The waitress laughed and leaned forward, pointing to some items on the menu. “Oh, I hear ya, honey. There’s double-stuffed potato skins and beer-battered onion rings, oh and you know what’s so bad it’s so good?”

“What, what?” Kate asked, delighted that someone was taking her needs seriously.

“The fully loaded nachos with extra cheese, beef, and guacamole,” the waitress said, straightening up and tossing her blond hair over her shoulder.

Kate snapped her fingers. “Done and done. I’ll take all of it.”

“You got it,” she said with a wink and then turned to Cara and Alexandra. “What can I get you ladies?”

“I’m sure we can feed off our sister’s trough over there,” Alex said, her red lips pulled into a deep frown.

The waitress laughed and gathered the remaining menus. “Okay, I’ll be back as soon as your order’s up.”

Cara leaned forward. “The point of tonight was for you to have fun, not eat yourself into a food-induced coma.”

“You make it sound like I have a complex of some sort,” Kate muttered, glancing down at her iPhone display. Relief surged through her—no missed calls, which meant her daughter, Janie, was asleep. Now she could enjoy herself for a little while.

“You do. You need a life,” Alex said, tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear. The problem with the three of them sharing a house was that they knew all about her issues. Kate stared at both of them. They were trying to help. They always tried to help. When they’d first met in a group home, all of them orphans, they had connected instantly. Cara and Alex weren’t her biological sisters, but their bond was real and in their hearts they were family.

Cara nodded. “Right. A life for Kate.”

Kate rolled her eyes. “Okay, enough. This is starting to sound like a made-for-TV Hallmark movie. I’m a worrier, I always have been. And you’d worry too, if either of your girls were like Janie.” Janie was her adopted daughter. The moment Kate had met the little girl, she knew she was destined to be her mother. But raising Janie was proving to be more emotionally challenging than she would have ever predicted.

“Janie is doing fine. It’s barely the second month of school for crying out loud. Give her a chance. She will fit in. You know the staff is behind her and our girls are all in the same class together. Cassy told me that Janie had so much fun