Make You Feel My Love - Kait Nolan Page 0,2

to your family’s Sunday brunch?”

“Yeah, sure. Mom’s been fussing she hasn’t seen me.” It’d be good to see his family. Plus, he needed to firm up plans to go shopping with Autumn for his brothers’ birthday. No one was better at coming up with the best gag gifts for the twins than she was.

“No one outside the department has seen you since you went on nights a month ago.”

“Part of the job.” He shrugged. “Race is about to start. Y’all have fun and be careful.”

He bent to give her an absent kiss and hit her cheek when she turned at the last moment.

Okay, so she was annoyed. He’d work on smoothing that over once this shift was done and he’d slept. He headed further up the street, judging the best spot to keep an eye out for Autumn. Just in case. The race course ran the length of the green, down Main Street, onto Franklin Street before looping back on Market Street to finish on the opposite side of the green. If she had issues, it would be on the tail end of the course. He positioned himself on the far corner of the green at Main and Spring Streets to watch the start.

At 6’3”, Judd could see over most of the crowd, so when the starter pistols went off—in tandem, thank God—he kept an eagle eye on the surge of people flowing down Main Street. With her bright flash of hair, Autumn was easy to pick out. She, Riley, and Livia were in a tight cluster, with Boudreaux trotting ahead. None of them was going faster than a jog. He could tell Autumn was even talking and laughing as they went. The tightness in his chest eased a fraction.

Mitch Campbell, one of Judd’s poker buddies, stepped up to the curb to watch the girls. “I don’t think Boudreaux quite knows what to think about all these people.”

“We both know he’d follow Autumn anywhere.”

“Didn’t know she was running.”

“Neither did I,” Judd grumbled. But at least she was being smart about it. No outright sprinting. And honestly, Autumn was never reckless with her health. She just seemed to worry about it a lot less than he did.

“Not sure you can call what they’re doing running,” Mitch observed as they disappeared from view.

Judd turned to make his way to the opposite corner, across from Sweet Magnolias Bakery, aware of Mitch falling into step beside him.

“Man, you look like warmed over death this morning.”

“Thanks for that. Coffee hasn’t kicked in.” He drained it on the walk, feeling a rush of gratitude that Autumn had thought of it. With all his herding of people this morning, there hadn’t been time to go by The Daily Grind himself.

“You gonna make it to poker night next week, now you’re finally off nights?”

“That’s the plan. But I’ve gotta work on digging myself out of the doghouse with Mary Alice. I’ve been working my ass off and neglecting her lately.” Longer than lately, if he was honest with himself.

“Man, buy her something shiny. Never met a woman who couldn’t be appeased with jewelry and flowers.”

“Jewelry’s never been my style.”

“Even better,” Mitch declared, thumping him on the back. “She won’t expect it and it’ll be a surprise.”

“You sure?” Didn’t gifts of jewelry come with certain expectations?

“Absolutely. Go by Sanderson’s and ask Rosanna about the doghouse special. She’s got a good selection of options.”

Judd spared Mitch a glance. “You sound like you have a lot of experience with this.”

“Well, I’m still friends with all my exes.”


Autumn came into view, moving with the same unhurried jog she’d had at the start. Boudreaux trotted obediently beside her, periodically looking up at her in complete adoration. Her cheeks were flushed from exertion, but not alarmingly so. She was okay, exactly as she’d said she’d be. The tension in his muscles drained out, and Judd could practically hear her in his head, See there, Grandpa.

Turning back to Mitch, he picked up the thread of conversation. “But they’re exes.”

“Only because I got out before any of them got too serious. Talk to Rosanna. She won’t steer you wrong.”

What the hell? It couldn’t hurt.

“We need a plan of attack.”

Autumn looked with affectionate forbearance across the table at her best friend and thought of how many times in the past twenty-five years he’d said exactly that. “It’s shopping for birthday presents, Judd, not a war.”

“Same difference. There are people.” His sharp blue eyes narrowed on the word.

She smiled into her coffee. “You’re just grumpy because you haven’t