Mayor of Macon's Point - By Inglath Cooper Page 0,1

and bought him one. Of course, doing so had made him a king in Tommy’s eyes. And when Annie had said he couldn’t keep it, she’d been tossed the mantle of Cruella De Vil.

Considering that Tommy had only recently begun to show signs of the carefree child he had once been, she did not want to risk a setback brought on by Cyrus’s sudden demise. And on top of that, Annie now loved him, too. Even if he had been a present from J.D.

“No, honey,” she reassured him. “But we’ll run him over to Doc Angle’s. They’ll know what to do.”

The cordless phone on the kitchen counter rang, rattling Annie’s already rattled nerves. She glared at it, then yanked it up and barked a hello stern enough to deter even the most hardened of the telemarketers who always seemed to call around dinnertime.

“Hey, babe.”

Annie dropped her forehead onto a palm and rubbed the heel of her hand against a budding migraine. She really did have to get caller ID. “I do not have time to talk to you, J.D.”

Tommy glanced up, his eyes widening in happiness just before a mask of indifference slipped up to conceal it. It had been months since he’d asked to speak to his daddy on the rare occasions that J.D. called. Annie’s heart throbbed with the realization that pride demanded this lack of concern even in a boy his age. She and Tommy both had made excuses for J.D. until they’d been forced to admit that was all they were. Excuses.

She turned around so that her back was to Tommy. He got up and trudged into the living room with Cyrus lumbering behind him.

“So the little mayor’s staying busy, huh?”

The amusement behind the words made Annie wish for a voodoo doll with extra pins. Divorce rule number 54: ignore jabs deliberately meant to rile. “What do you want, J.D.?”

“What are you offering?”

Annie balked at the flirtation underlining the question. He was amazing. Truly amazing. “J.D.” she said, her voice subzero.

“To see my son. That’s what I want. Put Tommy on a plane and send him out here to visit, sugar-pie. I miss him.”

The command was issued with all the certainty of a man who never entertained even the notion of the word no. “I am not sending Tommy across the country by himself, J.D. He’s six years old, for heaven’s sake!”

“Kids ride airplanes by themselves all the time, Annie,” J.D. said in the same you’re-being-ridiculous voice he’d perfected when they’d been married and she’d tried to explain why he couldn’t just write checks off their bank account without ever looking to see if they had the funds to cover them. “I have a right to see my son.”

“You know where your son lives, and if you want to see him, you can get on an airplane and come here.” The last two words took a leap toward hysteria, and she forced herself to draw in a calming breath before going on in a lowered voice, “You’ve made no effort to see him in nearly a year, J.D. Do you think you can saunter back into his life as if you just saw him yesterday? How am I supposed to explain that to him?”

“JaaayyyyyDeeeee, I’m still waiting,” a woman’s voice called in the background.

There. She had her explanation. Annie stomped across the kitchen floor and slammed the phone into its wall cradle, hoping the collision would blow a hole in J.D.’s faithless eardrum. But it did little more than rocket a bolt of pain straight up her arm, where it landed in the center of the headache now pounding full force.

There had been a time since the demise of their twelve-year marriage when she would have shed a kitchen sink full of tears over that very audible reminder of her husband’s betrayal. But even had she cared to indulge the tradition, she didn’t have time for it tonight. She glanced at her watch. In twenty minutes, Jack Corbin would be waiting for her at Walker’s. Jack Corbin, who hadn’t been back to Macon’s Point since his father’s funeral six years ago, and who, according to Mary Louise Carruthers at the post office, traveled to exotic-sounding places such as Saint-Tropez, Lyon and San Gimignano (none of which had sounded all that exotic under Mary Louise’s pronunciation).

His track record for changing addresses rivaled even J.D.’s.

Annie’s stomach churned.

Somehow, she, pinch-hitter-mayor Annie McCabe, former housewife, a woman unable to figure out how to keep her husband from straying, had to