Need You Now (Love in Unknown) - By Taylor M. Lunsford Page 0,1

would never tell him anything about her health, which meant Mel would have to step in too. So she quit her job at a clinic in Chapel Hill and she and Micah moved back, Micah’s son in tow. They were hoping taking care of Jax would distract their mother enough for her to leave the bakery in Micah’s more than capable hands.

Mel sighed. "She's doing all right. We keep telling her to slow down, but you know how stubborn she is."

"Mama Em's tough. I think she just got lonely once your dad passed. I see her when I can, but it's not the same as being with her real family." Gage nodded toward the old, red brick building that housed the bakery. Identical to all of the other buildings on the town square, it had been the home of Carrs’ Cakes since the late eighteen hundreds. Through the big front window, Mel could see her mother and nephew sitting with their heads together at one of the front tables. "Having you and Micah and the little guy around will be the best medicine in the world for her."

Mel hoped he was right. She knew her mom missed her dad, they all did, but even Ethan Carr wouldn't expect his wife to kill herself trying to run the family business on her own. Her mother was a retired school teacher. She wasn’t meant to run a bakery by herself. Grunting, Mel helped Gage pick up one side of a massive bookshelf and maneuver it out of the truck. "You are real family, doofus. How's life as police chief?"

"It's life." He shook his head. "Lots of paperwork and dealing with minor nuisances."

"Hey now. I remember when you used to be the minor nuisance." Mel smiled at him around the case. Bright March sunlight beat down on Gage, catching on the sandy brown hair that escaped his Texas Rangers baseball cap. She'd missed the comfort of being around someone she'd known all her life. "I even seem to recall perjuring myself on occasion to keep you out of one of those cells you throw people in now."

Gage laughed. "You never really perjured yourself. Bent the truth a lot, yeah, but no outright lies."

"Well, someone had to have your back. Lord knows, those hideous parents of yours would have let you rot there." Mel grimaced. She couldn’t remember either Joseph or Olivia Maddox ever once showing up when their son needed them. Nine times out of ten, they’d been off at some fancy party in Austin or Houston when anything happened. It was her parents who were always there to take care of Gage. They were the ones who stood toe to toe with the old police chief and his weasel of a sidekick, Officer Shelton, when they tried to pin every piece of criminal mischief in town on Gage. The chief and Shelton had done everything they could to humble the son of the richest, most self-absorbed people in town.

"Not everyone could be Caine the Good," Gage said after greeting one of the old ladies who buzzed around town square, his voice full of affection for his brother. The Maddox boys might have acted like they were different, but deep down the bond between them never ceased to amaze her. "Being police chief's nothing compared to being mayor and a big shot lawyer."

Mel would have stopped in her tracks if they hadn't been climbing a narrow set of stairs. "Caine's back in town?"

"The Golden Prince never strays far from the kingdom, Mel. You know that." A sympathetic look replaced the humor in his silver eyes. "You didn't know he was in town? I thought someone would have said something last time you were home."

She didn't respond until they'd dropped the bookcase in one corner of the living room and her brother had gone back downstairs. When her father died, she’d come to town for two days, forty-eight hours that passed in such a blur, and she couldn't remember hearing that the older Maddox brother had moved back from Boston. Then again, everything about that time was a blur. She and Gage made an unspoken agreement ten years ago never to discuss his brother. "No, I didn't. Guess I didn't think too much about it. Or tried not to."

Caine Maddox. She closed her eyes, fighting back the tornado of feelings circling around her. Not in her wildest dreams had she imagined he'd be mayor of Unknown. He'd always been destined to be a big