Handbag & Book with
The friendly neighborhood traditions of Halloween were gleaned from my own childhood when it wasn’t unusual to trek for miles for pillowcases full of candy. Nobody worried about tainted treats. We trick or treated in stores, restaurants, and even in bars. We ran gleefully through the streets from the first streetlight until we could barely see our hands in front of our faces. It was the one time our parents looked the other way about curfew and more than one classmate missed school the next day due to a tummy ache.
Chicago, Fall 1964
Allison Stiles is the epitome of responsibility. Guardian to her two rambunctious younger brothers, she also runs a home daycare. While she doesn't have time for a vacation, she really needs a diversion.
Enter Eric Thomas, her new neighbor. Tall, dark and handsome and just what she needs to get her mind off her responsibilities, even if only for a short time.
Moving into the house he inherited from his uncle was not part of Eric Thomas' plan. Yet, starting a new business ties up a good portion of his capital, so he forgoes the fancy downtown apartment for the quaint Rogers Park neighborhood.
Now if he could just get his mind off his sexy neighbor and back on the business at hand.
Allison Stiles gathered up a book by her favorite romance author in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, then crossed the padded alphabet flooring and stepped out onto the enclosed front porch of her Rogers Park home. The neighborhood was old but well kept, the people warm and inviting. The shouts of children playing in the street drew her attention for a brief moment.
She wrapped a thin shawl around her shoulders and settled comfortably into the double-wide porch swing, set her teacup on the nearby window ledge, and opened her book to the first page. Given the week she’d had, she welcomed this chance to unwind, to do nothing but kick back and relax.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do with these two. They’re headed for juvenile hall, I tell you that.”
Principal Garner’s harsh rebuke swirled around inside her head like the colors from a child’s kaleidoscope, forcing her to set aside the book in favor of a sip of calming, herbal tea. As much as she hated to admit it, the man was right. Benny and Phillip were a handful and quickly getting on the edge of her very last nerve.
“We’re sorry, Sis.” Benny’s apology filled her thoughts.
“We didn’t mean to do anything bad. Honest.” Phillip’s younger, softer voice tugged on her heartstrings.
Her brothers’ penchant for trouble and the subsequent call to the principal’s office was just the icing on the cake. She’d spent the entire week wiping runny noses and disinfecting child after child in an effort to keep this first round of seasonal flu from infecting her and everyone around her. She needed more than a cup of tea and a great read. She desperately needed a vacation. Unfortunately, her obligations didn’t allow much down time.
At the very least she needed a distraction of some sort.
The loud slam of a car door and a man’s muttered curse pulled her from this latest bout of self-pity and to the closest window. With the tips of her fingers, she slid the hand-made paper skeleton aside and stared out across her toy-strewn yard.
There in front of her, his arms filled with boxes, minus the one he’d dropped on the ground, stood the most handsome man she’d ever seen. A real-life Adonis, complete with dark, wavy hair and broad shoulders. When he turned toward the porch, she was gifted with an unencumbered view of his narrow hips and taut backside, both of which were encased in a pair of impossibly tight jeans.
She swallowed back the lump in her throat and licked her suddenly-dry lips. As distractions go…this one was darned-near perfect.
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What is your favorite Halloween candy/treat?