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Just One More Chance (Baytown Boys #2)

By:Maryann Jordan

Chapter 1

Headache? Hell, more like hangover.

Blinking rapidly, Grant Wilder was grateful for the lack of early morning stirrings in the sleepy town. With one hand on the steering wheel of the police department SUV, he rubbed his forehead, trying to still the pain stabbing behind his eyes.

He drove slowly down the beach road, his gaze focused straight ahead. The town's public beach on the Chesapeake Bay, just over the slight dunes, was ready for a day of tourists. On the other side, stately homes stood as sentinels guarding the bay. Turning onto one of the side roads, he proceeded with caution along the tree-lined residential homes. Some in a state of repair, some used as beach rentals, and many with the loving upkeep of residents who knew they were lucky to own a tiny piece of heaven, known as the Eastern Shore.

Wincing, he hated to admit he drank too much the previous evening, but the engagement celebration of his best friend, Mitch Evans, the town's police chief, to the woman he had cared for since they were children was cause for Grant to forget his early morning patrol.

Movement on one of the side streets had him jerking his head to the left, only to groan at both the shooting pain in his head and the realization it was only the garbage truck stopping in front of a house, the banging of trash cans interrupting the peaceful morning. Thankfully, the old town's streets had been laid out in a square grid making it easy for him to easily view the area at each intersection.

The men dragging the garbage cans over to the truck threw their hands up in a wave and Grant returned the greeting, grimacing slightly at the movement. Continuing down the road, he forced his eyes to focus, while making sure not to jerk his head around, in an attempt to quell the dull ache.

Straining to see along the street as he heard a small motor humming, his gaze landed on the hot pink scooter puttering by, a long, blonde braid flying behind the shapely figure of the woman driving. The wild-patterned, tie-dyed shirt in brilliant colors paired with purple capris was familiar to him and the desire to honk and wave warred with the desire to slump down in the seat and hide. God, I was an ass last night.

The sounds of dogs barking interrupted his self-loathing and he looked up just in time to see an elderly woman straining against the leash of her dog while another man held on to his. Oh, great … just great. Pulling to a stop, he radioed his location to the station and alighted from the vehicle.

"Officer Wilder!" they both exclaimed at the same time before glaring at each other.

"Mrs. Malton … Mr. Royer … can you not control the dogs this morning?"

"That dog of his keeps wanting to … to … you know … with my dog and he isn't doing anything to stop it!" the elderly woman said, her arms stretched outwards as her dachshund strained at her leash toward the large basset hound. "Petunia is terrified!" Mrs. Malton's jowls waggled as her bosom heaved in outrage. 

"My dog?" Mr. Royer huffed. "My Harold just wants to get past you and your little hussy won't leave him alone." Turning toward Grant, he narrowed his eyes as he ordered, "Do something!"

Grant watched as the two elderly residents continued their narrow-eyed glaring. Dropping his gaze to the two dogs, their noses eagerly straining forward, it seemed obvious they just wanted to greet each other. Why can't the owners get along the way the dogs want to?

"From what I can see, the dogs just want to sniff around a bit and then they'll be happy to move on-"

"Sniff? Sniff?" Mrs. Malton chirped, narrowing her eyes toward him. "I know what that dog of his wants and it's not just a sniff."

The two dogs, now kept apart while still straining at their leashes began baying and barking, adding to Grant's pounding head. Mr. Royer's thin arms were never going to be strong enough to control his pet, so Grant stepped over to take the leash from him. "Let's rein him in and then we can let the ladies pass."

"Us? Why us?" Mr. Royer spouted. "I live on this side of the street. She's the one who comes over here."

Grant quickly reeled in the basset and nodded toward Mrs. Malton. "Move on by now, and may I suggest in the future that if you have to walk your dogs at the same time, you stay on opposite sides of the street."

Moving to scoop her smaller dog into her arms, Mrs. Malton glared at the two men as she walked past them. "I would think that a true gentleman would allow a lady to walk where she pleased." Before either of the men could respond, she cast a disparaging glance down to Harold, his tongue lolling to the side as he panted. His soulful eyes followed Petunia as she was carried off.

As Mrs. Malton waddled down the sidewalk, Grant turned his gaze back to the small man standing next to him. Relaxing his hold on the hound, he asked, "You got it now?"