Meeting Megan Again. Julianna Morris

Meeting Megan Again - Julianna Morris

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you’ll get used to the idea of being married,” she murmured, guessing it might be cold feet affecting him.


      He didn’t sound convinced and Megan supposed she wasn’t the most reliable source on the subject of wedded bliss. Most of the family knew about Brad and the way he’d played around. She squeezed Reece’s hand, wishing she could promise him happily-ever-after. Problem was, she didn’t believe in happily-ever-after. She wasn’t sure she ever had.

      As for Tyler…Megan watched as he leaned against the fence, ten feet away from the dugout where the rest of the team was waiting. His arms were crossed over his chest and his posture reminded her of someone braced for something.


      A blow?

      An unwelcome overture from the family? That seemed most likely considering the way he’d never visited. He probably didn’t want to get too friendly.

      A small frown gathered between Megan’s eyes.

      Tyler confused her; he always had. And his continued resistance to the O’Bannons confused her most of all. Eleanor and Grady loved him and worried about him. They wanted Tyler to be part of the family, but he acted as if they were little more than strangers.

      Against her better judgment, Megan walked around the backstop and headed straight for Tyler.

      “Why don’t you come over and sit with the team?” she urged softly. “The benches aren’t that comfortable but it gives us all a chance to visit.”

      “I’m fine.”

      His expression said it all. I’m a loner. Big and tough and able to take care of himself. Megan turned to join the rest of the family, then glanced into the small rise of bleachers and saw Eleanor smiling and nodding encouragement.

      Terrific. Grams was bent on matchmaking and she’d played right into the scheme by approaching Tyler for no reason. At least not for a reason that made any sense.

      Sighing, Megan shrugged out of her sweatshirt and tied it around her waist. She wasn’t certain whether she liked Tyler, and she was fairly certain he didn’t like her, but she could be a good hostess for the next few days. It wouldn’t kill her.

      “It’s a family reunion,” she murmured. “Visiting is our major recreation.”

      Tyler looked at her and she saw layers of emotion in his brown eyes that she couldn’t begin to fathom. “People who know each other ‘visit.’ They talk about their lives and the kids and catch up on news since the last time they were together.”

      Megan opened her mouth, then closed it just as quickly. Jumping to conclusions would just get her in trouble, and she had a feeling she’d already drifted into deep water. Not that it was a new sensation, Tyler always made her feel out of her depth. After all this time, he still made her feel things she’d rather not think about…things that made her breathless and uneasy in the pit of her stomach.

      A chorus of encouraged cries were a welcome distraction and Megan saw that Kara was coming up to bat. “You can do it,” she called.

      Kara jauntily balanced the bat over her shoulder and Megan’s heart filled with love. In many ways Kara was older than her years, yet she was sweet and loving and full of enthusiasm. But time was passing so quickly it wouldn’t be long before she was grown. A mixture of pride and pain squeezed Megan’s throat and she sniffed.

      “Oh, dear,” Tyler muttered in a low voice. “What’s wrong?”

      She blinked away a hovering tear. “Nothing.”

      “Right.” He slipped her a handkerchief. “That ‘nothing’ is getting your face wet.”

      He sounded gruff but sympathetic, so she sighed. “It’s just that children grow up so fast.”

      “So my friends say.”

      It was an innocent comment, but it caught her attention.

      So my friends say.

      Why did that sound so lonely? A man like Tyler probably had more friends than he could count. Still…friends weren’t a substitute for family, she knew that better than anyone.

      She looked up and saw him focus on the game with a kind of hungry intensity. Megan pressed a hand to her stomach, unnerved by more than physical awareness.

      “I noticed the pitcher is taking it easy on Kara,” Tyler said, motioning toward the mound. “Nice, slow pitches that go straight across the plate.”

      She swallowed, trying to get control of herself. “I…I know we sound competitive, but this isn’t the World Series. It’s more important for everyone to have fun than to win,” she said finally.

      “I see.” Tyler nodded, his gaze still fixed on the game.

      Kara took a swing at her third pitch. The ball connected with a dull thud and bounced toward third base, just inside the foul line. With a gleeful “hurray,” she dropped the bat and ran.

      “Go, Kara, go,” cried a dozen voices.

      Tyler leaned back against his fence and surveyed the field. It was plain the opposite team wasn’t reacting as quickly as they did with the older players. They were giving Kara a chance to reach first base. To be a part of the game, just as Megan had said.

      He didn’t know if child psychologists would approve of their tactics, but it was rather nice. At the same time he would have been furious with the O’Bannons if they’d done anything like that when he was a teenager—he would have accused them of treating him differently, of giving him charity.

      Yet all they were doing was being kind.

      It was the same round robin of arguments he’d fought since his boyhood, and Tyler tiredly brushed his hand over his face. Coming to the reunion was a mistake. He didn’t know how to talk to these people, and Megan still affected him to the point of irrationality. Hell, he would have done anything to wipe the melancholy expression from her face when she was talking about Kara.

      “By the way, is there anyone here you don’t know?” Megan asked. “It seems strange, I guess, since they’re your family, not mine. But you haven’t been…” She stopped, looking uncomfortable all over again.

      “I’m slowly putting names to faces, though there are a few I don’t recognize, especially the kids,” Tyler said, ignoring the last part of her statement. They were both tiptoeing around the subject of his absence from the family. “And I haven’t seen Rick and Sue yet.”

      At the mention of her mother- and father-in-law, Megan smiled and shook her head. “They aren’t coming. They decided to spend a year at a monastery in Colorado, finding their ‘inner peace.”’

      Tyler lifted his eyebrows. “I guess they haven’t changed.” It was a polite way of saying Rick and Sue were just as flaky as ever. Nice, but flaky. He’d certainly liked them better than their son.


      Tyler’s hand tightened into a fist. He kept remembering Brad, probably because his cousin was inextricably connected to Megan, who was alive and standing close enough that his senses were infused with her uniquely feminine scent.

      “I…” Tyler cleared his throat. He shouldn’t have thought about his close proximity with Megan. It wasn’t wise. “Actually, I don’t remember that guy,” he murmured, motioning to a man sitting among the other players.

      “That’s Jack Carter. He’s an in-law, like me. Hey, Jack,” Megan called. “Come and meet Tyler.”

      Jack came over and gave Tyler an affable grin. “Nice to meet you. My wife is Kara’s second cousin, once removed.” He looked at Megan and scratched his balding head. “Or is it third cousin, twice removed?”

      “Second cousin, Jack. I’m glad you could make it.”

      The two men shook

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