Simply Irresistible:Chinook Hockey Team 01

By: Rachel Gibson




***

“I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE. CAN YOU HELP ME?”

A smile tugged at the corner of John’s mouth as he slid into the Corvette. He hadn’t planned on having Miss January jump into his car. She looked like she’d been shrink-wrapped in satin from armpit to thigh. Her legs were long and tan, and she wore a pair of flimsy strapless high heels on her feet. He pulled out of the circular drive.

“Oh, no,” she moaned. “I’ve really messed up this time.”

“I could take you back,” he offered.

“It’s too late. I’ve done it now. And Sissy is going to kill me. I’ve left her there all by herself. She went to get a bouquet of lilac and pink roses, and I ran out! And Sissy doesn’t like the groom. She thinks he’s a lecherous old leprechaun.”

A real bad feeling tweaked the back of John’s neck. “But isn’t Sissy the bride?”

“No.” Miss January stared at him with her big green eyes and shook her head. “I am. And I can’t believe I left Virgil at the altar!”





Prologue

McKinney, Texas

1976

Mathematics gave Georgeanne Howard a headache, and reading made her eyes hurt. At least when she was reading, she could move her finger along the tricky words and fake it sometimes. She couldn’t fake math.

Georgeanne laid her forehead on the piece of paper sitting on her desk and listened to the sounds of her fourth grade classmates playing outside at recess beneath the warm Texas sun. She hated math, but she especially hated counting all those dumb bundles of sticks.

Sometimes she stared at the little drawings of sticks so hard her head and eyes ached.

But each time she counted, she came up with the same answers—the wrong answers.

To take her mind off the math, Georgeanne thought of the pink tea she and her grandmother planned to have after school. Grandmother would have already made the little pink petit fours, and the two of then would dress in pink chiffon and break out the pink tablecloth, napkins, and matching cups. Georgeanne loved pink teas and she was good at serving too.

“Georgeanne!”

She snapped to attention. “Yes, ma’am?”

“Did your grandmother take you to see the doctor like we talked about?” Mrs. Noble asked.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Did your grandmother take you to get tested?”

She nodded. For three days the week before, she read stories to a doctor with big ears.

She answered his questions and wrote stories. She did math and drew pictures. She liked drawing pictures, but the rest had been real dumb.

“Are you finished?”

4

Rachel Gibson

Georgeanne looked down at the scribbled-up page in front of her. She’d used her eraser so many times, the little answer boxes were a dull gray, and she’d ripped several three-corner tears next to the bundles of sticks. “No,” she said, and covered the paper with her hand.

“Let me see what you’ve done.”

Dread weighing her down, she rose from her chair, then made a great show of pushing it in at a precise angle. The soles of her patent leather shoes barely made a sound as she slowly walked to her teacher’s desk. She felt sick to her stomach.

Mrs. Noble took the messy paper from Georgeanne’s hand and studied the math problems.

“You’ve done it again,” she said, irritation punctuating her words. Displeasure narrowed her brown eyes and pinched her thin nose. “How many times are you going to write down the wrong answers?”

Georgeanne glanced over her teacher’s shoulder to the social studies table where twenty small igloos had been constructed out of sugar cubes. There should have been twenty-one, but because of her poor penmanship, Georgeanne would have to wait to make her igloo.

Maybe tomorrow. “I don’t know,” she whispered.

“I’ve told you at least four times that the answer to the first problem is not seventeen! So why do you keep writing it down?”

“I don’t know.” Over and over she’d counted each stick. There were seven in two bundles and three single twigs on the side. That made seventeen.

“I’ve explained this to you repeatedly. Look at the paper.”

When Georgeanne did as she was told, Mrs. Noble pointed to the first bundle of sticks.

“This bundle represents ten,” she barked, and moved her finger over. “This bundle represents ten more, and we have three ones to the side. How many is ten plus ten?”

Georgeanne pictured the numbers in her head. “Twenty.”

“Plus three?”

She paused to count it out silently. “Twenty three.”

“Yes! The answer is twenty-three.” The teacher shoved the paper at her. “Now, go sit down and finish the rest.”

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