New York Daily News
“Johnston warms your heart and tickles your fancy.”
“Who’s your friend?” Zach asked.
“Jewel, this is Zach. Zach, this is Jewel. She’s been explaining that she’ll be going to a foster home when she’s well.”
The little girl and the tall man solemnly shook hands.
“Hello, Jewel. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Hello. Are you a doctor?”
Zach smiled wryly. “No. I’m a rancher.”
“Do you have horses on your ranch?”
“Lots of them. Ponies, too.”
“I used to have a pony. My daddy and I . . . my daddy . . .” The child turned her face away and stared at the wall, clearly overwrought.
Rebecca touched the girl gently on the shoulder and said, “I hope you get well soon, Jewel.”
If Zach hadn’t taken her hand and pulled her away, she wouldn’t have left at all.
Once they were far enough beyond the door that they couldn’t be heard, Rebecca turned to Zach, her heart in her eyes. “Zach?”
“I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no.”
“She doesn’t have anywhere to go. In a week, Camp LittleHawk will be done for the season, and it won’t be starting again for months. It doesn’t have to be forever. A foster home is just an interim step, until someone comes along who wants to adopt her.”
“It isn’t as though she’s sick. She was injured in an accident. She’s obviously well, or nearly well. She will be well.”
“She’s all alone in the world, no relatives, nobody. We can’t turn our backs on her.”
Zach huffed out a breath of air. “There would probably e a ton of paperwork to qualify as a foster home.”
Rebecca’s grin was blinding. “Oh, thank you, Zach. Thank you. You won’t be sorry, I promise you.”
“I haven’t said yes.”
“But you stopped saying no.”