TPCR: Chapter 4
Wow, Grandpa Asshat’s will sucks. And actually raises more questions than it answers. I’ll be interested to see how it all plays out as far as the Mustache-Twirler, but for now…
This is a longer chapter, there to establish that Erin is the Mothering Type, who will be able to quickly establish a bond with little Max.
But first of all, Erin has a corgi, which immediately makes her more awesome, mothering instinct or no.
Lucas is heading back to Erin’s farm to check on the new momma horse, and Max is going with him, because he kinda has to. Because Lucas’s mom is being a total jerk and whining and complaining about perfectly normal child-things, like fingerprints on the walls and toy cars lying around. Yeah, I was totally too easy on her in the first chapter.
Max is surprisingly excited to see Erin. I mean, he is super-duper eager and happy, which seems just a bit out of proportion for someone he only met once for ten minutes when she was preoccupied with other things and rather astonished by his existence. But of course, this is all romance-novel-speak for “this woman is destined to be this little fellow’s mother.” (We haven’t yet heard anything about Max’s mother, just his addict father.)
Speaking of fathers, Lucas flashes back to his father’s deathbed words to him:
“You have a rebellious nature, Lucas. If you don’t listen to me and do what I say, you’re never going to amount to anything. You’ll disappoint everyone who cares about you and you’ll be alone. Sometimes I think that’s what you want.”
Ouch. Damn, son.
He then contrasts that with words that Erin said to him…not on her deathbed, but at some time in the past:
“God loves you, Lucas, and He won’t turn His back on you. You’ll never be alone.”
I mean, I guess that’s kinda sweet and all, and I get what she means, but that does leave out the third option of: amount to whatever you want to amount to and build a family that really cares about you and loves you no matter what, and then you won’t be alone.
But we all know that is the way of the heathen.
Lucas checks up on the horse, and Erin introduces Max to the wonder of barn kittens. Then they all head into the house (so Max can use the potty), and Lucas sees that Christmas has thrown up in Erin’s living room.
In a marked contrast to another Love Inspired hero, Lucas actually wants his kid to have a bunch of Christmas decorations, so he can feel like he has a home.
As he is thinking all this, Lucas gets a call from Tweed and has to go, but Max wants to stay with Erin, so Lucas lets him. Which is pretty big and trusting of him, to be honest.
They make cookies, and Erin makes the following observation:
Max was one hundred percent boy. Bright. Energetic. Inquisitive. And heartbreakingly sweet.
As opposed to little girls, who are dull, listless, incurious, and bitter?
Ah, don’t mind me. I just dislike this kind of gender essentialism.
In addition to cookie-making, Erin tries to explain the Christmas Story to him, because Max is “fascinated” with her nativity set.
Max’s lack of knowledge about the Christmas story made her heart ache.
Lady, he is FOUR YEARS OLD. What do you want from him???
Erin remembers back to how Lucas’s father was a medical missionary and how Lucas “had turned his back on his faith when they were in high school.”
Gorramitall, shall I ever read a Christian romance where it is the woman who must be brought back to faith?
Erin, like a good Christian single woman, has felt “the burden to pray” for the man she loves:
There’s a reason You brought Lucas back to Clayton, Lord.
Yeah, that would be Grandpa Asshat’s will.
Show him that You love him and help him let go of the past. Max needs Lucas to be a loving father…and Lucas needs You to show him how.
Because we all know non-Christian men can’t be loving fathers!
And Erin actually thinks about the past seven years, and how her mother was wise enough to tell her to keep herself busy and not dwell on the past, so she always kept “her calendar full.”
Yeah, you go, girlfriend!
Buuuuuuut of course, when Lucas returns, she does ask him to stick around for coffee.
And so it begins…