TPCR: Chapter 9 and Chapter 10
Time to pull together some Rocky Mountain Heirs series goals, rather than some The Prodigal’s Christmas Reunion goals!
Sister Mei invites Lucas over, partly so she can dragoon him into taking both Max and Macy (the girl with the dying mother) to Erin’s to see the foal. Speaking of Macy, Mei also wants to tell Lucas about how Brooke (the cousin from the diner) is going to adopt Macy when her mother dies.
“Brooke? She’s only twenty-three years old.”
Well, geez, Lucas, you’re only twenty-five, and you’ve adopted a child. And nine-year-olds are considerably more independent than four-year-olds.
This also leads Mei to talk about one of the mysteries of the series, which is, Who Is Macy’s Father? Apparently, everyone in town speculates all the time about who that brazen hussy of a single mom could have slept with, and now that she’s dying, it’s even more important. Given the Hatfield-and-McCoy feud that’s going on in this town between the Rocky Mountain Heirs and The Other Side of the Family, Lucas of course believes it is someone on the Other Side (Mustache-Twirler’s side, btw).
But Mei has gossip of her own to add to the mix: her and Lucas’s mother has told Mei that she thinks it might have been her own husband, the now-deceased Papa Medical Missionary. Apparently he had multiple affairs over the course of their marriage.
What’s really interesting about this is not the small-town gossip and soap-opera-ish hand-wringing about possible baby daddies, but that in this Christian romance, not a word about God is said during this whole discussion about the infidelity of the medical missionary character.
Indeed, neither Lucas nor Mei frame Dad’s infidelity in terms of Christianity, but Lucas ruminates on Dad’s obsession with his reputation and his hypocrisy, given how quick Dad was to “point out the flaws of others.”
This book is starting to be a record-holder for fewest mentions of God in a Christian story.
Lucas, btw, also brings up the logical tactic of…yanno…actually asking Macy’s mom who the father is, seeing as how she’s dying and all and this might be something her daughter would like to know one day. And not that it’s Mei’s responsibility to ask or anything, but she does completely sidestep the question.
Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll know by the end of the book.
Mei, who, I think we can all agree, is not the world’s greatest secret-keeper, then spills the beans about a welcome-home party in Lucas’s honor, at Arabella’s home the next day.
Later, Lucas swings by Erin’s place to give her something.
“I’m on my way home from Frank Clayton’s place.”
“I’m sorry,” Erin said automatically. She flushed and caught herself. “Now I’m sorry again. I shouldn’t have said that. He is your relative.”
Who in this town isn’t Lucas’s relative?
Lucas’s relative was going to have Lucas put down a lame horse, but Lucas bought the horse and is giving him to Erin as part of her rescue operation. Erin is delighted by this until Lucas shares his additional offer—free medical care for her rescue animals “while I’m here.” This deflates Erin immediately, leaving Lucas confused and hurt and convinced that Erin has no “residual feelings” for him.
I have to admit, this is a very subtle sort of misunderstanding, and I kinda dig it.
Still later that evening, Sheriff Cousin brings disturbing news to Erin—there’s been a small fire at the cafe. Fortunately, it happened after hours and nobody was hurt, but it appears it was arson. Sheriff Cousin interviews Erin about possible perpetrators, and Erin brings up Mustache-Twirler, since he has it out for Lucas. This of course prompts Sheriff Cousin to ask why Mustache-Twirler would then try to hurt Erin, and Erin bitterly responds that there is “no connection” between her and Lucas.
Oh, c’mon, Erin. You have to be wise by now to the fact that your oh-so-secret high school romance was anything but secret. It’s pretty clear that every gorram human being in this tiny town knows what’s up with you two. No need to be coy.
Still later that night, Max shows Lucas a nativity scene Christmas ornament. Again, unlike another Christmas romance hero I could name, Lucas has no qualms about talking with his kid about the Christmas Story.
Lucas knew the Christmas story inside out and upside down.
Which knowledge Lucas demonstrates by correcting Max on Mary’s husband’s name—Joseph, not Joe.
Damn, Max, I coulda told you that!
Max savvies to the fact that Joseph, in essence, adopted Jesus, “Like you ‘dopted me.”
Lucas has yet another moment of self-doubt as a father, but recovers enough to declare to Max that they are going to head to church that morning.
Damn. It is not going to take much doing at all to get Lucas back to RTCness.