“Nah, me and my boys had always ridden on weekends when we were home, and we all did our own repairs and custom work on our bikes, so it seemed like fate was leading us down this path long before we moved to Tennessee.”
“I’m glad it lead you here,” I say softly, giving his thigh a pat.
“Me and you both, babe,” he murmurs then takes his hand off mine to turn onto another road then another until we pull up outside a small light blue house with white shutters and a small porch that is covered with flowers.
“You ready for this?”
“No.” I shake my head as a woman with long white hair wearing a pair of jeans, cowboy boots, and a t-shirt steps out onto the front porch.
“I’ve seen you face down a gang of angry bikers. This will be a walk in the park.”
“Very funny,” I mumble, and he kisses my nose and I watch as he gets out of the truck. I unhook my belt then find the handle at the same time he opens the door for me.
His hands go to my waist and he lifts me out of the cab, holding onto me until my ballet flat-covered feet hit the ground. Then he moves me out of the way, slams the door, puts his arm around my waist, and leads me up to the house.
The moment we hit the top landing of the porch, his mom wraps her arms around him, whispering something in his ear before releasing him, turning to look at me.
“Mom, I want you to meet July. July, this is my mom, Judy.”
“It’s so nice to meet you.” I stick out my hand and she surprises me by pulling me into an embrace that fills me with warmth.
“Sorry.” She smiles then laughs, patting my cheek. “I feel like I know you already. Every time I talk to my son, he tells me about you.”
“Really?” I ask, feeling my cheeks heat in embarrassment.
“It’s true. You have definitely woven a web around my son.”
I look from her to Wes, unsure of what to say about that, but then don’t say anything, because she is taking my hand and leading me into the house, leaving Wes on the front porch, shaking his head.
Once we get inside, the smell of cinnamon and apples touches my nose, reminding me of home. I follow Judy without choice through the living room and into the kitchen, where she leads me to the small island.
“Sit here,” she says, dropping my hand. I hold back the laugh I feel and take a seat on one of her barstools to watch as she pulls a beautiful pie out of the oven and sets it in front of me.
“Pulling out the big guns, Mom?” Wes asks, kissing the side of my head before taking a seat next to me.
“You know I love to bake,” she states, smiling and spinning the pie around slightly. I wish I had half the baking skills she does; the whole pie looks like it could be in a magazine.
“That would be true if you didn’t leave the evidence of your baking skills in your garbage,” Wes says, and I follow his eyes to the trashcan, where there is a box that once contained the apple pie sitting on top of it.
“You’re such a know-it-all.” His mom laughs, hitting him with the hot oven mitt in her hand, making me laugh. “Just so you know, honey, this is his favorite pie. They have it at every store and all you have to do is put it in the oven.”
“That’s good to know. I suck at baking,” I tell her, and her face goes soft.
“Me too, but my boy didn’t know I couldn’t until he turned sixteen and found the first box from a frozen apple pie I had made him.”
“I knew when I was ten,” Wes confesses, and her eyes go to him.
“You did not!” she cries.
“I did; I had a sleepover at a friend’s and his mom had bought one, and it looked and tasted just like yours. I just didn’t confront you about it until I was sixteen.”
She shakes her head, but her gaze on him is soft and so full of love that I feel it all the way down to my toes.
“So, how did you two meet?” she asks, going to a cupboard and pulling out three plates, setting them in front of us.
“Me and the boys were out riding when this biker swerved and tried to run me off the road,” Wes says, and his mom’s face pales.
“I swerved to miss a bird that was in the road,” I defend, pulling Judy’s eyes to me. “Its wing was broken, and I didn’t want to kill it. After I swerved, your son and his friends chased me down on their bikes,” I tattle, and she inhales a sharp breath.
“Why don’t you tell her how you stun-gunned me?”
I turn my head and glare at him, then hiss, “You scared me and it was an accident.”
“Oh lord,” Judy whispers, and I turn to look at her. Her eyes go from him to me, and the same look I saw on my mom’s face when she met Wes appears on hers. “That will be a good story for your kids one day,” she cheers blissfully then turns around, leaving me sitting there like a fish out of water, with my mouth gaping while she goes over to a drawer, opening it up and pulling out forks.
“Close your mouth, babe,” Wes chortles, pushing up on my chin. I turn to look at him, noticing he doesn’t even look slightly taken aback by his mom’s comment. I double-blink then snap my mouth closed.
“So, you ride a bike also?” Judy asks while cutting a piece of pie and placing it on the plate in front of me.
“I do…well, not a Harley, but a sport bike,” I tell her, smiling.
“My ex used to ride, and I hate that my son rides. I worry about him everyday, but I know it’s something that makes him happy. I’m glad you guys have that in common,” she says, and Wes’ hand wraps around the back of my neck and he pulls me closer to him so he can place a kiss above my ear.
“My mom rides, and it was always something we did together.”
“How does your dad feel about it?” Judy asks.
“The first bike I ever had, I was constantly having to refill the tires with air, and I couldn’t figure out why. And I wouldn’t ride it, because it was too risky. Then one day, I went to the garage and found my dad taking the cap off the nozzle on the tires. He hated that I was riding, so he was sabotaging my bike.”
“Well then, I don’t feel so bad.” His mom smiles and I smile back, taking a bite of the pie, and I have to agree; even if it was frozen, it is seriously delicious.
By the time we leave, I have completely fallen in love with Wes’ mom, and I know that if the time ever comes for our parents to meet, my mom and dad will both love her too.
“I love your mom,” I tell Wes as we head back to my house.